Art, Books

Book Recommendation: Day Six and Some Art

I took a few days off from my book recommendations and from writing my novel so that I could make some art that was swirling around in my head and needed to come out.

 

The Sun and Her FlowersNow that I’ve fed the starving artist part of myself, I am back to writing my novel, and I am back with another book recommendation: The Sun and Her Flowers by rupi kaur. I had previously read her book of poems, Milk and Honey, and loved it, but the The Sun and Her Flowers reached me at my core. The poetry is as beautiful as it is brutal. It is about love, loss, and sexual assault. It is about the aftermath of sexual assault and how it affects every aspect of the self. It is about all the things we do because we believe we are not enough as we are. I related to so much of this book, and it worked like a salve for my soul.

 

Art, art journal

Planting A New Story

Today, I stepped into a creative flow that I haven’t experienced very often, but hope to experience much more often in the future. In my writing practice, I have been doing something different. I have been coming to the blank page and writing what comes to me, and it is working! I wrote 2000 words today, and a part of the puzzle was put into place.

I normally write in a chronological way, and I get stuck wondering…what happens next??? and my creative flow just stops. But when I come to the blank page, and just write a description of whatever image I see or words I hear in my head, scenes just start to branch out from there, and I spent most of the time trying to get it all down in a frenzied state. Another approach that has been working for me is starting out asking the question “What if…” at the top of the blank page and then creating a scene with whatever comes to my mind first.

Today, an image and words showed up. My protagonist emerged as an 8 year old in an orphanage and said to me, “I was angry all the time, even at a very young age. I could never figure out where the anger came from.” And the story just took off from there.

Stepping into the creative writing flow might have something to do with taking the weekend off from writing. I decided on a creative practice routine which includes writing Monday through Friday and then making art on Saturday and Sunday. My grandmother passed away on Saturday, August 25th, and that brought me into the space of grieving. Maybe moving into a different space, created space for my creative mind to slow down and breathe. As I sat on the couch last night, binge watching television, an idea I had had before for an art journal project I’m working on came back to me in a sudden flash. I have been creating an art journal using pages from Meera Lee Patel’s Start Where You Are and an art journal I made by hand. I ripped out the next page in the book which had to do with leaving behind old stories that no longer work for you. You can see the page from the book on the left side of the spread below with my flower embellishments. On the right, is the layered garden I created with my old stories/beliefs, black gesso, textured paintbrush ends, gel pens, my new stories/beliefs, watercolor paints, and Gelatos. Along with the pictures below, I discuss the process I used to create the garden.

The prompt from the book was “What do you wish you could leave behind?” So, I wrote my answers out all over the page as you can see below. They included old stories I have been living through the lens of and old, worn out beliefs that I have been living by.

Then I covered them all up with a homemade black gesso (I mixed black acrylic paint with white gesso) as a way to erase them, but also to create the soil to sow the seeds of new stories and new beliefs. Then I ran a textured paintbrush end all along the page to till the soil.

Then I added some embellishments with watercolors and with a gold gel pen wrote out my new stories and my new beliefs that I want to embody to serve as a kind of fertilizer for the garden, and then added golden dots throughout to serve as seeds.

Then on top of that layer, I added the blooms using watercolors and Gelatos to signify the blooming of these new stories and new beliefs in my life.

Art, ASLR 2018

A Day of Conflicts

Today began my journey back into the world of novel writing. It was no ordinary day, though. It was my son’s first day of eighth grade, which for so many reasons is such a huge milestone for him and for me. It was also a time to try to settle my nerves and return to writing the novel I’ve been working on for many, many, many years.

With my writing practice, I started out differently than I usually do, spending the first hour getting a scene in my head out on the page even though I have no idea where it might fit into the novel. I usually try to write chronologically, leading to a lot of stuckness. I then took a break for lunch (which is unusual for me), and decided to return to the beginning of the novel that had to be rewritten to fit the new direction I am taking the novel in. And the scenes…they just flowed, and all the fear I had felt while staring at the blank screen earlier had melted away. There were a few times where I had to redirect myself when I tried to go back to edit, or spent to much time trying to get the right word, telling myself gently that I could fix it later, to just get the idea itself down on the page. And it worked!

When I had completed my writing for the day, I received notice that my grandmother, who is experiencing late stage congestive heart failure had slipped into the world of non-responsiveness, the world between here and what is waiting for her. I am conflicted because I had a near death experience seven years ago, and I know the beauty that awaits her, but I also am grieving the loss of her in this physical world.

In the midst of a day with so many conflicting emotions, I turned to Karen Abend’s Journey of the HeArt session with the #spirituallivingretreat held by Elizabeth Foley. I’ve been slowing working my way through the sessions, and how fortuitous that Karen’s session was the next one on the schedule. Below is my #HeArt from the session that represents how I’m feeling today, and the words that remind me that letting go is the ultimate freedom.

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