Art, writing

dear childhood home

I am participating in Isabel Abbott’s With Love + Defiance: a letter writing sanctuary course. It is so powerful, and has helped me reconnect to my nonfiction roots. There is something about writing a letter that allows me to say things I wouldn’t otherwise be able to say. Below is one of the letters that I wrote along with a piece of art I created that was inspired by the letter.

dear childhood home,

i believed your thin, paper walls held all the secrets. believed that your fist-sized holes were where all the secrets would go to hide. i thought i could come back some day, hold up a black light and the narrative of my childhood would glow – like invisible ink – page after page scrolled out on those paper thin walls. what atrocities you held. what dirty, sticky secrets that remained long after the memories had dissolved. you were supposed to tell me what happened. you were supposed to save me. i cannot remember anything but the pain and the darkness.

i dream about you, sometimes, your tiny structure transformed into layer upon layer of maze that i cannot find my way out of. i am stuck and at some point, i always give up, resolved that you hold all the power. i think it is then that you will spill out your secrets, pour them out of your cracks and crevices, your deep, black holes, that you will fill me up, drown me in all that I cannot remember. but, instead, you offer up your cryptic flashes, and i cannot orient myself to them, trapped in their vertigo, merry-go-round, flashing disorientation. you beg me to remember, but i am already sick with the lies. won’t the truth kill me? i turn away, return to the dark stillness of unremembering. but my body, she weeps and stabs and screams with her memories because she cannot forget.

i drove past you several years ago trying to find some kind of closure, but you were gone. there was nothing but an empty lot, and i wondered if you had ever even existed, if i had ever even existed. if you are gone, am i gone, too? where did all the secrets go? where did you put them? how can i ever find them now? i dig in the soil down into the sewer – did you store them there? i wander through its maze trying to find its secret places, its cracks and crevices. i wander and wander, uprooted, untethered, my body unable to cough up the truth in her spatters of blood, and i cannot find a way out of this darkened maze, and you are no longer here to show me, to tell me, go this way, on this wall, in this room, the eyes, they saw it all, they stored every second, you were seen, it was witnessed, you were never, ever alone.

i eat the dirt in hopes you will come back to me somehow, show me the way out of the black hole i’ve found myself in, give my body permission to expel her visionless pain and suffering so they will stop walking around aimlessly through her searching for the matching truth, searching for the proper way to escape.

Things I Love

Things I Love: Week One

I have a wide range of interests and things that I love, so I thought I would start posting each week about what I’m loving at the moment. (Please note: These do not include affiliate links these are just the things that are bringing joy to my life this week.)

Patreon – I love supporting other artists and authors each month, and I especially love the special treats I receive as a patron. Here are some wonderful artists/writers you can check out: Lucy Chen, Cristin Chambers, Sarah Trumpp (Wonderstrumpet), Effy Wild, and Gwenda Bond.

Yo Soy Candle – These are by far my favorite candles. This company is a one-woman-owned, small business, and the candles are made from earth conscious materials. My favorite part besides the luscious scents? You can reuse the jars to store items (even art supplies!) and have encouraging “I AM” statements throughout your home. My favorite right now is the new coffee bean scent and the equally inspiring jar of “I AM” matches. Check out Leslie’sMother’s Day gift sets and her subscription club.

The Aqua Notebook – This is the newest poetry collection from one of my favorite authors, Tasha Cotter. I love the way this collection is structured by specific moments in time, and how the language of each poem denotes the passing of time in subtle but beautiful ways.

Here are a few of my favorite lines so far (shared with permission from the author):

  • “…she wrote extensively; in her diaries, sorting her soul away; from the experience of living.”
  • “The past branches off, ends in green; bud – as if that end was what was meant to happen all along.”
  • “I do my job and get rinsed free; of feeling. The messiness that is in me; still hides underneath. Sitting at my desk; I know something’s missing.”
  • “We sat there, in silence, sensing; a disaster, both not wanting to admit it; and give the moment that kind of power.”
  • “And when I tell others I don’t; care, there’s a part of me; that breaks off from the whole; damaged.”
  • “There is fury to this love, a good madness; in the strong will of a woman.”

A Discovery of Witches – the book and the show – I binge-watched the new show on Sundance Now and loved it. The book had been on my reading list for quite some time, and I loved the show so much, I decided to buy it. I’m about 100 pages in, and I love the book as much as I love the show. The descriptions are incredible, and I really like to have the images of the characters and place in my mind as I read.

Sketchbook Revival – I took part in this last year, and it was incredible. I learned that a creative practice can be made up of just about anything, and that it didn’t have to result in a pristine, finished product. I love learning all the different ways to bring more creativity into my life through these sessions. Though I’ve been very busy with novel revisions, I’ve been dipping into the sessions to free up my mind and bring some joy into my day. Sketchbook Revival is the creative genius of artist Karen Abend and is free and still going on for the next few days. You can sign up here.

I hope you liked these suggestions. I’m looking forward to sharing more things that I love with you each week.

And now for a novel update. Right now, I’m working through a third revision of the novel, and my goal is to have it completed by the end of next week. Then, I will be sending it off to the beta readers. Yikes!

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.

 

Books

Book Recommendation: Day Five

My fifth book recommendation is one I read when I was going through a difficult breakup: A Hundred Names for Love by Diane Ackerman. This book had sat on my shelf, unread, for many years, but for some reason, during this particularly difficult time in my life, it called out to me. I was hooked the moment I began reading it. The book takes a tender, but honest look at the inner workings of the author’s relationship with her husband, and what happened when the relationship and life routine they had settled into was abruptly and permanently altered by her husband’s stroke. This book really challenged my ideas about what a relationship should look like. I realized that I had held an idealized version of what I thought a relationship should look like in my mind, and that I had held all of my relationships up to that unattainable standard. The book shows in a beautiful and sometimes heartbreaking way, what most of us already know, that relationships are not easy, and just how far they can be pushed beyond tolerable limits and still survive. It shows how our relationships can be reshaped, redefined, remolded, sometimes without our wanting them to and still remain.
Art, Find Your Flow

Day Twenty-five: Find Your Flow

Today I thought about the journey…the artistic journey…the life journey we are all on…the way there are no straight lines, no direct route from point A to point B. There are times we fall off the path completely, then by magic or sheer will, we seem to pick back up right where we left off, sometimes many, many years later.

There are dark patches in our paths where it feels like we will never see light or vibrant colors again, but no matter how bad it’s been, the light and colors eventually come back as does the darkness. Again and again we follow this circuitous path towards what…well, I don’t know. Maybe, it is a journey back to ourselves, to our core, to our heart center.

I imagine it is a journey of shedding all we’ve been taught, those things that we believe blindly, that have become a part of who we are, but that do not serve us in any way except to keep us tethered to our feelings of worthlessness, of not being good enough, of not being deserving of all the goodness the Universe has to offer. I am starting to become aware of those beliefs, those messages that were given to me by family, advertising, friends, lovers, and so many others. It makes me angry that I so easily took them on as my own without question. What might my life look like if I excavated those beliefs and exposed them for the falsehoods that they are? Who might I be then? What might I create if my intention was to create only for the pleasure of creating and not for receiving validation, approval, and love from others?