For a Brief and Exciting Moment

like a rock in a river splitting its stream water interrupted returns to its flow

I had two pieces selected for a juried mixed media show, and I’m delighted and proud to announce that one of them received “The Bethlehem House Contemporary Art Gallery’s Directors’ Choice Award.” I was amazed, humbled, and honored trying to process it all. I am a self-taught artist coming from a loving but hard-working, practical and uninterested-in-art family. I had to slowly and with great pain and loneliness at times find my own way and voice. The real artistry/creativity and reward, is about finding one’s whole self and transformation truly from a larva-grub to a moth through to a butterfly-metamorphosis. Lots of angst and breaking through that “I’m not good enough” and perfectionism mentality/training. It’s all part of the process, but for me—as a late bloomer–all the more satisfying and all the more grateful!

One month ago, I wrote about depression. Now, I am writing about success–the pendulum forever swings. The real breakthrough here is not the award itself, however sweet, but the interruption–like the rock in the river, that changes our flow forever however momentarily and seemingly insignificant, in the big watercourse of life. I can now fully appreciate and gratefully wear the mantle of heroine in my own story and forgive and tender the goat when she stumbles.

~

heroine or goat always rocks in the river’s flow

Free Range News

Tucked into a half-carton of organic eggs from The Country Hen, was a mini yet information-packed newsletter titled “Farm News.” After a full banner headline, date, location, phone number and graphics it began with “Dear Friends and FARMily:”

This compact yet charming double-sided brief included everything I could possibly want to know and then some. There are photos of pale blue eggs that they will be introducing soon, as well seven different branded logos! It’s all printed on “100% Post Consumer Recycled Paper” with the friendly tag line “We sincerely hope that you and yours continue to enjoy our exceptional eggs in good health always.”

Notwithstanding its color and charm, I was still a little put off first thing, rather second or third thing in the morning as I opened the carton to get an egg only to have all this chipper “farm news” spill out so unexpectedly and cheerily. Sort of like happy clucking in your ear when all you really want to do is wake up slowly and silently. Is it possible to be off-put by a too-happy tone from a stranger? Do I come across that way in these posts–too friendly or too cozy or too anything? Sometimes we catch our own reflections in the oddest environments. Just a wonder.

~

Something old
something new
organic eggs
now something blue

_

Non-Acceptance vs Rejection

When entering a juried competition–there is a fine line between non-acceptance and rejection. As artists we all feel somewhat rejected when our submissions do not make the cut. I’ve always tried to take it less personally and frame it as an editorial decision that simply precludes or does not have enough room for my work. I have even used work that is turned down as an opportunity to re-evaluate and improve. Even so–there is a letdown period. Until the notice is finalized, there is always hope and vision for approval and welcome. Thankfully for moi, the letdown lasts only a few hours, and I’m on to something else.

I tried to look up other words for non-acceptance and they mirrored rejection: rebuff; exclusion; elimination; veto; pass (on); eschew; and my personal favorite: nix. I cannot imagine getting a letter passing on my work beginning with the statement:

“Dear So-and-So, thank you for submitting your work, however we are nixing your piece(s) at this time.” This would make me smile.

As a visual artist, (or in any field), there comes a time or opportunity along the journey to show your work. Not all artists choose to do so. I have been delighted to participate a few times in juried shows and hopefully will successfully participate in a few more. I am selective as to which shows to enter, always trying to aim higher, and as a consequence, my exclusion rate is also higher. As a poet, I have sent numerous poems to journals and experienced the same feedback and slight setbacks. In hindsight, my best work came from rewriting and sharpening the poetry that was “eschewed.” I was lucky in those pre-computer-era days to actually get comments that helped me grow my work enormously.

So today, I got nixed! The sad part though is that there was no letter of regret, however sugar-coated it might be, thus insinuating even for a short time, that there was actual regret of not choosing my work and that there just may be an acceptance next time.

until the final nay visions of grandeur or at least a crumb of regret

Tux and Tails

We have a cat at the farm named Hops, after the plant that is a better bitter in beer. He is quite the character–napper by day and hunter by night unless he decides to switch it up. He sleeps in our design/sales room that was once a chicken coop. Hops was rescued through the efforts of loving souls and now lives the “life of Riley” as we used to say. Don’t know who Riley was, but he must have lived a charmed life.

Anyway, I went for a stroll around the nursery fields on a sunny day not too long back with our farm dog, Lexi, and Hops. We three ambled slowly among rock and grass and brush up and down rows and around trees and shrubs that were just resting for the season. The sun felt warm and winter-satisfying. I watched as both canine and feline sniffed and peed and generally hung out with me. It was a lovely breath of fresh air and quiet conversation.

once again the beggar at my door in tux and tails

The Lives We Live

The following are haiku-like short poems called “found haiku” or found poems. They are poems distilled from other writings–i.e. prose, news articles, longer poems, etc.. Within and from other sources, a writer/poet gleens her own version using the original author’s words in the order they appear in the original text. This is a legitimate form of writing so long as an acknowledgement is offered. There is even a Facebook page for “Found Haiku.” 

In this case, the short poems are found in the New York Times Magazine section: The Lives They Lived (12/30/18); the article is on Margot Kidder by Taffy Brodesser-Akner.

This year was a challenging one for most people that I know, on all levels–personal, national and global. Probably universal if I were to hazard a guess. My mom passed on as well as another close matriarch/friend. These found words are tendered in tribute and love.

in memoriam
edges are sanded down
is that the actual tribute?


can you ever know
a whole person?
through death 
a closer understanding


a woman is a galaxy
a mother is a universe
so is a daughter


 

Mindful Writing a la 2019

Party over
a few crumbs
and the moon
to nibble on.

And so it begins again–the practice of mindful writing for January. Crumbs are words offered here as small stones: a small stone is a short piece of writing that precisely captures a fully-engaged moment. This will be my eighth year, and I’m sure the moon will surface in these writings along with, blue, gratitude, whimsy, wonder and hopefully humor.

I’m not as enthusiastic at this time to write or paint, however the best way to plow through these artist slumps is to practice. A nibble here and there often leads to bouquets and banquets. At least I can say that I’m trying. And then again, there’s always the moon…