Life on the EDGE?

There have been many  blog worthy events in my life lately, but my poor time management skills have prohibited me from scheduling any serious writing time.

I guess I’ll start with the most recent happening in my life. Most likely that is also where I’ll end because lets face it, too much of a good thing can get boring. I’ll try to make it quick.

Two months ago I stepped (actually, I was pushed) way out of my comfort zone.  Now, I consider myself a very adaptable person and I’ve had my share of positive life experiences that were often the result of my being pushed out of my comfort zone, but for the most part, I prefer to stay in my comfy little zone and maybe extend an arm or leg into the uncomfortable world of unknowns from time to time. After all, what is life if you don’t live on the edge just a little?

What makes me uncomfortable?
Strangers
Writing
Large groups of strangers
Talking about myself
Talking about myself to a large group of strangers

Oddly enough though, I’ve been known to respond to online invitations to attend groups and meetings with people I’ve never met before and for the most part I have always had good experiences with doing that. I’ve also had to give presentations and even talk about myself just a little to rooms full of strangers. I can do it, I just don’t like to.  But nothing causes me greater discomfort than having to share my “art” and vision with people, strangers or not. That may come as surprise to the  faithful few who follow me  on Facebook, Instagram and here where all I do is write about my explorations in artistic discovery, but trust me, it is not something I feel entirely confident or comfortable doing. Which explains some of my long absences here. I  do it because I feel I have to if I expect to go anywhere with any of this. ANYWAY….

On one of those occasions where I  decided to drift into the unknown by attending a lecture on social media marketing for artists (with a friend who I also forced out of her comfort zone…) there was mention by the facilitator about applications being accepted for EDGE. EDGE is a one week professional development resident program that helps emerging artists develop their goals. It has helped many an artist set goals and launch successful careers.  The deadline to apply was June 31st. I found out about the program on June 29th – I’m a little foggy on the exact dates, but the point is I didn’t think about applying because well, that would have been way too uncomfortable. I would have had to show actual artists my work AND write about myself AND write about my work and I was not / am not  in any way ready to think about applying for anything like that.  I knew though, that my friend was more than ready and I encouraged her to apply, which she said she might consider while also making a million excuses as to why she shouldn’t. Oh, we are so good for each other.

I put EDGE out of my mind and on the morning of the 31st my friend sent me a hilarious text message. She had decided to apply for EDGE and she thought I should too.  I sent her back  an “LOL” she – of all people! – had decided to apply! I was shocked, amazed, impressed – she did it, good for her! But I had to laugh at her thinking for one moment I was at that level. And that is when she pushed me. But for some reason, I was ok with playing along and thought: what is the worst that could happen?

Well, I could have my soul crushed like a walnut under a wheel loader is what could happen! And frankly, I have had enough of that for the past two years. It’s not so much that I can’t handle rejection. Well, yes actually it is that. I suck at rejection, even though I’ve had plenty of practice with it over the years, it never gets easy.

At her urging and pushing I decided to arm myself with some duct tape for the soul and give it a try. After all, I had 9 hours to fill out the application. Plenty of time. I completed the process with about 10 minutes to spare.  Then I waited. I figured there would be no news until after the July Holiday, so it was pretty easy to forget about it, plus I was pretty sure there wasn’t a chance at all I would be accepted. Then still I wondered…

A couple of weeks went by and I received a very happy and nervous text message  from my pushy friend (yes that is how we communicate – rarely do we ever talk to each other, this way we can stay in our comfort zones and still be social) that she had been accepted! I was so super happy for her. And I patiently waited for my rejection letter to come.

It never came. I began to feel a little tremor in my soul. After a couple of weeks, my soul cracked.

Apparently my artist’s statement, statement of work, my “art”, my application was so horrible none of it was even worthy of a rejection letter. I laughed to and at myself. What was I thinking? If It was just a mail in application perhaps the rejection would not have caused me such distress. However, with social media and so many of us on-line everywhere, there was a very deep gut wrenching feeling that not only do I suck, but that I was being passed around on every type of  media device known to man. I could hear the laughter, the jokes and I convinced myself to be happy that I had brought so much joy to so many people for a day. But I seriously became quite embarrassed for a few days too, thinking that everyone from the program might have peaked at one or all of my social media sites in order to assure themselves that they really don’t suck so bad after all.

As my soul crumbled to dust over a couple more weeks, I did finally receive the rejection letter I thought I was so unworthy of. I felt better. I looked at the bright side, the application had forced me to look hard at my goals and think about what I really want to do, should be doing or NOT doing. I also wrote an artist’s statement, a bio and about my process. True, none of it was good enough to convince anyone of my potential, but what I had left was a really polished rough draft that could be tweaked for future use.

HA! Future USE? Like that is ever going to happen.

Yet, I keep at it. Why? I’m not sure. I  will say though, I think I have given up on the art aspect of what I am trying to do and  may just stick with making what sells. Or I may not. I guess I’m still riding that wave.

And Then

And so I continued to go to my studio on a fairly regular basis and just kept making anything that came to mind. Feeling pretty satisfied and generally happy with the process, but like a complete failure with the finished “work”. Yes, these are fun, people like them, but what do they say?

Then, leaving my studio yesterday I had a thought; “#@(K  this *(&T  I’m going to do ART. And it might be weird and strange and SUCK but at this point , I just don’t care.” But then, maybe it wont be weird. Maybe it will be pretty and nice and that is ok, right? And no one even needs to know it exists.

And Then (Again)

I came home yesterday and went through the routine of checking emails and OMG… what should I find in my in box?

These exact words:
Happy Wednesday to you! You were next on our alternate list in case someone from Visual EDGE had to unexpectedly drop, which just happened.

Well, how funny is this? I was pretty quick to want to say “YES!” but before hitting ‘send’ on that, I stopped to think… I was still super excited about my friend getting accepted and the thought of us going together was more exciting than my receiving the offer of acceptance (for a few seconds). I knew she was going, but I also know how she can sometimes talk herself out of things and I wondered if perhaps her anxiety might have gotten the best of her. How funny would it be if I accepted and SHE was the one who dropped out? Clearly this was beyond a text message and a phone call was absolutely in order. Plus, I was not entirely sure I really wanted to go, the thought of being there with all those strangers, talking, showing my “art” to judges and critics… not exactly healing balm for the soul.

After confirming she was, indeed, still attending and convincing me of why it was super important for me to go and what an honor it was to have such a great opportunity, I went ahead and hit ‘send’ on that email reply.

And now, I must go sweep up the dusty crumbles of my crushed soul and return to my comfy place where I will take aim and get ready to toss every little bit haphazardly over the EDGE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signs Everywhere

There comes a time when you must stop and listen to the universe. The universe is telling you something. It is telling me something.

I’m not sure exactly what it is saying, some of it is lost in translation, but I think  I can make out the gist of it: ‘Ridiculous’, ‘irrelevant’, ‘useless’, ‘pointless’ and ‘stupid’ (my favorite) are words that keep filtering through.

I spent the past two weeks attempting to write a simple post on, of all things, time management and making time to do the things you love; the things that are important to you. It should have been a simple post. A post an average fifth grader could tap out in a matter of an hour. However, I can only give my time to so many areas. Writing takes time and for me, quiet. Certainly, I have time. But my time should be spent on more important things. Writing for a few minutes here and there throughout the week is  not working. The time I give to other areas I also consider important is not working. I see that now.

So, yes, there comes a time when you must listen to the universe when it tells you to “STOP! For the love of God, STOP wasting your time!”

Of course there are commitments I must follow through with, but I must pursue the areas that are far more beneficial and important, not those grounded purely in my own self interest.  I mean, how many times must I go through this “I’M DONE” stage? Every month there is another sign thrown smack in front of my face, but I choose to ignore it. The one commitment I must follow through with is committing for once and for all to BE done. Stop saying it to myself and just be done and move on to which ever direction I am supposed to be going. And I am now thoroughly convinced the road I have been traveling for the past four years is not the right direction. I have simply been forcing something that is not there.

So, ok Universe! I quit! I’m waiting for you to take me where I am supposed to be.

I haven’t decided to cut myself off completely from all social media. I’m pretty sure I will not be continuing along with my same goals. But I just don’t have the energy  to bother thinking about all that right now.

Anyway – Cheers! Thank you to all of you who have stopped by over the years. It really did mean a lot to me and is what kept me going this long. If I think of anything truly profound or something I think you can’t live without knowing, I may post again.

IMG_0623

 

What’s up with the picture? Nothing, I just like it. I’ve been trying for a very long time to snap a great picture of a raven. Last week this one just flew up and landed right in front of me – how is that for a sign?

 

The Girl With the Brand New Tattoo Gun (Part 2)

Tat gun

I had a bad feeling there would be a part two to The Girl With the Brand New Tattoo Gun. My daughter was 15 when I wrote that post. Since then, I’ve been waiting to write the sequel. Nervously waiting.

Yes, I purchased a tattoo gun for my teen-aged daughter. Call me crazy, call me irresponsible, but only after you read about my ambivalence and reasons for doing so. Then maybe you’ll understand.

I thought her dream of becoming a world-renowned tattoo artist had fizzled away, as many great adolescent dreams do.  After all, it had been several months since I last heard the soft buzz of the tattoo gun drifting through the house.  I was always relieved to discover her canvas of choice to be the oranges and grapefruits she smuggled from the kitchen. But what’s a girl to do when she grows bored with unresponsive, unappreciative fruit? There is only one thing she can do…

I was told the word “love” on her hand was done with permanent marker. But I had my suspicions. I watched that word closely for several weeks – hmm that must have been  a very high quality permanent marker indeed.  My suspicions were confirmed when, one day, I heard my husband call out to me from the other room, a bit of panic in his voice. I rushed to see what the panic was about.

“Did you know she has a tattoo on her stomach?”

“What? No! Let me see.”

Apparently in an unguarded stretch my daughter exposed a flash of skin that looked just a little different. Upon further questioning and investigation she unveiled her art work.

Gasp!

For a while the discussion was one-sided:

“What were you thinking?”

“I can’t believe you did that to yourself.”

“Wow, you did that yourself? How?”

“Actually you didn’t do too a bad job. The outline is pretty straight and clean.”

“But oh, what in the world were you thinking?”

“I dunno.” Why should I have expected anything else in reply?

And that four letter word, written in rather lovely scrolling letters? Well, it wasn’t done with your average house hold Sharpie.

What could I do at that point? Is it possible to be dismayed and impressed at the same time? Was it appropriate to be impressed at all?

I have to say, given that she tattooed herself and she’s had no training, it isn’t half bad. It’s straight and well proportioned.

Example of leaf variation among various cultiv...

Example of leaf variation among various cultivars of Japanese Maple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even if it is a ridiculous outline resembling something very similar to a Japanese maple.

What is the moral of this story? I guess I just need someone to cry to. I know, it’s my own fault but really I can’t say I regret it totally. My daughter doesn’t regret it (HA what does she know, she’s only 16!) though I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t do it again. Is it the end of the world? Is she scarred for life? uh – well….

Here is my number one dilemma with my kids: I see almost every request, action, reaction as a chance to make a memory. Will it be a warm, funny one they’ll fondly reminisce about at my wake? Or will it be a bitter, haunting one they relive in hypnotherapy?

Don’t get me wrong, my kids heard “NO” plenty of times. They were disciplined, corrected  and set straight many times, but when it came to things which might help them develop creatively, I always tried to be supportive.

Today at 19 and 16, neither one of our kids seem to have interests they are passionate about. They’ve outgrown or given up on many of their past hobbies. It makes me a little sad. There were so many things I wanted to try when I was a kid; piano, pottery, dance, art – real art, not the kind you do with glue sticks and paper doilies – riding lessons, violin. It isn’t that my parents deprived me, they just didn’t see the need to pay for such things and even if they had, they weren’t able to pay for such things.  I just realized something as I type this –  I might be trying to live through my kids. Not that I ever forced them to do any of those things, I only asked they commit to what they signed up for (what they ASKED to be signed up for I might add).

Then again, maybe I’m just not paying attention to what their interests and talents are – they’re a product of the techy generation, they aren’t interested in the same type of arts or crafts I am. Who do I call when I need help with a software application? Who do I ask for help when a movie doesn’t download? Who creates impressive Simms houses? Well, I think I just had one of those “aha moments” Oprah is always going on about.

Thank you for going on this journey with me.

I’ll be sure to let you know how the glass blowing class goes next month.:) Hey  – she asked!

Walking With a Ghost (confessions of a “hoarder”)

A few days ago we went to an estate sale. At least, I’m pretty sure we went. It could have been a dream in which I was being guided by some character only Dickens could think up.

Ghost of Jacob Marley Closeup

As I walked through only two rooms of the home, I saw jars of beads, crates of fabric, paint, yarn, how to books on beading, mosaics, drawing, water coloring… I have all these books! I also have jars of beads, drawers of fabric, a closet full of paints, baskets of rubber stamps and stacks of paper –  don’t even get me started on the paper. Then there are the interesting assortments of miscellaneous items I’ve hoarded away, all of which I’m positive I need to create my magnum opus ..SOMEDAY.

I only made it through two rooms of the house because frankly, I got  sacred. I felt a surge of panic well up inside me. Much like a junkie might feel when they walk past an old familiar crack house. While I had an overwhelming urge to quickly hire a U-Haul to have all those wonderful goodies speedy delivered to my house, I also had a short (somewhat terrifying) glimpse into my future. Or should I say my kid’s future.

Scream Cropped

I could see the expressions on their faces as they sorted and catalogued all the items for my future estate sale.  Each hoarded item reaffirming what they joked about my entire life – “Yep, she was a crazy one”.  I imagined their confusion when trying to explain to my grand kids just what their grandmother could have been thinking by keeping all this JUNK.

What do you suppose she was going to do with this:

or these:

And why in the world would she want to save all this?

I can only imagine their horror and confusion at this:

The Skeleton I Found In My Electrical Socket

Now, I didn’t take this picture, but I did happen upon such a find last year while unpacking our house hold goods. My initial revulsion quickly turned to love at first sight as I thought of  how I could use this little guy in a nature collage. And yet, a little voice inside my head kept yelling:
CRAZY LADY! Look Out!

Since I’m not 100%  ready to make the jump from artsy old cat lady to freakishly creepy shut-in I had to let him go; in symbolic recognition of my still intact sanity at least.

But yet am I really crazy? What I truly find crazy is all the stuff people throw away; the lack of creativity and resourcefulness. Sure, there might be little use for ten-year old cell phones or a decaying critter carcass, but I find it just a little sad when I see past “must haves” tossed out on the curb.

And while it’s true, I’ve hoarded away a lot of miscellaneous items which on their own are junk, I have managed to actually do SOMETHING with some of it (eventually).

I’ve blogged about a few of my “creations”; a pouffe from a discarded cable spool and fabric scraps; a painting from old cords, tiles and a ripped canvas; a mosaic stool from old CD’s and beads; a mosaic table from an old papasan chair base and a stack of plates someone threw away.

While my work may not be gallery quality, I enjoy doing it. I find great satisfaction in making something from nothing while feeling I’ve also contributed in a small way to the survival of mother earth.

Yes, I will continue to gather and collect, build and create and also question my sanity daily. So far, my collecting has little impact on our quality of life; my house isn’t cluttered or in disorder and perhaps my creations will give my kids and grandkids something amusing to talk about at my estate sale (rather than just rummaging through buckets of cords and jugs of buttons mumbling about my questionable sanity).

What about you? Are you a collector / saver / hoarder? Are there certain items you just can’t throw away? What creative things have you made with your found and saved objects?

Has This Happened To You? (Adventures in Blogging)

Since I started blogging back in November I’ve developed a regular blogging routine. I have a blog I post on daily where the writing is extemporaneous. Needless to say some posts are good, some are not so good and some are extremely short, depending on my mood and schedule (and I use the word ‘schedule’ very loosely).

On this blog, I try to post once a week or at least every other week (if only to just barely keep my poor blog from dying a slow death).  In my free time I work on rough drafts and brain storm. Every morning I like to check my stats (actually I check them about every ten minutes) and peruse the Freshly Pressed posts where I always find something to my liking. At least weekly I try follow up with commenters to my blogs, visit those who “liked” me and in general just show a bit of courteous reciprocation to my fellow bloggers. I have found some great blogs this way, several of which I follow and read regularly.

I should mention, of the 4 million blogs on Word Press, I’m raked 399 millionth so I am always excited to have the underwhelming one or two “likes” a week and the occasional daily visitor. I’m ok with that, really I am, but It doesn’t mean I don’t get just a little excited when my likes and views extend beyond the normal one or two. Don’t you just feel just a little surge of excitement when you log into Word Press and see a little high lighted star signifying that someone out there really liked you? It’s intoxicating. Of course, for you more talented folk, I imagine such an event is no more exciting than discovering a dust bunny behind your night stand. Lucky You.

Anyway…..

Imagine my surprise yesterday as I was typing away on a rough draft when my comment icon lit up. I waited as long as I possibly could before clicking on it. I wanted to bask in the glow of it for a while before deflating my bubble by finding it was only a cleverly disguised spammer:

…”I like you much. You write just what I look for”…

There is something about the comment icon; for those of you who remember, I compare it to the flashing red light of an answering machine –

somebody loves me

there’s the  build up of  “oh, some one called me, someone was thinking of me. Who could it be?” The excitement of a possible party invite, a dream job offer, a long lost but now found pet. Oh the anticipation of it all!

Then with the touch of a button in a few short seconds you are once again reduced to being the worlds biggest loser, a forgotten soul, lost at the bottom of an old back pack amidst the lone Mentos and lowley pennies

“Heeelllp Meeeee”

– it was a hang up call or one of those voice recorded sales pitches, in which case the hang up call offers the most interest and mystery, keeping you up at night…wondering….

And so it is with the comment or like icon. There’s the moment of exciting anticipation as that little star glows at you

I am LOVED

– “Wow, someone visited my blog, someone read my stuff!! And they liked it. Who, Who, Who????”

Then just like that, click – it’s over. It was simply someone driving viewers to their sales pitch. Ah Well…..

Now that I have given you a little glimpse at how insecure I am and my pathetic need for recognition and acceptance,  you can imagine my total elation when I clicked on my little notification icon to find SOMEONE liked me. A LOT. Apparently, they thought whatever post I had written that  brought them to my blog in the first place was so super fantastic they decided to hang out a while and read all of my posts. AND they liked all of them, I’m now the happiest person in bloggy land. Someone out there appreciates me! FINALLY!

English: Mushroom toxicity icon - Edible

Well, of course I just had to pay a visit to this like-minded blogger who obviously has such good taste. I had to give them a big thank you and read what they had to say. This could be the beginning of a great new friendship, after all we obviously have a lot in common.

Here is where it got really strange. My liker and I had nothing in common at all. In fact, I can’t even figure out what would bring them to my blog in the first place. I did write a post about our dogs once, so perhaps he (or she) zoned in on the tag DOG, because one would get the impression from reading his (or her) posts, they might most definitely be a dog.

yes, it’s filled with my tears

I wont bother to mention the blog here, I’m not sure it’s a place I would want to send you. I’m all for free speech and appreciate the fact we all have different interests and opinios and everyone is free to express those opinions in whatever way they chose, but I draw the line at promoting someone whose views are so clearly borderline despicable (in my opinion).

Now, I use the words he/ she, his/her because really I am not so sure my overzealous fan  is a man. One wold be led to believe it’s a man with an attraction to a certain type of female. Yet I have to wonder if this isn’t an experiment in psychology or social networking or the psychology of social networking or something other than what it seems to be on the surface. I hope this is the case. If so then – Oh my aren’t THEY the clever one. If not, well, be afraid be VERY afraid.

I Kill You!!

As I read through a few of the comments on his/her blog I found others who were lured there to offer up their gratitude as well, only to become as equally as confused as I was. Well, on the one hand the ploy worked, greatful and curious bloggers were driven to his/her blog. On the other hand it makes me uncomfortable. It’s like being invited to a BBQ only to find youv’e been led into a convention hall of Archaeopteryx worshiping cultists.

Archaeopteryx litographica from the Late Juras...

You WILL worship and adore ME!

Most the time I easily shrug off the spammers or sales pitches and I’m not above visiting and comenting on someones blog who happened to like me for my possble visit to their blog, but in this case I’m just a little more than turned off and confused by it. But mostly I am deeply hurt and dismayed he or she really didn’t like me after all.

English: lonely, unhappiness sp: tristeza, des...

How about you? Do you find it discouraging when your likers turn out to be a fakes? Does this happen often? Have you ever been sorely let down by an imagined fan base? Do you feel a little surge of excitement at those glowing notification icons? I’d love to hear about it. Perhaps we can form a support group.

See you there!

A meeting room set.

I’ll be waiting for you

Betty White, I Love You!

Betty White at the Time 100 gala in 2010

The other night I happened to catch the show ‘Betty White’s Off Their Rockers’. If you haven’t seen it it’s like “Jackass” for the mischievous mature.

I’ve never paid much attention to Betty White before, but now as I start to creep up in age, I’m starting to take notice of people who are much older than me, yet in some ways, their spirit is so much more youthful. Not that I feel or act old, I just don’t want to ever feel like life has passed me by.

Betty is one of those people who seems to have always been there, much like Dick Clark was or how Keith Richards is. It only occurred to me last night how old Betty White must be so I Googled her. She was born in 1922, which makes her 90 years OLD!

So, that’s it then, Betty White is officially my new hero.

I am just so amazed at how witty,spry and energetic Betty White is. Could she be a vampire? I’ve googled her house searching for an aerial view that might show a peek of the fountain of youth, I only see a swimming pool – couldn’t get a close enough view to see if there were any alien cocoons in there. I’d like to get a look inside her medicine cabinet.

Hebe; Goddess of youth

Or her basement, that’s probably where she keeps the altar where she offers nectar to the Goddess Hebe on every full moon.

Anyhow, when I start to think about getting old and settling into my old rocking chair, surrounded by cats, hoping my family will remember to feed me on occasion, I now just think of Betty White and her wit, her smile, her style, her love of life and I feel so inspired and excited to think of how many more years of adventure, laughter and FUN I have in front of me.

It’s because of this I say, “Betty White, I love you!”

No Pain No Gain

Apparently the old adage no pain no gain is true. I’m now at day four “post treatment” and while I’m relieved to have nothing serious to report, I am starting to feel just a little disappointed. I’m never happy.

From what I’ve read, what I’m experiencing so far is normal: rough sandpaper skin, which will supposedly begin to slough off soon, and according to the recovery schedule should be right about now,  but so far just a tiny bit of flaking. I thought for sure by this time I would be molting like a barbecued iguana in Tijuana. I’m only slightly red, almost tanned actually, and my skin feels a little tight. Nothing dramatic, nothing I can use to gain the sympathy of my kids, nothing hinting that there will be a great metamorphosis anytime soon.

So, I’m sorry to disappoint, I haven’t experienced any blog-worthy pain or side effects. I did however, manage to make my daughter think I’d had a brief encounter with an E.T. Which was funny for a second but certainly not funny enough to go into great detail about here.

This is the first of three treatments I will go through (the recommended number of treatments). I think I’m seeing improvement in my skin, but it’s still hard to tell. Once the peeling process is over and I undergo the next two treatments maybe I’ll have more to report. So if you’re thinking of having this procedure and if you can wait a couple of months, I may be able to give you some useful information. If you can’t wait that long, I’d say “go for it”.