It’s been entirely too beautiful this week to sit inside and work on my computer. We had an impromptu picnic and subsequent sunset witness that was fantastic! I also went on a leisurely morning walk and enjoyed to cool (i.e. low humidity) air. But here are a few things that I did stumble across and that I want to finish reading.
Wow, what a week. My dad is finally home and on the mend. I think the entire family could use a good long sleep now. Also, the hubs and I have been working hard every night at the studio (save last night though when we cut loose and partied with this guy). There have also been some adjustments to our work schedules as well and we’re going to have to find a new rhythm. Oh yeah… and the holidays are here. I really wish that I could just cuddle up under a blanket (it’s freezing here!) and catch up on blogs, magazines, and movies. But there is work to be done, parties to be planned, gifts to be purchased, and life to be lived. And I’m looking forward to every bit of it!
In the mean time though, here are a few things that have caught my eye over the last couple of weeks:
My next book purchase. I’m so excited to read it (thank you best-therapist-in-the-world).
Speaking of books, this one looks interesting too.
I found this after thinking of something special for the studio. It just affirmed my idea.
I finally checked off a book I had on my summer nightstand, from last summer. While we were in the Dominican Republic, I finally read The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. I wish I had brought another book along for our 10-day stay because I finished it by our second day… no kidding. The book is not very long and it is indeed that good.
I actually didn’t know anything about the book before I read it other than it was about Japanese women (the cover may have helped with that!) But what I was not expecting was multiple narratives woven into one collective voice brought to life by the author. Otsuka writes of Japanese women brought to America in the early 20th century (as “picture brides”) and their lives that follow. It is the beautiful marriage of the individual and collective that made the book so memorable and compelling for me. She writes that “we” did this, that and the other… this happened to “us”, etc. Not only was it an unorthodox approach to traditional form, but her approach allowed for each character’s individual story of love, injustice, and emotions to be experienced on a personal level while speaking to the collective emotional experience of a marginalized group. When it happened to one character it happened to all of them, including the author. I really liked how it read like an autobiography, but one of a generation of women in one clear voice. Highly Recommended.
Whilst lounging under a cabana a couple of weeks ago, I re-read a go-to writing book, Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. This time one particular chapter left the page and has been stuck somewhere in the back of my mind ever since. It reads as follows:
…We think our words are permanent and solid and stamp us forever. That’s not true. We write in the moment. Sometimes when I read poems at a reading to strangers, I realize they think those poems are me. They are not me, even if I speak in the “I” person. They were my thoughts and my hand and the space and the emotions at that time of writing. Watch yourself. Every minute we change. It is a great opportunity. At any point, we can step out of our frozen selves and our ideas and begin fresh. That is how writing is. Instead of freezing us, it frees us. …It is important to remember that we are not the poem. People will react however they want; and if you write poetry, get used to no reaction at all. But that’s okay. The power is always in the act of writing. Come back to that again and again and again. …Don’t identify too strongly with your work. Stay fluid behind those black-and-white words. They are not you. They were a great moment going through you. A moment you were awake enough to write down and capture. [Emphasis mine.]
As I reflect again on her words, I think about how much I hold back from this space… for fear of being frozen by my words. I avoid talking about my experiences with religion, social justice, politics, and other things because I don’t want to be put in a box and have someone say… “but you said…!!!” I feel so much more fluid than my words or photos might suggest. I am constantly learning and growing and I don’t ever want to be in a position that I have become so cemented that I can’t gain a fresh perspective. Just because I have articulated an experience about x,y,or z doesn’t mean that a new experience couldn’t make me think/feel very differently.
And a huge fear of mine is to appear flaky (i.e. changing my mind on things), and flaky = stupid and (according to my therapist) I value competence A LOT (in others and the way others perceive me).
But I guess I shouldn’t be making decision out of fear in the first place. And I need to remember that I am not the poem… I am not my essay on x,y, & z and I am not my photography, etc. And if others don’t understand that, maybe it’s not my issue, but theirs.
We indulged on our last weekend before Lent. (That might be an understatement.) We started the weekend extravaganza at one of our favorite food trucks — Rice Box, ahhh, comforting American-style Chinese fare. I then spent Friday with my Aunt north of the city. She took me to one of her favorite fancy grocery stores for perusing and afternoon coffee-ing. (It reminded me lots of a favorite Chicago shop.) Saturday was spent cleaning, organizing, and painting again. I have really enjoyed my efforts at painting — only abstract art mind you. I’m terrible… but I’m learning. I enjoy seeing how the colors mix and how different brushes (and other tools) make unique shapes. I’m determined to get better. If I was smart I’d sign up for a class somewhere, but alas, the internet is my only teacher right now. I also started a new book totally expecting to not really get into it… well, too bad work is getting in the way because I’m a third of the way into it and I want to finish it by next Sunday.
I am so grateful for my free time — to spend how I like. It is a luxury I hope to never take for granted.