Thursday, February 04, 2021

epilogue



It would be presumptuous to say that this is the end of the love story.

Of course it's not the end! It's just the beginning.

Of many strange things in this world, love might be the strangest of all.

Sometimes I think there is nothing easier...

and other times nothing harder than to love. 

It takes a lifetime of learning to love and be loved.

Or perhaps, more accurately, as Editor would say,

it will take an eternity plus one day. 

But we must not be discouraged by this. 

On the contrary!

We can begin to relax from our driven,

performance-oriented existence,

take a breath, or two or three,

and allow the vastness and the beauty of the universe around us

... and inside us...

to enlarge our vistas as we grow in the best adventure of all. 



Sunday, January 17, 2021

a place of love revolution




In the spring of 2020. I worked on The Garden of the World
for Recycled Art Exhibit. The piece was made out of 
international newspapers my pre-COVID globe-trotting friends
kindly hauled clear across the globe for this very purpose.
The significance and value of this project has only increased
in my eyes over the past year.

The message of love is clear.  Every citizen of the country whose native language is love understands this message without a need for an interpreter.

However, when you live on the delicate intersection of two such vastly different worlds, trying to bring them together, trying to spell out with your life this strange bi-lingual, bi-cultural, bi-continental identity, you are bound to mix things up, break some rules, make some spelling mistakes. 

I sense the Editor on the inside, squirming a bit. He can't help himself, he is so well trained in spotting the mistakes, red-penning the mix-ups, enforcing the rules.

Strangely this time, perhaps for the first time ever, he appears disarmed, stripped off his red pen and correction fluid, taken in by something infinitely greater than immaculate sentence structure, purist grammar and perfectly followed syntax rules. 

She grins. 

My heart melts. 

No small feat has been accomplished here and I think she knows it. Satisfied, she trots off, hopping from cloud to cloud, sprawled endlessly along the beach.  I eventually catch up, take her by the hand and we walk back together.  It's getting late but I have to see the epic message just one more time.

What I discover when I go for that one last look takes me completely by surprise.

When she started spelling her heart out, hers were the only broken-shell-carved words marking the pristine blank page of the sand.

But now, everywhere I look, all around me, there are countless new messages of love, scribbled in the sand by strangers, turning this glistening heaven-on-earth beach into a giant love letter!

I chuckle, because I know she has no idea that she has started a love revolution. 

I hesitate, wondering if I should point it out, draw her attention to it, but something stops me. 

It's better to leave it this way.

It will be our little secret.

Monday, January 11, 2021

a place of vulnerability



During one of the workshops, an artist shared this cool alphabet idea which
I used to create a Serbian Cyrillic alphabet version. Creativity has infinite
ways of being expressed. I am always fascinated when I see what others
are doing with this God given gift. The variety of the markings in this work
represents the unrepeatable nature of organic creativity... even though it's
universal, it is also as unique to us as our fingerprints. 


I think she would rather be caught dead than admit that she is anywhere close to being like her mother. For better or for worse, her father's resemblance - his brilliant mind; his perfectionism; his methodical attention to details - follows her everywhere she goes. 

But, without a doubt, she is her own person. Independent. One of a kind. Adventurous. Carving her own way, making her own mark on this earth. She is frail and strong, cautious and brave, fun and serious.

She insists she is not a writer.

Her own essays begrudgingly submitted to the Language Arts teacher laugh in her face.

If she can't find a pen a stick will do. If there is no stick, she'll use a broken shell.

And the entire beach becomes her very own blank page.

One by one, she writes out the letters.  So focused.  So intent.

The birds swoop over and around her head, but she is undistracted by them.

I watch her curved back, as she moves sideways and backwards, stringing letters like beads on a necklace.

When she is done, she straightens up, turns around and looks at me beaming.

Her unfurled scroll now reveals a message for all to see although there might be just a few of us living on this planet who really understand it. 

See, she grew up on a delicate intersection of the worlds where her mother tongue is not her first language.  She is fluent in the language of the country where she is born and where she lives. But she knows that there is another country she also belongs to, her mother belongs to... where another language is spoken. The language she understands very well but she is still learning to speak, just learning to write.  

Today, for some inexplicable reason, she decides to take a leap, she chooses to take a huge risk of expressing herself, of exposing herself in that other language.

She must consider this risk worth taking, because she wants her mom to know... perhaps she wants the whole world 

- the heaven and the earth -

to know... that the language of that country is the language of love.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

a place of encouragement

 


I created this piece during an exceedingly frustrating abstract art lesson that
kept going from bad to worse with each layer. In an exasperated attempt
to 'erase' my 'horrible mistakes' I literally washed the paint off the page in
my kitchen sink! What appeared was this beautifully textured background
which now I wish I could re-create­čśŐ . As Miles Davis said,
'Fear no mistakes. There are none.'


These heaven-above-heaven-below, walking-on-clouds endless shallows are so mesmerizing, so inviting, so beautiful and safe and welcoming, my soul suddenly pops out, all cramped and wrinkled, from the confinement of its inland button-hole. 

It wants to park and live right here, sprawled out, naked and unashamed, on this endless beach. 

Forever.

Not a single argument comes to my mind to shut down the fantastic idea.

"Mom! MOM!!"  The Mom-Hat lands on my head bringing me back to earth.

"What?  WHAT???" I always think that M-O-M is a code word for some kind of dire emergency, not unlike the Morse S-O-S. 

"What happened??" I yell without even trying. 

"Nothing happened. Everything is just fine. Look, there is a snowman!"

I look up, and sure enough, there is a snowman, hat, 'broom', baseball bat and all, perched on the beach ahead of us.  

It most certainly is the ugliest Snowman I've ever seen, but somehow that doesn't matter, because as we approach to inspect it, we are surrounded by a joyful crowd of thawed-out Canadians, who are so pleased that somebody - ANYBODY- showed interest in their masterpiece.  

They laugh and point out all its special features as I take pictures. Then, we give them thumbs up and they wave enthusiastically as we continue on our way.  Their happiness is quite contagious and trails behind us long after we can't see either them or their creation.  I know we must be kindred spirits, our hearts set on building a Snowman on the beach. The only difference is that they got to build theirs and I didn't get to build mine. 

Surprisingly, in this moment, such 'unfairness' doesn't bother me. Doesn't bother me at all.   

In fact, as I reflected on their contentment and joy - which became OUR joy -a thought crosses my mind that... 

... sometimes...

it might be as - or, perhaps, even more - important 

to encourage other artists in their creative attempts, 

no matter how quirky, small and seemingly insignificant they may appear, 

than building and showing off my own perfect snowman.