Sunday, March 27, 2016


    There is no doubt that I am at my most creative when I am at my darkest. I know this is true for most creative people. Pain, anguish, mania, and anger feed creative energy. The birthing process is painful, bloody, and exhausting. The closer I get to finding mental and spiritual clarity, the more difficult it is to find those brilliant bursts of mania fueled scribbles. Those moments when the words flow at lightening speed, when my fingers can barely keep pace. I look back on my writing from several years ago an am frankly amazed at the gush of witticism that spewed forth from my brain. I would not go back to that mindset if you paid me though. I had plunged into an abyss, writing was very often my lifeline to the light.
     My Grandmother was a brilliant and prolific painter. After her death we were preparing for a sale and showing of her work. I mentioned to my Mom that the volume of work was staggering. My Mom replied, "Because there was a lot of anger there." We hate to think of our beloved, benevolent, serene elders in such a light. But you can see it in her paintings if you look; the bold brush work, deep dark colors, red predominant. Later in life she did a series of fantastic abstract women. For my Grandmother maybe was a lifetime of feeling caged by her generation, and shackled to aspects of life that were too banal. Or that she got her start later in life. But that is sheer speculation on my part. I do not say any of this to disparage her, or anyone else. It is just a fact, and a common truth among artists. Creativity so often comes from suffering.
    Now, my dilemma is to find a way to create from a place of peace and calm, instead of turbulence and anxiety. A year ago I came to the realization that I needed to work towards harmony and a spiritual reconnection within myself. I wrote a list of list of Needs. Top on the list were: Self Reliance; Independence; Solitude; Spiritual Reconnect; Harmony; Health; To Write. A simple list, but not so simple an achievement. But I move closer with the passing of time. I keep these thoughts at the forefront of my actions. I think on what I am doing, where I am, where I am going, and if it is moving me towards my Needs. With this comes the need to pay the Piper, the loss of my Mania and Melancholy that has been such a source of energy for me. I have to find a way to tap into alternate, healthy energy sources so I can feed my fire without burning myself into an empty hull.
    The price of creation can be high. But I know there is a way to let that payment feed back into my spirit. I just have to find it and tap into it. That is my path. That is the way I must follow. I will follow the light, and let it feed my spirit.

Safe Haven

    I avoid writing about being alone. I think about it quite a bit, but steer clear of putting the words in print. Don't get me wrong, I am rarely ever lonely. Once in a while, for maybe an evening I will regret not having someone in the house with me, in my bed, there for breakfast. But the feeling is fleeting.
    When I think of being alone, it is in a pragmatic way. The thought that I might be alone the rest of my days, while a tad unnerving, isn't depressing. Instead it is more about planning for my future and how I will manage when I am older. I think that is a driving force behind people wanting to be in relationships as they get older; they do not want to grow old alone. Many people are afraid of being alone. I watch my mother, who is 75 and single for almost half her life, go about her independent life, and I sometimes wish she had a partner to help her at least with the heavy lifting. But she is happy, and loves her life. So who am I to wish otherwise for her? I watch her and see myself in 20 years: independent, happy, strong, assured. Then I look at the ten years after that and know that at some point she will come to live with me.
    Where does this train of thought lead? That I need to be working towards turning my little corner of the world into something more akin to a commune. I used to joke about it, and some friends will remember the term "Women's Country." I have espoused the notion of a piece of land, large enough to support multiple small cabins, with one large community building, a community garden, shared responsibilities among a small, tight knit group of friends (most likely single women). This has been a fantasy of mine for most of my life. It has evolved from an idea of an artist commune to something more practical. Now, I look at my little piece of land and know just how much more I could do with it.
    The building of The Fort was the first step. My 200 square foot studio space that I created from a shabby storage shed. It lit a fire under me to build a second space, a cabin or guest house. I loathe to say the over-used term "Tiny House" but that is what it would be. I have loved small, single room spaces for my entire life. Three decades ago I clipped an article from Country Living magazine that had a photo spread on several turn of the century single room cabins. Glorious little homes, with wood stoves, porches, ship-lap siding, and the architectural stylings of an 1890's farmhouse. I craved one with every fiber of my being. But the idea of raising a family in something so small dimmed the fire for the time being. I never stopped looking at small structures. From A-frame ski retreats to tiny log cabins to Victorian wash houses and maid's quarters, they are all fascinating to me.
    Okay, I am rambling. Back to the gist of today's pondering. Now, having scaled my idea of a commune back a notch or two, with the knowledge that I will not likely ever own a large tract of land, I look at my own property. True, it is just under half an acre. But a hell of a lot can be done on half an acre. The spot I have chosen for the new micro house is by the apple trees. It is a clear, level stretch of ground that is not really in use for anything but shady lawn and a place to hang my hammock in the summer. It is the same area I will build my brick bread and pizza oven this summer. A guest house, or my own retreat. I have thought it could be my own home while I let someone else rent my house, or a place for a kindred spirit to share a Fried Green Tomatoes friendship.
     With a bit more living space, a bit less clutter, and a lot more specific use of land for planting, I am slowly progressing towards my own commune. Start small and build. Add more grape vines, fruit trees, berries, a small wind turbine, a greenhouse, and potting shed.
    I may remain single the rest of my days, if I so choose. But I will make my home my safe haven.