What do I want to do today?

Coyote Calls to the Protectors-detailIt’s the end of July, the middle of summer. This is how I feel when I write this. Momentarily sad.

It is how I felt as a kid every year in the middle of summer holidays. Then I would plunge into August, and forget. I’d go back to waking every morning, hear the crow family having breakfast, hear the songbird I had never seen. Feel the warm air fall through my open window and across my face. And then my first thought, always–what do I want to do today?

Anticipation. Excitement. Pure pleasure.  What I was really asking?  What do I love today.

There is luxury in waking like this, in love, knowing I have the whole day to play. No demands. No have-to’s.

I am doing this today. A gift to myself, to be in love and play, all day.

I want to write. That’s a given. Haven’t done any writing for the better part of a week and my mind is itching to go.

What else? Sit on the back deck in the shade under the grapevines. Let Edgar the Cat drape himself across my legs. He can nap. I’ll daydream and not do anything else at all. Just be here. Just be.

Maybe, after that, I’ll get one of my puzzle books from my studio and my blue-purple-green-pink pen. Return to my lounge chair in the shade, do crosswords and logic puzzles. More word play. I love it.

I’ll wander inside to make lunch. Sesame bagel and cream cheese and Tuscany ham. Green olives fished from the jar. Cool water from the tap. Oreo cookies, the originals. Each one carefully pulled apart and eaten in layer order. Summer lunch. Satisfying to the stomach and the soul.

What else do I want to do today?

Read. All afternoon. The book recommended by a friend and borrowed from the library. Austin Kleon’s book Show Your Work. Small book. A gem. Read the obituaries, he says. They’re about life and risk and creating a heart’s desire.

Then, begin rereading Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird. This is my fourth reading. My fifth? I’ve forgotten. Parts of Anne’s book live inside me now. There is a reason people talk of devouring a book, of being a voracious reader. That’s me. My body is words from the books I love.

Dinner now. Easy. Rice and sweet-and-sour pork leftover from last night. A two-night dinner, I call it.

Finally, a game with my husband and son. Klondike, or a few rounds of Sorry, or Scrabble (more words). We played Scrabble last night. A close game all the way, the best kind of game. Long and short words, all over the board. Corner to corner. We make up our own rules, and they change each time we play.

This is my day, in the middle of summer, the end of July. A day to play, to please myself. A gift. No demands. No have-to’s.

I wish you such days in your life, such gifts. What do you want to do today?

Enjoy.

______________________

Mentioned in this post:

Austin Kleon, book Show Your Work: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered, Workman Publishing Co., 2014   http://austinkleon.com

Anne Lamott, book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1995   www.salon.com/writer/anne_lamott

 

One hundred and four magic crayons

banfftable.1.blogI’m writing outside today, sitting on the beach.  Wednesday. Sun and wind. The ocean waves have whitecaps on them, and the seagulls are flying cartwheels. Everything right now is shades of blue, white, grey. Ocean. Sky. Birds. The mountains across the strait.

I love colour. It is what I notice first in anything I see. Maybe this is why my favourite birthday or Christmas or anytime gift is a new box of crayons and a colouring book. This has been my favourite gift since I was old enough to grasp and move a crayon across the page.

Right now I have a Hello Kitty colouring book with a red cover, and a pack of 24 Crayola crayons. The points on the crayons are all rubbed down, except for black and white. I have used each of those exactly three times. The rest of the colours are well-loved. When I use them I have to peel off some of their paper covering, a thin strip round and round until enough of the crayon is exposed. I don’t like having the wrapper rub and shred on the page of my colouring book. It feels gritty and rough. It interrupts my crayon-colouring-book reverie.

The purple-pink-cerise and the blue-cerulean crayons, my favourites this week, are broken. Sad accidents, each time. Pressing too hard against the page, trying to make the colour completely solid.

I am always sad when I break a crayon. The funny thing about this–I am exactly the opposite with my pastels. When I pick up a new pastel, the first thing I do is break it in half and pull off its wrapper. I remember someone gasping out loud as I did this during an art show demo.banfftable.4detail

I have never done this with my crayons. I like them whole.

I love my crayons and I love the possibilities in my colouring book. Black lines on white paper waiting for me to give them life. Rainbow on the page with at least a hundred more than six colours by the time I have finished blending and mixing and layering.

I remember in August each year, in my brand new school supplies, there was a cardboard box of twelve Sargent hexagon crayons. I loved my Sargent crayons. It was the smell of them as I opened the box, and the shape of them in my hand. I remember one of my girlfriends did not like her Sargent crayons. The edges felt sharp against her hand and left lines pressed into the skin of her fingers.

That never bothered me. I loved my Sargent crayons because they were faithful. I never worried about them. I could put them down anywhere on my desk, and they never rolled off and broke on the linoleum floor. They stayed where I left them as I went from one colour to another. Each would be waiting when I put my hand out to pick it up again.

This was necessary, this faithfulness. By the time my colouring was done, I had all twelve crayons out of their box and scattered over my desk top. I used all my colours on every drawing I made.

Continue reading “One hundred and four magic crayons”

Buried Treasure

laidtoresteast.skullI’m in the library.  It’s cooler here than outside.  We had a heat wave last week.  It is done and gone, but cooler is still feeling better to me.

I am sitting by the windows, writing, a table for four all to myself.  Sketch book and loose leaf papers and BIC 4-colour pen and ipod spread out before me.  It is quiet at this end, away from the entrance and check-out desk and dvd section.  I’m deep in the 900’s stacks.  Biographies.  Katharine Hepburn looks out at me from a cover.  A namesake and one of my heroes, she is.

In the library I am no hero.  I am a pirate.  I’m here for treasure.

There is treasure everywhere in the library, so I’m always a very successful pirate on my voyages through this word and idea space.

Today I am searching for no particular treasure.  No.  Today I am on the lookout for buried treasure, unearthed by hands other than mine.

The book sticking out one inch beyond its neighbours on the shelf.  Someone thumbs through it.  No, not for me, they say, replace it carelessly, walk away.  I come by later and there it is, mine.  Just what I was looking for, although I did not know it until now.  I drop it into my sack.

And here is another.  Left lying on top of other books.  Like my first find, looked at, discarded.  Left for me to come along the shelves and recognize its possibility in my life at this moment.  A second piece of treasure into my sack.

I am a rich pirate today.  Double treasure to take home and play with.  Try out the words and ideas and story for their fit.  Ooo, I do like this first one.  It’s all me and beyond.  Hmmm.  This second one, not so much.  Doesn’t fit me and my life as comfortably, but there is an interesting idea and turn of phrase, the way the writer links her words that I write into my sketch book for thinking on later.

There is learning in both my treasures today.  The one that fits me well and sparkles brightly.  The other that does not, yet offers me a pebble for polishing and playing with, turning it in the light and finding its brightest face.

I love being a pirate in the library.  Gathering treasure unearthed by others gives me a different point of view.  I would never have gone looking for these books on my own.  They weren’t in my usual pattern of interests and thinking.  Yet here they are crossing my path and, because of that, worth a look.

I have long practice at this joyful plundering.  Sailing the library stacks and then turning for home, my sack full of treasure, my heart full of pleasure and anticipation, delight and surprise at what I have found today.

Happy Birthday, Baby Crow!

keepingmydemonsatbayIt is 4:38 a.m.  The sky is daylight, enough to see by.  Our resident crow family is awake.  Baby Crow is singing.  Feed me, mama.  His needs and wants begin at daybreak.  I hear him all day.  He is big enough to feed himself, but he loves the attention that mom and dad and older sibling offer.  Connection.  Care.

Today, and every day, I am Baby Crow.  Feed me, I call to Source.  Words.  Ideas.  My writer’s heart is hungry.

I am always wanting to make something.  The creative heart that is me is always eager, excited, anticipating.  ‘’Yes!’’ is her answer to the ideas and the words that Source offers.

It is more than want.  It is the need to create, each day bring something new into being.  Feel energy and promise.  Feel idea that whispers ‘’I am love, let me play.  Let me be born.  I choose you, I choose your creative heart to receive and cradle me, give me form, give me beauty, and let me fly.’’

This is creation energy meeting and matching the energy in my heart.  This is potential felt, accepted and loved, formed through attention and grace to become alive here in this world.

You might say I am writing this.  I am the artist, writer, creator.  True.  But I do this in always-partnership with Source who is also Artist, Writer, Creator.  We meet and match each other, and spark life.

This is my gift on this day.  To hear Source whisper to me, ‘’Let’s play.  I choose you.’’  And my creative heart shouts back, ‘’Yes!’’  A gift to me.  A gift to you who reads this, and feels the words and the love that moves within them.

Happy Birthday, Baby Crow!  Let’s play!

Knowing

laid to rest east detailI am six years old.  I know I am a writer and an artist.  I know I am a creator.  I translate the world into image and word.  It makes me happy, gives me joy.  I am in love with writing, drawing, the world, me.

I don’t choose it.  I just do it.  I look at the beauty of the world.  I feel it.  I write it.  I draw it.  Whatever comes to me goes onto the paper.

This is play.  Easy, fun, exciting.  New all the time.

I know who I am, my true heart.

Fifty years later.  Here.  Now.  Who am I?

I am Cat, recreating herself in her true image.

Shedding old patterns.  Shedding all the things other people told me I was and was not.  Shaking off what no longer helps me on my path.  Refusing to accept what I know is not true for me.cathy.img447 Dec 66

I am moving back in, this place, this heart, true to myself.  True to the six year old who knew without doubt.

Draw.  Write.  Play.  Love.