One Of Those Days

joydiary13.page20and21.2018It should have been easy.  One phone call would have sorted it in less than sixty seconds.

I waited.  No phone call.  And then, a mess which is now getting sorted and settled.

It fascinates me how something small and simple, when it does not happen, can really muck up what follows.

I had other plans for today, which mainly consisted of sitting on the beach and writing.  Sadly, instead of the beach, ocean, and sun as my environment, I am in my studio, waiting for phone calls and a delivery company.  Do I sound upset?  Uh huh.  However, I am using this time and the dregs of my frustration wisely, and writing a blog post.

The point is, it’s one of those days where some things go sideways.  I could get angry, and I did.  What I didn’t do is stay angry.  I used to make that choice when my day went mucky.  I would stomp around, snapping and biting and letting myself be angry for the whole day.

I rarely make that choice any more.  When I do, it’s for an hour or two, not a day-full.  My heart has become bigger, and as a result the rest of me has become wiser.  The bigger my heart, the more I see in the world.  The more I see, the easier it is to let go of my old patterns and make a different choice.

What I see right now is me sitting in a studio space I love and which loves me right back.  Out of the windows I see sunlight, blossoming trees, perfect blue sky.  The air smells of pollen and Spring.  I hear silence, then birdsong, then silence again.  Waffles the cat, whose fur and eyes are vividly orange, wanders by, doing her routine check of where-everyone-and-everything-are in the house.  When she is done, she’ll go for a nap in the puddle of sunlight on the dining room floor.

I am reminded with everything my senses know in this moment, life is good.

I have choice—feel good or feel angry.  I choose to feel good.  The sideways mess will sort itself upright again.  I know it.

The Sketchbook Project – The Joy Diary

joydiary01.frontcover.2018.blogMy little sketchbook, ‘The Joy Diary’, is complete.  Tomorrow I mail it back to the Brooklyn Art Library, where it will become a permanent part of The Sketchbook Project collection for 2018.

As an unexpected result of doing this project, I learned something new about my creative identity.

When I started the sketchbook, I thought of it the way I think of a body of work for an art show.  In an art show, I choose a theme that becomes a starting point, and each drawing becomes a singular point of view related to that theme.

As I worked on the third drawing in the sketchbook, I realized my concept and understanding was shifting.  This was not an art show with 21 themed-but-separate drawings.  Instead, this was one long drawing that moved from page to page.  I was seeing the drawings as sequential, telling a story.

I was seeing my sketchbook as a book.

In a single realization, I shifted from an artist using words in her drawings, to a writer using images and words on an equal footing.  I shifted myself and my creative process from ‘either/or’ to ‘and/also’.

joydiary05.page4and5.2018For years I said I was both artist and writer, but I saw these identities as separate and distinct, two hats that I exchanged and wore one at a time.  In the process of creating this sketchbook, artist and writer merged.  I shifted into one identity wearing one hat.

I have been heading this direction for most of my art career.  There are words on my drawings as far back as 2003.  Funny how I did not consciously see this coming, yet when I look back, the progression is obvious.

So what am I now?  How do I call myself both artist and writer, giving my images and words equal footing, without having to use a phrase four words long?

I’m not a graphic novelist, although I can see this one coming next, in the way the third draft of my book is currently forming itself.  This next shift will not be a surprise.

For now I continue to call myself both artist and writer.  The word ‘both’ is important, making image and word an equal part of who I am and what I create.  I am okay with that.  More than okay.  This shift in seeing myself and my work gives me both clarity and joy.

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In this post:

The Sketchbook Project, Brooklyn Art Library, https://www.sketchbookproject.com/

See my entire sketchbook in page order on my art site at https://walkingowlstudio.ca/  Click on ‘Gallery’, and then click on ‘The Sketchbook Project – The Joy Diary’.

Writing Like Breathing

rainbow.flowers 017There are times when I write, and it feels like breathing.  This is one of them.

Like breath.  Essential, easy, effortless.  A flow that is so simple and natural I have no conscious awareness of activity and my involvement in it.  No awareness of time or place passing.

In these moments, I am.  It is that simple.  Two words, I am.  I feel no boundary between me and all around me.  I am.  We are.

This is pure pleasure, when writing is like breathing.  Writing for the pleasure of hearing thoughts pass through, for the pleasure of feeling my hand roll and loop and form words on a page.  Writing because here in this moment all is perfect.

When writing is like breathing, all is whole.  Nowhere is anything broken or chipped away.  I feel settled, at peace in mind and body, content in heart and spirit.

When writing is like breathing, I am blessed.  Writing this way, when it happens, is pure gift.  I am my truest self.  A feeling through every cell in my body, I am.  I am love, I am joy, I am breath.

When writing is like breathing, I am my river voice, flow and music.  I am life writing life.

I am.