Can’t Arrive Because
January 23, 2009
Can’t arrive because I don’t know where I’m going and I don’t even know how to get there.
I was about to throw in the towel this morning. I’m not sure on what, but, I was gonna say- that’s it! I’m done! Done with dreaming? Done with hoping? Done with what!?
Remember Emily Dickinson’s line, which I came across again today: “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul”? So hope hangs out, and looks forward to taking flight.
I have two monsters that need taming- no, not my little boys (who I’ve just sent back to school after over a week of being sick and hanging around the house!). No, the monsters to be tamed are inside of me:
1.) my intense interest in two mediums (writing, art) and the seeming innumerable ways those interests can be pursued and
2.) my lack of attention span, my distractability, my flights of fancy…. I just can’t get one good thing done!
I open a design magazine (Domino) and I start to look around my house and plotting ways to liven things up, take it out of the doldrums. I start thinking about spending hours down that path. (At least I finally hung two doors in the kitchen that I re-painted over a year ago!) I go into my studio to clean it up because I want to teach an art class there, and I see all my supplies, and I think- Oh! I have this idea that I can run with! And even with visual art- will I paint? draw? If I paint, will I do watercolor or oil? And what will I paint? (Don’t even get me started on the fact that this line of thought assumes that I already decided to go 2-D instead of 3-dimensional, instead of sound art, instead of performance art, instead of installation art, instead of…) And…. why don’t I just write a poem instead. But wait! I’ve always thought that a children’s book would be a perfect blend of art & writing & my deep interest in the minds of children. And hey- how about that idea I’ve been nursing for a while? Where is the text for that project? Then I return to my house, and I think- oh yeah, I need to make something to hang by my front door! And I hate those curtains, what was I thinking? (Guess what, I am also struggling over the look of my website. I can’t get it to *look* the way I want it to look. I am no programmer, and I can’t get that sleek/arty/lively/quirky/subtle/professional/warm look that I want. And it bugs me. I wish I didn’t care how it looked, and I could just write. But I care, and it’s bugging the heck out of me, so much that I think about it when I am in the shower!) (That and, I am out of conditioner, and when am I gonna get more?)
I’ve got a problem.
I really want to do something with the craziness in my head, make something, and what?
I wish I could look at the work of others, and just be inspired, but I constantly see how other people manage to create something wonderful, and instead of just saying Wow and continuing on my way, I slunk down in my chair and feel like I’m a failure because I haven’t done it yet. Especially if I look at the creator/artists and they 1.) are women 2.) have kids and Gasp! 3.) they are younger than me. That really does it. Really says to me, you blew it. I got my B.F.A. when I was 20 years old, thinking I was on the fast track to somewhere, when really, I was on the fast track because I was on a track, and ever since it’s been up to me to figure out what’s next on the track, I don’t know what to do.
(oh and, in the last 14 years, I also gave birth to and have been raising 2 children, dealt with postpartum depression, served three years as a minister along with my husband, and worked with teens in San Francisco’s many neighborhoods. Not in that order.)
But I don’t want to stay stuck here!
I am blogging my way out of this.
When I went to the bookstore this morning (after dropping kids, after a chai latte and staring out over the expanse of Contra Costa Valley, after saying a prayer & reading some scripture), I came across some things that made me happy. I will post them, as well as some links to things inspiring me lately, as well as pics of my (now) healthy children.
p.s. My mom and I have quoted Emily Dickinson’s “I’m a nobody” poem to each other over the years, almost always when we hit on our funny bone by our own insignificance.