Monday, September 22, 2008

The Feeling Begins

I wander out into the yard and find as many loose pieces of nature left behind in the winds of the last few days, dropped from drooping in the heat. As the housecleaners clean the place where I am retreating, I find nature's inconsolable messes and wrap them up into some kind of orderly but organic form. This helps me to re-enter my novel, a place where feeling is already in action when I arrive, and I need to be able to just drop on in.

Last week's assignment: what would an older you say to you now, or what would you say to a younger you?

Let nature teach you. Others have always said that a hike in nature centers them, and as much as you have suspected the same might be true for you, you have never leaned on nature, never trusted its messes to show you order, through allowing you to let go. Look out over the fallen leaves of the locust tree and watch as the gradiation from green to gold winds its way out to the river. What more order do you need than this?

Relax more than you work and the work will go better. When there is work to do, do something pleasureable first. This isn't indulgence, it's intelligence. You tell your students this ALL THE TIME - now practice what you practically preach.

Don't forget to do Artist Dates and write down your dreams. All the violence that came to me in my sleep last night need not be interpreted, but should be witnessed for what it is. Slow down, dreams often say, before your mind is awake enough to listen. Don't work your life away.

Do whatever little art projects make you happy. Sew cards. Make cut paper stop animation films. Play with nature. All of these are not distractions but ways to feed your art. A novel will write itself if you let it. Too much time with the same things to say and you'll never get it done, getting in your own way all the time.

Let the cats and love of your life show you the way. Snuggle a lot, with them and yourself.

There's not much one can say to the self of yesterday. But there's a lot to be learned for the yesterday self of today. Here is the way. Open the window and begin.


  1. wow......... i wish i could tattoo this on my brain somehow... really believe it......

    "Too much time with the same things to say and you'll never get it done, getting in your own way all the time."

    yes. yes. yes. the story of my life. the epitaph of too many of my days.

    dear friend and teacher... thank you again... again and again you are such a blessing to me... words seem too dramatic and flowery for the gratitude i have for you... but thank you.

  2. thanks, babe! retreat went well, btw. more soon...