Today I held two sparkly, handmade tree ornaments in my hand thinking that one day, many years from now, I’ll be unwrapping them from a box to place back on the tree, like I do every year, and a teenage Oliver may be sitting on the couch reading a book, not wanting anything to do with decorating the tree.
Teenage Chloe might help me but she’ll be as tall as me and will gaze at her own handmade ornament and wonder when it was that she made this. I’ll remember. I’ll look back to little 6 year old Chloe, up to my waist with lovely bobbed hair, brimming smile and eager creativity wanting to decorate the tree. I’ll close my eyes after I stare at my grown girl and remember the smell of her hair, the smallness of her hands and her constantly wrinkled, wet thumb that she use to suck. I’ll tell her the date when she made the ornament and she’ll just shrug and say, “Oh. Cool.” then put it up on the tree. She won’t close her eyes and see or smell back into those memories and years. She won’t remember how sweet and small she was or see how anxious and giddy she use to get around Christmas time. She’ll just see the tree in front of her and some old ornament that I told her she made and she’ll hang it on the tree.
But I will watch her hang it and stare at her lovely, growing face, her carmel colored hair and I’ll watch her young lady hands put the ornament on the tree and I’ll wonder, “Where did all the days go?”.
Last weekend I was a vendor for the first time in my life at the Tacoma Is For Lovers craft fair. I was selling my originally designed earrings and I even designed my display table complete with spray painted twigs to hang the earrings on. I decided to participate mainly because I wanted to try something new and to do something that I was a bit intimidated to do, sell my craft. What I learned was more than I bargained for.
I was originally thinking, “I’ll go and maybe sell ALL of my stuff and pocket the earnings and live a life of self inflated ego trips like the rest of my crafty sisters. Or maybe I’ll just sell half of my 50 plus pairs and, in the end, never do it again but enjoy the experience of it all. What really happened was that some people bought, most didn’t. I sold some stuff and met some great people but really, I had a pretty quiet two days.
I’ve been writing for years now as well as showing my photographs and a lot of what I write and shoot gets a great response from people who read or see my work, so I’ve felt fairly comfortable and encouraged with my artistic expression. But when people don’t want your art it takes a huge hit on your ego and you MUST maintain the right self talk or it totally deflates you. I had to conclude that my jewelry wasn’t for everyone and my display was pretty rustic compared to some of the more pro crafters. Also, I’m not good at marketing myself, I tend to feel like a used car salesman when people pass by and I have to comment on their scarves or sweaters in order to get them to look at my work. “Oh, I love that sweater. Where did you get it? Really? Well what do you think of this color to go with that beautiful sweater?” It feels phony. But “phony” sold one women a whack load of jewelry.
I kept imagining how other artists must feel when they throw themselves out there. Crafting is definitely art. There were some amazing creations at the event! But people who put out a project whether it’s their music, an album, a movie, a painting, a book…whatever it is, if people don’t want it, even if you think it’s the best you’ve ever done, you have to wrestle through what it does to your emotions and you have to make a decision: “Am I done trying to create or shall I continue to make more art?”
I love what Glen Hansard says after he won the Oscar for the movie Once. If you’ve ever seen The Commitments you know he had a small and slow start to his music which began a long, long time ago. On the stage at the Oscars he ends his speech with simply saying, “Make art! Make art!” So tonight I went back to the drawing board, literally. I grabbed a photo that I took of my daughter dancing in the living room and it’s such a lovely shot of her that I drew it. I even hung it on the wall. I’m even thinking of doing another craft fair in February but this time I think I’ll skip the spray painted twigs and I’ll put a little more effort into my own art.
Very inspiring. Happy Thanksgiving, readers. Make art!
Why haven’t I written in a while? I have a few good excuses and a few lame ones. Lack of inspiration? Not really. Lack of material? Not at all! Having little kids in your home and living in an urban setting? Unusual stories and great material abound. Laziness? Perhaps. Busyness? Definitely. Self induced busyness? Absolutely!
This has been my year of realizing that I keep myself busy with stuff that needs to get done but I’m not at all making time for the things that I actually enjoy doing. Ask anyone….there’s NEVER enough time! Right? If only we had just a few more hours in the day to get done what we really want to do. I’m a firm believer that if we had a few more hours we would all die of heart attacks by 26 and also, we’d still never make time for real living.
I’ve been reading a lot of Wendell Berry lately and I appreciate his approach to modernity and his commitment to living a slow and enjoyable life. From what I’ve read he doesn’t own a computer and types all of his poetry and manuscripts on an old-school typewriter, when he’s not using a pen a paper. A what? Pen and…what? He doesn’t really email and he’s likely not on friggin’ Facebook. He moved away from NY and left a potentially successful career as a writer to move back to KY and work on his farm with his wife; to work the land and write. Not for everyone, sure, but man! Doesn’t it just sound dreamy? It does to me.
So I’m realizing that I’ve let myself get busy with so much ‘stuff’ over this past year and it’s left a bit of a hole inside. You’ll always find ways to fill your time but you really have to MAKE time for the things that you want to do.
One of my oldest and dearest friends gave me a pretty substantial gift card for my birthday in February and this past week….wait for it….I finally spent it! Well, most of it. It was a whack load of a gift card for World Market, yo! I bought myself stuff I never do; Caviar, sparkling white wine, pumpernickel bread (besides the Germans, who buys that stuff?).
The kids ran amuck and kept asking for things like the blow up shark or the metal kazoo but I was determined to just get stuff for me. Then I came home today to find my husband dipping into my stash and I had to pinch him by the ear.
But two nights ago, after taking home my booty from World Market, Matt and I busted out the color-embellished caviar that was supposed to look like black fish eggs and we rocked the night away. Cheers to living the high life, on a sweet gift card. BAM!
Anne Lamott in Tacoma
A little disclaimer: I did not spend the night with this woman, not really. I didn’t even say much to her. Apart from shaking her hand, asking to get a photo with her and telling her that I’d let her get back to sifting through her Q and A cards, I didn’t really spend one on one time with this woman….at all.
She was in town lecturing at our church FOR FREE so I just had to go. I’ve been reading her books for years and simply adore her candid, humorous writing style. Her lecture was superb as she spoke about writing, faith in God, raising a son and her woes through the Bush administration. I rushed home and wrote down some of her anecdotes so I wouldn’t forget them. Then I posted the picture taken with her and I on the almighty Facebook and I called it a night. Quite a night!
There was a Q and A time and I couldn’t think of one thing to ask her on my piece of paper. All I really wanted to do was take her home with me and have her as my surrogate mother. Instead I got to put my arm around her like a silly fan and walk away totally forgotten in the abyss of other silly fans. She’s really soft and fluffy though, and delightful to listen to. Twas a stellar night indeed.
Courtesy of flickr
Today Matt and I were listening to NPR while making breakfast. There is so much chatter devoted to the potential R. candidates that I’m on overload. I’ve found some great comic relief lately that keeps me up at night giggling as I think about the absurdity.
Apparently Mitt Romney made $42 million last year, or was it over two years? Either way that is a serious buttload of cash. I told Matt that we should just become Mormon because they pay their missionaries a helluvalot better. Also, in terms of community the Mormons have it down. They create great community ties and the stay at home moms do a lot of cool crafts! Then I decided that I was no more likely to become Mormon than I was to buy a dozen Persian kittens and live in a dark room with all of them. So I decided if it’s community we want in our religion we should just become Amish. Matt’s reply was, “Babe, you’re about five life choices away from becoming Amish as it is”.
Occasionally he drops a comedy bomb that makes me laugh, I’ll admit. And that one was sort of funny. So as Matt sees it I’m:
1. A technophobe- It’s true. I can email and write drafts but when it comes to applications and all of the ‘things’ this computer can do, I curl up into a ball and begin to rock back and forth while holding my knees to my chest. I’d be ok with paper and pencil for the rest of my life.
2. Committed to simple living- Now, I’m not out there washing clothes in the wash tub but I do enjoy a good line dry from time to time.
3. Committed to slow food-Down with animal hormones and what have you!
4. I like to wear hats- This needs no further defining
5. I enjoy a nice long skirt from time to time (I think he was fishing on this one)
I would say my number five would be more that I don’t really like to have my photo taken. I do think I could do the Amish gig for a while. And if the “fit hits the shan” they are likely going to be the most prepared of all of us.
We’ve been experiencing this crazy ice storm out here in the PNW and due to the fact that our city doesn’t invest into ploughs or salt (that due to the fact that this freak-weather only happens once every 15 years or so) we’ve been hulled up in our home for three days now. Yesterday was mental! Not only was I going crazy because my son was bouncing off the walls with cabin fever, but there was really nowhere to go. Everything was closed. If you were brave enough to walk about you risked a twisted limb or getting impaled by falling icicles.
Now that it’s warmer and beginning to thaw all you hear outside is the cracking of breaking branches under the weight of all that ice and the slide and crunch of sheets of ice skidding off the roofs. Happy ice storm of 2012.