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There’s a strange thing that happens to me at church. One minute, I’ll be paying rapt attention (mind you, this usually only lasts for one minute), and the next I’m feeling an overwhelming desire to make something. Usually it’s stained glass (there’s not much mystery in that – my church is a hundred year old brick building with simple but beautiful stained glass – muted yellows which filter the morning sun). I just want to do it, make it, be around it, consume it. I get fidgety. I have a hard time sitting still. Ideas come, right after another, fleeting, unhindered but undeveloped. They don’t come out of me, but through me, like a sudden gust of wind through a barely opened door. I don’t usually have a pen and paper to write them down – I don’t usually think of writing them. I can’t imagine ever forgetting them, or ever losing that desire, the hunger, the thirst to create.

By the time the sermon’s over, and the music has stopped, and the greetings and smilings and windy mountain roads have passed…the feeling, too, is gone. “I turned to look, but it was gone, I cannot put my finger on it now, the child has grown, the dream is gone”*. The rest of the day is usually filled with the requisite chores and errands, visits with family, the occasional blessed hike out in the forest. All good things; valuable, necessary things. But it’s not the same as that high that I felt before.

I think one of my major difficulties in finding a rhythm and a balance to my life is this…happening. It is not only in church when it occurs – sometimes all it takes is a beautiful Victorian house (there are a lot in our new neighborhood – original leaded glass and everything), or a mesmerizing photo, or a line of words woven together so perfectly and seamlessly that you would think the entire line was one word that could describe everything. Then it comes, the inspiration, the rushing in my ears, the wanting to runrunrun. The hunger – is an apt description, as I want to not only create “it”, but want to also consume it, devour it, become one with it. This beauty. What stops me?

Well, I don’t know where to run. I don’t know what to do. The ideas are so unformed, and to form them would take time, and discipline, and effort – it would take the ability to slow down the rushing sound in my ears and my beating heart and the nearly painful desire long enough to listen. Long enough to hear, instead of a cacophony of noise a melody, a single uniform concept. I don’t have this ability, or rather, I’ve never take the time to hone it. Inspiration is a high, but a painful one when you have no idea in mind and nothing to busy yourself with. It’s like a caffeine buzz in the middle of a slow and boring lecture – you yearn to jump up, out of your skin – “I’ve got wide, staring eyes, I’ve got a strong urge to FLY!  ….but I’ve got nowhere to fly to”*

So you see, it’s so much easier – to watch TV and check up on facebook, play mindless games and wander aimlessly about the house. Dull the senses, mute the noise, until it’s nothing but an uncomfortable buzzing in your ears.

Well. No more. I’ve got a strong urge to fly now, and I’m gonna figure out where I’m going.

 

 

*quotes by Pink Floyd from the epic “The Wall”.

PS: My art blog: http://lizardartworks.wordpress.com

PPS: My professional photography blog: http://juniperspringphotography.wordpress.com

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New Now

getting up slow but i’m leapin the last bit
i was young in the morning, now i’m creaking with age
everyone’s got their problems, got their own shit
mine’s the brains of a child and the worries of a sage

when i’m feelin down, no i don’t get down some
i get down all the way through the earth
i taste the soil and remember where i come from
let the dirt that i was then determine my worth

when i’m up i sing praise hallelluiah
and i raise up my hands to the sky
i remember then the times that i knew Ya
and the way that your presence made me high

every day, every day is a struggle to be new now
every day to be raised up with the Son
learn to live like i’m alive but i don’t know how
to be fighting keep on fighting til the dawn

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…And so, the countdown which has already begun previously, now really begins.

 

So far, the month of October has completely evaded me. The knowledge, the experience of October. Which is a shame, because it is one of my favorite months – the beginning of the season of fog. I swore to myself that this year, I would in fact carve a pumpkin. I would put up leafy wreaths, and clean up the front porch (which may seem like two completely unrelated tasks, but they’re not). Little did I know, that this October I would shoot 4 weddings, quit my day job, all whilst preparing for my own wedding in just 3. short. weeks.

There is time for pumpkin carving in my day, but there is no room for it in my mind. And so October passes. The rains come, the roads slick with the grease of summer, the fog greets me on my daily run. And all of it passes. So that now it is almost the end of October, and I haven’t yet begun to notice it.

I had a nightmare about getting married this morning. Well, perhaps nightmare is too strong a word. But it was one of those  dreams in which the wedding comes upon me unexpectedly, and nothing is prepared, and I am unprepared, and I am not ready, and I am taken unaware. Like I wake up on the drive to the venue, or even become aware as I am exiting the door with my father, down the wooden steps of the back porch, unto the lawn, towards the aisle, towards my groom. It’s like that scene in fight club where he realizes he’s missing the memory of entire chunks of his life – “Have I been sleeping? Have I slept?”. Everyone has their favorite fight club quote, and that is mine. I say it to myself when I find entire chunks of my memory missing, and I wonder where I’ve been, and why I haven’t been paying attention. When I wake up in that shaky stupor that comes from a particularly stressful dream and tell myself (it was only a dream) and then realize….well, not completely. It wasn’t only “only a dream” but in fact, I am getting married in 3 weeks. No Joke.

I busy myself with the making and completing itemized lists. I busy myself in the nitty gritty of planning. I lose myself in TV. I put off preparing my mind and my heart because I just don’t know how. There is no such thing as being ready. Eventually, people just stop trying and go with the flow. They get tired, they sleep.

Marriage is one of those Big Things that you can not undo. Sure, people get divorces and such if they no longer are able to continue with the marriage – but it will always “have been” regardless. It will always “have changed” you forever. I suppose this is true in some minor way of every decision you make every day. But I often try to keep myself from fretting (I am a fretter. I fret. Keeping myself from it is a full time job I do not take lightly, as that is the only thing that makes living possible) by saying to myself “This is no Big Deal. If you screw this up, you will recover. Life will go on. ” That’s how I made it through school without freaking out about every test, how I made it through work without freaking out about every mistake. Asking myself, “whats the worst that could happen?”. Up until now, the worst has always been relatively insignificant. Liveable. I could get fired (oh well, I can find another job). Or I could get a bad grade (Oh well, you don’t need good grades to be an artist). Even a couple weeks ago, when I was freaking out about my first solo paid wedding photography gig, I kept telling myself  “If the worst happens, and your pictures suck, you will still have the chance to take good pictures in the future. You could redeem yourself. Life would go on. ”

And now for marriage. What do I tell myself about marriage? I am not the sort of person that can picture “life would go on” if anything should go wrong. If Sean and I have chosen poorly, if we don’t have the strength to work through life together. If we change our minds and our hearts. How can someone possibly know now what they will become in 20 years? 30? 40? You can’t, but you promise to stand beside your promises anyway. Your silly, 25-year-old-self promises. What could you possibly know of life at 25 years?

See, I told you I fret. The real reason is, I would rather fret than be caught off guard. I would rather worry now, and think over the worst and best case scenario, so as to minimize surprise in the future. So I won’t wake up one day and think “I didn’t ever think it would be like this” and be caught completely off guard and not know what to do with myself.  Fretting is a security blanket for me. Some may think it unnecessarily pessimistic, but really….I just want to be prepared. Or at least think that I am prepared, when there’s no real way to actually be.

Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly excited. :0)

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The neighbor’s cat has the most plaintive, complaining, absurdly loud meow I have ever heard in my entire life. It quite literally sounds like a human, clearly pronouncing the word “meow” in their most annoying impression of a cat. The cat gets out, sometimes at night, and will come back in the morning meowing its furry little head off. It’s meow echos off of the closely spaced doors and windows of my little apartment complex. Those who are light sleepers and do not own a costco-sized box of earplugs are suddenly lying awake hours before they need to work, silently growling at the ceiling and plotting deadly revenge upon the cat. At least I assume they do. I have earplugs, so I usually can’t hear it until I take them out.

Sean like to stagnate his alarms, and tends to set the first one for half an hour to an hour before he actually has to get up. It drives me nuts. I end up more tired from the waking and falling back asleep than I would be if I just stayed awake. So sometimes I just stay awake. Like today, when I slept badly to begin with. Thoughts flitting about in my head, repeatedly playing songs which associate with intense nostalgic visions, followed by sadness and resolution, followed by some sudden realization about some email from some client. That leads to long ponderments on Next Steps for the Business, on how to phrase an email so as to say “no, I will not work for free no matter how ‘fun’ your wedding will be” in a way which is not insulting or rude, on which business paperwork I need done and how I should really read the book about starting a small business that’s been sitting on my desk since the *first* business I wanted to start. Then follows excitement about the prospect of working for myself doing what I love to do, followed by fear that it either won’t work out or I’ll lose interest, followed by thoughts about my current dayjob and the new dayjob I got and when will I find the time to do all three? And why hasn’t the new job emailed me back to confirm my start date? And why is that damned song that my friend, who apparently still cares about me but adamantly refuses to talk to me, wrote, still running and running around in my head until I finally fall asleep thinking about freshman year of college and how exciting everything was.

For some inexplicable reason, all of this leads to an intense dream about Martha Stewart. She lives in a castle, in a tree, and has me, the music-writing-ex-friend, his longtime girlfriend and my mother all over to visit. We sleep in some separate room on beds of various levels covered with various animal skins. The fast second level of her chateau is a giant craft workshop filled with people at long tables making Christmas decorations in July. She invites us to tea and my mother complains that there’s too much cake and she just needs a piece of dry toast or something to wash it all down. She and Martha get into a bit of a stalemate about the proper way to serve desert.

At this point Sean’s first alarm goes and I say vaguely “I’m having a dream about Martha Stewart”. I don’t hear his response because of the earplugs.

And now it’s time to get up for work. Which is just fine, because of the sound of birds and the downright cool air sneaking through the blinds.

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-“lion’s mane” Iron and Wine

People like to stay busy, because it keeps their minds occupied. Makes it easy not to think about…anything of significance. Most days, I go about the same way. I focus on tidying the house, getting to work on time, planning my wedding, working on my business. On occasional restless days I may even pick up a paintbrush and try to produce something profound and beautiful entirely out of my own brain. But every once in a while, even that is not enough. It’s like the emotional and creative energy builds up in my mind if it is unopened for too long, and one day it just bursts forth into being, triggered by some random bit of mental or emotional stimuli – a movie, a note, a song, a cloudy day.

I run about the house like a haphazard tornado, trying, trying, trying but all in vain to do a single meaningful significant thing. I get overwhelmed by pointlessness, meaninglessness, endlessness. I look upon my life as if from above, and I see my day as a pointless scurrying about – like the movements of a rat in a maze. While the previous night  I had been lying awake, planning all the myriad of Very Important Things I had to accomplish the following day, when the day dawns, my mind is blank. What was it I was supposed to do? Was it laundry? Washing the dishes? Answering emails? How could I have possibly thought of these things as important? How had I had such a sense of productive pride upon thinking of completing these tasks?

I then think, perhaps I should paint. That is something I can do. I find a canvas and start to jab at it and am disillusioned before anything even comes to fruition. It’s too small, and too square, and my pent up energy is so intense that I can’t even come up with a single comprehensive idea of what to paint. I need something more concrete – i think.  It’s 95 outside and I’d been feeling sick all day, but I pull on my shoes and grab my purse and amble over to a thrift store to find something more concrete to paint. I feel like flying and running and screaming and crying and painting and doing and jumping and…full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

I come home and start painting the thing I bought, and am momentarily calmed. I ignore the pile of clothes I’m sitting on, and the funny smell coming from the kitchen, and lose myself in the methodical process.

But eventually, even this is not enough. The project is left unfinished on the table. Then I start thinking about my relationship. Is it good? Is it right? Is it every bit as magical as I thought it would be? Suddenly I am convinced that the only thing that will make me feel satisfied in the moment is if Sean would suddenly come home and whisk me off to an unknown place, and unexpected adventure, a new experience. He would say all sorts of beautiful things to me, and would instantly understand my dissatisfaction with life in general. We would run away, and do Amazing Things together.

I try to explain this to him, and he doesn’t understand. My heart is broken. Love is not what I thought it would be. Neither is life. Neither am I. I am wrought with and endless fountain of tears. Nothing will ever be right again. There is nothing new under the sun, and nothing worth doing. “You’re just having one of your things. It’ll be ok in the morning” Sean says.

And of course, it is. The sound and the fury comes and goes with the suddenness of a summer storm. Leaving me surprised and confused and ashamed for causing such a fuss over goodness knows what. My beloved is still by my side, and there is work to be done and dishes to be washed. Life goes on, and I can no longer remember why it suddenly felt so terrible the day before.

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there are no words for this kind of thirst.

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just as soon as the storm is over
we’ll be running for them hills
we’ll be living out the dailys
we’ll be doing what we will.

rolled about like wind in ashes
feeling frailer than the mist
i’d be dancing, hands a-clapping
once you’re finished with those fists

ive been worn down, smoothed and shaken
by the rolling, endless tide
next time i can get my breath in
i’ll still say i’m on your side

just as soon as the storm is over
just as soon as the thunder’s passed
i will love you in the quiet
just as long as it may last.

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