Friday, April 14, 2006

Dancing Under the Disco Ball

Around 2:00 am this morning I had a strong urge, compelling even to get up out of bed and write on my thoughts spurred by stimuli that I experienced yesterday...three of which can be neatly identified: 1) Deborah's April 12th entry and 2) the exhibit catalog of Uncle Tom to Peeping Tom: Race and Gender Matters that I received from Sonji and 3) specific critique questions on a work in progress that I want to pose to the Carnegie Art Quilt Network group that meets tomorrow.  But I didn't get up...instead, fought the urge thinking if I did I would be up all night without any sleep at all and since I had a 10:00am appointment this morning (which was rescheduled) I needed to try to fall asleep.  I comforted my resistence by saying that the drive was so strong that surely I would remember when I awoke and be able to bring even more clarity to my thoughts.  I was wrong and I knew I would be.  So this post is an attempt to try and recapture my thoughts as passionately as they came to me at 2:00 am.

I don't keep written journals anymore but absolutely love blogging and the blog world in general.  About 8 years ago I destroyed all my journals that had started back in my late teens through my early thirties.  I mostly wrote self-serving ANGST in my journals and used them for "dumping" aspects of my emotions that seemed most foreign and alien to me so that I could go on and be the me that I wanted to be.  During an ANGST free period I decided it would be fun to go back and review my journals.  After about 3-4 journals of not recognizing myself on paper, the thought hit me that what if I had died and my children would have found these and be left with the impression that this was somehow my more true self!  How awful and wrong that would have been!  There is always that assumption that what we find in someone's journal is somehow more of their truer, deeper self and that, in my belief, can be erroneous. So I happily destroyed them.

When I was actively writing poetry, I never used journals...poetry writing was for me an arduous, pain-staking labor of spirit and no journal could have contained the process.  Poetry writing involved the work of interviewing people, looking at geographical locations and places, doing research on the evolution of ideas, critique circles, etc. and coming back full circle to a point of emotion, idea, and image on paper, let alone the editing and re-editing that occurs.  My attempt to use a journal for this process was too confining. 

Seamless Skin allows me breathing space to just talk about "supporting evidences" of my life in general and my "emergence" as someone who wants to make art quilts.  I intentionally leave my episodic conflicts of distraction off of Seamless Skin because they just don't serve the intent of this space.  Conflict for me has its own magic that reveals to me I've survived it by living through it, and I'm moving forward, not forgetting it, but just moving on.  So I was very reluctant to share my problems with my health and insurance a few posts-ago but decided to because I felt it was important in that instance to say this is happening to a real life person and to provide evidence that serves as a statement, testimonial if you will, about healthcare in what is supposedly and widely held assumption that the U.S. is the leading country of the world.  To do so, helped me fight against how the situation was making me feel unworthy and hopeless and thus it became comfortable to place here. I am not reluctant to talk or discuss any circumstance or issue but I am more conscious of what I commit to print as being reflective of who I am and my daily, typical me.

One last pondering I wanted to express was the thought of how at a disadvantage I felt trying to develop art quilts due to my lacking of familiarity with design terms and concepts and visual art in general.  I've worked at trying to become more comforable with this new body of knowledge but then I wondered if I'm feeling stiffled due to making the creative process too cerebral or cognitive about it all and have surpressed the emotion and excitement that gets me going and creating. (??????????)  I know I've been told that understanding design is only a tool, no different, perhaps than the rotary cutters and rulers we use.  No tool should get to define the space solely making it devoid of human emotion and spirit! That hit me this morning and it was like dancing under the disco ball.  So now, I just can't wait to attend the Carnegie meeting tomorrow and talk about this work in progress and get all that raw honest critique about it.

oh, btw, medication arrived yesterday and my woes have subsided for now. but it took some tenacious self-advocacy on my part.  Peace.


  1. Whew! Glad the meds arrived. Good luck with the critique. I have never had any formal art training and I always feel initimidated with those who have, but I also try to soak up as much as I can!!

  2. I read your post earlier and have been thinking about it. The journal problem is one that I have; I am so reluctant to destroy them, but have long felt it necessary.
    Glad to hear that the med situation has been resolved, but what a shame so much stress (and time) is involved in getting what you need.

  3. I'm glad to hear the meds arrived.
    I'm glad to know I can destroy angst filled journals. (freedom!)
    I'm glad you realize that design principles, while they can be difined and sometimes taught, are by nature intuitive and from your work I've seen you have a superior grasp of each one.
    I think it is all to often the naturally gifted (YOU)worry and therefore their art continues to grow magnificently.
    I've seen it enough times that I know it to be true.

  4. I destroyed many of my journals for the specific reasons you mentioned. They weren't representative of me but simply what didn't "fit" at any given point in my life. And there's no way I'd want them speaking for or about me to my kid after I'm crossed-over.
    Nowadays I keep written journals again, but they're very different than they used to be. I also keep special books with very beautiful covers that serve as my toxic waste dumps. Once I've filled one, I burn it.
    As a professional writer, who also *needs* to write the way we all need to breathe air, I am acutely aware of words' failure as well as their power. It's often a great relief to work with the languages of color and form instead. I find the challenge factor to be about equal, although inherently different in nature.

  5. I'm so glad your meds arrived, and hope you are more comfortable.
    I, too, lack formal art training, and often feel stymied by design "rules". Most fiber art that moves me these days is fairly simple with a big sense of "play", which I would like to capture soon.
    What can also be intimidating is the language of the art world. It's fascinating at best, and pretentious at worst....especially artist statements. Looking forward to hearing about how the Carnegie thingy goes. Good luck!

  6. I did exactly the same thing to my journals a few years ago, not knowing why but knowing I did not want my kids to ever see THAT me. Thanks for the clarity!

  7. what a nice place to be in...I like it when those revelations happen and we can move freely to the "next level" ...I confess to some naivety in my creative life ( and possibly my life in general ) I tend to think we all have art in us and the hang-ups we get ourselves into about making art are roadblocks we erect due to fear of ??? ....which is not to say I don't need education....I love to learn new things and I think I am improved because of the learning...but it is the journey that glad you are going "there" with me....Ginger

  8. I kept journals from 11-18, and 22-24. If anything, they provide material for my writing. I'm a different person now, but I'm OK with who I was too.