Production

I’ve given myself two weeks to answer a list.  On my list are relatively small goals but they are necessarily comprehensive, since the overall aim is to break through a log jam of old unfulfilled ideas, to clear out what is no longer useful or appropriate, and give form to the ones with a vigorous pulse.   So.

Ten paintings finished and hung in a public space in two weeks.

Hammer drawing #1 - rough
Hammer drawing #1 – rough

Two public performances booked for cello ensemble, so that we HAVE TO polish these beautiful pieces, and present them.

(If you’re interested in hearing us:  December 1 Aids Vigil at the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, and December 16 6:30pm at Owen Sound City Hall)

One new project for 2016, very dear to my heart, fleshed out and taken to the collaboration table.

Eight long hikes.

Three non-fiction books finished.

One grant application mentored and sent.

Five daily rituals carefully designed and established.

One package, two letters sent to Japan.

…and space in-between.

Autumn ferns on the Bruce Trail, September.
Autumn ferns on the Bruce Trail, September.

This reads almost like a Dr. Seuss book…

One fish, two fish, three fish, four….

inheritance from two families on my mother's side:  A proud sign from Kennedy Foundry of Owen Sound, hanging on the wall of Circle Bar Ladies' Hosiery factory, also in Owen Sound, owned and operated by my mom & aunt's grandparents, Walter and Catherine Keebler.
inheritance from two families on my mother’s side: A proud sign from Kennedy Foundry of Owen Sound, hanging on the wall of Circle Bar Ladies’ Hosiery factory, also in Owen Sound, owned and operated by my mom & aunt’s grandparents, Walter and Catherine Keebler.  The fish are mine – made from carpentry scraps.

January 2013

A fog-laden wind sifts through tree boughs to the northwest.  Into my left ear the presto drip of snowmelt on metal roof is punctuated by a random slide, thunk of heavier stuff pulled to ground.  On my lap, the steady, thundering purr of kitten.

The dark outside is thick with visible air, like stirred winter stew. It feels almost balmy after these minus 29 degree days so I’m tempted to stay out…  but no.   To inside, under thick blankets. To listen, not look.

And here, like a gift, like a soul’s massage, is the heavy rain.

It’s been travel travel for me these past weeks, through the bustling silence of January 2013.  Not what I had expected.  The first month of the year in this place has always had the sensibility of a well-caught breath.  For me it’s always held the promise of a month of stacked, not linear time – so that ‘was’, ‘is’ and ‘will be’ are all in the same moment.  This makes it oh so much easier to find and feel the “Ah.  Yes”  – the insight that will become the engine for the following months and years.

Oddly enough – even amid the schedule and the travel and the deadlines, the all-nighters, the practise and the rehearsals, the cover letters and the interviews, the Wagner, the B&B and the Beethoven, this has still happened.  There is clarity even in this fog of winter stew, and I feel quite deeply certain about a few key things.

KG, I need an axe song – can we talk?  L, I need a couple of songs from you too.  Owen Sound – we need to make good music education available to every kid in this place – and soon.  I’m not kidding about this – in another well-identified post I will gather links and information to illustrate beyond any doubt what is possible here.   To the women of #IdleNoMore – I get it.  Thank you for opening a place where we can all talk and heal together.  G, I get where we’re going, and it’s good.  T, thanks & good luck with the simplification project.  F, L  – courage.  Darlin D – well done.

Oh I feel blessed.

 

The sound of a giant awakening

My desk is in a new place – not sure I like it yet.

table saw
table saw

To my right, a pile of ash and cherry lumber, drywall, moor vents, a roll of typar, a garbage bag full of roxyl & strips of R20 styrofoam.  A rolled-up rug, boxes of Christmas decorations from 2 years ago.

To my left, other, more domestic piles – rolled up clothing, socks, a towel, plant bits on the floor.

In front of me are five large bags, each representing one fiscal year of our taxes.  Beyond that, seven small piles of clothing I will keep but have no drawer-space for.

If I were a giant waking from a long sleep to find this mountain of stuff piled on top of me, I would be irritated.  I’d make a huge crack in the earth, shove it all in, and that would be that.

the current state of the shovel painting.
the current state of the shovel painting. 

We’ve been at it all week here.

Instead of creating art, Grant has built shelves, sorted tools, filed rolls of electrical wire; plumbing, mortar, drywall materials, kitchen appliances; saws and drills and bits and screws.

Instead of working in my studio I have armoured myself with high purpose and dug deeply into corners that were like dark lairs – every one stacked full of toxically functionless Stuff that should have been gone from here a long long time ago.

Now, on the second day of 2013 in this short break from the battle between Positive Forward Movement and Clogged Paralysis, I’m well and truly exhausted and still uncertain as to the victor.

edge of a small cliff
edge of a small cliff

Enter Joseph Campbell:

I don’t believe people are looking for the
meaning of life as much as they are looking
for the experience of being alive.

Huh.

[insert pause, as I stare out at the gently falling snow…..]

south window
south window

I’m going to light the wood stove now, and BURN STUFF.

happy 2013 all.  & just to reassure – it’s a (mostly) friendly giant.