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Whimsy as Practice

A face I cannot face today

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A face I cannot face today

I would rather forget the phone I touch or computer which nestles in my lap

Has an eye which can betray me with a finger misplaced, a prompt to update. 

Not once has the image caught resembled the me I knew; even now, I just looked.

The bathroom mirror does not misbehave nor mock and lock in the shocked disarrange.

Is it as simple as vanity to flee from this self technology or is it more perverse,

So awkward to look unrehearsed.  Disconcerting at least to see the reverse cheek,

Backwards me, only to switch and find no side which I don't want to delete and hide.

 

Behind the camera I delight to chase; snap dragons, elusive, mischievous, distracting.

Challenging to not miss the breath of life, trying to use cheese, to trap smiles in a frame.

They escape, of course; was it because I asked, or even worse yelled cheese and

Forgot to say please?   Forced memories, evidence, inside rectangle boxes

With one boy looking at his lap and the other as his eyes crosses.  The next frame no

Better, back of heads and faces so grave; I get it and put the damn camera away.

 

The question then is why I expect others on cue to face the lens when I protest,

Would rather pretend?  Post a chance glance half a decade old where my face 

Accidentally smiled right, looked the way it should.  I do not understand the

Fad of facing the phone proud and glad, nor the product it seems all but

I can obtain; symmetrical faces and smiles posted again and again, no shame.  

A face I cannot face today; I am vain, still it is a bit silly, I must proclaim.  

 

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Slow Going

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Slow Going

I just this week received my notice from SquareSpace, the wonderful vehicle for my Blog, of the annual renewal date approaching.  I have to say with all honesty, I had much higher expectations of my little niche blog, 'a WHIMSPUN life'.  Yet, as I typed this last sentence, I realized the gist of the problem; expectations of my blog, rather than myself.  Without a driver a car will not get anywhere, no matter how shiny the car.  My ego was quite attached to the layout and images of this vehicle, yet my drive, passion did little to put it into gear.

So the quandary; save the renewal fees (though reasonable) and admit defeat, or use the 'uugghh' feeling in my gut to really try to do more?  Give it a year and re-evaluate?  And again, my writing is stimulating the conversation with myself I should have been having much more often: why renew?  What am I hoping to really do here?  Whispers in my cobwebby mind remind me I had one primary hope; to connect, and even better, to help someone else feel less alone.

I spent quite a bit of time in the past year and a half working on handcrafting jewelry. There is a tangible reward when creating with beautiful stones a necklace or bracelet.  So different than writing, I am always so clear when the piece is finished.  That said, journal writing, which is the essence of a blog, my blog at least, has a very clear wrap-up.  My problem of late (and early) is I have this passion to write something long; a story in need of an ending! Back to the jewelry!  I created over 50 pieces just in the span of 2015.  As I sell very little, I have a display of the progress of my skill over those months, and it is so rewarding.  I have given quite a bit of my collection away; a chance for feedback, not to mention the opportunity to check my own perspective.  All in all I believe I have improved much, from novice crafter to competent crafter/artist, still leaving much room for skill and design growth.  

Unfortunately, though I created each and every piece of jewelry in the comfort of the supine position, beads on my side, large mat and try on my lap, after the holidays I had a series of lower back tweaks which really made it very difficult for me to bead at all.  Even when entering a healing pattern I faced the insidious fear of "overdoing it"; the not just possible, but very real chance of decline.  It has only been for the past week, entering the third month of the year, to have seriously considered sidling up to the beads again.  TIME is one of the most susceptible facets of life to severe disability and chronic pain.

The past few months have though shown me (again!) writing is the least taxing activity I can engage; and writing has been the longest lasting passion in my life.  I love writing.  Except when I have written over a half dozen prologues-preambles-introductions to a story stuck on the  tip of my tongue and getting bitter.  I have read enough books on fiction writing to know without a doubt, even from my won experience, there exists no better cure for writer's block than a daily writing stream of conscious, IE. journaling.  

So do I do it?  Not really.  Could this Blog be not only a shiny vehicle with some pick up and go itself, but a tow truck for my fiction writer's block?  Of course.  So what the get up and go is stopping me?  

Free Association:

I bore myself.  I know I bore you.  I whine about my pain.  You Hate I Whine about my pain. Nobody reads this anyway.  Each blog sounds like the one before.  I reveal too much.  I am afraid to be honest.  I should be beading.  I should be selling what I have made.  Nobody likes me. I am a fraud.  

Wow; where did that come from?

It came from me, the deep dark cavity which holds the essence of what I feel for myself since I have become unable to pick up my kids from school; make dinner most nights; go across the river to see my very elderly mom; take my children to anything fun; see any of my friends, acquaintances; honestly feel like I have any friends, acquaintances; walk around the block; shed the twenty (thirty, forty) pounds I have gained; and the beat goes on, and on, and on.

So of course I have nothing better to do than renew with squarespace and continue; perhaps reset and start afresh might even be a better attitude.  Either way, the enemy of good is perfect, and the enemy of piss poor is fear, procrastination, pain getting the literal best of me, etc. etc.  And, delightfully, I can still bead.  I have to stop my either or thinking, waiting for inspiration in one area to move into another.  I hope to both push and be gentle with myself.  The groundhog predicted an early spring, not to mention the scientists across the globe for the past 50 years.  I want to be rejuvenated and I will start with what is right in front of me.  I will write, I will bead, I will keep looking for miracles for my spine, I will pray as I do gentle yoga stands, I undoubtedly will suffer tweaks which may lay me out of commission.  Yet please bare with me as I simply refuse to call it quits just yet.  Even in the valley of mediocrity one can occasion upon dazzling skylines, find dreams not yet envisioned, bump into other humans who have room for friendship as I do.  I might even find with consistent practice, untying sentences as I have learned to do patiently with beading knots, I may find I have produced a treasure trove of writing demonstrating my commitment to get better, do better.  Better yet, learning to push push push when stuck in the mire, I might find I have grown from a novice at life to what I have always hoped to be; an artist at living, engaging in moments, noticing the inspiration and goodness which inevitably surround me, and certainly loving and laughing more, even with myself!

 

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Holy Days, or My Favorite Things

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Holy Days, or My Favorite Things

I have never met a Holiday Season I did not want to build a fire in the fireplace and cozy up with. Maybe a marker for the whimsy gene, the idea of wrapping a tree, a house, a room with lights seems to me the makings of a more peaceful, joyful world.  I am fortunate to live in the midwest where December inevitably will offer weather which enchants the season with a chill requiring hot cocoa and snowflakes which offer Santa a landscape perfect for his sleigh.  

I resolutely believed in Santa until I was well into grade school, and even after I had the good sense to pretend otherwise, I have continued believing; at least a little bit.  I have a memory, one of my earliest, of being tucked into the backseat of our family station wagon as a toddler leaving my grandparents house on Christmas Eve.  I saw Santa's sleigh.  It is very difficult to unsee something so profoundly felt.  This was not my only occurrence with magic; rather the beginning.  Not much older I looked out the bathroom window before bedtime.  I recall standing on the toilet and finding a starlight, starbright, first star I saw that night.  I wished for a doll and vividly remember the choice to hold my wish in my heart, somehow already knowing this was the locale of all things magic.  Late that night, which may have been anytime after 8pm, I woke to noises.  My grandmother had arrived to see my parents which was not a usual occurrence.  She offered me a brand new doll; dark hair dressed in yellow raincoat and hat.  Of course I still wish on stars, but having refreshed this memory I am wondering why I do not practice this more religiously.

The holidays hold for me the practice of cherishing days with traditions which exalt them with a richness lost most of the year.  I love the traditions of gift making, gift giving, and yes even gift receiving.  This morning after sending the boys off to school in the too early dark, I reminded them it is December the first.  I sat with my coffee and allowed myself the luxury of breathing in the enchantment.  Actually, I almost missed the moment.  I stumbled into it in a simple but often forgotten practice.  On my bedside table, unearthed from the last spilled beverage, was a hotel size thin envelope of lotion.  I opened it and at once was breathing deeper for the extravagant smells of herbs.  I might have expected the plush texture of the lotion for the smell, but instead was again overtaken with surprise; the lotion itself was a profound treat for my skin.  (Templespa. Repose.  Aromatherapy Resting Cream.)  I can only describe it as heaven and necessary.  An unknown necessity which I will forget, but still a bow tied to my fondness for 'my favorite things' which the Holidays have a habit of wakening. Dark Coffee with fresh whipped cream. Organic rough soap with a bouquet which lingers.  A t shirt made of the perfect cotton and fits perfectly.  Wool socks.  Candles which smell like (fill in the blank).  Cookies baking in the oven.  Snow days.  Stockings and a tree and lights.  Finding just the right gift for my favorite boys.  

This December 1, 2015 morning captured me like magic.  It has reminded me how a combination of scents and memories can right my perspective quickly, pointing directly toward joy. Enchantment is necessary, and lately too rare.  

I realize my anxious refreshing the Etsy Store, waiting for a sale, distracts me.  No matter how much I want to be the maker of a favorite thing for another, the impatient focus on promotion is not the route for me as I believe in magic.   It is in the joy I gather as I steady and slowly create the next piece of jewelry, believing each and every piece will find its moment to create an 'aha' for another.  Most have already given me a similiar satisfaction, though rough and cramping fingers.  This is not a world which welcomes magic into our daily existence, though Magic has taken up residence and enchanted the month of December for as long as I can remember.  Today I will breathe it in.

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Whimspun, a blog

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Whimspun, a blog

Enchantment, silliness, wonder and the everyday simplicity of a subtle "ahh" moment have always been the stuff of life which allows me to detach from the mundane and find a spiritual humility; gratitude and perspective.  Having found myself in the prime of my life disabled with decreasing mobility and daily intractable pain, a whimsical moment, or more to the point, the ability to look and find a whimsical moment has been a literal saving grace. Writing, essays, short fiction, poetry, and of course the occasional rant offers me a reliable path to see and believe the everpresent whimsy in my life.  

Often of late, my condition leaves me home bound or even room bound for several weeks at a time; each day out and about with even mild activity can rebound directly into 'flat on my back'  again.  It can be lonely.  

I began having the recurrent train of thought, that if seeking, spinning whimsy can help me reconnect with the best parts of myself, why wouldn't sharing these words and stories help build connections with others?  It is a simple premise; not all that original.  Yet aren't the best ideas simple?  Simple, yes; easy, not so much. 

I previously learned in the course of accepting help in another type of suffering derailing my life the power of sharing my experience with others. Walking headfirst into my fears and sharing honestly my vulnerabilities were often the most fertile meeting ground for forming connections and better, offering another a similar sense of hope, relatedness. Somehow becoming physically disabled and having crazy pain seemed at odds with the fellowship I had already found, trusted.  The worse my spine deteriorated the more and more difficult it became for me to show up in the arenas of life I loved and aspired to be committed.  Room parent in school, volunteer in pto, coffee maker in meeting, even primary homemaker in my house; these roles I loved and took pride in became increasingly difficult until they became shadows and shames.  So many activities I engaged in when my children were young which they have no recollection of other than my stories and some photographs.  The first bridge was making the connection from my head to my heart, accepting I was not going to be able to do many things I could barely imagine as not a part of my life.  A parallel bridge is accepting there is no shame in this.  

It has taken a handful of years and increasing disability for me to push through my hesitation to identify myself as someone with chronic pain and disability.  It is not easy.  The gulf which I struggle across between my sense of what life would be and what life is; the canyon I can lose myself in as I learn to accept my body and its limitations as a characteristic, not a label, these are the fears which turned inside translate to a shame not so subtle.  I understand not all will relate. Whimspun is in search of those who do, or perhaps those who want to.

Whimspun, a Blog is a newborn work in progress.  While I will be exploring the topics I touched on above, I promise WHIMSY in all of its glory will be the heart and soul of this particular note in a bottle. Striving for an ebb and flow between reader and myself, pursuing whimsy and honesty, can ideally increase the compassion, laughter, joy, acceptance and of course, Ahhaa moments in all of our lives.  That is a very good thing!

Whimsy Is Hope!                                                                                      Pass it On!

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