A Thought From Louise Bogan

"...in a time lacking in truth and uncertainty and filled with anquish and despair, no woman should be shamefaced in attempting to give back to the world, through her work, a portion of its lost heart." Louise Bogan, American poet (1897-1970)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Scavenger Hunt

Sometimes you know exactly what you want to do with your life. You go to college or trade school, or get a job in the field you want to pursue... or perhaps you get married, perhaps you start a family. Perhaps you have a burning desire to join the Peace Corps or the Air Force. You start on your path, with the end goal firmly in your mind's eye and your path becomes a trail, then a dirt road, and finally you are gliding down the freeway of your life's plan. You don't take many detours, but of course there will be bumps and perhaps a delay or so. Maybe you'll come upon a construction site, and you'll entertain yourself for a bit by checking out the flagman.

My journey doesn't follow a road in that way. Mine has more in common with a very large scavenger hunt. There are many stops along the way - and each one is important, because without one item on your scavenger hunt list... you've failed. So, I started out raising beautiful daughters, but saw an opportunity to edit my first book while they played in the yard. The scavenger hunter must be on the lookout for list items at all times.

I've obtained a compass to use for the present course of my hunt. It's called The Creativity Book. Filled with assignments and exploring creativity in many different ways, I'm finding that career objectives and grocery lists may have a focus and direction to exclude other choices or prevent me from wandering around in the grocery store for hours on end because I haven't a clue what I'm out of at home.... but learning to indulge a creative sense involves a lot of meandering.

Week 7, Exercise 8

A. I am a creative person. I would like to set the following goals for the upcoming year... (write a paragraph) so, mine are more like lists..

I will produce a book of nonfiction short stories. I will become sensitive to the voice inside me and from that sensitivity - I will find a stronger writing voice. I'll design and complete quilts for Luke, Gracie & myself. I'll put to memory 5 full songs on the piano. I'll design the patio, completing it no later than next summer.

B. In support of these things, the tiny things I will do over the next few days are... (write a paragraph)

I'll go outside with the dogs first thing each morning to enjoy nature, fresh air, and a fresh look at my day. I'll write three stories from my childhood experiences and relationships. I'll clean my keyboard so I can work on my new piano course downstairs, and work on part two of New York State of Mind. I'll get my sewing room ready for work (i.e. finally move the last Christmas decorations to the attic). I will significantly reduce the amount of time I spend on the telephone.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Is there a road here, or am I going cross country?

I have taken so many turns, I'm not sure which road I'm on. I've quilted, painted, taken piano lessons, written an unpublished novel, written political commentary, sold newspaper advertisements, worked in a window factory, been a secretary/receptionist/admin. assistant. I've held Bible studies in my home, bought a German shepherd I planned to compete with and breed - but did neither... just loved her to bits and pieces, and trained her. I've planted flowers, fruit, vegetables and herbs - planning to make an elaborate and beautiful showplace garden at my new home, but I'm not there yet, and I'm not so sure I want to do that now. I've canned and baked, and taken meals to single neighbors. I've crafted in a myriad of ways. I've been an entrepreneur in several ventures - none of which made much money, but that's not to say I've never been profitable. I've sold nutritional supplements, custom blended cosmetics, Rainbow sweepers, cemetery property, and for a time I was an online bookseller. I've run a dating service, produced personalized books for children - both through a business sponsorship program for head start kids as well as individuals, and offered an advertising service to Realtors. I have three grown daughters, and soon my sixth grandchild will arrive. I've researched our genealogy. I love Irish history, the ocean, the mountains, and farmland... I don't love the desert. I've had faith in God from the age of 10, but endured a season of spiritual deadness in my late 30's... I'm past that now, thank God. I feel embarrassed that God shows up so late in this rant.

I'm an all or nothing kind of person. I just haven't found what I could give my ALL to on a lifelong basis except loving my husband and family. Everything else is in spurts - including spiritual growth. I believe if you really want something - there is evidence of movement in that direction - so if I haven't done a Bible study, then I feel I'm not wanting God enough. If I haven't practiced piano, or there are unfinished quilting projects - there is guilt attached that I'm spending time playing a video game or reading, or writing this piece - when I could produce something that others can see. There are a million things I've wanted to do or try, and that's exciting and yet I fear that from the outside it is probably bordering on ridiculous, scattered, frenzied, schizophrenic. I'm not so certain that it doesn't look that way from the inside as well!

My husband has a job he hates. I would be embarrassed to live a life that is filled with self indulgence while he works to provide all our needs and wants, so I try to have a practical side to my activities. Maybe not playing the piano...

I'm a jack of all trades and master of none, and yet I feel in order to take on a new hobby, craft, project - I must know it thoroughly and not do a slop job of things. I believe in research. If politicians put as much effort into understanding the results of their work as I did to understand the ins and outs of fabric cuts, patterns, color, and durability when learning to quilt - the world would be a better place.

My mother never offered to help me paint the inside of my new house because I'm a perfectionist. I don't call myself a perfectionist - I call myself careful.

I love to use words - to talk, discuss, dissect and opine. Writing is a natural use for this love... but I can't figure out its purpose. I can't cover up my grandkids with a well written article, or play it at the senior citizens center, or hang it on the wall, or feed it to my family.

I want to raise a summer's worth of chickens... just because. They would be better food on the table and the grandchildren would get a kick out of it. I want a goat. I'd love to have more animals, but only if my husband and I spent much time together taking care of them - he's not so interested and it loses its appeal if I'm to do it alone.

I bought tickets to see Billy Joel & Elton John. It was an indulgent expense for my pure pleasure. The concert was postponed, I had time to think, and an opportunity to get my money back - so I returned the tickets. Spending too much money feels immoral to me, yet I look around and see little purchases that I've made and not made good use of - like that skin care stuff I bought at a Mary Kay party. I'd love to be a pretty, well put together woman... but not enough to stick with it every day, week, month, year. Which reminds me... I really need to start taking my vitamins again, and working out, and eating healthy, and... and... and..