I still, regrettably, haven’t yet seen summer blockbuster, Wonder Woman, but the first day of my son’s kindergarten last week certainly make me feel like a version of her.
By 10:00 am I had shipped paintings, run a 5k in the brutal heat, answered all my emails, deposited checks, and sketched out ideas for future paintings.
By lunchtime I had finished two small paintings I’m pretty jazzed about. By two o’clock I’d worked on and nearly completed a much larger painting and was settling down with a cup of coffee in my backyard to continue reading the Georgia O’Keeffe biography I’d picked up at the library a few days ago.
At 3:00, I was on my merry way to pick up my son who, by the way, despite all my fretting last week, had a great day. I couldn’t wait to see him.
I felt accomplished– like part of me that had gone missing had returned, swooped in the moment she was allowed to show me all she was capable of in just a few hours.
Rewind to just the day prior and I was the crazy lady yelling at her kid who had just dipped his entire grimy hand in the mochi ice cream cart at Whole Foods where the tolerance for such public displays of discipline is far lower than, say, Walmart. Later that day I saw a few articles floating around Facebook with titles like “what yelling does to your kids” and I couldn’t bear to open them for fear they would be a resounding and final judgement on my parenting. Which is all probably just to say, the previous humblebrags aren’t so quite so braggy but more like one long, deep, sigh, of finally.
It’s difficult to just sit with myself, to be only in the company of my own thoughts and feelings. I’ve almost forgotten what that’s like. But when I don’t, I’m driving a freight truck on next to no gas– sputtering on fumes, always on the verge of crashing.
Art, again and again refocuses me: These are marks that I am making. They weren’t there until I willed them to be so. It’s an act of agency like no other I experience– akin, I’d imagine, to the musician who disrupts silence with melody or the dancer whose movements annihilate stillness. Paint dismantles blankness. Just writing about it has filled me, once again with awe at that power although I doubt these words are doing it justice. In my day-to-day, and particularly this summer, I found myself forgetting who I am: autonomous, whole (albeit a good bit broken), more like a Wonder Woman not in battles or traditional acts of bravery, but in the quieter moments when I connect with my own powers to shape things, literally and less literally.
Which is why I know it’s coming– another painting-a-day challenge. It’s been since last November. Nearly a year. And the incredibly gratifying 100 paintings in 100 days I did starting in April of 2015 was over two years ago. I feel that little mental nudge, the quiet whisper: “It’s time”. It’s time to give myself that blessed structure that only a painting a day can provide. Create, write (think), repeat. Solace. Agency. I’m not certain what this next, looming challenge will look like; I usually have some loosely held themes. But I know it’s brewing.
Do you want to join me? One task every day for thirty one days in October? Yoga, painting, writing, macaroni necklace making, photography, hopscotch– any of it. All of it. No rules, just action. If enough are interested, I’ll do the organizing; I’ll create an online space where we can share our 31 days together. Just comment, “I’m in” and I’ll include you.
I’m sure it’s no surprise to you, but….I am in!!!
Maybe it will help me start writing again creatively, instead of figuring creative ways to blame my pathetic showing on everything but me.
You are so correct….there is nothing that compares to the feeling of looking at the work of your own hands, and every now and then thinking, ‘That is pretty good!’ And as Jimmy Stewart says in his family prayer in Shenandoah, ‘It wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t done it myself.’
And just for the record…..you really write so incredibly well!
I’m sure it’s no surprise to you, that I’m thrilled you are “in” and can’t wait to see what you do.
I’m in Denise!! I’m so excited to have met you and I’m truly inspired by all you do. The quality of who you are comes out in your painting, teaching, and interactions. I am pumped to do a painting a day with you!
YES!! I’m so excited you’ll be joining me. I’ll send you some details in the upcoming weeks about where to post, etc.