"There's no video," I text my sister back. Whoops! she writes back. Let me try that again...
Eventually, the wedding pictures arrive, but it's too late...the real message has been driven home to me. I can't tell if the instagrammer is quoting someone else (if she is, she's also borrowing that cracked infinitive), but those words, tough times...enable us to fully realize our true selves, zaps my somewhat less than cheerful consciousness that moment, and my first thought is, Either times aren't tough enough, or my true self, if there is such a thing, is this ratty, weighted-down lump, kicking the hours around like tin cans on the street.
Okay, okay. All that wallowing in life's complications is tantamount to fussing over a bad hair day (which it also was), I know that. I need a new brain, not a new life. I like my life. I just don't like the way I have dressed myself for it...hatless and in the wrong shoes.
But as if to give me a good shake, that evening along comes an email from Kathy Steinsberger, reminding me that I have signed up for her Carousel Book workshop at Blam! the next day. Yes, I'm coming, I tap back, and race up to my workroom for supplies and tools.
I have to wade through a mess to find them; I still haven't made the beds from my sister Ann's visit last week, and I've been cutting up paper and testing paints for holiday cards, which I am not entirely happy with, but which will have to do. Plus a shelf holding 30 years of journal workshop stuff broke, and the papers are strewn about yet, while I waffle over what to do with them, or the shelf. (Do I re-order them? cull them? toss them?) But I digress.
I am sorry to say that my mood was still in wallow gear (are you enjoying all these mixed metaphors?) when I reached Kathy's studio the next morning, late as usual. I sat at my assigned place and tried to focus on her demonstrations. At first, I seemed to trip over each direction, though they were straightforward enough. Kathy, bless her, took me in stride. But then something clicked. I pulled papers together, cut and glued, changed direction and angle, and as I worked, things began to happen. Art.
When I left (early), I was still grumbling (for which I apologize profusely to all in hearing range), but I had seen the light and knew how to finish what I had started.
Later, Alexander came to dinner. We made a house out of clay. We lit candles. We changed our tune.
It worked. Not only the carousel book, but an uplift in spirits I am still living out. You saved my life, I wrote back to Kathy.
Interestingly enough, when Kathy's reminder came in that previous evening and I had jumped up to ready myself for it, my uncle's caregiver tried to puzzle out what the fuss was about. I explained what a carousel book was, showing her some pictures from the book arts site, and how I'd need to think fast to create an idea for it before I got there.
|Carousel book with floor and ceiling, Kathy Steinsberger|
She looked at me a minute, and then said, "Well, it's cute, but what do you do with it?"
Readers, I didn't really feel I could answer that. I'd have to go back to forty centuries of art history, creative theory, a thesis on the left and right brain, a visit to the art museum, and then underscore it all with that line from King Lear, "Oh, reason not the need..." I knew I would fail. I went upstairs and packed my art bag.
Today, after I clean up that studio mess, I begin again. Some of you, I hope, will see the results in a week or so. Meanwhile, here is my Carousel Book, Pace (Peace), a re-framing of the poems I had written for my Set a place at the table for peace.
|Pace, front cover|
|Pace, back cover|
As I used it say to my creative writing students, changing one's standpoint...that is, the point where you are standing (or sitting)...changes one's point of view.
|Pace (no floor or ceiling), star formation|
|Pace, open accordion|
To wit: though the poems on their own mean the same no matter what print you make of them, each art piece which encapsulates them defines them in a different way. I like both my Peace pieces, and, frankly, like the art of the carousel better than the art of the table; although I still think of the table as the more dedicated one, Pace has the more interesting viewpoints.
But I'm not about to try to explain that to our caregiver.
May art light your world this season, a little more each day.