Sunday, February 26, 2012

Joys in Collaborative Art

When I first started meeting with the WritersVibe last year, Lila, Traci, and Anne mentioned that after a while some parts of our writing would merge. Sometimes we wouldn't know who said what or how a phrase of a style might show up in all of our writing. In different ways, we have rubbed off on one another. I say that's collaboration. We find such joy in encouraging each other and watching one another grow as writers and humans.

Over the last month Katie introduced to me to a different form of collaborative art. I love playing with words and reading. I had forgotten the joy of playing with paints, crayons, and clay. Writing almost took a back seat to playing with the Jumping Bean's many craft supplies!

On the heels of Katie's workshop (I wrote about it here), I signed up for Spark. I made Connie Begg's picture my wall, so I could gather its secrets. Over the course of 10 days, a poem was born--along with a few new words to add to the dictionary too!

Consider trading inspiration with another creator. Let what happens next amaze you.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I Will Not Go Small

Have you fooled them again? Did you pull it off so well no one knew you weren't perfect, and you were scared out of your wits? Did you wait to speak last, knowing that everything you wanted to say would be spoken or passed over in the revolution of conversation?

I do.

I've been fooling you all for so long I forgot the Jules Fool was an act.

I've been discovered, caught, outed, Ha ha ha...ha. I'm mortified. My deepest, darkest secret has been exposed.

I am not as small as I make myself. I've promised my classmates--my council--that I will not go small.

I will speak, and I invite you to listen.

Where are you playing small? This week, let yourself be large--be seen, be heard--and see what happens. Please do share what happens when you show up a large as you already appear to us.


Here I am. I've fooled you again
Small and quiet in the corner
Never known to be any smarter
Than the brown painted door frame
Patiently holding up the roof


Here I am, following magpies
Out the window, mouth drool drips
And long brush branch dips
Swaying to the disjointed music
We call conversation


Here I am dancing in brush branches
I hear your words, rhythm, pitch, and tone
Matching the heartbeat I claim to own
A hawk screams, magpies fly
I'll speak now and you listen.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Graditude--Own it

I am practiced at giving gratitude.

I learned how to say "Thank you" when I began speaking 34 years ago. Saying "Thank you," became an automatic response.

A few years ago I woke up to gratitude. I gave gratitude--sincerely and with intention. "Thank you" has become come more than an open door, plate of food, or change at a cash register for me. For me, saying "Thank you" has becoming a blessing of being--a culturally acceptable form of "I love you." Sometimes I see gratitude received as an extra second of eye contact and a hint of a smile. Other times, I see a downward look and a mumbled "You welcome."

I am not practiced at is receiving gratitude, a thank you, or a sincere compliment. What I notice is that when someone says "Wow, thank you!" I say "Your Welcome. That's my job." To "the color or that dress is amazing on you." I say "Oh, thanks, that's my house dress. I didn't want to get out of my PJs today." In the "professional" world, gratitude comes as a yearly monetary percentage from a bodiless management. This is the gratitude I am practiced at receiving.

When was the last time you took in gratitude?


Take a moment and receive the gift of gratitude. Ask for it.

Practice taking in gratitude. Notice where gratitude shows up in your body (a smile, a skipped heart beat, a breath, a downward look, a tear).

This weekend I stood in a circle, words coming between tears, the purple elephant on my chest, and the swelling in my throat. "Tell me I'm wonderful." Going around the circle*, one by one I took it in. Each breath, intentionally deep--the meditation of receipt.

Could it be that I am also a blessed being, and I am wonderful?

I missed it. Please, please, please, please, please say it again.

I am wonderful. You are wonderful. We are wonderful.

Rachael Naomi Remen's book My Grandfather's Blessings offers a visual: Our blessings [gratitude] circle above us like airplanes in a holding pattern ready for us to receive them. These blessings hold for a life span--waiting for us to allow them to be received.

Practice receiving. Practice giving. What do you notice?

*Thank you to J11 for tending and teaching me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I signed up for Spark on a whim last week. I got my piece last night. To my surprise and delight, my spark is open water, a horizon, and cloudy skies. I'm pondering what light comes from such beauty.

Spark is writing from art and arting from write. You can work with a chosen partner, a random partner, or work alone with a donated piece of art. Today marks day 1 of 10 to complete a creation. Final results are posted here. Mouse over the art the see the writing.

Who do you think inspired who?

Here's a bit of arting from my camera for you:

You are welcome to share your results or your experience writing using a picture prompt. I do hope you'll all be with me for the next Spark round.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Silk ,Erasers, Brushes, Chalk, Water...Oh Boy!

Last weekend I attended an collaborative art workshop a three hour play session.* I have a story about art--I'm not "good" at it.
Play and creativity--the Jumping Bean way

I played for three hours without stopping with a room full of friends The best part: We sat on the FLOOR.

We played like children passing our work and adding to the next piece put in front of us. We made circles, lines, squiggles, rubbed them out, and made more on top of them.We used all kinds of different creating tools--erasers, water, brushes, silk sticks, graphite, chalk, and model magic.

I could be an artist.

I remembered how much fun I have creating and playing. We played with words:

We even made a list of how we are creative everyday. My list looked something like this:
  • Desk top toys at work
  • Jade/copper wire tree (recreated when I'm thinking)
  • Picking out jewelry
  • Spreadsheets (I do so love colors)
  • Singing
  • Writing silly stories for Jumping Bean
  • How I design the day
  • How I make the Jumping Bean's bed (I hide snakes under pillows)
  • Dinner (what is it? How does it look?)
I am an artist--not in the way of a perfect water color still life or a perfect bit of prose. Perhaps when we say 'play', 'art', or 'create,' it could all be art.

How did you play today? How do you create everyday? What did you paint with your artist's brush?


*Thanks, Katie--for reintroducing us to play, art, and collaborative creation. Katie tells me if you've forgotten how to play, she is happy remind you (for at least three hours.)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Oh, the Day I Was Born

Today is my birthday. I have a habit of sweeping today under the rug and hiding it. Everyone has a birthday, so why is mine so special?

As a precious beloved pointed out this morning, I am amazing at crafting excellent days. Today, we are going to be a most excellent day.

What are celebrating on this most excellent day?

February 6, 1977
This is the day I was born
In the company of Bob Marley and a few lefties:
A world record heavy hitting babe
A patient soon-to-be republican president
At 9:32A.M.--Mountain Standard Time
Staring at the sparkling hospital floor tile instead of the sky
Never was there a more perfect moment
To be born so alive

Happy birthday, Happy New Year, my friends. Today is our most excellent day.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Please Open the Flood Gates...

...and they were opened.

I was nestled and snuggled in my winter den and what didn't happen?
  • A jumping bean turned snot fountain
  • That new longed for position at work took a totally unexpected turn
  • An avalanche of fun emails
  • Fingers that don't keep up with the flow of words tucked into little wrinkles
  • A quite peacefully Saturday turn torrent of re-connections and fun
  • A dream of driving on an upside down mountain road on replay
  • Tears that won't stop
  • Smiles that won't stop growing
Mysteries all.

What's the gift in the mystery that spins your way? If you are willing, please share. Comments are welcome.


Flood Gates
How has the dam not broken?
How have the flood gates open?
Mystery spins a sweet snot fountain
A tropic of tears
Swirled into eddies
Swept to a quiet,
Slow elbow bend
Deep in wilds of Mystery's river