Sunday, January 27, 2013


Listening to the NY Times Book Review podcast yesterday and one of the guests was Joe Queenan who was discussing his habit of rereading books again and again.

At first I was intrigued because I have a few titles of my own that I could read a dozen times (and have) and always find something new within.

But what struck me most was a comment he made about how reading is, for so many people, an expression of the desire to escape their world into another.  And he believes this is especially true of those who read voraciously as he does.

As he spoke of his own reading habits, it became clear that it is something more than just enjoying books and stories.  . but that they are truly another world for him to exist in.  He copies lines, passages and quotes for future reference, then organizes and stores them. So the escape continues outside the covers of the books themselves into his own world. . .

He connected this pursuit to being similar to anything people do in excess. . . and, for me, the light went off imediately in my own head.

*** *** ***

As a child, I did not create to escape anything horrible or unjust.

I had a rather charmed upbringing in a simple, working class, urban home in Pennsylvania.  My hours and hours of "escape" were fueled by the fact that I simply preferred those self created places and imaginings more than most of the possible interactive reality with kids my age. (this from ages 7 to 17 really. . . and, in truth, through most of my adult years as well) My interests from sports, to ancient Egyptian art to sci-fi fantasy, writing stories, music and building miniature railroads was all something I felt most at ease delving into totally alone so as to be created by just one set of rules. My own. . .

And I was a voracious maker-of-things within each of those elements.  The worlds I created extended beyond the time spent within them. In my head, there were constant dialogues and imaginings of what would come next. Sort of like previews of upcoming shows.  This was the main part of my world for many years.

Somewhere along the way, in my early 20's, that got sidetracked . . . set aside. . . and I lost my way for awhile in life in general I think. 

It seems to me that so very often, under the guise of growing up, we think we have to leave much of that early escapism and creation behind.  Also, there are people who perhaps never had that in their own childhood years and they actually discover it later in life. Sadly, they relegate it to "hobby" or "interest" status as that is the more grown up way to give it voice.

Now this, it seems, is all in the interest of having these things fit into our adult lives and this is, in my world, backwards thinking.

Do we ever find it if we venture far from those childhood places or allow our passions and loves to be compartmentalized into being called indulgences, hobbies, interests and a few-hours-a-month-when-time-allows activities??

In my life, after all these years, those indulgences and worlds of my own creation are front and center again. They occupy almost EVERY waking hour and they are how I make my living now. They are the very essence of my world today, as they were all those years ago and, yes, that comes with costs that few would be willing to pay. 

With the exception of the computer, where I do indeed sell most of my items and creations on the internet, I have left behind the modern world almost completely.  I am certain that it is not a place where creativity can reign or be nurtured because it is all about the moment and the minutia of our lives. Instant and constant flooding of the unimaginative and mundane.

Creativity, on the other hand, takes time and effort and imagination and solitude to discover. . . to unlock something magical within.

The desire to connect in today's instant access world only serves to push more and more people into forced community instead of celebrating the unique, the individual, the mystery and, maybe most importantly,  the solitude and aloneness of us all. 

Which is, to me, the best thing we can slow down and explore.

And this, I think has trickled right down to every form of escape, even reading which, as Mr Queenan states in his thoughts about e-readers,“ they have purged all the authentic, non-electronic magic and mystery from their lives.”

It's all about magic really. . .
And taking the time to create it is the best thing I believe I can do every day. Because ithas paid me back ten-fold in ways I have yet to even tally.

I hope you will take the time and create it too.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

After the Pause. . .

When it comes to starting or maintaining blogs, more than anything else, the one thing I I hear people say about starting one is, "I just want to wait til I know exactly what I want to say."

Which is when I turn and say,  "It's more important to just sit down at the computer and write and let others decide what is of value and what is worth reading. . . you can always delete later"

It comes down to fear, of course.

But there are times, once the writing is started, to pause and think this over too. Not out of fear but out of a desire for more succinct expression.  And, for me, the first three weeks of 2013 have been that.

I could keep on going with just random thoughts, creative inspirations, mystic meanderings and poetic expression and that, of course, would be just fine as they are all part of me. But I am finding myself, on this rising side of 40, wanting to be a bit more succinct and to lay down the stories and thoughts that have taken me thru my life to this place. To a life I have CREATED just as I have created all thru my years and will for the rest of them, if I am able.

So first, what is "this place?"

It would be easy to say the "place" is a very small town on the Oregon Coast I chose because it allows me to live and work as an artist with little or no worry about needing to make more money to survive or combating the frantic and disconnected vibe of a city.

But it would be more succinct to say that this "place" is the whole of my inner existence. Much of which I , as many of us do, tried to shake off in my young adult years thru my early 30's.  under the guise of "growing up".

I feel fortunate now to have been allowed the gift of seeing myself clearly again. To have recognized that the only people I have met who are truly happy souls are those that are doing what they love. Those who are living their entire lives creatively and choosing their actions each day with thought and consideration to how it does, or does not, facilitate that dream.

It's not the creativity of painting or writing or sculpting. . . it's the deeper creative force of living. 

I am fortunate to have come to this place and time and to have believed in it, and in myself, enough to walk away from the rest and to create this world of my own imagining.  To trust what feels right and what opportunity seems to be presented along the way.

I also have left so much behind.
This life includes few people by nature of the necessity of so much internal and uncluttered time .
Few material "things" that are not true needs and only truly soulful luxuries.
It is not about acquisition or compiling something for the unforeseeable future.
It is about the one thing I know I have to believe and trust in.
The greatest privilege that any of us have
Living FULLY today

My direction then, for this blog, is to tell the story of how I got to this place again. The cycle from childhood to adulthood that took me right back to what I always was. A maker of things. And how I came to believe again in it and to create a life built from that instead of from what we are taught life is supposed to be.

If I am lucky, I will find the words to put even a piece of it into some sensible structure. . . and I will hope that it helps someone else out there to have the courage to step into who they are and to leave the rest behind as well. . .

Allowing them to come home again and to live their todays as fully as they can too.

Here's to hoping that is you. . . today. . . and always.