Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Month of Gathering

Back in 2004, a few years before he died, my father and I spoke often about life. We were never close when I was a child as he and my mum divorced when I was four. This was, for all intents and purposes, a very good thing for her AND I.  He was very stodgy, quite mainstream in a narrow and limiting way and he had little room for self expression and the roads less traveled in life.

I cannot imagine who I would have turned out to be if he were a directive force in my developing years. . . but people change.

We reconnected when my grandmother, his mother, died when I was 19. Slowly, we built the strands of connection after he accepted my plea that, "I don't need you to be dad anymore.  . I need a friend."

And a very good friend he turned out to be.

So that day, as I recounted all that was going on in my life, how I was pursuing my love of music-making and music production for others. How I was thriving owning a coffeehouse and creating digital art and poetry. (this is all about 5 years before my creative life as you see it now even began)
He listened quietly and patiently and then, when I had finished, he offered the following.

"Son, I've never told you this but I wish I had lived (he was 61 at the time) my life more like you. I would do it differently now but back then I always was so concerned with climbing the ladder of success and making more money and having better this and better that. There are so many things I thought to do but did not have the courage or the inner strength to try. And I see you, living your life this way and your voice is filled with joy and I feel every new experience brings you closer to something bigger. Maybe even closer to a sense of "purpose"? "

"But I am going to give you one piece of advice" he continued. "From here, the choices in your life will get tougher because you are still seeking  and yet you have managed to eliminate all of the things people usually fill their lives with that are less than fulfilling. You love your job. You love where you live and you love the people around you. You have several creative outlets that take up every moment of your free time.  . . and I know you, my son. You are going to keep finding things that you love and now? Now the choices are going to be between two or more things you love and where will they fit in when the days will always only be 24hrs long? And you don't do anything half assed. . . so where is the time going to come from and when those new "right things" present themselves? Because one of them may be "it". So remember that you'll have to make room for them. And that it is ok to let go of something you love as much as something you don't.

Oh, how right he was.

So the last 6 months as I've "struggled" with the lack of time that being a full time, all the time, maker-of-things requires and found myself overloaded with custom orders and requests as all the while the new ideas pile up and up and I cannot tend to them, And then, beneathe it all, this "new thing". . . this sense of something greater being right there all along. . . oh yes, it reared it's head and asked to be heard.

I once again took stock.
Made lists and looked deep within for the answer to what stays and what goes. . .
 And here is what has changed from that kid who got that piece of advice 10 years ago.

The "new thing" is that I DO feel a sense of purpose in what I do now. It's the one thing I have done in my life (and I have done and tried more than my share) that feels really close to perfect and complete as far as being part of the thread I have known since childhood.

But these days I feel pulled to leave something behind. Something more than just bits and pieces and assorted lovelies. . . though those are as much a part of the "purpose" as what I have planned

My father was right,

I do not do anything half-assed. I don't know how.  The details are everything and no matter how much I love something I make, I find myself looking to make it better and just a bit more innovative next time around. Good enough is never good enough even if I am the only one who sees it.

In truth, when people ask me for advice on making it with an online shop or with creative self employment, I usually include this one little piece of advice. What ever you do today, you can do better tomorrow and you have to want that, without fail, first and foremost or you'll not get far in the creative world.

First, you have to make room for it. . . and it requires lots of room.
Then, YOU have to

It's time now for me to reach. . .

I am setting a larger goal with the worlds I create.

They have been these lovely bits and pieces with little stories (also a must in the creative world I think.  . tell a story!) that often are there before the pieces themselves.

But I want to bring them together and give something more through them.
A larger story that ties many of the smaller pieces together.
A world that is tangible and ever growing.

In my head, they always were this but, if I have one shortfall, it's that I often do not have the patience to write in such broad scope AND detail. I offer little detailed glimpses when an entire world is right there waiting to be brought to life. 

And that world is what I want to leave behind. . .hopefully to inspire others as I have ben inspired by those that came before.

So this is what I have been doing the last month. Losing myself in reading about ancient civilizations, myths and stories I have loved my whole life and making notes, creating names, filling in gaps in my own stories and letting that world emerge. . . one village, one character, one myth at a time and, as is my way, the details sometimes come out first.

These are a couple of Elvin "reliquaries" I created this week that are just 1.5 and 2.75 inches tall. . . . perhaps containing mythic dragon scales or bits of ancient magic cloth, or a troll's tooth. . .  or a thread of pure spun gold from time before time? Who can say?

What would YOU imagine to be found within an Elvin Reliquary?

More on their story in future posts. . .

Which is where the blog fits in with my future plans. 

So many bits and pieces to keep track of and I am not an organized person by any means. So I will be posting more often and shorter posts with just that.  . . bits and pieces of the larger story. . . threads that are all being woven into the larger world of my imagination. . . into the world of Bewilder and Pine. . . I hope you'll come along with me on this journey. It's going to be an adventure, I promise! :)

And my father, on that day I referred to earlier, added one more thing at the very end of the conversation that I took to heart then and still do to this day.

"No matter how busy you get. . . call your mother more. Because you'll regret it if you don't one day."

Thanks dad. . . you really were a true and beloved friend.

Thank you all for stopping by!
Soon again. . .


  1. Oh, Nicholas! Thank you for sharing this conversation with your father!! How precious, & how wise.
    I came hear after seeing your comments on Falling Ladies, (ah, crows & ravens!) & had to come peek at what you write/how you express - & what a treasure trove!!
    I have yet to venture off to enjoy your shops - wanted to say I also have been loosing myself, reading about ancient civilizations (Egypt! After painting 'Sekhmet' during an on-line course ... & hearing her name, but being really vague about who she is!! .... oy! Finishing her on the eve of Summer Solstice (I still need to blog about her, she appears briefly in my 'council' over on my creation station blog ....)
    And what ARE tucked away in those Elvin Reliquaries?? hmm, perhaps a harp key ....

    1. Dia,

      Welcome! I am so glad you dropped by and thank you for taking the time to leave a delightful comment! When Sekhmet calls, it is best to listen. lol She is a fierce protector and is usually not very subtle about her duties. I look forward to seeing your painting when you blog about it.

      And the harp key. . . oh yes, I could see that. I owned a handmade harp for just a few years in the 90's and really never got to play it as much as I would have liked. . . but it's presence in my studio, even just being a lap sized harp, was magical. It inspired and seemed to pulsate with energy. . . so that would be a perfect relic. . . inscribed with symbols and, when the reliquary is moved, it perhaps sounds a note or two in a very harp-like tone? :)

      LOVE your paintings and looking forward to catching up on your blog as well. :)