Many years ago I watched a movie about a man who dies and reviews his life. Different scenes from his life were projected back to him followed by discussion and heavenly judgment. I recently decided to conduct my own life review. The first thing I learned was that I have been on a continuous life review for decades…just not consciously. The second thing I learned was that this process is as wonderous as it is awful.
Reconnecting with classmates has been essential to this process. I joined Facebook and am now in touch with many of my grammar and high school friends and acquaintances. It has been quite an experience getting to know many of them all over again as an adult. And through the process of sharing old family pictures, school pictures, photos of our children, grandchildren and life adventures, they have shown me their perspectives of me.
Being the inner critic that I’ve been, I take it all in and then wonder…Am I better a version of me now or do I have some work to d?. Of course I have work to do! And it begins with examining both my negative and postive life experiences.
However, at this very moment I am exhausted and having difficulty with focus. Oh, fiddlydee. I’ll think about it tomorrow while I plant some May Day flowers.
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I wanted to do art but wanted to take a break from the projects in progress. I have been thinking about abstract painting but just didn’t know where to start. So I watched several videos on youtube and was inspired to try.
That was fun! So I tried it again in colors that I’ve always been afraid of using in a painting composition.
That was also very fun and I’m afraid that I can get lost in abstract painting. It is freeing and takes very little time. I can easily see me using all my paint in no time at all. Perhaps I shall limit myself to one a month…
My husband is a Shriner, a group that supports several children’s hospitals across the US. There was a Christmas bazaar put on by the Shriner’s Ladies (of which I am one) today. Since I was unable to help with the bazaar, I donated one of my photographs. The photo of the framed photograph didn’t turn out well but I have included as the frame really sets it off. The ladies were quite excited and decided to hold a raffle for my photo.
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I’ve always loved the picture on the cover of “The Artist’s Way” by Julie Cameron. I bought the book when it first came out around almost twenty years ago.
We traveled to Yellowstone National Park 10 years ago, my husband, little girl, and I. We drove to see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. As I turned towards the Lower Falls (Snake River) I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was the sketch of the original cover of “The Artist’s Way.” It was more than spectacular…It was surreal. I snapped some pictures and anxiously waited for the film to be developed. (Remember cameras that needed film?)
This is the best picture I took.
I recently located this photo in a container that has been in storage. I pulled up the author’s website and saw the book cover. Not being able to see it up close I was surprised that I though the artist’s sketch was of this part of Yellowstone. It looks more like somewhere in Japan. Did I focus on a particular part of the sketch? Am I deluded? Hmmmm…I must give this more thought…
Nevertheless, this piece of Yellowstone is amazing!
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My foot steps upon the road
detertermined in my stride.
I know that I was in for it
for what I try to hide.
The Serpentine Road calls to me
and beckons me to travel.
I trust the process as I watch
my entire life unravel.
I skip and hop, listen and see
Epiffanies sprinkled around.
Silly, happy, sad and crying
Emotions in the rebound.
The further I travel
the more I find out
meeting the real me
as I wonder about.
I run into myself
Giving me the third degree
Further down the road I spy
Me… hugging me.
My heart beats strong,
My thoughts are pure.
The Serpentine Road
is the cure
for split personality.
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If I knew then what I know now… How many times have I said that?! There are so many experiences of childhood that were much more meaningful than I realized.
I grew up in Columbia, CA, a small historic mining town. I was a cheerleader in grammar school and had a great time. One of my friends was Cindy Surendorf, daughter to internationally acclaimed artist Charles Surendorf II. Charlie created art unlike anything I had ever seen (still). He did woodblock printing and later switched to using linoleum. I watched him from afar as he was a brusque man and I respected his creative space.
Cindy has spent her life keeping her father’s style of art alive by teaching and, most recently, by creating a foundation in memory of her father. http://www.surendorf2artfoundation.org/
This weekend I am attending “Woodblock Woodstock” to celebrate the work of Charlie. I am honored to be invited by Cindy and am really looking forward to looking at Charlie’s work with adult eyes. As a child I thought Charlie’s art was too dark. By that I mean that it was mostly black with white, lacking in color. Some of his art was confusing to me.
If I knew then what I know now… I would have worked up the courage to talk to Charlie and get to know him. I would have asked him about his art. I would have watched him working, not from a distance but up close. I would have purchased his work when it was affordable. (Each block was destroyed after 28 prints.) Yes, if I knew then…
But all is not lost. I have Cindy in my life and I can learn from her. I can buy some raffle tickets and possibly win Lode Lynching, a piece of Charlie’s art being auctioned this weekend (pictured below).
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Meanwhile back in Stratford-On-Avon, we wandered the streets until we came upon a door.
It was the front door to the house where William Shakespeare was born in 1564. To tour this place that was built 400 years ago and had changed very little was beyond description. The bedroom contained a very old bed that was quite large and was made with ropes. There was a trundle-bed and some mattresses on the floor. Apparently all the children slept either in the same bed or the same room as the parents. The plank floors were warped and the stairs a little uneven but that was what I liked best.
William attended school from the age of seven to fourteen when he and his brothers had to leave school because his father fell from favour. The school young Shakespeare attended is not only still standing, it is still being used as a school! I can only imagine how worn the floors must be. I wonder how many young men wandered the halls. The girls were not educated during Shakespearean times.
We had one more stop before leaving town. We went to the Holy Trinity Church were Shakespeare, his wife, daughter, and son-in-law are interred.
I was feeling a little forlorn when it was time to return to our coach. But as I walked back to coach parking I had a strong reminder that I was far from home in a foreign country. “We aren’t in Kansas anymore…” I murmured to myself.
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Being at the abbey brings back the feeling of being in another time. I am so blessed to have mastered “just being” while traveling through the UK last summer. It was so easy for me to imagine the 16th century while in Shakespeare Country. Our first stop was at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. (That would be the Anne Hathaway who married Shakespeare. She was an older woman, a cougar in today’s terms.) I was amazed to realized that Anne’s cottage was an image I had seen on a china plate somewhere.
Everything about the cottage was charming. ..from the windows to the garden gate…to the profusion of flowers and scents that exploded into the English garden.
There was a gazebo made of willow with the words of Shakespeare coming from a hidden speaker. The gnarled trees in the orchard seemed to have their own language.
I can still feel the peace and feel the inspiration of long ago. How could anyone live in such a glorious place and not be inspired?
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