How to begin?
comfort + confusion + connection
This challenge constantly sits in front of me and begs for attention.
My usual response is to grab a paintbrush or a pencil or a marker and start scribbling.
To ‘make’ is a very comfortable response.
I have journals filled with pieces of beginnings.
I have more beginnings than tidy endings.
Often, I will give far too much to the starting of things without getting to the discipline of delivering. This cycle of creation has lead to many rabbit holes. And like many rabbit holes, there aren’t always rabbits to be found.
Sometimes though, other things have taken refuge in the safety of the space.
“I grab them nearly unconscious as I intend to transfer these notes to the agenda, or the journal, or well, one of the four or five colour coded journals that I now have begun, nearly finished, tried to label and keep separate for the many different roles that I play. But, it hasn’t worked. The journals aren’t separated by my role or the club or the plan. My thoughts are not organized in these journals. Instead, notes spread from one journal to the next like salad dressing staining each task with some taste of a thought from another time or place. It’s all blown apart now, each club coming to a close, each class nearing an end.“https://reflectingonrecreation.wordpress.com/2021/06/01/loose-ends-sol2021/
Blown apart, stained, and still spreading pretty much sums up my creative process.
Ambiguous and aimless could also be added to the descriptor list.
ambiguity + rhythms + compartments
Our school year has routed down into my creative consciousness and conscience in really messy ways. Systems that break down sometimes do not give any notification. No status reports. No analytics. No rationale.
The stories from the families and students that I support are like this. So many beginnings, no tidy endings. No safe harbour.
May 29th is my dad’s birthday. He would have celebrated his 76th. Each year FB asks me if I want to wish him a Happy Birthday. I don’t, but others still do.
I was mentioning to my Spoken Word crew that Pete keeps popping up in my poetry lately; without invitation and seemingly without reason.
The rhythms of the monthly tides must be pulling him into me. Like the gusts and waves that Melanie mentions in her piece and I have been trying to go with their flow.
It was important to mention to my poetry crew that sometimes I have to push my dad out of the room for a bit. I spend quite a bit of time with him while I meditate or while I walk in the forest. For my mental health, I sometimes have to book time with him.
He is a rabbit hole. A very engaging and bottomless rabbit hole.
truth + attention + devotion
This past week the number 215 was made real as I worked in my garden. The news from Kamloops was grim.
I fell into the camp of white privileged thinkers of being stunned and saddened. The understanding that flags at half mast would follow as would the wearing of orange t-shirts served up a heaping reminder of systems at work. And systems broken.
Some folx posted on socials that tributes are performative. Others needed a sea of orange to float on.
As I sat in my yard with my hands in the dirt, mulling whether to top up or just to turn it over this year, I examined my impulses to react. I wondered what would be a safe response. Wondered what the right response would be. I wondered where to start.
“Attention is the beginning of Devotion.” ~Mary Oliverhttps://www.theexaminedlife.org/library/upstream-selected-essays/
Devotion for me often has a slowing affect. Like the moments of kneeling in my garden and pausing a moment longer before I pushed the spade in, to lift fallow corners anew. Sunday I spent time just sitting, holding rocks and twigs. I imagined me reaching out to the families, friends, descendants.
I tried to imagine history as an active emotional state.
Rolland Chidiac and I often talk about fictional products that could be associated with our podcast. We talk about ’empathy engines’ and how a wearable piece of tech could help people share emotional truth. And in sharing it directly while it is happening, empathy could be created in real time, simultaneously between people.
The profundity of accepting and knowing that these children still live in memory is essential to whatever next steps we take.
Someone posted- ‘I have long accepted that today is everyday.’
How do we begin to understand that the beginning we notice for ourselves, is not the beginning for others?
One possible path popped up in my Twitter feed.
If you are interested in attending a monthly Words Keep Wolves At Bay meet-up, please drop a comment below and we can make arrangements for you to share your email with me. The link for monthly digital meetups will be shared on the day of meeting. Meetups are on the 3rd Friday of each month at 8:00 PM. UPCOMING MEETING DATES AND SUGGESTED TOPICS June 18 - Light and Dark. Creating balance. July 16 - Loved and Lost. Pieces that broke, burned, or bothered you. August 20 - Supporting people who don't support your Creative. September 17 - Can I have more ham? Eff you it's called Prosciutto. And other misunderstandings. October 15 - Ozymandias November 19 - Baring bones. The structure of a Creative. December 17 - Polymath Post your work wherever you feel most safe and tag it with #wkwab. Feel free to let other peeps know about our circle. This circle is not just for words, please explore any element of your creativity. Consider the 'Words' in #wkwab to be our ongoing conversation and fellowship in this space.