Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 123

I hold Soosi in my arms. I feel her babies moving under my fingers. Soft little turns and kicks. I watch the clouds slide over the mountains, which have lost nearly all of their snow. The oleanders are in full bloom and the view is lush. The air is full of bird sounds. Orion is still asleep. The smell of coffee brewing wafts in from the kitchen.

It's a beautiful, peaceful morning in Palm Springs but I'm troubled. I take a deep breath. These are uncertain times for humanity and tough times for me. I used to say, in reference to making the large kinetic works, that I loved the thrill of operating on the edge of failure. It's a thrill to push one's limits, stretch abilities past the level of comfort. An artist knows when she's in unknown territory and this inner exploration can be as exhilarating as mountain climbing to the mind suited to inner travels.

I didn't, at the time I talked about it, mean I'd enjoy several years of struggling to stay afloat. I find it interesting that struggling rhymes with juggling. And I feel like a clown. As happens, I sometimes see the deeper layers in a work only after it's finished.

I know now that this drawing, made late one night in a fit of emotion, is myself. I see all the symbols about loss and questions. I see the longing for the ocean under my eyes.

I believe I'm living the story that I might tell in the future, in programming lectures, or that I'll write in a book. It's not the sort of story we tell while we're in it. It's too raw and I have no idea what sort of story it will be until things change and this chapter is over.

I fear that things won't change, that I will only grow older and be trapped and fade into this cocoon.

But that's illogical. Things always change. I know myself. The one thing I don't do is give up. I hope that because I don't, others won't either. Tenacity and hope are as contagious as despair. I loathe despair and kick it away when it creeps up.

Fail! I thought, when I looked at the date. My goal to post every single day quite broken. But I've learned the difference between continual and continuous. I cling to my effort. I'm still in this year I set for myself to grow, started mid December.

I work it out in the work. I must exercise that mental muscle. To put aside my fears. That somehow we'll keep afloat if I keep working, if I remain kind. To hold to the belief that things will change for me and for you. That humans will wake up and find a better way. That Americans will change their minds. If not, I'll change mine and shut it out after all. If this is childish, then I'll be that. I don't have a better answer. I'm still looking.

I'm making art. Taking deep breaths. Making more art. It must be in there somewhere. Between the work, the mountains, the kittens and my son's sweet face. It must be there.


Melissa P said...

Don't give up. Mining that inner landscape is hard, dark work. It is made even tougher by the view when we come up for air--the insanity of our world, our planet is all too plain at those times. Change will come and you will move ahead into unexpected joys and dreams.

Carrie said...

namaste Lisa. Breathe, work on yourself and then maybe you can be strong enough to worry about others, about the world.
Work on Lisa - express yourself and BE xxxxx

Shelley Whiting said...

What a reflective and beautiful self portrait. A lot of people can't even paint or write about the sadness of their lives. It's beautiful that you can. The clown such an entrancing beautiful face, you want to hug him and tell him things will get better.

spacedlaw said...

Breathe, love, work and let go when it is needed.
The kittens should help you.

Meanwhile I have the cutest poppet drgaon showing up in my office. I think it has much to teach me as well.

Valya said...

Thank you for sharing this year, and all that fills it, with us. I struggle with it sometimes: how much to reveal, how much to keep private.

Then I read your blog and I hear echoes, feel connections, and find myself nodding to so many familiar struggles. You inspire, both with your art and with your vulnerability. Thank you.