Tag Archives: morning pages

morning pages

What is humanity doing? Where have we gone terribly wrong?

The news flattens me, daily.

Robin Williams’ suicide.

The plight of the Yazidi, annihilated by a terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The Yazidi aren’t the only ones dying in droves at their hands. Or those dying at the hands of the Militia operating there. I often wonder what kind of a religion can so effectively remove empathy and compassion from the hearts of its followers, and rationality from their minds.

I read an in-depth article on Edward Snowden published by Wired magazine. It was fascinating to read about how in the name of security and self-protection, the basic rights of so many civilians are being violated on an ongoing and daily basis (and there is apparently no monitoring mechanism in place to keep the honest people, monitoring the honest, honest).

I read about the latest happenings in Ferguson and what feels like a shift in what is viewed as fundamental human rights, sides being taken and so far from meeting somewhere in the middle that it feels like pre-MLK era mindset.

I think about the situation in the Ukraine, and wonder how someone could think that plundering a tube of mascara from the luggage of the downed Malaysian flight would be a good, ethical, thing to do. Who would want to use someone else’s used mascara anyway? The depravity goes on an on.

If I were god (if there was a god and I could step into god’s shoes for even a moment) I’d wonder where my children (if in fact we were in some way, directly or indirectly, the offspring of such a creator) had gone wrong, or more importantly, I would question what kind of parent I was, and where I’d failed with my parenting.

Clearly all of the various religious writings and all of the institutions upon which they are based, have somehow failed humanity. I think, perhaps, that humanity has essentially failed itself.

Have we not learned anything, over the many millennia that we have inhabited this green and blue dot?

My heart breaks. I want to keep the faith. I want to believe in humanity’s capacity for great and wondrous and beautiful things.

But daily my heart sinks. I turn to the little things that make me smile, like my writing or making little bits of art, or a walk around the inlet right by my neighbourhood – surrounded by green, with feet rhythmically pounding the dirt trails. I feel a little better, even if worry flares up about the tons of nuked water from the coast of Japan flooding the Pacific ocean and somehow affecting (in a way which we have yet to adequately determine) the ecosystem we rely upon and of which we are by our presence within it an integral part.

Then I get THIS in my inbox.

The sentiments oddly reflect my own.

The paralysis of concern combined with the inability to know what empowered action to take is a weighty one. What DO we do when we feel disengaged and downright helpless?

Maybe taking small, measurable but consistent, steps is a place to start. Maybe it all starts at home, in our backyards, and maybe, given time, the effects will ripple out wide enough to effect global change.

And to quote something from Jim Carrey’s commencement speech he gave earlier this year:

“Take a chance on faith — not religion, but faith. Not hope, but faith. I don’t believe in hope. Hope is a beggar. Hope walks through the fire. Faith leaps over it.”

Adriane xo

morning pages

Back on the wagon again this morning. After a very long hiatus, I am calling in this morning for some Parallel-Universe time with Jill. Since it’s a long distance cell phone call for me, I can’t afford to stay on the call for the whole hour but I’ve checked in now and will call back just before the top of the hour to check back in at the end.

So I wanted to limber up a little bit here (in these morning pages) before I head over to my short story. I’ve just barely rolled out of bed this morning and made myself a coffee in time for the call. I haven’t been getting up in time most of the mornings that the sessions have been held so I consider this morning a triumph in starting to turn around my very weird body clock back to its usual routines.

My body’s been feeling better. It will be four weeks this Friday since the surgery and I’m finally moving and sleeping a little less gingerly, though some tender spots remain on my belly and right side. After rereading the post-operative instruction pamphlet a couple of days ago, I realized that I could have removed the steri-strips a while ago, but I have to admit that they intimidated me. Much like my reaction to the appendix surgery incision I got in 1971, looking beneath the bandage to see what is under there is always a bit alarming when you realize how many layers of tissue they had to cut through to get inside to where they needed to go. My inside part is always a weird concept for me, because I feel like I *am* inside, inside looking out at the world, and that when sharp objects are poked through my outer layers into my viscera, it is clear that those insides and the ones I think I am inhabiting are not the same. It’s an odd dichotomy.

Yesterday I watched yet another video of Danielle Laporte with a guest speaker, this time Linda Siverstein, discussing their new offering of the Big Beautiful Book Plan. I’m convinced that the reasons that people like Danielle are so successful is multi-fold –clearly without talent and compelling content you will go no where– but the primary aspect of the dissemination of her work is due, I think, to the fact that she enjoys the business end of her work. Downright relishes it, even. ‘Business’ brings up all kinds of stuff for me, notably the fact that while Danielle claims to be able to sell ice to the Inuit, I on the other hand couldn’t sell them a furnace even if I was one of few furnace retailers during a particularly vicious cold snap.

Selling makes me feel uncomfortable in the same way that self-assessment during the annual review process does. My idea is that: I serve a purpose, I fulfill that purpose to the best of my ability by doing the work expected of the role I serve. Whether others like the purpose I serve or not is not up for discussion nor for me to justify. I was invited to show up and served that purpose, in whatever concrete or organic way that purpose chose to manifest itself. I don’t keep track of every little thing that I do on the journey of serving. I simply don’t have the attention span for that – I’m not built that way. I’ve tried to keep track, though, because these details and calculations are apparently key to getting a good review and the bonus that invariably goes with one. Writing down the big projects – the end results – isn’t enough to make people understand all of the steps and the value of your contribution – the amazing accomplishment of getting to the end of the line. They need the details, the minutia, in excruciating (and self-aggrandizing) detail.

While I can mechanize some processes that I undertake to get from A to B, oftentimes they end up being a rather flexible (and innate) process. I might take a different route one day just for the sake of variety and I might even discover that instead of B, a new route to C is an even better outcome. I will change and adapt, and the discovery process is an infinite one. Rigid constraints stifle me in a way that I can’t even begin to properly describe without using words like “suffocate” and “airless” and “drowning”. I feel these physically, in my body, when I think of constraints. Apparently more exploration is needed in that area. ::head desk::

So I’m off to my short story now, but I leave you with these thoughts of constraint and restriction and expansion and freedom. In some respects I think constraints are good – having a base structure to work off of is essential to not totally getting lost meandering – but at what point does it stop serving you (and your purpose)? What do they mean to you? How do you work within their parameters? Do constraints feed you or do they pull the air out of your sails?

morning pages

It’s cold in here. The furnace has been shut off (at least I think it has, because Tyler sent me a text telling me that he would shut it off because, well, it’s supposed to be summer shortly) but this morning it’s fucking cold in here, especially in my blanket skirt, because I just shlepped out of bed in my panties and my Grim “I’ve Come to Reap Your Immortal Soul” tank top and the blanket that I usually wrap around my ass should really just be replaced with a snuggie this morning because my arms and legs are cold.

Coffee is being made, because without coffee the neurons in my brain don’t fire nearly as well at this time of the morning. Seriously, what was I thinking, getting up this early? The cat woke me up at a little after five, and then I got up to pee and then I checked my phone and saw that I had a new Twitter follower and then I fell down the interwebz rabbit hole, all the way to James Franco (how the hell did I get here?!).

So, coffee. And the decision to do morning pages, because I miss Hollywood and California and staying at the Chateau even for a handful of weekends was like a little piece of dream, right there. I realize people are all just as skewed as I am, only in different ways. We all have a dream, and even when we find our way to it, it’s never what we think it is.

Which brings me around to desire. And my continuing saga of Desire Mapping. And.. but wait.. coffee…

Impossible blue sky. At least when it’s not smog filled. California. I ran away from it, tail between my legs. I failed at the one thing that I thought I would succeed at.

Ahhh… coffee (::sip, sip::)

I’m almost out (of coffee, I mean) – will have to walk across the street to Thrifty’s and get some more. Maybe I’ll even splurge and go next door to Starbucks instead because when the Nabob is going for almost ten bucks, seriously why bother with that when you can get a pound of Brezza Blend – that coffee is the shit? Except when you can’t because it’s almost double the cost of the Nabob.

Oh yeah… I was wondering why I’d gotten up so early. Must have been the post Chinese food induced early evening coma that knocked me out earlier than usual. That, and the cat and the bladder and James Franco. Man, I’m so out of the loop on the who’s-who… I’m going to have to run a search because I don’t even really know who he is, except that I read one of his blog posts and I like how he writes – at least how he wrote that one. And that I had some bungalow envy. Seriously – some of those cottages were bigger than the apartment we were renting in Irvine. I suppose if I could afford to regularly pay, per square foot, what I did for a weekend bungalow I’d’ve had a bigger place in Irvine, too.

Hey, I like my place here in PoMo though. It’s bigger, certs – room for all of my freakin’ books. Ahhh books. I seriously have issues. It’s a visual thing; a tactile thing; a sapiophile thing. But the rain… the rain undoes me. I don’t mind it occasionally but when people are dreading drought I silently, in my mind, give it a fist pump. Selfish. I know. How I survived 29 years of northeastern climate I haven’t a clue. Even then I dreamt of California. I remember. We were living in an upper floor triplex on Darveau and it must have been 1971-ish and I remember flipping through the pages of these geographical encyclopedias and looking at the demographics and climate and the GNP and determining that it was either Florida or California, or bust. Less Florida, because there was more humidity, weird critters and less Hollywood. Seriously. Hollywood was always a draw (even though I hadn’t a clue how I could possibly integrate into it whatever it produced-mostly produce, according to the books).

Now… I don’t like to think of it as an entity, Hollywood, at least not the part I’m interested in contributing to, but it probably is to some extent. When I consider what that feels like, I feel it slither through like something out of a Clive Barker novel.

Desire. Maps. Back to the topic. During our Spreecast meet yesterday, our little book group touched on dreams – at this point in the book the discussion touches on how we stifle, stuff and skew our desires, how there is almost a sense of embarrassment around enunciating them even to ourselves (well, the embarrassment is my own – but I don’t think I’m alone in this).

I’d mentioned that when I think about what I desire in my vision of a perfect life, some of the scenarios are so disparate that it would be difficult for them to coexist, or make sense that the same person is conceiving them both. For example: living off the grid, raising goats or alpacas or both (because YARN and CHEESE) and raising a few chickens and growing some veggies and learning how to can stuff and generally being self-sufficient… OR living in a beach house in Malibu or some other coastal (and possibly less prone to landslides) California property where I’d be free to write and create and collect Oscars for my efforts and BEACH.

They are not all that disparate though, since Kim could easily see how they related : freedom. Conveniently, I’d already written it down as one of my words, one of my core desired feeling words.

Freedom.

Of course I picked some other, more obscure words, because I’m a pompous ass, occasionally, and I can use Big Words even if you can’t. So, aside from freedom, they are:

Cohesion : Satiated : Vital : Cogent : Affluent

(I’ll probably change my mind, again, about these words and the ones that follow. I’m nothing if not consistent with my transience.)

The last one was ripped from Danielle’s list, because why not? Affluence brings freedom, even as it can take it away – I suppose it depends. The fluvial aspect of it, the allusion of flow, appeals to me. But perhaps ‘satiated’ covers just about everything, in a nutshell. I want enough, dammit, whatever enough is for me, even as it is prone to constant reassessment on what that might look like at any given time. Enough. MORE even.

I wonder where that comes from, that desire for enough? Weeeeeell… I know *where* it comes from, but examining the why and the how is my point now.

Fun, this, isn’t it? Seriously – I wear myself out sometimes. I’m nothing if not examined. All nooks and crannies get blinded by a flashlight beam, semi-regularly.

But still. (See that? I’ve started multiple sentences with a conjunction. Deal with it.)

I was surprised at the resistance I felt when airing, out loud, what I wanted. Even when I knew that the people I was airing them to would be supportive and uncritical.

Which leads me to…

Why is it that some people just adore going around with a pin just so they can burst people’s balloons? If people were empowered and supported throughout the building process, there isn’t much that they couldn’t accomplish, even their wildest notions. So what is it about those that feel compelled to tear down instead of build up? What is the appeal?

My mom was that person. She always told me to be realistic when I’d start tugging on the constraints of the small picture that she’d painted as my possibility. And the truth is, sometimes reality sucks. Also, though, while sheer escapism doesn’t liberate you from present circumstances, the ability to dream and imagine a more creative outcome, and a way to get there, requires the ability to step out of reality.

For a long time I’d all but lost that ability to step outside. I’m relieved to see that it’s coming back.

And now for some more coffee.

morning pages and cultivating roots…

Jan3CultivateRoot

(pencil undersketch penned over and painted with tube gouache. #30DayJournalProject)

Slow. Rain. Comfort. Coffee. Dream fragments. Hunger pangs. Hair and clothes that need washing. Lists made. Things to be done. All folding into this space and time of semi-wakefulness. This moment. WHAT do I want? What do I want to DO? Besides sleep some more. Oh sleep, how I love thee. It took months before I broke out of the cycle of awakening early every morning, filled with anxiety as though I’d missed the alarm. My rhythms are different now… back to what they naturally are inclined to do – late nights and not wakening until it’s light, which on these shortened winter days is late. Ah, yes… light. Not much of it again, these days. I think that I ought to go for a run and try fitness again but all I want to do is sleep. Keep warm and cozy and dry. Definitely not wet. Why do people like running in the cold rain?

It’s almost 10am and I am only just dragging myself up and about.  It’s grey outside and the grumbling in my stomach reminds me to put the kettle on. Coffee first. Then, when there are enough neurons firing, something else… food. Yogourt and granola. Love this granola but seriously – $8 for the bag made me cringe, but I got it anyway because it has Good Stuff in it, and I don’t have much Good Stuff so I need to make it count. I have a sort of dietic apathy.  I love food but the preparing and cooking of it doesn’t interest me, so quick and convenient (which usually doesn’t mean healthy). I did buy some pita bread and will experiment with making my own chips (*must steep fresh rosemary in olive oil*). I do like the experimental aspect of it. And when people enjoy what I make. There’s only the two of us and it gets old always being the one to be doing the cooking.

*pausing to make some coffee*

The smell of coffee is still on my hands. I love how it smells. How it tastes, too, but the smell is what brings it all together – the scent, the taste, the way it’s warmth spreads as it progresses down to my belly.

I had an image come to me this morning, for my art journal page, as I laid in bed with my arms clasped together over my lower abdomen, feeling it rise and fall with each breath. The awareness of my breath made me focus on it even more, and I breathed relaxation into it. I saw it as if it was burning, like a fire enlivened by the wind from the bellows. I had until now thought that my creativity stemmed from the root chakra, the elemental connection of our bodily selves to the spark that materialized us, but I see now that it’s at the second chakra where my breath is feeding the raging fires that it births from.

I made plans. I wrote them out (in my Notes, on the iPhone).

One is to do these… morning pages. To write for an hour. Another is to write on one of my stories. I haven’t touched the Telescope story in a while, and I feel it’s time to revisit it again. I’m just going to write. What else can I do but write it out? Yet another to-do item is to research freelance opportunities for writers and artists. I want to know where the markets are, what they require, so that I can build a repertoire of material that will likely be attractive. Targeted work. I always thought that making “art” to order would take away from my creative process, but I think in some ways it will fuel it, make me stretch in ways I would not have had it just been for me and my being left to my own devices. I hope it makes me a better writer and artist.

And then there is the roast for dinner. I am going to put it in the oven around 4PM. It’s a mammoth rolled pork blade roast, and I now realize that I will have to return to the grocery store because I think it needs to be accompanied by brussels sprouts. Yes, definitely. It will be poked and inserted with slivers of garlic and resemble Pinhead – Clive would be proud. I wish I had some rendered fat to rub on its surface. I have some duck fat and it works well as a fat for many things but it just doesn’t sound like it would taste right with the pork, which is lighter and more subtle in flavour and the duck fat doesn’t ever quite lose that wildness. I wish I could find some juniper berries. Not tons.. just a bit. I had a recipe call for some and it’s not something that regularly shows up between the peppercorn and nutmeg and turmeric.  I have a serious spice hoarding issue. Well… not hoarding – collecting. But I use them. I’m the one who makes lavender and thyme shortbread cookies. I love lavender. In food. Well, in anything, Period.

*pauses to go grab the mail that just got violently shoved through the mail slot by the postal carrier – it always startles me*

Nothing particularly exciting, though Organic Gardening was in there, and I know that preparing for the next growing season isn’t all that far off. I’m so grateful that Tyler and Amanda are keen gardeners and that they allow me to stick my hands into the dirt here, and also reap some of the bounty. I’ve been thinking that perhaps my (two boxes of!) paper making supplies could be put to use during this lull and that I make some seeded paper to sell. On etsy, maybe. I always wonder about whether it’s worth opening up an etsy storefront or not. Whether it’s more trouble than it’s worth; whether you need the demand already in place for the supply to be worth the trouble. Not quite buying the “if you build it they will come” paradigm. But who knows.

Well, the hour is about up. I’m ready for some granola and yogourt. Maybe another coffee, and then I’ll tackle something else on my list. One of which should be to take a shower.