Sunday, September 11, 2016

art, illness and Gord Downie

Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then, I contradict myself;
I am large - I contain multitudes. 
- Walt Whitman
I said I would blog more often,
and I didn't.
I said I would begin each day with a morning walk,
and I haven't been doing that.
I said I would do yoga on a regular basis
and I did yoga this morning -
for the first time in like 7 days.
Sometimes, things don't unravel 
the way we think they will.
Sometimes, we set the bar high
and don't accomplish half of what we want to,
and sometimes, there is no bar
and we move mountains.
I know that for some reason lately,
it's been more difficult for me
to sit myself down and post something.
Sometimes I feel like I don't have anything
worthwhile to say,
and sometimes, there's very little art. 
I've begun posting on Instagram here & there
and although it feels less personal to me than blogging,
I love that you can post something in an instant
and post from the phone (vs the computer).
So you'll probably find me there more often
than here.
Of course, I won't give up blogging
because i love writing and because it allows me
to share in more detail with you all,
but maybe i was a little optimistic
when I said i would blog "weekly". :)
So I'll blog when I can blog,
and I'll Instagram when I can Instagram.
Remember, I suck at commitment,
so if I put any pressure on myself,
i'll cave! :)
September has been beautiful here so far
and yesterday was actually another beach day.
We've been lucky with this unusually warm fall.
Of course, everyone's already starting to talk about
how hard and cold this winter is predicted to be,
based on the Farmer's Almanac, 
a reference book founded in 1792!
Yeah, I think I'll just enjoy
the weather we're having RIGHT NOW
rather than start worrying about
what MAY happen in 3 or 4 months, thank you. :)
The corner stores and coffee shops here are filled
with old men in baseball hats,
forecasting the weather and
fixing the government. :)
So this happened to me a few weeks ago...
And let me tell you, it was far less painful
than what I was expecting.
Of course, when people find out
you're getting a root canal,
they give you the deer in the headlights look
and then your knees turn to jello. 
Maybe I just got a really good specialist,
but it was no more painful than getting a tooth filling.
It took a bit longer, that's all.
So there MAY be root canal horror stories out there,
but mine wasn't one of them.
So if any of you out there ever need this done,
trust that it's ALL gonna be ok. :)
Gord Downie.
Most Canadians (and probably many Americans!) 
watched the Tragically Hip concert a few weeks ago, on CBC.
Gord Downie (the lead singer) has terminal brain cancer,
and they decided to give a farewell concert to all their fans,
in his hometown of Kingston, Ontario.
Our hearts broke several times during the night,
as our eyes were glued to the TV for a 3 hour concert.
Gord is living his life fully,
and now, he's showing us all how to die...
dancing on a stage & singing at the top of his lungs,
in flashy pants & feathered hats.
He makes me very proud to be Canadian.
So I've been using paint tape more often lately,
when i'm painting abstracts.
I love the big reveal in the end,
when you peel off the tape.
It may not seem like much to others,
but it's a thrill for me each time.
I alternate between painting (often abstract)
and illustrated journal writing.
Sometimes, I feel like telling a story
and sometimes, i just feel like FEELING something.
I know that can sound corny to some,
but that's really what abstract painting is for me.
Starting with a few marks on the page (or canvas)
and just letting them take me where they wanna go.
Usually, the end result is very different
than where i thought it would go in the beginning.
Like in this case.
When i began with those harsh blue & black marks,
i had no idea it would end up looking like this.
It started out looking angry,
and it looks rather peaceful to me now.
That's what art does.
It allows you to work through some of the crap
on a subconscious level
without you even KNOWING it's working through it.
It doesn't mean your problems are solved,
but I believe they are at least sitting in your heart
in a less destructive way.
In a way that eats less at your insides.
Maybe it's just me,
but i always feel better about everything
after I've made art.
This is also happening lately...
my dad was recently diagnosed with Parkinson.
We had been noticing the smaller steps & shuffling feet
and the occasional falls for a while now :(
It all makes me sad to see him losing the ability
to do so many things,
but that's life, isn't it?

I went with him to the neurologist this week
and the medication will make a difference.
But he is 81, so chances are,
things will get worse before they get better.
And of course, he wants to stay in his apartment
as long as he possibly can
and i totally respect his need for independence.
In the meantime, we do what we can
to make his life safe and comfortable.
We're the lucky ones
to have him with us still,
when so many others leave this world far too soon.

On that note, today is Sept 11, 2001.
As always, my thoughts are with the families
of those who died on this day 15 years ago now.
A day that must've been hell for so many...

And one has to understand
that braveness is not the absence of fear
but rather the strength to keep on going forward
despite the fear.
- Paul Coelho