Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Life After Life

Part of it is my age, I'm sure, and part of it is probably coincidence, but so many things lately have been linked to death that it's making me stop and go "hmmm."

For instance, my daughter found an obit she wrote for herself as a workshop assignment several years ago; I went to a funeral yesterday; I listened to James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" and could not stop crying (...but I always thought I'd see-ee-ee you again ..."; Tom and I been talking about wills and trusts; conversations with random people have taken place about what people would remember about you and what you wanted them to remember; and now the blog 37 Days is having people write about what they would do if they knew they only had 37 days to live. That's easy for me. I'd walk right in and quit my job.

The idea of thinking about what you'd do if you only had a certain number of days to live is to then ask yourself what's keeping you from doing those things now? It's the idea of living intentionally, living life to the fullest.

My husband keeps saying "You're going to live a long time" and I hope he's right. But I'm feeling a sense of urgency to do things that have a "what if" underlying the not doing them.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mixed Media Exhibit

I went to a mixed media art opening on Sunday. It's an annual event and one of my favorites to attend. This year a friend of mine had three pieces in it so it was especially exciting to attend. I think I like this event because there's so much unleashing of rules. Of course, like anything, there really ARE rules. Layer over layer, which one first. Trial and error. It looks so simple, and yet there's nothing more intimidating than a blank sheet of anything. One thing I noted was "no calligraphy represented." This gives me something to think about for next year.

Felting seemed to be the "new" medium this year. There were about five pieces incorporating felting in some way. In fact, the "Best of Show" was felting over an old corset. [photo 1]

Mixed media can probably take credit for coming up with "Green art." The idea of recycling is what mixed media is all about -- using things that might otherwise be thrown away. Another thing noticeable was the incorporation of pets into the art. There they were -- front and center. A sculpture with the title of "Watch Dog" was the epitome of recycle. [photo 2]

And then there was the Ultimate in Visual Journaling -- a book that wasn't an altered book but a wildly constructed fabric book, loaded up with sketches, collage, cast-off jewelry -- rich rich textures. [photo 3]

This is just a sampling of the exhibit. Sorry, other than art by Donna Sledge (photos 4,5,6), I didn't make notes on names of the artists. The photo for #6 doesn't really do it justice. It's a torso with flattened beer cans attached with oxygen tubing. The piece is entitled "Six-pack Abs."







Thursday, July 17, 2008

Retirement On My Mind

Retirement is on my mind these days. How to do it, when to do it, where to do it. Many of the "guides" I look at talk about the chance to become the person you could never be, all the self-discovery or self-realization that can take place. It's a little intimidating really, especially when they pepper the margins with quotes like these:

It is often safer to be in chains than to be free. (Franz Kafta)

It's always the same; once you are liberated you are forced to ask who you are. (Jean Baudrillard)

I think I pretty much know who I am and what I'd be if I didn't work. And yet, I can't help but wonder if work has suppressed or suffocated who I really am to the point that Yes, there will need be self-discovery. I've never thought of my identity as being wrapped up in my job or in job relationships. If anything, they are SO disconnected to who I am that they cause me angst a lot of the time.

Maybe it's self-REdiscovery I'll be looking for.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Change Isn't Always for the Better

The house across the street from me is being demolished -- not because it was run down or falling down, not because it was beyond repair. Truth is, a builder is hoping an empty lot will sell better than a house that needs attention. So sad. I let myself get worked up over this and have finally settled down. The demo crew said they thought the house had jinxed them -- that it wasn't ready to come down. It's taking three times longer than they thought. Yea was what I thought.

Old dirt smells so bad. It's amazing how bad it smells. It smells almost as bad as tearing down a perfectly good house.