Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Between the waves

On November 3, I awoke from a dream where I imagined a self directed course of study for myself focused on printmaking, complete with instructions on how to record my progress all the way to final assignments for each technique. I took my dream seriously and wrote it all down. Two days later I even typed it into a structured format for clarity and accountability. In between those two days life went sideways. Three weeks later...

Between the crashing waves and pull of the under tow I try to catch my breath so I can continue my  caregiver role. Sometimes I simply sit. Other times find respite in my studio. Last week, in spite of the cold (40 degrees inside my tiny crows nest) I soon was oblivious. With effort I picked up where I had left off - Nov. 3 - the day before the two falls.   I used a photo from a recent trip,  photoshoped it, and then made a tracing. I cut the soft fun foam and started to print. The inks were new to me and the results varied. I discovered quite a bit and soon was ready to move on to the next level. Two days later I redesigned the image, cut a new plate and tried again. I came away with many realizations. I hope I remember them.

It is sometimes hard to remember when new waves crash over you. I mean I know - just like at the ocean  - the big waves are going to come, but the frequency and amplitude is disturbing. Sometimes you don't even see them coming making it hard to prepare. And then there's the calm which is just as unnerving. It's chaos man!

This is why making (or trying to make) art is so important.


Bored with the print I play...

with the ink left on the plate.
Another day I resized the image thinking that would help...

Thoughts of how to get the windows in, registration issues... why one type of ink works better than another....

Instead I play with the ink left on the plate and use the foam cut outs instead of the original piece.

and then go deeper into how I feel.

Today I couldn't even go there. Instead I made cards for family.
Of course they won't get to them in time for Thanksgiving.
Where's Captain Kirk and his "beam me up Scotty" machine?

 The words: Let us be thankful for the opportunity in each new day.


Monday, November 18, 2013

The concept of Do and Be

With my recent retirement I developed this PLAN for a productive yet rewarding use of  my new found unscripted time. For all of October each Monday I would get up early, gather my tools together- paper and pen and nest with a hot cup of tea by the warm fire. I'd study and peruse my pages of lists: the garden to-do list, the maintenance list, the major fix list, and the 5 pages double sided single bulleted list of arty things I want to do. I felt it fair to choose something from each category for the week's goal. In that way I could get things ship shape at home and be the artist I thought I could be. The logic was so linear. I thought perhaps there was some harmonic balance that could be acheived through organization and mindfulness. Ha.

Only a few weeks into the plan Karma, the universe, something... had another plan.

It started on Nov 4th with two falls. By the 7th it developed into a hospitalization. For 7 days this was my spot. I had a good view of the patient, the tubes, and the hallway's comings and goings.

If it weren't for having to be the one to make every decision
 about every form of treatment or non-treatment,
and being witness to the bruised 87 year old body riddled with Alzheimer's
the view would have been fantastic.  
The 6th floor had a magnificent view of the valley.
Autumn had richly clothed the scene in nut brown, greens and gold.
 On a clear day you could see the bay.

Yes, behind every cloud there's blue sky.
See, there it is.
However, if a hole doesn't open up you have to go through
the cloud of unknowing to see it.
I call it the grey zone - where clear vision isn't an option.
The grey zone where decision making isn't black and white.
There are no feeding tubes and last rites in the grey zone.
The grey zone is where you play dice and hang (in time)
waiting to see how the game plays out.
Apparently, the grey zone is a place where an old guy
can put his right foot in the grave
and just as quickly take it out and shake it all about.
I'd be so focused I would catch myself holding my breath.
Imagine having to remind yourself to so something so automatic as breathing?
So, with positivity - onward and upward - next stop - a skilled nursing facility.
Unbelievable, how is this possible?
A lucid  day,
where recovering man expresses himself eloquently,
giving thanks to his Decider (POA), watchwoman caregiver, his mouthpiece - ME!
sniff and tear....
I own that lucid moment.
It is mine. All mine.
I am sorry for the others who did not get one.
Because the moment didn't last.
The ones that followed weren't the same.
Later a midnight call
and more weighty decisions about a fever, drugs, and readmission.
It is a roller coaster ride - just like the fair.
(I hate the rides at the fair.)
Hear my virtual scream.
I look down at my hands -
I am neither grasping the rail or holding my hands high.
In my mind I am PRACTICING riding the rise and fall.
I focus on the concept of BE and DO.
When I can't Do (anything about anything) - I can (simply) Be.
I can breath.