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Thanksgiving

2009/11/25

Today is a good day.  I have felt grateful all day.  For my Creative Spark writing class we are supposed to be keeping a dream journal.  I write my dreams down a lot anyhow, on scraps of paper or notepad around my bed.  The last couple of times I woke up and wanted to write it down I was too lady to find somethihg to write on.  However, I was inspired to write 2 poems while I was showering that day.  I had woken up with this “full of feeling” feeling and the words seemed to rain down on me as I showered so I wrote them quickly.  I shared them on here.

Today I couldn’t remember much of the dreams but poetry came to me in that little place between asleep and awake.  I quickly found something to write on, and nice tablet/spiral at the top full size notebook so I wrote poetry and journaled.  I must say that is an invigorating way to begin the day!  Then some Led Zeppelin II on the short trip to work..”Rock and Roll”, loudly, and I was Miss Productive!

Afterward went out to Mom’s and just about everyone was there.  Saw all of my nieces and nephews on that side for awhile.  Didn’t stay too long because I still have a nasty cough and asthma.  I came home and lay down awhile.  Then I finished making the pie (well, almost) that I’m making for tomorrow.

I’m happy to be home with Tim, Barrett, Andy and Elsie.  Andy came home last night.  I’d forgotten about “No Shave November”.  This year is the 2nd year of this lovely practice.  Here is my little college boy-(not so little, not a boy, I’m sure he’d say)

Well, Facebook isn’t cooperating right now, so I can’t send the pic over here.  Suffice it to say:  He’s hairy.

I am thankful for my family, friends-old and new, writing, the rain, the sun, my gas efficient car, Elsie (my shadow who loves me so unconditionally), someone not drinking today, the health of my family, good books to read.

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Finished The Molineux Afftair this afternoon.  I’m feeling unmotivated and down.  Ok, there I said it.  I did get some housework done-most of the laundry, dusting and vacuuming, but I didn’t complete it all.  This afternoon I’m going to a new member’s reception for Visual Arts center.  I’m dreading it a little, only because I’m having a crisis of confidence.  I’m sure it will be fine.  I’ve been such a slug, I don’t want to blow this off too.

I did my Creative Spark writing assignment, but I want to tweak it.   There is a whole area I wanted to talk about and I didn’t, so I have the material, just need to get it down.  The assigment was to read something written by Langston Hughes, and writing about it and applying some of it to our own lives and write about it.   

I think I’d be better off if I didn’t involve myself with politics at all.  In fact, I’m going to un-follow some people, because I don’t think it’s an area I need to focus on.  It’s so negative.  And I just received this book about Bush & Cheney’s war for oil by Gore Vidal.  He is an excellent writer, and he always covers subjects very thoroughly and from a historical perspective as well.  I find this enriching.  But before I read that I think I will read We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates.

Okay, I’ll get back to the assignment.   Wish I could be more interesting, but not feeling very interesting at the moment.  Sorry, Readers!  And you are so sweet to read my blather.  More later!

Arts Events

2009/11/13

Let’s see if I can find a picture of someting from the Lewis collection at the Virginia Museum.  Here’s one:  (I’ve actually seen this; it is a life size sculpture.)

Ice Mankikismith 

1995-96

Kiki Smith (American, 1954- )

Bronze

79-1/4”H x 29-1/2”W x 11-1/2”D
201.30 cm x 74.93 cm x 29.21 cm

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. The Sydney and Frances Lewis Endowment Fund, 2004.1
Photo: Katherine Wetzel © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

I’ve been planning to renew my membership to the Virginia Museum, but I thought I’d wait until all the galleries were open again.  I didn’t, because of a wonderful preview for members that is happening 20 November.  Remember my favorite art patrons in Richmond, the Lewises?  I wrote about them here.  The preview on the 20th is of the new gallery with the Lewis collection of contemporary art!  I’m very excited.  If you are a member or decide to join the museum, please join us for this preview.  It is a wonderful collection, and I know there are additions to it since I’ve last seen it.  Remember James Prosek?  I wrote about him here and here.  I know the museum purchased one of his paintings, and I think it will be part of this exhibit. 

Also, did anyone join Visual Arts Center of Richmond?  I did when I signed up for my Creative Spark writing class, so I could get the discount, and I thought I might take more courses there this year.  Sunday afternoon there is a new members reception at the home of one of the board members.  I’m going, and I wondered if anyone reading this is also a new member, and going to the reception?  Let me know if you are and I will look for you there!

I’m very excited about both of these events, especially the preview.  Can’t wait to see the new Sydney and Frances Lewis Gallery, and the fabulous works of art in it, both old and newly acquired.  And then the whole museum is reopening in May!   For a town the size of Richmond, the VMFA is quite impressive.

Barry, a man in my Creative Spark writing class, mentioned a poem by this man the other night so I checked it out.  It is beautiful, and I am sharing it here.   The repeated line, “I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow,” really resonates with me.   I will definitely be reading more of this poet.  Thanks, Barry.

The Waking

by Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.   
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.   
I learn by going where I have to go.

 

We think by feeling. What is there to know?   
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.   
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

 

Of those so close beside me, which are you?   
God bless the Ground!   I shall walk softly there,   
And learn by going where I have to go.

 

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?   
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;   
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

 

Great Nature has another thing to do   
To you and me; so take the lively air,   
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

 

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.   
What falls away is always. And is near.   
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.   
I learn by going where I have to go.

Theodore Roethke, “The Waking” from Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke. Copyright 1953 by Theodore Roethke. Reprinted with the permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.

Source: The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke (1961)

Our assignment this week for writing class is to pick an object from the mantel, bedside table, etc., and tell the story behind it. Unfortunately, most of my mementos are packed away since we moved into 1/3 of the square feet we formerly occupied.

I’m also feeling worried about what to do with the 5 pods we have in storage, as well as things several of our friends are storing for us. We are hoping to get into a little bit bigger apartment before the end of the year. I am so glad I don’t have a mortgage. I think it’s a great time to not have a mortgage. I thank God for helping me sell my house so quickly.

I will remember the rules of writing for the class: Don’t worry, er, maybe not. I don’t have them in front of me but this is a good one to follow at this time.

I’m thinking about writing about the boys, because one (or actually 2) mementos I have on one of our tables in the living room are pictures of the boys when they were little. The photos were taken before I knew the boys, so perhaps I’ll write about that, although I’ve already shared some of that with the class. Oh, well. I didn’t find anyone’s stories boring last Tuesday so hopefully they won’t find mine boring either!

Going to see “Souvenir” with whiz-bang woman Frances Stanley this evening and I’m very excited. It’s at the Barksdale Theatre, which is a great venue.  We’re going to have dinner there first.  I hope it’s good.  They are under ‘new management’.  Anyhow, it will be fun.  It is a historical building, and it was known as Hanover Tavern.  Here’s a pic.

Hanover Tavern

Creative Spark

2009/10/21

That is the name of my writing class. It was intense and wonderful. At first I was a little uncomfortable because there are 8 people in the class and the instructor and there were 2 tables pushed together w/ 9 chairs–3 on each long side, 2 at one end and 1 for the instructor at the other end. It felt too close!! I think he wanted to build intimacy, and he did! Everyone said their names and a little about themselves, and then everyone (except 1 girl who must have psychically made herself invisible, because he forgot to call on her) told a story about a subject he would throw out. The stories were fascinating. Mine was on the subject of ghosts.

If you don’t know my husband was widowed when he was 35. His wife, Denise, died suddenly. Well, her heart stopped and she collapsed and stopped breathing and never regained consciousness. She passed 2 days later, at the age of 33. The boys were 2 & 5. They were 4 & 7 when I became their stepmother. I didn’t know any of them before Denise passed.

The story I told was of B seeing her one day, and when he described what she was wearing it was the same dress in which she was buried. She also visits them in dreams. We haven’t talked about it much lately, but I always felt good for them that they had what I consider a very real spiritual connection to her. B was only 2 when she died, so he was kind of robbed of memories. He had to make his own memories, and I was thankful that he had this experience of seeing her, too.

Then, we did 2 timed writings. One was for 10 minutes, and after the break we did another for 15 minutes. The first one started with the words “I remember..”, and the 2nd one started with the words “I don’t remember..”. It was intense. There was a lot of feeling and there were a lot of connections between people in the class that emerged.

On the first one I sort of did a stream of consciousness writing and kept writing things that would pop into my head. The 2nd one was telling a story about family members.

This morning I was thinking how much of our memories and how our stories are shaped by experiences others’ have recounted to us. The story I told about on the 2nd one were things I’ve been told, because most of these people were elderly when I was born, and some of them died when I was very young.

I loved the class. It was exactly what I wanted. It definitely stirred a creative spark already, because I can’t stop writing. It’s all I can think about. As soon as I woke up I wrote about the dream I was having when I woke up. I’ve found that if I write about it, I remember more parts of it as I write. I’m so happy about the class!!

It also made me feel connected to each person in the class, and as one of my classmates pointed out afterward, there was no one in the class who was super-needy and hogged the instructor’s (and the class’s) attention. Each person had interesting things to write, and each person was attentive to the others. It was very giving. I think I forgot to mention that after we did these writings we read them out loud to the class.