Thursday, February 6, 2014

Inhale, exhale. Tear apart, rebuild.

Snow Day, take three.

I love the virgin windswept stuff as much as I love the clumpy boot-tracks through it, the small horse sculpture on our front porch, the snow cave in the back yard just off the driveway. I am claiming it all as vacation. Yes there have been plenty of arguments, children wishing they had been born an only child and maybe even wishing they had been born without-parents, parents who feel like there is constantly someone wanting something from three rooms away. But also there have been three mornings of sleeping in, three days of reading, movies, elaborate play scenes in the basement, three days of making stuff in all sorts of ways. 

I love that sometimes everything else has to stop for the weather, no matter what was planned. It's so much more fun than when everything stops for illness. To be honest, the weather we've been having here really just qualifies as normal "winter" in my mind, but I live in a place that doesn't quite have the infrastructure for dealing with it. And so normal life stops for a while.

I don't know what it is in me that feels a little giddy when the weather overpowers everyday-normal, but it hasn't disappeared yet, and I hope it never does.

I have been making things. And planning and thinking and puzzling over things (the kind of planning and thinking and puzzling I love.) Writing is a necessity these days, a kind of breathing. So too, though, is using my hands. Making something touchable, hold-able, outside-of-my-head is a different kind of breathing, and I've developed a whole new appreciation in the last few months for good strong breathing. Inhale, exhale. Take in, release. Internalize, create.

I've been thinking about the pomegranate that sat on the kitchen counter forever while my kids asked every day if we were going to have it for dinner. Because, welltime. And laziness. Finally, though, I got myself to coax the seeds from the peel and membrane wrapped tightly around them.

Like always, they were worth the trouble. 

I've been thinking, too, about how much of creating something actually requires a taking-apart. 

How art requires sketching and re-sketching and erasing and setting aside (throwing away? burning?) all the versions that didn't work. 

How many tantrums I had as a child because I didn't understand this, or, once I understood, didn't see how it was at all fair. 

How learning a new piece of music requires tearing it apart and putting it back together bit-by-bit, only to tear it apart and rebuild again. 

How uncomfortable and distasteful a process this can be and how a large part of teaching violin is helping students get past that, helping them to see all the rewards of putting in that kind of work.

How lifeif you want it to truly be a living, breathing thingif you accept your calling to make it a work of artis like that, tooa continual creation, a continual breaking-apart and re-shaping. 

How I know that and embrace it and fight it all at once. How I have to keep discovering it, even though I already know.

How being willing to participate in the whole messy process is a daily act of faith, and how that, too, is part of the Art.

Happy Blue-sky-bitter-cold Snowy Winter Day, friends.

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  1. Reading and hearing you. I love the artisitc take you put on mess. Thanks for writing.

    1. Well, I know that everything I've ever made, or that my children have ever made, has been accompanied by quite a holy mess. I am both frustrated by it and encouraged that something wonderful is happening. (Working still on owning that in my life.) Thank you, Jennifer.


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