Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Stanley Kunitz is my hero

There's a quote I've loved for many years now and it's never far from my mind:'

"The hard, inescapable phenomenon to be faced is that we are living and dying at once. My commitment is to report that dialogue."

It's a quote by Stanley Kunitz, a well respected poet and better yet, an amazing gardener. I have been wanting to buy a book of poetry for some time. I broke down the other night and started researching which book of poetry I might like. The best discovery was a book of conversations with him about his garden, his life and poetry from the years 2002 through 2004. I was SO excited and ordered it immediately.

Well, it hasn't been disappointing. It was money well spent. He died in 2006 at the age of 100 and I can't help but feel the world is a little less bright because someone like him is gone.

Poems with words like "At my touch the wild braid of creation trembles." and
"What makes the engine go? Desire, desire, desire. The longing for the dance stirs in the buried life."

That first quote is something I've related to so deeply in my desire to document life itself. Photos and words are my method most of the time, art at other times. I understand his need to embrace the living and dying all at once. It's beautiful.

This also explains that desire to document, regurgitate, remember and extract:
"The creative gift has very complex origins; you're accumulating and digesting experience, trying to discover it's meanings, instead of stuffing it into a closet and moving on to whatever happens to you next."

Yes and yes.

He even waxes poetic about compost and "the positive concept of waste and death. The contribution that mortality makes to civilization is the equivalent of what composting contributes to a garden. We are all candidates for composting. So we cannot approach the compost heap without a feeling of connection."

I was trying to grasp my inner urge to document the other night, before the book arrived and found myself writing a brief essay about my thoughts on the matter. Towards the end a poem began forming in my head. It seems to reveal my deepest desire in this documentation-of-life process....to somehow "freeze" the moments. Thank you Stanley Kunitz for your words and inspiration, for your garden and your insight. This one's for you:

Still life
as in




Pause for this moment
let me




If I can hold existence
fabric of



It need not slip




Be still life



Let me dance



Kiss your cheek




Never to change
or grow older because


Eternity in my

Monday, August 18, 2008

Beautiful Stillness

“There is a beautiful stillness breathing here,
Its mellow richness on the clustered trees …“—Longfellow.

My new friend Heather sings a song that make my spine tingle. I don't know why it's such a powerful song to me, but everytime I hear this particular song it causes the most lovely images to swirl up into my mind.

So I created an ATC inspired by her song "Beautiful Stillness" and I think there's more to come. Maybe it's the way I used to get lost in my own fantasy creations out in the woods as a child. Maybe it's because I most closely relate to nature and fairies and whimsical cloaks and medieval stories. I don't know. But it's an awesome song and I want to thank her for the inspiration.

It's mostly the chorus that runs through my head all day:

"I will sit beneath the trees
'til kudzu grows, over me
poison ivy circling round my head
an initiation crown"

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Food and art

Two of my favorite things in life.

I made a fierce tomato sauce out of many garden tomatoes. I used a bunch of lush Brandywines, along with some pungent rosemary and onions. It simmered on the back of the stove for several hours, making the house smell like an Italian restaurant.

This sauce is one I used to make when the older boys were little. I had more time to spend in the kitchen back then and somewhere in the years I quit doing it. There was also this amazing Italian peasant bread I made. Both the sauce and bread are back, I'm happy to say.

The crust is crisp and chewy, the bread inside is softly textured and has a most addictive quality when dipped in olive oil infused with herbs and garlic. Heaven. on. earth.

Truly. This time around I made the sauce into a lasagne. With the peasant bread and some green beans from the Farmer's Market it made a lovely meal.

Since this started out as more of an art/meandering thoughts blog, I thought I'd throw in some of the recent ATC's I've been making. These are all fabric or a combination of fabric, paper and other materials put together with the sewing machine.

The ATC on the left has a duct tape base. You really CAN do anything with that stuff. It's amazing!

My fairy on the right lived in a jar for the last year or so. She stood in some moss that I incorporated into the ATC. I think I'll trap some more fairies to use in art. They're so gullible around here and I find them easy to collect. Don't worry, lots of raw honey keeps them happy. That, and a bit of glitter.

On the far right in this picture, I used a piece of material from a shirt of my Mum's. It was one that I collected after she died and kept thinking I'd wear it. Cutting up certain items is difficult and this was especially hard. I feel like I'm cutting up bits of her life, which I am in a sense, but it feels good to honor her spirit in my art.

She was a storyteller and an artist, though she never fully trusted her artist self. Her spirit lives on in my garden and in my art and stories and especially in my children, who remember their storytelling, costume-dressing, parade-making, flower-picking, gift-giving Grandmother with great fondness.

These ATC's will be found at a conference in the near future......so come on over and trade at Live and Learn with me!!:)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Poetry and a bit of gratefulness

This poem is what inspires me this morning, as I sit and ponder events in the world and how different people respond to these events:

Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again

the dove is never free.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

(Leonard Cohen)


The garden needs tending as this warm weather
is causing everything to either bolt or grow like
lunatics on speed. We're seeing several birdhouse
gourds emerging now and it excites Jalen to no end.

I'm feeling quite positive lately. If the world turns
inside-out, I will ride the wave or crash, but today
will be spent in joy. I will feel the connection
with m
y fellow humans on this journey...for we
are all reflections of one another to some degree.

Today is about connecting with my children, my
friends, my piece of the planet and all the other
places on this amazing chunk of rock floating in
I am constantly awed and fascinated by
this place called earth and the people here-in.

So I leave you with this symbol of love, created
by Sierra who knows little about the idea of

Let some light in through the cracks.....