Friday, May 18, 2012

Dream Analysis: amateur hour

I'm left feeling a bit icky this morning from last night's dreams.  I'm bothered that several of my dreams lately have been so violent and disturbing.  I haven't been putting violence into my head so what is it?  Am I afraid of something?  Are there fears I need to face down?

Probably so.

Probably because I'm on the cusp of something big for myself.  And with that comes the fear.

Like... Will I fail?  Will I be rejected?  Will others not connect to what I'm doing?  Will I look stupid?  Will I stop doing the work because of my fears?  Will I lose sight of the fact that maybe somewhere out there someone is waiting/needing to hear what I've got to say?  Will I lose or worse yet, not find my way?  What about alienating people?

Without pretending to be a dream analyst, maybe that's what these dreams stem from.  At least it got me to thinking.

You gotta name your fears to face them down.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I Write Because...

I write because I like pen against paper.  I write because it feeds my soul.  I write because it gets me out of my head.  I write because it gets me thinking.  I write because I'm pissed.  I write because I grieve.  I write because I want to remember.  I write because I have nothing better to do.  I write because I don't want to do anything else.  I write to set goals.  I write to avoid talking.  I write because I'm getting older and what if I run out of time to say all that I want to say?  I write to chronicle, to capture.  I write to capture the poem floating through my head.  I write so my daughter will have something of me after one day when I'm gone.  I write to confess secrets.  I write because I'm told to.  I write because I can.  I write when I'm lonely.  I write to connect with others.  I write to make noise in the quietness.  I write as a meditation.  I write because I dream.

Inspired by Terry Tempest Williams "Why I Write" from Writing Creative Nonfiction


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Little fires

I'm feeling rather enthusiastic today.  Mainly because I'm working toward a more authentic, freer me.  Whether I'm there yet or not doesn't matter.  What matters is that I'm doing something.  That I'm actually taking action.  No more procrastinating.  No more excuses.

I'm having to admit to myself that it's okay to read what I have called "Self Help Sh*#" if that's what helps me figure myself out.  But I'm being selective.  I'm not going to just read and do anything.  I can be very easily swayed at times if I'm not careful and I want to feel that I am reading and doing stuff that my gut tells me is genuine, authentic, right.  I don't want to put crap into my brain and soul that isn't useful.

So basically, what this boils down to is that I'm working my way through "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron.  This is a book I've had in my possession for well over 10 years but haven't ever made it all the way through.  But basically, it rocks.  And dangit, I'm gonna make it through this time.  I have been told it can help you find your magic.  So far, the magic I'm feeling is that I'm on the cusp of something big and genuine for myself.  Even if to others eyes that something seems small.  We will see.

Also (and this may be jumping the gun a bit because I haven't finished the book yet), I am reading "The Fire Starter Sessions" by Danielle LaPorte...which basically rocks as well.  I was wary at first because like I said above, I can be wary of what self-helpish stuff I digest.  Well, all I can say is by what I've read of the book and what I've seen and read on her website is that I want to digest ALL that she is putting out there.  I feel a genuineness and authenticity oozing out of her.  I don't feel like I'm being sales-pitched.  And it feels like it's sparking a little fire in my heart as well.

This year (and hopefully all the years to follow),  is about searching out and exploring my creativity and what it means.  What moves me.  What will come from it I don't yet know.  But something will.  And I will be "freer than I think I am".

Monday, April 23, 2012


I am sitting at the kitchen table looking out over the pond behind our house.  My feet are cold against the ceramic tile floor.  I think I'll have some hot tea to wash down the remnants of this morning's oatmeal.  I hear the tiny chirps of the newly hatched baby birds tucked in the nest in the hanging back porch light.  My Pops tells me they are House Finch.  Pretty little birds that are tinted a salmon pink.  My fat gray cat stretches even further over my notebook lazily trying to prevent me from writing any more.  He yawns and blows his mildly pungent kitty breath in my face.

I take in the floral aroma of the Jasmine tea I just brewed.

It's sunny again today and the outdoors beckon me to finish planting my flower bed.  I'm still a little sore from having worked in it the past two days.  But, I know I'll end up there anyway.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Saying "I'm done".

"Down in the Canyon"  Acrylic on canvas 11"x 14" by Amanda Chea

"Canyon" detail

I experimented with some techniques to get the sky the way I wanted and I think this photo shows that a bit better.

Sometimes, though you might feel an urge to the contrary, you've just gotta walk away.

That's what I had to do, several times, with this painting.

When I started out on the blank canvas, the painting I ended up with is not what I planned for or envisioned.  But actually, that's what I like about art.  Sometimes you just go forth and do and just see what you come up with.  Sometimes it's a wreck (that you can just cover up with something better later) or it ends up being a pleasant surprise.  While this painting probably isn't perfect or going to end up winning any awards, I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out.  And I honestly think it reflects the mood of what I was reading and the music I was listening to while it was in progress.

And in the end I had to quit fiddling with it, walk away and call it DONE.  And I'm glad I did.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

No regrets.

Today I responded to this blog post with:

It's like you're my sister from another mother. When I read this it's like I could have written it all myself. I'm sure we're different in many ways but wow, this is all so true for me too. I have literally had crying meltdowns at various points in life over the desire to be the best at something. It was basically a big sob-fest sounding something like, "I'm not great at anything! What am I good for? Nothing. I suck..waa waa waaaaa..." But...I have most certainly tried on many hats. And I go through many obsessions. I've tried all types of hand crafts. I've belly-danced, done yoga, practiced at a Buddhist temple and been a burlesque dancer. I've volunteered at a sheep farm, painted paintings, briefly been a vegetarian, thought I'd write the great American novel, had notions of selling produce at a farmer's market.
In other words, I've tried many many things. I've been good at some. Some never materialized...although who's to say they still couldn't?

My mother (who is very much an introvert), once told me she admired me for all this even though she teases me about it. She said that I'm BRAVE for just going out and seeking what interests me or going for what I want (whether I completely follow through or not).

And you are BRAVE too.

I wrote this to the Asst. Director of Squam.  Squam (by the Sea) is where I am headed in October.  It's an art workshop, the name of a lake, a community of like minded creative seekers.  I am headed there all by my lonesome.

It's like I feel this pull to be there.  To feel the magic I've heard about.  I've already fallen in love with the people I've corresponded with who are responsible for organizing it.

I suppose I imagine it as a creative pilgrimage.  An experience.  A way of experiencing myself.

Maybe I'm romanticizing.  But no matter.

I'm not sure what my whole point was in going on like this.  I guess I just want to encourage the few people who might read this to seek out new experiences...even if they find they are scared.  I have had nerves and trepidation in every one of the new things I've tried (and to date, there are many).  But I made myself anyway and was always glad I gave it a go.  I don't want to live with regrets.

And I hope that you don't as well.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A very personal journal entry that I don't know why I'm sharing.

I wish I had written this when it was still fresh.  When I still had tears in my eyes.  When the loss was still just under the surface...but I didn't.  I just held it in and put it off.

A week ago i drove by what was my childhood babysitter's home.  I hadn't seen it in years...even though it is close to my parent's home.  I don't think I purposefully avoided it, but maybe I did.  There are so many memories wrapped up in that location for me.  My grandparents lived across the street from there for many years as well.

But this babysitter of mine was more than just that.  She was family.  Her family was mine and like wise.  At least it felt that way to me.  In later years I also considered her a friend. 

Several years ago now she died very unexpectedly at a fairly young age.  It felt horrible then and in some ways it feels worse now.  Because now I know the things, at least in my life, that she hasn't been here for...

My getting married.

The birth of my daughter.

I miss her more when I have a dream about her.  Because sometimes in these dreams she's still alive.  It's like I get to spend a little more time with her and then I wake up confused and sad.

It makes me all the more grateful I still have my parents, my sister and my other living relatives.  I love them all and I'm struck by how short this life really is.  How it all goes so fast.  How time changes and re-shapes things.

The house looks different now than I remember it.  I think some of the trees are gone.  The steps where I split open my forehead are still there.  The empty field where her son and I rode on his 4-wheeler was long ago paved over.  The yard somehow seems smaller.  My grandparents house is still the same dark brown.

I played in that street, rode bikes down the sidewalk and watched cartoons in her lap in that little house.  And it all seems like it was just yesterday.