Friday, 7 January 2022

Postcards for a New Year

The crow woke up on the first day of the new year. “Hey, get busy,” she scolded me. “You’ve been lollygagging around long enough. Get your rear in gear.”

I didn’t need a scolding – I’ve been missing the flow of creative juices. This fall wasn’t a great time for me. Now I wanted to see what would happen if I went into the studio and just started doing something, anything at all. 

 I had a new journal - all those blank pages. I wondered if I could sketch my way through the year, or at least do something different from the boring drivel I’d jotted down in 2021 – stuff like, “leftovers for supper,” “played crib with Al and lost,” and “raining again.” Maybe I could make a fabric post card today, then sketch it and write about it in my journal.

I pulled a few pieces of fabric from my scraps – some sparkly white, a freckled blue, and a modern abstract print.  I looked out the window, and these words came to me: “Sun sparkles on snow.” It was a beginning.

An hour or so later, this was the result: a postcard with a poem stitched on the back:

Maybe it’s a bit grandiose to call it a poem, but this is what is stitched on the back: 

“Sun sparkles on snow. New paths to follow. New trails to break. Where will they take us?”

Now the juices really started flowing. Could I send the postcard to someone anonymously? Could I do more postcards? Might I do a postcard a day? Could I follow this thread and take it wherever it might go? Well, why not?

I find that when my mind is open to an idea, suddenly all kinds of words and images appear that seem to be related to that thought. Sort of like “Field of Dreams”: if you build it, they will come. If you keep your mental ears open, you will get new insights, you will see new visions.

So sure enough, on Jan 2, my friend sent me a poem related to this idea, a little ditty that she remembers reading in her autograph album (remember those!!!). It goes like this:

“The future lies before us like a field of snow,
Be careful how you tread it, for every step will show.”

Rebel that I am, I wanted to do a different take on those words.

So January 2, I produced this postcard:

The words on the back read:
“Where the path well-traveled ends is where your adventure begins. Be strong and of good courage. Take that first step and venture forth into the great unknown.”

There was no room for more writing, or I might have added, “Don’t worry what those footprints look like, they’ll probably be messy and you may go off in the wrong directions, but that’s what life is all about. It takes a lot of mistakes to figure out the right thing.”

January 3: I began thinking about how striking out on your own into uncharted territory is scary.

That’s when I read a story in the NY Times about an 85 year old man who had just recorded his first album of original music. He said, “Do something that involves other people. Even one other person. Getting out of a groove — sometimes you just need company. There’s this fantasy that creativity is something you do alone, by candlelight. No! Do something with other people who are as genuinely interested as you are.”

He’s right – knowing that I will share these postcards with others here in this blog and perhaps in the mail or in a show is part of the joy of creating. So here is postcard #3:

The back side records the words of a well-known song: “Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart, and you’ll never walk alone.”

January 4: As I was sipping my morning coffee, I read the following poem in Mary Oliver’s book Devotions:

Oh, what fun! Dancing crows – yes! If you’re having an adventure, do it with a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

Here’s postcard #4 – from my studio to your computer, and wishing you a grand adventure as you step into the unknown in 2022.

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