Thursday, January 31, 2013

on art

But really there is no choice. Nobody chooses. The only thing left for a creative artist to do is to do his chosen work in spite of everything and regardless of anything because when living draws to its end there are no excuses he can make to himself or to anyone else for not having done it. Either he did do it or he did not do it and very often he did not. Alas very often he did not.

-Gertrude Stein on art, from here

Monday, January 21, 2013

wandering, pondering, Yonder(ing)

Stand still. The forest knows
where you are. You must let it find you.
-David Wagoner, from his poem Lost

Yonder and I hopped into the car this morning and drove to my most favourite place: the farm where I grew up. I needed to walk, to think, to pause. The past five months have had some good, lovely, beautiful parts, but for the most part, they've been really hard. Not hard in the "learn from it and it will make you stronger" sense. Hard in the "I can't help feeling like I'm wasting time" sense. And for me, that is one of the scariest things: wasted time.

This month has been the hardest of all. Recently some things happened that made me stop and wonder about decisions I've made or am still making. I've realized that the things I want most, the deep desires of my heart, I'm not making room for. I've let so many other things get in the way. I rarely have the time or (worse) the energy to do the things I want to be doing. And I just know that the me of two years ago would look at the me of now and think, "Have you learned nothing? Have I taught you nothing?" and that is worrisome.

So I came to the woods. Together, my four legged companion and I roamed through the trees and followed the creek and were quiet. The woods have this way of settling you. Of reminding you to pause, to stop for a moment and really think. Where am I? Where am I going?

I found that the answer is this: I am precariously close to being lost. Somehow, in the past half year, my priorities have gotten mixed up. I've listened to the wrong advice and I've let what other people think get in the way of what I know I need. A part of me wonders just how many times I need to learn this lesson, and another part of me wonders if I'll never stop learning it, and a third part of me thinks that I need to start paying attention to the warning signs. The "you are lost, turn back now" signs.

So I'm making a map for getting un-lost. Really, it's a list. Actually, it's two lists. One is titled, "Signs that Kristen is Lost" and the other is titled, "Signs that Kristen is No Longer Lost." Very simple, really. The point will be to check off all the items on the second list and none on the first.

I'm pretty sure I can do it.

Monday, January 14, 2013


So, yesterday was an OMG I LOVE THIS kind of day. Today is a JUST GIVE UP AND EAT CHOCOLATE kind of day. I’ve been waffling back and forth for weeks now between these too extremes. The problem is the latter (obviously) because it’s one thing to be high on love for your novel and burning through revisions, and it’s entirely another to feel like you want to gouge your eyes out if you have to read one more word, or bang your head against the wall until things become clear again, or just click the delete button and make all 93,000 words disappear so you can start the whole thing over, this time without so many broken pieces. Ugh. So. Much. Drama. And yet, I’m not sure I would love it the same way if it was devoid of the waffling extreme-ness, because that would just make it… ordinary. So back I go. It is the homestretch, after all. I can almost feel the heat of freshly printed pages as I hand them to Joe to read over…

See you on the other side.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

his name is Yonder

I brought this guy home with me last week. I like him a lot.