Monday, 28 April 2014

Question Asked and Answered

This came up: Do I feel like I missed an entire lifetime and potential by abandoning writing, by not moving to Savannah, GA in 1999, by not revising and returning the one thing I submitted in 1998, by having kids, working as an adjunct instead of pursuing an academic career, ect? 


The thing is? The answer is yes. Yes, of course I missed out and there are a million could a have beens.  Of course I wonder.

I also really love my life, the life I have right now. I really don't think I was ready for anything more in 1999. I have PSTD and in 1999 and a stranger knocking on my door after dark sent me into a full blown panic attack, hiding in a closet, for example. I was 19! Geesh. I am much better now.

When I graduated, my adviser said to me, something along these lines, Don't write for your job. Lay bricks for a living. Do something else. Learn about things. Live. Then you can write from your heart and keep it an art.

Sage advice. I followed it. Graduate school was history, architecture, and non-fiction. I went to work in the field of historic preservation. I was so busy and deep into the movement of saving houses that I forgot about people. Then I had children and they became my focus which evolved into teaching them and farming and teaching online classes. Always learning things. Living.

I wasn't ready before now to write again. Now that I am back in the habit, it feels good! It isn't a chore, it is artful, and I am turning more time to it but balancing it well with family and farm. I know things about life that I could not have at 19 and I am grateful for that.

Now, too, I am venturing along with Chad into the study of permaculture and regenerative farming. It is interesting and I plan to write more through the year as I learn.

In January, I chose the word Sabotage as my word for the year. Met with well meaning critics concerned about the negativity of the word, I waffled a bit about using it. Still, I did. It has proven to be a fantastic choice. Seriously fantastic. Every time I  start dragging my feet or second guessing myself, a friend will simply type Sabotage and then I do the thing that moves this all forward. Usually the friend's name is Jen. Ha.

Questions like these can sabotage my writing effort. Sure, I think them, but there are also no conclusive proofs that I wouldn't have died in a car crash driving out East or that anything I wrote then would have been published. I could very well have ended up doing what I am doing now, no matter what.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Easter and Brisket: Pictures

Lily's Clay Work

 Lily takes a clay class downtown every Tuesday for 6 weeks, three times a year. She loves it. LOVES it. Amy, the teacher, is so good with her and the sensory of the clay calms her. She is learning skills that help her idea come to life and each session learns something new, either about clay work or leadership.

 I love taking the class with her. I also love the building. I love junk, I love tools, I love the dirty of creating architectural elements. I love the lines and the smell and the feel of the old building.

Perhaps, Lily isn't the only sensory kid in our family.

Farm Kid Cool

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Artistic Junk and Kudzu

Since I have been there and back again (to Ossabaw), I have written 10 new poems, edited 60, retired 10 or so. I have submitted 32 of those poems, had 5 rejected and awaiting response on the others.

To get myself started with the submission process, I decided to practise submitting photographs to just two journals that I love and respect. Once I got the process down, I then began submitting poetry, non-fiction, entering contests, sending to journals, applying for festivals.

Wait, festivals? Yes. Back in the day, when I studied performance poetry seriously, I performed regularly at coffee shops and literature festivals. One night I became so overcome with stage fright and anxiety....I never again stepped up to the mic. Not once. It was around that same time that I stopped writing poetry too.

So. The time has come. Many things I have been fearful of, I have slain. I can get on a boat now without a panic attack. I can even take our boat out on the pond, alone. I can let others read my work without completely freaking out. The only way to become an artist is to make art and share it?

So, yesterday I got in the mail the acceptance to perform at the local art festival. It is a pretty special event and I am honoured. In the last week I also received two acceptance letters for work I submitted.....those photos I submitted! Hilarious. Also, eye opening. I think I will nurture this part of my art and see what happens.

I plan on going back to Georgia next year and I recommend the retreat to anyone else who might be struggling to find their voice. Magic happens there. It must. My fears were very, very rooted and thorny. Kudzu.

So, the photographs that are getting the most attention? I have this habit of taking pictures of abandoned things and junk. I love the colours and lines of corrosion and decay. I just had no idea that others might find beauty in it too.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Science, Why Having A Microscope on Hand is Awesome!

Lily grabbed up a cup of pond water when she went fishing. Just one day later she brings it to me and asks.....what are these things? She thought maybe she had discovered a prehistoric water bug, previously unknown. I do believe she has inherited a sense of the dramatic from her mother. She thought that the discovery would earn her a million dollars and then Chad would no longer have to travel for work. Aw......

So we worked through the emotions of disappointment all the way back to wonder. What are these creatures? Probably mosquito larvae. Mostly. We identified at least 10 different specimens. Still working on id, and as they mature, that will become easier.

Also. Parasites. So many. Yay for healthy pond water! Anyone want to swim with us this summer?

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Perfect Day to Welcome Spring

Friday was a very warm not windy day here at the farm. We started by doing chores, cleaning the hearth and washing windows. When I opened the windows I realised quickly that only a tyrant would make the kids stay indoor doing crap work when the weather outside was so incredibly perfect. We've had all winter to be miserable indoors, we must dance out into the sunshine at last!

And so we did.

Ellie the bottle lamb follows us like a puppy so she got to be out too.

Midway through the day I got a text message from a friend asking if she and her boys could come visit the farm. Oh yes! Bonfire time! I fed them brats on a stick and my kids took them on an island adventure through the woods and around the pond.

Isaac was thrilled to see Jessica too and was just charming and adorable getting her attention. Love that baby! Then Jessica and her boys helped us catch a piglet that was not thriving like he should be and we got him started on a bottle right away. Kitchen pig, oh, you have my heart. Holly named him Oinkers, though his official name is Hawthorn. He is HER bottle pig. HERS. No one else may claim him.

The bonfire was perfect. The company was much needed and wonderful. Days like this are a blessing.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Downtime /= Rest

Downtime from blogging doesn't mean downtime from everything else. It is lambing season, we have a bottle lamb, bees are out, new pigs and piglets, Spring chores, and kids.....not to mention grading for my day job, managing farm PR, and cooking.

I am a bit overwhelmed. I am writing though, just not blogging. I am caught up in it: reading, writing, revising, researching, submitting, managing submissions and tracking. It is a good thing and is generating results..... I did not believe it was even possible.

So I am still here, just like a ghost. Here are some pictures though, from the farm.