I said I'd write new posts every Tuesday and Friday, and here it is 10pm on Friday and, well, I haven't.
Not that I didn't think of topics. Lots of them, in fact, since Tuesday. Simply didn't write them down, and now here I sit.
My procrastination tool, this week? Grey's Anatomy. We used to call it reruns when we could watch things a second time. Now we have Netflix.
17 seasons. That's right. 17. This isn't a binge watch.
So why Grey's?
1. It's nostalgic, and familiar. I watched it back in 2005 when it started.
2. It's brand new. I didn't have a TV in 2010/2011, so I stopped watching. Which means now that I'm into Season 7, they're all new to me.
3. It's like a reunion with old friends. Meredith, Derrick, Miranda. You know.
4. It's someone else's drama. And it always resolves, neatly, within an hour or two. Just like real life, right? Yeah. right.
5. It's not my problem. None of it is. Escapism of the perfect sort.
I know. Who cares, and why is it blog worthy? Because in 2020 and this first month of 2021, we've all needed a bit of extra self care. We've needed to be able to unplug from reality. And we've needed community. So, alone here at home with the dog and cat on a Friday night, I escape to Seattle for an hour or two. Then I come back to real life.
Because my real life... well it's honestly quite lovely. Sure, I miss gathering together with friends, and being able to walk into a store and smile, full face smile, at anyone and everyone. I miss wearing lipstick, and sitting at the bar for dinner in a restaurant to meet and talk with strangers to my immediate right and left who become friends by the time dinner is over.
We'll get there. I'm quite certain we will. It won't always look like it does tonight. But tonight, sitting here with the cat on my lap while I type, well, it's ok. I've got my friends in Seattle. No, they don't listen. They don't even know I exist. And sometimes, that, too, is ok.
I didn't INTEND to get up at 5am this morning, but Rosie woke me up and needed to go outside and oh my goodness it was soooo beautiful with four inches of fresh snow so by the time I came inside I was wide awake and here I am on the laptop making up for the fact that I missed sending a Tuesday blogpost - haha and THAT ladies and gentlemen is a FINE run on sentence and I haven't even had my tea yet!
All that said, here I sit at 5:54am. And the prevailing thought in my not fully awake mind is "don't miss the blessings." I mean, I'm thinking about how much has changed in the past year. Things we've missed. New things we've experienced. Things that arose through the hardships of Covid, and things that went away.
A year ago, we were praying for an end to the violence of school shootings. And then schools were shut down, and now parents pray for schools to re-open.
A year ago, we were worrying that kids were spending too much screen time on their phones. And then their screens became their source of learning, their ever valuable connection.
A year ago, I was praying for direction about my work, and heard the repeated whisper of "paint more ~ paint more" and a year later I have an inventory of new work I could barely have imagined.
A year ago, we were smiling at each other with our entire faces, having no idea that we would be hiding behind face-masks for the next ten months, and then some. Oh, I do miss wearing lipstick!
The list, of course, is endless.
I'm not sure this is making sense in type as it has when it rolled through my head (and I'm even less sure of how many are even going to read it so I'll just say it anyway) and I fear I am stating the obvious, but I want to encourage you, implore you, to be mindful of the blessings in your hands, right now, that you may be overlooking. And I say that not in a "YOU need to do this" way but in a "I want to be more mindful myself" way.
What's the saying? Life slips through our hands like grains of sand.
The trick isn't to try to hold onto the sand, or our hands will become full and we won't have room to hold anything new. Rather, pay attention to the grains you hold right now. Because tomorrow, well, who knows. And as a wise old friend of mine used to say, "who knows, and who isn't telling."
Well, that's what you get at 6am. Happy Wednesday. Make it a good one.
Love to all.
Maybe because the clutter of my cleaning and clearing project wasn't enough to keep me busy and distracted away from the easel (yes that's sarcasm) today I ordered... firewood. Talk about a great visual for clutter!
I'm one of the crazies who loves winter. And nothing says cozy quite like a fire in the fireplace on a cold morning, afternoon, or evening. The real kind. Snap, crackle, and pop of wood. Not just push a button to turn on the gas.
The problem is I just created more work for myself. The wood doesn't stack itself. I'm not complaining. It's just ... another thing. And a great visual for clutter. As I think about it (which I didn't really until just now) it's actually quite a a good analogy. That random pile will turn into a beautiful orderly stack... but it will happen one piece moved at a time, methodically. Just like the other pile on my dining room table right now.
The good news from Mimi's artist world? I spent Wednesday reorganizing my studio, so that I now have a bit more room to paint. And paint I have, every day since.
This #artistsreallife is one of continually working to achieve balance because I am fully aware there is a part of me that could easily be sucked away into painting all day every day but then who would do the laundry and cook dinner and walk Rosie and put out the trash and do the marketing and taxes and... you get the idea.
ALL of our lives are balancing acts, aren't they? We learned in the past year that it doesn't take much to throw that balance out of alignment. What's the new buzzword? Learning to pivot? (though that word still brings me giggles from an old episode of Friends - click here to see it.)
Stack it I will. In between everything else. As I will clear the clutter. In between brush strokes. That's how life gets done now.
Just my thoughts on a Friday evening at 6:10pm. Love to all. Stay warm this weekend - they're calling for a cold one. Sure grateful that I have the new firewood.
Do you remember the "Miracle on the Hudson"? I do. Because I was there. January 15, 2009*
I was in Soho, gallery hopping. Heard a whole lot of sirens, more than the usual NYC background noise, and helicopters. Called a few friends and asked them to turn on their tv's to see what was going on, if it was something about which I should be concerned. Note: Obviously an earlier era for cell phones or I could have just asked Siri!
When I learned what had happened, I had an immediate decision to make. Head a few blocks west on foot to watch would I could of the drama unfolding, or get on a subway and head uptown, back to my daughter's apartment.
I headed into a Starbucks. Honestly, it was to use the rest room before getting on the subway, because who knows what sort of delay there might be, and to grab a cup of something warm because baby it was cold outside.
Why do I share this with you? Because I've been spending the first few weeks of this new year clutter clearing. Making those decisions about what to keep and what to pass along to someone else, both large items, and minutia.
My point? Yes... there is a point!
One of the items I decided to keep is this mug.
Because I bought it that day, in that Starbucks. It's not the mug that is special. It's the memory of that day that comes back to me whenever I see it.
What else do I remember from that day? As I was walking east to the subway, I looked north, and saw a police vehicle towing an inflatable boat behind it on a trailer. Now THAT's not something one sees every day in New York City.
Clearing the clutter. Sometimes seems like a waste of time, but for this artist, I find I do my best work when the distractions are kept to a minimum. Part of why my time at the beach house in North Falmouth was a powerfully productive place for me in 2020. There were no distractions of other chores to be done. There is also great joy in finding someone who will take delight in having something of mine that I no longer use or need or enjoy.
One day, when my daughter has to do the final cleaning out of her mother's stuff, that mug will become simply... a mug. For me, for now, I will keep the mug. Because it is a powerful reminder.
A reminder, when we are in the midst of challenging times, that good things happen, too. That people make wise decisions, sometimes seemingly reckless at the time. That miracles happen.
With gratitude, and blessings to all of you.
*On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549, an Airbus A320 on a flight from New York City's LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte, North Carolina, struck a flock of birds shortly after take-off, losing all engine power. Unable to reach any airport for an emergency landing, pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles glided the plane to a ditching in the Hudson River off Midtown Manhattan. All 155 people on board were rescued by nearby boats, with a few serious injuries.
Two weeks into the new year. How you doin' with those resolutions?
I love setting resolutions. Though we all know it's difficult to follow through. Thought I'd try something different this year.
I call it my "5 minute fun" list. It's a daily check off of things on my resolutions list, built on the idea that I can make time, and endure, 5 minutes of just about anything.
I draw a grid in my Bullet Journal (more on Bullet Journals another time.) List the items. Take one day off for rest (Sabbath, if you know that term.) And revise the list as necessary each week. Might be something I decide I really don't need to do anymore... or something else I'd like to add. Currently there are 9 things on the list. A total of 45 minutes of daily progress on my resolutions.
A sampling of what's on it?
5 minutes of reading fiction (resolution - read more)
5 minutes of playing guitar (resolution - build callouses and finally be able to play it this year!)
5 minutes of yoga stretching (resolution - more yoga)
5 minutes of house cleaning (need I say more?)
5 minutes of ... (fill in the blank - what's come to mind for you?)
5 minutes fits in between the larger daily things. 5 minutes is a healthy break from the easel. 5 minutes sometimes turns into half an hour, and that's ok - it's the impetus for getting started and showing up to the chore - or the joy!
5 minutes a day becomes half an hour a week (no - math is not off - I'm simply allowing for one day off or missed - being realistic) - two hours a month - and 26 hours in the course of a year.
As a full time artist, I'm finding this a wonderful tool for building some structure into my day.
Give it a try if you'd like... and let me know how it works!
Love to all.
"Are you creating up a storm?"
A question asked of me today that I couldn't answer. Or I should say I simply didn't want to.
Because the answer is no, or at least the answer to the obvious question is no.
I haven't held a paintbrush yet today.
Because I'm in 'clean and clear and declutter and organize' mode as we begin the new year.
Piles everywhere. Things given away. Some thrown away, though I really really REALLY dislike throwing things away that have useful life in them but what do we DO with the minutia when we clean and clear the clutter?
Perhaps that's a question for another day. I digress.
The answer, the honest and real answer, to his question, is "yes."
I AM creating. Just not in the obvious "oh you're an artist so I bet you paint for hours every day" kind of way.
I'm creating order out of chaos. I'm creating peace midst the noise. I'm creating a better organized studio space that will have less distractions when I do actually sit at the easel. I'm creating room in my life by saying no to a lot of things I might have previously answered yes to so that when the Holy Spirit, my muse, whispers to me what the next best step is, I will be able to discern it.
So yes, I suppose I AM creating up a storm today. A more peaceful storm.
Rosie says it's ok with her, as long as I don't disturb her nap.
Love you all.
Honestly, I intended to start this new blog on January 1. And here it is a week later.
My point? That sometimes, oftentimes, our best intended plans need to wait, just a little while. To incubate. Percolate. Add whatever "ate" verb you want. Except, please, the one that begins with the letter "h."
On this day when I should offer profound words of new beginnings, instead, because it is today, January 7, I share instead the image above that I shared on Facebook and Instagram today, as a visual image of peace to the world. Because I think, IMHO*, that we all need this today. More peace.
Artist's Real Life. That's the name of the new blog. A place where in words and images I will give you a glimpse into the life of this one, real live artist, Mimi Schlichter.
Might just surprise you.
Stay tuned. This is going to be FUN!
Love to all.
ps - just in case you're not sure - *IMHO = In My Humble Opinion