over the river & through the woods

to candice, thanksgiving had become a torturous holiday of infighting, smoke filled rooms, droning televisions, & overcast skies inside & out.
food the color of the carpeting in her maternal grandmother’s sad apartment.
uncomfortable silences and meals that sat heavy long after thankfulness was forgotten.
all her boyfriends took it personally that she would not follow them on their annual treks to the houses of relatives who would make jokes at someone else’s expense causing candice to flinch from her invisible corner as some of the barbs (i’m just joking! can’t you take a joke?) hit a little too close to home.
candice dreamed of a day that the third week of november would blend seamlessly into the rest of late fall, no longer poking at the scars of her so-far survival.

so i have some thanksgiving baggage. i stopped going to my family thanksgivings as soon as i was able. i stopped eating turkey. i sought out thanksgivings full of music & non-traditional dishes with people who were also orphans of society.
one year, boycotting my first (& estranged) husband’s beige & dry family thanksgiving, i went out to a bar & asked everyone what they were doing for the holiday until i found a cutie who was going to a get-together of friends (hosted by a local chef.) i tagged in on his thanksgiving. the rest of that thanksgiving is a story for another day….
anyhoo
i like cooking (this year i tried to make potstickers for the first time) and i like drinking and i like hanging out with friends…but i still dread the holiday each year with flashbacks to a colorless palate of foods & people who were only spending time together out of obligation.
one day i hope i have banished all feelings of suffocation this holiday brings to me.

what now?

i was thinking about how i am reluctant
to sketch more ponies
right now
even though i think
i do a good job of it
& it might have more mass appeal…
i think back to that art professor
who was all like
yeah
but what do you
really
want to be doing?

what
do
i
really
want
to
be
doing?

creating stories with my drawings
telling stories
crafting worlds
& characters
merging my art & writings
in the most perfect way
possible.

drawing these pictures,
i wondered, who are they?
what do they want?
what would i do if i set them
free?

14 journals in 7 years

i just finished journal number 14 and am cracking open journal 15.

when i lived in a housing co-op, years ago, i found an 8X11 art journal in the free store. i took it and started using it in an art class i was taking at uw.
then in 2016, i did inktober for the first time and got in the habit of inking daily.
now i have a crate full of words & images that have spilled out of me. explorations of all the shadows inside me.
art journaling is now a total way of life.

here are some pages of finger painting as i finished up journal #14…

it’s always inktober in my heart

in 2016 i did inktober for the first time…
after thirty-one days of inking
daily
i could not stop
i did not want to stop
and six years later
i am still inking
almost every day
it has saved my life
it has made me a better person
it has helped me grow & heal
so
thank you inktober
you’re my hero.

i do not really participate anymore mostly because i only realize it is inktober several days into october. however, generally i have inked every day without realizing. mostly because i ink every day of the other eleven months of the year as well. when i don’t do art, i can tell, i start to go a little (more) crazy.

last night i had a total meltdown. like sinking lower than i have sank in awhile. terrible monster mom meltdown.
so what did i do? i inked it out…and i felt better…i started the healing process.
i will probably share that inking with y’all considering one of the reasons i share at all is because i want the ugly to not fester in a dark place but to come into the light…however i need a little time to process.

in the meantime, i wish you all a happy inktober.

the above doodle might look like watercolor–but it is totally ink 🙂

earth

to the earth
i go
to ground myself
because i so often
need
grounding
adrift
in my watery self
let me
dig in the dirt
& build
my home.

i’ve fallen & i haven’t gotten up

two weeks ago i fell off of a step ladder & broke my knee
monday i fell
tuesday i got around to going to the er
wednesday i went to an orthopedic surgeon
thursday i had surgery
now 10 weeks of non-weight bearing activity
believe you me
i have written plenty of pages about it & all the resulting epiphanies
however
i do not have internet at my house & it is difficult
to get out of the house & to the internet
so!
if anyone wants to donate money for internet
i got the paypal button on those pages for buying/donating….
otherwise
good things come to those who wait….

quixotic updates

i am working on this new ink on canvas tentatively titled “foxy.” i really like working on canvas & now that i am down to my last free canvas, i am thinking of buying more for future creations.
that bunny keeps hopping into my art lately. i have even started a children’s book starring him.
fun fact. after i wrote the text for said children’s book, i went to my sun porch, looked out the window, and watched three bunnies eating dandelions in my backyard. i stood & watched for at least ten minutes. if you have never watched a bunny eat a dandelion, you are totally missing out.

in other news, i went through all my journals looking for “fodder” for books & stories. i have decided to focus on one project at a time instead of being easily distracted & starting new projects without finishing old ones. after the children’s book illustrations are done, i will focus on finishing the text & doing illustrations for my novel, a better life through sock puppets.
i am trying to give myself credit for what i have achieved. i let myself be proud of the fact that i found so many random ideas & sketches worth working with! including the above gem from 2016.

so i am not moping. i am rebuilding that fucking tower & giving myself credit for doing a good job with it.
as they say in my home state of wisconsin–forward!

time for me to shine

truth is
i’m more comfortable
in the dark
more at home
in the shadows
truth is
i’m afraid to look
at myself
in the light
afraid you will see
all the broken parts
of me
truth is
i think i belong
in the dark
hidden
but the truth is
it is time
for me
to shine.

this is the follow up piece to the last one i posted.
this is something i am doing a lot of inner work on right now. bringing myself into the light. discovering my own magic. letting go of the fear i have held on to for so long. the fear of myself.

the door out of the darkness

emerge from the dark
go through that open door
fly higher
urges the hawk

yesterday i was talking to a friend about the invisible exhibitionist
telling the story once more about how i first became invisible
i was the fourth of six children; i was the third of four daughters.
i was a quiet child.
once i asked my mother why my younger sister got whatever she wanted. “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” my mom answered.
rightfully so–this pissed me off. it made me more determined not to be a squeaky wheel but to earn reward by my own merit & my own hard work. to be noticed for being remarkable…not for being loud & obnoxious.
so i waited quietly for said reward.
sigh.
i have stayed invisible all my life out of spite…and no one has noticed.
now i find myself unwilling to promote myself for the same (misguided?) reason.
i don’t want to get noticed just for being the fucking squeaky wheel. i want to be noticed for being amazing….

additionally!
my latest meditation revealed that not only am i afraid to be noticed. but also i have purposely hidden myself for fear that if i am somehow noticed, i will be deemed unworthy of attention. i am more comfortable in the dark than i am in the light.

i knew this on some level already, but now i feel it is time to drag that belief out and really work it over.

my energy worker told me i am all twisted up right now.
maybe it is time for me to twirl myself out into the light.

coming soon!

tara over at raw earth ink sent me a sample of things to come for my next publication
the invisible exhibitionist!
so exciting!
for you who weren’t with me from 2017 through 2019, i was obsessively inking self-portraits & vomiting free verse in an attempt to root out the damage that kept me broken.
i wrote about everything & anything that went through my head or that i felt inside me.
i exorcised as many demons as i could find
& ended up making friends with a few of them.
i did almost 500 pages of self-portraits.
during 2020, i hung up a show at a local art spot & more than one person told me it should be a book.
so!
it’s going to be a book.
every time i read what i wrote back then, it makes me cry all over again. i was a raw as i could be.
and i share that rawness in hopes that someone who needs to see it will. in hopes that i can help at least one person not feel alone.
i am looking forward to seeing it all together in one book.

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