Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Snapshot - n. An isolated observation. My brain is filled with them, but only a few stand out, either dramatically or romantically, as truly key moments in my life. Here, I'll develop them into some kind of word photograph for your viewing pleasure. I hope you like black and white.

1983, Grand Canyon, Arizona - I stand on a precipice, some sort of dangerous outcropping which overlooks the Canyon, my knees a bit wobbly, but it seems a test of my courage and an attempt to immerse myself as deeply as possible into the surrounding beauty. I am Elizabeth Bennet from the film Pride and Prejudice, but without the long, flapping skirts.

1986, My sister's backyard, rural Indiana - I sit in a chair, warm in the summer sun, smiling down at my first son who is only weeks old. I happen to look up, still smiling, and my eyes meet the gaze of my ex-bad-boy who has apparently been studying the scene before him, and in that moment his eyes seem to say, "Oh, crap. I may have made a mistake by not scooping you up when I had the chance." This is as near as I have ever come to starring in a scene from a romantic movie.

2007, Hospital room, Indianapolis - My nuclear family and I are alone together in a room with my dying father. I stand at the foot of the bed, my mother and one older brother on one side, and my eldest brother and older sister on the other. It occurs to me that this is the first time we have been alone together as a family in possibly thirty years. I am not unaware that it will also be the last time. And in that wordless moment, this snapshot that remains indelibly etched in memory, are revealed volumes of words to rival Ridpath's History of the World.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Paper, Paints & Pens

When I was a girl, there was nothing more exciting in my life than the beginning of the school year and buying school supplies. Except maybe walking to the drug store in the summer to buy little spiral notebooks and pens.

Forty years later, I'm still excited when I buy office or art supplies. So I was really happy yesterday when I was cleaning out my email inbox, and discovered that I had never used a Staples e-gift card a friend had sent me months ago.

I went to Staples on my lunch hour - even before eating - and chose a little pack of Super Sticky post-it notes in bright colors (on sale), a small, magnetic dry erase board for my fridge (on sale), a pad of watercolor paper, a box of watercolor pencils (one of the greatest inventions since caveman paint), and a purple gel pen that the sales girl talked me into buying to round out the sale to beyond the value of the gift card because she didn't know what to do with my extra 9 cents.

And last night I came home, pulled out a sheet of the thick watercolor paper, set up a still life of a lone orange and two lemons, and transferred their image behind my eyes to paper.

Honestly, I'd forgotten a little what it feels like to create. Other than planting flowers, I haven't done anything remotely creative in ages. And that makes me cranky. And dull, and feeling as if I'm not really living my life. Oh, how quickly I fall back into the same rut, over and over.