Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reverb 10 #4 - #6

(So much for dailiness)

December 4 -- Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

My sense of wonder is sparked by watching creative people do their thing. I've started going out to see live music more again this year and I am always truly amazed by what musicians can create with voices and instruments and talent. Watching other creative people has helped me start thinking more about my own pursuits, though delving into them in any real way may still be an "if" rather than a "when."

December 5 -- Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

In May, I let go of a relationship that had run its course, again. We had been together for nearly three years and it had become evident a while before that living together wasn't actually making us any closer, if anything it only highlighted the differences in our personalities and interests. Throw in a disruptive addiction and my decision to buy a house and the fate of the relationship was well and truly sealed.

This was the second time around for us, we'd been together for nearly three years in the late 90s/00s and it hadn't worked out then either. Unfortunately, I am the queen of the doomed relationship, which is why we ended up trying it again and hanging in there for as long as we did. This ending was mostly painless (probably because of the dress rehearsal) and we are still friends (and have probably always made better friends than partners), but we are also both still single, so there's an awkwardness to our interactions that will linger for a while, I'm afraid.

December 6 -- Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

The last thing I finished was a beanie knit from two colors of silk/wool blend yarn. I love it, it fits just the way I wanted it to and the sheen of the yarn is simply lovely. I always have a list of projects. There are tons of things I want to knit, pieces I want to write, photos I want to take. I'm terrible at clearing the time for them, because I am usually afraid I'm not going to be happy with the end project. So I may as well use the time to look at things other people have made instead. It's a terrible cop-out, and I am trying to get out from under that mentality, but it's taking a while, because it's been growing for far too long.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Reverb 10 #3

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

I've been thinking about this all day, and the moment I keep coming back to is the one when I emerged onto 8th Avenue from Penn Station on my birthday trip to New York City in July. It was the first time I'd gone to New York on my own, and the first time I'd gone for more than a day in several years. It was one of the hottest days of the summer, the sun was shining brilliantly and it was just after 10 am (I'd walked to the train station in Lancaster fairly early that morning). There was the usual throng of people outside of Penn Station, waiting for buses, trying to figure out which way they needed to go, who knows. For once, I wasn't one of the confused. I came up the stairs, out the doors, and immediately turned right and pointed myself in the general direction of Union Square Park and the Green Market. I ducked briefly into a doorway and took a quick peek at my map to be sure of exactly how to get there, then threw myself into the flow of Saturday morning Manhattan pedestrian traffic.

This may not seem like such an extraordinary moment for most people, but that fact that I was where I was, on my own, confident in where I was going and what I was doing was a huge turning point for me. It was a release of a level of anxiety I wasn't sure would ever recede, and an expansion of life after six-and-a-half years of contraction, during which my life seemed to get smaller and more confined with every turn.

The four days I spent in New York (all but I few hours of which I spent with no one I knew) were a reminder that I have the whole wide world in front of me, and that I need not let it be taken away by myself or anyone else. That reminder began to gel the moment I stepped out into the July humidity that first moment.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reverb 10 (#1 and #2)

I'm playing follow-the-leader with PoMo Golightly and Tea Leaves in deciding to give Reverb 10 a try. One prompt a day for the month of December, reflecting back on the year just past and looking forward to what could be in the year ahead. And, as a bonus, it could get me blogging daily.

December 1 – One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? (Author: Gwen Bell)

The word for 2010 is, without a doubt, "change." Since January of this year I have: started a full-time job at a bank (ugh!), bought a house, moved, ended a relationship, attended the funeral of a college friend, celebrated a milestone birthday, conquered my NYC anxiety, left the bank job for my old art college job, had my freelance outlets die on the vine, returned to meditation (and, to a lesser extent, yoga), and become friends with my ex-husband. Well, those were the major things, anyway. It has been a year during which I have honestly never been quite sure what was waiting around the next corner or at the end of any given day.

The changes have been a blend of good and bad, and most of them have had significant lessons attached to them. I've tried to ride all of them out with as much equanimity as I could muster, but, I have to admit, it hasn't always been easy. It certainly won't be a year I'll forget too quickly.

As for 2011, I'd love for the word this time next year to be "equilibrium." I don't want to be static, by any means, but I want to be at a point at which I feel as though I can handle what is coming at me with grace. I want to not be upended by each new thing, good, bad, or indifferent. I have to believe that this is not too much to ask.

December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

Most of what I do each day doesn't contribute to my writing. I find practically any excuse to put it off, or to shelve it altogether, because part of me is convinced that it doesn't have enough value to bother doing. I know that's not true, and if I would work consistently at writing, rather than frittering my time away with things that have even less value, I would see the truth of it more clearly and devote more time and energy to producing work and putting it out for more than just my own eyes.