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We'll try this...

So I'll try this LJ app on my phone and see if it helps me keep this journal as a valid site for my own posting. I do a little better in the reading of others, still, but not really "enough" of that either.

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Excerpt from Joanna Macy's Active Hope

"When we come from gratitude, we become more present to the wonder of being alive in this amazing living world, to the many gifts we receive, to the beauty we appreciate.  Yet the very act of looking at what we love and value in our world brings with it an awareness of the vast isolation under way, the despoliation and unraveling.  From gratitude we naturally flow to honoring our pain for the world.

Coming from gratitude helps build a context of trust and psychological buoyancy that supports us to face difficult realities... Dedicating time and attention to honoring our pain for the world ensures there is space to hear our sorrow, grief, and outrage, and any other feelings revealing themselves in response to what is happening to our world.  Admitting the depths of our anguish, even to ourselves, takes us into culturally forbidden territory.  From an early age we've been told to pull ourselves together, to cheer up or shut up.  By honoring our pain for the world, we break through the taboos that silence our distress.  When the activating siren of inner alarm is no longer muffled or shut out, something gets switched on inside us.  It is our survival response.

The term honoring implies a respectful welcoming, where we recognize the value of something.  Our pain for the world not only alerts us to danger but also reveals our profound caring.  And this caring derives from our interconnectedness with all life.  We need not fear it." ~ Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone, Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy


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On Beauty (bell hooks from Art on My Mind)

"As feminist thinkers construct feminist theory and practice to guide us into a revolutionary, revitalized feminist future, we need to place aesthetics on our agenda.  We need to theorize the meaning of beauty in our lives so that we can educate for critical consciousness, talking through the issues: how we acquire and spend money, how we feel about beauty, what the place of beauty is in our lives when we lack material privilege and even basic resources for living, the meaning and significance of luxury, and the politics of envy.  Interrogating these issues will illuminate the ways we can create a balanced, harmonious life where we know the joy of the collective, progressive struggle, where the presence of beauty uplifts and renews the spirit." ~ bell hooks, "Beauty Laid Bare: Aesthetics in the Ordinary," from Art on My Mind
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Jury duty

I'm on jury duty in Baltimore City courthouse - 4,000 potential jurors stuffed into chairs in what looks like the extras casting office for The Wire.
I'd actually never received the summons, which went to the address I lived at more than six years ago (two residences ago) - but my ex from those days dropped of a notice to update my juror online enrollment, and when I did, I was informed I was supposed to be serving the very next day with no opportunity to postpone. So I was a "walk-in" juror today... Though three hours later, we haven't actually made it through all the check-in steps for all of us.
Feels like some kind of hell-via-Sartre but with less interesting lines....
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Beautiful Day....

It's been more than a month since I posted, I've been really enjoying my tumblr sites, and so I've been posting a lot there. I have been keeping up with my reading (and sometimes even commenting!) on all my friends here, especially glad to have added some new LJ friends in the last couple of months (and glad to see some LJ friends from days gone by starting back up again, too) - so I'm making a quick post while getting a latte prior to heading into work.

The campus is in a "black out 4 day long weekend" which means nothing with students, no operations staff, BUT there's me - sewing away in the costume loft for 9 hours yesterday, and who knows how long today (and tomorrow). Yesterday, I left really disheartened at how long I worked without really finishing the dress I've been wrestling with for almost three days. Today, I'm trying to hold my deadline worries at bay, to just keep moving the dance costumes forward as calmly as possible.
It'll be a beautiful day on campus, though I'll mostly be chained to the sewing machine.
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Almost done...

After a very full grownup day, after a very full grownup week, I still managed to put in six hours of additional studio work towards finishing the Passion piece - it is really almost done, done enough to be photographed tomorrow morning. I'm having it, and The Swarm piece, photographed professionally tomorrow morning (in DC)- I'm hoping to be up early enough to do a little more work on it prior to heading out, but we'll see.
Balance

Cleansing Continued

When I sweep the floor of the studio, the dust glitters with countless spilled beads, buttons, and sequins, wrapped up with small pieces of many colored threads, handfuls of pins, all from the large fiber art pieces I work on, as well as scraps and slivers of textured paper that fell from the drawing table during collage work.
In small shifts of work, I clear the space of more clutter, striving to have my tools and supplies as accessible and inspirational as possible. I consider the storage of older work, the shelves and shelves of fabric, and try to keep the flat surface of the room from becoming too full.
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Young Alumnae Showcase

Last night was the Young Alumnae Showcase - which took me from winter break into four days from 7:00am till 10:00pm at work.  In the rush to pull the performance together, the return to school was really rough.  Last night, when a much better, fuller than last year's audience arrived, and the five short plays got under way, there was an ease to the event that I hadn't felt before.  More than just being fun, there was such a deep sense of love, support, and watching the several generations of some of my best theater students come together, from such different present circumstances but sharing a past, and a connection renewed through this project, and my investment in them all, felt just amazing.  I'm a jaded theater guy with an eye rolling reaction to anything that is described as "community theater," but there it was, the reason why we do this kind of work.  Young Alumnae, a difficult group to keep involved with their old school while they are in college or first jobs, performed with a new faculty member and rekindled connections to place and each other, and me and Julia, of course.  I'm getting ready to start rolling out the details of a major summer undertaking we're embarking on, and this event helped me see the building power behind these choices and dreams.  Exhausted, but dreaming/scheming, and feeling pretty good.
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Winter Break 1/2 Way Mark

I am feeling so much better - been to the gym, visited with friends, worked at least a little while in the studio almost every day. Yesterday, a little more than three hours working on my Nourished by my Passions piece, after having folded up the Shroud piece for this year. I'm reading a lot, currently the brutal plays of Sarah Kane, as well as a collection of poems translated by Clayton Eshleman (Artuad, Cesaire, Breton, Szocs, etc.)...
Mu housemate and I have almost finished devouring the two seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race available on NetFlix (seasons two and three) - oh, Raja!
I don't celebrate Christmas, but that doesn't mean there weren't gifts to get, and I'm pleased that I spent what money I did on mostly local artists, in small arts-oriented stores - no Amazon (for gifts, at least) and nothing in big business venues or the mall. My family is away, so even with my mother's birthday the day after Xmas, I have no plans or obligations.
I am notorious for over-imagining how much I might accomplish during a "vacation" - and though my housemate would reflect that I'm still a total overachiever, there has been so sense of greater ease, less intensity if scheduled-ness, with significantly less Gringe than usual.
I was in work for several hours today, the second of two work days this week - with at least one day next week, but I am trying to stay off campus! Progress, not perfection, is the best I can do right now...
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First Day Off Since...

Home today, first day away from campus since the Saturday before Halloween, was that the 29th? Before that day, we want two full weeks in a row without a day off, then it wasn't really a day "off" - just a day we were out shopping the show away from campus. So, this is really the first day of real rest since the beginning of October. (sigh) And this is an improvement from last year's production schedule. (sigh) All work and no play... (sigh)