Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I think I was maybe 12? Maybe younger, when I first realized I was not going to live forever, that people did not just live forever. That seems old to be discovering that fact, but it's when I had my first experience with a family funeral -- the death of my maternal grandfather. I saw the ritual, the mourning, the disbelief and devastation that the loss of him wrought on my family, and it was odd to think he would no longer be around.

I think I was 30 when the *actual* realization of my mortality hit me. It was then that I made some significant changes in my life -- painful, difficult, with long-term ramifications -- but necessary, as I realized then that I did not want to live the rest of the time I had left in the manner I was living it.

When I was forty, well, that's when I got scared. Not by any particular thing, except the realization that this life, this very life that I was living, would end someday. By forty, I had had all my children, my career was stable, my marriage solid and joyful, and I was living the best life I could ever have imagined for myself. It was in that year, and in subsequent years, that 'things' started to happen around me. Not TO me, but near enough that I felt twitchy. Accidents, unexpected deaths, CANCER, irreversible changes in economic status, career, relationships...all to people I knew, people I loved, people in my sphere of acquaintance. It was, and still is, periodically, enough to make me want to hide. Or to do something reckless, because I'm going to die anyway, right??

Except I have come to the separate conclusion that there really aren't as many opportunities to be truly bad-ass anymore, once you've passed your thirties or so. Definitely by 40, the *chances* of badassery are much less, sadly. Not saying it can't, or doesn't, happen, it's just...less. Badassery in your forties is typically some level of insanity, and is described by others as such. Not that I much care for others' opinions at this point in my life. Although I do, sometimes.

But I digress.

I've come to make a level of peace with the fact that I will be gone from this earth one of these days. Hopefully not soon, and hopefully after my children are well-established in this world. I think the biggest fear of leaving is that I would hurt the ones I love, so I am trying to have as wonderful and fulfilled a life as possible, so that when I am gone, my loved ones can say that I lived my life to the fullest. It's a personal goal. I'm under no illusion that I will leave this world having done all that I really want to do -- that list is long, and monumental, and my personality is such that I am constantly finding new experiences that I want to be a part of. See my previous post about creating, for some of that.

It's pretty likely that I will live a long time more, at least another 40 or so years, given my family history, and my general good health. But I think the drive to create, to make things, make experiences, make memories, photographs, costumes, saddle pads, jewelry, dessert, essays....I think fundamentally all of that comes from a place of a desire for longevity, permanence, a legacy. On some level, I hope I am leaving enough of a mark. On another level, I know I am. Life is an adventure to be lived.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


It's been forever since I wrote here, and I again feel the spaces in my soul that contain my language-based experiences filling to overflowing. I've found that there are some things I "write" about in my head that never make it to the page. I want to write about them, and in my mind, I work out the text, the construct of the phrases, maybe even the accompanying images, but then....I never open the blog editor and fill the blank space with words and pictures. Sometimes I don't want to share. Sometimes I am being far too esoteric for my own good. Sometimes I just think people don't need to know that much about me.

Instead of trying to make up for the four months of adventures that have happened since last I documented them, I'm going with a writing prompt for this post. The short version of the last four months is thus, however, for those who are interested:

* I have stopped running regularly.
* I have lost fifteen pounds
* Wren and I have been riding in dressage schooling shows. I have won two classes, scoring higher than several actual other people.
* My mother has moved to Florida and is enjoying herself. I miss her, but I am thrilled for her!
* Kira adores her program at the technical high school she is attending.
* Noah reads chapter books in first grade.
* Wren is truly blossoming in confidence, skill, and maturity.
* Travis will graduate from the University of Richmond in May.

But that's not what I'm here to write about today.

To create.

If I had to pick a verb in the English language that captured my essence, I think 'to create' would be it. I have always closely identified with the meaning of the word -- "to bring something into existence". Whether it was mud pies and imaginary banquets, the stories and [embarrassing] poetry of my adolescence, or the concert dances of my early adulthood and the forays into making my own clothing, I see, with the clarity of an older adult, that I have always been compelled by an inner desire to bring something into existence.

Now, as a middle-aged adult, my time is limited by the demands of the family I created, and so my more typical acts of creation don't get practiced very often. My definition of 'create' is broader, and I think increasing the breadth of that definition has satisfied the soul-deep need for it. Now, I create gifts, and Halloween costumes, and small projects, but I also create whole holiday celebrations for my family, as well as possibilities and opportunities for them to do and be and make their own things. That is equally significant, even though I struggle sometimes to remember that creating isn't always about having something to hold in your hand at the end of the day.

Sure, as all my friends know, I like to do and make and practice many art forms. I lose count sometimes of all the crafts I know about and can do with reasonable competence. I think the act of creating is based in a desire for longevity, or replication, in some way. I worry a lot about time, and how much of it there is, and so creating something, especially a tangible something, leaves a small piece of me behind. I also think the creation impulse is fed by my rich inner life. Not exactly Walter Mitty-style, but I do spend a good bit of time in my head, imagining, working out problems, thinking things over. Making something real is a way to physically address what goes on in my head, in my inner experience of my life. I don't know if it's the same for all artists, but it is essentially this for me.

 Sometimes my life gets so busy I don't touch my fabric, or glass, or clay or paper, paint, ink, metals for weeks. But fall is always one of my most creative times of the year, and while I wrestle with scheduling and fitting everything in, some of the happiest moments involve planning a project, escaping to the sewing (painting, metalworking, drawing) room, and making something special for myself or my kids. Stay tuned for Halloween costumes, Christmas presents, and new stuff for myself and the ponies!

Right now, though, I need to create some breakfast.