but I'm liking it less every year. I remember the first time I missed Christmas, I was in India, sitting on the dirt floor of my palm frond hut on the Arabian Sea. Who could complain about that? I sent christmas post cards home to all my friends and family with a picture of the cockroach I was living with. It was as big as an ornament. But cockroaches aside, I pulled out the christmas card my friend had given me before leaving... the one that said "DO NOT OPEN UNTIL CHRISTMAS!" I loved her for that. Because it turned out I needed it more than I thought I would. That night I slept on the beach, looking at stars, and realizing how much I missed everyone. I haven't talked to that friend in a long time. And family... well, that has gotten pretty complicated. Christmas plans have changed one to many times. But this year, Vinny and I will spend Christmas Eve alone. It will be wierd, but I am looking forward to that part of it. We'll eat cannolies (his specialty) and play scrabble by the fire and pretend we're in a country far away from everyone else's problems. We decided not to exchange gifts this year. That part feels good. But I can't help but buy a tennis ball for Abe. Yes, the dog loves opening presents. He loves tennis balls. He lives for them. It is how he expresses love. Snuggle? Tennis ball? Those are his favorite words. I wish other people could be as easily satisfied. I've always loved tradition. But it seems to be getting in the way these days. It's not about what it should be. Actually, it's turned into something that people cry and get upset over. Tonight my grandma called and started freaking out on me again. I tried explaining to her that, at that moment, Vinny and I were decorating the tree. In other words, couldn't it wait? I am wondering if there will ever be peace. Yea, I love tradition, but not unrealistic expectations. There's a difference. If only I could fix everyone's world. I would. I am trying hard to go with the flow. Just be there when I can, but know when to say enough is enough. It is never an easy task.
But on the positive side, yes, we finally got our tree up and decorated. I cleaned the basement which had turned into a disgusting hole and rearranged the bedroom. There was about an inch of dust on everything. And I won't mention how big the dog/cat hair balls were that lurked in the corners. I'm having a hard time coming down from all the work I've done in the past few weeks (months actually). I took it out on the house. I'm hoping that relaxation will find me soon. In the process, the house is a little bit nicer place to be.
Yesterday, I hung out at the studio most of the day. But I only painted for maybe a half hour. A block of hot pink, and a little red. A wall and a fire-hydrant. I wrote, and looked through books, and basically just putzed around. Putzing-- that's all I really wanted to do. At this rate I am wondering if I will actually be ready for the show I have planned at the end of January. I wonder also if my collaborative partner will be ready either. I haven't gotten far, she hasn't even started. Yesterday I just felt no desire to push myself any further. I find myself wanting to do abstract paintings instead. Wordless colors... merely emotional responses, nothing more. In my putz mode I also did a Tarot reading. It didn't help to motivate me, rather justified my lack of forward momentum. The card representing my past said that I have just finished a very stressful part of my life. The card for the present said that what I need to do now is sleep, to rest, and renew my energy. Well, that hit it right on. Unfortunately, I didn't understand the meaning of the card representing my future. Nothing except that I need to appreciate what I have. hmmm-- interesting. I don't hold full stock in what a tarot reading might say. I believe that we are responsible for our own past, present, and future. It is not dictated by what card may say. But it does provide a window of thought, a way of examining your life. And so yes, at face-value, I feel that I should use this time to relax. Not to feel guilty about what I am or am not doing. What I really want to do now is explore my art freely, without worrying that it will be hanging on gallery walls and that it will be seen and judged by others. I need to just go inside myself for awhile-- explore, experiment. And not worry about deadlines and reactions.
Sometimes I feel like my life is heading in a direction that I did not plan for. My art has played a big part in this. I feel the need to be open-- towards possibilites, towards the future. Pushing myself so hard has made me feel like I'm wearing blinders, like a beaten and submissive horse.
Today Vinny gave me a suitcase. It is old and brown. He didn't want it anymore. At the dinner table, I asked him-- if he was going to leave his life as he knows it now and he could only pack what fit in that suitcase... what would he bring? He got hung up on what the weather would be like where he was going and if I would fit in the case. Ok... but assuming that we'd be leaving together and that anything we might need along the way would be provided, what would you bring from your old life?
I decided that I would bring:
my photo albums
my old journals
what ever books that would fit (but which ones???)
and my little buddha for good luck.
that's all. I could easily walk away from the rest. Life is interesting that way. Why do we carry around so much baggage, collect so much junk, when in truth, most of it is of so little use?
Tonight I hope to dream of wild horses. Wild and free and living each spontanious moment as though there was nothing to weigh it down. I wonder where I would end up if I didn't bring the suitcase at all.