A Sense of Place

Off on an adventure + some inspiration for the weekend: by Christina Rosalie

Possibility is just here  T and I are off on another adventure this weekend. Actually, T has been away all week on a business trip, and I'm slipping off to join him in New Orleans--a city neither of us has ever been to. There will be a pool, and a verandah (I've always loved that word) and enough shrimp and grits and jazz to fill both belly and soul. I'm so excited.

While I'm away, here's a little inspiration for your weekend:

With the weather suddenly growing cold, I want to make these Instant Wristies. Plus, if you don't know Maya's beautiful little corner of the blogosphere, spend some time there. It's lovely.   This project is brilliant. I can't wait to get my copy.   These thought-provoking questions about motherhood and art.   This series of mama and baby (self) portraits by the incredibly talented photographer Nirrimi.   This post from my blog archives: "On Motherhood and Messes, Creative Process and Apple Pie"   And this post from Marthe: "Scenes From a Life: When Nothing Is Certain, Everything Is Possible"   Also, this is so smart and silly, I actually want one.

xoxo, Christina

PS: I'll be posting heaps of photos on Instagram.

Today, like any other day by Christina Rosalie

Today is like any other day: a hurdy-gurdy collision of who we are and who we want to be. Two boys, not enough sleep, too many things on the to-do list. The same ordinary fears and falterings and hurdles that always find me, find me still.

And yet, I have this inexplicable gratitude: That I am alive. That this body moves. That each morning when I wake up I find one or two emails in my inbox from complete strangers telling me that my book has made a difference in their lives.

For the way T wakes up, and after showering finds my feet and rubs them, one and then the other, while I'm still trailing dreams.

For good espresso and the way the leaves have been a display of splendor: every shade of vermillion, every hue of gold. For running with T at lunchtime. Three miles next to the blue, blue lake.

For seeing my dear friend, even for only a handful of moments, her new hair cut slanting bangs and layers across her gorgeous cheekbones.

That my boys run to me when I get home. That first one, and then the other clamber into my arms, covering my cheeks with kisses. For the way we all gather around the kitchen counter then; T making curry and chicken, and me kneading and frying chapattis with Sprout, while Bean flips through the latest issue of a food magazine, pointing out recipes and reading the titles of things he's curious about or wants to make.

For reading Secret Garden with Bean at bedtime, which is, hands down my favorite book from when I was a kid.

For the way the air smells under the nighttime stars; like snow soon, and decomposing leaves and woodsmoke. And for the way T's skin feels, warm and salty and supple beside me as I crawl into bed for the night.

A day, this one, in it's entirety: a handful of moments.

What holds your attention? What small things overtake you with the feeling of gratitude? (I love to read your lists!)

Grow your wonder by Christina Rosalie

It’s easy to forget, with all the potential of our complex technologies and science how little we actually really know. It’s easy to grow complacent with google at our finger tips, data always at the ready, answers as cheap and fast as rain. It’s easy to forget about wonder, and how it dwells in us as a vital force. Yet to wonder is to explore the anatomy of creativity.

To wonder, is to remember your smallness among the universe of things: galaxies and breath and sudden dying stars, first chances, and last encounters; and to take note of the minutia that matters--an individual flick of the wrist; the subtlety of gesture, the complexity of synapses, the nuances of code, or laughter, or pronunciation. And beneath that to ask: what is your heart saying when you listen?

To wonder is to look up into the night sky, or at the Fibonacci spiral unfolding in the petals of a flower, and be filled with utter awe. Wonder is why children are profusely, almost unstoppably creative. They imagine everything is possible, and bow down before that possibility with their imagination in their palms as an offering.

When was the last time you were overcome with wonder?

On seeing and being seen (a little more Squam love) by Christina Rosalie

Here are few more of my favorite images from my time at Squam last week. It's hardly possible to do anything more than simply post them. They capture the way I saw the moments, the golden light, the magic of those days.

All I can really say is that my time at Squam was just enough.

Just enough time to become a parenthesis, a pause from the exuberance and rushingness of little boys and busy life.

Just enough time to find myself, between arrival and departure, just still, at the end of a dock watching as the yellow sun became golden and the lake lit with the color of the heavens.

Just enough time to lie under a storm tossed sky while Jonatha played her guitar to the gathering gulls, and to us--the women around me, gathered there with big hearts and bigger courage; with gorgeous souls, incredible stories; with wild hair and vivacious dance moves; with laughter and wonder and delight.

Just enough time to feel my heart swell big in gratitude.

Oh yes.

The way autumn begins (on finding moments for rest) by Christina Rosalie

Rocks that I love || Christina Rosalie

There is a storm outside. There is a stirring wind that makes the chimes clink in the lilac, and the rain rat-a-tat against the dark glass where reflections from candles dance. There are little tea candles in jelly jars, flickering yellow and soft against the creamy walls; and purple gladiolas in a turquoise vase that T bought while I was away. He cleaned our bedroom too; rearranging the furniture to make it a sanctuary of softness, white on white, save for the bed frame which he painted turquoise, my favorite color, instead of the black it was since college.

* *

We built the frame together just before we moved to NYC for the summer, his senior year. We were still nearly kids, sneaking into the woodshop late with borrowed keys, cutting boards and planing them, using regular hardware store bolts to hold at the corners. And somehow, it’s made every move with us -- expanding to allow for extra slats when we got a king sized mattress to accomodate Bean when he was still small and spent the night between us, arms splayed like a starfish.

Now he is long limbed and in second grade. He's missing both front teeth, and reads things over my shoulder and bosses his brother around. And Sprout: he started preschool two weeks ago.

Blink. Preschool.

And the bed holds all of us on Saturday morning. The sun angles in from between the wooden slats of the window shades, and we all nuzzle and doze. And even on a weekday mornings the boys will often come running down the hall, while T is in the shower, and tuck, one under each arm into bed with me, their bodies warm and wiggly and still supple with dreams.

* *

It's the end of a long, fruitful, busy week.

I meant to write other things tonight: about reading from my book in Boston, and about other book promo things -- but the truth is: I tire of that some days, and I miss simply telling you about where I am just now, in the middle of things. About the turning of the seasons and my dog's cold nose pressed against my wrist as I write. And about the way she comes to curl beside us, her body knowing what I must relearn again and again: that I too am an animal in need of rest.

I'm looking forward to slowing down this weekend. To stacking wood, to uploading photos from Squam, and to spending some time in my studio making things.

How about you? What are your intentions for the weekend?

The unexpected arrival of right now by Christina Rosalie

I'm trying... to find my sense of place again. To locate myself here, now, where I am. But life has been a series of lift offs and landings lately, and my heart like a boomerang some days, like a kite others.

A friend said this week: "Next step: feeling the roof dissolve away from that new room in your head."

And that's exactly it. That's exactly what's happening. Life is full of a kind of poignancy I'm unaccustomed to. I'm working on so many things I love; trying to balance the shoulds with the woulds; the longing with the here and now. Little boys, with big cities; paint on my jeans, with running hard; book promo projects, with all the canvases I want to paint.

I want to hear your stories.

Have you've every had a time where you felt you were growing so fast you could hardly keep up? What was that like?

Creative ritual: a walk at the blue hour by Christina Rosalie

This has become a nightly ritual, after the boys are in bed. To go with the dog, and some good chocolate in my pocket and also a ball point pen, my Molskein notebook, to the pond as the blue hour draws close. Once there, I find the same smooth, flat rock to sit upon, and she settles beside me, her head on my thigh. We watch the water, spread out blue, on blue, ripple folding over ripple as the sky becomes indigo and the bats come out. And I write fast and furiously in the fading light: filling page after page in a loose, easy scrawl.

I care hardly at all about the content. What matters isn't what I write. It matters simply that I do. (I can feel it, how this is already the beginning of something new.)

This, right now: by Christina Rosalie

After the boys are asleep, I go back outdoors into the soft night with my notebook, and sit by the fire pit to watch the evening gather.

I'm here. Just here, at the edge of the sloping field where the grass is growing tall. Here, at the edge of the woods at the top of the valley. Here, where the sounds of a hundred different bird calls fill the gloamy twilight: finches, robins, grosbeaks, vireos, warblers, thrushes.

And then I hear a pair of geese, circling and calling as they do, and soon others find them, and they land, one after the next with a heavy-bodied splash in pond at the edge of the field below us. Their alto honking punctuates the dwindling sentence of day, and theirs is a message that I understand: to be right here. To let the air be everything, the softness be everything. The final calling of the robin and the first flight of the bat:everything.

Now there are crows with sooty backs and beaks and breasts, perching on the quince tree, and in the distance, the sound of traffic. Nearer, through the open windows of the house, the dryer clatters, tossing a load of delicates round and round, and above me the sky has been rinsed of blue.

It turns to lavender, then paler still, until it is the exact color of the blossoms on the lilac tree where the wind chimes hang and the birds go to rest after gathering seed from the feeder.

The air is sweet with woodsmoke and it smells like summer.

It smells like childhood, like family, and all the things I ever want to remember about traveling in a camper with my parents and sister: the Grand Canyon, Half Moon Bay, Point Reyes, Death Valley, Bodega, Four Corners, Pikes Peak, The Great Divide. We'd light campfires in the evenings, and do the very thing my boys did after roasting marshmallows tonight: burn the ends of long sticks in the licking flames, and then hold them aloft, smoke spiraling upwards into the gathering night.

The songbirds slowly settle among twigs and newly furling leaves in the woods, and the sky blushes with a final rose. Above me there are contrails, golden still, then fading to white, marking the path of silver-bellied planes, carrying people wherever it is they want to go above me.

And while they cross time zones and topographies, I am here.The peepers in the vernal pools beginning there tremolo chorus as night draws close, and this is all of my life, again and again.

We are no more and no less than the sum of the moments that make up our present tense. And this now, and the now after this will be marked by a gathering of clouds, and the last surprising flight of a dozen red-winged blackbirds overhead.


I've started writing again.

Mostly in my Molskine, with scrawling haphazard script. But I'm finding the moments, and feeding them slowly.

To show up, to show up, to show up.


How do you show up?

10 things that are awesome: by Christina Rosalie

Hello! Hello!

1. I have an interview up over at the gorgeous 52 Photo Projects site today. If you don't know Bella and all the photographic inspiration she brings to the world, you should. It was such a fun interview to do---particularly the last question.

2. Nothing quite compares with missing my guy while he was gone for the weekend, and then having him back: sweeter, better looking, and funnier than ever. I really have such a crush on him.

3. This blog is awesome. And hilarious. This post shamed me into cleaning out my car. I am so not an adult when it comes to doing so on a regular basis. The contents, just for fun: 3 ceramic cups, 2 to-go cups, 1 pair of shoes (mine), 1 pair of jeans (Sprout's), 1 pair of underwear (yeah, that'd be a good story. But they're Sprout's too), 5 picture books, 2 jackets, countless wrappers and dirty paper towels and napkins.

4. Twitter. It's really awesome. I know some of you have said that you don't have time. But here's a secret: It's better than Facebook. It's news and insights and inspiration and delight all wrapped up and moving at the speed of light. I've been having the best conversations there lately. Join in!

5. I've finally made my peace with the fact that I will not have any Kickstarter rewards for my dear backers until I graduate. It's killing me to admit this, but it feels peaceful and wonderful too, to picture sending out rewards when I start ramping up for my book this spring as I celebrate the end of graduate school. I'm planning some other big super fun things for this space then too... *grin*

6. Modcloth. I had no idea it even existed until I followed a Pinterest meander. And oh, I could buy nearly every dress there. Really. Truly.

7. My dearest friend had her first son on Bean's birthday! It's the coolest thing in the world to have known her since we were ten, and to know her now as a mom. Talking to her about those first weeks of staggering exhaustion and wonder has me reeling: that my baby is a three year old.

8. Speaking of: He is finally, completely potty trained. It was kind of epic, and I didn't really write a lot about it here because I never wanted to jinx anything and it took for effing ever. But now I think we're there. I think somehow without intending, I bought the very last package of diapers I'll ever buy. He's in underwear. We've graduated into a whole new era of big-kidness.

9. A project we just finished was to paint a wall in our house between the living room and the kitchen with chalkboard paint. It seems like a perfect way to celebrate the fact that we've moved into the era of big kids around here. They draw robots and play with magnetic numbers and make people with long legs and big smiles on the wall, and it's a totally rad ever changing work of art to come home to at the end of the day.

10. Instagram. I really, really love the glimpses, the bits of bright beauty, the inspiration, the community, the ridiculous talent of the people I follow. Yes, Instagram makes the ordinary gorgeous, but the people who really rock it, are the ones who can compose a shot just so; who have an eye for light and color, and who surprise you every time with the unexpected way the elements in the image are arranged.

I am particularly enjoying followingL: @carrisajg, @hilaryhess, @petamazey, and timrobisonjr. You can also find me on Instagram here: @christinarosalie.

* * *

Your turn: What are 10 awesome things?

Ready, set, go!

some glimpses from the week by Christina Rosalie

Here are a couple Instagram snapshots from the week. Since my semester ended on Fiday, I've been soaking up time with my boys. Doing silly, delightful things like making marshmallows from scratch + lovely salt dough ornaments + playing with catch with the dog + reading stories to the boys.

Tonight night we are having a solstice gathering at our house. Potluck + lots of good friends + a big bonfire. I'm hoping to take a few pictures to share. I'm so looking forward to it, in spite that currently my house looks entirely less than presentable and I have yet to make anything other than said marshmallows (which are entirely questionable) to offer my guests. Sigh. Somehow it will all likely come together.

What are you doing for solstice? {PS: thanks to everyone who supported Bethany! She is a light + an inspiration.}

A call to action + a call to wonder: A Guest Post by Christina Rosalie

Hello friends!I have a guest post to share with you by a true kindred spirit who believes, as I do, that instead of ending the life of adventure you may have once had, children can actually enhance it. Anyone who has ever dreamed of traveling Europe...but then had kids and gave up the dream (at least temporarily) needs the book that Bethany Basset is writing. And she needs you're help over on Kickstarter, where the deadline is closing in and some big-time dreams are on the line. Go back her project! Re-tweet this story. Share the love. Spread the word. I'm saying this selfishly. I want her book, so that in another two years from now T, Bean, Sprout and I can descend on Europe like I've always dreamed we will... and not only survive, but have an amazing time.

Following is a guest post written by Bethany. Enjoy!

* * *

Room For Wonder

We are in Venice, a land of fairy-tale opulence—gondoliers and palaces, masks and museums—but we stop for the honeysuckle. My barefoot Texas days come flooding back in muscle memory as I show the girls how to ease out the stamen and catch the tiniest drop of nectar on our tongues. It tastes like July. Natalie and Sophie are enthralled; drinking from flowers is a purer magic to them than St. Mark’s Basilica would be, so we linger off the tourist path to pick summer, and this is it: motherhood, nostalgia, travel, joy, LIFE.

My mind delights in the details, so if I were to organize our yearly road trips around Europe, I would map out an agenda for every minute. I’d research the top recommended things to do in every city and the best routes to get there, and we would be such efficient travelers that we’d never even see the honeysuckle. We would never tumble out of the car beside an unnamed waterfall in Wales or splash the heat away at a neighborhood creek in Munich or collect wildflowers on a sleepy mountainside in Austria. We would end up with pristine vacation photos and impressive souvenirs, but we would miss out on so many of the spontaneous moments we now treasure as family memories.

And so I step back to make room for wonder. Perfectionism has always chipped away at my capacity for marvel, but my girls have more than enough to go around. They don’t need a brochure to show them how to appreciate a new city, the curve of an unfamiliar leaf, the way each mile of landscape shapes the sky. They simply greet life as it comes with their full array of senses and a penchant for adventure, and I—the perfectionist, the planner, the mother-student—gain far more than souvenirs in return.

I am currently raising funds through Kickstarter to spend the next five months writing a book based on our unconventional trips to help families reconcile the dream of European travel with the challenges of parenthood. Life is too short, too deep with possibility to keep deferring adventure until the children are older or the 401K is filled, and I’m thrilled to work on a project I believe so sincerely in. However, I can’t do it on my own, and with only eight days left to raise the funds, I’m asking for your help.

First, would you back my project? Even if you don’t have young children or have never dreamed of Paris, would you help make it possible for me to write a book I believe in with all my heart? A simple $10 pledge will help in meeting the goal while pre-ordering a copy of the book, so I’m asking—earnestly and gratefully—for you to give what you can.

Second, would you spread the word? Every new person who hears about this book increases the likelihood that my project will succeed, so would you share this post or the link to my Kickstarter site with everyone in your social networking circles?

Whether traveling or writing a book, the most convenient option is to do it alone. However, the richness of shared adventure trumps convenience. Always. Thank you in advance and from the bottom of my hopeful heart for being a part of this one with us.

Field notes: A small collection of beautiful things by Christina Rosalie

The quality of light just here, on the plate where the yolk from the egg has spilled into a small river of gold against white enamel; light falling through the big south facing window before noon, while at the feeder chickadees scatter the sparks of millet hulls onto the grass beneath.

In the woods, the leaves are decomposing, the moss still verdant green, and punky wood good for kicking, or digging at with eager puppy paws. We walk the boundaries now, daily taking inventory of every bit of quartz, each trampled path, each wild raspberry bramble, and listen as the piliated woodpecker makes waves in the air with its drumming.

With their saws buzzing like angry bees, the men arrive from the power company, to fell trees for wires to pass through unhindered when the storms come, and though I’m sad about the spruce they take, leaving only the shorn trunk marked with scars of sticky sap, I’m grateful too, for the light that I turn on.

After dinner, the night is still soft and new and we go out, all five of us now; the dog at my side on a slack lead, picking up scents among the wet leaves while the big colored lights twinkle around the tallest pine and we start singing every carol we know, one after the next our voices lifting into the gathering night.

HELLO, I MISSED YOU! I'm back from my offline adventures. Some highlights: by Christina Rosalie

Hello friends!

Thank you for holding this space for me. Your comments when I came back on line a few days ago made my heart smile so very wide.

It was spectacular to take time off from the online world. To write, and write, and write. To notice things at a different pace. To fall in love again with dictionaries, with the sound of quiet, with paint on my fingers and my jeans. To feel fully focused, fully here, with only this intention: To write well and daily. To pull chapters together into a symphony of moments. To make sketches of illustrations still to come.

Now I'm back online, back to school on Tuesday, back to the pell mell pace of things. This September is crazy busy. I'll be contributing to a blog I love next week; finishing a piece for the fall/winter issue of Kinfolk (swoon!); finishing the illos for the book; prepping for a panel discussion on digital storytelling at the Burlington Literary Festival... and sort of holding my breath until it's all over....

In October I'm planning some lovely (and really big) changes around here, and finally, finally the rewards for my dear enduring Kickstarter backers who have waited more than a year now for me to send these goodies out... And the interview series here that I've been wanting to launch for so long. Super goodness. So excited.

Between now and then, I have so many photos to share from the past two weeks, and so many small stories: About tooth fairies, and rainstorms, gallery openings, quick summer meals and the process of making illustrations for the book...

Now it's your turn... Tell me: The 5 very best things that happened in the past two weeks. Go!

This today: by Christina Rosalie


Honey comb + lemons from Los Angeles in the mail (thank you sister!)

This food blog. Oh my. So inspired by the photos + eating seasonally.

Summer rain and crickets.

Finding the perfect place folded into T's arms and dreaming for a half our putting the boys to bed.

Planning my thesis.

Prepping postcards for illustrations for my book.

The ache in my heart for London and for the way inequality and unrest is becoming, more than ever, the story of our collective culture.

Feeling like the work I am doing for my book: about bringing intention and bravery and creativity to the ordinary moments of our small lives is becoming more and more important.

Your turn:

// Things I want to remember by Christina Rosalie

So busy this week, back to school, back to being in a hundred places at once. Still, it's summer and I'm trying to be in it. At the dinner table watching our boys run out across the grass holding hands to look for sticks for roasting marshmallows, T says: "Oh love, I want this to last forever."

I nod, knowing exactly what he means. Them, as they are with shaggy summer hair, scraped knees, berry stains on their fingers. And us. Our lives full to the brim right now, but in good way.

Things I want to remember:

// Dinner tonight: flatbread baked on a stone on the grill along with summer peaches + a hint of vanilla, chicken with olive oil + thyme, and a salad of summer's brightest: new plump blueberries, arugula from the garden, baby lettuces in a mustard maple balsamic vinaigrette.

// The way morning gallops in, with my boy's on it's back. They're wearing capes and wielding swords. It's before 7am. They are whirring with elbows and energy and laughter.

// The laundry whirring in a quiet house while the babysitter takes the boys on a bug-catching walk. They bring back crickets in a plastic egg box with holes poked in the top. It stays on my counter over night: some wells filled with water, others with grass. In the morning the insects are all alive still, and I make a plea for their release.

// Impending angst about my book deadline. So much to make a book. So many words. Picking the right ones seems feels daunting some days.

// Returning from an afternoon run just as thunder breaks the sky open. Then sitting in a circle of pages, blue post it notes scattered about like the petals of some sacred offering to the writing gods while the thunder rolls about like a bowling ball above me in the sky. Rain falls through the open windows onto the sills bringing the scent of earth and green.

Community + belonging: online vs.offline by Christina Rosalie

// Good morning. Here are a few glimpses of my favorite (new) place to get coffee. Bikes + bright, bold lattes and big reclaimed wood tables. A place to collide, connect + get work done... which has me wondering about a topic we've been discussing in class lately: what is the value of online communities vs. real world communities. How are they different? How are they the same?

Not social networks... but real communities that have similar functions and values to real world communities: places where like-minded people connect, share, participate, and exchange value.

I'm so looking forward to your thoughts.

What do online communities look like in your view? Where do you go online to share? To participate? To collaborate? Do you have a voice there? What about influence? Are you recognized? So curious to read what you think.


Sleep deprivation + inspiration + some springtime glimpes by Christina Rosalie

Everything has turned green suddenly, and on a brief walk around the house last night this is what I saw.


I’m still humming with wonder at the work that I do now: that I have this chance to write, create, share, make. That this is my job, finally, truly. And that this book is emerging slowly from drafts and chapter outlines pinned across the wall in front of me.

Today though I’ve accumulated some serious sleep deprivation, and combined with conflicting deadlines for class, I pretty much just want to do this.

Instead, I think I’ll be trying this for a week or two. Are you reader’s of Patry’s blog? I just found her, and am soaking up her words with immense gratitude.

I’m also still thinking about this podcast by Jamie about supporting the artists and bloggers and creatives who inspire you.

She’s new to me, and I’m grateful for the discovery—especially since I’m working on making my own podcast this week to send out to backers. Alessandra, the goddess who created Gypsy Girl’s Guide did an interview with Jamie at the end of the podcast and shared the link on Twitter. The interview is truly inspiring for anyone with a wanderlust heart such as mine. (Also I adored hearing her accent! It’s something I miss when reading words: how much emotion and passion and story is contained in the tone and cadence of the spoken word.)


Who are few creatives who are inspiring you right now? What do you love about their work?

+++ Also, if you're a twitter type, follow along. The inspiration I find there is plentiful every single day.

Utter failings and exquisite truths by Christina Rosalie

It hit me today while I was running that I don’t tell stories here nearly as much as I used to and I miss it, and I can see that you must miss it because the comments dwindle when I post sporadically and tersely with just a few scraps of observation from my day. And the truth is, your comments mean the world to me: not their quantity so much as their depth. I love what you have to say. I love how you see your worlds, and how you see mine. And the truth is, my readers here have saved my life many times over, and I mean that with no hyperbole at all.
When I started this blog six years ago it was my only creative outlet: I’d just move to a new town with my husband and six month old Bean, and I had no friends living within five hundred miles of me, not to mention no friends anywhere with children. This blog was my lifeline. I laugh now when I tell people, but I truly got at least 90% of all my parenting advice for raising Bean from the people who shared their lives through their blogs, and who shared my life by commenting here.
And gradually, I found my voice here, through telling stories about my kids, my muddy dirt roads, my heart full of wanderlust, my hunger for doing more and seeing more and being more; because you were listening.
I dreamed the idea for my book here; I shared the news of Sprout’s arrival here; I spilled the messiness and heartache of tenuous times here and man, I am so, so grateful for the inspiration, insight, and pure awesome that you bring to my life.
All this to say: I want to share more here, not less. I want to keep having this space be a place that I go to find my center: to find my words and hear your words. And it’s sort of slipped off the map a little in the past months because holy hell, grad school is no small thing.

I’m in the midst of cool project for school this week; an interactive documentary, to be exact. (Though if you ask me what an interactive documentary is, I’ll have to say wait and see—because I haven’t found a single example of what it is I’m trying to do. It requires action script code, and video editing, and interviewing, and graphic design and interaction design and animation. See?)
At it’s core is a series of video interviews with local artists who are all utterly brilliant, and intimidating, and awesome. They’re the kind of people I want as mentors. The kind of artists who have made it big time in their fields. The kind of artists who make me proud and terrified to call myself an artist.
I can’t wait to share it, but it I’ve still got a couple of weeks of work; and a lot of learning to do.
Right now it’s pushing me beyond every single boundary I have.
I’m interviewing people I never met; I’m designing a browser interface that accounts for emergent interactions; I’m learning to make lines do what I want them to do in Illustrator. This all but petrifies me.
But mostly the interviewing people I haven’t met part.
I’m good once I get to know someone, but those first awkward moments are a heat flash away from pure agony. Add to that the fact that I’m shooting video (a thing I am learning to do on the fly, as I go) and oh lord. Deep breaths.
Today I interviewed Maura Campbell who is fierce and fiery and passionate about her craft. My batteries died in my HD Flip just before the end; and then further embarrassment ensued because I couldn’t figure out how to open the damn thing. (Thank god for smart phones. I had the how-to googled in under a minute.)
Really. This happened.
And even though I was mortified, I was thrilled, because here’s the thing: I knew, even in the moment, that the battery malfunction I was having was just another way of falling down.
And learning to fall is necessary in learning to fly, or leap, or risk anything. Because it’s the people fall and recover that become rockstars and superheroes. It’s the ones who fall and get up time and again that discover how to make their dreams fly.
And if there’s one thing that has really gelled for me this winter it’s been this:
Falling is ok. Failing is part of the process. Doing both with frightening frequency means I’m pushing beyond my comfort zones, and that I’m learning. Big time.
Also that bravery doesn’t come from waiting for the perfect opportunity or knowing everything in advance, or getting it right the first time. Bravery comes from googling how the hell to open your video camera and replace batteries in the middle of an interview, and then recovering composure.

And at the end of the interview when we were standing in her paper strewn office, and she was telling me about how writing is requires being utterly selfish with one’s time, I asked her the question I always want to ask every creative person that I come into contact with: How do you balance this with the rest of your life? How do you do this and children?
And in not so few words her answer was this: you do the only thing that you can. When her kids were small, she wrote, fervently, in the center of the living room as her kids, four of them, twirled around her. When they were bigger, she retreated to her bedroom, leaving them with the warning: interrupt only with blood, or fire.
And that’s what makes her brilliant.
It has nothing to do with balance, with being a ‘perfect’ mother, or with having the right time and the right place to begin. It has to do simply with persisting. . With daring to dive every day towards what you love to do most. Always.
And it was such an awesome interview because I got to be reminded of that.

closer now by Christina Rosalie

Hunger brings them close, but I don't see them at first; I'm at the sink filling a water jug for the chickens, watching the water spill across the dirty dishes left for later and then I glance.

The sunlight moves, and in the shadows they're there. Six deer, maybe more. They move like quiet trees, they move like shadows. Their fur is dappled with the sun. They cannot know that inside, on the windowsill the branches I've brought in are blooming now. Forsythia, yellow and urgent with what's to come.

Outside I walk across hard packed snow, the mud turned back to ice; my breath rising in clouds, my nostrils flaring in the cold. 14 degrees and it's nearing the end of March.

This is when I forget everything (dandelions, the smell of lilacs, the song of the peepers): just before it happens


Some inspiration I've been finding:

This gorgeous painting (and all of her paintings really).

My Heart Wanders. Don't you just want to pick this book up and thumb through it?

This poem. You simply must go read it.

And these words. So true.

Where are you finding inspiration? What are your days like now in early spring?

Now we go down the muddy road by Christina Rosalie

You can feel it on days like this: the way everything wants to run. Blood, sap, snowmelt, everything quickening and spilling over.

We go out because there is nothing else we can do. Staying indoors and getting work done is like trying to hold water in my palms; the boys slip out before I can stop them. Sprout barely has his boot’s on and Bean has run away ahead carrying a summer umbrella. I chase after carrying mittens, hats.

The big one is almost flying: wind catching the umbrella as he makes the turn. And from a distance his slight body has lifted off the ground.

I remember.

I once jumped off a toolshed as a girl. There was a wind storm. I held an umbrella high above me. It was the only thing I wanted: to fly. And it seemed so inevitable, so certain that I’d just lift off. I didn't hesitate at all.

I don’t remember falling. Though it’s certain I did because I’m here aren’t I? Or have I just forgotten some secret magic of childhood where flying is less impossible; where dreams blink in and out of reality just like shooting stars?

Now we go down the muddy road and everything is running quick, quicker: our feet, the snowmelt, the sap in every thick trunked tree and slender willow. Under the banks of snow at the edge of the road muddy water rushes: rivulets gathering and spilling, seeking downhill; seeking the eventual streambed, the pond, the river, the lake, the ocean.

The boys are soaked in seconds but giddy with the late afternoon sunlight and the softness of the air. They find sticks to poke in snowy holes; carve miniature rivers; make dams of snow.

Beneath our feet, slush the color of maple sugar. And though it is still long before the purple of crocuses;when I look up I can see the slight red fatness of buds on the maples. A swelling promise. Sweetness soon. And this weekend: daylight savings already.