Category Archives: global warming

Writing helps

img_7054I don’t know who I am. I don’t know how to be. I don’t know what’s next or even, sometimes, what’s come before. Even “where am I?” is a difficult question these days.

Writing helps.

If I let a few days pass without scribing my three pages, I come a little unmoored. It took a while to notice this. These unholy pauses are sometimes followed by a great volume of ink, often equal to the aggregate number of missed pages. Now I’ve instituted a ‘catch up routine’ — whenever I miss a day, I mark my notebook where I’d be had I written every day. And then I catch up.

It seems to matter.

Strangely, writing makes me feel better even when dedicated to identifying what’s bothering me. Turns out, knowing what’s bothering me even without remedy is preferable to being bothered and ignorant to cause.

Does anyone understand why this is so?

I’ll answer the above questions, out of curiosity? Can you?

Who am I?” All the labels hang like loose chads, so I’ll let Joni Mitchell’s words stand in as answer: “I am a woman of heart and mind, with time on her hands, no child to raise…”  Maybe?

How to be?” How to be with respect to writing, that is: Stay at it. Don’t let doubt in any of its guises derail you. The rest is detail: collect 18th century language; bounce between public risk and private assembly; keep assessing the story’s pace. Keep at it. Vanquish doubt.

Where am I?” I’ve lived at this address for 23 years and in this town since 1986, so it’s strange to feel like I don’t really belong here. Did I ever? And if not here, where? Having been uprooted every few years growing up, I wanted stability for my boys and this was a good town for them to grow up in. But now? And it’s not just the leaf blowers.

The state of our nation and our planet shove disorientation down my throat in a manner most vile. Is this country mine anymore? Will there be a coup? Who will take him and his cronies down and when? Knowing that MILLIONS of Americans share my shock and grief doesn’t alter the central fact of my fearful alienation. Where am I, indeed!

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Boston Climate March

I’ll leave you with Naomi Klein’s key note speech from the recent San Miguel’s writers conference. It is hair-raising in its precise measure of our perilous state but also galvanizing… perhaps the best political media I’ve taken in for weeks.

‘We don’t have four years,’ she says. ‘The planet doesn’t have four years’.

‘The entire political system has to change,’ she says, ‘We have to SWERVE.’ (What does that mean?)

‘It’s not enough to resist. We have to also build.’ How? How?

 

PS “Daily Pages” as developed by Julia Cameron in “The Artist’s Way“‘

A catch up ramble

So much has happened. And now the fall is really here.

Son #1 completed his degree. Thought he did back in May? Well, surprise, surprise (it was to us) — he didn’t. But now he has. Maybe we’ll get around to celebrating, but right now there’s just this saggy relief. Son #2, in spite of a well-anchored plan to take a year off, changed his mind the night before classes started and we all jump-shifted.

The very same week, my sister’s Personal Care Assistant of eight months walked out saying, “I don’t need this.” My sister seems relieved, but I’m a little worried — after all, she’s essentially been bed-ridden since April.

I. Will not. Be. Picking up. The slack.

Thankfully, today she announced that in fact she would look for another person (last week is was a different story).

We had the tree work done, which is the good news. It’ll prolong the life of the roof and be safer when the snow comes. The bad news? My neighbor leaned over the fence and got the crew’s info and the very next day they showed up at her house and cut down two very tall, healthy oak trees right at the back lot line. I was sick for days. Talk about ‘unintended consequences’.

We lost a lot of natural screening. It was an icky feeling of not having any control. The noise was the least of it.

This picture is before the trees came down. I think it may be time to finally take down the play structure. Now that there is a lot of sun back there, we could plant some pines and they might actually thrive. Finn continues to keep me sane. We go to the lake and I wear him out as best I can. The watery play makes his coat so soft!   July was the hottest on record in Boston. August was both the hottest AND the driest on record in Boston. I still have an annoying rash to prove it. And we will have the water bill to prove it. I’ve watered most beds religiously, but the ferns have crisped up. We’ve never given a shit about our lawn. But those are minor matters in the face of climate change.

We’re watching “Transparent” (that’s Allie, above)(and yes, it’s as good as everyone says). I got tired of all the blood baths — lately, “Justified,” “Peaky Blinders” and “Game of Thrones”. Finally got back into reading, last week finishing Anne Enright’s “The Green Road”. It was really, really good. (I’ve read two others of hers: “The Wig My Father Wore” and “What Are You Like”). The mother figure in “The Green Road” — a real martyr-type that possibly could warrant a diagnosis in this day and age — was so, so familiar. It’s a type, I guess.

Happy September. Hope to be around more. I actually have some cloth pieces to show and tell!

 

 

First person shooter


Little did I know when I started a quilt based on a figure from a first person shooter video game, how ugly its relevance would become.

It began as a visual expression of the need to defend my personal boundaries. And also, a bit of a sad wondering about what our children will be doing decades from now to protect their own sacred selves. Or their access to water. Or their privacy. Or or or. The first time I used this image was in a Sketchbook Project.

This is what I think every day, many times a day: If we don’t get money out of politics, things will continue to go to shit.Does anyone else think the slide to ruin has picked up its pace? The way I see it, corporate interests are contaminating democracy more and more quickly such that we are approaching a tipping point — in a parallel rhythm to the quickening pile-up of the consequences of climate change. Needless to say, overturning Citizens United would represent only a baby step in the right direction. And Trump? I can’t watch election coverage right now.

Who are we as a nation if gun reform cannot be achieved after the Pulse massacre? If we lack the political will to ignore the money, I kinda think we’re doomed — to revolution or extinction or both. No wonder I wake up nights. And that’s not even getting near the personal turmoil that keeps me wringing my hands. No wonder I’m now stitching a saccharine cliche. Something about the key to my heart.

(Those whitish lines are made by couching two rows of floss with a fair number of stitches — I can’t wait to try Jude’s wandering running stitch, but this is not that).

Monday metta 

May you be peaceful. May you be free of inner and outer harm.
May you dwell in freedom and act from clarity.
May you be cared for gently as you walk upon this earth.
May you know joy, wisdom, and compassion.  
K and I visited the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston yesterday in a successful attempt to “do something”. It doesn’t have to be complicated, does it? I was texting Son Number Two on the way there and the way back about when to talk. There are things to talk about. Things to put in place. While I hope those parental supports matter, sometimes I think that the single best thing I can do for him is to say Metta on his behalf. And so I do. After saying it for myself of course.

It looks like rain. It’s getting weirdly warm again.Between Trump’s ascendancy and climate change, I feel disoriented and alarmed on pretty much a day-to-day basis. But I don’t want to think about any of that today. Maybe tomorrow. We met with Coach Mike for our third training session with Finn on Friday. My boy is coming along! We walked back and forth in front of a fence behind which three neighbor dogs were barking their heads off. It only took one or two times before I convinced Finn that he didn’t have to worry about them. He did beautifully after that!!!

P.S. The way I am allowing focus on writing right now is keeping me away from my favorite blogs. Will be making time to make the ’rounds this week. Can’t wait!!

Top photo is one of my favorite African sculptures.
There was an installation of fashion illustrations by Kenneth Paul Block. They were wonderful!

A pewter sky and hope

IMG_7913Another snap of cold, waggling branches, and a pewter sky can mean only one thing: MORE SNOW!!! I can take it. Knowing temperatures will rise into the 50’s by week’s end really helps.
IMG_7930On Monday, in order to apply some machine-stitching on one of the Global Warming panels, I bundled up. The basement has been very cold this week.
IMG_7955Originally, part of the motivation to ‘white-wash’ the surface with quotes of climate change naysayers was speed. As much as I have re-engaged with these panels, I want them done. The cold kept me upstairs, however, and hours of hand quilting ensued.
IMG_7862 This was starting to have a paralyzing effect. Would I scrawl the machine-stitched words OVER the embroidery floss? Would I RUIN carefully applied textures?!
IMG_7933And then there was this recent discussion about Hope (a few posts back).  If I accept that it is incumbent upon us as moral and spiritual beings to find a way to HOPE, what was this stitching doing to me? Is it healthy to be spend so much time with the sentiments of people whose destructive idiocy makes my blood boil?!
IMG_7939So I really had to get down there and keep going.
IMG_7942Some new idea about pairing the bad shit with good stuff is forming… ideas as antidotes or something. What would happen if I scoured the internet for innovations or movers and shakers and reported about them in tandem with these gems from Fox News. Would that at least neutralize the blood-boiling effects of these nay-sayers?

Swirling and stillness

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Storms abound in this quilt.

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But there is sanctuary, too.

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One window still in progress

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There’s that wool challis from a scarf my mother wore

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there’s a piece from those childhood curtains

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rayon overalls with scenes from NYC

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one corner of this roof was dipped in my indigo pot

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Adding stitched lines is new.

IMG_7858Committed. And aware my efforts may not work how I want them to — do the added lines unify? Or create more distracting patterning? I shall have to wait and see.

stitching and stitching some more

IMG_7544There is the sense, with this Global Warming panel, that I could continue quilting for as long as time permits. The process of ‘connecting up’ some of the lines and colors between rectangles could just go on and on and on. Nevertheless, I think it is nearly done.IMG_7453 IMG_7455 IMG_7456 IMG_7457 IMG_7460Down in the studio, I have MANY other sections of this series pieced up and ready for something. Pondering, as I clean downstairs, what will become of them. Maybe some sections will stay very small. Maybe others will be surrounded with white. We’ll see.

surround this with white?

surround this with white?

make a narrow vertical?

make a narrow vertical?

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