perfectly, beautifully

Monday, January 30, 2012

typographic art by Mati Rose - I love her work !

more soul digging
subtitled -
the funny thing about despair

with warning - a very long post

The funny thing about despair is
you don't recognize it as despair until after it's gone.

The capacity for despair is probably equivalent to the ability to experience joy; such depths in the self are required in order to make possible the mounting of heights

But despair and depression, of course, are not the same thing. Depression is nearly always the consequence of despair, a despair one cannot feel one's way through in order to emerge from the other side, a despair that will not be moved. Sometimes such pain–perhaps especially when it's been known for a long time and all one's resources are used up, depleted–takes hold in the self; it becomes the climate in which we operate, a daily weather. Depression–simply the state of being exhausted by despair?–takes up residence in the desk drawer, the pile of shoes at the bottom of the closet, last night's unwashed dishes tumbled in the sink. Despair is sharp, definite, forceful; it is a response to experience. Depression accumulates, pools, sighs, settles in: it is the absence of response. It does not make things move. Consider our tropes for it: a cloud, a shadow, a weight. It lingers, broods, sits heavily, it replaces the sharpness of grief (which no one can bear to feel for very long) with the muffling emptiness of fog. Except that I love fog, with it's veils and secrets, it's lusters and atmospheres. Depression, more precisely, is a kind of dirty haze, and dims everything without adding mystery. It slows and conceals and stills the circulation of the air. p 155

A passages from the book Dog Years by Mark Doty. His writing feels so much like my own thoughts, my own feelings. I don't remember a book that's ever struck me like this one did ...

Every early morning for as long as I can remember I spend the first hour-hour + a half in bed with my coffee & journal. I like to wake up slowly, I hate to rush, I love flannel & down, I love my nest, I love coffee & writing in a journal has always been a part of my daily morning routine.

This morning, prompted by all this dusting off of my soul & also by my re-reading of the first passage above (from Mark Dody) that I linked to yesterday - a passage about despair & depression. A passage that when reading it again last night, slowly & carefully I couldn't catch my breath. I wondered how did I ever survive ? The funny thing about despair is you don't recognize it as despair until after it's gone. Despair in my life had piled up so slowly and gradually, year after year, layer by layer, quietly, softly - it rarely felt like despair or maybe it was denial, it felt more like it was me - who I was - there was something wrong with me. Thankfully at that time my best friend MLou could see the despair & recognized it for what it was and she pushed me to find help.

With my doctor's advisement I had 2 appointments with a psychiatrist, a kind, sweet, dog loving man (ya know that always score mega bonus points with me) who I felt extremely comfortable with. I was hoping he could tell me what was wrong with me & how could I fix it/me. After the 2 hour long meetings he said to me You have a depression of the soul - there is no drug I can prescribe for that. My inner circle, of 1 or 2 (I guess that hardly makes a circle) my inner half circle initially tsked, tsked a bit at what he said, with perhaps some eye rolling, there's that word soul again. In their defense I believe their reaction was simply wanting so desperately to protect & to help me, that diagnosis didn't seem helpful, seemed intangible, useless even. But inside of me when I heard those words I felt so validated, almost vindicated. I had been dragging my feet for years & years at the suggestion of medication because I felt that for me it wasn't the solution - I had tried a few fairly brief stints with anti-depressants & anti anxiety medications. I can't explain why but I always knew that what was wrong with me was not a chemical imbalance. I really felt like I did have a depression of the soul. That was exactly how I felt. My soul felt crushed & pinned, buried & trapped under layers & layers of rock hard despair & sadness.

My soul wanted to give up, it thought about giving up constantly but didn't know how to give up. I was so tired from trying - another layer of despair floated gently down & landed. I was caught in some strange & terrible limbo of living & not living. Walking around as if everything was OK, when inside nothing was OK. Pretending that there wasn't anything wrong with me. These 2 passages from 2 different books always make me cry when I read them because it's as if they lived inside my head and took all my thought & feelings & expressed them perfectly, beautifully.

It's deep water week here at 29 Black Street - a little like Shark Week at the Discovery Channel

She awoke each morning with the desire to do right, to be a good and meaningful person, to be, as simple as it sounded and as impossible as it actually was, happy. And during the course of each day her heart would descend from her chest into her stomach. By early afternoon she was overcome by the feeling that nothing was right, or nothing was right for her, and by the desire to be alone. By evening she was fulfilled: alone in the magnitude of her grief, alone in her aimless guilt, alone even in her loneliness. I am not sad, she would repeat to herself over and over, I am not sad. As if she might one day convince herself. Or fool herself. Or convince others–the only thing worse than being sad is for others to know that you are sad. I am not sad. I am not sad. Because her life had unlimited potential for happiness, insofar as it was an empty white room. She would fall asleep with her heart at the foot of her bed, like some domesticated animal that was no part of her at all. And each morning she would wake with it again in the cupboard of her rib cage, having become a little heavier, a little weaker, but still pumping. And by the mid afternoon she was again overcome with the desire to be somewhere else, someone else, someone else somewhere else. I am not sad.

Jonathan Saffran Foer - Everything is Illuminated

I changed the "he" to "she" in the above passage - it describes exactly the rhythm of my life for years & years - no wonder I'm so excited & happy to see my soul again, to be getting to know her, showing her around & now to barely recognize despair when I meet it on the street. Another grateful thank you to Mlou who helped me to save myself - I see that now- I did save myself.

heartfelt & the soul

hand inked cards ready to ship to most excellent stockist of 29 Black Street wares - Inkwell

let your mind start a journey thru a strange new world.
leave all the thoughts of the world you knew before.
let your soul take you where you long to be ...
close your eyes, let your spirit soar,
and you'll live as you've never lived before

Erich Fromm

Soul - it's a word I think that makes a lot of people flinch. Either you embrace it, from perhaps a Christian heart, understand and believe in it's existence completely or you might be in the camp of mild eye rollers. S-O-U-L an esoteric, airy fairy, new age-ish, touchy feely kind of word and one that makes many uncomfortable. But if you take it for it's real meaning–a soul being a person's core, their belief system - the essence of the person you really truly are–then it becomes very fascinating to discover, to uncover & to get to know who your soul really is.

I feel as if it's been a many year archeological dig to uncover my soul. Perhaps the first hit of pick on hard stone was the death of my dog Jake 4 years ago. I wasn't prepared for that Grief. Grief I know now was grief about much more than the death of my best friend - it was grief of a life spent mostly hidden, grief of a fear full heart. Grief piled up in a back room & hidden away. That first hit cracked me open & so many things I felt so sure were true crumbled. Over the next 4 years a serious of events and people, much like the planets being lined up in some extraordinary way,not all random or fluky, but fateful & meant to be - changed me. The good and the bad. New friends, old friends - some great, some not so, a lost job & living gradually turned into brave new opportunities, meeting Doug, finally feeling safe, secure, protected, encouraged & supported and realizing I had been craving all of that for as long as I can remember. A new life spent learning, growing, expanding, opening up in leaps & bounds - leading me here to this moment - NOW

I am just beginning week 3 of a fantastic e-course called Hello Soul, Hello Business - might as well be titled Hello Susan because it's helped me tremendously, through the questions & exercises asked of me, to really see who I am, who my soul is, to trust & believe my intuition, to be who I am not who I think I should be. I'm one of those lucky people who's work, loves & life are all mushed together into one thing. The soul of my business is also the soul of my life. I feel like that soul, my soul is finally seeing the light of day for the first time since maybe I was 10 or 11 - sometime after grade 6 this little girl's soul was buried, as happens to many, under a ton of hard rock & fear - but hey ! she's back. Bonjour Soul !! + I think I kinda like her.

Nothing contributes so much
to tranquilize the mind
as a steady purpose
a point on which the soul may fix it's eye

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

I love type, I love a tall, skinny, san-serif font, I love pink + red & I have a brave, bold heart

heart full

Sunday, January 29, 2012

oh soul
you worry too much
you have seen your own strength
you have seen your own beauty
you have seen your golden wings
of anything less
why do you worry
you are in truth
the soul, of the soul, of the soul

Jalal ad-Din Rumi

my heart is full, my soul feels so very brave & strong, perhaps really ... for the first time ever

big thinker

Saturday, January 28, 2012

ca - 5 x 7 original collage drawing - Susan Black

I get way too bogged down at times in thinking (planning & scheming). I am a big thinker, I'm one who gets lots o' kicks from attacking a topic or an idea from all angles with les deadly Susan B thought rays. These last 2 collages, created in the last two days, had little to no conscious thought involved, not a plan, no intention(s) - to be honest that totally freaks me out

30 minutes (minimum) of creativity each day for 30 days - a suggestion, perhaps even a kind order ! from friend, creative colleague & CE* mentor Deanne. Surely, in my big daily to-do list (comprised of mostly freelance jobs & obligations) I can carve out 30 for 30. I'm 2 for 30
today & I'm rockin' it on - despite a wee, expected, plunge in my over-the-top-enthusiasm.

Bonjour Plunge ! I've been waitin' for you ... sorry, but you mustn't stay too long

Really windy, wild & icy here today
It's a perfect day for some snug-as-a-bug, let's mess around some & play

* creative empire

here's the thing

Friday, January 27, 2012

be as bright as you can be - 9 x 12 - original collage drawing - Susan Black

Here's the thing - well ... here's a thing 'cause goodness knows there's a whole bunch of things, a bunch of tres good things goin' on, happenin' - mostly just with me, inside my head & in my heart. Last night as the Prince & I crawled into bed I said to him I'm so excited ! he smiled a big huge grin. I asked him I'm much better than I was a year ago aren't I ? 100% better ? He said with absolutely no hesitation - way more than 100%

way more than 100% ?
I guess that's pretty good

Looking back at my posts this time last year I don't think I ever expressed clearly how terribly sad & lost I felt. I'd lost myself when I lost my living, my job, my love, my career. I felt ashamed, a failure – I was up & down & down & down so often. This new e-course Hello Soul, Hello Business is so fantastic it takes my breath away, the timing so perfect, the big, life changing creative empire building questions I'm being made to ask myself through this course has my tip toes barely touching the ground. It's all good & because it's all so good, I forget, or don't have time, to notice the big, bad, horrible scary world I know is skulking all around me always. If there's one thing I've discovered about myself - I am resilient. So here's the thing. I love pink ! I love it because it is bright & happy, it feels to me carefree & alive. Pardon, a bit of a ramble this early morning - I'm rushing ... rushing on to the next really good thing.

les messy TTD a work in progress

what I want ...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Love sweet love - 8x10 giclee for sale & I Freaking Love You design for American Greetings

Last night I got a quick email from one of the women I've been working with at American Greetings - she just wanted me to know that my freaking love you card was now the No.3 top selling card of ALL the cards on their site - hullo !! They found my work on etsy and contacted me asking me if I could create them a card (with their words + they were very open to any suggestions I might have) that had the look, the feel & the colour palette of my love sweet love typographic collage drawing (top image). Here is how the No.3 top selling card looks on their site - they made one tiny change from my original- the yellow letters became aqua I think to make the word "love" just a wee bit more readable & perhaps to make it less feminine.

Same thing below - they asked me if I could design a you rock card based on the look, feel & colour palette of my Love Lives Here No. 1 typographic collage. You'll notice both greetings cards include my signature at the bottom left, Hooray for them for wanting me to ultimately have credit. I've since done another card for them that will go live March 1st - have no fear you'll be the first to know + see that new card ... so. What do I want ?

I want more collaborations like this one. I want to work with people who hire me because they love my work, love my style, love who I am, they don't want to exploit me or my designs in any way, they want to give me credit, pay me well (& fast), they always have reasonable deadlines & crystal clear direction + they are a joy to work with. Welcome !! more of you please.

I also want an ipad & a food processor (I know, I know ya can't believe anyone who cooks as much as me doesn't have a freakin' food processor (what's up with that?) the constant smashing of ginger snaps to keep the Prince in pumpkin pies - is making me dream of an FP - an essential cookie crushing, crumb making tool ya never know M. Universe may be listening & taking notes.

Love lives here No.1 - 8x10 giclee for sale & You Rock ! design for American Greetings

community of 2

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

spent the day yesterday hanging out with Deanne ... my wee creative community of 2

create beauty everyday

Deanne Fitzpatrick

Tiring, exhausting, energizing, inspiring, fun ... did I mention exhausting. The time literally flew by ... so many things I meant to ask, to talk to Deanne about but forgot ... oh well 'til next time.

The creative is the place where no one else has been.
You have to leave the city of your comfort
and go into the wilderness of your intuition.
What you'll discover will be wonderful.
What you'll discover is yourself

Alan Alda

A bunch of lil' things to do today including art with kids & a play date after school with Bee. But tonight I'm packin' up my kit & headin' out early Thursday for Creative ... into the wilderness again I run. Speaking of running ... how 'bout some dancin' ?? Adam Levine was destined for fame back in 2004 with Maroon 5 & this song. But this ... Uh! Huh !! can ya stop yourself from dancin' - I bet not. Oliver & I are scuffin' up a storm here the TTD' cause we've got les moves like Jagger - ya huh ! like Jagger ;-)

oh my red

Monday, January 23, 2012

some gorgeous red for you & for me this early January rainy mild morning

you are
what you are seeking

St. Francis

right on !

'cause I'm seekin' JOY.

I'm off here this early morning, driving in with dear friend Harry who I haven't seen in ages hooray !, for a day of raucous creativity, homework chatting & maybe lunch ;-) Thank you to Claire for reminding me of that just-what-I-needed-to-hear quote. Heard this song in the grocery store yesterday - I had the album, loved every song, knew every word, played it over & over again, singing along - wonder what ever happened to Terrence Trent Darby ??

chartreuse + black

gorgeous & I mean gorgeous wallpaper from Harlequin UK

chartreuse & black
colour palette love
& stuff I covet

we're dancin' as fast as we can, can ... here atop the TTD* these recent days - ya ! huh !!

*TTD teak topped desk

oh my, big time illustration love, le lovely loch monster art by Amy Sullivan - bonjour Nessie

sunny day

Sunday, January 22, 2012

from yesterday & the early morning