Sunday, January 3, 2016

Take My Breath Away

Photo: K. Iuppa

Trust. Your ability to surrender to what can't be seen. The blank page contains the endless possibility. There is no horizon, only everything is there, filling in the blank at once.  How do you find your way?  Is a blank page a raft or an abyss? Is the first word or stroke of line, color, shape, the tear in the fabric that let's you disappear into what you will eventually see? Once it's realized and can be seen clearly, it is trusted.
That is to say, it is enough to stand up to the scrutiny of others.  The willingness to say yes or no to its  meaning depends upon the intricacies of its metaphor.  The mystery is up to you to change the view of the world that is stretching out before you.  Pick a pen, a brush, a pencil, a certain stroke to begin.  Here is the blank page.
In so many ways, the blank page is daunting, and I think if writers or artists were to think intently about it, they would freeze up and not make that initial stroke, or slash, or strike.  A blank page is chilly in its perfection, and we all know that to be truly creative, we must make a mess.

So far, ( this is the third day of January, 2016), I have had hits and misses.  However, I have changed the page, and that is what my work is.  I have something to think about now.


For me, the natural world has been a source of inspiration. It doesn't take long for me to slip into the mind of weather.  The land supports my steps as I go further and further away from what I call home. In so many ways, my day to day life is caught in a struggle between routine and adventure.  Status quo  resembles the dumped rocks, stones, boulders known as riprap that protect Ontario's shoreline. Status quo (another world for fear)  keeps everyone walking with their heads looking down on the worn path. Status quo is a big fat NO. I find 'no' annoying.  I like looking up.  Yes.  Make it so.


Sidebar note: I have decided to pay myself $2.74 every day I work on my own work.  I'm putting it in a bank. By year's end, I will have a nest egg (1000.00, more or less) and hopefully a new book or two.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year! Make Every Day Count!

Happy New Year! Photo Karen Iuppa

So, here we are on the brink of a new year, thinking, What to do, what to do that's oh so new.

For me, it's time to create a catalog that focuses on creative process. I think I need to spend some time reflecting on inspiration, muses, choices; perhaps revealing what actually happens when you choose to live an introspective life.

 In many ways, living here on Red Rooster Farm is a cloistered life. I do love the view outside of every window in this old farmhouse. I can get lost in the dome of lake sky  that you see illustrated on this page. To imagine this place of ever-changing beauty, to be an integral part of it every day for the past 28 years is privilege.  Its ephemeral nature humbles me. This connection to the glacier landscape, to Ontario is my spiritual core. Consequently, when I look at my poetry, collection to collection, I see the day to day, the 1000 piece puzzle that is my life here.  Each poem is a thumbnail study of a life in progress.  Each lyric essay has captured the past and its life lessons.  Each fiction has taken the peculiar stories and made them into mirrors.  Faces, that are often grotesque and wily, and only truly seen by the viewers.

It's so demanding to look closely at what is happening all around me. Recently, I returned to my daily practice of writing.  I wanted to resume work on my novella, and had a bit of a jog trying to locate the document in my files.  Once I did find it, I began reading it from the top.  I was stunned to find it so engaging (seriously, this surprised me). I was interested in the characters, and actually got lost in their actions, interactions, reactions. I was surprised my the word/page count, wondering how did that happen?  So I've resumed this work.  I'm wondering what will happen next in this story that will no doubt teach me a lot about relationships.

I think I know where I am. I know that may be a curious statement, since I should know where I am. But this is not about location, which I know is everything.  This is something else in a creative life. Today, I'm feeling relaxed and certain.  I realize things take time.  I really learned that lesson  this past summer, spending hours upon hours in our vegetable gardens. I think I wrote while I was weeding. Actually, I think I'm writing most of the time, unless I have to pay attention to you.  Strange thing about teaching, I have a lot of 'you' in my working life.  Good thing, I actually care about you-- you as an individual, you as a group.  This paying attention gives me a chance to participate in a creative life from a different angle.  I would say my own work is an inward action, whereas teaching is an outward action.  I give directions. Some follow; some do not. Some get to their destination; some get lost. It's the life is a journey cliche.
This year I'm unfurling a new roll of paper and will begin drawing a new map. Perhaps you, gentle reader, will join me.