Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Snowy Beehive

Zero degrees.  Ten inches of snow.  Everyone around me grumbles about the winter, but I'm happy as a bear in her den, a bird in her nest, a bee in her hive.

I baked gluten-free, low-fat banana cake with a vanilla sugar drizzle.
 I cooked pan-roasted halibut with sauteed spinach, cauliflower-potato puree and a lemon tarragon sauce avec roasted pecans. (Try saying that ten times fast.)

I happily did the laundry. (Yes.  I said happily.  Tide smells nice.)  I made sketches and added a whole slew of virtual pins to my Pinterest boards, which make me worked up and inspired for some new framed ceramic work.  (Even though I saaaiiiidddd I was taking a break....)

I started a photo blog on Tumblr.  AND wrote three chapters. (Small Victory!)  I helped older son with mid-term studying and cuddled younger son for longer than usual at bedtime.  Also: I've drunk an average of five cups of tea per day: English Breakfast, Super Antioxidant, Chamomile, Hibiscus and Decaf Green, though not necessarily in that order.

Being inside when it's unnecessary and unwise to be outside makes me feel tucked in and like our house is a crockpot of creativity, documentaries, good food and beehive mentality.

Stay warm, muffins! xo Rae

p.s. What did YOU do today?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

To Begin Is Easy. To Persist Is Art.

Show up.

Write gibberish if you need to, but WRITE.

Trust and respect the process.

Take tea breaks. Lots of them.

You are not your characters.

There will always be more water in the well, even when your first bucket comes up empty.

Writing in your bathrobe is only acceptable if you're as mighty as Carver.

Wake early; write early.

Sometimes a kettle takes a long time to boil.

Keep going. Through unease, through self-doubt, through crappy writing. Nothing worthwhile is easy.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Unravelling the Year Ahead

Hmmm.  2014 hasn't started out the way other years have. That clean slate thing isn't happening.  I usually am full of vim and vigor at the start of new year - ready to attack!  Instead I found myself wrapped in a giant sweater and fingers frozen into claws, over the keyboard.

So I thought to myself: have I not let go of 2013?  Do I need to sign off on last year, before I can turn over a new page in a new notebook?  So I found my way to Susannah Conway's website.  Lo and behold, she has a FREE downloadable packet about "Unravelling the Year Ahead:  2014".  It's a thick packet, friends, I'm not gonna lie, but if you have an hour, then DO the workbook.  Just Nike that thing.

It's a place to say goodbye to those things in 2013 that held you back.  (Self: churning out artwork without intention, not making enough time to write, not finding enough patience with my children, not taking good enough care of my health.)  And it's about putting forth the INTENTION for 2014: what you want to accomplish in your head, heart and body.  (Self: finishing my manuscript, getting my back healthy, surrounding myself with good-hearted folks, painting my study.)

By putting 2013 to bed, I was able wake up 2014,  unravel it, crack it open so I could see where I really want to go.  It's revelatory, I tell you.

So I lit my candle (Paddywax's White Spruce Cassis - delish,) drank my Small World, and finished my intentions.  I feel WAY better.  Not overwhelmed.  Focused.  What a revelation to take stock in where I've been and where I'm going.

What's on your list for 2014?  Not your resolutions.  Your intentions.  Find myself surprised today as to how different those words actually are.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014: Bullfighter and Ornery Bull

There have been years where I've made detailed resolution lists.  Decluttered my drawers and closets, cleaned the fridge.  Lit white candles and smudged sage to welcome the new year in.

This isn't one of those neat and tidy years.  It's dusty all up in here.  The tree is still up in the family room and it's drying and covering the floor nicely.

Mudstar Ceramics is on indefinite hiatus.  I'm hoping she'll make a return towards the end of 2014, but I'm really not sure.  And that's okay for now.  Clay is wonderful, but trying to develop and maintain it as a business, as well as be a good, productive person with all the rest of Life, is all-consuming.  There's no time to write.  Zero.

Resolution #1: Finish the novel.

I'm sooooo close.  Giving myself permission and the time to finish this, makes it seem doable.  It IS doable.

Resolution #2: Get my back healthy.

I've been ignoring my body for a bunch of years now, just to get the orders out, get the jobs done.  All the pain from the repetitive motions and heavy lifting have taken their toll.  I'm tired of my back and neck hurting EVERY SINGLE day.

Hello yoga, hello daily walks and stretching, hello hydration, hello core work, hello my new "Healthy Back" dvd.  Nice to see you.  We're going to be close friends; I can feel it.

As a reformed list-maker, task-master, it's weirdly freeing and sort of terrifying to make only two resolutions.  I'm currently re-assigning my expectations and inviting a new life's pace: sitting in my desk-nook, white cassis candle burning, my "Makers Gotta Make" mug (alla Noelle Horsfield) filled with green tea.  My new Write It playlist is serenading me as my manuscript and I circle one another like bullfighter and ornery bull.

I'll let you know who wins.  But let's just say that my red cape feels pretty good right now.

Write It playlist:

Exit Through You * Big Blue Ball

Whole Thing * Big Blue Ball

Aganju (John Beltran Mix) * Bebel Gilberto

You Belong to Me * Carly Simon

#41 * Dave Matthews Band

Dreamgirl * Dave Matthews Band

Downhill Racer * Everything But the Girl

Dreams * Fleetwood Mac

Spectrum * Florence and the Machine

Everlong * Foo Fighters

Let Go * Frou Frou

Split Screen Sadness * John Mayer