Friday, February 17, 2017

On My Desk

My Artist's Way week starts on Wednesday, and so I've made it a little ritual to, in addition to reading that week's essays and schedule all of the exercises and tasks for the week, clear the decks—or at least my desk—in anticipation of the week's creative recovery. The clearing doesn't last long (a clean surface is like a blank canvas around here, just waiting to be ornamented in hats, napkins, water glasses, tea mugs, homework, candy wrappers, piano music, trumpets, and all manner of flotsam and jetsam), but this is a little glimpse of  my desk after I cleared it this week.

John Muir Laws Guide to Drawing Birds, which I pulled off the shelf Wednesday afternoon and started reading. Because just one self-improvement activity is not enough, I've decided to draw one bird a day for the next year, as recommended by Laws. The only trouble: we ran out of bird seed in the last few days and I haven't wanted to go out in the snow to get more, so the birds don't stick around very long (thus the blank journal page).

And yet another daily, or nearly daily, activity: Cassie Premo Steele's book, Earth Joy Writing. I've had it for a couple years now, but have only just started doing the exercises regularly.

Natural Abundance. This is one of The Artist's Way tasks for this week: find five rocks and five leaves. Reminders that the world is abundant. The rocks were easy—our house is full of them and all of these were on the windowsill above my desk (I gave them a good dusting). The one on left is a green-and-red heart(ish) shaped one I found on the Colorado Trail. The leaves had blown off the beech and oak trees after the snow stopped falling and were littering the driveway when I went out for a walk yesterday—true natural abundance!

An invitation to a reunion at my MFA program this summer and nice things that three of my mentors wrote in my final evaluations (I had four mentors; one did not say anything nice, but the other three make up for that). This was also an exercise from The Artist's Way, and it was well-timed.

Finally, I had a little money in my PayPal account from some editing work I did, but it didn't last long. Part of it I spent on these cards. The one on the left is "Persist" by Nikki McClure. I used to have the same image, torn from a calendar, in a frame at my desk at work. I passed it on to a co-worker when I left, thinking I wouldn't need to persist in my new life, but last week was a reminder that women face many obstacles and we must always persist. The one(s) on the right are Stand Up Postcards by Maine artist (and fellow COA-grad) Jennifer Judd-McGee. I sent one to my Senator earlier this week and I plan on sending the rest to friends over the next few weeks. I'll also send one to the first person to leave a comment on this blog (with your email so I can get in touch to get your address).


  1. I am incredibly impressed that you picked up even a TINY heart-shaped rock on the Colorado Trail, you who were dehydrating your toothpaste. Also, my one New Year cleaning project that I accomplished was getting everybody else's crap off my desk (sort of, almost), but there's still a stack of about 100 New Yorkers taking up a third of it. This past weekend, I tried to use my "success" to encourage my youngest to clean off his heap-that-once-was-a-desk. I asked him if he thought I had been doing a good job of keeping my desk clean; he went to the other room to take a look, then came back and gave me the dreaded Sideways Thumb. There's always room for improvement. (Also, send me mail!

    1. And a postcard is yours, Medievalist (wink, wink)! I think I already have your mailing address, if I haven't lost it yet...

    2. P.S. Don't remind me of the dehydrated toothpaste!!! That ranks high among the horrors of the summer.

    3. (Makes note to self NOT to attempt toothpaste dehydration . . . .)


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