"My life would be so much easier," she said, "if my imagination would just leave me alone..."
Perhaps the journey really begins when we just ask the questions without demanding the answers...
What color is a yam?
Had I been asked that the other day, I would have said brown-ish on the outside, orange-ish on the inside. But I took a trip to 99 Ranch Market on Saturday, which is like traveling to a different country while staying within one's own city...totally and completely delightful...and was so excited to find a purple yam. On the outside, it looks just like what I consider to be a "normal" yam. Emphasis on the quotation marks. On the inside, it is an extravagant shade of purple. Absolutely beautiful! Yams can be purple. I wonder what other colors they are!
It seems like we can go many ways when our pre-conceived notions about something are shattered - excitement, surprise, expansion, defeat, despair, disappointment. I suppose it depends upon the situation, but in any case, our attitude is always our choice.
In this case, some life lessons showed up in the simple and safe form of a vegetable, that I believe can be applied to the larger picture. What is the underlying message here? A few of my thoughts. Perhaps you have others:
- If we make assumptions that we are always right, that our pre-conceived notions, or default settings about things are true and set in stone (ex: all yams are orange), we can miss out on much of the beauty that this world has to offer.
- If we are not willing to take the risk and step out into the world of the unknown (ex: a purple yam???), we may be missing out on wonderful opportunites.
- If we judge something by it's "color", or only stick with a certain "color", then we could be missing out on healthy experiences that expand our minds, and in my example, taste buds.
Back to the literal - I shredded my purple yam, mixed it with an egg, some flour, garlic, salt, and pepper, and fried it up in a pan with oil, as a big ol' potato pancake-like formation. Highly recommended...
Life has many surprises, be open to them...
Then there was the day that the stories came, and she could no longer ignore them; they wanted their place in the world whether she was ready or not...
On this fine day of January 24, 2011, I am committing to posting a blog at least once per week for the month of February. Start with a small goal, and grow from there.
I have been thinking about this all week. Someone asked me last week about my online presence, and I admitted to be very timid about being online. Why? Because I paralyze myself with fear; fear of what people will think of me, fear of writing something dumb, fear of not being accepted, etc...
I start thinking too much about what I want to write on a blog. Something creeps in, and I allow it to, and there's this noise about how my writing should be "good" and "impactful"; "earth shattering, preferably" but then the self-negating pendulum starts swinging in the other direction, "but don't go too deep, sometimes people don't understand what you're talking about."
It's like a furry little monster with a soft, but whiny voice that starts invading my personal space gradually, asking "what if people don't like what you write, what if they disagree with you, what if you write something, and your mind changes years down the road, and you're embarrassed that you wrote that, what if people think you're crazy or stupid, what if it doesn't appeal to everyone, what if it doesn't appeal to anyone, what if someone is offended by what you write, what if you start this blog and then you don't like it, what if..."
"Um - hello? Hi, I'm Katie. I normally try not to interrupt someone when they are talking, but you are driving me crazy. It's nice that you have good intentions regarding my "safety" and all, but quite frankly, I'm bored with all of your over-analyzing nonsense. Real fear is valuable when it is kicking in to warn me about real danger. I'd like to point out that "writing a blog" and "being me" and "writing what I want to write" and "sharing who I really am" is not inherently dangerous. So while I appreciate your input, I currently have no use for it, and I'm going to have to ask you to leave."
As it turns to leave, it looks back over its shoulder, "You know, people are going to think you're nuts for talking to me like this."
Me: "That's fine. I'm willing to take that risk. I have a feeling that they have similar conversations with you anyway. Goodbye."
Fear: "I'll be back."
Me: "I know. I'll be here. I will likely ask you to leave a bit earlier next time."
So with that, I am committing to be me on this blog... to share my thoughts as they are without trying to impress, or please others. And without censoring my neuroses, because we're all human after all. Call me crazy or weird if you want to, but be prepared to realize over and over again that what you judge in other people is a reflection of what you dislike in yourself. I feel like I face that everyday for the first time. Ah, the human condition!
I commit to sharing what I find interesting about the world and life (which gives me a limitless amount of ammunition!), and will not be worrying about expectations from others. Ok, maybe I will worry about them, but I won't allow those expectations to influence my decisions.
We all have something to say, we all have stories to tell. Whatever they are, they are important and valid. A dear friend of mine sent this quote to me today...I pass it on to you and encourage you in your journeys wherever you may be today...
“There is a beauty in your presence. Show who you are.”
Me: "Ok, I will try my very best!"
I've been keeping this Italian village painting a secret, because it was commissioned for a gift. It was given to the recipient last Saturday as an early Christmas present so now I can "spill the beans." The majority of commissions I receive are for gifts. It makes creating the art SO much fun, as if it wasn't fun enough already.
In any case, two of my dear friends went to Italy this past year, and asked me to create a painting of one of the villages they stayed at. We chose this charming, in the mountains and on the water, town of Riomaggiore. It is 24 X 36 inches on gallery wrapped canvas. I know you've seen gallery wrapped canvas before - it's when the edges are thick and the artist also paints the scene on the edges of the canvas. You don't need a frame because the image goes all the way around.
This was such an amazing learning experience for me. I thought it might be fun to share the process with you.
I can't tell you how often I hear from people "I can't draw" "I can't do art", etc. I understand we all have our strengths, but at the same time, I've noticed that art is a lot about perseverance. There's a lot of "pushing through"; pushing the materials, pushing through one's own negative judgments about how the work is turning out, and pushing through one's desire to give up at some points. There were many times during this process that I thought I had messed it all up. Or even just in the beginning I thought, how in the world is this going to look anything like what I want it to look like?
There are often many layers to a painting or any work of art, just as there are to any human. There are messy parts and there are beautiful parts - that's what makes a work of art.
If there was a way to report blog neglect, I think I would have been reported by now. I am hastily forgiving myself as this is all new territory. As much as I love the idea of a blog, I haven't jumped into the rhythm of it yet. What I have jumped into the rhythm of is daily writing.
In almost every book I have read regarding creativity, I often find major encouragement toward engaging in some daily ritual. This always sounded so confining and structured to me. I like spontaneity. I like change. (For the most part anyway.) I couldn't get into the rhythm of doing anything daily...until about April of this year. I made a commitment to walk each morning and write three pages of free association in my journal. The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron calls this "Morning Pages".
This has been an incredible practice in self-discipline. I always thought I would get sick of something if I did it everyday. Now I find that I look forward to my morning pages. They set the tone for my day. They are a constant in my life when other things are unpredictable. I spill out true honesty every morning. I would go so far to say that it has been transformational. Somehow it makes me more giving. Perhaps because I take time for myself in the beginning of the day, I have more to give others throughout the day? I don't know.
Is there something that you love to do, that you could commit to doing each day for just a couple of minutes? As I've said before, I'm starting to find that the most simple solutions make the greatest impacts. I'm fascinated by new perspectives, simplification, refined systems, etc. True creativity is ultimately finding new ways to solve problems...it's finding new solutions. What can you do today to make the day just that much better? What rhythms are there in your life that you could do without? Is there a way to truly do without them or a way to re-position them so that they become a positive for you?
Find daily rhythms that bring you joy.
So much to share, so much gratitude to express...more of that to come soon! I'm still getting used to having a blog, so I get behind in sharing the process of this crazy ride. And it is indeed, a crazy ride.
I ran across my introductory email that I sent out a little over a month ago to dear friends and colleagues. Has it only been a month? Feels like years! I apologize if you weren't included on the original list. It just means your email somehow didn't make it in the bunch (likely due to organizational error) Send me an email via the contact button if you would like to be added to my mailing list!
Anyway, I wanted to post it on my blog because it sums up nicely why I am doing this. It will be a reminder to me as to where and why I started all this in the first place. It's my little manifesto of sorts. I hope all is well with everyone! Thank you for your presence in my life. Enjoy!
Sent: September 12, 2010
Katie Murphy, here. This is my business email! If you are receiving this, it means that you have had an impact on me and have touched my life. Whether we have been lifelong friends, met in school, at work, during a theater production, briefly at a recent art fair; whatever it may have been, I am grateful for you. I have some exciting news to share with you, and am inviting you to celebrate with me for I believe it is the people that come into our lives that shape us. Therefore, this is a celebration of you too!
For as much as I have resisted art in hopes of having a more "practical" existence (yes, yes, I know, terrible stereotypes - note the quotation marks), I can't shake my inherent need for daily creativity, self-expression and art making. I can't help but think there IS someone out there doing what I want to do. It is time to start creating the life I want. What do I want? To create, to communicate in a variety of ways, to help people, to get people wondering, to inspire, to be inspired.
I am ecstatic to announce that my new business, Just Wondering Through; art to inspire, is the vehicle for starting down this path.
Just Wondering Through focuses on providing quality, inspirational art, designed to make you think, make you laugh, make you feel...I currently have a variety of pieces for sale, and am also accepting commissions. I have many ideas for the future of the business, but am very open to how the path is unfolding thus far, and curious for the opportunities that lie ahead.
Please check out my website: www.justwonderingthrough.com. Tell your friends and family, and please feel free to provide feedback. We are all in this together and can learn from each other. For the month of September, I will be offering a $5 coupon for all prints ordered to those who provide the password: "live the life you love." Either send me an email, or use the "Contact" button on the website to order. An online store will be coming soon!
Thank you for being on this journey of life with me, and for being a support as I embark on my newest adventure as an artist and business owner. I am very excited! Can you tell? Let's keep in touch!
I hope everyone is doing well. Life is crazy on this end! More to come soon.
I wanted to let you know my work will be displayed in The Market Place starting tomorrow afternoon for their grand opening until at least the end of October.
The Market Place is a one stop shop for home improvement and garden needs, in addition to antiques, collectibles, and art. Think home, garden, and art expo that's open everday! It's quite a collection of goods! Come check it out!
Thursday, September 30th, 2010
11395 Folsom Blvd #150
Rancho Cordova, CA 95742
I'm seriously humbled by the amazing responses I've received since sending out my introductory email. I have tried to respond personally to everyone. Thank you so much for your stories, ideas, and words of encouragement. I have so much gratitude for the people I have in my life.
Business is boooooming! In addition to having my own business, another life goal of mine was to have my work displayed in a gallery. Done! Friday is the opening reception for a juried group show that runs from September 17th through November 4th. I have two brand new pieces in the show. I would love to see you at the opening reception. Below is a flyer and here are the quick and dirty details:
September 17th, 2010: 6 -8pm. Free and kid friendly. There will be wine, refreshments and live music!
Gallery at 48 Natoma
48 Natoma Street
Folsom, CA 95630
Here's the website as well: http://www.folsom.ca.us/depts/parks_n_recreation/the_gallery_at_48_natoma_n_
If I don't see you Friday, hope to see you soon!
I love words. I love art. I love the combination of words and art...