Thursday, December 31, 2015


Extraordinary Observer  by Enkel Dika:
Extraordinary Observer by Enkel Dika
Inspiration is a nice idea, but make no mistake: inspiration is not the starting point for art and creativity. Inspiration is a byproduct of creativity. The more we make, the more we are drawn to the act of making. The more we write, the more we are moved to get words out. Each painting hones our skills, each drawing our hands, to continue doing that which we've already started. Inspiration doesn't wait for the right timing, or for perfect circumstances. Inspiration goes to those who do the work; she goes where the creators are. She doesn't wait for perfect health, empty desks or quiet children.

Nobody's going to wait for you to catch up. Galleries won't save space until you've got your art room ready. Literary fans won't wait for you to write your words before they read at all, they'll just read someone else. Crafts will delight, be held dear, fill shelves. Art will be made, it demands to be made! That Muse will find a spot to land, whether it be your restaurant napkin or your neighbor's.

This year, be resolute. Don't wait anymore. Do that work which holds your heartbeat at the ready.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


please see links below for photo credit!

9. let it go
8. why Christians should practice yoga and play the drums
7. pushing clay
6. what I know
5. leaving eden
4. every time you erase the word
3. per annum (we are what we've got)
2. awake
1. landslide

The 2015 Best Nine. Is there such a thing? Already? The year, as it turns out, is over. I write because I have to, and yet, I'm learning, there are people who actually enjoy reading these things I put on my little internet corner. You read and I consider you a beautiful person. Each one of your visits means so much to me.

Listed above are the afterthoughts that were most-read this year, with the top post (landslide) being read nearly twice as much as any other. It seems hardship and its resulting honesty are universally understood. Thank you for this. Pausing to take note of your support and interest in my work has been a truly humbling experience. This year has been difficult to navigate; you make it easier to do so through words.

I have so much more on the go, at the ready. My #365project (as per this post) is kicking up a lot of soul-dust. This is a good thing. Thank you for sticking with me, for joining me as I figure out what it means to be an artist, all the time; and not only when words come easy. If the Lord allows, I will be a lot busier this year, with The Work; whatever that looks like.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

out with the new

The winds of need are changing. Normally I'd go looking for new; but, no.

I'm looking for roots, this time. Deep and holy, muddied with history, tangled with soul. This new leaf has got to be attached to a tree of old, or I am just not interested in pursuing it. Here's the thing: I already know what I'm good at. And I know, very well, what I'm bad at. Yet my working hours, by force or happenstance, are filled with the things that bring me no joy, show me no promise, land me in my areas of lack. I'm sitting at a desk I'd rather not be at, doing work I would rather not do, because I need the paycheck, because my boss hasn't gotten rid of me yet (though that lack would justify a dismissal). I haven't bothered to build another desk anywhere else. I don't want to leave, no, I just want to know what I'm good at, so my errors don't derail me.

This morning, in a moment of mistake-riddled distress, I Googled "365 days to change your life."  My thought process, since you asked, was as follows: my gift to myself next Christmas shall be an active role in creative work, and every day this year I will do one thing toward that goal. I can't deny this artist's heart any longer. I got brush pens and sketchbooks from my love yesterday, and I miss them already, want more already. That pottery class I took in the spring has been haunting my shadowed conscience, daily. I have doodles and rough ideas taking over my brain, and my hands are aching to make. There's oxygen in them thar hills, and I'm ready to go find it.

Where is writing on that list? It's still in there, between breaths. I talk a big talk about my love affair with pen-to-paper. But I have recognized that my desire to write has a lot to do with the act of creation itself: that moment of inspiration wherein there was blank space, now there is something beautiful. Who knows if I will be able to make anything beautiful, but the point is, I need to try. The ink is drying up. Even though, I hope, I'm not finished yet.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

every time you erase the word

Kids say the darnedest things. So, as it turns out, does their homework. I've heard child therapists will use methods like drawing and playtime to help the children express their truest feelings. I can see why. I've learned things from her barbies that would break your heart, surprise you, delight you; things you'd never know otherwise. Now, her school papers do the talking.

From my experience and understanding, children who live in a split situation are incredibly unique, and carry with them a skill-set not necessarily given to those in solitary households. In our case, my step-daughter can read a room, a face, a tone-of-voice, like no one I've met before. But, as I've learned, she has to. It's become her instinct. She has a high degree of interest in maintaining and practicing this ability, too. After all, this skill enables her survival.

So, when feedback comes in the form of homework, interpretation becomes difficult. Professions of love erased, or specifically avoided, are either true, or not true. Perhaps that sounds too obvious. Everything could be said to be true or not true, so why does it matter here? Because truth is the thing that makes her world so difficult to navigate; and thus, our understanding of her world. Murkiness is the other thing that helps her ease the pressure. She can not get in trouble for loving me, if she doesn't actually write it down. That picture of a woman who looks like me saying the thing I said last week is actually of "no one, really," and that kid in the picture saying a beautiful word which has been hastily erased, well, it means she's kept her heart safe for another cycle. At least, that's the hope.

This is all too much information, I'm sure. This year has brought much hardship and admittedly, I am afraid to write about it. Because if I write it down, it happened. So I stay quiet, avoid my blog and office, and go elsewhere. But I've been peeking ahead at the ever changing leaves and it
looks like they require something different. Like our darling, life gets a little easier if I don't write the truth down on paper. Murkiness is the thing that helps me deal with the things I'd rather not stand up against.

But, I've been learning, fear is no way to live. If I write down a word you've been longing to hear, Lord, I promise, I will not erase it.