I have so many photos and poems coming up! I have 80 more poems to edit. Additionally, I have tons of photos I want to post. On top of that, I have some paintings to post. I am going to get this all scheduled out.
Creativity has been sliding through my body like a pipe cleaner through a drain, narrow, dirty. Although I have not actually felt consistently normal, my creativity has been high as long as it is something I can do in private. I hate that I have the magazine at a stand still. I have more to publish and rejection notices as well. I am getting anxiety about posting. My mind has been absent lately. If I make a mistake on here, it doesn’t matter. If I make a mistake with someone’s story or poem, that matters.
My period of heightened introversion is good for me. I’ve been lonely, but I’ve been producing. I will be traveling soon, and I want to do a lot before then.
Over the years I have experimented with various ways of combining poetry with either color or image. I’ve done poems on images and Instagramed them. I’ve put interesting lines of poetry on solid blocks of color as names for those colors. I’ve tried over and over again to marry my obsession with color to my poetry.
I think I have something new to try. I’m downloading free textures online and tinting them different colors. By doing this, I am capturing not only a color I like, but ensuring there is texture to go with that color to make the image and color deeper. Then I write a poem that corresponds to that color/texture. It can correspond by mood, location, subject etc. But something about the poem has to relate to the color and image, or at the very least the color.
I’m excited about this project. Periodically I like to have something new to work on. Photo editing has always been enjoyable for me, and naturally I live for poetry. Plus, new projects are good for the mind. I know my husband has been hoping I would start something new recently. He feels it is good for me to have something I’m working on. Not anything too hard or stressful, but just something to add a little oomph to my days I guess.
Lately I have been butting up against the question of what is success for me? It is no longer grad school. It is no longer teaching. I am really getting into art, but all questions of skill level aside, the very idea of going to an art show sends me into a panic.
Yet I do want to get my writing out into the world. To this end I am considering self-publishing, which is one of the things that came up in therapy. The question for therapy was about what I would do if I felt I was good enough. Maybe self-publishing is it. I’m not saying I’m ruling out pursuing traditional publishing. But I haven’t been doing that lately and that’s not really where my heart is. I’m just not sure, since publishing a poetry book yourself is not looked well upon. But I’m not trying to make money and I’m not somebody who’s looking for admission into any school, getting any teaching job, or getting any Fellowship. What I really want is for people to read my writing and like it. Or, if it’s on the blog where people can comment on what I wrote or send me an email, people to read my writing and give me critique. Helpful criticism is always great. I just want to get my writing out in the world. That’s what I really want.
I admitted last night in the midst of depression fueled complaining to my husband that I felt like a failure, that nothing I have done has amounted to anything. Being a man, he tried to fix the problem. I appreciate this quality in him, but obviously not every issue I have can be fixed. If it can be fixed he isn’t always the one who can fix it. He questioned me and what I finally got across to him, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on directly before, is that I want to be noticed. I’m isolated. Part of that is my choice. I’m about as gregarious as a spider. But part of that is simply my circumstances as a housewife. Someone better at networking than me may be able to do better than what I am doing, but I don’t know who they are or how they’re doing it.
I just want someone to read my poems. I love it when you guys read my poems. It makes me so happy. I want my art to be seen by people. Ideally I’d like to be appreciated by somebody. I’m not trying to sell it. Some of it I think looks really interesting but either isn’t of the caliber to be sold or isn’t the style that would sell. Still other things I make are things that are by nature impermanent. For instance, you could do pretty interesting things with watercolor on fabric softener. But that’s not something you’re going to be able to seal in and hang on a gallery wall somewhere. It’s really something you take a picture of while it’s fresh and then that’s what’s left of the art. And honestly that’s all I want.
What Craig thought was an expression of dissatisfaction with my life because I couldn’t articulate myself very well is in fact a sense of isolation and of being ignored. I love my life. I wake up in a nice home, spend the day with my daughter, take care of appointments and house work that needs to be done, and spend a whole lot of time reading. When times are good this means I get to enjoy a lot. When times are bad it means that I have much more time to spend at home recuperating than I would if I had made other life choices. My life is perfect for me. But the old ambitious parts of me just longs to see my name up in lights.
I’m giving this a lot of thought. What I think I want to do is just build up this blog. At the end of the day grad school is out of the question and I’m way too much of hermit to pursue much of anything out of the house. And what I really love is coming on here to post the things that I make and the things that I write. That’s what I look forward to. So maybe self-publishing is the right thing to do. If not, then blogging definitely is. And blogging is fundamentally a form of self-publishing. I have what I need. I just need to use it more freely.
In many of my photographs I have a serious issue with oversaturating the colors. I just can’t help myself. Either I up the saturation after I take the photo or I use settings or an app to make the photo highly saturated to begin with. Technically this is not what most people would consider to be good photography. Partly because over doing almost anything will mean that the photo you’ve created isn’t a good photo, and partly because more muted and softer seem to be a really big thing right now. All I yearn for is vivid, intense color.
At the end of the day I create images that I enjoy seeing. Maybe others will like them and maybe others won’t, but I can’t stand behind any form of art that I make, whether it is photography or painting or something else, unless I myself enjoy looking at it. If I don’t love it, why create it?
My obsession with color is a fundamental part of me. I used to operate a blog where I would post a square of color with a poetic name typed on it.
I think now I will do something a little different. I have been downloading free textures online, and tinting them with rich, solid color. Instead of typing a short name on each one, I will write fragments of poems (or full length poems) for each one. Each color with its corresponding poem will be given a post.
At this point I am just really enjoying tinting all these different textures. I do not know how long I will carry on with this project. Regardless of whether it lasts for one week or one year, I think that it will add to my creativity. It will also give me more pleasure in my life. Color stitches my being together.
No matter how busy motherhood gets, I can’t imagine giving up my creative activities. I just read an article by a woman who did exactly that. She was a blogger and photographer, and she did no work for two years while she took care of her children. She said that she needed to be more present with them. She’s not the only one I have heard of who has done that. I have friends who have done that as well.
I admire the self-sacrifice and self-control, but I can’t really imagine doing that myself. Maybe it’s good that I have to stop at one child, as much as I wanted to have more. But if I had 10 kids I have a feeling I would still be squeezing in time to write poems or to paint. That maybe I would be in a situation at that point where I shouldn’t be doing those things, but I would do them anyway.
Poetry is such a part of me that I can’t imagine giving it up. I go through spells where I primarily read poetry rather than write it. When I do that I am often soaking up inspiration and gearing up for a period of intense writing. But to simply not have poetry in my life? I can’t even imagine.
Painting and photography have become primal urges for me. I can’t imagine putting my camera down as some of the mother photographers do. I might sometimes get lazy or too busy to take out my expensive camera, but I’ll at the very least be taking photos on my phone.
Perhaps all of this is selfish or self-absorbed, but I’m not so sure about that. Everyone needs their own identity. Everyone needs something that they love to do and an opportunity to do it. Naturally your husband and children have to take priority, but you can’t draw from an empty well. If you want to give them more, then you have to give yourself something. So many women say they’ve lost their identity in motherhood, and I just can’t relate. When I had my daughter I became even more myself. I still had all the artistic aspects of myself, all the general personality traits like introversion, I still liked the same foods and movies, only I was finally fully tapped into my maternal potential. Having a child didn’t sap my sense of identity. It completed it.
Not that I think I am really at risk of this, but I pray that I never put down the pen or the camera or the brush. These things are apart of me. Without them I think I would fall to pieces.
I have had so many creative ideas percolating in my mind today. So much physical and digital art I want to start, fiction I want to write, poetry I want to write etc. I dropped Craig off today to go on a work trip for a couple of days and of course that’s always hard. He won’t be gone long but I miss him just the same. Nonetheless I’ve been having a really good day. This evening I went up to take a nice, long hot shower and then relax with a SodaStream soda. The grape one is the best. The grape and the orange.
Anyway I am dried off and settled in now and I just have this feeling of malaise and depression. I hate how suddenly I drop and how I drop without warning. I had so many creative plans for tonight and now I just feel like part of my spirit is missing. I’m really trying to get my verv back. The weather has been lovely and Angelica and I spent some time relaxing in the backyard. I’m considering revamping an old project that used to work on. There’s just so much I want to do and all of a sudden it feels kind of hard to breathe. I had a pretty bad panic attack last night and I’m hoping tonight goes a lot better since of course I don’t have Craig here to help me.
I think I’m going to try to push through with reading a creative magazine and see if it sparks anything in me. And I’m going to take my medication early in the hopes that it will help me. At the very least if it doesn’t help me I want to get it in my system soon enough that I’m able to get up in the morning for Angelica’s rather early occupational therapy evaluation.
This is just part of the struggle with bipolar disorder. This is not even an especially bad night. I’m relaxing. As of right now at least I’m not having a panic attack. I’ve gotten the housework done that I need to get done today. I’ve got laundry in the dryer. I took a shower. This really isn’t a bad night and technically isn’t something to complain about. But yet here I am with free time and energy and so many things I want to accomplish and I feel like a deflated balloon. Not because anything is wrong in my life or anything has happened. Just because my brain doesn’t work. With bipolar you can be brought to heights of joy that other people do not experience. You can touch the sublime. But it can also seal you off from even the simple pleasures that other people around you have. It’s a constant seesaw.
Our wonderful babysitter came today to take care of Angelica and give me a break. I used the day creatively, and I have discovered a new favorite place.
I decided to look up local fabric stores because I wanted a transparent fabric to use as a screen over my camera lens. It’s probably a silly idea but I really want to experiment with some different things and that’s one of the things I want to try. I found a local store on the other end of town and I decided to give it a shot. The place was magical! Fabric prints I had never even imagined. Beautiful buttons. Sequins and other embellishments. Sheer curtains that I can use a screens. Solid cloth that will make excellent backgrounds for still life and book photos. I cannot sew or quilt but this place was Heaven.
I wanted to buy a few things to bring back to the house and play around with, but it is a store owned by an older couple. I was wandering down the aisles in joyful shock when the old gentleman came and said that they had shut down their computers and we’re closing so did I need anything. I went out to the car and found out it was 15 minutes before they were supposed to close. They just decided to close up shop early! I will have to go back. I’ve never seen such an amazing fabric collection. I am used to big chain stores. This out does those by a long shot.
I am so pleased to have found some place new that I like to go, and I got some pictures while I was there. That isn’t the only creative thing I did though. I tried out a park on the north side of town that is supposed to have beautiful ponds and beautiful views. I got a few good pictures, but the north side of town is still coated in snow and driving through the park just wasn’t safe. I couldn’t even figure out where the ponds were. I’m happy for the few photos I got but I am definitely going to have to come back in better weather. That was too rough to be driving around in. Snow, ice, mud, gravel. Nothing paved.
While at home I decided to start altering photographs that I have had printed. I’ve been using watercolor and alcohol ink. I might use some acrylic paints or a lighter later this week. I’ve been altering them and then scanning them to my phone. I don’t know if any of them are turning out well but it’s interesting to do.