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February 22, 2017: The Writing Life: Odds n Ends and Bric a Brac

I sometimes think that it would be great fun to be a crafts person and spend my time making things that are tangible, like quilts, scarves, mittens, and the like. I’d have a room filled with shelves on these shelves. I’d have neatly folded fabrics or skeins of yarn. Knowing me, the room would be a mess. Maybe not such a good idea, because I’d spend hours on end searching for the right swatch, bolt, or whatever you want to call it.

On Tuesday night, I attended an alcohol ink painting class. My friend and hairdresser, Betty Pierce, was teaching this class. The class was held in the art store adjacent to her salon. I had a good time, experimenting; however, I was not able to abandon myself to the process of working in this fun and exciting medium. Rather, I found myself growing increasing impatient as the evening wore on.

Half finished alcohol ink painting

Betty did an excellent job of first providing a lecture, and telling us about the various ways in which we might create. Various ways are key words here – you first put rubbing alcohol on quasi photo paper and then drop the paint (which comes in small eye drop sized bottles) on the sheet in front of you. You then move, blot, or push the alcohol around with a Q-tip (my favorite) a sponge, or a cotton ball. And well, there are a lot other things you can do, like put hand sanitizer on the paper first, then put the alcohol on the page – but I don’t even have the patience needed in order to describe this.

I was given two small pieces of paper, in which we were instructed to play with the alcohol medium. Then two larger sheets of paper in which we were instructed to do real paintings. I drew horses on my two sheets of paper, and began working on my illustrations. I was supposed to be drawing flowers on one sheet and a mountain on the other. I just wanted to draw horses. . .

I did not finish my first painting or even get going on my second painting. This is because all the while I was thinking about whether or not I have the time to work in another medium. It was like déjà vu all over again. A few years back an equally talented and equally dear friend, Patty Rosnel, attempted to show me how to knit. When I recently spoke to her about my failing in having do what I’d set out to do, that is knit a matching pair of socks, she paused and said “I think the problem is that you think too much.”

Thinking. It always gets me in trouble. I am also starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have at best 20 years to make it as a writer. Time is a wasting. I blew off the past twenty years, and twenty years before that. And the twenty years ahead is going to go by twice as fast as the twenty years past. Betty said because after you turn 50, it’s all downhill. This is the way I perceive things to be and I doubt that anyone will be able to change my thinking. Bring back Sherman and Peabody and the Wayback machine.

The problem with writing (as I have said before, in previous dispatches) is that it is a frivolous activity, the most frivolous of activities being writing poetry. We are coming to the end of February, and yes, thus far, I have written at least one, and often two poems a day. I sense that Pete is growing very impatient with me. This is why I am remaining somewhat mum about what I am doing.

If I were a journalist he would be less impatient because then I’d be making a meager income. Right now, I’m making a sub-meager income. Are you starting to see a theme here? Or are you the sort who eschews themes? I’m a theme kinda gal, can’t seem to get away from it.

Well, most likely because it’s a now a long-lived habit, I feel most comfortable working in the medium of words. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s difficult. But I know that when it’s difficult it’s because I am being presented with a problem that I most likely can solve. Like right now, I am wondering if Superwoman at 70 should be retitled Superwoman at 80 because it is more likely that Superwoman at 80 would need knee replacement surgery.

Such things are decisions that I need time to think about. Don’t know if I have the time to also think about why my alcohol ink horse is a blotchy mess.

Next: 54. 2/23/17: Fran’s Artwork

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