Friday, May 25, 2007
Hi folks...I'm Jordan Rosenfeld. I'm lagging behind finishing up the AW and will be starting VoG around the 4th of June. But I thought I'd pop in early and say hi! I live in the absurd little town of Morgan Hill, CA (sorry to anyone who likes it here), am still pining for Petaluma, which we left behind last year and hope to return to next year. I write mainly. Freelance--for a living. Fiction--for "fun" and I've got a book I'm in the process of revising for Writer's Digest Books due out in November (Is this too much of an AA speech here?):
Anyhow, I've been using my morning pages lately to write --*gasp*--fiction. That's right. I've been journaling since I was 11 years old (21 yrs give or take), and so processing my feelings on the page has never been an issue for me (doing it consistently certainly helps and I benefit from that--and what's more, how's this for the universe working mysteriously...since I started doing AW, my husband has begun journaling regularly for the first time in his life!). But I notice that when I write fiction--something crazy and unplanned that has no goal for it--I come away feeling energized, alive and ready for work. I thought I'd recommend this as an alternate to anyone who is struggling with their pages. Take a week's break and write fiction (or poetry, essay, whatever your favorite form).
And I promise (sort of) not to use so many parenthetical statements next time.
Hope you're all doing well. Let me know your thoughts
Monday, May 21, 2007
I finally remembered to take the camera on our regular 6:30 am morning walk.
Unfortunately, it was overcast this morning--unusual for New Mexico--and so isn't as pretty as most days.
We start from our driveway and go up a wooded mountain path.
This is high desert, so the conifer woods are also prickly-pear woods and yucca woods.
We encounter rocks to climb, then a logging road and The View.
This ugly metal barn-like thing is what's behind me as I look at The View. (Not so lovely.)
Then back down the hill to home. About a 25-minute walk.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Also I live on a housebarge on the Long Island Sound. I'm a transplant from California. It's been anthropologically interesting to say the least.
I have a husband and two cats. He works from home at his own business selling software, I work for a company that seems to think market research can make a lasting moral and spiritual impact on the planet.
-Tori Amos, American Doll Posse (2007)
Saturday, May 19, 2007
It was an artistic experience for me on several levels:
- while the background sounds (footsteps, birds, church bells, babies crying, etc.) were all audible, the Italian dialogue was completely mute--so that I had the English subtitles tell me the dialogue, but I didn't hear anyone speak. It was like watching a universe of telepathic people and gave a very calming (and eerie) aspect to the film.
- the faces of the actors--who were local "peasants" according to what I've read--were amazingly expressive.
- the depiction of the rural , peasant life made me feel the chill, the damp--and I liked it. It felt gritty and healthy and real.
- the depiction of community made me very emotional; the community of tenant farmers spent the cold winter evenings in the stable, together with the livestock, telling stories, knitting, singing, saying the rosary. They sung together as they worked; they doctored each other as needed. It was so HUMAN.
- the KNITTING in the movie was breathtaking. The shawls were the likes of which I have never seen: beautiful but very sturdy and wearable. I have been thinking about them for three days, and I think I need to design one based on one that a little girl was wearing which was a round shawl that somehow didn't fall off her shoulders as she milked cows or ran across fields. I am thinking of a version of Zimmermann's Pi Are Squared shawl--or a variation on an Irish pattern that I have. And I am going to use rugged, chunky Icelandic wool.
I divided my time line into other categories: pre-nursery school, nursery school, elementary school, junior high, high school, college, twenties, thirties, etc. And that seemed to clarify my thinking about different eras.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
I'm going to list the ideas here from comments:
Museums (Getty, Getty Villa, LACMA, Museum of Jurassic Technology)
Observatories (Griffith Park)
Free Music Concerts (Jazz, Classical)
Free Theater (Independent Shakespeare Company)
The Natural World (parks, beaches, islands, urban landscapes with and without cameras)
Plant Nurseries (as opposed to Child Nurseries, I suppose)
Arthouse movie theaters (where apparently Kel can get food delivered ?!?)
I hail from Burlington, Vermont. Burlington is about 2.5 hours away from Montreal which gives me that big city boost when I need it. I am originally from Southern California (Glendale). Though I miss the regular sunshine, Vermont is a lovely place and full of artists and free thinkers. By day, I work for a growing internet company that makes websites for car dealers. At night, I have a part time job at a grocery store which provides endless hours of entertainment.
I am single with a black cat named Tabby. I love to write, though am not disciplined as much as I would like to be. I am looking forward to making changes in my life with VOG and get more into my writing. My blog's pen name is Mrs. Han Solo because he's the hottest spaceman out there. (But maybe that's just me.)
Thanks goes out to Stephanie for encouraging me to do this.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Monday, May 14, 2007
I'm walking in the backcountry behind our house in the morning with my dog. On Saturdays, I try to take a longer walk elsewhere.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
I'm officially introducing myself now - thank you for the fabulous welcome in the last post.
I live near sunny Santa Monica, California, have a job that is a perfect fit for me, a fabulous partner, two kitties, wonderful friends and a little apartment that's stuffed to the gills with books, books and more books (and some other stuff too that's less worth mentioning - you know, furniture, food in the fridge). It sounds perfect, and yet somehow I haven't felt perfect in it - I've gotten so consumed with my professional life that I've somehow forgotten who I am outside of it. And I need to find a little more balance and remember who I used to be. I deserve to have my own life again. And my sweet (and very understanding) fella deserves more than the extra bits of time I have when I'm not working. Somehow in the growing up and getting a career and a grownup life on track I forgot about balance and rest and joy. I knew I needed something more, but I was just too busy to be bothered with spending time on it all. Silly me.
As my blogger profile suggests, I'm staring 30 in the face and while I think numbers are pretty arbitrary things, I also think that since we tend to think of our lives in units of ten, I want moving out of my twenties to feel significant, somehow. I've got just over two weeks left to figure out how, and this is a big piece of it.
I want to turn 30 with a new commitment to building a contemplative, joy-filled life for myself, and I intend to use Vein of Gold to get myself started. I've actually had the book for a couple of years but never really got serious about it, and eventually forgot that it was sitting there on the shelf. I wandered over to this blog at just the right time, and I'm very excited about jumping in and participating.
I don't much believe in signs, but when I opened the book for the first time a couple of days ago, I found these waiting for me! They feel familiar - I know I put them in there, but I have no memory of finding them or why I decided to press them in Vein of Gold. But what an auspicious way to begin!
Over the last year I've also been rediscovering my love of photography, with the help of a fabulous new digital SLR, and it's played a big role in helping me start to reclaim a life for myself outside of my professional one. You'll probably see more photos start to pop up from Artists' Dates (which I've yet to begin) and daily walks. In fact, yesterday I walked at a local park right next to the tiny Santa Monica airport, and enjoyed peeking through the fence to see the planes, as well as examining the textures of the eucalyptus trees that were scattered around the park.
I haven't really decided yet, though, whether I should force myself to leave the camera home when I'm walking. My photographer-self would mourn the lost opportunities, but I don’t know whether I’m more or less attentive to the world around me when I’ve got the camera at the ready. I think the biggest danger is certainly that I’d end up wanting to slow down too much, and my walk would become a staccato meander, only good for taking me from one photo op to the next. I think I can balance the urge out, though. I could make rules for myself – no stopping for more than ten seconds (oh, my), no multiple shots – one chance for each image – and no more than five (or maybe ten?) shots total for the walk. And every shot has to be something new that I hadn’t noticed before when walking. That’s a good discipline for my photography as well as a way to keep my walk authentic. We'll see how it goes.
I don't particularly care for photos of myself (one of the reasons I first got into photography - I could be on the other side of the lens!) but I know I'm supposed to post one as part of my introduction, so I'll share one that shows you my one sustained spiritual practice: snuggling with the kitty.
So far, I've managed to do my Morning pages for three days running, though I was feeling surly about it this morning. Can't tell yet if I'll be able to force myself to keep it up. And today will be my third daily walk. I created my list of "20 things you'd like to have manifest in your life" - I'll post them below. And now I'm tackling the narrative timeline. And it's kicking my butt. I know it's supposed to be hard, but I'm feeling quite overwhelmed at the idea of having to sum up my own life. Partly it's that I have a pretty extensive memory from my early life, and I'm exhausted just trying to put together notes about my childhood. At the moment I'm not feeling inspired to actually write any of it. And I'm not even past age 10 on my notes yet. I might just move right along past it so I can get on to other parts of the book, while I continue plugging away at is as I feel moved to do so. I really don't want my reluctance to focus on the timeline to derail my enthusiasm for the whole process. Are any of the rest of you working on yours yet? What's your experience so far?
20 Things I’d Like to Have Manifest in My Life
1. A regular spiritual practice
2. A sense of balance
3. Reclaim my innate sense of mystery & wonder
4. Comfort in showing my full self to the world
5. Lots of time to explore my photography, just for the joy of it
6. Strengthened connections to friends near & far
7. Start writing again
8. Better health – anemia under control, lots of energy, feel good about my physical self
9. My home to truly feel like home again
10. A contemplative, spiritual “nook” at home
11. Travel, seeing new places, whether big trips (some day) or day trips (today!) – just to get out there on a regular basis and see more of the world
12. More long talks with mom
13. Real progress toward that credential
14. To wake up every morning excited about the day that’s ahead (not still exhausted, not reluctant to start the day, not anxious about what needs to get done)
15. Plenty of time to read for pleasure
16. Feeling on top of things at work, not overloaded and stressed out
17. Much more music & song!
18. Rekindle connection to my younger, more joyful self
19. Get crafty – cultivate beauty on the cheap
20. To strive every day to live up to “My Symphony”
Friday, May 11, 2007
I must admit that since the puppy's arrival last Saturday, I haven't even opened Vein of Gold, much less had a quiet moment for Morning Pages. I have to figure out how to build them into the 5am morning pee adventure, shower, breakfast, morning walk and the office job that starts at 8am. Hmmm...
I have, however, had at least three 20-minute (or longer) walks each day, and a lot of watching, cuddling, cross-species communicating.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Are any of you finding the same thing?
Monday, May 7, 2007
I filled up a lovely unlined Moleskine with morning pages between this and the artist's way, and moved to a lined journal, which I found terribly annoying. I'm trying the pages electronically. This is not what Cameron advises. But it's what I'm doing temporarily. Perhaps I need a Moleskin and a better pen.
If you haven't posted an introduction to yourself with a photo, description of hopes and aspirations for the group, and anything else, please consider doing so.
Sunday, May 6, 2007
Until 18 months ago, my husband and I lived in one of the world's most liveable cities, Melbourne, Victoria. Now we live on a small island in the Gippsland Lakes.
That fact alone is one reason why I believe in the power of "The Artist's Way." Of course, there are a few factors that led us to take the plunge, leave all that was familiar, and start a new life. But completing "The Artist's Way" helped crystalise things. It gave me the guts to follow my dreams.
Following dreams is hard. While some days I have to pinch myself to check that it's all really happening, there are other days where the dream morphs into a nightmare. Lately there's been a few rough things happening. So it's time to check back in with the creative muse.
Things I'm passionate about: my man, my dog, creativity, spirituality, good coffee - and being part of a creative cluster. Thanx for having me guys. Looking forward to the journey.
Pop in and say hi @ the X facta.
Friday, May 4, 2007
Sognatrice is a writer and blogger in Italy, and I read her blog this morning. She is not following Cameron's guidance explicitly, but as an artist she seems to be doing instinctively what I am being guided to do. In her post today, she blogs about five things she does everyday to be/feel successful, and they involve
- quiet time of reflection
- gratitude and love
It's a natural living out of what Cameron suggests and, for me, confirmation of its validity.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
I ended up with a collection of photographs of trash. More precisely, I looked for pieces of trash that were juxtaposed against the natural world in some way.
This photograph, for example, is breccia and a bottle (of Bud?).
Trash really wasn't everywhere at the park, just at the low points where it had settled if it was heavy or in the bushes where it had blown it if was light. This is a tissue stuck in some dry cheat grass near sandstone.
Eventually, I decided that I wanted the collection to have more of a Where's Waldo? feel to it, and began to focus on trash that was harder to see amid the landscape. This is yucca and green glass.
In any case, I seemed to be drawn to photographing trash and wandering around the rocks alone.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Cameron calls it “Imagic-nation”, but I prefer Dreamtime.
Cameron writes, “Desire (energy), coupled with imagination, creates form” (p. 34).
I can see how Michelangelo used this, how Bach used this, how Byatt uses this.
More importantly for me (being no AS Byatt), I see that it applies not only to the creation of what is commonly referred to as art but also to the creation of one’s future, one’s life.
I, of course, am thinking of the house that I desire, the puppy that I desire, the career that I desire.
So how does one have both the creative leap of faith and the nose-to-the-grindstone ability to make it happen? For every vision born is a bureaucracy to be negotiated. Or maybe I am just too rooted to the earthly plane of existence.
Her task to enter our imagic-nation through walking asks us to “Think about what you’d like more of, what you’d like less of, what would make you happier, which things make you glad” (p. 37).
This has been my meditation for the last year—before I ever picked up Vein of Gold—and I have yet to come up with very concrete answers. So I guess I need to walk more and be more focused on these questions. And, as Cameron reminds me, I need to stick with the positive and not get sidetracked by anxiety and fear.
Finally, Cameron suggests making a list of twenty things I would like to have manifest in my life—material, spiritual, intellectual, artistic. Here is my first go at such a list (I come up with thirteen before faltering):
1. calm and optimism related to my work
2. time for quiet reflection in each day
3. a puppy
4. more connection to outdoor things—more time spent in the outdoors
5. a feeling of belonging in my community and culture
6. gratitude (mine, felt for other people and things)
8. daily reading
9. daily knitting
10. daily cooking
11. a home of my own
12. a good haircut
In this chapter I discovered that Cameron has a home in New Mexico, the “Land of Enchantment”, where I also live. So I'm looking for those ley lines!
(Perhaps those who did not wait in line for two hours in 1977 to see the opening of Star Wars? I did!)
Unless, of course, you really are Harrison Ford's wife? (Stranger things have happened in the blogosphere...)
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
To this end, I was looking for a decent picture of myself, and the only one I could find is one used for some online work I do--hence the small size, since I nabbed it off their site and pasted it here. I like it because you can't see the acne scars.
My general life interests are in food, craft, health, literature, and sustainability, and, barring literature, this is what I blog about.
I am not a natural activist, but I do feel an obligation to act, given the general state of the planet.
I am not a naturally spiritual person either. I'm afraid that my basic nature cuts to the efficient and the practical and doesn't always soar to the bigger ideas.
However, I do feel bursts of great energy and creativity, and I'd like to explore that in a community of others doing so.
I walk to work and I walk home, and, because I am trying to be a good Vein of Gold pilgrim, I shall try to incorporate an additional longer walk into my day as often as I can.
My walk to work in the morning is energizing—fresh morning air, quiet bird song, lovely light.
The walk home is less energizing than cathartic: an intense time of mental processing for me, something which I had not realized until now.
It is a short walk, but in that time I sometimes discover some inner rage that I had not let surface at work—and thus arrive home in a foul mood.
Sometimes, however, it is a time when optimism and humor come to the fore, when my exuberance is allowed to bubble up, when I notice beautiful things. (Today, I had a lovely encounter with a Eurasian Collared-Dove.)
The task of walking prayerfully, listing and vocalizing gratitude, also resonated. My new boss starts every meeting with a call for “appreciations”—something that is none too popular with the Old Guard present at the various meetings I attend. I too initially found it rather saccharine, but I like what Cameron says:
What you are actually doing is gaining altitude so that you can see life from a higher perspective, where you are able to recognize many more choices.