There’s a photo prompt series, 52 Photos Project, that I like to participate in whenever I remember, which unfortunately isn’t often.
This week’s prompt is First thing I see in the morning, which seemed to dovetail nicely with last week’s wordpress Good Morning prompt.
Most precisely, the first thing I see when I wake up is the bedside table where I turn on the light so I can scribble dreams in my dream journal. Of course the clock doesn’t say 2:20, and the room is usually pretty dark, but there is the tip of the bear claw for protection, the tiny white buffalo fetish figure, the tufts of sweet grass braids still fragrant, the silver bowl filled with water to facilitate dreaming, the scattering of stones and crystals, the spooky death coaster from Santa Fe to remind me time is short, the nub of the rose quartz stone and the Virgen de Guadalupe candle holder just beyond –
After all dream fragments have been captured in the journal, turning away from the little light on the table and lying on my back, I try to stay with the dream images and not worry about the day ahead and everything that needs to get done, keeping the monkey mind to a minimum, and my eyes go to the wall across from me, filled with images I’m currently interested in, a few my own and lots made by others –
Lately one corner of this wall has held my attention – I look at it and think about the Salgado photo of the silvery scaly fingers and wonder what the rest of that animal looks like and about how I really do kinda like that heart drawing, should do more of those fast little ones, playing with the inks and pencils on paper, if I could just find the time… but also I like how these three things all work together, the claw in my mind shredding open all barriers to the heart like that memorable scene in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader where Aslan tears the dragon exterior off of Eustace with his claws, the entire episode leading to Eustace’s transformation from a tiresome, beastly boy (to use the language of the book) to a half-decent sort…
At some point I really must get up, must sit up and then, well, I can’t help but see the true state of affairs, the growing disaster area that is my room –
It began almost a year ago, when I cleaned off that far wall and started some big rough painting on rolls of newsprint. This secret habit has grown and bloomed and taken over almost the entire room with a ever-widening selection of surfaces to work on, kinds of paint and pencils to make marks with, the necessary protective measures underneath –
Aside from time issues, aside from spreading myself across too many disciplines, it seems as though part of the reason I haven’t been writing much is that I can’t even get over to my little writing desk in the corner by the window –
It is a strange unmoored feeling, to be mucking around with paint, to be spending a lot of time experimenting with something that doesn’t currently look like it’s going anywhere.
The paintings are ugly and amateurish.
There is no clear sense of whether or not there’s ever going to be something here worth pursuing.
But there is something exhilarating, liberating in the act itself –
And I read something today that in its imagery offered some solace, some protective foil against negative thoughts even though the disciplines, the scale, and the stakes are entirely different. There was something fundamentally universal to the process of stumbling around in the dark of creativity being expressed – it’s from a review Stephen King wrote of Donna Tartt’s latest novel. He says –
To write a novel this large and dense is equivalent to sailing from America to Ireland in a rowboat, a job both lonely and exhausting. Especially when there are storms. Suppose, the writer thinks (must think), this is all for nothing? What if I’m failing and don’t know it? What if I make the crossing and am greeted not with cheers but with indifference or even contempt?
The book, he concludes, is a fine one, well worth the trans-Atlantic crossing.
For myself I have to remember that even if I have no presentable product at the end of my mess-making, it has felt good, it has been fun, and if I don’t push the boat away from the shore to at least attempt something, I will never know…