I hear the New Year whispering in my ear and it’s saying ‘You will be different!’ Every New Year brings the chance to reinvent, reset, resurrect. I thrive on that feeling of starting over and getting it right this time. Hope springs eternal and I know this new birth will bring with it life’s challenges and rewards, her sacrifices and prosperity, hope for success and grace for failure. I pray for it and believe it is inexorable.
I’m already different! More settled, more satisfied with my progress as a person; a very American ideal according to my Australian and European friends. I also think my experiences last year made me less complicated. I’m settling into my years and unlike when I was a younger, more complex woman, I’ve become satisfied with my life and forget to be overly concerned with my future. My husband says I’ve never had a concerned bone in my body but, in my secret life, I do feel a bit fussy about forward movement. Mostly I’m an optimist. I rise daily, intoxicated with ideas, tipsie with potential, soused on supposes and ‘in my cups’ I see everything so clearly. Then the day begins in earnest and reality sets in. That’s when I start plotting my next move, making my new plan, strategizing a better approach for turning myself into the best me I can be (as if) and so goes the year. Hence, January one rolls around and usually a long list of New Years Resolutions.
Not in 2015! I’ve become a changeling and morphed into a woman of the moment. I mean it this time! No more obsessing on being productive or how much I didn’t get done today. At least I think that’s what’s happened to me this New Year. It could be just another declaration in the long history of my ever advancing headway toward heaven. I tend to back slide in this area so I’ll keep you posted.
Realistically, I do need to have a plan for next year’s art for the gallery however, so I expect to paint a lot this winter. I want to add a few new paintings and pieces of my own painted tables and mirrors to the gallery for the coming high season. I’ve just commissioned two local woodworkers for a couple hand-made side tables and mirrors which I will smarten up with original artwork. My goal for the gallery 2015 is more of my one-of-a-kind pieces as well as a few new artists I’ve had the pleasure of meeting this past year. Stay tuned!
Had an interesting conversation with a client and his wife in the gallery the other day about dreams, which I thought I’d pass on to you. We were talking about creativity and using your inner wisdom to create and problem solve. I made a self-deprecating joke about how the only time I’m tranquil enough, long enough to hear from my inner self is in my sleep. Well, turns out the husband was a sleep doctor and actually agreed with me.
He started quoting some study about lucid dreaming, creativity and problem solving in that half sleep state before full waking. Hey, I do that all the time! I have family fame for my snoozing ability. As I started thinking about it, I realized that much of my adult life I’ve had the luxury of a flexible schedule and have developed a habit of lying in bed drinking coffee for at least an hour to ‘think’, in that dream state just before waking completely. Drink a little coffee, snooze a little, drink more coffee, snooze some more. Who knew that was lucid dreaming? Sometimes I make up ditties or write poems in my mind. I even keep a pen and pad on my side table for the really good ones so I don’t forget. I wrote a novel about fifteen years ago based on a dream I had. It’s a futuristic story about the privatization of the penal system and cloning. Wild dream. Consequently not a really big audience and half of the imaginary prophecy I dreamed up has now come to pass so its shelf life is over. I never got it published. I had the good sense not to even try. It was a great exercise in the discipline of a daily writing schedule and I did write a novel so…..just sayin’. Anyway, all that to say, don’t set your alarm and jangle yourself awake if you can help it. Enjoy some creative time under the blankets this winter and call it lucid dreaming. Research shows it’ll do you good.
In light of that instructive word from the sleep doctor, I’m including a poem I recently wrote about my middle daughter Jessica.
My husband came into my life in 1975 as a packaged deal with two beautiful daughters whom I genuinely love and reared as my own. Although the girls came to us at different times, I remember vividly the day each one arrived. First Jessica when she was four and then, with the premature death of their birth mother, Una-Melina joined our family a few years later. These things were difficult for both our daughters, but we loved them and they were young and resilient.
Sadly, Jessica left this world for the next, in 1991 and there will always be a gaping hole where she should be. I love her still and as all parents do, I have often felt the pressure of regret for the things I didn’t do or say when I had the chance. Ways I failed as a mother and times when I was insensitive or harsh. Sound familiar? The agony and ecstasy of parenting is well documented and almost everyone I talk to feels the same pangs of guilt and fear that they somehow failed in their duty.
I hope you enjoy the poem. I numbered the verses to insinuate progression. Don’t try to find a meter…it doesn’t have one. It’s a little bit obscure and somewhat peculiar, but it’s a lucid dream poem, what can I say? I wrote it to celebrate my new-born self and am compelled to share it with you though it’s pretty personal. Thing is, you don’t have to know me long to find there are no secrets here. What you see is what you get, with no apologies of course.
1. Born of her who, but for him, could have been my friend.
Their first child became ours in the settlement.
The stewardess handed her over to us, clutching her bag
tied together with a bungee cord, its zipper as broken as her world.
2. With well-developed coping skills she climbed into my lap
and told me she didn’t like Rebecca, the first name of her first mom.
Her dimpled hands touched my hair and our love grew like a forced tulip at Christmastime.
The miracle of spring in an undue season.
3. Good grades—good attitude—good girl.
Would-to-God all of them could be this easy!
Didn’t we talk about her at night in our bed,
self-satisfaction entwining its lullaby of peace round our words?
4. At seven she could do somersaults
at seventeen she couldn’t climb the stairs.
The Mayo Clinic doctor phoned to say hope
but he really meant congenital heart and lung defect.
5. She came to me in my dreams the first night after she left us
and discussed the plausibility of regular visits.
She sat on my lap again, her twenty-one year old weight
lying like those piles of cotton batting in my grandmother’s quilting room.
6. Though she had flown from my arms to His, she said she’d come again
as often as my aching and regretful heart needed her.
And she has come, faithfully, her memory worn loose
like an old woman’s teeth from constant chewing.
7. Her visits of late have been less than pleasant
and two times ago when she interrupted my sleep,
I hesitate to mention, I actually called her a dirty name.
Her oft coming has turned out to be exhausting.
8. Last night she declared she wouldn’t return. Her visits weren’t essential anymore.
Naturally, I didn’t argue with her otherworldly logic. How could I?
Somehow it only seems right that mercy and truth should kiss each other
while I sleep the dreamless sleep of the forgiven.