Tag Archives: art

I am not as interesting as I seem: poem

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I am not as interesting as I seem:

Once I believed that I was funny, kind and that people found me interesting

But you have set the record straight.

I can never forget what you taught me.

 

What I had mistaken for leopard print was merely poke-a-dots.

My child like ways, simply childishness.

Compassion as weakness.

In the end, even the sound of my voice made me think I had done something wrong.

 

So now that you are gone, why do I still hear your voice?

Why do I fear what others will see in me?

What if they see what you saw?

Will they feel the same? What if you were right?

 

I don’t believe the things that I once did.

I get tired of fighting your voice in my head.

Because some part of me believes you;

Believes that I am less than ordinary.

A crow among nightingales.

 

Amanda C Nov 2012

 

 

 

What happens in the moment

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I went to a dance party at the studio where I take Latin classes tonight. I always get a little anxious beforehand, mostly b/c it is my nature to be so. Tonight there was a small group, all people I knew from my classes. I did not expect to find how warm and funny everyone was. I don’t mean to imply that they are not that way usually but I am not usually open to letting that in.

I have noticed over the past month or so that in my own small ways I am seeking out opportunities to let people back into my life. And not in a passive, they come they go kind of way, but in a way that asks me to offer something in return- vulnerability.

When I first came to Valdosta almost two years ago my life as a knew it had just fallen to pieces at my feet. It took the better part of that first year to remember how to breathe and live again. Once I was on the path of  rejoining the living I knew I had to start doing things for my own happiness,  to maintain my grip on the now. So I took up dance.

Never having danced before I walked into the studio across the street and decided that I would learn something new. It was difficult for a long time to feel like I was making progress and not handicapping my partners. But with the encouragement of my classmates and teachers I stuck with it even when I wanted to just give up and cry. I know that may sound a bit childish or over the top but I’m not sure you can understand how hard it is to re-start your life unless you have had to go through it. After that pain is gone you are left with questions about yourself and the choices you made, the things that happened to you. It makes everything a raw patch, so what would normally be nothing on an average day feels like you are being stabbed. And then if your me, you wonder things like ” why the h*** did you put yourself out there in the fist place?”

But I digress b/c I didn’t give up and tonight I could see it. I know that I am easily flustered but I didn’t care. I kept the apologizing to a shocking minimum and laughed a lot. In fact my teacher said “you are so fun.” I like that the light I feel in my life is finally starting to show through.  I know that I have done a lot of work to get here and there is still much to be done. But I would be remiss if I did not mention these interesting, generous group of people who have helped me to remember that my life is wonderful, silly and still going forward.

So I would like to take this small moment to thank them: Hanna- it is a blessing to have someone who has walked in your shoes,  Alvero- for not letting me give up, Chester- for making me practice one more time to know that I can do it, Will- for making me look you in the eyes, Tiffany- for a big heart so generously given, Ananda- for your smile and conversations, Gloriana- for you patience and sweetness. Thank you all so much. Weather you knew it or not you helped me to find my way back to me and for that I am so grateful.

Don’t be afraid: subtitles are fun!

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I don’t think that I had ever watched a subtitled movie until I saw “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.” I was so drawn in by the story that I for got that I was reading everything. I know fora lot of people the idea of “reading” while watching a movie is off-putting but I must say for a little extra effort you are missing so much! Here are a few (very different) subtitled movies that I enjoyed. They range from family to adult in subject latter. I hope that something makes you want to give a foreign file another look.

crouching tiger hidden dragon -Chinese

PG 13      This is an epic story with fantasy/ magical elements. If you like things like “the Lord of the rings or the Chronicles of Narnia” this would be right up you ally. Please keep in mind though it is from an Eastern point of view, if you are looking for uber happy this is not what you will find. However you will find truly honorable heroes, people who take honor to its furthest limits and love that spans all obstacles.

Amilie-french

R- (I would not give it this rating) This is a wonderfully sweet and adventuresome story about a girl who wants to make her father’s life better and  solve a mystery of the everyday find while finding love. When I think about this movie I see Madeline as if she were a real person. It is funny and light-hearted.

I do: how to get married and stay single- french

NA, Like most French comedies this is about a slice of life. The family is ridiculous and the main character is hounded simply because he is happy as a bachelor. It’s you typical romantic comedy.

Heartbreaker- french

NR- This could have been a simple they break people up scam kind of movie but what I liked about it is they only break up people who are not good for the other person in the relationship. They don’t destroy happy lives because they get paid to. It follows a typical: character though one thing but was wrong and now has a different point of view.

Diary of a Nymphomaniac-french

NR (R) Though this might seem like something it’s not, I actually enjoyed this film. Yes there is a lot of sex but not in an exploitative way. It is the story of a woman who struggles to understand her sexuality on her own terms and not as society deems she should. I found it heart breaking at moments and uplifting at the end. If the subject matter doesn’t bother you this is a very interesting film.

Bread and Tulips-french

PG 13- This was  a sweet story about finding what makes you happy in life instead of settling for something else. The wife is very doormat-ish in the  beginning but finds herself along the way.  If you like movies like “under the Tuscan sun and Fried green tomatoes” you would probably like this too.

 

A french gigolo- french

NR (R) I wasn’t sure I was going to like this one at first but the story kept me interested. The gigolo takes on his profession as a side job to make money. He is not terribly attractive but is kind to women. The twist being that he is engaged and eventually she finds out about it. This was surprisingly sweet and sad in places.

The girl with the dragon tattoo- Swedish (also English)

(R) Violent and has disturbing sexual violence- I only watched the version in Swedish and loved it so much I refused to watch the American one. If you like a good mystery/thriller and can take violence this is for you. I loved Lisbeth’s character, she was so brilliantly written and acted I don’t think I have ever seen anything quite like her before. The story she unravels has many twists and turns, in the end I had to watch the next two to see what happened to her.

The girl who played with fire

The girl who kicked the hornets nest

Departures-Japanese

PG13- This was a surprisingly sweet movie about a person finding their true calling in life. The main character goes from being a Cellist  to a person who prepares the dead for burial. It is quiet moving to watch him learn to really care about his clients (though they are dead) and see the impact that his work has on the lives that he touches. If you are a fan of understated movies, this is one for you.

The Syrian Bride– Arabic

NR- It is hard to list all the things I love about this movie. It will break you heart. The whole movie revolves around a wedding but because she is a Golan Heights resident once  she crosses into Syria she will never be allowed to come back and see her family. The love shown by her family an their determination to see her settled in the best life possible is so moving. The bride’s determination to follow through no matter the cost is inspiring. This movie feels more like a documentary then a feature file. If you like that style or like inside into different cultures this would be one for you.

Eric Clapton: Running on Faith

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It’s funny how we move though life and collect memories, people and things. This is one of those songs that no matter how many times I listen to it I just love it. I think I was in college when I first heard it and 10 years later I still love it. It was the beginning of my introduction to blues.

Deva Premal: meditation and beauty

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Aad guray nameh
Jugaad guray nameh
Sat guray nameh
Siri guru devay nameh
I bow to the Primal Guru,
I bow to the Guru woven through time
I bow to the True Guru, the true
identity of the self.
I bow to the Great Guru whose great
glory will always be.
Guru: that which brings us from darkness
(GU) to light (RU).

Alfred Lord Tennyson: beauty and art

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Break, break, break

Break, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.

O, well for the fisherman’s boy,
That he shouts with his sister at play!
O, well for the sailor lad,
That he sings in his boat on the bay!

And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break,
At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our borne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Tears, Idle Tears

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more!

Alfred Lord Tennyson

The Eagle

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

The Mermaid

I

Who would be
A mermaid fair,
Singing alone,
Combing her hair
Under the sea,
In a golden curl
With a comb of pearl,
On a throne?

II

I would be a mermaid fair;
I would sing to myself the whole of the day;
With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair;
And still as I comb’d I would sing and say,
‘Who is it loves me? who loves not me?’
I would comb my hair till my ringlets would fall
Low adown, low adown,
From under my starry sea-bud crown
Low adown and around,
And I should look like a fountain of gold
Springing alone
With a shrill inner sound
Over the throne
In the midst of the hall;
Till that great sea-snake under the sea
From his coiled sleeps in the central deeps
Would slowly trail himself sevenfold
Round the hall where I sate, and look in at the gate
With his large calm eyes for the love of me.
And all the mermen under the sea
Would feel their immortality
Die in their hearts for the love of me.

III

But at night I would wander away, away,
I would fling on each side my low-flowing locks,
And lightly vault from the throne and play
With the mermen in and out of the rocks;
We would run to and fro, and hide and seek,
On the broad sea-wolds in the crimson shells,
Whose silvery spikes are nighest the sea.
But if any came near I would call and shriek,
And adown the steep like a wave I would leap
From the diamond-ledges that jut from the dells;
For I would not be kiss’d by all who would list
Of the bold merry mermen under the sea.
They would sue me, and woo me, and flatter me,
In the purple twilights under the sea;
But the king of them all would carry me,
Woo me, and win me, and marry me,
In the branching jaspers under the sea.
Then all the dry-pied things that be
In the hueless mosses under the sea
Would curl round my silver feet silently,
All looking up for the love of me.
And if I should carol aloud, from aloft
All things that are forked, and horned, and soft
Would lean out from the hollow sphere of the sea,
All looking down for the love of me.

Alfred Lord Tennyson
***Images are the art work of Waterhouse a pre-Raphaelite painter.

 

Opening a door

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     It’s funny how sometimes the people who don’t know us very well make the best observations because their thoughts are not colored by “how far we have come” or “if it will hurt our feelings.”

I unknowingly had this experience a week or so ago and am now just beginning to get the message. A friend of a friend was traveling with a group of us to an event a few hours away and as long car trips are want to do there was lots of conversation there and back.

At some point he and I started talk, not knowing each other there were the usual, “what do you do for a living?” and “do you like it?” kind of questions. Somewhere in the middle of all the “fluff” conversation two things stuck in my head. One that his sister died a few years ago and that he said he couldn’t stand people who wasted their talent (pointed in my direction). At the time I did think much of it- I personally think that I do waste what ever talent I may have had.

Just look at that last sentence- this is what he was referring too. Lots of people are not “really” good at anything notable (whatever that means) but there are people -like me- who know that they are good at something but don’t necessarily do anything with it. I know this is a little convoluted but stay with me I’m almost there.

This brings me to today, a random Sunday afternoon. Nothing special going on, just finished the chores (sorting paper work and filing it- I really hate that) when I happen to open my closet and see art supplies. I should say that, I have not painted, drawn really taken photos or done anything that used my skill as an artist in almost a year.

As my hand brushed over the bamboo pain set I knew that it was time. My excuses had outlived their reality. I told myself for a long time that I just didn’t want to make art but that was not the truth. At its core I did not want to feel. For me to create something I have to let go of the logical controlling part of my mind and open myself to were the art wants to go.

From the moment the brush or pencil touches the paper it is not about a plan or a destination, it only about how I feel as my hand creates mark on a page. This is why I was not making art, I cannot lie  to myself and create, it is just not possible. So today  I stared down the white paper and though if this friend of a friend who goes to work every day living with the death of his sister. I could tell from the way that he talked about her that he loved her very much and that her loss was still in someways painful to him- if you can ever get over something like that. And it made me think about my own losses.

How long will I choose to use the loss of my old life and an excuse not to live? This man gets up every day and lives, so why can’t I? Why have I let myself fester for so long? I think I was afraid of what would come out of my hands, what I would feel once I opened the door. It was not what I expected.

At first the novelty of it all amused and distracted me. It was pleasant to see that unlike signing, my hand remembered  the shapes and colors.  But as I went on and I could no longer ignore myself.  I could see my lost-ness in the water, confusion in the clouds; a restlessness in the brush strokes…I began to make mistakes.

I could have given up at that point and given myself a great lecture about how “untalented” I really was but I didn’t. Some how I heard a professor telling me that when you get frustrated put your work across the room and look at it, because half of your issues come from being to close to the work.

So I did. It did not make the flaws any less visible but…I saw hope in the dragon fly’s wing and inspiration in the petals of the waterlily and joy in the speckles of the coi fish. I think I have the same problem with my life, I am too close to it. It is easy to stand in the middle of a mess and scream in frustration about how you’re not getting anywhere. It takes more courage to realize that getting past a death or loss of someone or thing in your life is not easy or measured in large steps.

As I look back over the past year I have done a lot of things, most good and all towards finding a life by myself and for myself again. When I stand across the room I can see the progress I have made and I don’t judge the size of the steps against one another, I see how they fit together to make something better than a blank page or scared canvas.

I am not done with the painting, it needs a little more time and attention like my life. But it is beautiful in its own right and so is this new beginning I’m working on. It won’t be done in a day like a painting but it will be just as rewarding when I get there.

So thanks Dave for your insight and willingness to talk to a stranger about your life. I made a difference to me.