“If I have harmed anyone in any way
either knowingly or unknowingly
through my own confusions
I ask their forgiveness.
If anyone has harmed me in any way
either knowingly or unknowingly
through their own confusions
I forgive them.
And if there is a situation
I am not yet ready to forgive
I forgive myself for that.
For all the ways that I harm myself,
negate, doubt, belittle myself,
judge or be unkind to myself
through my own confusions
I forgive myself.”
OhDoYa, a green bull shark, en route from Cairns to Forres, crossed my kayaking path to Scotland yesterday. We chatted once we got past all that sly dawg “How-’bout-it?” nonsense. He bragged of how he almost fished his way into yacht ownership last week. That is, until its ravenous Cap’n gulped OhDo’s sauteed-garlic-King-Crab-and-rib-eye bait, ripped free of the trap line, and sped away.
Ah! The stuff I learn and characters I meet while travelling in my wilderness! It’s worth every strained back and neck muscle, slivered butt cheek, paddling blister, tear-stained other cheeks, and cold, wet hand–the latter of which came from slapping my new friend across the snout for his audacity.
“Ta,” he said, as the water gulped his sorry ass.
Gawd, how I love those Aussies! And feeling free as a kite in the turf of my wilderness.
There are no dreams at all. Life is about survival in its most basic form. Every night before I fall asleep, I feel lonelier than I have ever felt. No. It must have been worse at some point but life blessed me with no awareness of it. I fought decades for a grasp on the madness I was born into, to understand how it shaped and misled me, and to survive the self-hatred that flows freely, burning up in my blood stream. These days only sleep relieves my troubled thoughts.
However, when I am lucky enough to wake up in good spirits, or have a joyous moment, I savour it. I greet this prompt grudgingly but challenge myself on it. I seek out a thought or dream to borrow and feed on for a time. A wish for all of my communities and myself. A hope. An aspiration and necessity for my complete freedom. Yes. All of that contemplation sends me off to read Adrienne Rich again, from whom I quote now. “There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors.”
There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and (will) be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.
Yesterday, a friend presented me with a pack of 140 lb. Fluid, Cold Press Watercolour Paper. This also included a delicate brush with a purple granite-like handle, which reads ‘Oscoda Prado Synthetic Barcelona.’ She topped this gift off with an invitation to use her watercolours.
It is funny about the arts and I. My gene pool boasts of artists, writers, musicians, singers, and even electronics experts. Strange. Well, not really.
We all had good brains, a facility for language, and a love of reading. I am one of them. Of course, you know that, especially if you have followed me in any capacity before.
Watercolours? Oils? It could be! Wait. The materials in my hand say it will be. Life never gave me a chance at this before but now it has.
I do not know about you but being a writer and social media squatter makes my brain saturate itself a few times a day. It is then that playing with colours and exploring my curiosity about what I will do, is a huge draw. No words required. Actually, no thinking—at least, not in the way I usually do. I will wander in my grey matter or mud bath, so to speak. This one is not as renowned as those I enjoyed in Rotorua, New Zealand, but it is beguiling just the same. Oh, yes!
I am a curious cat, which found me yesterday shuffling through my many books. At that moment, I found a quote from my copy of Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake, one of my favourite authors. This description is of painting, which is also relevant to me because I watch a painter at work every single day. My friend. These words capture so effectively the view from four feet across this studio space (excluding the non inclusive male pronouns), I just had to quote them.
“The love of the painter standing alone and staring, staring at the great coloured surface he is making. Standing with him in the room the rearing canvas stares back with tentative shapes halted in their growth, moving in a new rhythm from floor to ceiling. The twisted tubes, the fresh paint squeezed and smeared across the dry upon his palette. The dust beneath the easel. The paint has edged along the brushes’ handles. The white light in a northern sky is silent. The window gapes as he inhales his world. His world: a rented room, and turpentine. He moves towards his half-born. He is in love.”
In a slightly different way, I am in love too. With my new paper with the texture which delights my fingertips. The sleek brush I now count among my ‘Terry gear.’ Do not forget the borrowed Lukas watercolours that make my dancing eyes spill frenetic rainbows on the page. At least, I hope so.
Out out, damned critic! Did you really think I would let this go on? Forever? You cracking your whip when you like, forcing me to dance like a puppet. You had to know.
That I would not keep you around forever. That I would expel you as fast as humanly possible for me. Yes. It took me awhile but I got here. I had a load of crap to wade through but I am on to you now.
Dissecting my every thought. Feeling. Action. Ready to pounce on me as a cat does a toy mouse.
Making me writhe under bright lights. Submitting to your version of police science.
Well, let me tell you, I have eyeballed you for some time now. Full on. How could I not be curious about you?
You, who would have me hurl myself through a window. You, who would have me throw myself off a cliff. You, who would have me drive a car into a rock face. You, for whom I would relinquish my struggle, cast off this life.
I must say that you have amazing research and analytical skills. Yes. That is a compliment.
Why would I ever heap accolades upon you?
I flatter you because you do good work. You know exactly what to say to me. How to chip away at my hull until your fingertips bleed. Until my tenuous foundation screeches under the burden and is soon all but gone.
You know there are several steps to the eviction appeal process. Like in the movie Pacific Heights, starring Michael Keaton, you know that during that time span, you get to stay on rent-free. Squatting on and smothering my every chance to know confidence. What it might feel like to embody it.
What a good gig you have! Pardon me. Did have.
Hear me now: you can no longer score in this game. The job to which you appointed yourself is now obsolete. I am finished with you. Done. Outta here!
I am no longer your tolerant, ever-appeasing host. Incidentally, she is moving out too, shoulder to shoulder with you.
I become a person who knows with certainty that I am visible.
My deeply rooted self-hatred takes a bit of a back seat when I witness myself. By word swapping, I force myself to see Terry as I would an undiscovered friend. Any lovable soul, scarred by betrayal (including by self), powerlessness, hurt, isolation and little hope.
Unwittingly, I make friends with people who find some thread of commonality with me. Our worlds are often radically different but that does not stop us. Writers discover and thread themselves together in deep, lasting friendships every day of their lives.
I am an ex-introvert so I am not always very adept at friendships. However, I cannot help but develop some compassion and understanding for myself–that and some bewilderment. Why do I see myself so radically different from how ninety percent of the world views me?
I am desperate to keep talking. To discover and reshape my understanding of the truth. To temper the emotions attached to memories and events with my broader knowledge base and, yes, I will say it, the wisdom of age.
I must express myself fully. I need to share “Good Mornings” with people, tidbits of silliness, information, writing (including quotes), joys, sadnesses, new babies (including grandchildren) and Happy Birthdays.
My friends are brilliant! I need their comments or feedback more often than I would ever ask. As a lifelong student, I learn from everyone, everywhere.
They must know how much I love and respect them. If only I could convey how much gratitude I carry because of them. When I try, it usually comes out clumsily and out of nowhere. However, all that matters is that it comes out.
When writing, I transform by embodying the fascinating life of an ever evolving being and woman.