I ran across some things I wrote in a notebook last month and, these things pleasing me, decided to write them here.

bird in cage

bird in cage

to fly
you must quickly grow wings
grow feathers
be strong
the moment to soar is here
and you are still polishing the bars of your cage
Beating heart
naked wings
wild eyes
and fear
Now the cage is closed again
Take up your work again
And calm and close your eyes
Another chance may come
Will you be ready
or busy?


After all this time and getting experience–AKA wisdom–
Peace of mind, sunny autumn
Yet comes winter and the lonely, icy, comfortless chill of despondency
Where are my accomplishments?
How can I go on? I’m stopped by all all all I would like to do.
I’d have wanted to have a name, a genius
And discontent is what I seem to have two hands full
George says it isn’t what it seemed it would be
Doesn’t satisfy
And, anyway, I have a name, THE name, and have no need of genius–
What would I do with it?
Don’t have it but can detect it,
Like a dog watching a human dance, or use her hands.
Oh, why don’t I feel a little marvelous?

Does God? Does He feel content? Is He amazed at what He does? Or does He still shake His head and say, “I wish I could do more”?


I watched two biographical movies: one about Thomas Merton and the other about George Harrison. These are my notes.

Moments of despair are renewals. Funny–Thomas Merton originally wanted to be a famous writer. Later he reluctantly became one, only to find it was not what he wanted. His readers wanted to keep him as he was–an eager, discovering monk; they wanted all problems solved for him because he became a monk. (No doubt he did too.) But entering Eden with eyes open reveals one’s imperfections.

Faith is overcoming doubt, not not-experiencing it. Overcoming the world is overcoming our deepest self. We have to develop a stronger ego in order to overcome it.

The gate of heaven is all around you. The world is your book (outside the monastery).

Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton

One thing I’ve learned from these films about Thomas Merton and George Harrison is that what I’m going through is NOT UNIQUE! They went through it too. Those who lead contemplative lives will find that life does get harder. Even the things we thought were easy now, we think we’re “over that,” can come roaring back fiercer and stronger than we ourselves are. Perhaps it is so, as Thomas Merton suggested, that overcoming the world means we must overcome the deepest aspects of ourselves–EXPERIENCING our doubts and difficulties with faith. The temptation (maybe even the need) to completely withdraw screams at one, shrieks loud and clear. It is one more thorny field to traverse, supported, sustained, and carried by the Word of God.

George Harrison from Martin Scorsese film

George Harrison from Martin Scorsese film

Needed a cheerfuller post than yesterday’s. The title may sound ominous, but it only means that I’m trying to wring the truth out of myself. Susan Wooldrige called it opening the window, but I wanted to be more original and July-ish.

So, this is sort of a poem. Read More →

Art Journal Girl

Art Journal Girl

Once upon a time . . .

I learned not to judge by appearance.  God looketh on the heart and so should I.  This includes the heart of a matter.  Sometimes guidance comes in reprehensible-looking packages, so I’ve learned that even when I don’t like a particular word or expression, if my eyes can stomach the content (despite a flaw or two), then I can learn some really great lessons.

Such was the case yesterday.  Below find a quote from one Mandy Jordan, a fellow art-journalist.  (I have edited slightly.  The quote has not lost its meaning.)

“the thing about journaling is that it is supposed to be personal.  if you find yourself comparing your journal pages to others’, if you worry that you’re using material you “shouldn’t” or whatever, stop.  I might even suggest you not join a group like this or otherwise make your journal open to public scrutiny if it makes you feel like you’re trying to fit in or compete or whatever.  I used to read books on journaling techniques and take workshops and subscribe to magazines until I realized that as inspiring as it was, it was ultimately a muse-killer.  I had to walk way from all that and go back to basics, to not [caring] what my journal looked like and if I was “doing it right” before I could find my voice again.  I hope this does not offend. I just hear myself in your questions.”

After reading this I wondered if I would have the strength to quit my online art groups.  I loved what I was seeing from others.  And I got such good ideas for art exploration and imitation that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

I want to spend my creative time wisely.  It’s challenging to post my latest work, but it also feels good for me–in a helpful and enjoyable way.  It would be easy (though a bit of a wrench) to quit, but if it weren’t for the group I wouldn’t be doing any artwork at all.  The challenge to be true to myself but also make art worth looking at is a challenge I can cope with.  I don’t have to post everything.  I think I’ll stick it out for now and see how I learn to deal with situations that are tickly or sticky or tough.

Spend wisely and know when to walk away.