Monthly Archives: December 2010

“Pain throws your heart to the ground, Love turns the whole thing around, fear is a friend whose misunderstood, but I know the heart of life is good.” ~ <3 John Mayer <3

I have come to the end of the first week of the Artist’s Way. I’ve enjoyed this week immensely. As if creatively I am freed I find myself beginning to tromp around familiar mental ground that I have not visited in some time. My philosophical curiosity is back at an all time high, and I feel more spiritual than I have in months.

I sit at my desk staring out at the cold winter world outside my window. The way the trees look against the sky, the way the fallen leaves lay on the ground, the plastic snowflakes my mother hung on the window as decoration all speak to me. It may seem silly, but it makes me feel filled with warmth. I feel connected once more to the world around me and it is a wonderful feeling. More importantly, I feel more connected to myself, that beautiful little girl who fell in love with the world around her. The little girl who loved the smaller universes hiding beneath rocks, and the bigger universe sung in the stars.

It feels good to be here, to be present, to be in the now. It feels good to feel like an artist, a philosopher, to feel human. If you ever get to read this, Thank you Julia Cameron for introducing my eyes to the familiar way I seemed to have lost.

“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment” ~Lao Tzu

And thank you to the Great Creator for allowing me to connect to you once more.

To all who read this. Namaste.

Peace,
Kris


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“…The great teacher inspires”~William Arthur Ward

Assignment #4: Hall of Champions

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ~William Arthur Ward

The Creative Champion Hall of Fame
(an induction ceremony)

Ladies and gentlemen I am proud to host the first ever Induction ceremony to the Hall of champions! The inductees are both intelligent and love giving individuals who would make any artist proud to have known them. A relative, a mentor, a teacher–three individuals who have not only inspired this artist to creative new heights but have also supported her on her mission to create and inspire the world. Without any further ado let the ceremony begin.

To the late Edward King, though unable to attend in physical presence, may his spiritual being accept this honor wherever he may roam. It seems like only yesterday when we first met, though twenty-three years have passed. I still remember the first time you laid eyes on me. Though only an infant the warmth you held in your eyes as you held my wriggling newborn body still flows through my veins. I am part of you and I carry this legacy on with the greatest of prides. The words you spoke over me, part of my imaginative memory, have been told to me through out my life. “She is wise. She is special. She is capable of great things.” Your cancer ridden body, near death, sensed something great within me. Dear grandfather, it is with pride that you are the first inducted to my creative well-being. You sensed the greatness within me, and knowing that keeps me journeying toward the greatness you beheld. You are with me every step of the way and it is because of you my pen name bears your family name. Wherever you are, I hope that you are proud of me. Every day I walk with the light I first found in your eyes. I will not let you down, because in essence to let you down is to let myself down. May your words be a prophecy of sorts as I continue on this journey, and may your spirit always be there to guide me and envelop me in warmth and love, especially in times of hardship and darkness. Thank you for being the first to hold me and for showering me with love and light from your sea-faring eyes. I love you. Ladies and gentlemen, a round of applause for the late Edward King.

The next inductee came to me in the troublesome times of my middle school youth. Carefully watching our fifth grade snack time production of the Wizard of Oz, a script we collectively wrote from memory, you carefully took in our performances. You noted that my cowardly lion performance was a creative and talented endeavor. A few years later, I found myself sitting in your English class, eager to learn and grow. You recognized my talent for interpretation and deep thinking. You pushed me to audition for my very first play, your production of “Our Town.” Never will I forget climbing that ladder and not pretending to be, but actually being Rebecca Gibbs, the little girl enthralled with the great wide universe. Over the next few years you groomed me for acting school. You picked me up when my self-confidence would start to sink. You kept me going, even though I wanted to quit. Because of you, I was able to see my very first written play be put into production. Because of you I am able to say I am an artist. Thank you for being the shoulder to cry on, the ear to listen, and the man who filled my father’s vacant shoes. Without you, my life would have gone in a completely different direction. I know this now, and I thank you for the direction you chose to push me in. Thank you Mr. Minutello, from the very depth of my depthless artistic heart. Ladies and Gentlemen, the man who is responsible for my creative self-worth!

Last but not least, to the teacher who found me sitting in her creative writing classroom. Still a psychology major at the time, I bit my lip when you asked if any of us wanted to be a writer. I had wanted to be a writer but I had given up the belief I would ever be able to do so. After our first assignment, a poem about a life changing moment in our lives, you came to me before class started and handed me my poem with a long letter attached. It was the first letter of praise I had ever received, and I still have it to this day. You encouraged me to seek out publication, the kind of publication that begin writers careers. You told me I had talent. You were impressed with each of my poems, you fell in love with my short story, and you encouraged my writing every day. You helped make each poem better. You walked down to the chair of the department and spoke endlessly of my talent and creativity. You made me well-known to all of the professors of the English department, a fact I learned once I changed my major and found that they already knew of me. Because of you my faith was restored in my writing potential. Thank You Jessica Williams. Becuase of you I found the courage to disagree with my father’s harsh criticisms and pursue my dream of being a writer, openly. You said to me “You don’t have to become a writer darlin, you already are.” Words that will be with me for a long time to come. Thank you again. Ladies and Gentlemen, the teacher who inspired me to follow my dream!

To my inductees, I am proud to add you to my hall of champions. You bring a smile to my face whenever I think of you. You are what I fall back on when my confidence begins to diminish and my hopes and aspirations seem futile. You are my safety net. I hear your voices, I see the hope in your eyes, and once again I am alright to stand and continue on in this journey. Thank you for being part of my life. Thank you for being my creative inspiration. And most importantly, thank you for pushing me toward a life full of creativity and art.

 


“The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness.” ~Victor Hugo

Assignment #3: Enemies to your creative self-worth.

Closure Arguments

PROSECUTOR: Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, do not be misguided. The defense will have you believe that these three men were nothing more than a catalyst in this artist’s journey. You’ve heard the testimony. You’ve heard how the father took the beloved drawing, the drawing his  daughter spent hours and hours completing, pouring her very best into the crayon creation, and he just put it aside and told her not to steal his office paper. You’ve heard how he crushed her five-year old heart. Remember the explosive temper he wielded as he hurled insults across the dinner table. Remember that it was Him who gave his daughter a hard time when she wanted to change her major from the sensible psychology, to the idealistic english. “You’ll never amount to anything,” those were the words he said to her. Will you hold him accountable for being the unsupportive parent he was.

Jurymen and women, let not you forget him, the abusive ex boyfriend who took the artist’s prized notebook and tossed it into a burning garbage can fire. Imagine all your thoughts, your dreams, your ideas ripped from your hands and tossed into flame. Hold him accountable for ripping her artistic confidence to shreds, the man who was supposed to love her, the man who held his sister’s blood written poetry as the true essence of art. Please members of the jury, find him also guilty for his crimes against artistic integrity.

And last but not least, cast your verdict for the teacher, who out of his own jealous at her ability in the craft, tore her paper to shreds. Reversing the rules of grammar and taking points off for clever thoughts, remember that this man gave her failing marks just to see the straight A student fall apart. Find him guilty; do not let him repeat his torturous ways with other bright and promising students.

Members of the Jury, the power rests in your hands. Find these men guilty of the hateful acts against the creative child, shutting her away from her dream, and crushing any confidence she could muster. Hold these men accountable for their actions. Understand that for an artist creative self-worth is an integral part of the journey. Understand that these men must be held accountable for being enemies to this creative self-worth. Find them guilty. Please. Thank you.

DEFENSE: Ladies and gentlemen there is an old saying, “it takes shit to make bliss.” Without these men, the artist in question would have never worked hard to prove them wrong, her dream would never have burned as bright, and she would never know what artificial criticism felt like. Without these bitter and horrific moments she would not have the emotional fodder to create some of her deepest works. Without these men, she would not have been in the bookstore, looking for the Artist’s Way, looking for a way to recover her creative identity and thus bloom into a better more open artists.  Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I am not saying to excuse these men for their negative impact, only that you find them innocent. They were behaving by their own inner accord. Without them, she would not be the artist she is today. Please, find them innocent in order to break her from the irresistible game of blame. You decide. Thank you.

JUDGE: Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury on the count of destruction to the creative self-worth of the artist in question, How do you plea?
On the count of crime against artistic integrity, how do you plea?
And on the count of stunting artistic growth how do you plea?



“Your worst humiliation is only someone’s momentary entertainment” Karen Crocket

Assignment #2: The Monster Hall of fame.

In sixth grade we would arrange our table desks into groupings of five or six. We were groups, capable of earning points and compliments from our teachers. Each group had a name, like a team, along with a drawing that best represented us. My group team were the Rushmores, complete with a portrait of Mt. Rushmore with our faces instead of dead president’s, drawn by yours truly.

The team was all girls, my best friend for kindergarten, the class popularity queen, the girl with fragile bones that were always broken, and the queen’s shadow. Sometimes I thought I was there by default, not really fitting in with the girls who seemed to be overly obsessed with boys, magazines, flavored chapstick, and what dress they were going to wear to the school dance.

I could care less. I was friends with the boys, at lunch I sat at their table and during recess I played with them on the soccer field, or I sat on the bleachers and cheered them on. Jeans and sneakers were my fashion statement, and I only liked flavored chapsticks if it were something tasty, like Dr. Pepper. That was just who I was and I was okay with it.

One frigid February afternoon, after lunch, the boys set out to take the soccer field. I perched myself on the silver steel bleachers, content to hold my friend, Diego’s keys and cheer him on. I had brought a notebook out with me and busied myself with doodles and sketches. At the sound of the whistle, everyone lined up ready to go back to education and leaving the recess field for the next day’s adventures.

Diego chatted with me as we walked in, taking our usual spots at the front of the line. He had scored a winning goal against his arch nemesis, Kevin, just before the whistle blew and he was riding the emotional high that came along with winning.  I laughed, unzipping my jacket as we walked into our classroom.

My desk was missing from the Rushmore table.

It hit me like a baseball bat to the chest. My desk, alone with my fuzzy purple pen dangling out next to my favorite purple marble notebook. Alone and dead center in the classroom. I hesitated, not understanding how my desk got up and walked away. The rest of the class shuffled in behind me, chatting about various things and putting their things away.

Something white glared from the top of my desk. With what seemed to be an entire roll of scotch tape, a piece of loose-leaf paper was plastered on the top of my desk. I slid into my chair, trying to act as normal as possible, though the whispering snickers started to stab me from behind. All eyes were on me. I was center stage. I prayed the spotlight would dance somewhere else, but it just got brighter as I stared at the written message scrawled upon the immovable parchment.

The Declaration of No More Friendship

We, the former friends of Kristen, hereby decree all friendship and friendly activities be stopped immediately for the following reasons:

I swallowed a rising lump in my throat. The little inner voice that tells you to protect yourself was shouting, telling me to stop reading. But I didn’t listen. I couldn’t, what had I done that was so incredibly wrong that would warrant me a monster deserving a cessation of friendship.My eyes floated down the list.

  • She thinks she is so cool, but she’s not
  • She secretly does sexual things with the boys, that’s why they like her
  • she’s ugly
  • she’s fat
  • she smells like a rabbit cage (i didn’t own a rabbit and i always smelled like the flowery perfume my aunt got me)
  • her family is crazy, and so is she
  • she’s mean to everyone
  • her voice sounds like a cartoon being choked
  • everyone hates her but won’t tell her to her face
  • she thinks she’s so smart, but really she just kisses up
  • her mom is sleeping with Mr. Lisinksi, that’s why she’s student of the month
  • she’s so ugly her own family doesn’t even want her
  • *insert a long list of other insults*

My ego, my heart, my confidence shattered and fell to the ground around me. The entire class was whispering to one another now. Salt water began to sting my eye lids, but I blinked it away before a monsoon took control of my face. I wouldn’t let them see me cry. I wouldn’t let them see me hurt. The little voice inside tried to call out to me again, telling me that none of these things were true. Once again it was ignored as my eyes floated down to the signatures lining the bottom of the page. All of the Rushmores signed it, and a few others who i considered to be friends in other classes.

The teacher floated into the room, smiling and bubbly as always. Her face changed as soon as she saw me and my castaway island. The girls from the Perfect Peaches asked me if I wanted to join their table. I moved, simply to escape the forced solitude, grateful but nevertheless aware to the pity staring out of their eyes. The teacher walked to my desk and eyed the declaration of independence so securely fastened to my desk. She asked me if I was okay. And I nodded, pulling out my notebook quickly and covering the horrid piece of paper. Wanting once again the spotlight to shift its burning focus.

She nodded and began her class, eyeing the girls, and taking my cue that discussion of the matter best be mute.

To Be Continued…


“My Outer Child is Holding my Inner Child Hostage”

“Remember, your artist is a child. Find and protect that child. Learning to let yourself create is like learning to walk. The artist child must begin by crawling. Baby steps will follow and there will be falls–yecchy first paintings, beginning films that will look like unedited home movies, first poems that would shame a greeting card.” ~ The Artist’s Way – pg 44

I’ve already discovered that the best of my creative abilities come from the remembrance of my inner child–the adventurous and curious child of my earlier youth– as my earlier post would indicate. Walking along this journey I have come to realize to realize that my inner child has suffered many blows and for a while was hiding in the corner of the creative crevice in my mind. I am taking steps to protect and love that child. I take her to empty rooms in my mind and let her explore. I treat her to long walks, and silent moments in nature. I let her play with my niece and nephew, allowing her imagination to take reign and revel in the laughter of the my niece and nephew’s laughter. I push her to be strong. I tell her continually how much I love her, reminding her how beautiful she really is.

We all have that inner child within us. It is the excitement we experience when we see a cool new toy that we wished we had growing up. It is the joy of coloring in a coloring book and the smell of crayons, even though we are “too” old to do so.  When we hurt, when we are scared, our inner child is begging for relief, for security, for protection. It makes me wonder how many of us are truly in tuned with the inner child.

Children are naturally happy. Their imagination is their greatest asset in guarding them from the demons of the adult world. Children view the world with wonder. New toys, the rain, the first snowfall ignites a fire inside of them. Oh if only we could taste that snowflake on our tongues!

My outer child is holding my inner-child hostage” ~Anonymous

So I ask you… are you holding your inner-child hostage? Or do you allow him or her to explore the world around them with wonder, magic, and love?

Peace,

Kris


“Journeys, like artists are born and not made…”

Assignment #1

Journeys, like artists, are born and not made. A thousand differing circumstances contribute to them, few of them willed or determined by the will–whatever we may think. ~Lawrence Durrell

Thank you.
You stared up, from the bottom of the Christmas tree, dazzled by the blinking lights content with the magic scent of it all. The water drips from the broken branches you couldn’t avoid watering in your quest to complete your volunteered goal. Had to prove you were big enough to do it. You were big enough. (And just small enough)
You climbed up onto your window ledge, pretending you were on a cushioned window seat. The kind you once on a T.V show. The kind you wanted as your own. You rested your head against the cool pane of the glass. You stared down to where your mother’s rose bush once bloomed, watching the moon sparkle in the snow. The wind whispered with snowy dust and your mind wandered to the whimsical sky, the stars singing in silence back at you. Thank you.
You tucked yourself away in your closet, crammed in between your dresses and shoeboxes. Each of your stuffed animal comrades close enough to hear all your thoughts. Mr. Bear, your first love, cradled you in his oversized bear hug back to you. The green velvet ribbon soft against your cheek, and always coming undone. His soft brown hair was like a pet beneath her fingers, and his dark ball eyes providing comfort in times of fright.  He held your hand through all of the fights.
Thank you, Mr. Bear. Thank you.
Thank you for remembering the star filled eyes of Grandpa. For the time he pushed in you the cart over the wooden planks in the Ribbon and Fake Flower gallery in the little Nursery on the way to the mall. Ba Bump. Ba bump. Just like the cars traveling on Sunrise. Ba Bump. Ba Bump. Brrrrum brrruuuum. He pretended he was a car. Racing you through, stopping and slowing. Making you giggle out of control. Thank you for remembering the way your grandmother would snap. “Eddie, Eddie knock it off,” scolding a child who humble acquiesced his wife’s remark with a gentle nod and an affirmative, “uh huh.” He waited for her to turn back to your mother and ribbons and the motor would start again, quieter than before.  Thank you for remembering his whistle, the touch of his flannel shirts, the love swirling in his eyes. Thank you.
Thank you for your imagination. The fake tests and roll call you made for “School,” the fine French dinner in yellow Playskool chairs. For days tromping through the redwood forest, finding forbidden creatures beneath logs, leaves, and rocks. Thank you for the twirl of pretty pretty princesses, for the colored monsters living in the trees, for the flight off the swing, for the award-winning goal during recess.
Dear Child,
Thank you for painting my childhood with color. Thank you for tucking yourself away in the lost and found bin. And thank you more than ever for waiting patiently among the lost in order to be found.
Thank you inner child, for showing me the Way.
Peace,
Kris


“…armed with nothing but their own vision.”

Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision. ~ Ayn Rand

I am taking the first step. I have a vision, a dream that I must chase, catch up to, and run along with. Every week you can expect new material. Different assignments given to me from the Artist’s Way. Journey with me?

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Today’s Assignment is a prompt. A thank you letter to someone who has helped you along your creative way. Let me know what you think of my choice!

Hope you enjoy!

Peace, Kris