How the Light Gets In

I have shared a short essay, a drawing, and poem on Red Tent Living. The post is called How the Light Gets In, inspired by the well known Leonard Cohen lyric: There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” You can find it HERE.

andrik-langfield-petrides-316474-e1500649276566

Advertisements

Five O’Clock Friends

A short essay I wrote called “Five O’Clock Friends” is posted today over at Red Tent Living, a beautiful online magazine that explores different aspects of femininity and faith in today’s world. Each month explores a different theme and October’s prompt is the question “Can I Come?” You can read my thoughts here. Take your time perusing this website’s lovely contents!

five-oclock-friends

Relief

I’m so honored that two of my poems have been published in Relief Journal’s Spring 2016 issue. If you aren’t familiar with this fantastic publication, you can check it out here. They have a beautiful blog as well, which explores the multi-faceted issues of art and faith. You also can order a copy of the print journal from the website if you wish to read.

process/progress

One of my favorite opening lines of a poem:

Image

from Dean Young’s collection Beloved Infidel

This morning I woke to a warm spring rain. I hope it’s safe to say that winter is finally behind us. This winter has been a good time, a productive time, and I’m also looking forward to a new season.

In April I will start the final phase of my thesis work, and if things go as planned, I will finish my MFA by the end of May. It seems hard to believe. I’ve had many moments of doubt that I would ever finish, given all the transitions our family has been through over the past five years.

One lesson that life continues to teach me is PROCESS. Bringing our son home, learning each other, attaching, bonding, settling into a new home after a move, building new relationships, and creative work: just a few things that involve a slow, steady, and committed amount of time and attention.

I’m growing to love the writing process and one of the things I’ve valued most about being in school is the way it’s teaching me how to write: the many constructions, deconstructions and re-workings involved in creating a “finished work.” I recently read an article stating that the process of revision is not interior decorating. It’s architecture–building and re-building–the tedious work of renovation. Sometimes the structure collapses on you if it wasn’t strong enough to begin with.

Image
I started this still-life drawing a few months ago. Perhaps I will finish it this summer after my thesis is completed. Sometimes, though, I find that I like the look of the rough outlines contrasted with the objects that are done. It’s an image of life, is it not? We are all a constant work in progress, like rain that begins all day, like a road that stretches into a distance of blank miles.

What kind of “processes” are you currently immersed in? What is the journey teaching you?

Pears

Image
Three Pears; Acrylic on paper; 8×10

I haven’t done much painting lately, but on Christmas afternoon I got the itch to pull my acrylics back out. It was a way to mentallly and emotionally regroup in the aftermath of holiday chaos. Still-life paintings call to me lately and this little line of pears became my latest subject matter. They seemed to represent the Christmas season in shape and color. They are a reflection of the three little people that fill my life, elbows touching, each with their own personality.

I’m always interested in how painting and poetry intersect. Paintings are images in color. Poems are images in words. I love to see how the two different forms of art speak to each when they are placed side by side. Many of my poems overlap in subject matter with the paintings I’ve done or the photos I’ve taken. One inspires the other, and vice versa. As I was painting these pears the other day, I found myself thinking of a Linda Pastan poem from her latest collection of poetry, Traveling Light, entitled “Pears”:

Image

Do you find the different forms of art overlap for you?
What inspires you to create?
What images speak to you during this time of year?

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas!

zoom out

A friend of mine once said that raising young children is like looking at life through a straw. It can feel confining and constraining, as though you are being forced to view too few things in too much detail, over and over again.

But I suppose we each live in our own little bubbles, which are limited and flawed in both perception and perspective. Currently, my bubble feels very small, confined mostly to my home, the 4 by 6 ft center of my kitchen, and the little people I continuously feed across its countertops. Sometimes my bubble expands to include my church community, my neighborhood, and on a really exciting day, it includes the 5-10 mile radius of stores and businesses along my path of errands.

[Perhaps this is the appeal of writing/blogging for me? It is a way to temporarily cross the boundaries that daily life has drawn for me–a way for life to feel a bit bigger than it actually is?]

photo 1

In any case, when I had the chance to get away last weekend, I was extremely excited. The ordinary sphere of life that I see through my straw suddenly expanded and I got to feel like a real woman in the real world. I got to zoom-out, to see the bigger picture, to see all the colors on the horizon.

There is something about air travel that expands my perspective. Seeing so many people coming and going from so many places–so many lives woven in and out of each other–brings with it the realization that this world is big, and that we, as individuals, living our own little lives, are a part of something collectively huge, mysterious, and sometimes overwhelming!

photo 2

And yet, one can see so much more from a great distance. Interstates become little lines that glow. Entire cities can be captured through the lens of a camera. Once far removed, the world doesn’t seem so big at all. Size and significance are relative.

This past weekend left me thankful for the chance to see and experience life beyond my own little bubble, but it also left me grateful to return to it.

It left me questioning the notion that small = insignificant.

Our little lives might be but a tiny blip in the grand scheme of things, but perhaps the most profound impact we will achieve in life is in the smallness…in the handful of close-knit relationships that God has given us. Perhaps changing “the world” means merely showing up and being present in the little bubbles where we currently exist. And perhaps, for the most part, that’s how it’s designed to be?

Who, or what, is in your bubble? Do you wish your bubble was bigger, or smaller? Do you think that impact = quantity or quality?

Image

GRAND

GRAND

The summer of 2001. 5am. The front steps of the Duomo in Florence, Italy. Our bodies are merely specks amongst the magnificence.

Though this photo was taken over ten years ago, I still look at it in awe. I know there’s a poem hidden in this picture–I suppose I’m still trying to find it.

We had been out all night, my friend Molly and I, along with a few other Americans we had met that summer. We were walking back to our apartment close to sunrise, so we decided to head towards the Arno and watch the colors from there. From the Arno, we circled back to the long corridor of the Uffizi, abandoned by tourists at this early hour, only the pigeons and cigarette butts remaining, the stoic statue faces of artists and philosophers watching us.

The Duomo was on our way home. We had never seen it so deserted. It felt scandalous to be alone with this masterpiece of art and architecture. While the city was still asleep, we frolicked on its front steps.

That summer, we began to find our place in the world. A few twenty-somethings, so small in the grand scheme of things.