Sunday, December 22, 2013

if I avoid the unsightly, the inappropriate, that negates the bulk ofmy living and leaves me straining in falsetto. damn the unseemly, but iwrite.

i get stuck. the only way i know to unstick is to approach the very moment in which i reside. i do.

george is here, sitting with me in my mom's chair. i rock wedged between the big open windows of the hermitage and its fireplace. his presence, not that comfy. with his added weight, the wicker bites ridiculous patterns into my rump as i wait his leave. i hate his visits. i distract myself with the thumbing of my keypad and the muffled thrumbing morning rain on the metal roof. from here, i see that the leaves are begining to clump, cling and matt. i rock; it drizzles; i bemoan the visit. still hunting for distraction, i damn yesterday's rotten log with its belt busting force decommissioning my tractor's mulching blade. now i will have to work up the words to ask mr. bushee for a lesson in belting my banged up red babe. i am hard on my tools and toys, haranguing them to work in irregular ways. as a she-child, i did not get the useful learned lessons in machined mechanisms or their care. frankly even now, the store bought fixetties leave me wanting. the red bladed beast has returned from the shop more broken than not. huh? i paid work earned money. they alleviate her nonfunctionalness, but bang and break something new every fricking time--broken fender, dangling head light, sliced tire wall. grrrrr. superfical i suppose, but my hard wear excaberates the breaks -- front face plate recently gone as the broken fender caught hold and ripped free from a limbed clutch. admittedly i only forked over a hundred bucks for her, my divorce trophy of some poor souls' split.

my mind wanders back to george. how can it not, as he asserts himself with a fierce, unforgiving force. bastard. try as i might to avoid his impinging, he arrives with foreseeable frequence. only now has he begun to slow, stutter, and wane with the wear of age. why must he come for these excavations with his little cutting, barbaric detissuing knives? i bleed each visit. damn bastard. a week early from his habit, he sits with me in this chair. sit still or rock, he cramps me. this fall he has toyed, failing, fluttering and fluctuating in his visits, as though to leave me. i am ready for him to be gone. i yearn for the flat lake calm that will settle with the absence of his hormonally driven storms. perhaps i will be less of a woman in his wake. i've premourned his leaving for sometime -- fretting my fading femininity. he has had his damn stay for near thirty nine and three quarter years! i am ready for him to be gone. bastard.

[perimenapausal dark case i was unclear]

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Spring 2014 Workshops with Kathy Kelley

Listening in the Gaps: Writing Workshop +
Artist Way Workshop
Begin NEXT week, January 8/9, 2014 Register today
@ kk.creativehabit [at]

Listening in the Gaps: Writing Workshop
Kathryn Kelley
Open to non-writers and writers [adults]
Thursdays, 10:00 am - noon
Begins January 9 (8 weeks)
Chapelwood UMC, room tba
Group size max 12
Text: Writing down the bones [Natalie Goldberg]
"There’s a gap between who we think we are and who we really are. In writing, there’s a gap between what we think we wrote and what we actually write. Practice closes the gap.” Natalie Goldberg
Writing is a deep act of vulnerability giving us access to listen into the gaps of our armor, of our lived experiences, and God’s* quiet movements. It is an intentional, particular, inner act. It can make us laugh, cry, blush, remember. It can open us to our anger, grief, joy and forgiveness. It is a way of waking up, a step into prayer. In this workshop we will create a guided nonjudgmental space to write, write, write—keeping our hand moving, not worrying about crossing out, spelling, punctuation, or grammar. We will follow the writing where it takes us, trusting God to enter the page with us.
“I reach writing through an act of waiting and listening; I make false starts; I get in my own way; I try again. Putting words onto paper—when it is done as an honest act of search or connection, rather than an act of manipulation, performance, self-aggrandizement or self-protection—is a holy act.” Pat Schneider
Weekly various prompts will be provided to open us into this writing practice both for warm ups and longer writings. As Jerry Webber encourages, we will “chase the image.” Writing through metaphor, memory, hope, and sensory experience, each in our own way, finding our own voice, our own pace. There will be opportunities for short nonjudgmental sharing [optional] of what we are finding in our own writing—surprises, hurts, healings, and chuckles that arise in word, phrase or story. During the week we will read excerpts from Natalie Goldberg’s book Writing down the bones, as well as, explore journal writing through free writes [to be explained], development of a word, phrase or idea that emerged during the workshop, and note God’s movement in our practice. We will experiment with various avenues of writing—prose, fiction and non, poetry, journaling, and letter writing. We will explore this practice in a safe community.

What you will need: a fast pen, a cheap notebook [iPad sized or larger], the book Writing down the bones [Natalie Goldberg], courage to approach the small truths of your lived experiences, openness to put your inner critic on hold, willingness to show up pushing pen to page.
"Why don't you making writing your practice [a practice of meditation, of prayer], it will take you everyplace.” Natalie Goldberg
*God - I use this word, this name, to approach certain mysteries, you may approach differently -- whether higher power, mystery, another name, blind luck, or a good pair of bootstraps on which to pull, come as you are and come as you belief. 
The Artist Way Workshop
Kathryn Kelley
All levels [adults]
Wednesdays, 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Begins January 8 (10 weeks)
Chapelwood UMC, room LC 204
Group size max 9
Text: The Artist Way [Julia Cameron]
In this workshop, we will function as a creative cluster in which to begin stepping past the internal and external habits that have kept our creative impulse on the back burner. Joining this cluster will be to fulfill a yearning to bring our creative impulse to the front burner. Reading and test running the exercises from Julia Cameron's book, The Artist Way, we will excavate habits and thinking that may have kept us blocked and cultivate ones that support our impulse to create, to express. You will be challenged to explore methods from the text each week—writing morning artist pages, an artist date, and other exercises. This course is based on the premise that each of us is by nature creative and that in a supportive community we can more easily begin moving from the fantasy of doing to actually doing. Whether your urge has been to write, paint, build, sculpt, cook, arrange, or plant, this group is for you and is genre independent.

Facilitator: Kathy Kelley is a professional practicing visual artist, writer and has been a Professor of Art in an interdisciplinary art foundations program. She has had numerous solo exhibitions throughout Texas, participated in artist residencies nationally, and is the founding president of the nonprofit BOX 13 ArtSpace. She holds her MFA from UH. She has a passion for the creative process, the connection and parallels between the creative process and spirituality, and life patterns of artists that exercise their creative practice throughout their life span. Kathy formerly worked at Chapelwood in both the youth and communication ministries.

Registration: register by January 6, 2014 with Kathy Kelley via email kk.creativehabit @

You may register for either Listening in the Gaps: Writing Workshop or The Artist Way Workshop. Due to limited space, please do not sign up for both. Register ASAP, people registering after the workshops fill will be added to a wait list.

Chapelwood UMC
11140 Greenbay
Houston, TX 77024

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

the four legged beast plunges off course

and the leafy fodder rustles
freeing from the moisture's cling
and the wind catches the loose tendrils
escaping the warming of my hood
the rhythm of each swung gait
a slowing pendulum
when the crisp breath of morning whispers
would you turn
would you come
if called a name not your own

Saturday, October 19, 2013

hermit plus some digging my way out of my belly button [perhaps]

sure there is the tug to go here or there, to do what i "should." i love the hermitage and my microforest. if i could just figure out how to navigate sanely and joyfully the periods of unpeopled days, to actively put my hand to the tasks, to deal with the administrative blah of making and writing, i imagine staying. i get glimmers of what ifs. what if i stayed here and wrote? what if i stayed here and made? what if i found just enough social tethering so that i don't fret. there really is nothing wrong with a fret or two, but detethered fretting impedes my making, my writing, my bit of tethering that needs to be anchored. some people stress and it activates them. me, stress and other unsightly emotions, i shut down, mope, have difficultly focusing my mind or lifting a limb. being artist, being writer, does not meet the "should" of the patterns in which i was raised (fiscal responsibility and normalcy). fret. i am not doing it the way i am "suppose to", the normal of normalcy. if i manage to be even more frugal [fret], and make the social connections needed in spite of be geolocated in the woods, i want to stay here in this microforest. ha. i want to keep my damn microforest and hermitage. it is so drop dead gorgeous and peaceful. i want to write. ha, which means, write for god's sake kathy. write, type, thumb out, whatever, but get to it. i want to make, so make. i do. it also means i have to jump through the business hoops of proposals, submissions and such. i do but it isn't pushed.

i don't push the business side. i meander. i need to push it, not because i think i should, but because i need to for me. oh crap. i need to push it because i think i am "suppose to." i am "suppose to" if i take this path.  if i want this path, it requires pushing. why? less meandering. fraq, meandering is my nature, it is how i get to the work. it allows for hybridization of thinking, of domains in which i dabble. dang the "shoulds" i embrace!

making, the resulting object, causes pause, but writing seems much more purposeful, meaningful--a method that will push out into my future, into others' futures. at a more macro level beyond me and my narrowed we, is one more impactful, objects or words? binary solution sought because it is lazy, but it isn't an either or, ones or zeros. both objects and writing play out in all that i do and culturally witness. objects, space, light, texture, color, line, atmosphere, are incredibly important. we identify with them, need them. really. i identify with them. what little semi-affluent girl hasn't put on a pair of her mom's heels [object] to exclaim, "look i am mommy." objects and spaces, i use. i use them to construct a reflection of myself. yes, yes, i do. i use them to comfort myself, my mind and moods, or surely i [we] would not pay four bucks for a cup of joe at starbucks [well i don't but only because i don't like coffee]. we wrap our identies around ourself to hold the construct of me and we together.

object and space are clearly very important. does this even connect to my making? yes and no. oh binary ease, go away. identity, comfort, and such don't seem quite the direct compulsion in my making. the objects and space are more reflective of inner culled experiences. well, plus the shear act of making is so dang seductive and compulsive. so there is the reflective object, a tad of identity, and most importantly the need to make the objects and manipulate space. but words, words, how impactful they are [dangle]. my conscious mind constructs itself with words not image or object. the words may stand in for image/object but the structure of the thinking part of me is built on words. without the organizing structure of language in my mind, would object even exist? consciousness? identity? my identity is totally wrapped up in the words that chisel and shape me having bombarded me from without. no matter the resistance, i harvest and harness these external words, i work my self construct even further from the inside. words, building story, reflections, arguments, set my course, my identity, shape my believings, my mishaps and my doubts. scratched out, thumbed out, typed out, internalized, words are the building blocks, required, wanted--quenching and teasing, organizing and leading. i need words in the same fashion i need other. so below making, perhaps even below the need of other, are the words that assemble narrative, story, memory, adaption of my lived and living experience...i need other, i need the scratching out of words words on the page to hold together coherent constructs, i need reflective making, i need a tad of income (dang the need for root canals and tires), and i need green with the sound of wind rustling the trees' canopies.

in my shoulds I have tugged myself into a loop. it is the very thing writing does for the writer. it has brought me back on myself realizing the hermitage is a retreat, needed, gifted, but not a space to hunker down in forever, not a possession [well i did buy it and may be overly attached] brain and living needs more other, more writing, more making, lest I get lost in a belly button excavation.

i suppose it is the same just highly unedited; a first draft of sorts

i am reading Anne Truitt's Day Journal. i picked it up (so to speak...more downloaded) i suppose for many of reasons. i am interested in why visual artists write. i write. i need to write. i am compelled to do so. i am try to set a course for the next five years or so; trying to balance and put together what i do well. it is not web design, math always a struggle in high school; the programming i took was continuing ed for my job at the time; it did not relate to my aptitudes, talents, or heart. why it keeps raising its ugly head in my life simply because it has the potential to addresses maslow's hiearchy of needs and university art departments are desperate for it in their design programs. graphic design and programming are not the same. they require completely different parts of the brain. even funnier is that a below poverty level wage would be offered to adjunct those classes when the country is dripping with tenure track positions for the same....hmmmm poverty or liveable wage. what a stupid question. but my brain is not wired for programming and certainly not teaching it. i am wired for the soft side of creativity, maleable and intuitive, live breathing and mentoring.

back to anne and picking up her book. sure i've heard her name, but i really don't know her or her work. well and she is dead. again, why write. is writing my lead or a follow? is it center stage or support or staging? does writing really require my making? does my making require writing? i waiver on what i should do when i grow up. i feel like i should know. i feel like the grow up is on me. why? technically there is no hurry. again, i've zero interest to be pass through my own life as a rock hurled from point a to be. this worries me in terms of the art "market" both directly and the supporting academia...age matters. old is not hip. i am not worried about work ethic, i've plenty. i think it is the game; i've never liked games in any field. life isn't a game; i don't need to win or dominate. i don't need to be more special than X. i don't want to peck, peck. i don't ever think i've really applied for a job, doors have opened. i went through. there were a few hoops just to say we did in terms of securing the positions but not much. i didn't even try out for collegiate basketball, but played. ha. just showed up in the college gym the first weeks of school to shot hoops and was recruited on the spot. it wasn't even a crappy team desperate team[beat a&m, beat rice, etc state champs years in the running]. i loved playing but it wasn't about the game and winning, it was about the physicality, it was about the precision, it was about pushing myself to see what i could do. it was never about winning. it was about playing well. my jobs have been the same. i've never needed to one up, i just needed room and the freedom to do and pursue what i've an inklying for and serves in some way. i've never been competitive, never believed in pecking order or systems. again, ha. i applied for college the first time a month before the fall semester started. picked one school, applied. again for graduate school, i picked one school and applied. of course i had no idea that art school was competitive, i just assumed everyone got in to grad school. i was wrong. i do suck at standardized testing, oral reading groups, and arbitrary systems of pecking order and oppression. if i have to beat you to move ahead in x, i simply don't do x. gaming is stupid, in the end all the game pieces die. i die. you die. so again, i don't want to pass through my own life like a rock hurled, to me that is the competitive game i don't want to play, but damn if i don't need people, need tethering. that tethering comes through a few key human moarings for me. i know this about myself but it doesn't change the fact that largely moarless i ride this phase. so as i try to figure out direction i suppose even though i am trying to weave together my aptitutes, experiences, etc...fundamentally i will probably choose a path, even if an illusion, that will build moarings. of course this is going to require the GRE. grrrrrr. ha. so in fact i do have a pretty clear idea of what i want to do, but a few of the stone hurling activities that are indicative of systems of peck, peck, i must do. so a waffle a bit, crap, in case i can't compete. SQUAT and of course there is no fiscal  security in any direction that seems viable to who i am.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

falling off the curb into the woods

why it happens, its frequency, i don't necessarily get. i don't get my teetering plunge as an able bodied semi intelligent relatively conscious entity. but it happens. typically i skirt my writing around it. avoid it. shove it away. pretend it isn't so. snap, clickedy-click some selfies, plastered on smile confirming it hasn't made me ugly yet. it is like loneliness, sadness. it is like extended grief, narrowed friendships or their amputation, damn isolation. to enter any of these, to write through them, unpack them, admit them, well, frankly is like smelling bad as you unbalancedly extend too far over the curb's edge. you counterbalance, stepping just a tad too close to other, your pungent moment waifs, and the other cannot stop their visceral retraction. a straight face they may hold stiff; perhaps even a graceful excising of themselves from you, the apparent stench source. but to discuss, admit hard things, loosened or lost tethers, whether slack or cut, to smell badly, kiss off any coming along side longer than the other can hold their breath. it is not long. you can experience these things, be in the thralls of them for a month maybe two, but then you'd better pull yourself up by those dang bootstraps, scrub your pits, destench yourself, and slap on your happy face. fine. i am just fine. frozen smile, flat eyes you try and twinkle, yet you are thick with the scent of cover up.

i love my woods. it fits who i am and a huge part of what i need. yet, when i have been away, it takes an internal adjustment each time i return. it is beautiful, peaceful; it is highly depeopled. so brushing up against others and then suddenly NOT for days on end is actually difficult. initially it wasn't because there were regular interruptions and capital flow in my peopled teaching practice, though not at the peer level. i have always been smitten with each student crew in unique ways. so though alone in my woods, it was punctuated with people. that practice is set aside for the time. i am not uncomfortable alone with myself. i need space, down time. the hermitage and microforest are nothing but gift. as time has extended pushing forward into my own future as i continue to crunch gravel underfoot, meander the paths, the gift becomes harder to be present within in the particular repeopled days. i work very, very hard to focus to experience this space, to be home, to be fully present, awake. the shadow beast and the sun provide a skeletal structure to the days. the microforest demands its care. i comply. all other tasks, tasks of self promoting, tasks that would move me back into that peck, peck cog system, tasks of readying the hermitage for another, all ify in my compliance to vest. i flounder. i fall off this curb again and again. like a herd of myselfs rushing the edge. i divert, i spin my heels and head back to a city, pup in tow. this system is not working. i wonder a lot about if there must be something wrong with me, something broken. well, working so tied to a crazy maker for two and one half years, did damage. then as i teeter for balance, i reread studies on actual isolation. of course i am no POW and can leave the woods, am not harmed out here, afraid, or held against my will. but still, i see how extended unpeopled days on end skim across and drop me into some of the side effects noted in the isolation studies. i recognize i am not nuts but in fact experience real ramifications of the hermitage's remoteness. i work to make it not so, yet sense i am still find myself at the base of the curb. i am unsure how to weave together who i am into a primary flow, i am unsure of how to wade into the peckish way we live in our money making cohort clusters so evident in our corporate and institutional herds. it sucks because i need the herd, but i've never been good at herd behavior. i watch the peck, peck of the herd, the clutch, see it for what it is. see the pecking for coghoodification. i do understand the need of cog. i get that herd doesn't work without cog systems. i understand that there is a natural tendency to peck. i get that even within these cog peck systems there may be real purpose found, real need for the human. i get that the peck, peck, of late childhood never departs and only becomes more sophisticatedly masked. i just don't want to play that way. i suppose it is pouty of me to not want to play. maybe like scraping the game pieces into its box with a huff and going home. of course i trip on the curb in the process. i don't believe that i am better or that you are, neither stands to far from the curb's edge. we differ slightly, vary on the skill sets we bring to the system, to the interplay, to our coghood. because it is our nature to place ourselves, understand ourselves, promote ourselves in the reflective body of the herd, the clutch, PECK, PECK. so i avoid, put off, those things that would promote climbing the curb's face back into that herd. aggggh, but freaking undisclosed expletives, i need the freaking herd. damn my human wiring as a social entity in need of tethering within systems of coghood.

why can't i be hermit? why can't that be enough? I love my microforest with its hermitage. I am smitten with the crunch of gravel under foot as a i trudge below the green canopies breathey with song. I am not a hermit so it is not enough. it is instead a dilemma of sorts.

i am reading anne truitt's day journal. i get it. i even like to the idea my blog is like an unedited first draft of what she is doing. interesting that she began in clinical psychology, approached fiction writing as well, and then landed in the less temporal space of artist, of discrete object maker. i get the weaving together of psychology, writing, space, and object. i laugh when i read here residency experiences as she quickly runs in the the wall of chica muscles and the physicality of making and her limits. i get it. so how do i do all that, build or insert into new herd, new tethers, when i resist myself in heel dragging, curb falling sabotage because of my visceral repulsion to peck, peck, is so strong, so rippling under my surface. i am pretty sure i've struggled with these systems at a minimum since elementary school oral reading groups. OMG. peck, peck.

Friday, October 11, 2013

very few, except the ones that read me

my life narrows and widens. many tethers severed. probably more than i can actually handle, more than i can protect myself from (dangle). yup. there are definitely parts of me that dangle flipping about, dismoared. yet, the widening is an odd beast. it creates unmoared tethers on my end that i cannot feel, attach to or stroke, but they are surely there. little cyber contacts pulse with texts that indicate it is so. i do understand a part of the widening -- i write, i post, i click, snap. i translate my scrawl, my lived experience, thumbing it out in each post, each status update. i am less transparent becoming more visible, more solid, through the transparency of my moments strung together, analyzed, poetized, sensualized, written, as i own with words what belongs to me with the layers of my livedness.

but, but, i bump into real space, littered and peopled, with each leaving of my microforest. well, i certainly hope so [dangle]. i might be prone to talk, i am, to make up for the lack of spoken words. the count has been dropping exponentially in the depeopled woods. the talk becomes more awkward spilling from my lips than from my thumbs despite the typos and faulty autocorrects. my internal leanings spoken and truncated into undecipherable verbal fragments. typical now, the initial voiced frag stutters and stalls there as other interrupts, "oh, i read that on your ___" so mouth shuts...nothing preprocessed to spill out for building of real connections in real space. on occasions what then comes is so stupid, truthful, kathy spadish, a tad random and something other than it "should" be that, snap, i remember why i live in the depeopled woods. not so much that i am a hermit, i am not. an introvert sure but my peopled historical world has always been narrowly filled with unspoken comforts of just being. it didn't require of me too many words with a handful of others. i could just be there. i could hang without a dangle. words mess with that state. so often kathy randomized spades fall from my mouth. generally spades are uncomfortable small truths. we, me included, like the safety of our illusions. spades no matter how tiny do not help the illusions we like to grasp and clutch to ourselves.

i don't fully understand the how writing became pivotal. it began in grad school in spite of the fact that I was there for the visual, the graphical, not the text based. a goal at the time was to not bore art historians with regurgitated party lines, to not bore myself with dry academic verbiage, to not pretend to "look" smart. well and i was terrified of the dry academic form because language (not logic) in terms of craft has always been difficult and documentation games confounding [i finally learned to preface all texts i amalgamated in regards to the historic as assemblages and noted all books, texts and such that i absorbed in any fashion in the appendix. any truly original idea, i owned as my...own, but indicated the rest as an assemblage of other]. i've no fully functional mental device or system to store or move from symbol to audibly pronounceable word and back again. steel trap, nope; steel sieve, yes. oh, did i mention i hybridize words at will? it works for me. it worked far better when the second Bush was president and i could say, "if he does, i can too!" another goal in picking up the scratching pen was to free up my writing until i found my way into my final thesis. plus the scratch, scratch, of pen to page also prevented me from cutting and pasting text not my forced and still does all I read through my own steel sieve. yet, only in retrospect have i begun to understand that writing has been grounding me in my own life. it gives me a way out of myself, a way into myself. i've had people fall in love with me or a parts of me, befriend me, like me, simply from my words slewn on a posted page. they, the words, let other enter and know me. they are like sign posts as to who and where i am. i made my professors in the privacy of their own grading caves smile with my initial attempts, even laugh out loud as they handled my texts. i've made others cry. some choose to let go of bitterness harbored. some just text me to concur that they ponder a lot on this or that same topic. some simply express a gladness to find themselves unalone in their experiences. some follow. some glance. some mull over. some write off or submit (ha. a comment that is). why i can wear myself naked in a post or thumbed out update, i do not know. i used to believe i was very transparent, authentic, connected in real space. i am to a degree but access both into and out of myself in a knowable fashion is widening through text (shrinking verbally). so i am widening as i have narrowed. others tether to me, while i still, even now, find myself licking the severed.

widening and narrowing, and still i haven't honestly figured out the nine foot vaginas and such.

ha. i've only a couple of months before 2013 will be a year of posting deficits.... can't include facebook status updates...i just can't seem to free myself from those LIKEd strokes...but I need to up my postings...up my writings. need, yes. should, who cares. I just need the writing and oddly posting keeps me accountable to an imaginary audience unknown..

[perhaps editing will come later; i've found i do best to just write and post. the posting helps me find the errors later...]

i might be booked for that

it was suggested that the first line of my book should read, "i make nine foot vaginas and i make a lot of them..." well for sure that is one way to start.

of late i've been contemplating a phd that merges making, writing, process, other, and begins weaving this altogether. though i'd probably jump on another mfa but in creative is a shorter process and well i have crossed into a certain age category. winding it down isn't an interest but neither is winding it up. i've never wanted to live as though i am a rock being thrown through my own life. i am a ponderer, a meanderer, i lean this way and that and have only just begun to understand which leanings are my own and which are habits of body and thought acquired in route from varying life giving tethers. yes making is a must, writing as well, all connected into something purposeful that is useful for other. but exactly what. as i've been hunting about for what is of interest, what inflames, i keep coming back to what is the role of writing for the visual artist. not in terms of writing the proscribed artist statement or the exhibition proposal, but what is writings function for the visual artist. the artists that have pounded and stroked out their makings for a lifetime, the ones we know of and hear their names tossed about, WRITE. they may journal, publish essays, books, write poetry, prose or even fiction, list out fragments, unpack their lives, but they write. is the writing specific to a personality type or a learning style? do only the life-longers write? what function does it play? does it sustain the making? it is the source for the making? does it run parallel or is it all together something else? well and i just don't care about only the why of it but how might that why be used to strengthen and equip other artists to be life-longers. so not just research the why, but embracing the process and pushing it, and then passing it along.

i write to right my life, hold it together, whole it up. i write to remember, to chase the inkling. i write to make it fit together, to give a sense that there is some kind of freaking logic to it. i write because i have to, i need to, it makes order. it lets me rethink, reedit my life. it lets me stand back and look in, look out. i find and follow the intent embedded and surfacing. though i still haven't figured out the nine foot vagina dilemma. i mean i do have some undisclosed thoughts on topic well no really undisclosed as many have leaked out in posts along the way.

"My hope was that if I did this (writing) honestly I would discover how to see myself from a perspective that would render myself whole in my own eyes." -- Anne Truitt, 1974

so i make nine foot vaginas and i make a lot of them. i've made room, come on in...

perhaps i will start there.

i laugh as though i were a place, a specific space. of course i amneither

[just an exercise]

i do laugh for instantly two spaces call to mind when asked, "if you were a place, what place would you be?" a fun game of sorts but perhaps a tad too deeply revealing. but i will play anyway.
i am that shifting gap, that tiny flitting opening shifting about in the trees' canopies in my microforest that lay at the edge of the pinewoods. yet i am not tree, not leaf nor limb, but that discontinuity of physicality, the void momentarily filled with the dappling light that dances through. i am that microchasm that rides passing itself across the song of the trees' tops stretched taunt with release in the flutter of the voicing breeze. i am that breath, shifting, sighing, ever changing, letting the light in.
i am the second stall on the second floor of the Williams Building's women's powder room sequeezed between the Derek and a stairwell. my sides are a slick putridly pale metallic salmon, once all the rage but now outdated. rarely used, almost like new, an odd pristineness in a hidden corner of the structure tucked away. my posterior and peripheral gaps are lined with ceramic salmon and white checked coolness. smack dab at my core, the heart of my function, is a flushable orifice of white porcelain with moving parts of fake chrome. i stand with my weighted middle quietly in wait with my image perpetually cast back at me. on my left in opposition to my hinge is a mysterious barred door. i don't believe the label [mechanical]. i am pretty sure the latch has remained static for the decades i've sat here. i remain fixed, occasionally my door swings and latches. it gets me to thinking again about the uncrossed threshold. my reflection stares back at me as with nothing worth saying which of course is a whole discourse in itself. oh pot.
yes. laughter.

but which am i. at glance they seem binaurally opposites (redundant but I just needed to write that) but not? perhaps worth a ponder.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

my attachments have always run extremely deep

I'd say I am good at hiding this, attempt to pretend it isn't so. a material shuffle surely leads to deep heart felt pangs and tears as I touch each object and realign it in my microforest studio. it drives it all home. well i did drive a good bit of it. I hate working with water leaking from my face. I have learned to be more orderly in my various grief processes (ha), I have learned to be more self contained as though I am a fully bound and autonomous entity, but it simply isn't so, so I leak deeply as I shuffle.

I really haven't gotten down the Buddhist practice of non attachment. I get the idea but at some level it seems like bunk. I attach. I suppose much in the same way some believe in closure, which I think as well is bunk. things that connect don't need amputated in most cases; change, sure. amputated, no. bunk to absolute closures. bunk. bunk. bunk.

and so I sit my butt down to lunch on jalepena deer sausage simmered in Sierra Nevada pale ale and read some theory on the pad. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013


"Try and hang on to some people. It'll get lonely out there."

it might look very different but do hold on. I would very much like and want that.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


unsureness and second guessing each turn I take. quite tired. but writing again. that is good.

sure, i know. i know. i'll work on my bootstraps, there is no other way.

i act like i know what i am doing. i think most people have this same bluff. clearly i've no idea. sure i have areas of expertise. i am pretty intuitive at some things. i get startled at what others more distant think i do well. i've only just learned in recent years that i've a tendency toward enabling. i probably saw it some over the past twenty five years, but near recent work history made it plain, plain, plain as i twisted my words to cover a coworker much like a wife may cover for a drunk. it made no sense to cover for and in a manner that only hurt me professionally. i was appalled as i watch me do it, say it, and realized at that moment i'd been covering (sans a few reality blurts) for two and one half years. crap. definitely i've made some changes since. the closer things are the harder to see. there is a trail of my no-ideas-what-i-am-doing behind me, each breaks my heart. i act like nothing hurts me, but i pretty much live there. in fact, i take almost everything in perhaps that explains my retreat to the wood (well and it is dropdead beautiful out here, peaceful, i can afford this for a time, and i've a pretty large artistic footprint). i am a pattern seer for as long as i can remember. i see patterns all around me replicating. it scares the shit out of me. it terrifies me that it may be who i am. it bends my mind and breaks my heart. i've been afraid a long time. i am tired of being afraid. i've seen what being afraid does to my life and those near. it would be nice if i knew what i was doing. i simply don't, i am too close to it all. i'll work on refining my bootstraps and all i've been told is wrong with them, then tug, tug, and start my journey again.

this all sounds quite pathetic to me. i would love to have a clear direction for my tug, tugging. each vocational change has built on the one before, but never replicated (amen), each has been a pretty definite shift yet built upon what i had already gained. my aptitudes, education and experiences are culturally valued, unfortunately this is not mimicked fiscally (oh those dang maslow hierarchy of needs). so honestly i need a total mid century plus one reboot.

here is what i do know -- i love making but it is not enough, i thrive on writing but it is not enough, i am fascinated with the creative and contemplative process and thresholds, i am endlessly curious about how we operate as humans and herds, and i am compelled to feel like whatever i do has some cultural/people relevance...a purpose larger than myself. men muddle this for me. well all of two, not like there is a long string except temporaly, or i am well versed in the intrecracies. the muddling is my own because i've a tendency to slip underwing and hover there, it feels safe. alas it really isn't in either case for me. for now i need to figure a path to blend these less touchy feely things that hold me -- making, writing, process, thresholds, agency and operants, research and purpose benefiting other. and so that is the task at hand.

Friday, September 27, 2013

perhaps what has been good might be honored

 stories twisted and gnarled, exaggerated and not, are told both to ourself and others to hold our own identities and sense of goodness and rightness intact. when the hurt and stress is enough, whatever coping mechanism is already in place will be used in the stories tell. for most, me and others, the mechanism isn't really that functional and it tends to wreck havoc and make things worse. then we each are typically compelled to  generate more staunchly the twists of stories and their lines to justify the flailing of hurt. the question I would have is can these habits of defense be laid aside and what has been good be honored and what has hurt be handled gently. 

I haven't witnessed this possibility but would find it refreshingly good while I try not to generate another story to tell of my own.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

happy accidents and dirty wombs (now i've got your attention. ha)

I like happy accidents. I've always tended to follow their lead. it is the same way i approach a text or concept in art, in life. i do my homework, a tad of research, but usually i follow the tangent that arrives through accident or random synchronicity between things not expected to synch. i inwardly laughed this even as a sat in a lecture, the content approach described / presented as novel. me, i just thought everyone arrived and explored that way. i realized through the evening that no everyone does not and a guide may be necessary. typically i attend lectures because they feed sideways thinking. they help me explore more intuitively entering a topic or idea in a nonhead on way. art openings and socials really do almost nothing for my interior world, tethering or what may come of that, on the other hand, a lecture helps me find sideways links as my current thinking and the lecture mentally play back and forth. in reality this lecture i attended, or initially scheduled to attend, was almost purely for the social contact (I do love my woods but frankly I live in a de-people microforest). so just sitting between two souls that i've known for maybe twenty years, tethers me. i don't even really need to speak to them, just snuggle down in the space of knownness and let my mind flit about the lecturer's topics. the other thing that struck me as funny was that his approach to breach the threshold of knowingly unknowing in things of the spirit mirror the same threshold i advance in the process of accessing and manifesting some art object, space or event. the parallels between the mystical and the creative are so amazingly aligned. anyhow, i listened, smiled, snuggled down and enjoyed the happy accident of the verbal linking, dirty womb (now that could manifest in some typicsl kathy art)...not that he tied those two words together directly, they just jumped there on their own within my mind. ha. and actually the two words played well into the lecturer's lesson. 

i arrived at the studio afterwards and noted the instantly happy accident of the loss of a spherical orb with its remnant re-membered. it speaks to me, much in the same way the arrival of the pup has done. I'll trust these leadings and learnings. ha, the vacated space even spoke of the dirty womb--isn't that the source of so many of our ideas. they manifest in our dirty wombs (don't go literal on this comment).

things tend to arrive when they should, when they are needed. not necessarily on my timeline, but it would seem when the need is right and the niche or womb is ready.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

she is not easily or immaturely moved by me. some editing is seriously due, but it is not in me

"...isn't that to say aren't each of us alone in our inner worlds..." -- Ken Gergen

i am never alone in my thoughts. of course in the above quote in full context the author (meaning is really goes on to say the opposite) goes there, for like me there is a dance, wail, fret, interact with the language of stories, the reinactments, the words, the dis-membered remembers. the stories, recollected words, reconstructed histories, push and ply me. I am not alone in my inner world, even there, you, you and you, still shape me. how i mold and remold these lingering voices and flatten polyedited memories effect each lived instance. i am never alone in my inner world. i've glimpses of solitude when i experience the most present of moments in the stillness of the singing woods, yet i am never alone in my de-peopled space because i am never alone in my inner histories and futures. 

i've a good bit of constructivist thinking in my make up. it renders the world quite gray. at the same time i've a clear inkling that our disposition, that mine, is somewhat fixed, genetically defined. but i seriously lean into constructivist relational thinking about identity, dynamics with events, spaces, things and people, and our herd behavior. i believe it sets the course for how we'ved documented and lived our histories. it shapes and can reshape each moment. I am not in fact a discrete bounded isolated object or being. 

that other, that community, generates and largely sets and resets a reflective identity, functioning as a constant self echo locating mechanism, is clear. i've watched it playout this way for as long as i can remember, even as a kid, I noted these processes. some artists speak of knowing they were an artist since they were a kid, me the one thing that's always caught my mind is human interaction. a personal area of interest, because i am a watcher, a pattern seer, even of my own behavior, is observing the effects of living in this de-peopled wood were i may go several consecutive days each week, week in and week out over the course of years without bumping or brushing another human, stranger, friend or fo. there is no water cooler or public facility in which to even pass a human entity. i can think myself one way, but until i interact with another i will not know if it is really so. just the other day, i was shocked to watch myself brush off a person who showed interest. it was not a gentle brushing. it was a clear go away. well actually, with two this occurred, one with body, indirectly, one with words, directly. the body one did not unsettle me for it was appropriate for the box that the person had chosen to put the relationship into. i simple don't fit in the specified box they outlined for me. so i cant and wont get in. so the body brush off was simply a no. the other, the worded brush off, felt cruel. i've always like the person, but they were showing a new kind of interest, the kind of interest i wanted to shut down as nonoptional. i did. i see myself as generally kind, yet my worded brush off, was bluntly unkind. even as it came out of my mouth i felt its wrongness. am i becoming less inhibited or more fragile? fragile is a serious concern. yet without regular interaction it is hard for me to read what is being altered by the de-peopled woods.

i also laugh at the disconnect of so many texts i read, they all approach change and growth relationally. so the bahahaaas comes when i think well how in the hell does one test that in my de-peopled forest or walking my mini meadow.  is pondering the growth option or behavioral options enough to make it so. it leaves little room for practice, little room for banter or discussion that the good idea may not in fact be so good. it leaves no room for test, trial, error, or adaption.

people love the idea of how and where i live. i love where i live and a big part of the how and why. i am comfortable alone with myself, yet i've discovered that extended ongoing alone, well, removes the relational dynamics for which we were designed, dynamics that ground us in the communal real.. we simply are social beings. our understanding, purpose, living is meant to be communally based at some level. a time a part and regular aloneness is healthy and needed, i like that very much. i am introverted. a temporary retreat is to be cherished. at some point though depending on personality, disposition, introvertedness, living in a de-people woods, there is untethering, an unmoaring. I don't know how the untethered unmoaring will play out in real human space long or short term. I am uninterested in fragility of being. 

ha. i've reentered the church purely to explore the social tethering that comes with human reflection from people I've brushed up against at various times for twenty years. i am unworried about offending the powers that be for she is not easily or immaturely moved by me. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

fully + ready + exact = perhaps

"Reading makes a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.” -Francis Bacon 

Monday, September 09, 2013

I love when my students mock, I mean, express their read of my work

and affection since they send me responsive pics. I also like that their facial expressions and gestures peg the work dead on. I've always been fortunate in getting the best and most interesting students. did mention they are also funny. 

Kaitlyn and Aubrey

Thursday, September 05, 2013

too metaphorical for the Sistine chapel

there is a metaphor somewhere in this. 

clearly some scatological ones could be bantered about but it doesn't seem to resonate as even a small truth more just a silly banter. 

eventual if I put pen to page, it will come to me. 

ha. though of course I could not help but laugh as I acquired more of these spherical orbs to stitch into my work for a series that will temporarily reside within a ____(wait and see). it is an unexpected venue for my work, but if michaelangel could why not me and my nonfigurative ephemeral non-archival spheres stitched up into urban refuse, ragged like...perhaps. 

Monday, September 02, 2013

The Artist Way Creative Cluster [time to register]

Join me. Register now

The Artist Way Creative Cluster 
Facilitator: Kathryn Kelley
Thursdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Begins Sept 12 (12 weeks)
Houston, TX

In this course, we will form a creative cluster in which to begin stepping past the internal and external habits that have kept our creative impulse on the back burner. Joining this cluster will be to fulfill a yearning to bring our creative impulse to the front burner. We will read and use techniques and exercises from Julia Cameron's book, The Artist Way, to excavate habits and thinking that may have kept us blocked and cultivate new ones that support our impulse to create, to express. We will move from thinking about our own creative impulse to begin acting upon it. You will be challenged to test run weekly methods from the text -- artist pages, an artist date, and other exercises. This course is based on the premise that each of us is creative by nature and that in a supportive community we can more easily begin moving from thinking about to actually doing. Whether your urge has been to write, paint, build, sculpt, cook, arrange, or plant, this group is for you and is genre independent.
The Artist Way Creative Cluster 
Facilitator: Kathryn Kelley
For all levels and genres [adults]
Thursdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Begins Sept 12 (12 weeks) 
$345 plus book
Chapelwood UMC, 11140 Greenbay 77024
Williams Building 103
Group size max 12
Register with Kathy @ 
Over the twelve weeks we'll cover

Week One: Recovering a Sense of Safety
Key concepts: Shadow Artists, Core Negative Beliefs, Affirmations

Week Two: Recovering a Sense of Identity
Key concepts: Poisonous Playmates, Crazymakers, the Inner Critic and the Act of Attention

Week Three: Recovering a Sense of Power
Key concepts: Synchronicity, Shame and Criticism

Week Four: Recovering a Sense of Integrity
Key concepts: Writing Prayers and Media Deprivation

Week Five: Recovering a Sense of Possibility
Key concepts: Limits, Wishing and The Virtue Trap Week Six: Recovering a Sense of Abundance Key concepts: Money, Luxury, Counting and Will

Week Seven: Recovering a Sense of Connection
Key concepts: Perfectionism and Thinking ideas up vs. Getting ideas down

Week Eight: Recovering a Sense of Strength
Key concepts: Age, Time, Creative Loss and the Ivory Power

Week Nine: Recovering a Sense of Compassion
Key concepts: Enthusiasm, Creative U-turns and Blasting Through Blocks

Week Ten: Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection
Key concepts: Competition, Work, and Finding Balance

Week Eleven: Recovering a Sense of Autonomy
Key concepts: Movement and Defining Success

Week Twelve: Recovering a Sense of Faith
Key concepts: Escape Velocity and a Final Prayer

The Artist Way Creative Cluster
facilitator: Kathryn Kelley
For all levels and genres [adults]
Thursdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Begins Sept 12 (12 weeks)
$345 plus book
Chapelwood UMC, 11140 Greenbay 77024
Williams Building 103
Group size max 12
Register with Kathy @

Monday, August 26, 2013

piebald elephant head

The Trojan Box, Box 13 artists at The Art League...a review :)

...being egocentrical my excerpt is....

The third piece in the "freaky animal trilogy" is Kathy Kelley's i am drowning in the silent stillness of unwritten posts, which may remind you of a piebald elephant head. Or an alien space suit. It has a palpable presence that makes you think it is athing, not an abstract three-dimensional form. It uses her favorite material--reclaimed rubber from old innertubes--but adds what is to me a new element--the white top. It was made with plaster and polished with wax, giving it a bone or ivory-like quality. I won't say i am drowning in the silent stillness of unwritten posts is beautiful, but it is compelling. I have to look at it--it really dominates the room. (An amazing achievement considering that the room is full of very interesting artworks.) And at the risk of sounding like Charles Kinbote, the title of this piece describes something I personally experience on a regular basis. -- Robert Boyd

Saturday, August 24, 2013

chainsaw that!!! oops.

in a swaggering moment, as I document my you-rock-with-the-chainsaw-kathy for dropping that puppy exactly where foreordained by this she artist, dead centered between the pine posts, I suddenly note that slim shocking horizontal line stretched tight at the trees tip! omg. don't tell my dad that the trees path to the ground included a power line obstruction within inches!

did better on second try (tree)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Join me this fall for The Artist Way Creative Cluster

The Artist Way Creative Cluster

WHO     Kathy Kelley; adults all levels
WHEN   Thursdays, 6-9 pm
               Beginning Sept 12 (12 weeks)
COST     $345 plus book
WHERE Chapelwood UMC,
               11140 Greenbay, Houston, 77024
               Williams Building Rm 103
SIZE       Group size max 12
REG       via email [include name, contact info]
               Credit card payments made will send link when registered via email.
               Fifty dollars non-refundable.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
In this course, we will form a creative cluster in which to begin stepping past the internal and external habits that have kept our creative impulse on the back burner. Joining this cluster will be to fulfill a yearning to bring our creative impulse to the front burner. We will read and use techniques and exercises from Julia Cameron's book, The Artist Way, to excavate habits and thinking that may have kept us blocked and cultivate new ones that support our impulse to create, to express. We will move from thinking about our own creative impulse to begin acting upon it. You will be challenged to test run weekly methods from the text -- artist pages, an artist date, and other exercises. This course is based on the premise that each of us is creative by nature and that in a supportive community we can more easily begin moving from thinking about to actually doing. Whether your urge has been to write, paint, build, sculpt, cook, arrange, or plant, this group is for you and is genre independent.
QUESTIONS email me @

Kathryn Kelley 
Artist + Designer + Writer + Mentor
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Teaching Practice
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Teaching Philosophy
Mania of making, mania of the mind, that excessive compulsion to question, push, make, and create, is worth harvesting, expanding, directing and releasing. As artist educator within foundations, my role in this process is to cultivate a sensitivity to listening. I see this listening as rather all encompassing and enabling of an awareness of self, others, materialities, processes and practice, traditions, physical, social and historical contexts, passions, subject matter, methodologies, and so on. This kind of perceptiveness requires me to equip students with a capacity to dwell inside and alongside of things and thinking so that making becomes a reflection of their listening. Access to the rhythms that come from deep listening allows what might otherwise remain submerged and unseen to manifest in ways that become meaningful. I have taught in the sciences, faith and the arts—each a creative endeavor and fundamentally parallel in the need for this sensitivity to listening, connecting, and acting upon.

Deep listening, connecting and making actually requires a high degree of risk taking, openness to critical feedback and dialog, as well as, exposure to failure. This artistic risky behavior, openness, and exposure are cultivated through a series of communal and curricular factors.

Beginning in the very first studio, it is critical to build in forms of interaction that emotionally tether the students to one another and to their sense of belonging within the program. A resiliency that allows the studio experience of experimentation, tight timelines, heavy workloads and critical dialogue to be pushed further than when students’ function as isolated agents is foster by the development of strong studio peer attachments. Attachments are initially accelerated when classroom norms are disrupted through a series of non-graded tasks that bring the students into opinionated mini monologues about the arts, extremely close physical proximity via a small team task, team performance of task, and laughter, followed with a larger group critical dialogue exploring the discrepancies between team intent and viewer perception. These forms of connections, teams, tasks, and dialogues set the stage to implement an intense curriculum and work practice that peaks curiosity, promotes artistic risk taking, critical dialogue, and physical engagement.

Built into the scope and sequence of the curriculum are the practices of successful artistic deep listening, connecting and making—research, idea development, capacity to harvest from personal passions, critical reflection and discourse, collaborative unpacking of discrepancies between intent and outcome, deconstruction and adaption of working processes, work ethic, time management, opportunities for multiple iterations of a single concept or materiality, attention to craftsmanship, and professional presentation of work. Traditional attention to design elements and principles and craft are attended to but in ways that supports and emphasizes the habits of perceptiveness and process.

These deep listening, connecting, and making habits are not only the key to successful art careers but they are highly portable and will transfer to other potential job/life activities that the artist may embrace to support their artistic practice. 

  1. Teaching Curriculum [project sheets, crit guides, etc] Portfolio
  2. Teaching Student [eye candy] Portfolio
  3. Current Courses [blog]
[just to clarify when I speak of mania in no way am I referring to what the DSM would refer to as a personalitiy disorder, such as bipolar type two, OCD, etc. I use it in lay terms and as Webster defines it that excessive compulsion to ...]

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

pretty sure I am midwife equivalent to an elephant

as I attempt to turn combine tractor tubes inside out. 

and then there was the unexpected yucky slobber reward. 

omg. yucky!

an egg is not an egg

one made cake like, the other from a large block. one sits upon a shelf, the other is one with the shelf. 

one revealed what doesn't need shaped, the other, portions remain unshaped as unnecessary. 

so different. one doesn't merge with the wall, one will. one looks like an alien cone head, the other ad yet unknown. both will be draped with the same tubes. yet an egg is not an egg and this one will be different. 

Saturday, August 03, 2013

am wishing for snow; just for a few moments. i would certainly be grateful.

making a new egg, since this one was tossed. well at least heave-hoed grunted into a vermont dumpster. kind of wish i'd found room for it and brought it home and polished it up. instead i am making a new egg. it will be different. i couldn't make the same thing twice if i wanted to...just can't.

it is pretty dang messy. i've spend more time cleaning than carving. it is what it is.

the goal is to get something like below but slicker, more refined. this image represents more a preliminary sketch. i've used a totally different method and it is much messier than the blue insulation foam i picked up in vermont. admittedly this was free. i've as yet to decide what the work means; perhaps i just don't want to know -- as it has been wowingly referred to umm its elephant like femininity. perhaps i could make up something profound, deep or meaningful. then again, it might be better just to come up with something really dumb. smart tends to smell fishy of trying to hard to be smart. kind of like how the harder one tries to be cool, the less cool they are... perhaps i ramble as a consequence of this heat; would me nice to get a light snow for a moment, this moment, here in houston.

Monday, July 22, 2013

it just has to be genetic; tha is my story and I am sticking to it!

not sure which way it is passed, mother to daughter, or daughter to mother. I am,  however going to claim a genetic disposition toward gooberhood. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

baring and benning [i prefer baring to bearing in the implications. too bad it isn't "correct"]

ben franklining it on an eight foot chalkboard...

phd tt [melding of making, writing and research]
mfa creative nonfiction [essayist]
ma art history with emphasis on writing and criticism
ma art therapy
local position at md anderson pediatric cancer center [?]

one, two, and three bare/bear (really..when stripped naked) little purpose. two might lend itself to some deeper practice if i could figure out how to tame its unruliness. i've always struggled with the idea that art for the sake of art is purposeful or has much value. i find it, yes to be a cultural barometer of some kind with historical significance, there is potential to for impact at the human micro and macro level, yet simultaneously in a trinket economy i also find it to be a meaningless gesture of feeding the consumption machine, the consumption habit cultivated in each of us. the bulk of art, surely not all, falls into this trinket category for me. i struggle in it and around it. perhaps it is why the scale of my work reduces it as a consumptive item. in the same way, this might even speak to why my works is so overtly human, gnarled, sensuous and non-archival. it lives; it is held; it dies.

as i have taught, it has always been to facilitate an opening, an internal access point into deeper things--whether i was teaching science, faith or art. but in the most recent arena, again not for the sake of art, but instead for the sake of the ravenous unruly depth of being human not just in the making but in the manner of living, i have found a closedness, dead spaces. in collegiate academia this faculty of helping students open to their own humanity is not enough, i have sought my habit and attempted to facilitate this opening, to teach access points and how to translate experience into real space, into narrative, into moment, in ways that can be felt by others. i have been quite successful at facilitating initiation into these practices with my students. in this collegiate academic setting however practices at a cohort level become much more about pecking order, gaming, winning, manipulation, taking. survival in this environment requires a closing, a hoarding, a pecking, a stepping, an aggression. this is counter to what i believe, to my nature, to what and how i teach. the specific world i witnessed from its underbelly is not for me. is it always like this? of course not. does everyone in that system function that way? of course not? though the female population leans this way; perhaps an adaption at entering this realm. I have worked my entire adult life and never run into an even remotely similar work space. perhaps i have been extremely fortunate. yet that environment  was reshaping me in ways against who i am. that was and is unacceptable. i seek a deeply human space were we help one another open to and explore the deeper spaces of meaning, reflecting, and being truly human and to becoming more than what we are at this very moment. not art for the sake of art; not craft for the sake of craft; not control for the sake of control. it is interesting that as i get further away from a space of supposed cohorting, the teeth that fill my lopsided smile have finally begun shifting back of their own accord, already now the line of my smile is less craggily. i find this to bare an amazing witness to the ramifications of a hostile work environment and the way a body bends under it. i've always believed our body holds worlds of knowledge that we often don't know how to access, or refuse to look at. we, i, can only read its shifting form. clearly the retraction has had a bodily impact that is positive. eventually my mind, feelings and social interaction will recover and catch back up to were i was heading before things got so peckish two and a half years ago.

so now in a nonrushing, nonfrenetic way, i ben franklin my way through my talents, gifts, and where they might take me in a meaningful way, in a way that i am the asset that i am. though a phd would sooth something in me and i love the thought of pursuing the role of writing in the process of those who visually manifest their lives work in real space (whose sketchbooks are filled with the scratching of language), and i will apply. unfortunately it would still put me back into systems dominated by pecking vs depth. but i might be willing to see what is on the other side. writing, nonfiction essay, still is on the table, art writing less so, and i am becoming a tad wary of my belly button gazing. still the risk of systems dominated by peck, peck. art therapy? it sounds a bit mambi-pambi, yet the ideas of opening and accessing inner things through vehicle of making, of art...isn't that what i sought and taught my college students. yes. it is. and my who life i've been a watcher, fascinated with what makes us tick, hunting the whys and hows of human behavior. so fascinating. and haven't i spent the bulk of my living reading bodies in their languages that ripple across our surfaces with a truer voice of their own. is this what art therapy practices? an exploration of our inner worlds as they surface and become manifested in real space through play of body, mind, and stored memory. and then the art teaching position at md anderson knocked on my emails door to announce itself so that i might apply? it would be a big would certainly link together my lived passages through the sciences, faith, and art. on paper, i am a fit. it would certainly give me a sense of truly being purposeful in the act of art. frankly i don't care about the larger culture as a whole, but instead have always cared about its sub units, people, individuals. so whether md anderson or not, my heart says leave ideas of art therapy on my soul table, leave writing on the table, and of course the Dopty will weigh in :)

i will knock on all these doors. a way that is right for who i am will open.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

standing here again at a threshold between vitality and danger. teetering as has become habit.

The threshold is a place of transition; as such, it is a place of enormous vitality and activity as well as danger…poets are drawn to and write from their thresholds, either inner or outer. In order to write well, a poet needs to go to that place where energy and intensity concentrate, that place just beyond which chaos and randomness reign. 

-- Poetry As Survival, Greg Orr

casting an untethered line.

the translation of experience into space, experience into story. just snippets not trying to be whole, simply one frame, one moment, most probably even a single view point, how it feels, where it moves me or holds me still, and then on to the next. no attempt to be sequential, no attempt to translate your truth...oh that isn't right. i spend a huge portion of my head and heart time in trying to perceive from shoes not my own. it would be best if i really learned how to wear my own foot stink or focus on a good scrubbing of my own with a touch of pink applied. actually i am highly in tune with the finest of nuances of my own stink, where it emanates from, how it envelops and alters my small truth end realities, how it impedes, drives away. i get it. i also know the internal strength, competence and odd grace booted up in my gait and my crooked smile. i suck at arm candy, i am no trinket, i am a bit goober, and seek an uncovering. skimming the surface holds no allure. i need purpose and depth even if it is an illusion. I need to muck around in growing, in changing, an odd balance thresholded between being and becoming.

translating experience into space, experience into story, these seem to hold the depthy purposeful need i crave. i think relationships should have this too. i struggle with the surface of the friendlies. i have had a lot of friendlies. they come; they go with a click of an email. i realize i should hold the time with the friendlies in a way that might burgeon into something else. i tend to shut down in those initial phases. somehow friends are quite different than friendlies, a tethering not easily out grown.

two topics. one the need to translate my lived experience into real space, into written story and how it relates to purpose, to calling, to vocation; two, my struggle with the untethered slowness of the friendlies. all this boils down to direction. i am ok spinning my wheels but i'd like the resistance of traction and forward motion. i get to it, but it slips away. i am getting to it.

and then there is the idea of dream and future casting. how does one cast an untethered line?