Whatever respiratory bug I'm dealing with continues its rampage unabated...except for now I'm coughing. I've missed some work and really, really miss breathing through my nose and not having to sleep sitting up. I have a doctor's appointment this week at which time I'm sure I'll get the inevitable "It's a virus...suck it up" speech. Fun times. The news isn't all bad; The X-Files is back so there's that...and that can get me pretty far.
I'm still doing art most days, what I call "soft focus" stuff that is low pressure, leisurely, open-ended, slow-moving, easy to pick up and put down wherever. Things that are dearest to my heart, complicated, multi-faceted, and intensely absorbing - the "hard focus" projects - get shifted aside a lot during the school year; I just don't have the time and energy to split between a lot of big tasks. (It's why I begin prep for a show the minute teaching ends in mid-June.) However, I do try to get a bit of hard focus time in each week so those passion projects don't die of neglect. I also avoid slipping into despair over the fact that I can't devote every minute of every day to the art that makes my world spin.
My Tribe journal is one of the hard focus projects currently residing in my studio and in my heart. It developed rather innocently late last November as just another experiment with loosening up but after four pages, I knew I had hit a nerve I needed to excavate from my subconscious. It took me those four pages to know exactly which nerve I had tickled and to realize it was an idea that has been running in and out of my work for years. This is another of those first, formative pages that helped point me in the right direction. (Page one is here and page two is here.) I believe firmly that many journal pages are really messages written by your subconscious self to your conscious self. I don't see (or even look for) those "notes to self" until after the fact but then...wow! It often feels as if those messages were crafted in neon. If the first page encouraged me to seek the light within and the second pleaded with me to see what's right in front of me, then this page is all about letting go and making the leap. It must seem obvious but remember that the meaning and direction of Tribe was still a mystery at this point; the idea of "storybooking" hadn't yet become a blip on my awareness. I was just playing, making pages, asking yes/no questions and following the answers to the next inquiry. By this page, I was beginning to have an inkling that I was on to something but I had no idea what that something was. All I had was a building sense of excitement and delight, a notion that I was falling, much like Alice, toward a new world or perhaps, that I was soaring to a unknown previously out of reach. It depends on how I choose to perceive it but either way, the landing (and subsequent exploration) has been beyond fantastic.