Friday, February 22, 2008

Something to do on a snowy day

Pull out a favorite photo and tell its story--tell it to yourself, staring at the photo or tell it to the friend you're sharing hot cocoa with today. Write it in your journal or scribble it, dreamily, on the back of a piece of junk mail.

Invent and embroider, adding to your story, the pieces of memory that flicker in and the new things you make up. Sew the edges together, a crazy-quilt portrait of people and places invented for you--by you.

You can do this with photos of people you know or shots of strangers in an ad for jam or ibuprofen or pasta sauce. Do it with a postcard from a place you've never been. Create an elaborate fantasy of being there: How the sun would feel on your head, how your skis would shush in the powder, how the waves, quietly lapping against the dock where you float, would sound...


Take out a photo of a precious Aunt, like my own Aunt Elaine--a living, breathing artist, whose gorgeous home, layered with silks and sumptuous textiles, inspired my love of interior design, whose whimsical, beautiful clothing--each piece a work of art--made me appreciate fashion for the first time. The way that, under Elaine's hand, my mothers beautiful paintings became ethereal, more colorful, surrounded by Elaine's unsual objects, framed just so.

I could write about my Uncle Max sitting at his 6-foot long desk at the Concord Hotel, scolding me (16 and blushing) with a twinkle in his eye, when I, who had a key to the front door, chose to crawl under the fence with the kitchen boys--for the sheer adventure of the experience.

Collect seeds.

Begin with a box--a shoebox with a lid would be perfect, or one of those decorated boxes from the craft store, even an empty crate. You decide. The only criteria for the box is that the things you collect must fit into it.

Now take this life you have, and all the stu--ticket stubs, photos, pieces of ribbon, certificates, resumes--you've got in drawers, purses and pockets. Put it all in the box. Add clippings from newspapers and zines, old love letters (or new ones!), Anything that speaks to you-especially of love and depth. Include anything that glows or shouts "Me, me!"

Sort and Assemble.

There's still time, it's still snowing.
Get out some blank paper and a gluestick or scotch tape and arrange things into poems. What I mean is, sort your collection into collages--you know, like scrapbook pages. Use color--waxy crayons or sheer watercolors. Shade your life just so.

Sometimes I like to snip sticky labels into different shapes or, as my mother taught me to do, glue a dried seed pod or dead bug onto the page.

Curl up with the message your soul is trying to send to you. What do you want you to know today?

Find a little spot--a shelf or corner--and build a shrine. Somewhere in your home, that can be reserved as sacred space. There, place objects that have special meaning to you. On a shelf in the dining room facing the apple orchard, I keep a shadow box containing a photo of my children at the beach collecting stones--inside the frame, I've placed actual stones from that day. Nearby, there are shells from other trips, a little red wagon that represents summers at Fire Island, a set of children's books (The Bunny Planet) that meant alot to us, and other energy-rich objects, talismans that remind us we have lived a life, rich with experience.

As always, offer Gratitude today.
Look out the window at the falling snow.

1 comment:

TheWhiteSeal said...

I just found your blog, it was a great read! On the subject of sticky labels a while back i found a british labels company who printed me some sticky labels for a really low price. If interested then it may be worth taking a look at their website as they did many types of label printing.