After Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert’s second book bombed, she said it was alright. She went back home.
HOME to her was not her parent’s farm, nor the house she lives in; it was doing what she loves.
For her, it is writing.
Do you have a HOME?
My friend in San Diego has a studio built outside her house and a humongous kiln beside it. While potting, she’s home.
Mrs. Chiropractor in Hawaii also has a potting kiln and displays her beautiful art on the walls of her husband's business. At her house she has handmade tiles that she loves so much she doesn’t want to move, although her husband is itching for it.
Barry, the painter in Hawaii, sixty-something, lives in a school bus, rides a bike the 15 miles from Pahoa to Hilo weekly in heat, or rain, and paints beautiful Island girls and scenes. Is he HOME? I think so.
Kathey, here in Eugene, is home at her sewing machine producing exquisite doll clothes.
In War of Art Steven Pressfield says, first, “Nobody wants to read your shit,” (that’s one of his books, too, by the way), and secondly, it’s your job to do the work whether people like it, read it, or crumple it. Or worse, give it no attention.
You give it attention. It’s your baby. It’s your job. It’s your HOME.
The more you practice your art, the better you will become, and most importantly--you will be happy doing it. Sometimes what we call tinkering is more home than that place called a job.
It’s what you were meant to do.
Pressfield says that since nobody really wants to read your shit, it forces you to write something worth reading.
And think of the honor when someone gives their time to read, watch, or listen to that job called home.
You might say this is well and good for creative sorts, like painters, photographers, musicians, writers, and actors, but no, creativity lives in everyone.
“HVE ENC ,” see, even my cat. He wrote this by walking over my keyboard. Finally, he has settled down behind my computer, and not on my CAPS Lock key where he likes to sleep.
Now I can get my work done.
All along I have encouraged people to go for their dreams. Why? Why would I care?
Because my job is to do what I like to do and to encourage others to do the same.
What do you like to do?
This morning I was humming, “How Great Thou Art,” the gospel song. (I heard an Elvis Impersonator sing it recently and that set off fireworks in my brain.)
I thought of the writer of that song, of the connection with the source, the muse, the universal consciousness, God, whatever you want to call it.
“Consider all the worlds thy hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder…” [Build to a crescendo.]
Incidentally, that song, of all the songs Elvis Presley sang, gave him his first and third Grammy. Ironically all Elvis’s Grammys were for gospel songs.
(The Grammys began in 1958 when Elvis was in the military.)
Elvis's connection with Gospel and Rock and Roll should come as no surprise considering Rock and Roll had it inception in Gospel music. Think of it, a rousing gospel song can get the blood racing and the feet to stomping. No revival meeting would amount to a hill of beans without music.
Artists of old called that creative connection the muse.
Some said their work was inspired.
Those are the artists who know it was not they who did the work, and thus their ego stepped aside.
Van Gogh, while not financially successful in his lifetime, did come from an earnest desire to share what he saw, and to present it in his own unique way. Painting was his work. (And perhaps while painting, it quieted somewhat the voices that yammered inside his head.)
Someone else convinced us that Van Gogh’s paintings were worth the price they go for today.
To my friend in San Diego California--You rock!
To Mrs. Chiropractor –keep on keeping on.
To Barry—your love inspires.
To Kathey, your granddaughter must feel the love in every stitch.
Go forth, do your work. Have fun. Be happy,
I love you,
P.S. Remember the accountant in the movie “You Can’t Take it With you,” who secretly made a little wind-up bunny? With encouragement, he left his job and moved into the artist’s home to make toys.
Cherries by Casey, my 11-year-old grandson. They are CGI, but I thought they looked so good I talked him into allowing me the right to use them.
These cherries look like the sort I used to pick way back in high school--under duress--I might add.
My folks had a cherry orchard, and they thought I ought to be out there picking fruit. We kids, sitting atop a cherry-picking ladder, used to eat our fill, then throw them at each other. A few managed to get into a bucket, then a box.
As I remember, we picked them for 5 cents a pound.
Oh, my week? Thanks for asking. I was distracted by Casey's water on cherries. This past week I feel that I have been drinking from a fire-hose.
I've been taking #Marie Forleo's B-School course, and feeling overwhelmed. It's a course for business people which I'm not, but I'm a wanna-be.
And then Saturday was DEMOLITION DAY!
We rented a John Deere scoop tractor and tore up the yard. The weather notice said there would be wind, but since I had reserved the tractor, I figured, a little wind, so what.
Husband dear and I took turns at the wheel, oh a tractor has levers not a wheel, you know, bucket up, bucket down, scoop, right, left, it's fun. I learned on a Bob Cat, which I thought we were getting, but the John Deere worked the same. I figured husband dear could rescue me if I got stuck--he's been known to do that.
After he cleaned up the remains of an old shed and filled some boxes with dirt for raised vegetable beds, I set off for the front yard to sculpt.
Well, that day was the most blustery one we have had since we lived here.
Even though the tractor had a roof, the sides were open, and the wind carried in the rain until my raincoat that isn't water-proof any longer weighed about ten pounds. The yard turned to mud, I spun the wheels but managed to get out without rescue. The wind blew down a neighbor's tree and shut off the power for the afternoon.
The yard looks like a hurricane hit it.
I slept for about 12 hours afterward.
I'm not as young as I used to be.
The miracle is, I'm still here.
And how was your week?
My daughter has asked me repeatedly about the negative energy we felt on the Big Island of Hawaii. What was it? Some might have been coming from us; we acknowledged that, for we felt traumatized by the move, but there was more.
We knew something uncomfortable was coming from the Island that we could not explain. We called it negative energy.
I even tried meditating in our back five acres one day to see if I could get some understanding. You meditate with your eyes closed right? So I sat down, and a minute later, I said, “Nope,” and left. That was not the place to do it.
Last night while reading Steven Pressfield’s book Turning Pro, I got a hit, something that related to our Island experience.
Pressfield had a chance to travel to Africa. One of his stops was at a Masai camp so far from civilization that they had to fly there.
When they got to the camp, a great commotion was happening. Their guides explained to Pressfield that the Shaman had told the people that the site they had just chosen was “unwholesome” and that they had to move.
The camp consisted of about five hundred people, young, old, children, plus all their livestock, so moving was no small feat.
The moving procession had to be led by the white cows, and they were scattered about, so the warriors set out to round them up. The women had to pack up all the household belongings. All this required sweat and sacrifice.
Yet, no one complained.
When the whole camp was packed, the warriors, those tall, slim morans, were jumping up and down and singing their ritual song. The young maidens sang the chorus.
Finally they moved.
About two hundred yards up the hill.
Pressfield began to wonder what invisible evil could be warded off by moving the camp. Did this make sense? And he admitted that he felt better after the move. Would something had befallen the tribe had they stayed? Would a young bride have miscarried?
These people had a brilliant culture, their dress, their rituals, their social organization. The young men, strong and beautiful could stand up to lions singlehanded, with only a spear.
Pressfield concluded that they must be doing something right.
He wished he had his own Shaman. He said he would have breakfast with him every day and do what he said.
Or better yet, he wished he was a Shaman.
I wished, as did Pressfield that I had a personal Shaman to guide me, but I know that one of the lessons of life is to trust and follow your own intuition, your own guidance system.
And that perhaps we do have a Shaman. It lives inside of us and speaks in a small voice.