Sunday, April 13, 2014

Inside Out

Spasmodic. If I had to ascribe one word to 1978 spasmodic comes the closest. During the first half I was seventeen and finishing my first year of college and during the second, eighteen and beginning the second (and ultimately, to date, my last) year of college. This work was produced in the midst of that. Which half? I don't remember, doesn't really matter because it was all .. . spasmodic.

At some point during 1978 I moved out of the rat, roach infested house my mom rented from "Mother" Allen, the meanest woman I'd met to that point. I was gone for several weeks before telling my mother where I'd moved--since she was powerless against my brothers and their enemies and I couldn't afford to have any of them them find me, harass me.

Talking about this time is still very difficult for me and I can't go further except to say, the ups and downs had ups and down . . . spasmodic. The Ups usually had to do with art; completing assignments, preparing to show and compete at fairs, thinking about which discipline to focus my efforts toward applying for admission to the respective department.

The piece shown above is one of the the very few pieces I have from that time, I sold or gave away nearly everything I created. This piece was resting in my portfolio. A few years ago, showing my daughter my work, I tok it out. My mother saw it, liked it, and offered to have it framed. One thing or another kept that from happening. I photographed it only a few days ago as I've just decided to get rid of it or alter it in some way.

Or not. I may put it back in the portfolio for a time, but either way, it has to get back out of sight, out of mind. For while it has been out in the open for some time now, I don't feel like I've really seen it, it has just sort of . . been. But, in recent days it seemed to be making noise, speaking to me, conjuring memories, good, bad, ugly, and . . . spasmodic.


Sunday, April 06, 2014

Aprilair



               imagine
                these 
               pieces           
          together, like a page
               please 



A is for April. Air. Art. Apple. Anticipatory. Anxiety. Aggressive. Abalone. Affect. Aphrasia.

All those things and more. But now, it is about art. Contemplating art. Producing Art. Sharing Art. Going to see art. Contemplate. Rinse. And. Repeat. 

The above is my contribution to the Women's Circle Traveling Journal. An amazing undertaking of a blog pal  and a bunch of her artistic pals. I am awed to be in their company. I can hardly wait to see the finished journal. 


                                                                           

Additonally, the manada journey prompts continue to dance in my head. And at some point in these days of April they shall dance unto the page. 'Tis the plan, anyway. 

At last, there is seeing art. I haven't made time for going out to see art in a long, long time. The reasons are as plentiful as the opportunities missed and are not germane to the conversation. Point is, I'm thinking and planning. And even inviting. My cousin accepted my invite to the Hyde Park Art Center next weekend but has since cancelled. 

Anyway.

Attend. 

 . . . try. 

Art is in the April air in any case. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

It Began. It ContinUes.

sellf portrait 
Eight years and eight hundred and thirty one posts ago Middle Girl came into being; the companion piece for the journey of my life.

In the eight years of Middle Girl I saw my son graduate from college and  begin his career. He earned his first paycheck as an actor during his freshman year and has since, devoted his day-to-day to the pursuit of acting and related endeavors. His shift from treating acting as a career rather than a hobby changed him in ways that continue to manifest.

In the eight years of Middle Girl I saw my daughter become even more resolute in her pursuit of that which will make her happiest. She has worn a few educational and occupational hats in these eight years and is in the midst of more changes at this very moment. No matter where her life was, where it is, or where it is going, my daughter's core remains intact. She is a passionate young woman who works hard. She hasn't always made the best choices but continues to make the best of the choices made.

In the eight years of Middle Girl I have revealed my lesbianism to my son and daughter, community of bloggers and eventually, my mother. That revelation and the subsequent journey led me to the two women who at some point possessed my heart. While both relationships and the emotional holds are long gone both women remain close to my heart,  for the experiences they provided and what I learned about myself through those experiences and their respective gifts.

In the eight years of Middle Girl a career ended, another began and that, abandoned for a different style of opportunity. Each event taking a piece of me away but adding a component in its place. No matter what I'm doing to keep the lights on I remain committed to the goal: Work Hard. Do Good. Be Incredible. The current opportunity will allow time and space for community. And that was a major impetus for making the change.

Within the eight years of Middle Girl my dad died. And a few months later, my mom died. Long separated, to have lost them both within months, of the same disease, brought them together for me in a way the decades couldn't manage. My dad and I had been mostly estranged until the year prior to his death. We made our peace even as we didn't see eye-to-eye on the Yahweh, Jehovah, what-have-you front.

My mom has always been, will always be, in my bones. We were together every day of her life, right until the very end. And while we had our disagreements and skirmishes over the years, she loved me like no one else has nor ever will. She was fierce in her devotion to me (and my brothers) despite often disagreeing with our respective approaches to our lives and loves. She worked to impart the benefit of her experiences and tried to give us what she felt we missed not having our dad in our lives.

And in spite of being a dyed-in-the-wool christian she gave me space to release the atheism I'd internalized for years. She, unlike my dad, didn't try to (re-recruit) me. She didn't totally understand since I was raised christian and she remained concerned for my soul, but she didn't haarangue me. About that, anyway.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

In the eight years of Middle Girl I made some lovely connections beyond the ladies previously noted; In the beginning of my blogging days there was a community of lesbian bloggers who welcomed me with open arms. And while most have stopped blogging, a few remain friends. Thanks to blogging I continue to meet inspirational, wonderful, entertaining, and engaging women.

Each year brought its own set of challenges, none more than last. The losses, the forced changes, the emotional and physical toll, the . . . everything was just so damn hard. And while I worked to work, keep an upbeat attitude, keep on with the business of "keeping on" it was so. damn. hard. and remains so, though, not quite as . . .

sharp.

In part, thanks to Middle Girl and what producing this space requires of me.

Thank you to all those who have visited in the past, who continue to visit, and to those who will visit down the road...for Middle Girl will continue. For another eight years? Remains to be seen. But for now, and the foreseeable future, I am embracing this companion on this journey of a life.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March. Women.

The month of March is designated women's history month in the same vein as February is for black history. As my friend Elizabeth (who was HERE a couple of weeks ago-wheeeeee!!) noted, "you get two back-to-back." To which I replied, . . . well, I forget the words as there was wine and beer, talk and laugh, and very much glee. But the sentiment was, YaY.

So, the month the March is designated women's history month and for each day, I've noted some woman of note who has touched me in some way throughout my own history. To date they are:

March 1st:  "And while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect." - Nikki Giovanni

March 2nd: "Never be afraid to sit and think." ~ Lorraine Hansberry

March 3rd: Anna Julia Cooper  March 4th Jessie Little Doe Baird March 5th: Leslie I. Hill 

March 6th: Anna Devere Smith  March 7th: Julie Murphy March 8th: Kim Ransom 
March 8th was also International Women's Day!!

March 9th: Toni Stone March 10th: Aretha Franklin: March 11th Lisa Taylor 

March 12th: Eleanor Taylor Bland  March 13th: Althea Gibson March 14th: Juanita Moore  

March 15th: Mahalia Jackson March 16th: Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders March 17th: Veronica O. Davis

March 18th: Sylvia Woods  March 19th: Wanda Sykes March 20th Diahanne Carroll 

March 21st: Debbie Allen March 22nd: Grace F. Edwards March 23rd: Marian Anderson

The mention of these women in particular is not to slight any others. I laud them (us) all in whatever endeavor(s) they (we) pursue; for they (we) all are worthy of note. Every day of every month. Women. March.

In addition reveling in the stories of women, a visit from my dear friend Elizabeth which included a journey of downtown Chicago, parts of the IL leg of historic Route 66, and my (surprisingly VERY IRISH) heritage, the other minutes of the month have been about 1. getting a new job and getting acclimated to all that THAT entails. 2. tending to a cousin who is tending to a mother-in-law who had a stroke AND a husband who had a stroke and heart surgery. 3. tending to my daughter who had her heart broken and the stress that brings not to mention her work and school stresses. 4. working to focus myself on health (mind and body) and one stated goal: the ever elusive weight loss. 5.thinking about longer, warmer days and the return of bicycle riding season. Melody has been patient.

I'm still also working to complete the January Mandala journey. I did participate in the Women's Circle Traveling Journal, sending the journal on to the next link in the chain. I'll show the art produced for that in another post.

Yes, there is the last days of March to march through and I am happy for them. But, I am looking forward to April toward getting more involved with the new job, learning more terms and procedures. I am also looking forward to April toward focusing on A-R-T and hopefully, getting my cousin out of her house for some kind of recreation and down time. And of course, riding--rolling, rolling, rolling on.



Sunday, March 09, 2014

What She Said

She* said 
Back in the day, as they say, she made art. Some of the art, some of the time, received recognition. Some of the time said recognition meant being interviewed by various folk.

Back in the day, as they say, she made words. Some of the words, some of the time found themselves printed in one rag or another. Every now and again, the words printed in said rag (or another) brought out some kindly attention.

The picture is a depiction of one of those times. She doesn't remember if the interveiw was because of art or words. It may have quite possibly been both.

No one remembers. No one made note, or the note is long, long gone.

What she said to the woman holding the microphone was she enjoyed producing whatever; art or words or both. Said art or words or both represented life.

No, she doesn't really remember the interview but the best guess is, yes...fun. life. brief. fleeting.


*she: Deborah being interviewed because she did arty stuff that some folks liked and made mention, at times, honorably.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

March Ink On

Greetings and Salutations;

Simply put, it is freaking cold~still. And there is more snow. I know, I know, it is winter and it is what happens in winter. E-X-C-E-P-T this is the snowiest in many, many years. Plus we've broken temperature (sub zero actual and windchill) records. If feels like it has been going on forever with no end in sight.

I am not ashamed to admit that I haven't done well with the conditions this winter. Never my favorite season, I had here-to-fore been able to tolerate the snow and the cold. Not this season. It is more than the record breaking, sub zero temps and biting wind chills. More than it being the snowiest season in many, many years. More than the extraordinary rudeness of property owners who haven't been clearing their walkways.

I have spent a number of minutes throughout a number of days being annoyed. And tired. And sore.
And . . more.

On the plus side, I haven't fallen down very much this season.

And now it is March. True, it snowed yesterday and it barely made it out of the teens today and there is more of the same on the way for the coming week.

But, it is March. There are changes afoot for me.  Not because it is March, but changes are a'comin'. It just works out that the changes are beginning in March. It is March and hopefully that means winter will give way to spring because it is March.

Simply put, I'm ready for it not to be so freaking cold. But, even if it is for many more days to come the changes that are coming will make it feel not quite so.

Welcome Women's History Month and here, here to some happy in March.

Monday, February 17, 2014

February Eighteenth Twenty Thirteen

It has been a year and as most who have lost a loved one, particularly a parent experiences, it feels like today. Like no time has elapsed. Pain. Sharp. Deep. And seemingly, neverending. It will lessen, I've been told. Not today. Likely not for a while.

Per her wishes there wasn't a service but I did write something to honor her and sent it along to family and friends so that they may have . . .something.

Mom's Corner

Every Time I Feel The Spirit*

At 7:14 p.m. on February 18th, my mother breathed her final breath and with that achieved her desire to go home. The last few years presented a multitude of challenges. She prayed for the strength to go on and as the challenges continued to mount, she turned her prayers to those of resolve to move on . . . 

Where He Leads Me* 

Mom spent her time in our world in caring compassion to those around her. She tended her relationships with cards, letters, and other tokens of stewardship. She did what she could to improve the human condition and to beautify her corner of the world, giving as much of herself as possible. 

Pass It On*

Mom's commitment and ministry to community was very strong. Even in the face of her own challenges she gave her time and energies to a variety of outreach programs that aided the homelss, hungry, and disenfranchised~particularly ex-ofenders, women, and children. 

Here I Am Lord* 

Even her final act was about giving, having donated her body to science and research. A lifetime of caring, compassion, loving, and giving cannot be summed up in a few hundred words. Nor can such a life and life experience go by totally without notice or report. 

Mom loved to laugh. In going through her possession I located a card sent by a friend that contained the following quote: "laugh as often as possible. you must, because the world will offer you every reason to weep. So as often as possible you laugh! That, I think is part of the GREAT LOVE!" ~Maya Angelou 

Mom's faith was important to her. Each of the starred stanza headings are some of her favorite hymns. John 3:16 was her favorite scripture. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not persh, but have everlasting life.

My mother lives on in all our hearts and minds.

You who know me, know I am not a believer but my mother and ALL other relatives and friends are / were of the faithful community. As noted in the beginning this was for them. I drew comfort putting it together as finding her wishes offered a bit more insight into the woman my mother was, strived to be. 

"I will always love my mama, she's my favorite girl, she brought me in this world . . . "