© 2019 Stacie Hammond
I was out walking today, as I do every day. And I haven't written about it, really, in quite some time. I took a long break from the whimsical, free-falling, wide-open expression - the free side of me - the utter delight of simply breathing in my world...and writing about it. It's what I've done since I began to process the world as an artist as a child, and in the hustle of life, in the deeper exploration of me, I allowed myself to drift from it. For too long.
As a busy woman - a Mom who works full-time in a public service/community leadership role (Head Reference Librarian), and devotes herself to larger and greater projects on nights and weekends - time is a valuable gem. I spend it wisely, or at least I try to.
I work a lot, and sometimes, I just want to entertain myself: I love art and music and vibrancy and culture. And I'll do just that, without apology. We're allowed to seek pleasure and distraction. Some days, I want to create something in the moment, from my heart, flawed and all, and share it... and I'll do just that, joyfully. We're allowed to create things, for the joy of it. Some days, I question myself and stay quiet, and that's okay, too. We're allowed to hide away, sometimes, for our own reasons. And we all have these pieces of ourselves: some we show, and some we don't. That's real life, despite what Instagram shows you. We are all human. And we all suffer our imperfections under a microscope.
Nothing is all-perfect and all-sparkly all the time. Nothing. Sometimes the brightest stars fight great darkness, just trust me on that. But it's coming through that struggle that makes the shine so much brighter. Seeing our muck-ups and darkness and our own slants toward fear-based cruelty and judgment can raise our awareness of them. And getting to that place is both painful and freeing. What we know, we can address. And change. I've been toxic and riddled with anxiety and would try my best to hide away, and at times I would reach out, desperately. Because we all want connection. We all want hope and friendship and Grace and to be understood. To some, I've been the toxic one, and to others, I've been the Light. it all depends, really. But I rather favor seeking joy and choosing a positive flow, regardless of adversity, these days. It just feels better, and makes the trouble easier to cope with.
So, I've learned to ride my own ebbs and flows, because they always take me home. Writing and living Wild Horses taught me that. To trust where life took me and to trust my choices and gut feelings. Because after all, it's my life. And I want to live it well. Wild Horses and Mistakes was the next, and a most necessary piece, in the evolution of me: as a woman, as a human being, as an artist. As a mother. I've learned to listen more deeply to myself, to my own rhythms, to the wisdom of Nature, to my own desires and truths, my own stores of strength and earned wisdom - than to what can often just be noise and biased opinion from others.
We've all got our own walking to do.
And this is all hard-won, to be sure. To live by one's own thoughts and choices. What's important, I feel, is who you choose to walk with. Having buddies and friends as you explore and reinvent is crucial. Bouncing ideas off of others makes sense, you don't have to go it alone. Learning to trust in and build relationships with new people is essential to a well-lived life, and it's not always easy. So when you find those people, cherish them. Build with them. Heal with them. Walk with them. They're there for a reason.
So. I was out near one of my favorite spots, this morning. At the southern edge of Oyster Bay Harbor. And there is a large house there, right on the water, that has seemed to empty out and be stripped down to boards, in such a short time.
And my mind wandered, as it does... so I asked the local construction workers about it.
"New owners and a remodel," they simply said.
And my mind wandered some more.
Who are they? Are they local? From out of town? And characters started to manifest in the deep trenches at the back of my busy mind. Oh, a new and empty house is a like a large white canvas. "This house... is brand new..." (a lyric snippet from a song I'm working on). It's such a powerful metaphor, artists use it all the time, and it's a favorite of mine, too.
And I just felt so pulled in. Who will live there? And as the house comes together, what else will come together, with it? What are they building? Who are they, what do they fear, what do they love? And why that house and do they love the water as much as I do? And will they let me visit, still, and gaze into the harbor, as I've done so religiously, for so long, now?
Creativity doesn't need all that much to resurface: it needs time and space, it needs slowing down enough to notice things. And to let curiosity bubble up. And the question usually leads somewhere, leaving us to answer it, with some sort of art.
I've always said that: "all art is a conversation, and we just need to keep talking to each other."
So...blocked? Slow down and let yourself notice the world around you: it's always talking, changing, shifting, waiting for you to observe it, in detail. Get close. Art, like Magic, or Love, is everywhere, if you can allow yourself to engage with it. If you can create the space for it.
Thanks for reading. I've missed you. More to come...