A Hard Day’s Work

graphite drawingAnyone can be forgiven for thinking that today’s title is a phrase entirely foreign to me in every way. As an avowed lazy person and general slacker, I am known for working with dedication and intensity only when absolutely necessary and unavoidable, and then of course immediately reverting to a supine position as soon as humanly possible. I can, however, honestly claim a couple of points of connection with the workforce, really I can.graphite drawingFirst, of course, is that as a person who enjoys storytelling in both verbal and visual forms, I find much inspiration in the beauty of working people and the myriad tasks they perform, whether willingly or unwillingly. Their beauty, the admirable strength and the grace inherent in laboring people and their achievements, is worthy not only of recognition and illustration but also of admiration and praise. So I suppose this other understanding that I, in my limited way, have of hard work, this combined amazement and gratitude, is really what drives my urge to illustrate such people and their deeds. Call it my thank you card.digitally colored graphite drawing

It’s Beginning to Look a Little Like . . .

Now, I don’t know if I’d call it exactly Christmasy, but in the relative scheme of things, it is beginning to look a tad more wintry around here than it’s been up until now. In my nordo-centric upbringing I was never exposed to such stretches of overheated weather that I’d begun to disbelieve in winter altogether by the time the second week of December was commencing. So it’s kind of a relief to hear that we’re about to drop down to freezing temperatures overnight within a couple of days here. To see some turning leaves actually, really, truly drop off and leave a tree or two naked; berries lighting up as rosy as Rudolph’s nose; to hear the branches both leafy and bare whispering cool secrets in anticipation of the frost that may or may not arrive before the clock’s run out on potential wintertime.photoThe embarrassing thing about this is that, having had seemingly all the time in the world myself to prepare for this winter thingy, I’m still not exactly ready. I’ve got a whole big, fluffy list of stuff I can–and maybe should–get underway, if not completed, before this mythic seasonal happening arrives, and no, said list is not small either. I did get a small few things done in the long, sloping stretch leading toward this change of the weather, but it’s never quite so much as I would have liked to have accomplished. Story of life, isn’t it. I guess if I’m honest I should say that it’s beginning to look a lot like every other year I’ve known, every other change–or lack of change–of the seasons. And you know, I’m okay with that. Life’s been mighty good to me, and if it can be this nice even when I’m so far from perfectly keeping up with it, lay it on me.

Oh, and I’d appreciate it if I can have a sweater to go along with the seasonal change too, just in case. Thank you.photo

State of Abstraction

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Foiled again! Or not, if I grab the reins . . .

Yesterday’s post still stands: I am gradually renewing myself in a seasonal fashion of sorts, regaining my typical Spring-like attitudes as I begin what is for me a long and gradual process of Spring Cleaning in home and heart. I never realize I’ve been letting myself get quite so cobwebby until I’m nearly mummified. But I usually recollect my senses eventually, as now, and begin removing all of the crust and crumbs and detritus and down-dragging inhibitors I’ve been collecting over the last while. So, out with the old tinfoil (above) that is best recycled when it’s no longer leak-proof. Out with the burned out porch lights and in with the new (hurray for the companies now making those oddball shapes and sorts in LEDs). Out with my overcast persona and back to my native optimism.

This is not to say that all is perfection and clarity in my little corner of the universe, only that it’s once again slanting toward an upward trajectory as it should be. I also find, in these times of slewing back ’round to my intended direction and sweeping out the junk, that as I begin and jump in, I can get a little confused, overwhelmed or just plain distracted by the plethora of perfectly acceptable but sometimes competing directions I can take or the complexity of attempting to sort and stratify the tasks. But rather than turning into an emotional hoarder and becoming either unwilling and unable to do one single part of the heap of projects and therefore unwilling and unable to begin, let alone attempt the whole–or, worse yet, getting so bogged down in the process that I am entombed in my own attempt–I find it’s reasonably helpful to let my mind wander a bit and pick at bits and pieces. A zone of blurry, abstract thinking is quite all right with me at the moment. It’s the pseudo-zen that allows me to blandly go about picking up a stray button or used cup here and there, set them down as I pass their proper places, and along the route-to-nowhere, discover the manageable task that I can tackle for this few minutes of my time, all the while letting my brain meander until it lights on whatever else it deems necessary for the next bit of progress.

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Slanted and distorted as the point of view may be for the moment, the calm in this unfocused state allows me to safely unbar the windows that had become clogged with cloudy thinking and blocked by barriers of other kinds . . .

So while it may look to anyone else as though an event of Random Nuclear Catastrophe has taken place in the house, I’m actually accomplishing a lot of tiny deeds that had stacked up both on my lists of incipient doings and in unseen corners that evaded such evaluations. I’m pulling out the one straw here or there that opens a peephole through the big haystack that has been surprisingly stealthy in building up, removing one brick of rubble from the demolition that lets a ray of daylight through. And yes, each peephole or ray reveals yet more loose straws and bricks until I feel like a Big Good Wolf about to knock down the piggish house that’s been unnecessarily but inevitably building up in secret, because all of its weaknesses have been revealed bit by bit, button by cup, task by task. All on a sort of hazy autopilot wherein I can let my mind wander, so seemingly relaxed but as it caroms around in slow-motion also more astute than large amounts of frustrated puzzling.

It may look fairly directionless and mildly crazed in mid-process, but strangely it’s quite calming to me and gives me a greater sense of purpose and direction after all. It all begins to take shape, swirling around as it does and gathering speed, and at some point, coalescing into more sensible plans. But until then, I can go along with the current of this abstract flow and while my mind is relatively free from restrictions in it, maybe come up with some surprising new reasons to be content just living in the moment and letting go of my worries.

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The beauty of structure is that it can evolve out of seeming randomness quite naturally--if I let it be so . . .