So to wrap up this saga, I wanted to show you some examples of this 'plaster jacket' in my work from 1990 and 2010. I had no idea what it meant at the time but couldn't resist using it. Who knew this image would turn out to be a message to me about myself, just like in a dream, where everything (allegedly) represents the dreamer.
I’ve spent more than a couple of Christmases at home alone at my desk. Not that I’m complaining, The Louise Log has rarely felt like work. But so a social life has always been pushed to the bottom of my schedule.
So when my pal Veronica James recommended that I join her at the annual weekend retreat of Women At Woodstock, with a group of women (mostly) over 50, I hesitated. It’s risky to a) spend money to go to a conference and b) to take time away from what feels like a mountain of projects I want to get to.
All Veronica, an extremely hard-working and effective (but fun) person, had to say was: “Come. It’s really good.”
And so I went. And I wasn’t disappointed. There were authors, career coaches, a photographer, a website designer/social media marketing expert, bloggers, a tarot card reading life coach, a financial adviser, a pharmaceutical saleswoman, two dating and relationship coaches, an elected official and more. It was such a mixed group that it sort of felt like a campfire on the beach - no pecking order, no competition.
There were workshops and talks as well as lots of time for having a real conversation with almost everybody. It felt like a weekend with friends of a friend … which is actually what #WAW sprang out of, when Ann Voorhees Baker was going through a divorce after a long marriage and invited a group of friends, who didn’t know each other, to a cabin in the woods.
The atmosphere of support and honesty, of sharing knowledge and encouragement, with people revealing their dreams and their doubts, asking for feedback, asking for help. It was truly moving. It was also inspiring. And it seems like it could even prove to be materially valuable.
The highs are high and the lows are low when you set yourself up by going to psychics and having 'expectations'. I'm frankly on the verge of something like an ongoing panic attack about what I should be doing to "go big".
So it was kind of a nice distraction to stumble on this question: "Do you mislabel violent and chaotic relationships as “passionate” and “complex”? "
I'll answer with a resounding 'Nope'. One of the benefits of age is clarity and exhaustion. I've gotten to the point where if people don't seem to be honest and sane, I don't even get out of the car.
As far as direction, I'm going to ask for a clear dream. I'll keep you posted.
A young mother phoned today, overwhelmed by a huge internal pressure. She wants to and (in her mind's eye) should already be doing her life's work as an artist. And this even though she is raising two young children and isn't totally sure of the medium she wants to work in.
The years (ahem) the decades of my identical frustration came flooding back, the nagging, gnawing misery. My inability to sufficiently split my focus as a mother (in order to get traction as an indie feature film maker) had discouraged me to the point that I finally let go of my dream.
Becoming willing to stoop to something that was in the realm of possibility was the hardest step of all. I guess I could make short videos with a camcorder... (This was at a time when no self-respecting filmmaker was uploading their work to YouTube, a channel known mostly for videos of dogs on skateboards.)
When I finally saw Da Ali G Show and Bon Qui Qui at King Burger my pulse raced. Why not make short funny videos for YouTube with a camcorder? And do it at your own pace, with no pressure, time or financial. And continue to be a mother as much as you need and want.
Seven years later, I look back with gratitude on this unwanted gift, the gift of being broken by a failure which forced me to start where I was with what I had.