Friday, May 27, 2011

big green holiday

So much rain making everything super green holds my fascination about the speed of the growth of life.  How marvelous that we can actually see the changes!  I see the changes in myself as well.  Talked about as side effects from chemo but still changes I keep track of in the countdown to this severe treatments end. 

At present my fingertips feel like they might fall off.  Luckily there's a remedy so far for the issues I have been dealing with.  Happily they've all been supplement based.  Vitamins and food, I can do that!  With only 3 more sessions to go I'm anticipating things like being able to "taste" again and getting strength back into my body by exercise, oh, and hair would be nice! 

In the meantime I scribble away in my sketchbook and make preparations for work to come in the studio.  Some of my exploration to do with the figure in forms "other" than humanistic, perhaps as a portrait of impermanence like that of eroded rock!

Friday, May 20, 2011

weighty blog

Woke this morning with mind racing.  The first days after chemo are always "up" days where my mind wakes up to ideas and things to do.  Its the few day later that the chemo drug itself hits and I lose my strength.  Its the cycle of the thing, but this cycle only has 4 more sessions.  Yahoo!

In my mind race this morning I couldn't help but cast my thoughts to the idea of belief so strong that it becomes personal truth.  Much like religious fervor or extreme political beliefs we can convince ourselves of our own unshakeable truths based on a premise we believe in strongly.  I think it comes from the circumstance we may find ourseves in as well as what is taken in from the outside world of information and opinion. 

Our arguments can often times be swayed by a new piece of information that we take on as our own personal "gospel"!  Just as likely we can be so stubborn as to not take in new information no matter how relevant the change might affect current status.  This is my current conundrum.

My belief is that these chemo treatments are the "clean-up" after a cancerous turmor was removed from my body.  It really hasn't ben part of my view that the cancer will ever come back once these chemo treatments are complete.  However, if my circumstance was to change by the lab numbers going up instead of down would I still have this unshakeable belief?  I'd like to think so, but we all know that things change.  The only thing certain in life is change.

I entertain this question at present in an academic way, but don't know how I will feel later.  There is still this drive in me that "believes" that I will be right as rain and never look back.  I'm actually thinking that if I believe hard enough THE force of my belief will become physically manifest.  What I mean is, if I believe in my own health so much that it can actually become physically possible to not have cancer return.  Its a radical and somewhat "cosmic" idea but one that intriques me. 

Extreme belief has never been part of my make-up.  I've always bent to new information and changes to try and keep peace and see all sides of the wonder of how we all work in the world -- our behaviour in cirmcumstances and how we change as we grow.  So this is rather a departure, but owing to the severity of this new change in my life I really like the idea of being "radical"!  It might be viewed as a "head in the sand" approach, but if it works and makes me feel good, why not? I have such a strong conviction about myself now that I think will carry me into the future.  I've become my own religious zealot it seems, but I promise not to start a new fangle church of the insane believers.  Yet, think on it for a minute.

In a world where fact is being replaced by opinion and the fickleness of our changing sound bite opinions I can see why there are such extremes in thinking.   I want there to be reason and heartfelt contemplation and critical thinking, but I think that in certain quarters there is room for the belief in the power of life and perpetuating ourselves into the future.  At the very least, if my circumstance were to drastically change I would like to think that I'm laying the ground work for being able to pass this life with grace.

Told you this was a "weighty blog"!  Phew!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Waiting for the sun

The impatience of Spring has us all waiting for the sun to shine.  Yet while we wait I don't mind the rain storms and the patches of blues that turn gray and come and go to sun and wet.  The green things in my yard are happy.  I'm happy to watch as I know I can't do much in the garden just now.  It wouldn't do to have the days be too warm too soon anyway, no matter how nice it would be to have the warmth on our bodies.  Summer will come soon enough and we'll be complaining of the heat.  We're such fickle creatures that way.

I wait with chemo as well.  Waiting for my strength to return once these rounds are through.  After tomorrow there shall only be 4 sessions left.  I look forward to the days when my body shall be on its own to heal.  There shall be sun by then I'm sure!

In the meantime I wait in a mindless way, liking escapism into books and tellie.  My thoughts are of simple things like what do I feel like eating or drinking, whether to watch tellie or read?  I know that I'm a petrie dish of chemicals and random thoughts of tomorrows but I find that you need to be calm with this chemical thing.  Waiting to see how you feel everyday.  Some days I'm propped up by my adrenaline when I have visitors.  Other days I find that its all I can do to walk about.  I just put myself in auto-pilot and do what I can.  It may sound simple but waiting used to be something I was never very good at.  It amazes me how patient I am with it now.

As the days wash over me I don't feel guilty about what I cannot do.  I only long for the days when I will be back at work in the studio.  It has been farther away than I would have thought, but now with only a few weeks left til the end of chemo I really don't mind having waited.  The sun will shine after the rain, it usually always does! 

Thursday, May 12, 2011


It's a beautiful Spring morning after my heavy chemo dose, Roumd 5, Day 1 of yesterday. I feel good this morning, actually normal for these days. The green outside my doors and widows helps immensely to that feeling especially. I feel like working which is what I've been waiting for. Getting out of this weakness limbo to get some imagery on panel or paper would make me so happy!

I'm looking for a theme in a way. Not a particularly "pointed" one but something of a statement to support the images from where I am at this point in time. Perhaps as in a loose story of some kind.  The idea of "horizons" appeals to me. Always has, actually. As a child I was always looking at the horizon as it held the pull of adventure and travel. In Britain as well as Pennsylvania the irony of the horizon could be confusing as you would clammer up a hill to see if there were a vast horizon at the top only to find another rolling hill. One after the other, but I knew the expanse was there even though I couldn't see it!

Being land locked here in the vastness of Michigan Midwest it's harder to find horizons in the physical world so they must be of a different nature, that's my current picture challenge. Yet it is not the only theme I think I shall play with, just the one at present I can name.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

faces in scribbling

Chemo day.  A long one where I get 3 drugs in one day.  The other two days of the cycle I only receive one drug.  So this day usually has me going from being "up" to being a bit rummy.  So I make rummy pictures I suppose.

Today's sketches reflect my enjoyment of making faces out of shapes just scribbled on the page.  As if I've a record of people I've seen in passing and rendered.  People's faces have such character.  And since I haven't the means to have people pose for me I think the scribbling just represents a composite of people you see everywhere around you.  An amalgum of shapes and moods.

In 'Redemption' I think I've found
the themed painting for our "artcircle" groups challenge
for October.  That's not to say that I won't come up with
something I like better as the deadline 
closes, but so far this is hitting a chord
with me with regard to my own redemption.  Its imperfect and the body is seen not as one entity but as two, yet it does seem to me to be a "whole" person in the picture idea.  A new person with perceptions beyond her own head!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

spirit scribbles

Scribbling creatures without form but faces; headdresses and cloth-like fabric appendages.  Spirits perhaps with moody faces.  Fragments of feeling perhaps worn like cut out coloured bits.  Fish-like and waif-ish!


Mum just left to fly home after spending a week with me. I'm glad she made the effort to come here because I know it was an activity out of her comfort zone. She needed to know that I am well even going through chemo. I needed to know that she was well too. Although she doesn't walk so well these days. Physically we were fairly even in our abilities, both hobbling around like cartoon wind up characters!

It's interesting to me that we are so different now. Intimate strangers really. She has progressed along a road that I can't navigate with her. She lives in the past and in regret. I wonder if she's happy? She sees life as something to endure while I still see life as an adventure that I can't get enough of. She tells stories of people and places long gone. I wish she'd record them as they are a thread that will get lost with her passing in this modern life. She keeps herself isolated into memories now. They are her comfort. She has become a child, talking constantly to belong.

I wish for her to belong to herself and not be so fretful about others in her sphere. Everything bothers her equilibrium. How do you navigate age when the world around you changes so fast? Especially if you live a rural life without things like computers and mobile phones. She doesn't trust the future the way our generation does. We want to suck the marrow out of it (of course, using it up in the process), just as I'm sure the ones coming up behind us will want us to move aside before we're ready to go!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

From unexpected places

It is from unexpected places that we learn lessons about ourselves. I've been told by friends that I got cancer because I needed to learn some lessons. While I think that it certainly is teaching me I don't believe that I got cancer because I needed to learn something. That's as ridiculous as those who believe that God punishes us with hurricanes and tsunamis. You get what you get!

Yet in the arch of time that I've been dealing with cancer I have noticed things along the way. Sometimes just something that I find profound that said in passing like a throw away line of conversation. I'm grateful that I caught it.

The lesson is deep and simple. To thine own self be true. Without sounding cliche it helps me to recognize that I have something to say in the art I make even if I frustratingly can't make anything right now. I can realize my own existence in the strength of will to carry on in my own happiness, the best kind of selfishness after all! The lesson of love and patience, of believing so completely that it becomes unshakable. It feels good to know these things. Did I know them before cancer?, perhaps, but since it's as if my resolve is cast in bronze.

I'll wear happiness as my armor!