Letters to a young artist

August 22, 2014

Dear Lynn,

In Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 - 1926) counsels a pen pal to "have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart" and to "live in the question." These letters were published in 1929. In 2006, American actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith wrote a book called Letters to a Young Artist - an updated homage and remake of sorts to Rilke's original. "You can't teach talent. You can't teach inspiration," says Anna. "You can teach people critical facilities. You can give them techniques. You can teach discipline. And you can teach them about the business."

In Letters to a Young Artist, Anna writes to a fictional young painter called BZ. "Art should take what is complex and render it simply," she advises. "It takes a lot of skill, human understanding, stamina, courage, energy, and heart to do that." Anna describes a desire for "wide-awakeness." "Do you want to be an artist so that the whole world will look at you, or do you want to be an artist because you would like to use your ability to attract attention, to have the world see itself through you differently?" she asks. In her version, Anna calls for action.

In response to those feeling concerned or even despairing about the risk of art becoming a popularity contest rather than a profession, Anna advises that it's best to choose another line of work. "Your desire to communicate must be bigger than your relationship with the chaotic and unfair realities," she says.

On the importance of artists taking control of destiny, Anna implores us to plan our lives - to be the authors. "Be more than ready. Be present in your discipline. Remember your gift. Be grateful for your gift and treat it like a gift. Cherish it, take care of it, and pass it on. Use your time to bathe yourself in that gift. Move your hand across the canvas. Go to museums. Make this into an obsession.

I needed to read this today because I've been feeling discouraged about not accomplishing anything.  I have to remember when I design a t shirt, that's art, and I've done a few of those recently.  When I take photographs and work on photoshop, that's art, I do that quite a bit.  When I write, though it's not visual art, it is still an art form and one I know I'm supposed to use, ex. writing here and I've been working on a couple of things that have been taking a while.  One will be finished soon and I will be sharing here - though it will be difficult to share.  I just needed this.  Maybe someone else will too.


Beach Day and Shot day

New neighbor, one of my favorite birds.

This was crazy - catching this photo with 
the birds behind this woman.  It looks very added
in or something but it was just a lucky shot.

 I wanted to get his yellow feet

 I told Chuck to make them fly but I didn't catch the 
wings fully open like I planned.  I like how his feathers
look - if you click on it you can see it better.

The sun kept hiding behind the clouds.

I liked the reflection it made in the sand

We had a patriotic neighbor with a flag
on a fishing pole.

Chuck told me I should start taking more
people pictures at the beach.  This is one 
I caught I call "dancing strangers".  

Yesterday was my monthly shot day.  I also have blood drawn at the same visit.  It’s how they check my calcium levels.  I take lots of calcium daily.  If I don’t the ingredients in the shot instead of strengthening my bones will have the opposite effect.  Mostly, I don’t think about cancer on a daily basis.  But days like yesterday bring me back to the reality of my life. 
I wasn’t feeling well when I got to the Dr.’s office.  I didn’t want to reschedule my shot so I went.  The regular nurse who takes care of me was on vacation.  The lady who was there was very sweet and I know did her best.  Because I wasn’t feeling well in the first place is the reason I had a bad reaction and I need to remember that for my next visit.
She tried taking blood the first time and had to move the needle around trying to find a vein.  It really didn’t hurt but I guess because I wasn’t feeling well, I started getting nauseous and feeling very much like I was going to pass out.  She removed the needle and I told her, “I really don’t feel well.”  She said she was going to get someone else to do it and gave me a few minutes to feel better. 
After waiting a bit she asked if she could try using the veins in my hand.  The other girl was busy trying to get 3 different IV’s started and would be a while.  I told her to go ahead and thankfully it worked.  She finished and gave me my shot and let me go.  I told Corey what happened and she said she couldn’t pick me up if I passed out.  I let her know that feeling had thankfully passed  - but I did stumble in the parking lot.  I almost started crying because it was one of those days when cancer is very real and very much in control and I couldn’t ignore it like I normally do.
I went home and slept a few hours and I’d like to say it helped but I just didn’t feel that great the rest of the day.   I’ve read about other women taking this shot and not having side effects.  It always seems like everything hurts worse after I get it.  Every place I’ve fractured since this happened and every place they’ve said tumors exist just aches more than usual and I get a really upset stomach.  

Today, I feel better, thankfully. 


I forgot to put photos from my birthday at Mom's
and the pretty, yummy, chocolate raspberry cake Chuck got me.
He got this on Tuesday when we had a celebration here,
 Wednesday - Corey and Jesse took my shopping,
and we celebrated at Mom's on Sunday.  I got a whole
birthday week! 

 Jesse brought a therapeutic dog bed for Elsie and
Renny claimed it.

Jesse had to put Elsie on the bed and now she 
loves it. 


Reading: You never realize who might be listening or who might get hurt by something you say.

Watch your words diligently.  Words have such great power to bless or to wound.  When you speak carelessly or negatively, you damage others as well as yourself.  This ability to verbalize is an awesome privilege.  You need help in wielding this mighty power responsibly.  Though the world applauds quick-witted retort, God’s instructions about communication are quite different:  Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.  Ask His Spirit to help you whenever you speak.  Ask Him to help train you to pray---“Help me, Holy Spirit”--- before answering the phone, and you will see the benefits of this discipline.  Simply apply the same discipline to communicating with people around you.  If they are silent, pray before speaking to them.  If they are talking, pray before responding.  These are split—second prayers, but they put you in touch with God’s Presence.  In this way, your speaking comes under the control of His Spirit.  As positive speech patterns replace your negative ones, the increase in your Joy will amaze you.  from Jesus Calling


Three Birthdays

Sunday was Jesse's birthday, Wednesday is Chuck's Mom's
and Thursday is my Mom's.  So, yesterday we had a celebration for all three. 
Jesse got to bring Jobee since it was her birthday.
Everybody really seemed to like him. 
Mom thought if she took him home she'd never
have to worry about anyone trying to break into
her home.  He is scary looking to people who 
don't like dogs but he's a big teddy bear. 
 I was trying to get a picture of Jesse's pretty nails and toes but
it's kind of hard to see.
 Jobee's lucky Jesse's such a dog person.
She thinks someone dropped him off in her
neighborhood and he wandered onto her property.
He's had a good home ever since.
Jason sent a pretty and yummy fruit and
chocolate arrangement.
 I made red velvet and camo cupcakes.
 Getting ready to blow out the candles

Hope everyone had a good day!

Email from my sister-n-law, who's more like my sister;

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet
             is fighting some kind of battle."
At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believed they would always travel by our side. However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone.  As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of your life.
Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum.  Others will go so unnoticed that we don't realize that they vacated their seats. This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring that we give the best of ourselves.

The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are.
It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.

I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life. Reap success and give lots of love. More importantly, thank God for the journey. Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train.