Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 15: Jan 31, 1997

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

Sample 9 September 1, 2004

Sample 10 September 6, 1999

Sample 11 November 6, 1989

Sample 12 October 23, 2001

Sample 13 October 22, 1993

Sample 14 April 20, 2013

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Today: Journal Start Date January 31, 1997

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Sample Writing

January 31, 1997

Julian’s birthday! A good day, no, an EXCELLENT day to start a new journal.

The sun is glorious and the place decorated for after school festivities!

Meat grinder feelings last night as Mom went psychotic after not hearing from us all day.

I went to Vancouver with the kids and J____ to have a fun family day and hadn’t thought of telling Mom. School was closed due to a rampant flu. When we got home later in the day there were 30 messages on the machine, my mom in tears and panic. We had only been out of touch for 12 hours! When I called mom, I was yelled at by Dad. Mom is now not speaking to me, 

 But I feel stronger today even though I beat myself up about it last night. So life continues and today is Julian’s birthday. Yipee! Took the kids to Science World yesterday – took the tour and bought the treats – lunch at Sushi Box at Library Square, then Virgin Records and Manhattan Books.

February 1, 1997

Fax from my father: [translated from Swedish]

“Nina, I have to ask you to call Mamma. She is still sad. The other day when she didn’t get any answers when she called, she cried the whole day. To calm her down, I called your neighbours and your realtor. The whole thing was a bit dumb and unnecessary. That you went to Vancouver for some time for yourselves is totally understandable. You could have called or sent a fax though. You know how Mom is. She really only has you to talk to and she is used to doing that every day. It is not an easy time for her right now. Her hands and arms hurt all the time. The carpal tunnel operation is not until March, and now – no contact with you. She cries so often I don’t dare say anything for fear of being misunderstood.”

February 2, 1997

I have decided to treat Mom as a special needs case. I feel good that I have contacted the pain clinic. If I am her daughter – be it good or bad – I’m being it my way. It’s the first time where I’m not devastated by her anger towards me.

My letter to the Pain Rehabilitation Clinic

You have been treating my mother, Karin, for the past few months for what is now diagnosed as severe carpal tunnel syndrome. I realize that you may not discuss her case without consent, but I wanted to write you a letter to fill you in on aspects of her life she is most likely unwilling to share. She is an extremely private person, I know the embarrassment  she would feel about my sharing my concerns. 

I am very impressed by the team working with my mother, but I am saddened that she is refusing to deal with the psychological aspects of her disorder. My mother has had bouts of depressions before, and needless to say, her present hardships have led to another onset. She has dealt with her depressions and pain (arthritis, migraine) with Tylenol 1 (takes daily for many years, at some count 50/day) and alcohol. This is done secretively and silently. She now gets little or no sleep, which is now appearing to incapacitate her. She cries readily and easily, feels a loss of control over her (grown) children and her life. 

Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“Despite the unmistakable resentment she could feel from her mother, Nina could not fathom what she had done wrong.” – Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting

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Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 14: April 20, 2013

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

Trying to figure it out.

How can today’s journal be 7 years ago?! How can last Saturday be a week ago already? How can it be 53 years since I stood trembling in Kindergarten?

“Time is rhythm: the insect rhythm of a warm humid night, brain ripple, breathing, the drum in my temple—these are our faithful timekeepers; and reason corrects the feverish beat.” ― Vladimir Nabokov

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

Sample 9 September 1, 2004

Sample 10 September 6, 1999

Sample 11 November 6, 1989

Sample 12 October 23, 2001

Sample 13 October 22, 1993

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Today: Journal Start Date April 20, 2013

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April 20 2013

I hesitate to start writing probably because I don’t trust my ability to tell the story. Or even draw it out properly. All I know is I can’t feel this way anymore. The hands along the railing. The ground coming towards me. The change of heart as the wires break the fall. The sense of failure.

April 23, 2013

Was it good to leave the house today? It was actually. For the first time, I woke up with less anxiety and managed to get up early in the sun daylight and get work done at a leisurely pace. 

May 2 2013

The living room. Our relationships with the dead continue as we move on. They are still alive in us. Introduce the loss. My immediate default is to talk about Dad, but I need to talk about Mom. It is coming. 

May 26, 2013

BIG VISION: “I no longer drive around heart in throat trying to figure out where I can find money to cover debt. I am debt free. I earn more money per month than goes out. I am saving money. I am enjoying a blissful, peaceful, sorted out life.”

In this moment, in this particular Starbucks, that reality could be true. In this moment all is well. I no longer want to anticipate events. Just be.

I am starting the difficult delightful chapter, developing a financial plan. I feel that familiar sense of shame, fear, low self-esteem, lack of trust. Lack of trust that the vision will work. 

June 26 2013

Feeling like I have no skin. Feel like the boundaries have indeed eroded…

Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“To investigate that part of myself that refuses to take birth fully and hops about as though it still had one foot in the womb… But when the heart acknowledges how much pain there is in the mind, it turns like a mother toward a frightened child. – Stephen Levine

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Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 13: October 22, 1993

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

Trying to figure it out.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

Sample 9 September 1, 2004

Sample 10 September 6, 1999

Sample 11 November 6, 1989

Sample 12 October 23, 2001

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Today: Journal Start Date October 22, 1993

At this time, I am 31 and J____ is 42. Anna is 8 and Julian is 5.

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Sample Pages

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Sample Writing

October 27, 1993

Just sitting down at the desk after “cleansing” the house. Ammoniated the bathroom floor. My PMS has dissipated into menstrual time, thank God. I didn’t mind the thought of getting pregnant. Yet the thought of it also excites panic! Must be more careful! I should not desire having a baby just to prove a point about relaxed motherhood… I should not desire having a baby for the grandparents. We are a complete package now.

On another note, Anna came into the kitchen as I was finishing cleanup and showed me something she discovered about her hands etc. (the typical hand sculptures that I “discovered”, as we all did/do). I love to see Anna staring out the car window talking to “someone” in her imagination or looking at her knees and seeing how they bang together. All the things I did and remember and now I can see them through adult eyes, through my child’s eyes…

October 28, 1993

I must have written a million notes tonight to J____ and finally gave him none of them! I’m sorry I was angry. I think it was fear. I was so worried about him, although at the same time, I knew he was OK. What I am angry about is the lack of privacy – last night I needed him to be here for me and the kids. I seem to be more and more the nagging wife. And then tonight J____ had M____ call me instead of calling me himself. I was humiliated. Now I am the angry wife at home that’s pissed because I didn’t know where he was. The one that serves coffee and tea to his clients and keeps the house clean and feels guilty for having wanted to go to my course on time. I just feel so angry or probably just full of fear.

Note from J____:

“Sometimes I feel so immature… I love you all the time and feel that even when I’m out being stupid, I am still a living breathing expression of our love…”

November 11, 1993

Family dinner at Mom’s (Mormor’s). I came home with the familiar feeling of having been almost eaten alive. On the surface it is all wonderful and I laugh and socialize – but inside I am a stunned mass of flesh with a jelly brain that aches…

Mom was in an anxiety attack kind of mood. Her tensions manifest themselves in strange ways that hurt. I eagerly showed her my knitting and she said the colours look like puke. Julian drew a picture with his felts of a series of dots and mom said, “Is that your mom’s face?” She was feeling extremely nauseous and sickly and so I said, “I’ll make the gravy for the roast. You lie down.” When the gravy was done, she came over and looked at it and said, “Yuck, I think I’m going to throw up.” When Anna went out for a walk with Dad (Morfar), Mom commented that I had dressed Anna to look like an old lady and that Dad might be too embarrassed to go out for a walk with her. Anna was wearing the new jacket Mom had given her because she “hates the big bulky coat Anna has.” (The bulky coat I was so happy about finding and really thought that this article of clothing might be the first that Mom might approve of.)

I need to purge this all out here. I can’t take it too seriously. I know that Mom doesn’t mean any of it and that I probably misinterpret everything everyone says. But that doesn’t eliminate this annoying feeling of having an outward personality so completely different from my inner one.

Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“Anger is healthy. It burns things up and leaves nutrients. Bitterness is unhealthy. It is a cancer that eats its host.” – Maya Angelou

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Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 12: October 23, 2001

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness. There is much joy in the pages. There is also a lot of pain.

The process is getting to me. I feel strange, dumb, self-obsessed as I thumb through pages. I pull out a random journal and in disgust shove it back in the shelf as I don’t want to address its contents right now.

There is something keeping me going though. Processing the journals through these trivial posts helps me gain perspective. After all, this blog is my journal as well. Posting gives me the overview and structure that I need; it is my personal therapy. It keeps me in writing process, making other projects flow easier. I also think the process of revisiting –and then wrapping up the journal after posting sample pages and then archiving it – means I am done that chapter at last. Maybe that journal won’t be opened again in my lifetime.

And today’s journal is difficult. It starts about 6 months after my (then) life partner divulged a year-plus long relationship with another woman. 

And in this journal, I see myself spending too much energy doing CPR on a dead marriage. 

This post-it though (that I found inside) is pretty cool, as I am actually that future self now.

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See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

Sample 9 September 1, 2004

Sample 10 September 6, 1999

Sample 11 November 6, 1989

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Today: Journal Start Date November 6, 1989

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Sample Pages

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Sample Writing

September 22, 2001

Email from J_____ :

“I am yours. Fully, I am coming home forever with a heart fully in love with you – no doubts…”

October 22, 2001

Email from J_____ :

“I want again to say sorry for making this weekend a difficult one. I do not want to ever entertain the thought of leaving you again…”

October 26, 2001

My body remembers and awakens. Old aches and pains will surface and intensify while they are being dealt with and discarded. A new biography. 

November 1, 2001

When we have compassion, pain dissolves into love.

November 19, 2001

I don’t know about J____ but I am so acutely aware of all we’ve been through… and I feel so much bigger as a result. Sometimes shaky, but steeped in love. I can say I am in love with him. Deeply in love with new feelings and gorgeous old familiar love.

November 21, 2001

Go back to this bitter event in my past and keep it alive for me, and then bring me the harvest from it.

November 22, 2001

Do I need reassurance or do I just need to let go(d)?

December 2, 2001

Don’t try so hard. I can’t give my heart or trust my life to J_____. That is realization and acceptance. My heart is my own. My life is my own. He had another life/love unbeknownst to me. Which made me less. To not know. And I have no idea how that other life exists now. But I can trust that I am not less anymore. 

December 10, 2001

I am so glad our family is together at Christmas.  And I wish for peace, balance, love and glowing growing open hearts…

December 17, 2001

Email from J_____ :

“It is you I wish to be with. Thank you for letting me stay with you.”

December 22, 2001

[I recall getting up in the middle of the night with a panic attack to write this note in my journal.]

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December 26, 2001

“My trust”

Just two words written on a little card.

I am glad I tried to give this little card to J_____ for Xmas. But it was too hard and I couldn’t. And it opened us to more truths as a result. If our marriage ends here, I accept, I understand, I am ready. If our marriage endures, I accept, I understand, I am ready.

J______ if you are reading this, am I dead?

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Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“Finishing business is opening unconditionally into love.” – Stephen Levine

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Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 11: November 6, 1989

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness. There is much joy in the pages. There is also a lot of pain. I try not to judge my younger self – even from last week, or yesterday or 5 minutes ago. Who I was then, who I am now- inseparable. I continue to be sculpted.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

Sample 9 September 1, 2004

Sample 10 September 6, 1999

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Today: Journal Start Date November 6, 1989

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Sample Pages

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Sample Writing

November 7 1989

Cannot get enthusiasm up for this art school project [3-D Form and Materials, Emily Carr]! Biting my nails at the sinful thoughts of quitting and just pursuing exhibiting. But I know that would be truly giving up. Why am I taking it so seriously when there are a lot more serious issues on hand? Like cruel animal research practices at UBC, the environment, homelessness, war…

First ever election in Namibia…

East Germans fleeing the country. Cabinet resigns…

Soviets protesting openly on this National Day…

November 10, 1989

Make something new in this time when nothing is new – from a time where everything was new.

November 15, 1989

“Dear Katarina Thorsen,

We are sorry to hear you are withdrawing from the course 3-D Form and Materials…”

November 16, 1989

We dyed/died our hair last night. Big Mistake. J____ woke up horribly depressed because of it.

The kids played quietly in their room all morning. Now Anna is painting more and more Xmas trees. So cozy. Julian is napping and I’ve cleaned the apartment, cooking potatoes and thinking about Xmas projects. Quiet grey day and no school tonight! Brought all the pieces in for photos and frames – 24 pieces for the show!

November 17, 1989

How many babies does it take to change a light bulb? None. Babies don’t have the motor skills or depth perception to change light bulbs.

November 18, 1989

4th color treatment! J_____: Ash Blonde. Me: Burgundy.

November 23, 1989

$100 from N.G. for my art! Groceries, laundry money, 16 roses to dry for Xmas presents.

November 28 1989

A girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do. Makes me sick to write that.

December 6, 1989

Fourteen women murdered in Montreal. “The killer must have known that it was the final hour of the last day of classes, and that it was a fourth year class where the female victims were about to enter the working world.” [Vancouver Sun]

December 7, 1989

Anna gets her first phone call from her best friend Stephanie. She’s coming after pre-school to play. Our little girlie-baby is growing up.

December 8, 1989

K______ visited today. It gave me a headache.

December 12, 1989

Gallery 56 directors visited. I was a blubbering idiot beforehand. Why was I so nervous? But it was great! 20 pieces chosen. The other 20 to Port Moody. I served omelettes, cappuccino, toast, cookies. They were truly appreciative. Julian slept the whole time. Anna was a “lady.”

It’s all so exciting!

December 13, 1989

Naive awe to self-critical disgust.

My portraits are positive images/ messages of humans converging.

“Mother’s milk is good for you.” [Red Hot Child Peppers] Collective sexual sigh seemed to rise from the audience.

December 19, 1989

Passed a note to tenant underneath us: “I don’t appreciate our children (mine and yours) hearing the foul language you use when yelling at your husband.”

December 28, 1989

Should I draw landscape? Politics? Goodness? Messages? Fuck it. Draw sexy women.

Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“Clearly, there can be no hope for mankind’s future without a radical change of living habits everywhere. Moving along our nation or any nation, cannot save the planet or itself. Rescue must come from joint action worldwide.” – Bruce Hutchison

[A quote I wrote in my journal November 24, 1989. Today as the entire world struggles due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and as we experience radical change in our daily lives, the quote feels very timely.]

Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 10: September 6, 1999

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness. There is much joy in the pages. There is also a lot of pain. I try not to judge my younger self – even from last week, or yesterday or 5 minutes ago. Who I was then, who I am now- inseparable. I continue to be sculpted.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

Sample 9 September 1, 2004

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Today: Journal Start Date September 6, 1999

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My daughter’s high school…

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Sample Writing

October 19, 1999

Slowly seem to be attempting to get back to actually writing personal thoughts in my journal again as opposed to collecting images and research material. Perhaps I am inclined to do this because of the lines on these sheets or because that is what Universe is calling me to do. But is it really any more “journalistic” to write words than collect the artifacts of my life and interests? 

[Note: There was of course the daily struggles of money, special eduction services, just being a mother, daughter, wife, artist, etc. Life was puttering along on the Sunshine Coast. My kids and I, super happy. My relationship with my parents, great. I was corresponding weekly with my mother in law. The house was being renovated. I, however, was in denial about a lot of things happening “behind the scenes” – wasn’t writing much personal stuff in my journal, keeping a mask on, not knowing that in a year and a bit the marriage was ending and that I was sharing my life partner with another woman. I really actually thought we were happy. I cannot judge myself for my “head in the sand” approach or him. It was the way it was then. So be it. That time resides in these journals. I leave them there. It has shaped us into the so much happier humans we are today. But the pain that was around the corner, climaxing in April 2001, would at times be soul shattering.]

November 9, 1999

Enjoying my upstairs studio! A ROOM OF MY OWN! And despite the first night of guilt and bizarre feelings of displacement and listening to new sounds – we are getting used to the living room as our bedroom and it looks beautiful. 

December 1999 My son’s letter to Santa.

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He opened his gift and it was a large Beanie Baby golden retriever.

“There is no Santa.” 

It was HEARTBREAKING. I was a piece of shit. 

Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“His voice, synchronized to the shadow of a pinhead, intoxicates him. He hears a roar where others hear only a squeak.” – Henry Miller

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Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 9: September 1, 2004

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

There is much joy in the pages. There is also a lot of pain. I try not to judge my younger self. Who I was then, who I am now- inseparable. I continue to be sculpted.

Some pages are just… yuck. In particular, the divorce process.

Holy fucking shit. I have come a long way. Big breath in, big breath out and release.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

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 [My “hard copy” collection- this blog has certainly been a journal as well]
Today: Journal Start Date September 1, 2004

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Sample Writing

September 1, 2004

Interacting leaves me tired. I’ve got to start anew, again. 

September 4, 2004

Maybe this is my lesson. That I can be right. To not diminish my rightness. Recall the Seattle bus incident and dumbing myself down to appease J____.

There is new grief and loss with each lesson learned. Did I waste all that energy silencing myself? Afraid to argue? Afraid to hurt others? Is this not me trying to control?! Is this not passive-aggressive on my  part?! Does it not diminish me when I try to avoid conflict?

September 8, 2004

The feeling of being in limbo is itself a loss. Even if the situation turns out fine. 

September 13, 2004

Can one express anger yet remain eloquently silent?

“I forgive you.” What does this mean? To me it means letting go of the past and its negative power over me. It means accepting all of it – good, bad, beautiful, ugly – and understanding it has shaped me…

Safe space. This is what I have created for myself and my children within the walls of my home. Can I extend this to my interaction with others in my life? 

Therapy notes: I and Other- presence, but maintaining I. Read Harriet Lerner’s “Dance with Anger” and the children’s book, “The Giving Tree.” PTSD, years of process, grieving, trauma, caregiving. Unprocessed grief. How to accept anger, express it, control it. Tactile, values, routine –> MUST divorce, in all its definitions. Art, analysis, family ties, self-confidence, decisions, archetypes, concrete examples, suicide, choices, independence, disentangling.

September 15, 2004

What are my goals?

My children’s independence, to write books, to work with teens, self-sufficiency, quiet life. Muteness.

September 26, 2004

Had a meeting over coffee on the porch at Mamma and Pappa. Pappa and I felt like there was a light directing us back to routine, back to excitement over work.

October 3, 2004

The seven drops [from “The Out of Sync Child has Fun”]

  1. Drop your voice
  2. Drop your body
  3. Drop your TV remote
  4. Drop your guard
  5. Drop your defenses
  6. Drop your batteries
  7. Drop your misconceptions.

Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

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Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 8: Oct 23, 1995

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness. There is much joy in the pages, as well, and certainly in the daily life “behind the scenes.” The blood and guts of family life.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

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Today: Journal Start Date October 23, 1995

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Sample Pages

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Sample Writing

October 28, 1995

Here I start – writing down the meat, the stream – cleansing words will come pouring out – some lost before my physical hand has a chance to catch them… I advocate all day for my children’s needs, maintain the household, deliver and pickup and in the midst maintain my art. My mind is full with images that want to be created. Fin-de-siecle, medieval alleys, dark castles, dripping blood and velvet. Women lay chaste and exhausted, yet wide awake eyes… 

October 29, 1995

It is now Sunday evening and I have not had 2 seconds free today to read, sew, draw, sit, let alone write down “the map of my interior.” We are about to watch the Simpsons Hallowe’en special.

October 30, 1995

Monday morning. Kids at school. Cleaning and laundry to be done. Carbella behind me on the couch watching the sunny cold world outside the living room window.

I always think these thoughts should be deep and profound. Gems of insight that make the reader applaud in recognition, despair, hatred, love, understanding. But fuck all that. These journal entries are simply my own. For me. As pen moves on paper, I enjoy watching the ink come out of the tip… these simple lines put together in simple patterns can convey emotion, life! The human mind is truly a miracle in it ability to communicate such complex, abstract concepts. Today, I would like my shoulders to be free of tension, free of migraines neuralgia, free of thinking, free of worry. I do not need to worry! It doesn’t accomplish a goddamn thing!

The sun is streaming through the window casting light and shadow onto this page. It is also peaceful. I pick cat hair from my black shirt. Feel my toes – always cold. My bowels gurgling. My intestines aren’t up to par these days. I feel the innards reflect a state of mind, and their gurgling is desperately trying to tell me something.

How grateful I am that mom and I have a new bond that is positive and happy and seems unbreakable, that IS unbreakable… the sourness in my stomach is simply that. A sour stomach that need no have reasons to exist. Need only be acknowledged and dealt with. To detour.

November 1, 1995

My mind needs a break, to slough off the influences of the day. A mind free of all the women in my “out there” life – teachers, mothers, peers, principals, etc etc women, women, women… No wonder I want to draw sleeping women, dead women, collapsed women – – quiet women.

November 2, 1995

Boy, this is really quite a dull, unpublishable journal. Will Anna and Julian or their kids open this 20 plus years from now and think – “Good Lord! What a bland person!”?

To be entirely alone with just my own thoughts is very difficult. I find it very hard to just stand and wait, sit and wait somewhere without a book in my hands. The panic of letting valuable minutes disappear.

November 3, 1995

It’s 8:22 PM. I am so tired that I’d like to head to sleep right now. But then again, part of me would like to leap out of bed, whip the kids out of theirs, turn on all the lights and party down on Friday night. It is very quiet in their rooms. Should I really break their silence and chance for a good night’s sleep? 

… The voice that flows through me comes from something far greater than this little event pattern called Katarina Thorsen.

November 6, 1995

A very exciting evening last night at the Grizzly game. Surreal atmosphere with 1 minute and 30 seconds left. 20,000 people were screaming. Anna and J____ with them dancing and cheering. The game was very close and exciting, and Julian was in the middle of it all with a migraine attack. I was catching his vomit in a plastic bag – then we escaped to the bathroom, then watched the rest of the game on the monitor. Julian lay asleep in my arms. Fireworks, cheerleaders, bear coming down from the sky, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Jackson Five music, basketball players, seats on the floor, Tom Arnold, Arthur Griffiths, etc. Through J_____’s talent and music, we were in the midst of it all! Anna was in love with all that is America and now dreams of being a cheerleader.

November 7, 1995

Sitting at VPL Main Library. Gerbil babies were dropped off this morning. What a vicious thing to have to do. To purposefully separate children from their parents. But hopefully they will find good homes. Next step is to separate the parents. What a tragic cataclysmic day for all of us! But it is also with a sense of relief. More gerbils in the world will not be fair to anyone – especially gerbil children who would have to go to the pet store. 

Painful UBC days were brought up at lunch

The greatest gift we can give Anna and Julian: the instinct, desire and courage to follow their hearts. And hopefully, we will make it easy on them when they do? To accept their decisions with respect and acceptance and gentleness. 

November 12, 1995

I am not pleased with my relationship with this book. It reeks of conservative approach and seriousness. My personal creativity is inhibited. But perhaps that is what these pages are pulling out of me. The inhibition. It demands to be heard and dealt with. I am tempted to put this monstrosity away into the shelves downstairs…

Artist’s Way

I tried it… but didn’t get very far.

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… no, didn’t get very far.

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Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“Dissatisfied with everything, dissatisfied with Myself, I long to redeem myself and to restore my pride in the silence and solitude of the night. Souls of those whom I have loved, souls of those whom I have sung, strengthen me, sustain me, keep me from the vanities of the world and its contaminating fumes; and You, dear God! grant me grace to prudence a few beautiful verses to prove to myself that I am not inferior to those whom I despise.” – Charles Baudelaire

Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 7: Dec 17, 1995

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

There is much joy in the pages, as well, and certainly in the daily life “behind the scenes.” The blood and guts of family life.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

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Today: Journal Start Date December 17, 1995

Cover

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Sample Pages

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My son, just before 7th birthday

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My daughter, age 10

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Sample Writing

December 19 1995

The times when my son is down with a migraine, I have to really focus on his health and creating a dark soothing environment around him. It is at these times I see how old his soul is. He has lived many times and carries so much pain and the weight of knowledge and understanding with him.  Sometimes I feel that school is killing him. His omnidirectional thinking needs an omnidirectional environment, but a classroom needs linearity… I feel like I’m letting my son down by doing too much. And in the process, I am losing sight of him and his needs. I must find a way to obtain simplicity. 

December 27 1995

Christmas finis. Just finished the house. J____ out with the kids. A relaxing, piddling morning. Looking forward to getting on the computer to explore Painter. Also some quiet time to writing my thoughts. “The Artist’s Way” scared the hell out of me, do I dare get back to that journal? Jesus Christ Superstar on in the background. My favourite movie since Grade 6. I am exhausted beyond exhaustions yet cannot go to bed. The head races with so many thoughts that weigh me down. Why is it always these times when I write more? Probably because the words spilled out on paper give me that relief I am searching for. On paper, the thoughts need no longer weigh down my mind.

December 29 1995

We were so distant in the last 2 days, a distance that has been hammered down in me due to over-thinking. But I came back and gave myself to J____ and we fell in love all over again. [won’t bother writing X-rated details here]. God, how I love this man. Our souls will live together forever. While we have our earthly bodies, I want to feel them against each other, loving each and every precious moment.

December 30, 1995

Now sitting at the Sushi bar at Library Square, feeling very cosmopolitan and back on track. Why do I need to write these details as life whirls around me? Perhaps because I am so overwhelmed with the gift called LIFE that in order to DEAL with it, I have to record just minuscule detail.

January 1, 1996

We stayed up until 12:30 AM and we had a family blast. Julian was healthy(!) and Anna was a party animal!

January 3, 1996

I know it is trivialities that I write, but it is exactly these trivialities that evoke the atmosphere of this particular present. This peaceful beautiful existence will evolve into another peaceful beautiful existence, but I do want to retain memories of the particular parameters in which we love right now.

Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“I wish I could do whatever I liked – behind the curtain of “madness.” Then I’d arrange flowers, all day long. I’d paint pain, love and tenderness. I’d laugh as much as I feel like at the stupidity of others, and they would all say, “Poor thing! She’s crazy!” Above all, I’d laugh at my own stupidity. – Frida Kahlo

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Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 6: August 23, 2019

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

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Today: Journal Start Date August 23, 2019 

[this journal was gifted to a couple of dear friends in San Francisco] (drawing style inspired by Maria Hesse and Tove Jansson]

Sample Pages

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Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 5: June 13, 1990

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

It is as difficult as I anticipated. But I am laying aside self-judgment. It is also more joyous than I expected as I revisit being a young mom trying to figure life out. I am grateful these visits. And grateful to leave the pain, of who I was then, in the past.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

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Today: Journal Start Date June 13, 1990

Cover

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Sample Pages

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Sample Writing

June 13 1990

Haven’t called any friends lately. On one hand, I don’t want to go on and on about my art which I have been tending to do. I don’t have the poop to have anyone over (at any time of day). Well, it’s a two-way street and they haven’t been calling me either. So fuck me!

Had a nice day with the kidlets. Cleaning the apartment all morning, doing laundry, hanging it – smells so fresh, house dust free, garbage free. Went to Granville Island for shopping at Opus and Kids Only Market, lunch (pizza pretzels), and some play time at the long slide.

Pappa is home safely, He feels good about F_____’s interception with mom’s drinking, but he’s getting the blames and blows.

June 14 1990

Anna is growing up so fast. Sometimes it’s scary. Sometimes it’s fantastic. But it is always wonderful. The main thing is that we raise happy children that love themselves and the world and that have the confidence to make good choices. I have to face the fact that they won’t always be smaller than me and always there for cuddling.

June 18 1990

Don’t forget to work with J____. Not against or for him. Lighten up and move onward together. He’s coming home for the evening.

Kids on the balcony having a wonderful time being naked with sunshine and water, surrounded by geraniums and other healthy flowers.

June 28 1990

“Except by remembering the beautiful little familiar who was so cheerful and loyal to me, and who I so thoughtlessly, out of pride and distraction I betrayed…” [Alice Walker] <– This is what I worry about all the time with the kids and the family – especially the children. Wanting to give them the nurturing and comfort and attention they need. Because I so desperately what them to love me and feel open and comfortable with me. With J____ I don’t worry about betraying him or disregarding his needs, etc. 

July 9 1990

Gallery Alpha screwed up – my name wasn’t on the invite. Then they promised me press releases. But my name wasn’t in the North Shore News either. So Mom called them, extremely angry. So J____ and I  drove to the gallery for a confrontation. I was dying.

Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“Even if the music wasn’t about fucking – and because he loved fucking, a lot of it was – it was about the fucking the universe does through us as it joyfully fucks itself.” – Alice Walker

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Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 4: August 14, 2002

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

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Today: Journal Start Date August 14, 2002

Cover

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Sample Pages

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Sample Writing

August 16, 2002

I need to divorce. I am disappearing physically. And I feel in limbo. I actually feel like I am dying from it. I need to be free. I need to clean all relationships in my life and I am trying to start fresh with all of them. I want the possibility of going out for dinner with someone I trust- to look in someone’s eyes and feel like the person reflected back is free. And I want that freedom for him.

September 7, 2002

I guess I am just not made of the necessary stuff. I will never be the the wonderful friend and woman he says C_____ is in his life. I feel demoted and pushed away. I do not hold a place in his life that I like. I do not want to be a friend in the multitudes of women in his life. I can’t place myself in that vulnerable position anymore. I do not trust- that is the most tragic thing. 

October 1, 2002

I committed a great sin yesterday when I told him I don’t know what love is anymore. Love is the simplest thing to understand and I live it everyday. It is a relief to leave that ludicrous thought in the past. I have questioned love because I was hurt. I have given power to women who I don’t respect. It is not love I don’t understand. It’s him. I married him for better or for worse. I divorce him for better. The disentanglement will take awhile and every day is a new beginning. I sometimes lose patience and that is OK too. 

November 2, 2002

I don’t know if C____ was on the ferry tonight- I saw a blond dome of curls and big lips… I didn’t want to attempt any more contact. I didn’t feel sadness or fear or nothing. Not even loss. I just wonder if all those blond curls were worth it. 

November 3, 2002

I am excited and gratified. My eyes are open as I plunge into a world where death is not to be feared. Where the dead and the scene speaks truths that need no words. Where the ultimate goal is justice, protection, integrity, bravery, truth and caring. The kids showed me last night when I came home how much I mean to them. As they grow into brilliant adults so quickly and I am free, I know there is a place in the world where I may make a difference. And if I should die tonight, I feel at peace. For I am not pursuing a goal. I am LIVING. 

Sample Quote

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The Blonde, 2003. My personal art therapy. China Marker on Masonite Board.

Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 3: May 16, 2000

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

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Today: Journal Start Date May 16, 2000

Cover

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Pencil, coffee, ink, April 11, 2000

Sample Page

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Sample Drawing

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Sample Writing

May 16, 2000

To recapture the connection to the creative process, I must begin from the beginning- and that is to “come back” to the IMAGE/IDEA FILE, to “come back” to my journal- only this way can I begin to explore the central theme to the next body of work- only this way can I begin to UNDERSTAND why I was driven to study the IMMIGRANT, the PIONEER- the woman at the centre entering the new world, with the ancients on her back. In order for this theme to work, I cannot remove myself from it. I have to place myself within the play, as its central character. I have to become the people that I study. Only this way will the work be done, filled with my meaning, have any kind of importance. And it’s only through the journal that I have privacy and space enough to have a world of my own. A place just mine so that I can create SOME THING.

Does the central motherless child/woman recur in my work because of the awe of independence?

June 1, 2000

Struggling, haggard, the forgotten, the overlooked, the lost, misplaced… As Vilhelm Moberg did, I too want to awaken the dead. I too want to conquer fate and oppression. I too want to recall what was past and what has been lost. I want to return this homestead and its souls to life. This little world shall be restored. I want to recreate it.

June 4, 2000

I was going through some journals, while reorganizing my studio and came across the following, told to me by [my son] January 30,1996 [the day before his 8th birthday], on the way home from his after-school science class: “Hurry home. I need to watch the sunset. The sun is giving me my birthday present. When the sun sets and the colours change, the chemicals change. The sun shows me my past. The sun celebrates my birthday’s yesterday.”

July 14 2000

Drenched in memories. Surrounded by photographs. On an island in a sea of memories, emotions, moments, nostalgia, and personal history. Overwhelmed with almost a sadness – as if those moments are lost forever and the sense that I didn’t savour them enough. But the moments are there- in the photos and in the memories conjured and in the experiences that have created my children’s present selves. Their cuteness, their smallness, innocence tugs at the heart. And I feel proud that we could give them such a great life. And hopefully continue to.

Sample Quote

“Through the eyes of the woman we begin to see history as the stuff of daily struggle… Wherever there was a woman, there was a nucleus of a home.” – Lillian Schlissel

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Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 2: Dec 15, 1994

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

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See first post:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Today: Journal Start Date Dec 15 1994

Cover

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Sample Page

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Sample Drawing

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Sample Writing

Pages and pages in my journals are strangely filled with apology notes to J___

E.g. Dec 20, 1994… apologize for being so rough… You and your interests are sacred to me… Sorry for not thanking you right away… Sorry for asking you about Safeway… 

December 29, 1994

Kids stayed overnight at Mom’s [I always called my parents’ house “Mom’s house” or “Mormor’s House,”  not Mom and Dad’s…] and the house was so quiet after a hectic Xmas week. I’m looking forward to their voices filling the rooms in about an hour! J____ is low due to much and we had a good talk this morning. I hope positiveness and personal well-being come back too, Thank God we have Hawaii coming up!

January 4, 1995

Listen… listen… I resonate from the pulsating hill of not-yet dry oil- alizarin crimson, painted with the hysteria of a hand not willed by human but by God.  Was it God? I thought it was God… that bastard that tormented me down to my aching bowels. Listen… listen… I speak from the depths of the crimson to tell you what happened, to warn you of what I’ve become. I reside in the two-dimension; I craved the flatness, the finiteness. But I tell you, it swells and cascades with the dance of Evil! Delicious evil that promises art eternal. 

Let my memory gently lift us back in time… we see the ferry, the ferry that took me to the dock of a tired old man. My baggage was cumbersome, filled with the naive dreams of the artist-on-holiday. 

Sample quote

“Did I fear that once I found that buried treasure which I had hidden away I would never again know peace?” – Henry Miller

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Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 1: Oct 21, 1992

My Journals:

I was born in 1962 and have kept some form of diary/sketchbook since age 6, but experienced a transformative relationship to my journaling in 1986 when I took Kitty Mykka‘s Creative Process class at Emily Carr College of Art and Design. She called our journals Image/Idea Files – that made sense to me. I now have a ludicrous collection of these files. Their purpose? They are not just for sketching, for keeping a record of life unfolding. A mother’s diary. They are a repository of anxiety. A safe place I can vomit out my despair, my observations, my joys, my doodles, quotes, my ideas, my trivial to-do’s, my bull-shit, my dark side, my anger directed at others and myself, my longing, my self-flagellation. I have always found journaling therapeutic. I realized the other day that they are actually my SHADOW WORK.

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Why “Unnecessary Violence”?

There is no greater bully who has victimized me more than me. I want to tell that bully that it is time to retire and shut the hell up. To tap the head of the bully and with an understanding smile, give it a stuffed animal and a comfortable place to rest for all eternity. Thanks for the lessons, but that’s enough now.

Shadow Work:

Taking it in its deepest sense, the shadow is the invisible saurian tail that man still drags behind him. Carefully amputated, it becomes the healing serpent of the mysteries. Only monkeys parade with it. Carl Jung, The Integration of the Personality. (1939).

The archiving is about acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

The purpose of this daily project:

I am archiving the journals. Going through each one to remove excess bits and to wrap each one in a paper band and label them with the date. I am 58 now. Entering the (hopefully) wise chapter of my life. There are big personal shifts happening in how I work, how I create, how I am in the world in relation to others and to myself. To move forward, I will acknowledge the past. Once they are dated, I can see what my heart says about their legacy.

Are they letters to my kids?

Journal Start Date Oct 21, 1992

Cover

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Sample Page

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Sample Drawing

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Sample Writing

October 24, 1992

Took the kids up to Hollyburn Ridge for a picnic lunch. Wonderful! They complained just a little. No car sickness. Just a healthy, happy family! Growing up together.

I feel bad about things I think about my friends. I have such a critical mind. And I don’t feel good about myself in their company as a result, But I am consciously reforming, sort of. SORRY EVERYONE. Why am I being polite in my own fucking journal? Avoiding I___. She pisses me off.

October 25, 1992

Is there any hope for living artists? Who can possibly be original, an influence, a driving force? It is all pablum, chewed over and over and finally regurgitated out in desperate attempt to recapture the original thought. 

November 20, 1992

I feel such a spiritual connection to this house and those who have lived in it. And certainly when people enter it, they enter my life… Maybe that’s why certain visits exhaust me. T___’s visits never exhaust me. I___’s wipe me right out. What is it? Maybe a sense of tension on my part? On hers? My body trembles and feels violated. I recall her in the summer looking around my kitchen and at ____ saying, “At least I have everything.” Why did I not speak up, scream, demand to know what she meant? Didn’t I___ deserve my honesty? I didn’t confront or question. Did cowardice stifle me? 

Sample quote

“I’d see the bearded white man in the clouds. I tried to talk to him, but the clouds would just dissipate. He was unreasonable. He’d never answer me. In rage, I’d climb on top of the house and stand defiantly with a clenched fist raised in anger, shaking and screaming inside my head, “I’ll get you, you motherfucker, one day I’ll whip you.”

– Luisah Teish

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Covidian Dream Play

I had MANY strange dreams last night but one really strange one had me entering a suburban house in the midwest and walking upstairs and seeing my mom desperately vacuuming rugs and wall to wall carpeting. She lived there alone. She had all new decor- very Americana- none of our old stuff. Nothing recognizable at all. She kept vacuuming, looked up with angst on her face. Then Tobey, our old dog, walked up and vomited a cat-like hairball on the rug that she was vacuuming. She just kept vacuuming around it. We didn’t do our usual belly laughs. It just felt hopeless.

“Everything can happen. Everything is possible and probable. Time and space do not exist. On a flimsy framework of reality, the imagination spins, weaving new patterns.” – August Strindberg, A Dream Play

Simple OWL drawing lesson using kid-grade felt pens

[Film by Anna Thorsen]

I teach OWL drawing for most, if not all, of my creative engagement workshops.  I use the OWL image as it is easy to break it down into simple geometric shapes on which to build form.

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I usually use china marker.

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But we don’t always have the “right” material.

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We have to work with what we have. Below are OWL drawings by SFU Restorative Justice students using just dollar store felt pens.

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Working with what you have. Freedom within limits. That’s when magic happens.

See also:

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I can’t help but to wonder: Am I ready?

The whole world is experiencing an extraordinary, difficult and dangerous time. 

I can’t help but to wonder: Am I ready to die? 

A journal entry from August 2013

Is it ok to die today?

Would I run into Mamma and Pappa’s arms? Would I be at torpet: my childhood summer house?

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Would there be flowers and yellow clogs and juice and cinnamon buns and red and white houses and yellow buttercups and blue and white checkered tablecloths?

Would I worry about those left behind or would it open the world to them? Would my “life” continue despite dying? Would it be eternal summer and my own version of paradise and would all be well forever and ever?

Would this be an ok moment to die? Would I let it happen and plummet to earth yet fly to the heavens? Would peace abound, astound and surround? Would I let go and give in, give up and sigh to it? Would it all stop and turn black or would I want to go back?

Would I be conscious or conscience-less? Would I recognize and understand or lose myself in confusion? Would my brain unravel slowly, spirally or dwindle, diminish in a whimper and whisper? Would I cease to be or be more me?

Would I feel boiled, clogged, harmed, alarmed, swarmed, smothered, aloof or blissful, ignorant, surrounded, astounded, abiding, loving, quietly forgiving, allowing, not knowing, no longer questioning or trying- just dying?

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Would I be a child? Or a wild animal? Would I be alone or at home? Could I take time, say goodbye or just stop? Into blackness. Or would I see sun and clouds and lakes and birds- the birds my mother saw when she was dying- would I join her there over coffee?

Would we be then?

Would we be now?

When the heart at last acknowledges how much pain there is in the the mind, it turns like a mother toward a frightened child. All that remains incomplete seems somehow workable and an unmistakable joy arises at the possibility of becoming whole at last. – Stephen Levine, A Year to Live