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

Cover

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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

 

 

Shaping non-fiction characters.

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What was initially to be a short volunteer research project into a Vancouver cold case to support a theory championed by a retired homicide detective, became, for me [and continues to be], a 17+ year personal journey “to restore to now dead people the fullness and degree of complication of their lives. To restore their humanness back to their lives.” 

“That’s our work. To restore humanity to the human being that went before that don’t speak for themselves… You have the possibility of willing them to life; you have the possibility of waking the dead. You have to liberate your characters to their full human dimension whether they are historical or not… The characters exist in a historical reality… that makes our work a kind of 3-D chess game… To make the characters real, you have to permit a darker side.” – Ken Burns

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Photos by Julian Bowers

The distinction between life and lifeless is a human construct. Every atom in this body existed before organic life emerged 4000 million years ago. Remember our childhood as minerals, as lava, as rocks? Rocks contain the potentiality to weave themselves into such stuff as this. We are the rocks dancing. Why do we look down on them with such a condescending air? It is they that are an immortal part of us.

JOHN SEED, Thinking Like a Mountain

Courage

My writing/art project (the one I have been working on for 16 and a half years) is unfolding in new, fast and lovely ways. The ghosts are happy and all is locking into place.

The creative process has been a windy, strange and incredible path through a dense and dark forest until now. All of a sudden that path is straightening, flattening, welcoming me to the field- a sunlit meadow of flowers.

I had a stress dream last night that I lost control of the project again. I woke up in a sweat and ultimately a sense of relief that I am the gatekeeper – secure, older, wiser – and the ghosts are safe with me.

I have made a commitment to them to not agree to any new collaboration that feels wrong. To enter into the sharing of the project with open heart and delight. To not agree to anything that does not align with my spirit and with the narrative I have been entrusted to tell.

Pulled an angel card just now and lo and behind- these two popped out.

“She drank alone…” Journal entry

She walks– arms crossed, cold hands tucked into armpits, chin tucked into chest.

The familiar dark ink pool spreads around her feet.

She bends down this time. Curious?

Her reflection- just fragmented spirals.

She slips! lurching upward and backward, around.

The black ink fills her mouth.

Hog-tied, she lets out a fluid-filled silent scream.

A violent blow to the back of her head.

The angel sings

Do I hear 21, 21, 21…

I’ll give you 21, 21, 21…

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.

She floats now… in a soft pool of light, enclosed in a red tomb, bathed in an oxygenated salted sea,

Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.

A shadow moves across the the field.

She inserts her thumb into her mouth and sleeps.

For Kajsa

 

A quick creative project on last day of 2019: The Death and Burial of Cock Robin

Rainy stay-inside sick day today. I have stayed in PJs and creative process.

I spent the last few hours interpreting The Death and Burial of Cock Robin with ink, watercolour and salt. [Source: Gutenberg Press. Original text by anonymous circa 14th-17th century]

Chanticleer, what want you here, So early in the morning?

“Cock-a-doodle-doo,” says he, pray don’t you see the day’s already dawning?

All the birds in the air fell to sighing and sobbing,

When they hear the bell toll for poor Cock Robin.


Thou cruel Sparrow

Thy pointed dart

Has robbed me of half my heart;

Ah! he is, no more,

Who us’d with me to fly –

He is slain, he is gone –

And I follow – I die.

Goodbye 2019. CHEERS TO A CREATIVE FULFILLING 2020!

See you in 2020.

Time to read a lot, to write a lot, to do my art a lot, to focus on family, on my health, to finish projects and to reflect on next steps. To balance output with input. Thank you as always for your support. Much love and best wishes, Katarina

I don’t bleed anymore. Finding solace in journal pages.

“These are the days of tweeting, blogging, posting, instagraming, snapchatting, you name it. Everyone seems to be doing it. Some people seem very comfortable expressing every morsel of their living and breathing and eating into the world. Not that this isn’t totally fascinating to the one sharing, but most people (including me) don’t care about what you ate for breakfast, who you ate it with, and what you were wearing. However, when someone writes with a raw vulnerability, expressing with exquisite clarity a thought or feeling that I recognize in myself, I tend to sit up and take notice. Truth has a way of getting my attention.

In my work with grieving clients, I find that one of the most helpful activities I can encourage them to do is to write. “Write about what?” they say. Write about what is on your mind. Tell your story. Share your experiences, the secrets that need to be let out. Open your heart, feel the love, anger, pain, joy, sorrow, gratitude, regrets – whatever is present in the moment – and put it on the paper. Write letters, notes, poems, rants. Anything. Just express.”

– Carrie Doubts, Finding Solace Through Writing