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.


See first post:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Today: Journal Start Date Dec 15 1994



Sample Page



Sample Drawing


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


Potato Nose Diaries (1977): Instalment 9- Torpet



Previously on PND:

Instalment 1: Introduction

Instalment 2: The First Entries

Instalment 3: Do Tendu Jetés en Balance

Instalment 4: Sex Education

Instalment 5: They Don’t Know What It Is

Potato Nose Diaries (1977) Short: I am 15 now

Potato Nose Diaries (1977) Short: The Audition

Instalment 6: The Trip to Paris

Potato Nose Diaries (1977) Short: Steven

Instalment 7: Grad and the Part

Instalment 8: The Letter

Today’s instalment


© Katarina Thorsen 2018

This post is dedicated to the Carlsson’s, Skååre’s, Hallgren’s, Envall’s.


Photo by Julian Bowers. Ulriksdal, Mässvik, Värmland, Sweden, July 2009.

A reminder that sometimes it is OK to do less.

I have been slow all day– I am trying to allow myself time to stop without guilt, to allow this feeling of weariness, this reminder that sometimes it is OK to do less.

What is this weariness?  Yes, I am recouping from a flu and yes, I have many multiple projects going at once, yes I have a long to-do and commitments, but is not physical, no, it is this familiar feeling of saudade.

Saudade is a unique Portuguese word that has no immediate translation in English.  Saudade describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves.  It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing will never return.  It’s related to the feelings of longing, yearning.  

Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses and makes one live again…  It can be described as an emptiness and the individual feels this absence…  In fact, one can have ‘saudades’ of someone whom one is with, but have some feeling of loss towards the past or the future.

I look at my to-do lists and I sigh.  I walk to the kitchen to make myself some coffee and it is an overwhelming feat today.

I have a precious day at home alone to catch up, but I really just want to sit.  To sit in this emotion, hang out with my parrot, and feel nostalgia.  To go inward, to regain some energy to move forward.  To embrace missing as a gift/reminder to rest.

I tried though- went back at my computer, preparing to write a letter, and as I was searching online for something specific, I came across an old blog post I wrote in 2013.  And I knew, this old post was a reminder again to stop today, to allow the feeling of saudade.  

Look who is saying hello in that old post!  How precious to see my dog Tobey (who passed away Dec 23, 2015), walking in the forest. 

A walk in the forest August 31, 2013.



A GIFT.  So I share this here, pack my bags for tomorrow and STOP for the day- for sometimes it is OK to do less.

“About five years ago I saw a mockingbird make a straight vertical descent from the roof gutter of a four-story building.  It was an act as careless and spontaneous as the curl of a stem or the kindling of a star.

The mockingbird took a single step into the air and dropped.  His wings were still folded against his sides as though he were singing from a limb and not falling, accelerating thirty-two feet per second per second, through empty air.  Just a breath before he would have been dashed to the ground, he unfurled his wings with exact, deliberate care, revealing the broad bars of white, spread his elegant, white-banded tail, and so floated onto the grass.  I just rounded a corner when his insouciant step caught my eye; there was no one else in sight.  The fact of his free fall was like the old philosophical conundrum about the tree that falls in the forest.  The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them.  The least we can do is try to be there.

– Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek



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Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 7.46.12 PM

You are motherhood. You are the greatest mystery. Karin 17/09/36-08/11/08

Only do not forget, if I wake up crying it’s only because in my dream I’m a lost child hunting through the leaves of the night for your hands… – Pablo Neruda

8 years ago today, my little brother held my mother’s face and spoke sweetly, guiding my mother.  I laid my right ear on her chest and I heard her heart slow then stop. A last sigh.  Then she flew.  She became everything.


Oh how I love you, Mamma.  I see you more and more in my face, in my body.  I welcome each sag, each wrinkle, each change in my bones.  Your fingers are my fingers (on my right hand), your laugh is mine (and the parrot’s), your worn out recipe book has butter and flour stains and smells like your kitchen.   When I hold Henrik and Vivienne, I feel you holding them as well.  You whirl around the family and your spirit and love fills the room.

I still reach for the phone to call you.  I want to talk to you about cleaners and the latest soup recipe with you.  I want to have you lie on your bed with Asterix as I sort your closet and we laugh at sweaters we have held on to.  I want to hop in the car with you and Tobey or Tina or Milton and walk for hours in the forest hunting for mushrooms.

public domain

I want to pull out all my Molly research and discuss it with you, head to Molly’s grave and have a picnic.  I want to cook with you as the kids lounge in your bedroom watching cartoons.  I want to pull out the furniture and dust behind the couch and weed the garden as we gossip and laugh.  I want to spend full days in Fort Langley.

I no longer pursue your dreams on your behalf; I pursue mine as you truly always wanted me to do.

You feared to lose me, but you never did.

And as I become more and more myself, I become more and more your love.

Look at the legacy you created.

You are love.  You are beauty.  You are motherhood.  You are the greatest mystery.


I need to process you.  I want to write about you.

Karin Thorsen

September 17, 1936 – November 8, 2008




For me, art has no end- there is no end product… A drawing by my father.

I was staying over at my brother and sister-in-law’s place the other day, spending delicious time with my niece and nephew.

Photo by Cher Thorsen
Photo by Cher Thorsen

I went to the downstairs washroom to wash my hands after Halloween costume mayhem…


… and came across a drawing my father, Roar Thorsen, had  done in 2011:


Oh, how I adore this piece.  It contains so much.  It illustrates the beauty of Roar’s post-stroke art.  It contains his intense attention to detail, his use of stickers to cover “mistakes,” his classic hands-in-the-pockets “gubbar,” his portrait of his beloved dog Tobey, as well as my cats, his love of the Swedish landscape, his joy that he felt creating his art inside a residential care centre, his pride.



I just love it.  And seeing little water splashes on the piece as my nephew (little Roar) stands at the sink and washes his hands, adds so much to my love of this piece.  For me, art has no end- there is no end product; art evolves over time.  And these water droplets are the continuation of the marks my father made.

A picture is a poem without words. – Horace


Roar Thorsen August 8, 1930- October 25, 2012


A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.

Weighted and achy heart today on Mother’s Day.  Missing Mom is an expected constant in my life.  But I am so blessed to have been loved so completely by her.  The pain now is, therefore, beautiful.

Revisiting some favorite photographs.

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.  ~Tenneva Jordan



Because you are
a seed,
chestnut tree, autumn, earth,
water, heights, silence
prepared the germ,
the floury density,
the maternal eyelids
that buried will again
open toward the heights
the simple majesty of foliage,
the dark damp plan
of new roots,
the ancient but new dimensions
of another chestnut tree in the earth.

From Pablo Neruda, Ode to a Chestnut on the Ground

Watercolor. Quote by Lynda Barry


“Fresh sheets.” Journal exercise: your favorite memory. #arttherapy

Write for 10 minutes about your favorite memory.  

Maybe a favorite unusual moment in time.   Stream of consciousness.  No censorship.  Keep the pen moving.  Don’t worry about grammar or making sense.

Sometimes favorite memories can feel poignant, sad, sentimental, amazing.

A favorite memory.  I thought of it last night as I changed the sheets on my bed and lay down in the sweet scent of clean.  My mind flooded back to changing Mom’s bedsheets those last few months of her life.  Coming over with cleaning supplies and scouring her house with smells she liked- Pinesol, Orange Mate, Lysol, Murphy’s Oil Soap etc.  Doing all the floors, vacuuming, scouring the bathroom, ironing, doing laundry, chatting and laughing, bringing her water, her meds, doing blood pressure check, diabetes test, changing her sheets and putting on fresh ones.

Watching movies, and shows and documentaries.  Cleaning the porch, weeding the garden, walking the dog, cleaning the bird cage.  Making tea/coffee, buying her Boost and cleaning out the pantry.  Putting on the dishwasher and digging around the storage.  Tidying up the guest room and discussing family gossip.  Looking at old photos and prepping snacks.  Making dinner for the family.  Helping mom in the bathtub.  Watching her put on her velour track suit and her jewelry.  Cleaning her purse.

Organizing all the medical equipment.  Updating her binder and making doc appointments.  Using the Swiffer on the hardwood floor.  Hanging up paintings and cleaning her car.  Talking to neighbors and more dog walks.  Cleaning off the porch tables and chairs and dusting the living room.  Buying presents for the kids and updating mom on the latest.  Lying beside her on her fresh sheets.  Making sure she had her favorite flat old pillow, which I still have.

FRESH SHEETS.  Encouraging her to use the NICE ONES she kept saving for her guests.  The embroidered pillowcase covers.  The big comforter.  Her hair rollers.  Her makeup bag.  The old bag of buttons and thread.  Always a bottle of water and the orchid.  And the sun through the venetian blinds just so.

Memory is the diary that we all carry about us.  – Oscar Wilde