Caress the detail, the divine detail. Language play.

I don’t consider myself a writer by any means.  I am a visual artist inspired by the written word.  I love gathering sources, collecting, researching, gathering.  I love reading and feeling the creative process of the writer.  I enjoy contemplating interpretation- how small changes in presentation and how collaging and mish-mashing can alter meaning and message and how written language and visual language play similarly.


I love the DETAILS.  I love how language dances through alignment and placement.  Take for example in the song, Take a Break from Hamilton (at 2:19):

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Aw, jeez!  This kind of DETAIL reinforces my love of the creative process!

I also perseverate on the notion of stripping away- how taking away a word or adding a word alters meaning and delivery.  Sometimes this fascination hinders my flow when reading a book!  For example,  I was sitting on the subway in Toronto last Sunday evening heading to Kipling and started reading Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace.

There on page 21, I couldn’t help but stop.

[The visitors] are like swans, drifting along on unseen feet; or else like the jellyfish in the waters of the rocky harbour near our house…

The use of the word “like” sidetracked me and I gleefully went on an a tangents, playing with removing it and adding it back.

They are like swans…  


They are swans, drifting along on unseen feet; or the jellyfish in the waters of the rocky harbour near our house…

Oh that is fun.  The delivery is so different.  And alters the intent.

They are like jellyfish.  They are jellyfish.



I am thinking about the young man in Toronto who entertained us (last week at the hotel bar) with a brilliance that shone through despite his alcohol haze.  With remarkable passion, he recited lengthy pieces of Shakespeare and, intriguingly, found himself repeatedly stuck on the meaning and delivery of … but soft… in Romeo and Juliet.

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

He testified that Romeo is in a sense “stalking” Juliet and that spying on her could be played more creepy.  He argued (convincingly) that Romeo’s sentence that starts with but soft is actually a line that starts MID SENTENCE- that Romeo simply starts speaking at mid sentence.  It is quite a lovely argument and does affect how the scene can be played.

Oooo, I kind of love it!

Caress the detail, the divine detail. – Vladimir Nabokov


Anxiety from anticipating/processing loss requires pulling out the tool kit. #journaling

I’m working on a book with Dad and it’s a beautiful process.  It’s about maintaining connections through art and with art.

“Stay connected.” by Roar Thorsen, 2011

But as Dad goes through his past, and I take dictation and notes…

… I am filled with nostalgia for a life passed, I am filled with the heaviness of missing my mom.

I can sense I am anticipating losing Dad…

even my old dog, Tobey.

Anticipating.  Anxious.  Process.

I know that life is always fluctuating and sometimes we are stronger than other times.  Sometimes we feel power-ful and other times power-less.  Sometimes we hold on so tight, we strangle the moment.  I’m learning that all of it is OK.  There’s no right or wrong.  Only splendid imperfection.

The anxiety that wells up, though, requires some tools so it doesn’t take hold and cause a depression.

And by now, through lots of practice, I have a pretty good toolkit that I carry around with me.

So I embrace the memories.  Ride through heart ache.  Sit with the moment.  Grateful for being able to love and be loved and thus not be immune to loss, nostalgia and sentimentality.

“Whenever I start thinking of my love for a person, I am in the habit of immediately drawing radii from my love – from my heart, from the tender nucleus of a personal matter- to monstrously remote points of the universe. Something impels me to measure the consciousness of my love against such unimaginable and incalculable things as the behaviour of nebulae(whose very remoteness seems a form of insanity), the dreadful pitfalls of eternity, the unknowledgeable beyond the unknown, the helplessness, the cold, the sickening involutions and interpenetrations of space and time.”

― Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory

Part 32 of 35 daily journal workshop. GRIEF. #arttherapy

LOSS.  What does that mean to you?  Are you scared of it?  Is the fear of losing someone or something preventing you from living now?  Have you experienced such profound loss that grief overwhelms you, and indeed, now shapes you?

Write it out.  Or draw it out.

There are no easy answers.  There is just process.  And breathing.  In and out.

Recommended reading:

A Grief Observed by CS Lewis

Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov

Owning our grief:

Alana Sheeren believes in love, beauty and the transformative power of grief. After the stillbirth of her son she began writing about her personal journey into grief and whole-self healing. A Reiki Master with a MA degree in clinical and community psychology and a BFA in theater, Alana partners with women through the dance of grief, both individually and in healing retreats.  How does grief shape our lives? Does the way we experience it make a difference? Using personal stories, Alana opens up new ways of looking at grief and encourages us to stay open to its gifts and lessons. [source]

Frontline’s Facing Death:

How far would you go to sustain the life of someone you love, or your own? When the moment comes, and you’re confronted with the prospect of “pulling the plug,” do you know how you’ll respond?  In Facing Death, FRONTLINE gains extraordinary access to The Mount Sinai Medical Center, one of New York’s biggest hospitals, to take a closer measure of today’s complicated end-of-life decisions. In this intimate, groundbreaking film, doctors, patients and families speak with remarkable candor about the increasingly difficult choices people are making at the end of life: when to remove a breathing tube in the ICU; when to continue treatment for patients with aggressive blood cancers; when to perform a surgery; and when to call for hospice. [source]

Daily Journal Workshop: