I'm so sorry to have worried faithful online friends with my long silence - forgive me, please!
I've been SO busy!
And I've been traveling in other centuries as I work on the fascinating treasure trove of family papers that were spared from the floodwaters of June. I try not to think about what was lost -- it seems ungrateful when so much great stuff was saved. Letters and documents and photographs -- some with significant historical value and all with a social history value (never mind the incredible sentimental value of hundreds of letters written by mother, dozens by my father...)
piled into small yellow plastic bags and stacked into boxes, all mixed together in a dizzying juxtaposition that can leap from 1840 to 1970 in the same bag!
I've been sorting them into zip-locks, then in sheet-protectors and filling notebook after notebook.
I'm slowly creating a family tree that allows me to organize and understand the papers in the context of the human lives that they represent and stories told to me by my grandmother and mother. I've also gotten in touch with relatives - my cousin Douglas in Alaska and my second cousin Ann right here in Indiana. A great gift of this project indeed.
In addition to the Family Papers project (which includes gathering together my mother's writing and completing the work on her poetry book) I'm juggling all these things:
1. serving on the Board of the Maple Center (and on two sub-committees of the Board)
2. chairing the planning committee for our second Maple Center workshop focused on healing loss through the arts (AND doing a writing session for that workshop AND doing an opening presentation)
3. organizing a booth for the Arts Fest, which will be about art and healing, to promote the workshop and other Maple Center activities (in addition to creating a display and some handouts, I'm committed to making 250 buttons that say "Art Heals" as a fundraising tool for the booth. That's loads of fun - I have the Badge-A-Minit primitive buttonmaker which requires one to stand to exert enough pressure to snap the parts together, so it's great exercise.)
4. Organizing and performing in a poetry reading in October.
5. Trying to walk and do Tai Chi as many days a week as I can.
And eat right....
6. Finally, my own creative pursuits -- not spending nearly enough time on them...but I am slowly getting my own writing together (I do NOT want my daughter having to do what I'm having to do to gather my mother's work) and getting my older work transcribed to the computer.
Knitting? Fiber arts? Sigh. I pick up a sock every now and then and do a row or two on the Socialist Sweater
(lovely, luscious Dream in Color in two different dyelots of Pansy Golightly) in a size to fit ME!
One of the most wonderful things about getting in touch with my cousin Ann is that she sent me a card with one of her paintings on it....and it couldn't have been more perfect. And yes, I meanted to post it here twice - I love it so much!
It's called "The Juggler", but I think of her as the Joyful Juggler, and she is my stress-relieving image. I invoke her when I start to feel overwhelmed at all that I've taken on recently and she's got amazing magical powers to calm me, to fill me with the feeling that yes, indeedy I can keep all those balls in the air and a big grand smile on my face and joy in my heart!!
Cousin Ann is Ann Farnsley and her website is here.
(Thank you X1,000,000, Ann!!)
And now...it's 4:50 and I have to get my show on the road for a 5:30 meeting. I wrote this so fast, I'm sure there's all kinds of errors, etc. But I really did want to check in and let folks know I'm okay!!