In spite of depressing world news, local corruption scandals, tax havens for the wealthiest corporations, life on a small scale is good, and busy. I'm going away soon on a short trip to visit friends and family, my cold is almost entirely gone and thoughI (of course) passed it on to J., he's getting better quickly. The weather has finally turned warm. I spent yesterday and today working through my to-do list: trying to find tall bamboo stakes for the delphinium plants in my garden (none to be found in any of the stores I visited); working in said garden to get it ready so I can leave; finishing hem of skirt and hem of skirt lining and doing a final press; figuring out what clothes to take; doing some ironing; making arrangements for Manon; doing the laundry; picking up a package at the post office and going to the pharmacy; bringing the plants from their winter home in our studio to the summer home on the terrace; making lunch and dinner and trying to use up everything in the refrigerator.
So this is the last day of May, the month when I thought I'd be posting a drawing every day. Thinking back, I really started the drawing project in earnest at the beginning of April. It turned out to be too big a commitment to post a finished drawing here every day, but the best part is that I seem to have gotten back into the habit of sketching and drawing regularly -- almost every day, if not every single one. I'm happy about that, and happy about many of the drawings themselves.
In my weird and wonderful life, this has been the way it's been: unable to choose whether to write, draw, or do music, I've stayed involved in all of them, but kind of moved the individual pieces forward one at a time, in an alternating but unplanned way. There have been periods where I took a lot of music lessons and practiced very intensely, periods where I've done a lot of art, years where I mostly wrote and worked hard on getting better that that. It would have been a lot easier and perhaps more satisfying -- I'm not so sure -- to have a single clear focus and achieve real mastery in it to the exclusion of everything else, but it was never possible in my case, and finally I made my peace with the fact that this was the way I was happiest. One of my choir friends told me her husband is also big believer in what he calls "alternation" - doing one thing with a lot of discipline and intention for a while, and then switching gears. (I guess it's like cross-training, for you athletes out there.) All I know is that this is the way that works for me. Throughout my entire life, whether I was studying it or not, music has been a constant source of joy and solace, both alone and with other people. I haven't always written, or done art, partly because for many years I was doing professional graphic design all day long. I've also always read a lot, and always done something creative "with my hands:" art, sewing, gardening, cooking, knitting, even if it was just a little project that got worked on now and then. I used to spend a lot more time out in nature. For the past ten years, this blog has been another constant.
There are a lot of factors at work, too, for instance the need for solitude, balanced with the need for community; how one's work interacts with one's free time; family and community obligations; relationships; space; money; access to sources of inspiration in daily life.
Any thoughts on your own life, and pursuit of your passions? What helps you move forward, and what holds you back? What are the things you've always wanted to pursue, but maybe never had the time for?