Came home from Art Is You, 3 days and 3 nights of art, old friends, new friends, round the clock coffee and evening cocktails, watercolors and trades, inspirational students, and even an auction prize win!
I don't have any photos loaded yet, so you are due a proper post about it in a few days. I went right back to work the next day and it was a rough one. I came home sleep deprived, a tad raggedy and frayed, and took myself to the supermarket to find some real food. Any thoughts of cooking were quickly squelched by exhaustion. Mr. Pom was out for the evening, but I wanted a proper meal after 3 days of hotel food. I was headed for the roaster chickens, but found instead a roasted half turkey breast. That plus a small can of turkey gravy, a tiny can of cranberry sauce, some semolina bread, and a little yam that fit into my palm would be my quick fix comfort meal.
I suddenly needed an old-fashioned evening. The kind I used to have back in the day, when the kids were finally in bed and I could climb into mine with a cup of tea and a stack of magazines.
This is my favorite season for ripening magazines. There are the gourmet magazines with mouth-watering covers of short ribs and cornmeal short bread cookies. Martha Stewart has her usual gorgeous pumpkin chiffon pie covers and there is the early edition of 100 cookies to bake for Christmas. I wanted a Gourmet magazine that would show me the perfect chestnut stuffing and silky chocolate pie.
I wanted those magazines and more.
I wanted to read Country Living when it was filled with wing chairs and Sturbridge checked drapes. I wanted Country Home with its long pine farm tables and dressers filled with Staffordshire urns. I wanted Victoria and a spread about a restored Victorian house in the country where the family gathers for a snowy Thanksgiving. I wanted an old Mary Engelbreit with the sons trimming a tree in her red family room with the mantel painted with a bowl of cherries. I wanted a Gooseberry catalogue with Kraft paper pages filled with apple corers and feather trees.
I wanted to go home to my self of 2o years ago, to my little house upcounty in the boonies, and take my old dog and my little kids for a walk to the lake and kick at the leaves and make a little campfire to roast hot dogs and come home and decorate for Halloween. I wanted to grab a Christmas magazine and feel that excitement in the pit of my stomach at decorating with boughs of pine and big red plaid boughs and real leaded tinsel. I wanted my old house in Memphis filled with neighbors as they admired our 3 trees and walked around the dining room table for a cookie swap. I wanted to start making my grocery list for Thanksgiving and callthe sisters and The Empress to chart what pies they were bringing.
I managed to scrounge up a Bon Appetit, a Holiday Cottage (or is it Cottage Holiday) and something about flea market finds. I took my precooked turkey home, microwaved the gravy and the yam, cut some cranberry sauce out of the can, and climbed into bed. As I leafed through my magazine selection, I felt a little of that old self surface, the one that kept every single edition of Country Living from 1980 to 1995 under her bed.
When did my life pare itself down to all activity and no dreaming time? When did art become project after project for various deadlines and stop being about embroidering felt mittens to hang on my little feather Christmas tree? When did I stop dreaming about quilts and glittered cards for Christmas and handsewn stockings for each child and watercolored Christmas cards? When did I begin to order art supplies online that stack up in boxes in the studio. When did I turn my back on crafting and feel each minute spent in the studio was to push myself to become a "real illustrator"?
How did I lose my way in the world of things that made me happy, that defined me as a wife, mother, and daughter? Why have I let work beat me down so much.
And why do I feel like that it is all behind me and my time now is just to watch?
Let's face it: you go back to work full time, kids grow up, parents pass on, neighbors move, cookie swaps make you fat, blogs replaced magazines, Facebook replaced blogs, Instagram replaced Facebook, and Pinterest is about to replace it all. Everyone has a cell phone camera that is better than that Nikon I got for graduation. Everyone takes artful photographs, has Etsy shops, websites that include blogs that morph into books and tours and endorsements.
But sitting in bed at night with a plate of warm food and the cold light of the monitor that brings you seventy cajillion images from around the globe is not the same as patting the pile of monthlys that you have hoarded for weeks, waiting for just this moment to lean against the pillows and savor them all.
What is the point of all the charming home decorations and seasonal meals if it's just Mr. Pom and me watching the evening news and trading stories about how bad we each have it at work? After all, I had my entire family over for brunch two weeks ago and all the glassware and good dishes are still stacked in the dining room because I haven't had the time to put any of it away.
And the house! Oh the house! The repairs and redo's are a list as long as my arm but the weeks go by and in the spare minutes of the weekend downtime, neither of us manage to put the phone and the post it note with some handyman's number in the same place at the same time.
And then I came home from Art is You to find two scarecrows set up in the front yard. The front bushes glowed orange from Halloween lights. There was a small witch on a broom hanging on the porch and pumpkins and Mums on the steps. The living room mantel was full of my folk art Halloween decorations and a black and orange garland surrounded them all. Our ceramic pumpkin collection was artfully arranged on tables. My glittered "boo" sign was propped in the window.
Mr. Pom had decorated. He was lonely when I was away. He misses "us", too. He misses a family life, a houseful of people, traditions, and the things that made us for 33 years.
So here's my thing, starting today. I am not taking on any more projects, classes, teaching, or trips for awhile. I'm taking a sabbatical from all art commitments in 2014. I'm cleaning up, pruning, purging, and going back to the land.
There shall be meals! Groceries! Candles! Seasonal throw pillows! Crafting with glitter! The making of felted acorns! The sewing machine shall be permanently set up somewhere! I will start painting in big journals with gouache again! I will stay home and make cookies! I will use vanilla on a weekly basis! I will walk hand in hand with Mr. Pom in Central Park! I will have a tea party on a Sunday afternoon even if I have to bring in strangers off the street!
And I will drag out all my old, hoarded magazines (ssh don't tell Mr. Pom I have them squirreled away.) I will even read the actual gorgeous art magazines and books that I order on Amazon and stack up on tables all over the house.
I am going back to the land, folks. I am tired of being tired and I am tired of being busy - even with good things.
There may actually be a return to regular posting.
Be still my heart!