a recent dream

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So, I’m a bit of a strange dreamer.
Here’s my response to our latest #CreativeNeighbor prompt: a recent dream.

she lifts her fingers to wipe the dream out of her eyes
gently, to keep herself from clawing her lids apart,
but the doors don’t open.

she’s in a small room with a calm tiger, next to a strange
man that looks like a liar, eating food that tastes like something bad happened
she lifts her fingers to wipe the dream out of her eyes.

then a flood of yellow wipes out her sight, she is flying in light,
it is light mixed with bright paint, like the moment before waking,
but the doors don’t open.

is it a nightmare when your legs feel like dead snakes, sinking
into quicksand as you crawl one elbow in front of the other, up an impossible staircase
she lifts her fingers to wipe the dream out of her eyes.

she tries a scream, a flood of weightless tears,
a prayer she shouts over and over again,
but the doors don’t open

she misses the hallways that lead her to places she knows,
aches for sounds to call her back to the surface
she lifts fingers to wipe the dream out of your eyes
but you won’t open the doors.


Join our weekly creative prompts by Art in the Neighborhood here. Or look us up on Facebook or Instagram.

Do not forget when you were little.

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Dad and me by Lake Tahoe. Brothers playing in the background. It was dad’s birthday yesterday – happy birthday, Dad!

 

Do not forget when you were little; a lifetime shorter than all the rest. 

Today we hold our egos high, stuck out like scrunched-up chins set on stone-cold jaws, taunting the world to hit us with something good. There’s a pride in us, webbed into our very bones, our childhood growth spurts dictating how much of the pride is faulty, how much of it is made of honor.

Do not forget when you were little; tiny hand reaching out for direction, for love. 

As children, we held out our hands for guidance and just knew that someone would hold it. We trusted that we would be led to something good. Doubt was still a game then; not yet the crutch,  nightmare, or dirty secret that it later morphs into.

As children, we didn’t second guess our need for someone else to be there for us. It was fully part of our flesh, this affection. We didn’t resist the arm of a loved one reaching out to hold us. For a loved one to turn away simply confused us. There was yet no shame in reaching out first.

Today, we hide in reflection and conclude that perhaps to reach out is to be needy, or worse, to reach out is to be selfish. When did love dress up as weakness? Deconstruct what strength and worth you have in this life, and you’ll find that there is no you without love, whether a trace or a flood of it.

Do not forget when you were little; because everyone says this life goes by in the blink of an eye. 

When we were young, we hurried to grow up. We held precious moments with a clumsy, absent-mindedness, interest always lost to the next distraction. Thankfully we were born with memory. It was not a switch we needed to turn on, a skill we had to learn or a trophy to deserve. If it were, we’d be scavenging for our history. Our biology keeps record of who we are, where we’ve been – in the tangles of our mind or in tracks left on skin. In adult life, we salvage what snapshots our memory can bring to mind, but at that point we can no longer choose what moments endure as milestones. What kind of story does our memory preserve for us?

Do not forget when you were little, because no matter how old we are, we are still and always not yet fully grown.

To be human is to be flawed, to be small in the universe, to be complex and never fully unmistakably understood. We are little beings in this grand world. Little beings not meant to be alone.

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This post is in response to our #CreativeNeighbor prompt by Art in the Neighborhood: a photo from your past. Join us as we make room for creativity and community. 
If you’re like us and need a push to get those creative wheels turning again, join our weekly art challenge! Here’s how it works:

 

Every SUNDAY, we’ll post a creative prompt.
Take the week to respond in your own medium and style. Write, paint, sing, dance, shoot.

There are no rules, but we challenge you to slow down your creative process. Think less digital and more analog.

On SATURDAY, share your work.
Post your response online along with the hashtags #creativeneighbor and#neighborhoodph. Read, watch and listen to what others have shared. Then look out for the next prompt on following Sunday!

 

#CreativeNeighbor

Another stab at making time for art and friends.

Earlier this year, I started an initiative called Art in the Neighborhood, with the vision to make creative activities an important presence in our everyday spaces. Here’s our latest project.

If you’re like us and need a push to get those creative wheels turning , join our weekly art challenge:

creativeneighbor

Here’s how it works:

Every SUNDAY, we’ll post a creative prompt.
Take the week to respond in your own medium and style. Write, paint, sing, dance, shoot.

There are no rules, but we challenge you to slow down your creative process. Think less digital and more analog.

On SATURDAY, share your work.
Post your response online along with the hashtags #creativeneighbor and#neighborhoodph. Read, watch and listen to what others have shared. Then look out for the next prompt on following Sunday!

Let’s see where we go! Share this with a friend who’d be a great #CreativeNeighbor! I’ll be posting my responses and sharing the weekly prompts here.

First prompt goes up on Sunday, October 9th! Make sure to follow Art in the Neighborhood on Facebook or Instagram to get updates.

the whisper they call inspiration

I want my art to show the world that we are loved;

that though this world is fleeting, doomed to fail on its crowns, there is light that whispers through us.

 

to show you are loved

This whisper does not run out of breath. It is always speaking. (We don’t always listen.) It has a melody. It can flow clearly or indistinct – like a humble breeze, wordless. Gently, sometimes forcefully too, the whisper propels us forward.

Nobody else hears the whisper you hear. We’re not meant to. We can’t.

The whisper calls us by name, every time. We don’t notice because we think the whisper comes from our center, from the honest part that just can’t lie. But the whisper is not of us, not made from us. If it were, it would be made of filth.

It is a voice we know. Or think we know. Or think is ours.

It is not.

But it is a stirring from so deep within us, no two people can experience it in the same way. It is at times a jolting feeling. Not the kind that makes you jump in fright, but the sensation of faint electricity somewhere in the anatomy that biology can’t describe. The specific feel and touch of the whisper is different for each person- a tingling, a straining at the jaw, a tickle in your side, a half crescent of a smile, a coolness on your lower back, or valleys forming between your brows.

That moment that you will look back on as that flame of inspiration, that pivotal moment, that nanosecond of magic; that is the moment when our soul truly hears the whisper. We don’t know it as it occurs, though we might feel the clues. We understand only when the moment has passed,  when we have taken a step back to look at what has been formed, created, grown through us. It is also then that we doubt and simultaneously shrink back in awe. We feel alive in the most vulnerable, fiery, stumbling kind of way; because we allowed the whisper to speak not only to us, but through us and out into the world.

We can only afford to hear a whisper, because if we could hear the full voice in all its power and beauty, we would simply explode. There is no room in our human flesh to hold anything remotely as magnificent or significant.

I want my art to show the world that we are loved. Even if the art might speak of darkness. Even if the art might make you feel emotions you’d rather not feel. Especially when the art lifts you up. Even more if the art challenges who you are.

I want my art to make you understand that you are loved;

that though this world is fleeting, doomed to fail on its crowns, there is light that whispers through us. When we do what we love and when we love, we hear the whisper.

When we let the whisper speak through us, like a prism, we are given the opportunity to disperse light into the world.

 

A note on this piece: Yesterday afternoon, I launched my work, what wakes you, an art installation of paintings and poetry inspired by a stunning sunrise. At the close of the exhausting but beautiful day I was overcome with gratitude to God. I couldn’t do much else as I sat in awe, considering how He would allow us selfish little humans to experience art, creativity and inspiration — and  to walk as witness to His exquisite creation that we continuously choose to destruct. What a Creator! As I began to process it all, and the journey of bringing my art into public space, I began to write the words that turned into this piece. (See more updates on my art here or here.)

telling new stories

Sometimes you don’t know where to start. When we tell a story, we mark a beginning and an end. The once upon a time and the happily ever after. The opening bait or the cryptic closing line.

The story I’ve been working on begins with color. Little squares of color hanging on the wall.

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Since Friday, I’ve been installing my new work, what wakes you, at a neighborhood cafe. It’s a public work in progress at the moment, as I build it from night to night. I see this extended and public process of installation as storytelling. Visitors may not see the progression from day to day, or even look closely enough to notice the changes. (Not everyone who enters a coffee shop studies its walls, right?) And though most people may miss this part of the work all together, this organic and thought-filled process brings me a lot satisfaction!

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I may be the only one tracing these lines together, almost like a secret story running parallel but hidden from plain view. Like I said, it began with color, clues to lead you in. Then I’ve slowly brought in my words and my questions. Then the colors began to pop and mix. And in the next few days, the words and paintings will hopefully begin to talk to each other and to you.

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One fun (and scary!) thing about installing the show is the process of not knowing precisely how every piece fits with the other, but discovering how they can as you go along. You can share a different narrative just by placing unlikely paintings side by side or far apart. As I try one painting next to another next to another, I consider the story I want to tell, the place I want to take people to.

The story I’m telling ends with your story. Come by the launch on Saturday and see why!

View event details here.