Wednesday, August 31, 2005


I don't know if it was actually the "storm of the century" but close enough. Watching the images of destruction on TV brought back thirty one year old memories. I remembered when I was four on April 3, 1974. That was the day when one of the hundred and thirty three tornadoes that swept through Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio hit our home. We barely made it out. My grandparents lived a few hundred yards away and we took refuge there - they always said that "the tornado stopped at the edge of the porch."

My memories of that day are mostly silent. I mainly only remember images, except for the one memory of my dad running into the house yelling, "Get out! A tornado's coming!" My mom and I were in the kitchen that day - I remember looking out the window over the sink and seeing only a lone, tiny cloud. I remember the wind blowing so hard as we ran from the Jeep to my grandparents' house. I remember looking out the front door when it was all over and not seeing the house. All that was left was a pile of debris in the field across the road.

Once the current situation is over for the folks on the Gulf Coast, there will be nightmares. There will be anxiety whenever a storm passes overhead. My hope - my prayer - is that the people recover quickly and not the twelve or thirteen years it took me.

So mote it be.

edited to add: NOAA states the amount of tornadoes that day was 148. I'd always heard 133 but who am I to argue with NOAA?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Be kind...

I thought I'd be brave and start posting progress reports on a painting I've started.

Here is the beginning stage of it:

It's monochrome (burnt sienna and white because I wanted it to be "warm") at the moment so I can work out value and composition issues. This is going to be reminiscent of ancient Egyptian art, where the scarab "reaches" for the sun. Only, this is going to be the Southern edition, with a junebug instead.

I think I've finally figured out the problem the sun. It's painted out here because it just looked...well, puny, between that junebug's front legs. Now the sun (or simply an orb, I haven't decided which yet) will be situated halfway off the top line of board and the bug will stretch for it. We'll see how that works.

Oh yeah - if there's any sharp eyed folks out there wondering why there aren't any "darkest darks" on this version of the painting, here's why: I'm a forgetful idiot who doesn't remember her lessons. I forgot to bring out the ultramarine blue.

More as progress is made. Here's to hoping that this painting will grow up to be a good one.

Hell has no wrath... divas named Katrina and when She's done with Louisiana, she's making a beeline for Middle Tennessee. One message in my email today said the category five storm is a 500 year event. The news reported this morning that at this rate, waves from the storm will be in the sixteen to twenty feet high range and the breakers built back in the sixties are only thirteen, so New Orleans has a good chance of being under a good amount of water.

There are people in Louisiana tonight who can't leave, for whatever reason. Please consider doing whatever it is you do for them, whether it's saying a prayer, working your mojo, or pointing at the sky and saying, "HEY!!! YOU!!! DO SOMETHING!!!!" Here's to hoping they're safe and sound when it's all over.

I guess I'll spend what I can of tomorrow battening down the hatches. Yesterday, Leland Statom said Katrina will still have tropical storm strength when she gets here. He also said that there is the potential for tornadoes with this storm.

All I can say is, "Ah, hell" and get to work.

This reminds me of another storm that hit when I was a kid. I don't know which hurricane it was but it parked it's cranky ass right over Middle Tennessee and stayed for three days. It had violent lightening, ear splitting thunder, crashing rain and howling winds the entire time. I also remember that by the second night, I was pretty cranky myself. I had a waterbed and my mom wouldn't let me sleep on it. I had to sleep with her on an old, hard, high bed that felt like I was sleeping ten feet off the ground (in reality, it was only about two and a half.) She thought I'd get electrocuted somehow by lightning running in on it, even though the heater wasn't plugged in or anything.

That plus my grandmother, who we lived with at the time, didn't want us to use the toilet during the storm. She swore that there had been a person that had been blown clean off the commode when a bolt of lightning ran in on it.

Let it be stated right here and now that I was an evil child. Whenever I heard my grandmother tell that story, I wasn't scared. No, far from it. I was always curious to know how in the world that could happen and I wanted to know who this unfortunate soul was. I also had a Monty Python-esque vision of the event in my head, which didn't help matters much when I started chuckling.

Yes, I was warped beyond all hope. Even then.

I wonder what she expected us to do instead?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


I decided to sit down and write this morning, since I can't do much else for the moment. I am in waiting mode - waiting for a board to dry so I can put another coat of gesso on it; waiting to see if my mom will call in the next little bit to make a vegetable run to the Mennonites just outside Scottsville, KY., waiting to see if the rain will finally decide to quit dancing around Upper Sumner County and give us the rain the plants need...waiting, waiting, waiting. At this rate, a person could get so far into waiting, they'd die from waiting for that next breath.

I hate waiting.

Monday, August 15, 2005

An Ode

Ours is the perfect summertime romance.

Every spring, I watch for you. First, you appear as a small, small thing.
Your arms reach for the sky like a small child, waiting for the Sky Mother to crush you to Her chest.

Day by day, you grow. Now you lift your arms toward the sky, no longer waiting. Your arms raised, feet firmly rooted in the ground, you praise the Sun as She travels across the sky with your entire being.

As you praise the Sun, I revere you. I praise you. I adore you. I love you.

You blush as my anticipation grows. I impatiently wait for the day I can finally and truly devour you - your sweet acid taste bursting in my mouth as I roll your small, delicious globes over my tongue. In the garden, in the kitchen, before bed - it doesn't matter. Again and again, I must have you!

And're gone. All I have left are the memories as the summer heat turns to winter's chill. That, and the anticipation of seeing you - my little love apple - again next year.

(Gee, what did you think I was talking about? Pervert.)

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Ruminations of the resident INFP

Looking back here, I realize I haven't written that much about Paganism, other than a few posts about a certain lack of community in it. In one sense, I feel that it's very hard to write about, other than the odd "how-to" article, because faith in and of itself is a very private thing. Using language to describe the transcendent is also comparable to using a chainsaw to hew a stroke by stroke copy of Michelangelo's David: one, you're using completely different materials and two, the tools are very crude.

Truth be told, I almost gave it all up. Nothing worked anymore and it all seemed arbitrary and obtuse. None of my questions got answered, other than for a vague, "Because that's the way it is and always has been." Even the books I turned to for answers either used that same excuse or didn't answer the questions at my question about the Sun and Moon.

Why are they considered to be Sun/Male and Moon/Female, especially since everyone sees a man in the moon? (Okay...unless you see the Japanese rabbit in the moon.)

It took Joseph Campbell on NPT this afternoon to give me an "AHA" moment about the Sun and Moon. He considered them to be the opposite, with the Sun being Feminine and the Moon Masculine and here is the reasoning:

The Sun is symbolic of the power and light of consciousness as well as the fire of transformation. It is the symbol of the eternal and transcendent - the Goddess. The Moon is symbolic of all the gods which are her children as it is continually being "born" by the Sun, since once a month, it "dies" (i.e., goes into the New phase.) It then reflects the light of the sun as it grows, matures and dies back again.

As I think about it - that's symbolic of the seasons as well. The Unnameable One of Winter becomes the Maiden of Spring, who becomes the Mother of Summer after She brings forth Her Consort? At the Autumn Equinox, the Consort dies, only to be reborn the next year and the Mother becomes the Crone of Fall.

Okay, I know - basic stuff. Still, I'm going to go before my head explodes. Have a good one, y'all.

Monday, August 08, 2005

How to make a charcoal drawing

1. Begin gathering all the supplies you need to work on the drawing: charcoal, pencil, masking tape, eraser, radio, water, etc.

2. Walk to the studio, only to realize that the charcoal, paper and tape are still where you left them in #1.

3. Walk back to the house, pick up paper and charcoal and head back to the studio.

4. Prepare the paper to put on the drawing board and in the process, realize the tape is still where you left it in #1.

5. Cuss.

6. Walk once again to the house; making sure to pay proper tribute to each cat along the way, who are starting to figure out the pattern of the day and therefore will be expecting more the next time. Get the tape (making sure it's actually in hand this time) and walk back to the studio.

7. Pay proper tribute to the studio cat. Tick cat off for not giving proper amount of tribute (read: 100 percent of time and resources.)

8. Turn on radio, pick up charcoal and begin making marks. Make sure the charcoal gets good and powdery to ensure that it gets everywhere: ground into the paper, your clothes, skin and everything else within a ten foot radius.

9. After thirty minutes of blissful mark making, realize one key focal point is completely out of proportion to the rest of the drawing.

10. Cuss.

11. Realize that all is not lost and drawing can be completely saved. Begin erasing marks in key area.

12. Redraw the key focal area, using charcoal ground into your fingers.

13. Step back and look at the drawing. Realize that it still isn't right.

14. Cuss.

15. Realize once again, all is not lost. Set about fixing the problem.

16. Cuss again, for good measure.

17. Work on the drawing for another hour, remembering to make sure as much charcoal goes on you as the drawing.

18. Feel the muses begin to cooperate with you.

19. Feel the muses stop cooperating with you.

20. Continue to work on the drawing, mentally cussing the muses for being such cop-outs.

21. After another hour, walk several feet away. Pull up a chair, sit down and stare at the drawing. Will the drawing to look like the masterpiece you see it as in your head.

22. Cuss the drawing for sitting there, looking like you made it.

23. Cuss again for realizing that another key part of the drawing was left out.

24. Realize, once again, that all is not lost and the drawing can be saved - but not today.

25. Make sure everything is all right for the night.

26. Go home looking like you just spent the day down in a Kentucky coal mine and forget about the damn thing.

27. Begin again tomorrow, ready to give the drawing - and maybe the muses - another chance.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Coming along...

Work on the studio is coming along. Today, I took revenge on the honeysuckle growing up the front wall. I wanted to put in the supports under the roof for the clematis to climb but the ladder was too short, by about half. Tomorrow I plan to go ahead and put in three clematis - and yes, I am well aware of the irony of taking out one climber only to replace it with another. One point in the clematis' favor is that they will bloom out with huge magenta flowers next year. Another is that they won't try to take over the world and bind it in their ever tightening grip. I fancy putting in a climbing rose bush next spring too. I guess we'll see about that then.

I've also got to move a table and a big piece of fiberboard to it. The fiberboard is fairly large. It will be great to put on the wall as a permanent drawing/painting board.

One of the things that tickles me right down to the bottom of my secret goth heart about my new studio (my studio! I love it!) is this:

Yep, it sits right on the edge of an old cemetery. The earliest graves there are circa 1817. The man who had the original land grant to this property donated a small plot for a cemetery and an Old Baptist church. The church never got built but the cemetery has quite a few inhabitants (you can take that any way you want and you'd probably be right.) My plan is to use some of the branches from my oak tree to build a rustic gate to lead into it.

It also seems that one of the Feline Nation has already taken it upon himself to be the "Official Studio Cat." The Official Portrait of Office appears to the right of this text. He has been staying in there for the past few days, only leaving to either to get something to eat or to meet me in the path. Now I just have to find a name that fits him. "You" only goes so far. This cat is almost solid black, with a few white hairs on his belly. He is also quiet, calm for the most part and a bit of a loner. Since he is the studio cat, he needs a nice, arty name - any ideas? I've already decided against "Picasso" ("pee" as a nickname? I don't think so.), "Singer" or "Sargent" (after John.)

Heh - perhaps "Brom" would be a good name. I've always liked his work.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A letter

To the woman working in deli at the Franklin KY. Wal-mart this afternoon:

I don't care what kind of day you had or if it was almost time for you to go home. I don't care what, if anything, pissed you off today. Working in the Wal-Mart deli does not make you Queen of the World. I did not deserve the glare you gave me, especially since I apologized for making such a racket. I certainly did not deserve the patronizing tone you used when you oh-so-patiently explained to me that I did not cause the alarm to go off in back of the deli.

Just because I am 5'3" and the ridiculously high meat counter is at least 5'6" and loaded with piles of bread in front, I knocked the lid off the sample bowl while I reached for it. Yes, it made a lot of racket on it's way down the other side of the counter, yet this was not an excuse for you to treat me as an incompetent fool. I know what a timer alarm on a deep fryer is and I know I didn't cause any alarms to go off. Just how ridiculous would it be to have a damn sample bowl rigged with an alarm, anyway? Is sample theft really that much of a problem in Simpson County?

Get over yourself and provide some customer service, damn it.

The real Queen of the World

Monday, August 01, 2005

Harvest time...

Happy Lammas, y'all.

The year's harvests are beginning to come in. What's the fruits of your labors this year?

The short list:
Let's get the obvious out of the way first. Tomatoes! Marigolds! Cypress vines! Bee and Lemon Balms! Five varieties of sage! Rue! Valerian! Bloodroot! Finches and exclamation points everywhere!

I'm graduating from college and I never thought I actually would, based on the experiences I had the first time I tried it.

I finally got my tree cut into logs and put up to dry. In the process, I learned I can count on my dad when I need him. I think he learned that I will not tolerate "standing by" - I will and can put in just as much hard work as he will, and more (and I blame him for this nagging cough I have now - I was fine until he brought his over!)

As we were storing it, I realized the building my tree is in would make an excellent artist's studio - it even "told" me it's name but I want to sit on that for a while before making it public.

I can make my way in this world and it doesn't necessarily need to be by conventional, 9 by 5, means. I can make a living creating things with my own two hands.

The hardest lesson for me to learn: how do I say this without sounding trite or absolutely stupid? Although a person can be one hundred percent commmitted to a relationship, sometimes those relationships fail. Sometimes death separates you. Either way, we're human and we can't just "forget about it and go on." It may take a few weeks or it may take a few years but we have to grieve. We have to heal. The pain we think we can't take any more of can actually make us stronger, more compassionate, more human.

So. Again I ask you: what are the fruits of your labors this year?