mad in pursuit notebook


Week in Review

The week was an incredible swirl, a celtic knot of inquiry, social, therapeutic, maddening. The maddening part was snow and temperatures that won't budge above 40. Oh, and our electric garage door decided to reverse itself up every time we tried to make it close.

The big project was getting ready for Ireland -- mentally and physically. A couple of nights at a B&B in Kildare is the only accommodation left to arrange. Got extra batteries for our camera. A First Communion card for Aoife F. Color scheme for my minimalist mix-and-match clothing: purple and black. Hostess gifts: small hardwood cutting boards by New York craftsman. Set up small trip notebooks for Jim and me: flights, hotels, phone numbers, family who's who, small map, etc.

Mentally. Emotionally I am READY to open myself to anything and everything. Can't wait to sink into the heart of history and family. Ready to explore. Intellectually, I am endlessly fussing with genealogical matters. The fact that everyone is named for a grandparent, aunt, or uncle has led me to discover parallel families to mine -- in eastern Galway I'm beginning to think every other set of parents was John Martin and Bridget Ward and that everyone had an Aunt Honoria and an Uncle Mike.

foul hookWriting. Got nudged into going to the open mic night at Barnes & Noble -- the 2000 Word Club. Didn't talk about TRIBE but read "Foul Hook" as my introduction to the group. They liked it. At least I know how to "sell it" at the microphone -- too many good writers pushed the mic away and read their gems in a fast mumble. But I think I'll continue with the group. Their critiques are good, not mean, not nit-picky. And maybe I can show them how to speak up.

Now I'm obsessing about coming up with a fresh short subject for the next meeting, instead of falling back on my old stuff.

Dot & Dash

Imagination. Exchanges with Pat D. got me thinking about Dot and Dash again. My drawings seem to come from a different place than my writing. I quickly revised a panel (left) to give Dash a skirt and arms (her "Mary" look) and add in some "brain chatter" which seems essential at the moment.

Social/Therapeutic. A chiropracter session Monday calmed down my aching neck; a wine session shortly thereafter, with Sue W, made me laugh as we shared our tales of family gatherings. Wednesday I caught up with Sally B, a fellow escapee from the old work palace and we cackled over the joys of being on our own.

Rounded out the week with a haircut and a 90-min massage.

I also started up again with my zazen Buddhist meditations for a short 15 min/day.

Reading, etc.

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer (audio). Finished this great book and anxious to apply its lessons.

A Skeleton Key to "Finnegan's Wake." Someone challenged me to read James Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake." I ordered it but discovered Joseph Campbell had written an interpretation of it. I ordered that too. And both turned out to be gigantic tomes unsuitable for travel. But I started to read Campbell's book and got very excited. But this project will have to wait.

Atheism 2.0 by Alain de Botton. TED talk, followed by his Kinder, Gentler Philosophy of Success (TED). I am (re)discovering Alain de Botton -- I have his Art of Travel on my Kindle, but lost track of reading it.

Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland (kindle)

Samantha G. asked me what five "works" have stuck with me my whole life. My list: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles, Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I realized all have that thread of journeying into the heart of darkness to face... yourself.

Apr. 28, 2012