Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sleeping Where the WIld Things Are

A couple of months ago we had a screened porch added to the back of our house.   The other night I decided to sleep out there because it was really warm and stuffy in the house.  My husband didn't feel like waking up and moving himself out to the porch, so the cat and I went alone.  All was well -- we admired the fireflies that were so high in the trees of the woods behind our house;  there were the usual frogs and other rural night noises (still amazing and strange to me, having grown up in a city and never spent more than a few weeks in rural areas until moving to Asheville, where the countryside erupts all through the town as well as the outskirts where we live).  But then around midnight Jesse and I both shot upright in the bed at the ululating cries of coyotes.  They were so close!  I've heard them before at night but always on the other side of the house, where they seem to be up on the side of the mountain at the end of the block.  But this time I could tell they were in the woods of the house next door, where our neighbor frequently is host to black bears, wild turkeys, and many birds because he has bird feeders, and the ground beneath them is full of bird seed, which attracts the bears and turkeys. I managed to go back to sleep, but we woke up several more times when the cyoytes began singing again.

Last week when we were in New York visiting, a friend had taught me a way of working in a journal that helps circumvent critical thinking and over-intellectualizing.  I had passed the method on to a group of friends that I had met with last night at a journal group. 

The method of working was something my friend learned in a workshop held at MoMA a few weeks ago.  You begin by collecting images from books and magazines with no plan in mind, just a random collection of whatever has some resonance for you.  Then you trim or cut or tear the pieces that grab you the most and paste them down.  Then, still not thinking it through or planning or trying to Make Art, you paint, stencil, draw, write, whatever else seems to want to come out.  I began mine with the image of a building under a deep, intense blue evening sky.  I had also cut out a snarling animal and painted it roughly all across the bottom.  I added a large moon-like slice of sweet potato, then covered it up (mostly) with a little fragile grass hut, also cut into a moon-like circle.  When I looked at the page afterwards I knew right away how afraid I actually am of the backyard at night.  Sleeping on the porch is going to take some getting used to, in spite of how cool and lovely it is!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tuesday morning I ran from the voting out near my house to the courthouse in downtown Asheville for jury duty.  I amused myself by sketching and writing, as you can see here.  There were several curious things that I noticed and/or overheard.  One curious thing was that when we were sworn in, we could choose to not use a bible.  Those non-bible swearers also had the option to say "I do affirm" instead of the "So help me God" that people say in films about courtrooms.  I can't believe this is a North Carolina innovation;  it must have come down from the feds. 
Today is a lovely soft rainy day, and the cows at the end of our road looked like ships in waves.  Some were sitting down so that only their heads and shoulders stuck up.  Others were standing around nursing babies, and one large and confused-looking cow was mounting other cows in a sort of playful manner.  The babies were romping around like large dogs.  We went for a walk in the woods that border the cow field.  Back home the flowers were drooping in the drizzle.