Shifting consciousness

Well said, Wangari. Prophetic wisdom!

For a Mother’s Day present my children and their partners signed me up for the local Chuckanut Writer’s Conference. I spent my weekend workshop/breakout times focused on memoir.

When I was finishing my doctoral dissertation, my daughter Sally, a really really good writer, gave me the best advice about a draft of the work I’d suffered over for at least 4 years; “Mom, take out all the quotes and see what you’ve got left.” That advice turned the tide. I whittled 150 pages down to 100 – that’s an exaggeration but then I was able to move toward a finished piece of writing in my words.

This morning I’m hanging out in bed with a cup of coffee, my laptop, and a pile of books from my library pick-up, plus my notebook filled with ideas from the conference. I’m whittling down my years of consciousness imposed by years of input, to see what’s left of me. This is not an eureka moment. I’m trying to do what my friend Trish did and write a letter to my birthday-is-almost-here self.

The first books I poured over were 3 quilt books. Yes, quilt books. They were a break from words words words to color, pattern and visual art created from contrasting fabrics.

I thought about that as I walked from the living room, where my sewing machine is on a fold-up table, into the kitchen past the room I call the whatsitroom. Paper litters the desk and floor. Nearby fabric scraps are neatly (well that’s a description we don’t all agree on) sorted into colorways on shelves at least for a moment.

Contrast. Eight published authors and one over the top in a fantastic way high school teacher, slam poet competitor, talked about their work and shared exercises to help make our writing sing. Not one person directly used the word “contrast.”  Those of us who dabble with the color chart know that contrast makes a quilt or painting “sing.”  I am at the point in my life, with limited years left, when the contrast between who I was and who I want to be is the key to making my heart sing.

The papers on the floor and nearby cupboard overflowing with paper and other arts materials stacked willynilly are reminders of “someday I’ll get to that.” I’ll create those collages – not. I’ll frame those photos or at least get them into albums – someday.  Contrast that with the somewhat ordered quilting fabric, sewing supplies and yet to be finished for people I love quilts and my expanding scribbled list to write about ideas that keep my heart beating – and we all know I need to do everything I can to keep my heart beating.

My dad died when he was 97, 6 months ago. Every day from the time he was close to 70 years old, he wrote a story expressing his thoughts and memories about his life. These stories are gifts to me and my family.

A sense of joy and connection serve as my compass in all things. My writing and my quiltmaking are not profound pursuits. They are ways to express who I am. It is time I do my part to give up cynicism and wrestle down my fears for the world; specifically for my grandchildren.  

It’s also time to see if I can find the floor in the whatsitroom.

You can call me Still Moving out Granni.

4 of 54 of the 5

“For our hearts are not pure; our hearts are filled with need and greed as much as with love and grace; and we wrestle with our hearts all the time. The wrestling is who we are. How we wrestle is who we are. What we want to be is never what we are. Not yet. Maybe that’s why we have these relentless engines in our chests, driving us forward toward what we might be.” ~ Brian Doyle

About Marian Methner, B.S., D.Min.

Polydox: accepting that we are many labels, I am mother of 4, mother in law (love) of 4 and grandmother of 5. My life is a collection of bits and starts. I was recently on the road for over a year exploring ideas of living in shared housing. A recent summer course in Permaculture design, solidifed my interest in "social permaculture" or ways we interact not only with our Earthly environment but also with each other. I am back Bellingham, Washington, in a small rental house, owned by my ex husband, talk about shared housing, practicing living in community with family, and friends. My doctoral dissertation A Map to Living Open Heartedly, centers around making art as a way to healing. Paradoxiclly, a recent diagnoses of heart failure (cardiomyopathy) expands this exploration...
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4 Responses to Shifting consciousness

  1. Anne says:

    Yes. Your life is the quilt and every story a square and every heartbeat the thread that binds it together. Create!

  2. So many of your words (Yes, words, says the non sewer, non drawer) and phrases resonate with me. I especially love the idea of “whittling” to see what’s left. The Brian Doyle quote is perfect, too. Dear heart, keep doing what you are doing and being who you are.

  3. Ahh darling writer friend, thank you. And thank your for your Seeing post! (see my note to you today) By the way – Zeb told me we should call the “Whatsitroom” the Whereisitroom, as we were trying to find the glue gun today… xxo m

  4. Louise says:

    I love the colour between who I was and who I want to be. Becoming does SING. Oh to hear the melody!

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