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Showing posts from July, 2005

Lifedrawing before I take to the skies...

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While I'd rather be at home packing, and there is still way too much to do, until Friday I am at a job where I can while away my time, between calls and mailings, on the NET (instead of finishing packing, oh such stress). For Jean, Adriana Bliss, e_journeys, Mary Godwin, Richard Lawrence Cohen, and Dale, who left such heartwarming messages and a welcome back whenever that may be, and Tamar who sent me an email, thank you, my dear blogging friends...

Last night I went with my new friend Stephen, Voxcat, to his weekly lifedrawing class, and then to English Bay to watch the fireworks, a magnificent display of light and colour and explosion over the ocean and against the backdrop of the mountains, a most wonderful way to say goodbye to Vancouver.

I post three of my lifedrawing efforts. They were 3 minute poses. A challenge for one who likes to linger over drawing. By the third hour I was exhausted with the speed, and began to colour instead. These images contain stories, reflections, wa…

Time to take to the skies...

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With many behind-the-scenes crises and negotiations, it's finally official. I'm moving back to Toronto, where I expect to be welcomed by quibbling but supportive family and a whole group of beautiful friends. I plan to fly out of Vancouver on Monday, with my dog and cat in tow. I have nowhere to stay, and will have to rely on the kindness of friends for the first bit (my family can't help, my brothers live in a no-dogs condo and my mother is in her 80s and couldn't handle me & my pets)...I'm gonna miss you all! I am working this week, and packing like a halycon now that it is actually going to happen, and don't know when I'll be on-line again, it could be a day, a week, a month...
I'd like to thank all of you for your supportive, encouraging, warm and sometimes humorous comments as I struggled through my uncertainties. You've all made it an easier journey, and my last post, Sky Songs in the Park, was particularly inspired by our connections to ea…

Sky Songs in the Park

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Marriage Mandala

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Ok, it would make an interesting tatoo. I painted it 20 years ago when I had a dreadfully sore throat and fever. I remember lying in bed, sipping codeine-laced cough syrup straight from the bottle, journal on my knees, acrylics beside me, painting. I was into snakes and mandalas, just coming out of my Jungian stage. It's a small image. Then I got married that year and used it as the image for our Wedding Invitations. My sculptor friend was the only one who remarked on it, and he said, "O my g-d! For a wedding?" C'mon, dear old friend, two ouroboros' are intertwined, the serpents are kissing and forming a heart, there's a wishing star of blessing and guidance, a pearl or moon holding the secret of wisdom, and flames of passion leaping out of the sun... Sigh. Did the marriage last, well, no, but that's beside the point.


"Marriage Mandala" ©1985 by Brenda Clews
Ouroboros: a circular symbol or a snake or dragon devouring its tail, standing for infinit…

Mismatched Coordinates, or Resting in Uncertainty?

Uncertainty continues only because the coordinates are not coordinating. Desires and their fulfillment are slightly off. And that variation sends the compass spinning into chaos.I'm attempting to plan a move back East because I have not been able to find permanent work. My children are presently in Ontario and their plane tickets back to Vancouver have been cancelled. Everything is nearly in place, but not quite. Late yesterday afternoon I received a call asking that I stay on as a temp receptionist at my favourite company in Vancouver for a month; and I have been asked to do a maternity leave for a year beginning in late November too. Had the offer of a month's work occured even a few days ago, it would have changed everything.I've been doing well living in uncertainty. Making plans based on the lack of work here, yet with no certainty when I arrive back in Toronto either. That's equally up in the air. But this call yesterday threw me into chaos, a sleepless night, th…

What's Hidden in the Crevices?

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I wonder what is hidden in the crevices, the tiny tide pools, the obscure and wayward parts of ourselves? There is a central story, our main narrative, who we are, what we've experienced, the way we think of ourselves, the way we tell our stories, the way we present ourselves to others, but what if that falls away? What if sometimes our own mainstream is still, empty, non-existent; what if it disppears for awhile; what then? What would come creeping out of the shadows, slithery, bat-like things, or fairies, gnomes, sylphs and undines, or a cast of characters of every shade and tenor, or visions of sublime beings composed of light? Would the inner child come creeping out -- who's full of fears and magic? Would we release pure poetry like the kisses of soft breezes and rays of warm sun? Would stray and incoherent thoughts stream by, fluffs of seeds floating into view, and allow themselves to be thought, their blossoms already promising, even if for a moment? In what ways do we s…

MP3: On Paintings in the Sand

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MP3: On Paintings in the Sand

Prose Poem ~ On Paintings in the Sand ~ at SoundClick, 6:42min (text here). There is some fun discussion of time in it, and other insights into the creative process that our lives are...

Jean, whose photograph inspired my piece, has written of the Tibetan Buddhist Sand Manadalacreated by monks visiting from Tashi Lhumpo Monastery in India in the basement of Clerkenwell art gallery in London. The monks, who had preplanned this by months, started the day after the recent bombings and the pouring of the sand to create the mandala went on for a week during the aftermath. Jean has written a beautiful entry. I urge you to read it.


(Photograph by Nancy Jane Reid, click on the image for its source URL.)

For more background information, here is an introduction to Mandala Sand Painting. Here is a site that shows the Mandala Construction process in photographs. And here's another series of photographs of the astoundingly perfect creation of a Sand Mandala and its be…

On Representations of Ourselves, or "The New Profile Pic," or Myths of Self-Imitation...

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A discussion on the self-referentiality of imitation of the self...Oh, ok, I'll stop being so veiled, in my travels through the blogosphere today I saw a comment by someone that said that all the bloggers they met were nothing in real life like they portrayed themselves in their blogs. Which got me thinking...


On Representations of Ourselves, or "The New Profile Pic," or Myths of Self-Imitation...

"...many people put on masks to discover who they are under the covert masks they usually wear, so that the overt mask reveals rather than conceals the truth, reveals the self beneath the self; and it tells us that, although such masquerades cannot change people into other people, they may change them into others among their many selves"....Doniger goes on to say, "the essence of a masquerade: to present something known in such a way that people mistake it for something unknown (or the reverse.)" Wendy Doniger, The Woman Who Pretended to Be Who She Was (Oxfor…

On Paintings in the Sand

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The weaving's come undone. Stitches untied, unraveled. Strands of lace and bright-coloured yarns lie like fragmented, melted, Surrealist Dali paintings. Time itself has unwoven its tight grip. What was is spinning undone, the wheel unweaving each strand of memory, each flashback, scattering the cloth that was worn into the unrelentingly ragged. All that remains are tatters of a way of perceiving, a way of composing, a perception that gave coherence to the confusions of meaning.

The wind that sweeps across the damaged landscape of meltings and obscurities scatters what's left, taking even the mementos of a way to compose the picture that made sense, that held it all together. There is no centre. Or circumference. Only the burning, the ceaseless burning of the fire in the sky. And the light that pulls consciousness with it, into recognition, into awareness.

Into weaving stories, making patterns, creating forms, dramas about the world, personas for ourselves, staging scenarios beca…

Sacred Symbol of Female Creative Power...

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The relationship between Goddess, hunter, and prey is shown in this ancient rock painting from Tassili in the Sahara.
Rufus Camphausen, The Yoni, Sacred Symbol of Female Creative Power (Vermont: Inner Traditions, 1996), p.58.

While packing books today, I was deep in my maternal body section, and found a stunning cross-cultural book on The Yoni. Which I haven't read but will. And I also found this roaming through the blogosphere over my morning coffee. Is there any connection? In the way of things, yes, I'm sure there is. This delightful wisdom from Dave Bonta's blog, Via Negativa:

"A woman with the right kind of fat is a joy to others and a joy to herself. Her body is pure lubricity, able to move in several directions at once: go watch a belly dancer if you don't believe me. One night with such a woman, my friend, & no skinny woman will ever again be able to entrance you with her momentary cry & one-dimensional hunger. The exclamation point soon loses its p…

Packing books, I come to a shelf on love...

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Packing up my life. And moving I'm not sure where. When I come to my section on books on love, I hesitate, should I pack them all, or carry some with me? Here's Chopra's, Path to Love, and Ackerman & Mackin's massive anthology of love letters, poems, fiction, essays, memoirs, The Book of Love, and the Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh's, Teachings on Love, and Joudry's & Pressman's, Twin Souls, and Roman's, Soul Love, and Gurian's, Love's Journey, and an unauthoured collection, One Hundred & One Classic Love Poems, among too many to mention. I decide on John Gray's, Handbook for the Heart, with beautiful essays in it, and Sarah Bartlett's, Mythical Lovers, Divine Desires, which I haven't fully read yet, and carefully slide the rest into a box.

Ah, then my books on tantra, how many are there, two dozen? Lots of art books on mandalas and yantras and academic books on tantric art and tantric thought. But there's this, Tibe…

On Uncertainty...

Do I like being a deck of cards in the air, a swirl of ocean foam, a migratory bird without a home, having no place to live that I know of in this moment? Maybe...

It doesn't feel free; it just feels like life. Where we can only be certain of uncertainties.

And so should I give up the need to know what's next. Anything at all could be next. Anything at all...

Packing...

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Packing is a laborious process. We, my son and I, are numbering boxes. It's screech, cut, slap; screech, cut, slap - oh ho, taping boxes! Then ka-thump, ka-thump, there go the books; after being swiffered with dusters or RRGrindRRSuckRRGWhirrRRGrindSuckRRR with the hand-held vac, from which the dog has run and hidden. Followed by UUHMPH, UUHMPH, which is me lifting heavy book boxes and stacking them; my son lifts weights, he has no problem. Then of course I have to run out to the supermarket, all that work has us way hungry. Now I'm finishing a home-made cappuccino, and am ready to tackle Science, Philosophy, Art, English Literature, Psychology and Religion. Or the filling of another 30 boxes. Then we'll call it a day. Whew.

And how're you doing today?

Making Love/Art Making

Art is created in the dance of love between the artist and their muse. The best art is created by the artist for the beloved, with the beloved.

The dancer, poet, writer, painter, actor, muscian makes love to their lover, symbolically, to the fragrant air, the rich and fertile universe, the intimacy of the medium of their words or paint or music. To see a harpist or a pianist lovingly caress their instrument into singing, or a rock star playing his electric guitar like it was his woman, this dance between lover and beloved is where art is created, deeply, profoundly. It is created in a loving that is erotic and spiritual, emotional and intellectual, that is an act of pure faith, a risk and leap into the unknown.

I feel art can only come out of absolute vulnerabiltiy, when all the veneers have been stripped. When we are naked and unashamed before the beloved. When we have left the safety of our patterns and are in the present moment in its entirety. Even if this moment be one of pain, an…

Tonight, a love poem...

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At the request of Vexations, I have made a quick MP3 of 4 recent pieces, entitled Body Texts I (6.5 min): Her Hands, Calligraphies; The Artist As Model; Scattered Drumbeats; and In the Wake. If you have any responses or suggestions, I'd consider redoing the recording if I have time before I move...


Friday, July 8th, tonight, a love poem...


London Bombings...

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The bombs in London, the underground, the street ~ terrible! Such an assault on a city. A thousand injured; over 30 dead: yet a bigger weapon than the bombs, fear, which will paralyze millions.


Passengers evacuate an underground train at Kings Cross (Photo: Alexander Chadwick)

Comment I left at thenarrator's site: It will never end, will it. Prayers. Prayers that the conflagrations may end. Prayers that mediation in the world may ultimately win. Prayers for the mediators; our hope lies in those who can calm the extremes, bring about resolution, who do not see the political world in terms of black and white. I don't know how mediation can occur with terrorist groups and organizations, but it can, somehow. Mediation is the only thing that ever works. Prayers for the fear and the suffering...

That view...

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Some photos of the inlet that the Pacific Ocean flows through where I was working - I have brought work home to do, where I don't have a view like that to distract me.

Scattered Drumbeats...

This will reveal what an incurable romantic I am! I have to admit it was partly motived by a Rumi quote that I wanted to use somewhere; this seemed like a good place. It's also touching on that very strange area of "internet romance" and its expectations, hopes... It's my entry in theCreative Writing Challenge:
A light rapping, knuckle on wood, breaks my solitude. In the dark warmth of the evening, I stop, listen, not expecting anyone, and ignore it. The light but insistent scattered drumbeat on the door tugs at me, continuing until I rise from my notebook, pull my cotton shirt around me. On one side of the door I breath into the soft darkness, unsure; my hand on the handle, I whisper into the crack, “Hello…?” In the silence of an almost inaudible gasp, I hear indecision, an awaited moment from which one could yet flee, even if what one was looking for has been found, it’s fearful, and holding back for what seems like minutes before the response, “Hello…I, Miriam, I …

last rites

burn
me to ash
fling
me to dance
my last dance
on the rich earth
sanctify flowers
bright unfolding
caress leaves
with fragments
of bone dust
fly with the wind
scatter my
white residue
light as breath
& illumined love
finally dissolving
into the lake
a dream



©2005 by Brenda Clews, all rights reserved

Writing the Middle-Aged Erotic Body...

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This is a piece on the aging erotic body; it comes perhaps out of my difference feminist stance. It is in the tradition of body writing: the writing of the body of the woman. When I did the birth paintings nearly 20 years ago people found the red flowing vaginas of some of those paintings shocking and often uncomfortably averted their gaze at the wall of paintings I had up in the dining room of my house; a decade later those paintings took on new life, were used as journal covers, in art shows, copies often requested, and I am working on a poster of them. This writing is perhaps similar in that, like exploring the sensualities of the hiddenesses of the pregnant body, it explores the sexuality of the aging body. It is honest, open, vulnerable, hopefully sensual and erotic writing, but not pornographic. It is hetero. It is not my intention to offend, or shock, but to show the realism of the beauty of the body. This is the final piece in a small series, beginning with the red flower, an