The lyrics of this John Mayer song ( from his 2 CD album titled “Where the Light Is” ) keep monopolizing my mind space, underlying every daily routine, haunting my thoughts like a benevolent ghost reciting a mantra. Other lyrics included in this selection of songs are also meaningful to me and play significantly in my mind – “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” for instance. I doubt Mayer, in 2008, could have foreseen the state of the world and its rapid dissent into the chaos in which we now find ourselves, but you never know. The artists, the musicians, the writers, the poets, the dancers, the dreamers and the writers of songs are often the canaries in the gold mines of our minds and our world, are they not?
It is difficult to sustain creativity under and against the weight of such difficult times as these, but we must. It takes more work but we must express our recognition of current events whether that means being a brilliant light in the darkness or recording your misery from your unique place inside the darkness. If you prefer to paint in direct denial of the times, then by all means do that, and your enlightened, uplifting images will offer people refuge in the storm. If you prefer to paint in direct opposition to what is happening in the world, screaming and capturing the chaos and the mayhem then by all means do that as well. You might feel one way on Monday and a totally different way by Friday morning. There is room for white or black and all points in between. Life is way more than 50 shades of gray, by the way. Whether you are a painter, a writer or a photographer – express yourself in the authentic voice of who you are at any given moment in time. You just have to do that, even if it shocks and stuns. You are the barometer of the weather you are experiencing; what you record is a journal of your personal progress and your ability to cope in the complex world surrounding you. Express it; just bleed it out. It is all a part of the universal picture.
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On a daily basis I have been writing a few lines in an engagement calendar – the one titled “Under The Tuscan Sun”, by Frances Mayes – for over twelve years now. It doesn’t provide enough space for anything lengthy so I have to choose the best or not best part of each day and distill it down to basic information with few adjectives. Since that is difficult for me, I somehow get a bit of extra satisfaction by adding a bright neon pink post-it note to the page when something quite startling has happened. It gives me a mental marker reminder about some big deal kind of thing. I stick it on there so some of it peeks out above the page and screams at me. It can be a really oddball reason or a monumental one. Bad one or good one. Funny one or serious as a heart attack one. Sometimes it even means something happened to someone else who means the world to me.
There are days in your life, my life, all of our lives that deserve neon pick post-it notes. As you look back over things, certainly a selection of spectacular days come to mind. Lucky be you. They ought to make mud-brown post-it notes for the days that are, quite frankly, crappy. Normal be you. You don’t have to keep a journal to remember the good, bad and the ugly – your mind has a place where you catalog all of your days for reference allowing you to pull them out at will and review them for what they are – rare and wonderful or miserable, maybe a day that taught you a difficult lesson. Neutral days don’t ever get post-it notes, but of course they are remembered.
It is already too late for me to die young, so I am fortunate in that regard and supposedly wise for the years I have logged in my life. I remember my mother used to say, “The stories all repeat themselves – the names just change.” Her way of saying that she had seen it all. But I am constantly surprised at the things people do and various things I could never have imagined keep happening. Is it the times we live in? Or am I just a late bloomer who is constantly in awe of life? Have things really changed that much from when our parents were our age? I believe they have. I say that without judgment – things have just changed. Amazing life, incredibly amazing times we live in, based upon other amazing times….I guess it is all relative.
When a neon pink day happens in my world, and it is spectacular and rare and energizing and never to be forgotten in all the best of ways, then that is to be highly valued. I’m talking about a day when nothing is “off” one single dot from 100% perfect, and it flows as smooth as creme brulee from morning until long past dinner. I had one of those days yesterday. I was with my favorite artsy people, all of us expressing our love of life and our appreciation for time spent together as I prepare to end this chapter, change my residence and move onward. People spoke and said wise things, people joked and said crazy things, some made toasts and everyone made delicious food. Peach tulips graced every cheerful table where we dined. Each laugh filled the room and escaped through the windows of our open hearts. Lovely words were etched in our minds and many thanks were given. We ennobled the day with our gathering, and we gave wings to our faith in the future. I had never been to such a heart-warming party, much less one in my honor. But the party honored us all and our common desire to create a neon pink day to remember. You must do that whenever you’re able because it’s all precious and life goes by like a candle in the wind.