What happens to a marriage after it ends? My parents fought to stay together for almost 20 years, before finally giving in to the inevitable – that two people coming from such opposite poles should never cohabit (except for the purposes of popping out two fab offspring). But what happens to that love – and by Golly there was no shortage of that – once the papers have been signed?
I had my Mom on the line the other day, and I was laying on the advice pretty thick. All kinds of solutions and suggestions were streaming across the country – Calgary to Ottawa direct. When I hung up the phone, I was startled to see what I’d been doodling – or rather, who. Right there on the paper, staring up at me with scribbly eyes and flippant hair, was my father. I had unconsciously invited the man into our conversation… him or some archetypal god figure (kindly leave Freud out of this – thank you very much). It’s comforting, I suppose, to know that a marriage doesn’t just dissolve out into the universe… at least not without sneaking back from time to time to do a bit of haunting.
It’s every writer’s dream… a free-wheeling roadtrip across Canada with nothing but your wits and words to get you from A to B to N (Alberta to B.C. to Newfoundland). As I type this, Patricia O’Neill – one of Calgary’s best storytellers – is busy whittling down her life to fit in the back of a car. She’ll be blogging her way across the country (web address coming soon!) as she winds her way through the stories, people, and places along the road. It is rare in this life to be offered a chance at true freedom, and there are too few people brave enough to grab hold of the opportunity. We’re proud of you Patricia! Go forth woman… and live the dream!
Update: You can follow Patricia’s incredible journey on her blog – Moving in the Write Direction
Here’s the final version of this year’s Christmas card (minus the caption and border). The printer tech was a little weirded out and made me explain three times how I wanted the copies trimmed. “It’s a what now?” He kept asking. I took his confusion as a compliment. After all, the surest sign you’re doing anything new is the complete bewilderment of bystanders – like the time I carved “MERRY CHRISTMAS” into my grandparents’ Halloween pumpkin.
Note: …because when you symbolically embrace technological card making, one’s pinky must remain as ladylike as possible~wink.
There’s still time to send off a couple of handwritten letters before the Christmas rush. Not that you don’t have enough on your plate already, especially with that green and red Godzilla of holidays looming dark on the horizon (*), but the effect of a few heartfelt words and some pencil crayons can be just as magical for the sender as for the recipient. Of course, it’s also handy that leaves are a whole lot easier to draw (not to mention show up a lot better) than snowflakes.
(*)Note: Do I sound a little jaded? You try staying festive (or even fully conscious!) after stocking hundreds of toxic, rubbery plastic ornaments at a Michaels Arts & Craft Store – one fateful October! And don’t even get me started on the Cinnamon scented pinecones that will haunt me till, till… oh the humanity!
The two portraits below are of the same subject. The first uses setting, composition, and lighting to convey the subject’s personality. She is a quirky artistic type with hippie, as opposed to hipster, sensibilities and a great, snarky sense of humor. Photography is an excellent medium for portraiture because the subject can be directly involved in communicating how she/he sees herself/himself to the world. However, as in personality testing, this can also be a limitation. Honesty can easily become clouded by preconception.
The second portrait is a drawing of the same subject dancing. It was executed quickly, solely from memory. Both she and I were startled by the resulting resemblance. “Creepy,” she called it. And yes, the attitude and posture was eerily spot on. It’s a big risk to allow yourself to be seen through someone else’s eyes, and the results may surprise you, creepy or not. I invite you to try this exercise with someone you know. In our age of careful personal branding, there is an urgent need for the honesty of a pen, some colouring pencils, and a personal connection only art can prove.