September 21, 2018

Summer Diary ~ 2018

Forever (after, now) remembered as the first summer at the Oriole nest.
A new home, a new space, a new frame of mind.

The Oriole nest feels like the safest place to be; to be entirely me, with my best friend who - surprise! Is still my best friend after nearly 5 months of living together.
The amount of times I was warned, and reassured others, that we still would be. She's a dream come true. We've made such a nice place to live and I am soaking up every minute of it (because I know nothing is permanent).

This summer was marked by the hum and clicks of fans oscillating, by the subway rumbling gently like a faraway thunder rolling across distant skies. Cicadas, zealous chirping squirrels with red tails. It was marked by new music, a deeper appreciation for female voices and song writing, artists that inspire me to be who I am fully. Buying sun flowers for myself. A new commute to work, one where I sometimes bump into one of my participants and we make the bus ride shorter with lively discussion.

I will also remember this as a summer that felt really weird.
Weird like a half-dream,
like a stuck-in-transition season.
Weird like the time between a short hair cut
and not sure whether you want to chop it again
or go back to long locks.
Weird like staying in lake water too-long;
All you want is to stay and float forever but your body isn't made to.

I didn't spend as much time outside as I'd like;
a result of the Oriole nest being a basement apartment?
Feeling grounded,
but wanting the air and the water,
fresh air out of the city,
water I can jump into.

This is the reality of where I am in life:
a young adult,
paying rent in a city with exorbitant costs,
wanting to be in the city
a cool cultured youth some people tell me I should be
(myself a people too).
But then unable to afford a getaway which I begin to crave.

I got some tastes though - a brief stint at a stormy cottage, one or two swims. A visit to my grandma, by her bed as she is fighting an aggressive cancer. Reading by the pool while she rests. Camping overnight after a friend's wedding, listening to crickets and the crackling dying bonfire at four in the morning from my tent, nursing a hangover in a corn field just five hours later. Visiting my parents' house and having coffee on the back porch in the morning.

Celebrating four years together. My big-bearded guy with a big heart and a big mind.
Daydreaming too much about our future together
(sometimes just enough, but sometimes too eagerly -
I am learning to want things in the future
but accept that they are only there, not in the now.)

The day I showed up at his place and he had set up an outdoor table for us to get our hands dirty at, experimenting with dollar store clay,
next to his family's vegetable garden.
Moving his room from a basement we fell in love in, to an upper floor,
smashing a crunchy mattress up small stairways of an old house,
learning to laugh at the neighbours' weird antics at odd hours of the night.

I love him.

As the weather cools, I look forward to holding hands without feeling sticky.
I look forward to cooking and eating soup,
without raised eyebrows at me for eating soup in the heat.

Here's to this summer, and here's to this next season too.
~ xo

September 10, 2018

A Thought or Two: Relationality in Art

I've felt this heavy shift in the last half of a year. Heavy in the good, planets shifting, mind bending kind of way.

My research and work is in relational caring, relational philosophies for working with persons with dementia. The theories resonate with me, they parallel something deep down in my psyche that I've not ever been able to put words to until now.

Relationality is how I live my life.
My relationships are a central part of my life, organically, naturally, always.
I thrive when I'm connected with others. I have a suspicion that this is how all humans thrive. So do all the relational theorists!

So how has this changed my art practice?
I still enjoy a good hours-long paint session, with good music, just me and my materials and ideas.
But I get a much bigger kick out of making art collectively, collaboratively. At work with my seniors, I work side by side or in collaboration with people all day. It's a freeing space, it lets relationships flow and grow. 

Knowing how good it feels at work to be in connection with others while making art and being creative, it made me wonder how I could translate this to my art practice. For one, I've been trying to make art with friends when we spend time together! For another, I've been re-reading all of my art school materials on relational aesthetics, thinking about how to make it a reality with my skillset.

In May I facilitated an interactive collage installation at an arts and music event. It was a total dream come true to have people come up to my collage wall, with their collage materials in hand, so excited to contribute to the collaborative collage pieces. We made 4 very colourful, bedazzled, and fascinating pieces. I loved watching people make collage decisions I never would have thought of, watching people pair things together or fold things or cut things a certain way. It was beautiful and I can still feel the high of it when I think back to the event.

I want to do this again. And again. And again. I want to make art with people indefinitely and always. It's a beautiful and healing and magical.

So, here's to relationality in art, and artwork becoming less competitive and ego driven - instead, community minded!