emergence

Hullo.
It’s been a while hasn’t it? How are you- are you and your loved ones well?

While I’ve decided to stop apologizing here for anything I write (or in this case, don’t write), I do feel a need to explain where I’ve been these past few months.

Guys, winter was hard, like really hard. I don’t mean in a super serious, family-illness or major depression sort of way, but in a grinding, grueling, let’s-just-get-through-this, cold sort of way. Normally I can take winter in stride- drink lots of chai, snuggle into big sweaters, hibernate and dream- but this winter really threw me off my game. Between feeling a bit over extended at my (still new-ish) job*, and still trying to settle into our new house, all endeavors beyond functioning as a normal human in society fell by the wayside. With approximately 175 polar vortices barreling through Ohio every few days running (or even walking) outside became impossible, eliminating the last barrier that stood between me and Seasonal Affective Disorder.

So that’s where I’ve been- surviving. Working, living, struggling to maintain relationships with people outside my house whom I love, and feeling totally incapable of handling anything beyond that, especially creative pursuits. The last things made in my studio were Galentines. I’ve mentally written several posts, some funny, some not, some helpful some not- all of which seemed locked away in my brain, totally inaccessible to my fingers every time I sat at my desk. A mean little voice started to whisper ‘phony…” and “fail…”whenever I though about writing or making, and rather than squash it like a tick, I listened and worried. I don’t mean to alarm or melodramatize here- there were people who had WAY worse times of it this winter- there were good things that happened this winter, and I never felt truly lacking or upset. Even at my lowest I think I’d use words like “stressed” or ‘tired’ before I’d say I was depressed or even sad. But, it can be a bit unsettling to find an uninspired, listless and tired person who can handle nothing beyond the Netflix cue where once there was a bundle of energy, ideas and projects to tackle. And that feeling, the feeling of not knowing exactly who I was, was what really got to me.

All of which is do say, it’s getting better.** No, I haven’t suddenly reached Nirvana through all my hours of youtube-yoga, and no, my house isn’t any cleaner/more organized/even unpacked all the way. Even as I write this, I’m acutely aware of how slow and dear the words are coming – like an i.v. drip from my fingers. But they are coming. And even though I still feel a bit uninspired, and fragile in my assertion of myself as ARTIST (and more fragile still, as writer), I also know that this fragility is only as permanent  as frost. I can’t really do anything to make it stop, but I can make some small changes and cultivate small joys in the other areas of my life and know that eventually This Too Shall Pass. There’s a cool mist where once there were frigid hellish gales. I’ve traded my heavy black winter coat for my favorite blue-green jacket. There are green things poking through the mud. My garden isn’t mine, yet, but I did manage to replace one of the raised beds and tuck in a few seedlings this weekend. And for the next hour, I’m going to be in my studio. Doing what? Hell, I have no idea- the ‘what’ will come later. For now, it’s just enough to be ‘doing”.

 

 

* which, by the way, is still wonderful- the overextension is temporary, not personal,  and largely on me as I still struggle to find balance and define what’s ‘enough.’
**it almost always does. until it doesn’t, at which point it’s a good idea to ask for help.

 

 

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It was a muddy and gloomy evening…

It was a muddy and gloomy evening…

Spring is here!
The 20th has come and gone, and winter is finally over. Between harvesting new spring greens and tending to my indoor seedlings and planning picnics, I’ve just been filled with springtime joy! The fresh scent of jonquils and new leaves is carried on a breeze that is brisk but mellowed with the first warmth of the new season, through my open kitchen window. Outside, baby ducks and rabbits frolic in a bucolic bacchanal of fuzz and fluff and too big eyes.

If you listen very closely, you can almost hear a chorus of baby lambs singing the Hallelujah Chorus.

If you listen very closely, you can almost hear a chorus of baby lambs singing the Hallelujah Chorus.

If you’ve read this blog for more than 5 minutes you know a) that I am in the Midwest and thus b) dripping with sarcasm. The truth is, despite what Martha and Pinterest and the rest of the internet is telling me, the current season is one that isn’t a season at all. It feels like it shouldn’t be winter. The days are longer, there’s a strange and firey ball of light in the sky, Easter candy abounds and yesterday I counted approximately 177 robins in our front yard. It’s definitely not SPRING- there’s a Winter Weather advisory in effect and while a few unwise blubs have started sending up green stuff through the sea of mud, all the tips have been frost burnt.
When I am feeling cheerful, I call this current state of being ‘The Mudglooms.’

Having spent the better part of the week bitching about our lack of spring like it’s my job, I’ve decided to take this transitory state in stride. Sure, every formerly grassy then snowy area has been replaced with mud- Sure, going for a run requires more layers of spandex than I feel comfortable disclosing- Sure, it seems like everyone (including yours truly) has spent the past 5 months perfecting their snarls- At the same time, though, all these gloomy skies and biting winds put one in the perfect mood for tea and rumination but without the utter despair that comes from the deep heart of winter. Having the nearness of spring so close to the current desolation seems almost supernatural. I’ll say this for the Mudglooms- they’re a great time for reading books about villages on moors. And looking at art like this:

Figure 2 by Agnes Martin

THE KITCHEN V Carrying the Milk by Marina Abramovic

Exploded View Birds by Jim Campbell.
Click HERE or HERE to see this piece in action. Awesome.

The Argument With Spring by Jessica Tremp

a drawing by Eva Hesse

Heart Branches by Anne Siems

from Bloom by Anna Schuleit

Robert Montgomery

Robert Mongomery is right- Winter can’t last forever. Let us savor this liminal state- Three cheers for sunglasses+beanies! A round of hurrahs for the extension of hot cocoa season!

Hols.

Hols.

from Rineke Dijkstra’s ‘Beach Portrait’ series

Shades, Venice Beach by Ian Baguskas

Can You Imagine by Trey Speegle

Sea of Desire, by Ed Ruscha

Dancing Sea by Ceren Kilic

 

I am usually one of the first (and sometimes only) people to welcome Midwest Winters with open arms. I spend most of November/December waxing poetic about Big Sweaters! Hot cocoa! Grey Rainy Days! and twirling in slow-mo pretending to be Winona Rider.

But come mid-January I realize that we are barely through the thick of it and tomatoes are half a year away I am cold.
Luckily this is just about when my parents, who are masters of planning and foresight, Boyfriend and I take our annual vacation. A week of reading until my eyes fall out, sleeping whenever the hell I feel like it and soaking in sun and salt and warmth until I feel as full and re-hydrated as a raisin in a good Biryani is usually just what I need to see me through to March (or, because it’s Ohio, occasionally June.) This year proved to be no exception, hence, why I disappeared for a few weeks- One week to panic because OMG IT’S BARELY JANUARY AND I CAN’T FEEL MY HANDS, and one week of recovering someplace sunny and green.
And now I’m back! And yeah, it’s still Winter, but at least I’ve had visual evidence the sun does still exist- I’m not living in some nightmarish, apocalyptic world with Cillian Murphy as my only hope. Maybe now I can crawl out from under this pile of cats and blankets and start Making More Things because, as I’ve learned this year, Winter is no time to hibernate.

 

 

 

 

“The shortest day has passed…*”

“The shortest day has passed…*”
My mother, making the necessary, traditional cinnamon rolls Christmas Eve.

My mother, making the necessary, traditional cinnamon rolls Christmas Eve.

CLynch 2012

G.

Clynch 2012

G’s favorite way to spend evenings…and mornings….and afternoons.

Newt, in a rare moment of stillness.

Newt, in a rare moment of stillness.

CLynch2012

Snowstorm as seen from inside a tiny, warm kitchen.

CLynch 2012

mint, jade and onions – enjoying a bit of sun

A wonderful, love-filled Christmas and a blissfully quiet and Schwarzenegger-filled New Year’s Eve.

Despite all my outward protestations that New Year’s is ‘just another day’ and ‘barely a real holiday’, every year I get pulled into the list-making, vow-taking optimism that comes with a new calendar year. I have no logical reason to believe that a 3 where there was a 2 will suddenly transform me into a new being that Dresses Smartly! and Cooks Dinner on Weeknights Regularly! and Balances a Rich Creative Life with Social Outings! and yet I still find myself some time in the early days of January declaring that this is the year I become more/less ____.

In the spirit of my hilarious friend, Sharon, this year I’m trying to keep it a bit ‘mo’ real’;

  • focus less on things like ‘becoming famous’ and ‘getting into shows’ and focus more on making art.
  • this I will do by cultivating a daily art practice and following through on current projects before starting new ones.
  • learn to cook more ‘intuitively‘.
  • run 2 half-marathons (one in spring and one in fall)
  • drink more water each day than I do coffee (because drinking nothing but coffee and wine in a 24 hr period can’t be great for my kidneys)

ONWARD!

CLynch2012

been eating an unreasonable amount of citrus and apologizing to no one.

*”The shortest day has passed, and whatever nastiness of weather we may look forward to in January and February, at least we notice that the days are getting longer.  Minute by minute they lengthen out.  It takes some weeks before we become aware of the change.  It is imperceptible even as the growth of a child, as you watch it day by day, until the moment comes when with a start of delighted surprise we realize that we can stay out of doors in a twilight lasting for another quarter of a precious hour.”
–  Vita Sackville-West

Snow Schlow Mow Day.

Snow Schlow Mow Day.
CLynch 2012

‘ends and beginings’ Cat Lynch, acrylic and graphite, 2012

Another of my ‘weekday’ endeavors, though I bent the rules a bit and finished it over the weekend at my parents’ house. Given the way I usually work, and the proximity I am to the end of my book, this will probably be the last drawing of 2012. Fitting, then that it’s a drawing of a butt.

In related book-finishing, drawing-making news, it is SNOWPOCALYPSE. After bad-mouthing the mildness of Ohio winters for three years, she’s finally calling my bluff. Outside is a beautiful, wintry wonderland and zero reason to leave the house.

Stay warm!