field notes (April 1, 2017)

My daughter and I were talking about failure the other day. She is learning to sew and, as it is with learning new skills, she is  making a lot of mistakes. I told her that she must continue. Try, make a mistake, come up with a new plan, try again. Keep at it. Keep trying and failing. She said, “Does that mean that eventually, I won’t make any more mistakes?” I told her that she will always make mistakes, she will always fail. But the thing about trying and failing over and over again is this: once you  figure out that it’s not a personal failing, just a part of the learning curve, the time you spend face down on the ground between tries decreases. You get better at jumping back up on your feet. You get quicker. You aren’t as devastated for as long. Also, you’ll master all kinds of skills. But because we are naturally curious people, we will always be learning new skills and failing at them before we master them. Throughout our life. We will always try and fail and try again. The recovery time between efforts though, will decrease.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  – Winston Churchill

“Mistakes bring good.” – Maira Kalman

Reading: IN THE COMPANY OF WOMEN by Grace Bonney (highly recommended)

Watching: EAMES: THE ARCHITECT AND THE PAINTER by Jason Cohn and Bill Jersey and CHOCOLAT with Juliette Binoche

“Never delegate understanding.” – Charles Eames

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe

Starting to find a few niches where I may belong in my new town. And slowly, mindfully, attending meetings, saying hello, asking questions, following my nose, writing letters of introduction, making (I hope) lasting connections. I belong here.

A writing friend from Minnesota passed through town earlier this month and we had time to drink some coffee and share some book talk and our time together filled me up like nothing else. So wonderful to meet and talk with people face-to-face.

Considering ways to increase my visual literacy. Taking a helicopter view. Considering what I have here and now. Whom I can ask for help. How to do what I can with what I have. Making a giant mind map. So far: a daily drawing practice, a list of  visual artist friends to ask for help from, and an emerging idea of what I’m trying to do. I’m taking this slow because I’m not willing to ask for help or guidance until I know what it is I want. Things are still a bit murky. And that’s OK. A clear direction will emerge given time and patience.

I watched CHOCOLAT three times over the past two weekends. I wanted to watch it again and again and again. I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. And I finally figured out why: that’s what I want. What Vianne has: To live in a town where I am part of its fabric. / To stay. To stay. To stay. / To be a true, get-in-the-mud friend across the years. / To create things (books & essays & stories) that make peoples’ lives better, richer, braver. / To live bravely, big-heartedly even when (especially when) it makes me less popular. / To share good food with people around my very own table. /  To do it all wearing great clothes.

Finally pegged down my essential intent for my writing!!! (Now to do so for the other arena in my life. Namely, my family and my health.)