Last night, I had the special opportunity to be the guest of honor at a local retailer, Runways, to showcase my work. Of course I was delighted to accept the invitation, except that I tend to shrink under the spotlight of guesthood-ness. So instead of being a slick salesman, I did what I love most.Talked.
I find everyone fascinating. Well, almost everyone, but I am sure they feel that way about me too. I can go on and on and on and on. You see?
I tell stories. About me. It sounds so self-centered I know, but it is the subject I know best. The day I launched my artwork into the world, I was confounded when other people saw themselves in my work. I still am. It is, however, my favorite conversation. The one that starts with, oh that's us, or that's my mother or I feel like that sometimes.
I see my pen as a gift of visibility. A chance to be seen. An opportunity to be heard. And the sweet and occasionally somber moment when shared life experiences connect us all together. Every writer wants to be read, but more than that, most writers I know, at least once, want their words not only read but understood. Yeah. So true. Been there. Done that.
In the midst of all the conversation, last night, several similar connections took place. A piece I wrote on adoption led to two different and touching stories. The first, an adoptee, wanting the artwork as a reminder of her life story. The deeply personal moment of knowing she is a living wish come true, an answered prayer. The second, an adoptive parent, reliving the dream, the wishes and the hopes that resulted in one and two becoming three.
What brings me to this topic today, occurred in the final moments of the evening. A husband and wife. The husband reading one of my pieces and guiding his wife over to read it together. Him holding Her close and whispering...that's us...that's you...and me. Pointing to the final line, which reads.."a leap of faith".
Herein lies the tale. The picture he was pointing to almost never came to be. It is one of a series of ten. The Circle Series. On the back of each piece is the Circle Series story. I shared it with them and I thought I would share it with you, in the hopes that if you are busy looking for answers, puzzling how to move from here to there, or struggling for a way out or up, you too will learn, as I did, that the direction we should go may be in plain sight...
The Circle Series Story:
Unfortunately for me, I began to draw circle on my writing paper.
I am stuck. Stuck on circles.
Writing, which brings me great comfort, eludes me.
I am off to the bookstore to simply browse. Head down, I bump into a shelf. Head up, I see, not stars, but a circle on the cover of a book. Odd. I buy the book. The story of Enso, a Zen calligraphy symbol. I sense pinpricks on my skin as I read of ancient artists (like me) spending lifetimes, learning to draw a perfect circle in one fluid flourish. One brushstroke.
A circle unique unto its author.
I am still stuck. Stuck now on circles.
I decide to wander through some of my worn lesson plans, sitting dust covered in the basement where I left them several years ago. The first pages I discover are geometry lessons..
...about circles, points and lines and rays.
I taught my fourth graders geometry through the line and design of nature. As I recall the first time I read about the repeating patterns of nature and the Fibonacci numbers... a pressed leaf and a tiny shell escape the yellowed pages.
Nature's line and and design. The repeating patterns of nature.
The complex made simple. The simple, complex.
I find my voice.
The words return.
I forgot how to be still,
how to listen,
how to be patient...
and the power of a circle.
I hope you will find a similar peace here with me...if not here, then out there where nature, like our lives, is ever constant, ever changing. Nature's line and design repeating, renewing, etching the eternal circle of life.
From a point to a ray, to a line, a branch, a meander, a wave, a spiral, a knot, a crag...to a circle.
My gift to you...
The Power of the Oh.