free to be
Fair warning: my present mindset (distracted, over-caffeinated, sleep-deprived) is unlikely to produce a cohesive sentence, let alone relay an organized thought. Folks, my brain is all over the map.
My entrenchment in our move from “Fashion bloggers” to “Yes sir and yes ma’am” (see map above created by HaleyForEtsy) has me spinning in seven directions. I’ve got big projects to finish up at work, my kids’ preschool is on summer break, and our air conditioner died yesterday.
Now, if that ain’t a straight-up mania cocktail, I’m not sure what is.
I may feel manic, but I’m not unhappy. My Chasing Maybes crusade to live beyond my own sharp edges has been a welcome distraction, frankly, and keeps me mindful of the waves of “new” soon rolling our way. As I’ve written before, I do my level best to live by Forrest Church’s wise invocation: “Want what you have, do what you can, be who you are.” Dwelling full-scale in my life are both opportunities to branch out in new directions and people to help me do so. I’m free to show up to my world, mussed and imperfect and true, and to write about my experiences. For this freedom I couldn’t be more grateful.
Speaking of freedom (and on the topic of Entertainment, this month’s Chasing Maybes category), I want to share with you the gripping Concrete Steel & Paint, a documentary I watched at last week’s National Conference on Restorative Justice. It chronicles the Mural Arts Program, a project that joins men incarcerated in Pennsylvania’s Graterford Prison with victims of crime to paint murals about healing.
The documentary raises far more questions about justice and reconciliation than it answers, making space for dialogue about the power of art. If you have the opportunity to see it, please do. If you have the opportunity to see it and then participate in a discussion moderated by Eastern Mennonite University’s Howard Zehr, run — don’t walk — to the screening.
Speaking of feeling grateful (okay, that was a bit of a leap), I was given a thoughtful gift by a good friend last week. Have you seen this book?
It is Strunk and White’s classic The Elements of Style illustrated by Maira Kalman. I know I am late to this party (the book was published in 2005), but I’m compelled to share it. Kalman is a writer/designer/illustrator who, among other things, created two monthly online columns for the New York Times. Both have been published as books, and I read the magical The Principles of Uncertainty a few months ago. I fell hard for Kalman’s vivid, poignant illustrations, and cannot wait to check out The Elements of Style. Rules can be beautiful, as it turns out. Also beautiful are friends who edit their own book inscriptions in red pen.
A few updates on my ongoing sub-projects:
- I’ve been listening to classical music at every available opportunity, even in the car. Some of it is vaguely familiar, though I don’t know it by name, and much of it lulls around me like pleasant background noise. As I was making dinner yesterday, though, Bach’s Concerto for 2 Violins, Strings and Continuo in D Minor came on MOG. I had to stop what I was doing, look up its title, and sit for a moment to take it in. While I remain frustrated by my lack of fluency in the language of classical music, I’m working on it. I’m also stunned to find myself really enjoying it.
- I’ve continued to read the comic books I bought for sub-project Comic Books 101 (the Lackluster World series and Leave it to Chance). Six months ago, you couldn’t have convinced me to enter a comic book store, much less read its wares. Now? Evidently I’ve influenced my older child’s reading preferences. As a reward for recent progress on a goal, he requested his own comic book (his choice: Iron Man from Marvel Kids).
- From the moment I began thinking about the category of Entertainment for this Chasing Maybes project, I have been unable to get the song “Entertain Me” by the Psychedelic Furs — a song I don’t even like — out of my head. Maybe writing it down will make it go away. I’ll let you know.
Okay folks — it’s time for today’s free form free-for-all to come to an end. I’ll be back soon with more dispatches from the front.
Today, I hope you are free to be who you are — manic, imperfect, or humming the Psychedelic Furs — and to share what you have. Thanks, always, for showing up.