reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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green eyes and creativity. [merely-a-thought monday]

“workers might want to consider these top 10 skills, which employers say are rising in importance over the next five years: 1. creative thinking.” (jane thier – fortune magazine)

mm-hmm. yup. #2 is analytical thinking. i’m pretty certain that without creative thinking, analytical thinking would hit dead-ends every time. and self-destruct.

the other night, in the middle of the night, the wee hours of the night when one is supposed to be sleeping, i was – shockingly – wide awake. we had a long conversation, chatting about places we had lived way-earlier-on, jobs we had way-earlier-on. i talked about eating lots of kellogg’s cornflakes and he talked about mountains of pbj sandwiches. we have both had histories of piecemeal, making-it-work, scrappy artists weaving a tapestry of living with rough-hewn shreds of granola-cotton, jute, hemp, fabrics not fine or finished but with torn edges and maybe a little holey.

larkfield road in east northport made it possible. many of my jobs – early-on – were on this road. i worked at the music store, the camera store, the dive shop, one of the churches – all on this road – before i left long island. i bought my cornflakes at the king kullen and my gas at the corner citgo, splurgy pizzas down the road and sub sandwiches next to the post office. i drove all over teaching piano lessons and saved whatever i could at the bank that gave away plates for deposits on the corner of larkfield and clay pitts. none of it was fancypants. but it gave me a different expectation bar and it was all setting the stage for a creative life.

it’s funny to me that it takes a fortune magazine article to espouse the merits of creative thinking. the number 1 top skill rising in importance – as if it’s something new. ahhh. but, perhaps it is.

for we know, better i’d say than many, the difference in actually choosing a creative path. creativity, artistry – these lead you in a direction that is unrevealed, a direction that is vulnerable, a direction that has no guarantees.

an accountant, say, knows that any amount of time spent on a project will be remunerated. time spent = time paid for. it’s really a lovely equation. and both of us have had positions in our lives when this equation was in place.

but the instant we list back to the artist side, all equations dissipate into a fog and people – the same ones who turn to the arts in watershed moments of their lives – suggest we might consider exposure of our work our form of payment. i imagine writing to the wisconsin energies company – “i’ll give you ten exposures for this $326 bill.” more so, i imagine their response. yikes!

and so, here we are. the workworld – so to speak – is catching up a tiny bit. employers are beginning to recognize the value of creative thinking…maaaybe. the COO of fortune, dan shapero, is quoted, “the long-term trend is pretty undeniable that the demand for skills outpaces the supply of skills.”

perhaps he – representing employers everywhere – is not looking in the right places.

creative thinking is found in creative people, the ones exposing their work to the world, the ones who scrimp and bring to fruition projects that started in a thought bubble, the ones who don’t have the same organizational principle applied to their vitae and whose vitae, perhaps, would go the way of bot-trash, but who have a thru-hiked life (sometimes many, many years of life – decades even – making age yet another employment challenge) – with creativity their north star.

as people-with-active-resumes we note that our schooling is bachelors and masters degrees – framed and unframed- in bins in the basement somewhere. our work experience is a little bit of that tapestry i was talking about. it’s been garnered in educational settings, in corporate settings, in public service, in non-profits like theatres and churches, in software startups, on stages and on radio, in studios with canvas and studios with microphones. our creative output is found in albums, in paintings, in books, in blogs, in cartoons, in plays, in workshop projects.

we get creative thinking.

i passed green eyes down to her. he got his eye color from his dad. both of them are wildly creative. their lives have already been a tapestry of edges. i couldn’t be more proud.

“the most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.” (mary oliver)

*****

happy birthday to my beloved girl.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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off the trail we know. [k.s. friday]

each time the trail curves, i can imagine it. next.

but as weeks go, this one has been harder. we tried our best to be positive, to believe that the new bend in our road is not so fraught. but, the fact of the matter is that it is. fraught.

we are pretty tough. kind of scrappy. definitely frugal. well, most of the time. we have both been presented with lean times in our lives. even our life together has had its lean times. we always eat leftovers. we always repurpose things. we always turn the shampoo bottle upside down. we always keep the heat low. we haven’t bought a vehicle in sixteen years. in some unknown intuitive move for which we are now grateful, we put off the big chimney-fireplace project, necessary but ridiculously expensive. we haven’t flown in three years. we find sanctuary in a forest we know well. we know where the trail curves.

and each time the trail curves, i can imagine it.

as the sun glimmers on what-looks-like the other end, i think – this is just one day, one week, one time in our lives. tomorrow will dawn and it might be a completely different day, starting a completely different week, a completely different time in our lives. and we just don’t know. again.

we are now in a woods we do not recognize, on a path we can not anticipate. off the trail we know. anxiety hikes with us, as do worry, sadness and disappointment. we worked hard on our plan, but the best laid plans are laid down. and this week, as weeks go, this one has been harder.

the sun quivers through the trees in front of us, setting. we keep walking.

day is done, 
gone the sun, 
from the lake, 
from the hills, 
from the sky; 
all is well, 
safely rest, 
god is nigh.  

fading light 
dims the sight, 
and a star 
gems the sky, 
gleaming bright. 
from afar, 
drawing nigh, 
falls the night.

(taps - d. butterfield/unknown)

*****

IN TRANSITION Šī¸ 1995 kerri sherwood

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read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY


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intrepid. [two artists tuesday]

and just like that – on a beautiful sunday driving a back road in wisconsin – little baby scion turned 250,000 miles.

we drove with the camera ready…ready to take a video of the 249,999-250,000 turnover, ready to stop and take a picture on the side of the road of this momentous moment. this tough, scrappy little vehicle is intrepid. with a few bumps and scratches (like the rest of us) and a few rattling noises (also like the rest of us) littlebabyscion diligently trods on, dutifully and reliably chalking up miles and experiences with us. and we are devoted to it.

we knew it was coming. we were less than thirty miles away, a mere backroads drive to lake geneva to pick up a piece of flourless chocolate cake in anticipation of our celebration of this no-frills little square vehicle. we planned our sunday afternoon around it, loaded dogdog in and, in sunday-drive fashion, took our time both on roads we knew and roads we turned onto, just to see where they went. we pulled over when it turned. it was astounding to actually think about: that this little car had safely driven me/us 250,000 miles. that’s 83 times across the united states! we sat there and thought aloud about all the places we’d gone in it, all the roadtrips, and all the really significant events that had happened.

when littlebabyscion turned 235,235 miles i recounted some of those; it is no less inspiring to me now. littlebabyscion delivered my girl and my boy – and all their stuff – back and forth and back and forth and back and forth etc etc etc to college dorms and apartments. littlebabyscion brought babycat home from florida. littlebabyscion drove across the country loaded with cds for concerts and wholesale and retail shows. littlebabyscion picked up david at the airport for the first time we met and drove us away on our honeymoon. littlebabyscion drove dogdog home from a farm in a little town on the river on the other side of the state. littlebabyscion took us back and forth and back and forth and back and forth to florida to see my sweet momma in the last of her life. littlebabyscion was our haven the day, on the highway to see her, my momma died. it held us safe, a buttress for our grief. littlebabyscion moved us all – with dogdog and babycat ferry-quivering each time – to the island littlehouse and then home again. littlebabyscion has determinedly climbed mountain passes to get to see our girl and driven in traffic jams out east and on chicago’s highways to see our boy. littlebabyscion has slept in rest areas, restaurant lots, parks. littlebabyscion has eluded storms and hail and snow and straight-line winds. like 20 said, when he heard of its milestone, “to the moon and back!”.

i asked steve, our miracle mechanic, what i would do when littlebabyscion reached 300,000 miles. “keep driving it,” he said.

he’s right. keep driving it.

so one of these days, a while from now, expect to see this same shot with 300,000 miles on the odometer.

you go, littlebabyscion, you x-ceptional xb.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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“← →” [merely-a-thought monday]

anna quindlen, in her book a short guide to a happy life, says this: “yogi berra’s advice seems as good as any – when you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

we have arrived. it doesn’t come with directions. no gps. no warranty. no guarantees. no table-of-contents-glossary-index-laden information booklet. nothing. just a choice. well, always a choice.

there’s something amusing about signage that points both ways. there aren’t a lot of things making me giggle right now. but, although we have passed this spot on the trailhead many times, this signpost made me giggle the other day. i am at a crossroads. we are at a crossroads. which way?

“…a dividing line between seeing the world in black and white and in technicolor.” (anna quindlen) i suppose the spectrum is meant to be seen in its entirety. all the colors. not a flattening out of the incandescence of life. i suppose it’s not as scary as it seems. i suppose luminous scrappy will rise up, face the signpost and decide.

it’s all fluid. we are all fragile seedlings bending in the wind. invisible forces, gravity, dark, lost-ness, steadfastness, weightlessness, light, found-ness buffet us and brace us, both. and we orient. we stand at the signpost on the trailhead and choose, knowing there will be another moment when we will choose yet again.

“and whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” (max ehrmann)

either way. either direction. either path. i just start. we just start. again.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY