So much depends on a crepe paper flower. I've been revisiting a hobby that I haven't played with for a couple of years, crepe paper flower making. I've always given myself permission to take up any random hobby that appeals to me, buy all the stuff I need to make it happen, drop it the second I get bored, and pick it up again when I feel moved to do so. If ever. I made puppets for quite a long time. Yes I did! It's difficult for me to maintain an ongoing dedication to any creative hobby when I make a living off one creative thing, so much goes into making pottery. I don't always have a lot of juice leftover.
Right now, I'm doing whatever must be done to keep from going nuts or being a bother to the public or my husband, and I am really enjoying falling into the beautiful rabbit hole of crepe paper flower making. I've always made flowers that adhere to realism, there is a lot of joy in looking closely at the details of a flower and trying to mimic it in paper. But I'm not into that this time. It's about color, texture, and making stuff oversized and big. A flower looks like a flower, it doesn't have to look like a particular flower. Fuck reality. I really mean that.
While I'm cutting out petals and stretching them into shape, I think about the power of creation, and how it is a sort of prayer. Praying with hands clasped is not usually my thing, though I'm starting to wonder if maybe it should be. I could try it out and see if there is something to this ancient practice. I prefer writing notes to god. Call them demand letters. Or in some cases, a cease and desist.
Prayer is actually not to be trifled with. I'm not interested in the question of whether or not it works or if anyone or thing is listening. That's an unanswerable question. Prayer, however it's done, is all about focus. It helps us guide ourselves to where we want to go and what we want to do. I think where people choose to direct their attention, shit's gonna happen. We are so powerful.
I'm not much of a believer anyway, but I come around to the idea of a creative universal force every once in a while. I would really like that to be true. I like Barbara Ehrenreich's take on belief, which is she doesn't have to dedicate herself to belief or disbelief, it's more interesting to just be curious. I was a proud little atheist when I was a kid. Only, I got the word "atheist" and "lesbian" confused for quite a while there in elementary school, and I liked to declare myself a lesbian whenever god or church came up. Hey, they are both three syllable words and I was a smart-alecky kid who like to throw around big words. And I had a mom who didn't want to make me feel weird about myself so she probably just nodded her head and said, "That's great!" Or maybe she said, "Why do you think that?" and I said, "Because I don't believe in god!" She was probably the one who eventually corrected me.
Do you pray? It's a personal question, isn't it? If you don't mind sharing, tell me how you pray. Or, you can just let me know what you think about it.
Did you have any idea that Alice Walker, one of America's greatest living writers, has a blog that does not appear to managed by a PR person? To have a writer of her stature regularly publishing her quixotic and random ideas, thoughts, and poetry on a blog is, um, amazing. I was beyond delighted to stumble across this. She also has some things to say about prayer.
Speaking of poetry, now might be a good time to read Billy Collins' poem, The Names, written for the victims of 9/11, another event that changed our lives in ways we never imagined. It reminds me to think of the Covid death toll not in terms of numbers, but in terms of human life and stories lost. I'm as inclined to disassociate from a numbers as much as the next person, it's a protective layer. And I think we need the protective layer so we can get the strength to face hard and true things. Read it when you feel ready
Finally, a balm. I loved this interview with Elizabeth Gilbert. I really wish I had her as my personal coach through life. If you are feeling anxious, sad, helpless, angry (yes, yes, yes, yes) watch this and I think you may feel a tiny bit more grounded afterward.