According to the careful coding of someone years ago, I have not posted on this blog in a year, nearly to the day. I have had quite a year, filled with many of life's challenges, often simultaneously. I had neither the time nor the energy to write. Time has held a fascination for me my entire life. I believe that it is not linear, as we try to make it, but that Einstein had a clearer vision of the continuum we inhabit. The more scientists understand about the effects of gravity on how we measure time (read about it here or watch below), the more I am convinced that time is malleable, connected to our conscious awareness more than the atomic clock or Greenwich.
Combine my belief system with an innate need for organization and structure in my day to day life and you will have a sense of my fascination with the current 'explosion' of planners, systems, and strategies that seem to have blossomed in the last few years. I had a Day-Timer system/attache back when I was in the corporate world. That was 25 years ago. So the planner idea is nothing new. What is different are the various ways people are using daily/weekly/monthly calendar systems. I tried a version of the Bullet Journal last year, after learning how to personalize it from Kara at Boho Berry. It didn't really work for me as my home life and school life are on totally different cycles and schedules. I teach at a middle school with a hybrid block/non-block schedule. I have it color coded to help me remember which group of students I see when, as groups vary by time and day. The "regular" schedule often gets interrupted by special programming, so we also have "A" days, "B" days, and an occasional modification to an "A" or "B" day. Fortunately, my principal is terrific in seeing the humor of trying to keep up with these changes and often assigns hilarious names to these new schedules. Trying to use a pre-designed calendar system, even of my own making, was a joke. I tried. Teaching requires tremendous flexibility, and an ability to think on your feet. I am convinced that teachers who are successful with using journaling have the same students most of the day, or the same schedule week in and week out. I have neither.
I think people are journaling to create a sense of calm and control amid the chaos in our world. I love seeing the artistry in the personal journals people share. All over the globe, people are posting beautiful works of art one page at a time. Google images of "bullet journal artwork" and you'll see what I mean. People who know me personally know that I am both an artist and a teacher, but I no longer teach traditional art. (I did, for ten years, thanks in great part to Chery Baird). Being away from the art classroom, as well as having to sell our house and my beloved studio meant that artistic expression has been buried deep under the minutiae of day to day life for at least three years. That's a long time to have my materials packed in boxes, at times close but untouchable. I transferred my need to create to the language arts classroom, devising new ways to deliver content and engage students. Occasionally, I snuck in a digital project - a video scribe, a recital poster for my daughter, or a sample for my graphic design students. Sadly, my traditional artistry had been taking a LONG vacation.
All my previous studio art, mostly acrylic paintings on canvas, mixed media on paper, or large scale watercolors with Judaic themes, had been in storage until we found a suitable place to live. The new abode is less than half of the space we had filled for 16 years, so it took some time for us to downsize. Finally, I was ready to let go of all the artwork. We simply do not have room for it, and cannot pay to store it somewhere. Why would I do that? I would just have to move it again at some point in the future. No, thank you.
The junk haulers that I hired were in disbelief that I was throwing away all the art. One of them stood among the piles of paintings, holding one in his hand. "This is really good," he said, "are you sure you want to throw it away?" But really now, what am I supposed to do with it? I tried to sell it. Many times. I tried (feebly) to get on with galleries. But I can't keep up the teaching and be a professional artist at the same time. The income and health insurance benefits take precedence. Why would I want to keep moving these pieces from place to place? I more than met my step quota the day I collected all the pieces my parents had stored for me at their house. My dad began to worry about me as I climbed the stairs to the storage area for what felt like the 25th time. In the end, after the truck drove away with my emotional history inside, I felt a huge sense of relief. I have the mental space to start again.
As with everything else in this life transition, I am downsizing. My new pieces will be smaller, exercises to get me back in the swing of putting marks on paper. They take less "time" than the larger pieces. I don't have a great space for painting on canvas, so I am selling my floor easel. Let me know if you are interested. (Photos below - $85) For the month of July, I challenged myself to create one work of art each day. Originally, I thought they would be part of the whole "journalling gig", but I don't want to put these in my calendar because then, I would have to be focused on what media to use. The pages of my calendar are much too thin for watercolor or brush markers. So I have a small but growing stack of artwork of all kinds and media growing at the edge of my desk. At the end of my month, maybe I will have a few worth posting. Maybe not. Either way, it will be time well-spent, and the products will fit in the weekly garbage should I feel so inclined. Time will tell.