It takes a lifetime
to grow into
what we are given
What we are given
This was a message that I heard upon waking, January 21, 2002.
I wanted to publish it today, eleven years later. Just because.
I’ve been working on a visual memoir about the visual journal / sketchbook process that I’ve used my whole life.
Above is a photo (apologies for the low-res quality) of a page spread in my sketchbook from January 21, 2002.
I was just starting my MBA program at a very groovy social justice graduate school in San Francisco (since shut down, sadly).
To document my journey through business school, of course I did what I always do: kept a visual journal about the whole experience.
In this case, my MBA sketchbook was created out of an old book I found in a Salvation Army store. I love to collect old books, many I use in my visual art. When I came up this volume, a self-help book from 1964, A Working Girl in a Man’s World, I knew it was going to be my MBA sketchbook.
On the left side of the page are two images from other sketchbooks glued in. Is that confusing? Photos of sketchbooks, inside a sketchbook.
For my application to the MBA, I made a handmade sketchbook filled with my writing and art and answered the essay questions within it.
Then I sent the sketchbook in as my application. The admissions secretary kept it until after I graduated, not wanting to give it back. She said it was the most memorable application she ever saw in all her years of admissions, and wanted to keep it for herself. What a compliment, right?
I didn’t see it then, but that was quite a clue to my real work in the world – the impact of sharing my sketchbooks with others.
It takes a lifetime…
The writing on the top left is from the MBA application – I copied it and glued it into this sketchbook. The writing says:
Since hearing about New College’s Green MBA, I have been asking myself:
What does and MBA in Environmental Entrepreneurship have to do with being a poet and an artist?
I dream of being an artist for change.
My hope for participating in this program is that I will find a way of weaving the threads of my passions together, creating something new, something whole out of the parts, something larger than I can now imagine, something that will serve our people, our planet, our future.
I dream of bringing this something to life.
Right below that, there is a photo of a tiny sketchbook that I made and carried with me during the year prior, the year I went through an enormous life transition that I’ve been writing about in a visual memoir: Drivin’ n Cryin’.
There is a photo of me at age five, when I still felt connected to myself. It was the age I first started playing in sketchbooks and from the start my writing was illustrated and my paintings were filled with words.
It takes a lifetime…
On the other side of my photo is article by Paulo Coehlo that I clipped out of a magazine and a collage about dreams. This little book was my Wisdom Journal, and I filled it with everything I needed to keep me grounded as I embarked on an inner pilgrimage, traveling light and roaming the West Coast in a 1972 VW Bus, with three different trips to Oaxaca that year, too.
Right now…there is a sense of deeply relaxing into what is.
Into what I’ve been given in this lifetime to explore: a seeming circuitous path full of travel into unfamiliar places, motivated by a need to heal the wounds of the orphan archetype and find out where in the world I belong…
Right now…eleven years later, I’m finally able to continue gathering the the bits of the story and the sketchbooks and images that illustrate it.
I’m on my own personal creative sabbatical right now. Not alone, but sharing the experience with dear, close friends. We’re retreating together.
I’ve spent a lifetime traveling alone, and a couple of years ago, decided to try and find a way to share the adventure more with others. More on that story later…
For now, I’m in Boulder, Colorada, having a creative business retreat pow-wow with Suzy. We’re probably sitting by the fireplace as you’re reading today… letting the inner creative fires rejuvenate.
Sipping endless cups of tea, every surface covered with paint and paper and plans…this is how we work. A giant visual explosion that flows into tangible, concrete plans and action items.
At the end of a joyful week filled with long walks, mountain air, visits to tea houses, visits with kindred artists, ample time in the studio nurturing creative dreams, okay, and a couple of martini’s along the way, we emerge with the creative well replenished.
My wish for you today…that this moment gives you a little breathing space in your own busy life. That you find some inspiration for feeding your own creative fires and wellsprings.