Tell me you don’t agree – this has been a strange and curious year. From the moment of flipping open to the first page of the 2018 calendar, I haven’t felt like I’ve been able to find, let alone sustain my balance or rhythm. In subtle, and sometimes not so subtle ways things just don’t feel the same, and I feel like I’m groping around in a place that has lost familiar sign posts. It’s not that things feel wrong or bad, just curiously different. I often talk about energy signatures, and I often invoke energies I wish to wish to explore, something that’s often called energy addresses. And when I think of such things I always imagine I’m standing at some corner, some intersection of energies. I’m pretty sure I’m currently navigating at the crossroads of what was and what is now.
It’s kind of a fun place to be, because I keep feeling like I’m visiting old places but suddenly have a new perspective.
I’m totally crazy about many of the old Work Projects Administration (WPA) posters created by artists employed during the Depression by the Poster Division of the WPA Federal Art Project. They pull at my heart in so many ways. I love the library one above because it feels exactly like what this summer has been for me. I’ve been on a reading frenzy. Except there’s been nothing really frenzied about it. It feels more like the leisurely days of childhood where summer rules at the library were loosened and you could check out extra books. And of course, I always did.
Most of what I’ve read this summer has been fiction, almost all of it young adult. Of course the topics delight me – magic, mystery, urban fantasy with shape-shifting creatures, and people bringing powers online that they never expected they had. But there’s also something else about the YA genre that appeals to me – so much a sense of possibility, of finding oneself, of stepping into one’s expanded self when one is standing at one’s leading edge. It feels like I’m drinking all that in like a thirsty sponge, reminding myself of all the potentials available in these times. I’m not feeling the sense of discouragement, of fear, of things crumbling that I want to remain steadfast that so many in our collective seem to be experiencing and being ceaselessly vocal about. Instead I’m feeling the excitement of potential, of diving into the pools of possibility, of remembering we’re not traveling straight lines but traversing spirals.
And so I’m feeling especially nurtured by the written (and spoken) word, and expansively grateful for libraries, both the brick-and-mortar variety and the online version that have been my companions this summer. I’m now 73 books into the 100 book reading goal I set for myself this year.
I literally can’t get enough of books – not only do I want to read them, but increasingly I want to create them, and perhaps even write them.
One of the delights of living in Chicago is that it’s home to The Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection, a part of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. There are 10,000 items in the collection, predominantly artist books, but also zines and other artist-produced publications. Yes, another library I love visiting! You can poke around a bit online here.
I’m not sure it’s possible to be around such inspiration and not have one’s Muses whispering ideas into one’s ears. Mine certainly have been, and my work table now has a couple artist books in process.
And while July is wrapping up, I don’t want it to pass without mentioning that July is International Zine Month. It’s been way too long since I produced one, but I’m happy to report I’m putting the finishing touches on my latest, and I suspect I’ll be publishing on a more regular basis. My work is always limited edition, but if you’d like to put your name in a hat for a chance at a copy, let me know in the comments. I’ll randomly choose a name on August 7, and get in touch with the winner for a mailing address.
In the meantime, how’s your summer/winter going? Does everything feel both strange and wonderful for you as well? What are you reading? Love libraries? Read zines? Find WPA poster art fabulous? Do tell – you know I love to hear.