Monday, July 28, 2008

How long would you wait for love?

Time seems to march all over your face when you pass another birthday. I just celebrated with my family this weekend, a lovely dinner party, pretty packages with bows. The only thing missing of course was Best Friend, but she will be here soon enough. I can't wait for her visit.

Then a woman writes and asks me to make her a Garbriel Garcia Marquez piece dedicated to Love in the Time of Cholera. I remember reading the book years ago and how much I loved to turn every page. The love oozed from the font and yet if you hadn't been in love like that, if you hadn't felt the mystery of it all it would all seem like a crazy obsession that would easily be cured the first time he told you something you didn't want to hear. The urge to scream his name and tell him you love him as he pulled out of the driveway would all fade to nothing the first time he grabbed his golf clubs and ran from the house while you wanted him to lay next to you and read the Sunday paper wondering what New York Time Best seller book you would go find and share. (This isn't a book he wanted to read at all and you know that far ahead of time.) You never fall in love with the man who wants to read the same book you've been aching to read. Never.

But what if you had. What if you had danced a little with someone who said the right things, thought the right things, thought those things before you put the notion in his head to think them just to shut you up or make you smile or do something very dirty he's wanted to do for some time now and just hasn't said the very right thing to convince you to try it? What if you loved the things about them they didn't even like about themselves? What if his never ending patience that one would find glad handing made every blood vessel in your heart open really wide and the blood flow like a river? What if?

And if you did find him and somehow in the swirling masses of ten billion people he found you and because of the way life works you couldn't love one another? How long would you wait? Would you get on with life and just do what life makes you do, taking your trips to the market to find the perfect in season musk melon, picking up the dry cleaning, packing the boxes you hate to pack, dusting behind the sofa, heading to the gym, all the those things that make our life work just waiting for the day when all the stars align right and you can have the quiet dancing in the middle of a busy room because eventually if you wait and wait and wait the world will quiet down and you can have what you want. You pay the dues and you wait? Or do you just put your life on hold, change the world, or as T.S. Eliot asks us, "force the moment to a crisis?" and change everything you've ever known just to love someone? Is love that powerful?

I've always said no. Love is never enough. Love is just a component, an accessory, the right necklace with the right blouse, the perfect hair comb. The rest of it is just loving yourself enough to get through the day. Then you read Love In The Time of Cholera and it changes your heart just a little.

To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else's heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of destroying the spell.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Would the every day life stuff ruin the magic? Would it take away the hope your heart holds on to with both hands when things aren't going right and you are JUST SURE that love would change it all? And if so, how long can you hold on? Until your finger nails are bleeding and you are sure the 25th floor fall will crush you? In one of my Favorite Ani DeFranco songs she sings,

she went over to his apartment clutching her decision and he said did you come here to tell me goodbye she built a skyscraper of procrastination and then she leaned out the 25th floor window of her reply and she felt like an actress just reading her lines when she finally said yes it's just really goodbye this time far below was the blacktop and the tiny toy cars and it all fell so fast and it all fell so far and she said you are a miracle but that is not all you are also a stiff drink and i am on call, you are a party and i am a school night and i'm looking for my doorkey and you are my porchlight and you'll never know dear just how much i love you, you'll probably think this was just my big excuse but i stand commited to a love that came before you and the fact that i adore you is but one of my truths

maybe your crush is the strong one, the stable clear thinker with a life coach and a history of doing what makes all better in the world. Maybe he or she can wait forever because waiting is what they do best. Waiting is an art in itself. Standing for 3 hours to wait for the one roller coaster swoosh that will thrill you to your toes. Waiting you see means never having to make the decision. You never have to committ, you never have to give it your all, you never have to do anything because you're calmly "waiting." You wait and wait and wait until you have a birthday and you think, perhaps waiting wasn't a good idea. It may have saved my heart or sacrificed it. Suddenly you imagine the family standing around while you are on a marble alter with the word RIGHT engraved on the top and some faceless stranger is cutting out your heart and telling you in hushed tones "this will be better for all of us dear." And by god, maybe he's right. Jesus.

I don't believe in God, but I'm afraid of Him.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

God hides in a little box in my room. You have to twist it in all directions you see, because its' a magical pandora box. It holds hours of "did I tell you the story about how that poem changed my life?" and "once I was feeling very alone and it was raining and you showed up and wasn't just the best?"

He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Yes, a birthday will pass or a New Year's eve in a room full of people who could just disappear and you would hardly notice and you are reborn on this earth with an idea or two that burn in your head for awhile and you dance with them and dance with them until you fall down exhausted in the attempt and you throw away his number and you forget why you tried in the first place. You see even the lover Garcia created went to love hundreds of women, know their body, hear them sigh in dark corridors in Europe and yet he remembered, he remembered that love can change you all over again with a glance, a thought or the smell of perfume. Life moves on and on and on and still we hold out hope. Love may not be the end all but mixed with a little sugary hope on your tongue and the whisper of just the right words would send you into your room to pack a suitcase and you could leave it all behind without a second glance.

I've learned this in 43 years....Inspiration just lands on your shoulder like a butterfly, a woman always forgets the pain of childbirth, and the right man can break her heart over and over again and if he's very charming, she'll even give him the knife. I've learned that the fire of passion can simmer like coals in your belly and it is possible to love and love and love.

He repeated until his dying day that there was no one with more common sense, no stonecutter more obstinate, no manager more lucid or dangerous, than a poet.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This year I gave myself the gift of just saying, I love you to someone. I may not have used those words because I am hoping that being on this planet for 43 years has taught me to hold back just a little. But I know it was heard because they know my heart. Thanks for spending this time with me. Carrie.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I have always admired Eliot's work, but then I memorized Prufrock. It took me weeks and weeks reading it over and over again in free moments, moments not measured out in coffee spoons. Someone I love loved the poem and I thought that by putting every little word through my head I could figure out what he loved about the poem. I don't think Eliot wanted to "go then you and I" with a woman necessarily. He was looking for a friend, someone he could explain his life to, someone who would understand the pressures of upper class life in England living as a poet and living almost alone. Eliot's wife was nearly insane and although he loved her spirit and the way she laughed he was tormented by her moods and she apparently never lacked for a mood.

Eliot's best friend fixed him up with his sister, that's how he met his wife. I always tell people I know that I can tell who has a best friend and who does not by the way they speak of them. If you have a best friend they don't allow you to marry an insane person whether they love them and are related to them or not. They give you the heads up, the nudge as it were. I once saw Oprah talking to a woman who claimed her best friend slept with her husband and Oprah just shook her head and said, "you don't have a best friend and it's certainly not this woman you used to know." AMEN.

Back to Prufrock. He wrote of mermaids and dreams he had as a child. Eliot was feeling sorry for himself, dancing with melancholia (I do this myself at times so I can see the signs) and wondering what his life had been if he had taken the moment at hand as he was sure he should have several times and "forced a situation to it's crisis." And if he had would she had replied, "That is not what I meant at all, that is not what I meant at all." or would she had taken ownership and lived an authentic life, owning up to what we mean and living so that we don't have that moment when we have to force a crisis because anyone that would love us would know what we wanted. I struggle with that, telling people that I love who are already burdened with the busy thing that is their lives what I then expect from them. Soon months will pass and I will begin to wonder why they can't figure it out on their own. Insane.

While I love Eliot's poem and wonder how many times he rolled up his trousers and walked along the beach and I can't help but eat a summer peach and wonder if he smiled while eating his or if he was so full of self consideration that nothing could make him smile. Men carry a unique burden that women are only beginning to understand in the era of single mothers. The men in Eliot's time couldn't afford to be "insane." They had to work, to raise a family and to maintain an image. I being a single mother I felt empathy for the poet and listened to his words in my head until I felt a kindred spirit. There were many days when my son's father was MIA, off living his own life and I would have loved for a few days alone just to go a little crazy and self-analyze my life. Putting it in a poem is one thing, dancing on the table in a bar is quite another.

So after I put Prufrock in my head, the bossy republican sends me a first edition of Eliot's work and that's where I found this poem:

      S she laughed I was aware of becoming involved
      in her laughter and being part of it, until her
      teeth were only accidental stars with a talent
      for squad-drill. I was drawn in by short gasps,
      inhaled at each momentary recovery, lost finally
      in the dark caverns of her throat, bruised by
      the ripple of unseen muscles. An elderly waiter
      with trembling hands was hurriedly spreading
      a pink and white checked cloth over the rusty
      green iron table, saying: "If the lady and
      gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden,
      if the lady and gentleman wish to take their
      tea in the garden ..." I decided that if the
      shaking of her breasts could be stopped, some of
      the fragments of the afternoon might be collected,
      and I concentrated my attention with careful
      subtlety to this end.

Strangely enough it wasn't my laugh I thought of and it wasn't a romantic issue with me. It felt like having lunch with the Best Friend. We'd be lost in laughter in some small cafe near Northwestern, eating shrimp tacos for the first time. We had horrible service, really horrible service and our waitress was off sitting on a computer while we were waiting for another glass of ice tea on a hot summer afternoon. I said, "I hope she's not spending her tip." and we both broke out in laughter and I wondered how manyh other people wished they were me, and would know the joy of making my best friend laugh during an afternoon where we didn't have to be anywhere and nobody was anxiously awaiting our return. We could shop, we could sit and laugh, we could drive up to that little park by the lake and roll out the old quilt in the back of my car and read goofy magazines and play backgammon. If she laughed enough, the afternoon would be completely gone.

I wondered who Eliot's friend was. Was she his wife right before they put her back in a straight jacket? Was it an editor or a woman he almost knew who caught his eye in his lonliness? Was it a woman nobody knew but him and they shared stolen afternoons in a tiny Parisian cafe? Did she hand make butterflies and hang them in a park in the trees? Did she remember his birthday when nobody else in the world remembered? Did she kiss him just once and melted his heart? I haven't found any other information about the poem and I am glad. I like the mystery of the heart of a poet.

Work stuff? Ah, it's all good. The summer is breezing by and I am getting ready for Christmas already. I am working on a new line to add to my jewelry and in another week or so I will be ready to photograph. It's been really fun and I can't wait to see what sort of interest develops. If you are interested in my art you can always find me at or on Ebay under the seller name POETSUMMER and my own Ecommerce site at You can always reach me at and I welcome any emails. Thanks for spending this time with me. Carrie.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Nobody Can Do What You Love

Doing what we love

I am embarking on a new venture. I bring you this information with such excitement. It's still all a bit of a secret but I have been working in every spare minute, creating and I was reminded again that work is joy when you are doing what you love. I celebrated my 500th sale this week on Etsy. I almost can't believe what an incredible accomplishment that is. You see I've only been selling on Etsy for 6 months. I dabbled a little before and concentrate more effort at the first of the year. I can't tell you how much I love Etsy and the opportunity there for self expression. And just when I thought moving to a new place would leave some of the Ebay nonsense behind don't you know I have a few straggling mentals following me around but let's just say they aren't as successful as they had hoped. I even have one copying every little tiny idea I create and that is what sparked my new venture. You see they can't copy what they can't do so it was time to get to the work table and come up with a wow factor that will leave them stunned and a tad confused.

I like to think that being in my 40's I am a little wiser than when my son was young and I was just a new wife and a mother. I become more calm in the face of diversity, more understanding when struggling with someone else's foibles. That is the case until you realize a 70 year old woman is trying so hard to be you. The things you learn when you run your own business, it's been the most interesting educational experience I've ever had. What do you do when faced with a 70 year old woman who writes you little notes of encouragement only to find out that every time you put out a new product, she's copying it almost word for word? What do you even say to her when she's constantly contacting you only to write nasty notes to others about your efforts and when they are forwarded to you, you are left a little stunned. I think that this is one of the tests of success. There is a cost to doing what you love and being successful while doing it. You are tested to see how you will react when faced with a Jeannie or a Crazy Rosemary (both of which have coincidentially disappeared) or even one of their new little insane buddies. They just poof because as hard as they try they can't ever do what I do and they won't be able to do what you do. The hangers on of the world will be left in the dust when you are doing what you love. They won't ever have the soul or the intellect it takes to pull it off.

So, my advice if you feel a little overwhelmed by those that see you do what you love and find a way just to be an irritant? Do what you do every day. Put your head down and put in the work until it's such joy that attempting to steal your thunder will be impossible. I couldn't make baby items because I haven't had a baby in a long time so I wouldn't understand what it takes to make that work. I couldn't carve a wood statue to save my life. The idea of holding that sharp knife and slowly grinding into wood is something that I wouldn't have the patience or understanding to do. As we create art we create our own experience. Nobody can do what you can do because they don't bring your experience to the table or your talent. Soon you will just starve them out and they will go away. And don't believe for a moment the people who try to steal who you are and what you do don't know what they are doing. EVERYONE knows the difference between right and wrong. This I know. And you get to pick I guess what road you will take, will you be the wrong and complain that it's just circumstance? Or will you take the rougher road to find your own voice? That's the question isn't it? Will you use your own talent and your own voice or will you lay your head on a pillow at night and KNOW that you spent the entire day attempting to sing someone else's song? The great are always remembered and the not so great fall to the wayside as truth always wills itself out. No matter how many rocks you throw in the bag, now matter how many times you push truth under the water it surfaces and when it does it's a constant reminder.

When I preview my new line (very soon I hope) I will post some photos here and you will always find me on For those that have been so kind to include me on their treasury there know that in the future anyone who mentions my art in their treasury, I will send you a free pair of photo charm earrings just convo me with your address and some theme you are looking for.

For those sellers on Etsy who are excited about an art exchange that isn't always about money, there's the PIF tag, or pay it forward. You list an item in your shop for $.20 and the person who buys it, pays the listing fee of that $.20 and the shipping costs and by accepting that offer they agree to list something in their store for $.20. I am going to give this a try this weekend with some new earring designs and we'll see how it goes. I am excited about it. There is also a new feature on Etsy where you can refer a friend to the Etsy site and receive a credit bank for people who sign up and join. I can't stress enough how important it is to make Etsy work, it's a wonderful place for an exchange of artistic spirit without a bunch of the Ebay nonsense. I am working on a live feed to my blog of a class I am teaching here in the upcoming week. I'll see if I can pull off the technology.

My birthday is right around the corner and as I mark time as we all mark time I am praying I can learn to look past the momentary situation and look into the future and enjoy success as it arrives, one little flicker at a time.

Enjoy the day, do something you love and share it with the world. We are anxiously waiting.
With much Love,