I like to paint. I don’t know that I would call myself a painter in the way I would now call myself a writer, but I do enjoy it. When there is a brush in my hand my mind quiets. I like swirling the paint on the canvas and watching something take shape. I don’t think I am great at it, and I suppose taking a class or two, or even finding the time to find good tutorials on you tube is in the part of my brain I put the list for “someday.”
I think it was last summer when I painted the picture full of orange and yellow swirls. I loved it right away and let it sit on the easel in my bedroom for months as I contemplated ways to move it to the next step, until one day it was done. But what do I do with this painting, this painting that I love that swirls and curls around a left of center ball that had in some ways become representative of my dreams. I let it sit in our bedroom, on the floor or next to the easel, occasionally I would prop it back up on the easel and look at it as I went to sleep. My dreams are forming, coming together as the rest of the world swirls around, it seemed to whisper that promise to me.
Last Monday I bought a frame for the painting. I put it in the frame, and my husband hung it in our dining room. It is beautiful and though he wasn’t a huge fan of this particular painting before, he loves it in the frame. Something about the frame makes him see the beauty of the picture.
I am learning to put my words and feelings in the proper place, find a place for them even. Not everything I paint belongs on a wall and not everything I think or feel or say belongs in a public place. As I sorted through some ongoing conflict in my life, I realized that I had automatically linked conflict with me doing something wrong. If someone was angry or mad, then it must be my fault. Sometimes, even when you prayerfully and cautiously consider a situation, someone is not going to be happy with you. Sometimes there is conflict. I had been framing the conflict in a frame of shame. I don’t have to be ashamed by this conflict if I am not ashamed of my actions, if I really think I did the best I could.
I am learning to put my thoughts on justice and the way we represent people in their proper place. This last month I learned that sometimes my rant in the car or in the back about how that speaker said these things and boy was that offensive, need to be brought to the attention of the speaker. Sometimes they just didn’t know. If I believe what I think matters, I won’t always shove it in a drawer for everyone to see. I will frame it in a professionally worded email. In the context of that email, what I said was taken seriously. Suddenly my thoughts had an impact.
Finally (insert deep breath here) I am learning where to put the stories I long so desperately to tell. I have finally started working on my book proposal, and this time I think I mean it. If I really believe they could have an impact, if I really believe they matter, if I really think they could make a difference then I need to tell them. That telling belongs in a book. So it is time for me to propose one.
This means that the writing might be a little sparse around here. Everything in the publishing industry says to build your platform, build your platform, so it is scary for me to think about posting and tweeting less in order to build the margins I need to write a book. But ultimately I know that this is what has to be done. I value y’all and your continual checking up on me through this space. I don’t want a lighter posting schedule to make you think I don’t.