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Brief explanation:

There is no art and there hasn’t been in quite a while.
I can’t make myself “do” art. I end up staring at a piece of paper, tools, lino…whatever, spend four hours trying to “do” art, and end up throwing the thing away.

The regimented push-pull of my days have become so extreme (with mom’s recovery from her broken hip, with my relationship with Robert and my children, with my must-do-art-and-not-just-any-old-art-meaningful-art mindset, with finances, cats, housesitter, house, Trump, a burning planet, isolation, disillusionment) that I was just managing to hold it together without tearing myself apart.

And then, a routine mammogram revealed a shadow.

One more week of tension while I waited for further testing, a couple more days of tension while I waited for results.

Turns out the shadow is a fibroid which attached itself to some tissue.

Then, relief, tears, a crisis of the soul.

I tried to keep it together. I tried just to pick up the broken pieces of my soul and carry on.

So here at the cabin in my fortress of solitude, (read: no electricity, no phone signal, no landline), I stare into my eyes rimmed red and blue, and grey with undereye bags.

I’ve felt disconnected to art for the past year – indifferent and empty around it. I did not care what I painted or printed or drew. It was like being out of love.
But there’s a deeper problem which underpins all of that and it has to do with subjugation.

I walk for miles along the railroad tracks thinking about how to take care of myself in the pursuit of freedom. I bemoan the long labour littered with incremental successes and failures. The freedom I’m imagining has no form, no prescriptive path. I can’t get it if I’m better at art, smarter with my money, get a job, quit a job, lose weight. People think about freedom as lightness, liberation, but I think it’s really quite heavy. The heft of absolute personal responsibility.

So many of life’s choices are simulated for us. Encoded in the shimmering illusion of choosing from the complex bastions of culture; fashion, religion, politics, the wellness industry…These forms tell us what to look like, what to believe, who to vote for, etc, and it’s a lighter way to be in the world. And it feels safe, tribal, comforting.

Real freedom is terrifying and dangerous because it opens a chasm into unlimited potential repercussions.

Also, it turns out that knowing what one wants and choosing for oneself is quite hard.

Time passing is the only way to sort it out.

As I write now, (days later), I see where I want to go. I think about the power of solitary, of ambiguity, of limitlessness. This is supposed to be the way to soul healing, but it’s hard to talk about. It’s a slippery fish.

Book read: The Book of Help: A Memoir in Remedies by Megan Griswold
Audiobook: Practical Deamonkeeping by Christopher Moore

Comments: 13

  • May 9, 2019

    I am so sorry that you’ve had this rough time, Veronica. My heart went out to you as I read this beautifully written and honest post. I’ve taken some time away from blogging to do some soul healing too and it is indeed a slippery fish. I want to pin it down to 3 or 4 easy steps but it doesn’t work that way as the path keeps changing on me, roadblocks thrown up. I guess that’s called life but I keep thinking I can boil it down to essentials. Please keep writing when you can. I’ve read this one twice and will again, partly from a sense of sisterhood and partly from searching for gold nuggets. Sending hope and thanks to you,

  • May 9, 2019

    Oh Veronica, you have been through such a lot recently. Just give yourself time, ‘just be’, and let each day happen, take it just as it is and eventually you will come back to your art feeling inspired and refreshed.
    Jill x

  • May 9, 2019

    You are not alone on this part of your journey, for whatever solace that may provide. So many people seek refuge in–or run away from–whatever it is that keeps us from being our most authentic selves. But not you. You stand squarely in your truth, and give voice your discontent. Brave woman, I hear and see you. And I’m right here with you, same as your friends around the world.

    Find peace in the still, quiet moments. Breathe in the known, exhale the toxic power of uncertainty. One thing I’ve learned lately is that a huge aspect of life is “just” knowing how to get comfortable in the lap of uncertainty. Boy howdy, that’s not easy! Give it time. Give yourself grace. xoxo

  • May 9, 2019

    I hate that you are suffering. have suffered. but for the first time in the long time of following your site… I feel you are showing us the true… the deep… the real Veronica.
    life is so much more than a sporty car and the ability to live blithely on two continents. sometimes you have to hit the bottom just to have the time … what a beautiful word! … the time to just be still. and to sort it all out.
    it comes early for some of us. with the truth of real life and what we must face. and sometimes later for others.
    but you have the courage it takes to work through it! I learned the hard way and almost let it do me in once upon a time in my own life. thankfully it didn’t. and I love what you say about freedom and the lightness/heaviness of being.
    I will enjoy your blog even more now. because it seems that you are REAL to me for the first time.
    when you do go back to your art … it surely will give you a new found joy. for you have spent time in the kiln.
    and you will have emerged an even more beautiful work of art yourself.
    sending you love. and strength for the task! xo

  • Leslie Lord

    May 9, 2019

    So sorry to hear that you are betwixed and between. Good that you are looking for solace in the quiet calm of rural cabin life.
    Art cannot be forced…I read that writer Louie Penny thought that after her beloved husband passed that she would never be able to write another book…she said that eventually she started with one word…and she completed the book and now is back working on another one.
    So there is hope…
    Your art will be there for you when you are ready.

    Take care

  • Robert Frank Gasch

    May 9, 2019

    Dear Veronica,
    I too, am sorry that you are having all of these problems. May our Lord Bless you and your family, especially during this time. Veronica, please understand that you are truly loved by so many Friends, including myself. Thank you for all the beautiful talent that you have sheared with us. through your Posts.
    Your Friend Forever

  • May 9, 2019

    Wrapping you around with compassion, a knowing of what you write, and healing thoughts and energy. This too shall pass. Take good care, sweet virtual friend.

  • jae

    May 9, 2019

    Life is hard sometimes, and I understand art is important to you, but wow, you still have so many blessings! Your mom, you have kids, a home, a cabin to escape to, overseas travel, food, shelter, caring people. I think you are more blessed than you may realize right now.

  • May 9, 2019

    Sending warmth, love and strength xoxox

  • May 9, 2019

    Dear Veronica, I don’t know what to say other than to reassure you. Yes. time does manage to show us the way. Francoise Gilot, spoke about grief and the impossibility of making art because it was a physical, bodily action. You will return to it and it will return to you in time. Thinking of you fondly old friend. X

  • May 10, 2019

    Wonderful to hear your voice. Painful to read, touching some of those fragile/vulnerable parts in me, touching my heart that loves you. Awestruck by your raw honesty. Not surprised. After all, I have met you 🙂 XX With love, Catherine

  • May 12, 2019

    Can’t believe I’ve red this. I’m exactly at the same point where you stand/stood. I’m tired, not enjoying myself, doing nothing, feeling lost and do not know who I am without my painting or all the other stuff, emotions and worries for one of my sons.
    I’m trying to keep my circle very small, to give myself time.
    Lots of love, Joke.

  • November 1, 2019

    What a beautiful soulful glimpse of reality. You express through words that resonate in my body because they are alive with ‘real human feeling.’ I have never been one to revel only in the bright light, and have dealt with and continue to deal with my fair share of intense and soul digging experiences. But isn’t it beautiful? That we can be offered so much on our palatte that it nudges us toward the depths of asking the bigger questions of ourselves, that it leads us to that path we wander, run, stumble, or crawl upon seeking, seeking, seeking. What?
    No matter the experience, how long and hard, seemingly pointless, or resisted, at the very precipice of that mountain- I am more lost than the last time, even caught in believing there is no way out, even that this is the end, that I am empty, there is nothing more in me left, but at a certain moment, when I cannot bare another millisecond, I find my will to stay just a little longer. Without fail, there is a presence, a soft and beautiful presence, Grace holds me, I surrender into it, and then I know, truly know in my ‘whole self,’ that all that time, I was always full, that I always had what I needed within myself to be okay to make it out – no matter how unreachable/unavailable/absent or limited those parts of me appeared to be, they were always there. I was always there.
    So it is these depts that you go to, that brings us these beautiful words that you so elequently weave a silken light through, that give us a moment of illumation, enough to touch our souls, and wake and inspire a bigger meaning, something that makes us “feel.” And isn’t that the gift we were given through being in this human body? To feel? To embody our soul and our spirit, to express and create so that we can “share” our gifts? That we touch the souls of others, that we ignite and inspire the passion to live life fully, to not settle and be c

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