work in progress collage titled “What Pain, My Beloved”


Today I put away my planner.

I put away my editorial calendar for the blog and the sketchbook that contained drawings for a monthly stitch-a-long. I closed the word document containing my fiction short stories.

Instead I pulled out a stack of materials for collage. Why? Am I disappearing?

No. Not in the least.

But yesterday on my Facebook page I mentioned that I feel stuck. Like a failure. Like I’m in some strange limbo that I cannot have any affection for. My friends there reminded me that it’s not been long since I left cancer behind. In fact, I counted – it’s only been five months since my last chemo treatment. 

And yet in my mind, I should be 1000% normal and full energy and just ready to conquer the world.

It’s so not the case. And I hate it. It feels like a nightmare that won’t end and I find myself doing what I did during treatment – surrendering to the process and letting my body be the boss of me.

So what are my plans?

Creative Strength Training (CST) with Jane Dunnewold. **  It starts on March 1 and I can’t wait. I need it. I need her. I need a group to let me be completely raw that won’t look away. Because I don’t expect self exploration right now to be the gentlest thing. But I want it. To learn about myself and what my artist has become after being torn down with chemicals and disease. I’ve been fighting sitting with how I feel I now and it’s not working. It’s time to simply be as wretched as needed and change the mindset that I need to leave it behind but rather how will I incorporate it all into who I am now.

No easy task. (I’m considering writing about my cancer experience here but I’m not sure yet. Separate blog? Mixed in with a warning in the title for those who aren’t interested? I don’t know.)

I have set three small goals for myself. One is to make a 9″x12″ collage each month. I will keep that. Because that’s the art I want to make most right now. (And crochet. And some stitching. And…guess Art Brain isn’t completely out of commission.) And I will fully participate in CST. And I want to blog at least once a week. 

This all seems doable. But also feels as if it’s all I can take on. It’s hard to close the door in the face of other wants because I’m used to letting them all waltz in and I stand in the middle of the chaos taking in each shout and instruction with complete contentment. They are mad at me for shunning them. But I’m okay with it.

There will be time for them to thrive. Now I choose to turn inward and share with you all and see what will rise from the ashes of the old me.

** Jane is generously offering a discount code for anyone who wants to take CST. You can get $20 off when you use the code CSTGROUP at registration. I hope to see you there. Love you.