I’m so grateful for art supplies I could just scream and dance around and jump for joy!
I swear, I walk around Michael’s and I get giddy. I start picturing all the cool things I’m going to make and all the ways I’m going to organize all my new art supplies. I decide again for the millionth time to be a scrapbooker and then that never happens. But I re-decide that every time I’m in Michaels. Or Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby is actually more dangerous for me. I start buying lamps and signs and fabric and Christmas decorations and gift bags and cards. OMG Hobby Lobby has the best cards! Seriously people. They have cards by Max Lucado there. I weep in the card isle at Hobby Lobby. Truly. I love that place.
Anyway, today I went to Michael’s with my daughter and we purchased some supplies to make cool artsy things for Thanksgiving. I’m giddy. I might post pictures if the things turn out to be picture worthy. If not, oh well.
If you are lucky enough to call it “Sweet Home”, then you may want to join me in my thanks today.
I’m grateful for Chicago.
I’m grateful for Lincoln Park and Lakeview and the Gold Coast and the Loop. I’m grateful for the restaurants and the stores and the lake. I’m grateful for the “Bean” and all the other works of art sprinkled around like ornaments throughout the city. I’m thankful for the Lions at the Art Institute and for the “El” that gets us around.
I have memories of living there and it being so cold as I waited for the bus to get to work when I lived at Clark and Wrightwood. I think of Cub’s games and the Cubbie Bear and El Jardin. We used to live by the original Potbellys and between that and Pockets, I was all set. Oh and My Pie for pizza. OR…The Chicago Pizza Oven Grinder.
I worked at 123 West Madison and we had an “Elevator Man”. So cool. I love all the old buildings and churches. I worked across the street from St. Peter’s Church. I loved the way there was always a line on Ash Wednesday to get ashes and the line went all around the city block!
In the city, people are different, unique, diverse. Some neighborhoods are known as Italian or Irish or Croatian or Greek but Chicago is a melting pot. It’s a rich brew of culture and sports and music and dance and art and good food and comedy clubs. There’s nothing like walking along the lake or down the Magnificent Mile.
This is just touching the tip of the iceberg of the cool stuff going on in Chicago. I love the city. For what it meant to me when I was in my 20’s and learning and growing and becoming. And for what it means for me now, when I get to show my kids the life that goes on there and how good it feels to be part of the energy of the city…anything is possible.
Yes, today, I am grateful for Chicago.
(I would love for you to comment about your favorite city and what you love about it!)
Writing is difficult. I struggle sometimes. I have a lot of things I want to “say” but sometimes I put boundaries around my work and it suffers. I decide I can’t “go there” or I “shouldn’t” write about certain topics. Even within certain topics, I tiptoe around and I draw arbitrary lines about what is appropriate.
Sometimes I imagine people reading my writing and I cringe at what I think their response will be and I change it. I water down. I avoid hot buttons. I tell only parts of the story.
My son was talking to me the other day about art. He said he hates it when the teachers make the students color inside the lines. He said it’s frustrating because, “Boundaries are not art!”
Boundaries are not art.
Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Can you think of things you’ve read where you just know the author is putting it all out there on the page? Do you know when someone is authentic and raw and real?
Of course you can and you do. That’s why we read. So we can peer into another person’s soul and think, “Wow. You too? I thought it was just me.”
We are told from an early age that there are lines and boundaries and we must create and draw within those lines. We are told that there is an order and a sequence and a way that is acceptable for creating. So of course, I have a lot of that in me since I like to follow the rules. However, it’s the writing or the song or the drawing that breaks out of those boundaries that stops us in our tracks and changes us.
When I was little, I had a babysitter that colored with me. She showed me how to emphasize the lines of the picture by pressing the crayon down hard and going over all of the outlines. Then she showed me how to lightly color in the rest of the picture with a softer touch. I thought that was really cool. Maybe she was testing boundaries by drawing right on the line, challenging the limits.
Maybe we are all just caged birds who want to be free.
That image reminds me of Maya Angelou knowing why the caged bird sings.
It also reminds me of a song I love by the Avett Brothers called Head Full of Doubt.
My favorite line in the song says, “There was a dream. And one day I could see it. Like a bird in a cage, I broke in and demanded that somebody free it.”
I get goosebumps when he sings, “Decide what to be and go be it.”
The song makes me think of my daughter who has always had a challenging time coloring within the lines. She was judged in school for this when she was younger. But as she gets older, she is being recognized as a talented artist. She always has been because she has allowed herself to look at things differently. She has always known boundaries aren’t art.
All it takes is one person to tell a child that there is not only one way to do it. One adult to color with them outside the lines. One person to tell them that boundaries are not art. Let’s be that person for someone, let’s tell them.