Jeanne Hewell-Chambers

& her barefoot heart

Tag: life (page 1 of 13)

Evidence Explained

Evidence 2017, Day 1

Inspired by my friend Judy Martin’s marking of time and dedication to her art, despite a full family life,
Inspired by my friend Jude Hill’s dedication to daily stitching and reflection, interwoven into her daily life,
Inspired by my new friend Kathleen Warren‘s mindful noticing of her surroundings and honoring of her creative process . . .

Evidence 2014

I revamp my abandoned 2014 attempt and a previous attempt at daily stitching that I can’t even find now into a version that will see me through to the champagne. I just know it will.

Evidence 2017, Day 2

Being an accomplishment-oriented girl, I like to track how I spend my life.

Evidence 2017, Day 3

I first ask myself: how do I want to fill my days, and the answer hasn’t changed significantly in the past 4 years:
stitching,
moving (as in moving my body through space – walking, yoga, exercise, etc),
writing,
mirthing (think: awe, wonder, laughing).
This year I add 2 things:
prospering (in every way a girl can prosper) and
connecting (as in with people, friends, family, strangers)

Evidence 2017, Day 4

Then I assign each a color. (There is a story behind each hue. I’ll tell you later.)
stitching
moving
writing
mirthing
prospering
connecting

Once that is decided, I make my way to the local thrift shop and purchase clothes in those colors to use as fabrics. Storied cloth, my favorite.

Evidence 2017, Day 5

I track everything in my handwritten journal, and each morning I look back at the day before, free-cut strips of fabric in the appropriate colors, then I turn my Improv Self loose to  stitch them together into a 6.5″ square block.

Evidence 2017, Day 6

The method of stitching the daily blocks will change each month. For January 2017, I’m using wedges – something I’ve long wanted to try my hand at, but never made the time to try. (Wait’ll you see what the daily blocks will look like next month.)

Evidence 2017, Day 7

You might ask (I know I did) Why is there not a color representing The 70273 Project? The answer: Because The 70273 Project touches every part of my life, and every verb I want to have in my every day touches The 70273 Project. Writing? Multiple writing projects each day are for The 70273 Project. (Know anybody who wants a guest blog post?) Stitching? I stitch several blocks each day for The 70273 Project. Moving? I move so I can keep up with The 70273 Project! Connecting? Oh good lord, such marvelous connections are made daily because of The 70273 Project. You get the picture. Right or wrong, there is no separation between The 70273 Project and me . . . something we’ll talk more about later.

 

Evidence 2017, Week 1

Each week will be stitched together, then each month, and finally . . . the year.

One thing that eludes me right now is how to finish the back. Ideas?

it’s time

today’s a day
when we remember,
and in that remembering,
we’re put squarely
in touch,
undeniably
in touch,
with our own
mortality.

we know
we’re all gonna’
die,
not a single one of us
is exempt.

Clock2

we know
we’re gonna’ die,
but we do not know
when
or where
or (regardless
of circumstances)
how.

Clockface1

if you’re reading
this,
you’re alive.
you haven’t died,
though your clock
is ticking.

Tree1

so, scoot.
get on out there
and live –
really live,
treating us all
to your very own
gorgeous genius
and genuine glory.

Leaf

and hey,
while you’re at it,
why not stop,
every chance
you get,
and notice,
appreciate,
pay tribute to
somebody else’s
beauty?
they shine,
you shine,
we all shine,
even though
we might never
know why
or who to thank.

in praise of curves in the road

pasture1693

i rounded the curve
and spied a gorgeous sculpture
in the middle of the greening field.
i blinked
and the captivating sculpture
became
a mule
grazing.

from captivated and elated
to
disappointed and deflated
all in the space of
a few hundred feet.

then i remembered
something read
years after i left
pews and classrooms . . .
michaelangelo
said he created his
david
by removing all that
was not david.

and just like that
i was once again
captivated.

///

i’ve been pondering lately what it means to think independently.
and to value feeling as much as thinking.
and every now and then, i wonder what my life would be like
if i hadn’t been so strongly conditioned
that science rules,
that there is only one right answer,
that a mule eating is merely a mule eating
and not a work of art.

the qualities of mud

JHCToddler1

as a little girl, i loved dressing up in frilly socks and ruffled panties and petticoats that made my skirts stick out like a tabletop. i liked patent leather shoes and dancing in the grocery store and creating private nests for myself where i could get away from it all and create. one thing i did not like was getting dirty. dirt just did not interest me at all . . . which for some reason, disturbed my mother to the point that one day as i sat quietly working on a new book, she picked my 5-year-old self up, carried me outside, and sat me down – ruffles, lace, petticoat and all – in the middle of the biggest mud puddle she could find. she still loves to tell that story, and i declare she sounds embarrassed that i didn’t like to get dirty and smugly satisfied when she gets to the part about unceremoniously plopping me down in the mud. i can just see her wiping her hands and laughing as she walked back to the house to watch me from the window.

now i may not have liked mud then (and i still don’t like to get stuff under my fingernails, so i’ll not be making mudpies any time soon), but in some ways, mud is kinda’ growing on me. not that i want to spend time in a mud puddle, mind you, but i do like holding clay in my hands and shaping it into something or other. and i love not having a clue what i’m going to write but picking up the pen anyway and just watching the words spill out on the page.

my precious friend and writing partner julie daley (jewels, i call her with very, very good reason) recently asked me a most excellent question: what does writing from the feminine look like to me? that question captivated me for days, and the mud story kept tugging at my sleeve pointing out that writing from the feminine can sometimes be muddy. muddy in the sense that i don’t always know where i’m going when i start to write. it’s not always clear, and there’s not always an outcome – intended, expected, or otherwise. when i write from the feminine self, i write from (including myself, my vulnerabilities, my feelings) instead of about (reporting, answering the 5 questions of who, when, where, what, and why).

when i write from the feminine, it’s more about process than product, and quite often, i don’t even know what i have till i get to the end and can see patterns and threads and word crumbs. when writing from the feminine, i write from the body, and often there’s a lot of space in what i write – space enough to crawl into and get comfortable while things incubate. writing from the feminine, it’s more about following than questioning, intuition than the cognitive. writing from the feminine uses dreams, metaphors, and imagery, relying on intuition and an inner knowing that can’t always be explained (nor does it need to be, actually) more than giving ink to what others think and write and theorize.

. . . as i sit here writing this, my resident owl serenades me under the glorious full moon, and i swear she’s urging me on, telling me that writing from the feminine is natural and needed and even necessary . . .

you know how when cars get stuck, little flecks of mud go everywhere as the tires spin their way forward and out (“out” if all goes according to plan, anyway)? when writing from the feminine jeanne, little flecks (and sometimes big flecks, too) get slung out, often without segues or outlines or even capital letters. there’s seldom a nice, tidy, linear structure, and often as not, there’s not even an

The Virtual Red Carpet

No Academy Award was ever more of a surprise or more appreciated than the various honors and awards i’ve received from my friends in the ethers over the past few weeks . . .

Tracy Brown and Gordon Simmons allowed me to sponsor the Daily Gratitude Journal over at Happiness Inside where there are multiple ways to discover, well, happiness.

///

My darlin’ Jewels honored me with the Beautiful Blogger award on The Awesome Women Hub on Facebook.

///

Susan, Abigail, and Noel dropped a Stylish Blogger Award on me, and with that award comes a request to tell seven things about yourself . . .

1. I am named after my uncle (my daddy’s brother) who was killed at age 18. My mother and daddy met in third grade in a most unfortunate eraser-to-the-back incident while doing long division at the blackboard. It may not have been love at first sight, but they dated each other exclusively throughout high school, then enjoyed over 50 years of marriage . . . except for that one weekend in high school when a little spat found Daddy taking their classmate, Jean, out on a date. When Uncle Gene was killed, Mother saw a chance to solidify the affection of her mother-in-law, but oh the dilemma when her firstborn turned out to be female. G-e-n-e, short for Eugene, is a male, so that wouldn’t do. And she didn’t want to go through the rest of her life being reminded of That One Awful Weekend, so Mother tinkered around with various spellings until she decided on J-e-a-n-n-e.

2. I met my sinuses while flying the wind tunnel in Denver. It was fun, though – the wind tunnel not the sinuses.

3. As a child, I loved potato chip sandwiches.

4. I still don’t drink bathroom water.

5. I don’t wear a watch – haven’t for years.

6. I don’t like strawberries . . .

7. Or tomatoes.

~~~

“I need 5 more quirky things about me. I’m struggling here. Can you think of anything?” I asked my husband.

In less than 5 seconds, Hubby rattled off all sorts of things to me (almost before the question mark was out of my mouth). “That’s enough,” I told him. “I have my 7.”

“Are you sure?” he asked. “Cause I was just getting warmed up.”

~~~

While I am loathe to thank my husband, I am not at all hesitant to say Thank you again to these lovely, talented folk who have seen fit to bestow a little spotlight on me, though I deliver it red-faced with embarrassment for my tardiness.

resolved

Calmdownoncommand

January’s Idea of Time Management

Logs

Don’t read. There’s time for enrichment and enjoyment later. You’ve much more important work that needs to get out the door now.

Don’t exercise. Moving from bed to desk chair to bathroom to kitchen to table to laundry room and back to bed is enough movement for now.

Don’t slow down to write thank you notes. You’ll still be thankful later.

Don’t turn on any music, it might distract you and make you forget what needs to be done now.

Bubble baths, leisurely walks in the wood, afternoons spent behind a book are indulgences you earn by getting things done. And since you haven’t gotten nearly enough done, head down and back to work with you.

When you can’t sleep at night, just lay there and think about how awful it is that you can’t sleep. Or get up and get something done. But don’t you dare get up to write or draw or read or stitch.

Just keep saying “Yes” and eliminate every form of “no” from your vocabulary.

Put your friends on hold. If they’re really true friends, they’ll still be around when you’ve caught up.

Don’t waste time putting things up – out of sight equals out of mind. Just pile things up on your desk, on the floor, on tabletops throughout the house. Consider creating mountains as creativity, if it makes you feel better.

Buy a gross of sticky note pads (okay, make it 2 gross) and write one item – only one – from your to do list on a single sticky note. Pretty soon your walls, ceilings, even your furniture will be colorfully shingled. (Of course at the rate you accomplish things, the sticky will eventually wear off, so be sure to write yourself a reminder to replace fallen notes.)

Accept every offer to go out to eat – every single offer. Just remember to eat fast so you can get back to work. The extra weight? Bah, you can lose that later.

Writing retreat with friends? You can do that one day when you’ve whittled down your to do list. You’ve already put it off for 8 months, anyway.

Want to be a writer? Just keep telling yourself that writing checks and meeting minutes and grocery lists and to do notes is writing. Then quit the whining and get back to work.

I’m so glad today is February 1.

It Was A Dark and Stupendous Night

TheHat.jpg

38 years ago today, I walked into the bar in search of a drink and out of the bar with the bartender . . . my future husband. I went there with a friend from high school, and we’d pooled and spent our money on gas to get us there. Having not thought things through all that much, my friend came to the rescue assuring me that she knew a bartender in a bar called Muhlenbrink’s. He’d be wearing a brown leather floppy-brimmed hat, she said. We made our way through the hugely crowded bar, and low and behold, there was, in fact, a bartender in a brown leather floppy-brimmed hat.

And he was adorable. Absolutely, undeniably adorable.

She shoved and I flirted to make the seas part so we could land ourselves directly in front of Him. She thumped her fist down on the bar and proclaimed, “I know you.”

He looked up. “No you don’t,” he said and went immediately back to drawing beer.

I was mortified. Mortified, I tell you.

As I silently begged the floor to open up and swallow me whole, she persisted with her insistence. It seems she knew the HAT, not the MAN. You see, for reasons he can’t remember, Andy was wearing Billy’s hat that night.

At this point, I don’t suppose he’ll get fired if I tell you that he did eventually slip us one (note the singular) tom collins, and when the bar closed (we stayed to listen to the band – wink, wink), we were invited to a part at the bouncer’s apartment.

We accepted.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

And herstory.

We met on January 27; became engaged on April 1; and married on July 31.

Of that same year.

He says I’m the most expensive date he ever had.

I say he’s the best date I could get with the boobs I had at the time.

Ah, love.

um, about that new year’s plan

viewfromabove.JPG

’twas the season of more chaos than usual (deaths, travel plan changes, weather surprises, etc.), and though i rolled with it (and actually, in a strange sort of way, enjoyed letting it push me around), after i ushered everybody back to their lives and cleaned the house, i wanted nothing more than to bring some order to the aforementioned chaos. so i pondered and squinted and grunted and eventually churned out an admirable (if i do say so myself) plan.

and before it was 24 hours old, i had second thoughts.

i have something i want to write about, and for reasons i can’t explain – except maybe that i was drunk on (the illusion of) control – i bowed to the masculine, the left brain, my inner anal retentive or whatever you want to call it, and planned to rev up a dormant blog and post this particular topic there all by itself.

then my heart joined the party, and that changed everything.

now there was a stint when i had two blogs going, but a year or so ago i reached an age where i grew weary of compartmentalizing my life. shoot, i even chose the online name @whollyjeanne to profess to the world (and mostly to remind myself) my intention to shed the outgrown parts and bring me altogether. no more different pieces in different boxes, each box clearly labeled to avoid surprises and waste anybody’s time.

so i’ve scratched it off: no new old blog. when i come up with a name of this topic (maybe before), i’ll be writing about it here, giving it a category name and calling that fine.

two days into the year, i’m having marvelously huge fun writing 6 impossible things before bedtime. most of the time, i blow right on past 6 without even slowing down. creativity is funny like that.

opening up a new year

every year about this time, i become paralyzed. people share their plans and rituals for mapping out the new year, and they all sound so elegant, so elevated, so evolved that i just shut right down and limp through new year’s day, relying on my blackeyed peas and pork and turnipgreens to do their job so all will be well. last year, i vowed to craft my plan for 2011 in september, admonishing myself to let the satisfaction of early completion outweigh – in fact, shut down – any dreaded (and perhaps inevitable) second-guessing.

though it wasn’t in september, i did start earlier this year. and i spent a goodly part of last week talking about my plans with my chicklets, alison and kipp, and my friends angela kelsey, julie daley, and sally gentle. spent even more time making notes – one item per index card to allow for shuffling and flexibility and all that jazz. and yes, i inevitably read about the invitations and visualizations and resolutions, goals, dreams, plans, strategies, stepping stones, big rocks, quadrants, etc. other people use. i even allowed myself 20 minutes to look at (okay, drool over) paper planners cause though i haven’t added to my vast collection in the past three years, i am not too proud to admit my lingering addiction to time management systems (complete with pages of teensy little ole’ lines that i can hardly see, let alone write anything on) encased in colorful, conveniently pocketed-on-the-inside binders. though i’ve tried enough products to know otherwise, i’m here to tell you: when i hold a binder in my hands, i have no trouble imagining my life playing out smoothly, efficiently, and According To Plan. i can taste it, i tell you, and it is powerful.

2011 will be fueled by my participation (and ultimate win, i’m tickled to say) in NaNoWriMo. after 3-4 years of tire kicking, i signed on the digital dotted line and publicly professed (to more than a few non-writers, admittedly, to provide a safe escape hatch should i not finish) my intention to write not the generally prescribed 1667 words a day but 2000 words a day. and though i’m not ashamed to tell you that i upped the ante on account of the fact that the over-achiever (aka teacher’s pet syndrome) in me runs deep, i am proud to say that i wrote more than 2k words every single day. which turned out to be a good thing because i lost the week of thanksgiving and still managed to finish a day early with more than 50k words. and the thing is, it felt so good – the structure, the repetition, the end-in-sight of it all – that i use that i bank on that satisfaction to lay down my tracks for 2011.

so with complete disregard for the the rightness or consideration for whether it’s noble and lofty enough, in 2011 i will:

1. move more. (not anything that involves large trucks complaining about getting in and out of our driveway, mind you. i’m talking about walking and dancing.)
2. become fluent in yoga. (one pose at a time. okay, maybe two to keep it interesting.)
3. read alice in wonderland. aloud. to myself. (starting in january)
4. finish the primary source interviews for the bank robbery book. (by 4/31/11)
5. complete (or at least cease) contextual research for the bank robbery book. (fourth quarter)
6. write 3 children’s books with my daughter. (first quarter)
7. edit the fictional book penned during nanowrimo. (second quarter)
8. attend blogher. (august)
9. meditate a minute at a time (cause let’s face it: i’ve had that beautiful silk zafu – black with golden dragons – for months now, and i just took the plastic off. which means that 20 minutes every day is highly unlikely.)
10. finish volume 1 of the book i’m compiling with my daughter. (third quarter)
11. get that new blog up. (check back tomorrow for details and a viewing!) change of plan
12. further investigate that idea i have for a digital community.
13. quit handing over my personal power.
14. get that broken tooth fixed.
15. uncover (recover?) my muchiness. (warning: this will likely involve unleashing my non-malicious irreverent self more often.)
16. look into completing certification in death education and counseling.
17. remodel our bedroom and create a guest space in nc.
18. learn more about the electronic gizmos i have (iphone 4, ipad, powerbook pro, flip camera, sony camera, livescribe echo pen) (remember apple’s newton? i had one.) and software i own so i can make my life easier through better use of technology.
19. cross-pollinate my creativity by enjoying bouts of making collages, slow cloth, and even playing the piano.
20. attend the storytelling festival in jonesborough, tn. (october)
21. trek to merion, pa to see the barnes collection in its natural and rightful habitat. (april)
22. finish papering the nc laundry room in photos (scanning each one before tacking it to the wall).
23. spend a day (or 3) in milledgeville, ga doing book research and visiting flannery o’conner’s place. (september)
24. be fiercely feminist and fiercely feminine. (there. i’ve said it out loud.) (no ned to quirm cause i’m just the And to Thelma and Louise.)
25. enjoy a monthly massage without feeling i have to earn it.
26. stop spending so many words just for the sake of saying something. (obviously, that starts tomorrow.)
27. write every. single. day. (format subject to change on a monthly basis to keep it interesting.)
28. conjure six impossible things daily before bedtime.
29. create full moon collages with jamie ridler. (jamie calls them dreamboards, but i’ll be doing them in my special collage journal cause i have authority issues, you know.)
30. pen a thank you note a day.
31. reorganize my studio in ga.
32. create walls i can write on.
33. conjure and share more stories (pronounced STO rees) of my altar girls.
34. finish up that production team handbook and the director’s checklist. (january)
35. call many of you sugar to your face.
36. sing out loud without clearing the room. (alison, this one has your name written all over it.)
37. create new e-digs for alison. (january)
38. develop a rhythm of 1 day a week or 1 week a month tending to the inevitable and necessary deskwork. (january, then maintenance throughout the year)
39. book and enjoy creative retreats with selected gal pals. (if interested, let me know.)
40. let go of those stories that just don’t fit me any more. (note: the old paper-tied-to-a-balloon trick just doesn’t work for me, so, shoot, how ’bout i invite you to my (digital) campfire and tell ’em to ya?)

conceptually speaking, in 2011 there will be:
less mass, more movement.
less accommodating, more truth telling.
less talking, more doing.
less squirming, more smiling.
less explanation, more full, deep, satisfyingly content experiencing.
less justification, more justbecause.

and because i’m such a sucker, here are my collages for 2011:

2011collage1.jpg

2011collage2.jpg

2011collage3.jpg
(note at the bottom of the page: “If we’re not supposed to dance, why all this music?” from Gregory Orr’s poem “To Be Alive“)

and my color (pay no attention to the part that says 2010). (and hey, thanks, bridget.)

and my tangible totem:

2011TangibleTotem.jpg

and last, but definitely not least, my word: ship. (thanks, kipp.)

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