Saturday, March 31, 2007

Quote: Ears Filled with Oughts

"Much of the joy I always feel on the island lies precisely in being free of the nagging suspician I used to have that no matter what I was doing I might better be doing something else: if playing with my kids I should be working, if working I was neglecting my friends, if out with my friends I belonged home with my kids. How often I accused myself of reading when I should be writing, of writing when I ought to be reading, of staying indoors when I ought to be out in the streets ... filling my ears with oughts, but never knowing which ear the devil was whispering in."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Fortune Cookie Says

The fortune cookie I got with last night's Chinese take-out told me:

"Your infinite capacity for patience will be rewarded sooner or later."

I want my infinite capacity for patience rewarded now!

Just kidding. Sorta.

How would you define "irony"?

©2007 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

Monday, March 26, 2007

Library: Free Magazines

Because I try to live simply, I don't subscribe to magazines that aren't related to my profession (though I do occasionally bring one home from the grocery store check out counter).

As part of my creative process workshop the participants are asked to make a quick collage clipped from magazines, which I wouldn't ordinarily have on hand. So, today I visited our local public library where they set aside stacks of books and magazines, free for the taking.

I loaded my arms high with copies of Vogue, Gourmet, Women's Day, Better Homes and Gardens, Redbook, and Oprah magazines, happy to be able to pass along this abundance to those who will come to my workshop to learn about their own creative resources and the many sources of simple abundance available to them.

I find it amusing that even though these magazines are heavily supported by advertising of expensive luxury items, we will be ripping them apart on a treasure hunt for inspiring words, colors, images, and phrases to clip, arrange and glue.

Like children, in the midst of play we become less susceptible to advertising's attempts to activate our insecurities.

In those moments, we know intuitively that we are enough just as we are.

©2007 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

Saturday, March 24, 2007

stronger than memory

Healing is stronger than memory.

Spring is evidence of this truth.

©2007 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Funnies

Reuse. Recycle. Renew.

As a child during the 60's and 70's I took this mantra to heart.

Birthday and Christmas gifts from my teenage hippy brothers were usually wrapped in the Sunday funnies, a choice made by economic necessity and the ideology of the time. They needed what little spending money they had to pay for dates and gas for their car, and the funnies wrapped around the presents they gave were also a form of rebellion against the "Establishment". They weren't about to buy into the commercialization of gift giving. Inside the colorful wrapping, the things I found were often handmade or second-hand.

None of my friends got gifts wrapped in newspaper. I envied them, but I also realized I was experiencing something kinda cool.

The lessons learned stuck with me:

- Store bought isn't necessarily better
- Ordinary things can be reused
- Self-sufficiency is respectable
- Special doesn't have a price tag
- You can do things your own way
- Everyday choices can be declarations of personal freedom

(c)2007 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Vernal Equinox

The first day of Spring! The wheel of the year turns.

Wagon wheel pasta (rotelle) and sauce for dinner. Round green grapes on the side.

I went for a walk to the edge of the woods today, looking for signs of spring.

A flock of robins tap-danced across the field looking for the first stirrings of earthworms. They hopped up into the bare tree branches as I passed among them.

There were leaf buds on the blackberry vines I'd planted at the corner of Gaia Luna last summer. Maybe this year there will be more sunny days and the birds will leave some berries for me to eat. I have visions of blackberry jam on toast and blackberries in the freezer for my breakfast cereal on January mornings.

The deer fence around the garden didn't survive the winter. The winds and ice were too much for it. It hangs like a veil across the southern edge of the beds. This year we'll need to put in a more permanent solution, a real fence with heavier posts. Maybe even a garden gate with an arbor, if it wouldn't look too civilized.

Plant peas after St. Patricks Day, they say.

Our ground is still icy. There is snow in the shady places. Ice on the puddles.

I'm ready for green!

©2007 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

Monday, March 19, 2007

Mix it up!

Reuse. Recycle. Renew.

Old things with character and history appeal to me.

I would rather use our old avocado green hand mixer than anything new from the store. It has mixed cakes and brownies going back many decades. To hold it in my hand is to hold all those happy memories, though it's only been mine for a fraction of that time.

The color reminds me of an era when Alice on the "Brady Bunch" always had something ready for dinner when everyone arrived home.

It represents a time when simple was enough and things were built to last.

©2007 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

Sunday, March 18, 2007


~ journal excerpt

I want art and serenity in my life. I'm not interested in competitive jockeying.

If, after I've created what I want to create and taken it out into the world, if then it fits with the parameters of some competition, I will try. I'm not going to mold myself unrecognizably into something to fit an objective.

I think a lot about getting older and trying to find lasting meaning in life. There is a wealth of material for art and song there.

(c)2007 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Contest Win

Last month I entered a contest and won. This was a first for me, both the entering and the winning. In the process, I learned a lot about my own competitive nature. (More on that in another post.)

Nancy Mills, the founder of "The Spirited Woman" wrote a set of words and challenged others to set them to music. The theme of her organization is "Living in the Land of Enoughness". Through her workshops, newsletter and website, she encourages women to feel empowered by knowing that we are enough, just as we are.

You can listen to my rendition of "The Spirited Woman Song" HERE.

Nancy interviewed me over the phone following the announcement of the winners. You can read the interview HERE.

One of the fun things about this contest was that Nancy encouraged participants not to worry about their results, to just come up something fun and enter. Some "songs" were even called in to an 800 number she set up especially for the contest. Others, like mine, were sent by email as MP3s.

While some contestants made up their songs on the spot, for me, taking a song from concept to finished recording in 8-10 hours of work, and finishing by a deadline, was a major breakthough.

The 4 finalists were selected by a panel of judges. The order of winners was determined by popular vote.

A big happy "Thank you!" to everyone who emailed or called during the short 24-hour voting window.

My prize money will be going toward recording my next CD, hopefully coming out in Spring of 2008.

:-), Kay

Monday, March 12, 2007

Flow Around

Blocked momentum.

My energy and effort dammed up behind an obstruction, or channeled off in another direction without my consent, for someone else’s purposes.

I become a stream, curving around a stone.

Or the pressure builds. With enough force the stone may be pushed over or moved aside, or it may be destroyed in the process.

In that time, I am going nowhere. I must decide, is this a good use of my energy and effort? Is this the best way to get were I'm going, to do what I'm meant to do?

The stone has as much right to exert it's will upon me as I have to choose my own response.

I acknowledge obstruction.

Today, this time, I choose to flow around.

Perhaps, it will be smoothed and reshaped a little by my passing. Perhaps, I will learn something of determination by touching its steadfastness.

©2007 Kay Pere ~Effusive Muse Publishing

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Thrift Store Finds

A friend from Wales, Michael Nobbs, came up with the idea to do an Artist's Date to a thrift store, known in his corner of the world as a charity shop. [Join in HERE] He suggests that each person set a small budget and buy something to wear that we wouldn't ordinarily choose.

I chose a vividly colorful straw hat. Only $1.99 US. I bought it without trying it on because I'd come into the store just 15 minutes before closing.

Funny thing, when I got home and put it on to look in the mirror, it actually looks pretty good.

I think I'll leave the price tag dangling from the brim, a la Minnie Pearl (is she known outside the US?).

Or here you can even see the $1.98 tag on her hat! :-) Nice semi-coincidence.

I looked at the sweater racks, too, and realized that the ones in the thrift store were nicer than the shabby old things in my dresser at home, which have been washed and worn a million times until they're pilly and full of holes, but I still wear them.

I love chenille, so imagine my joy when I found a treasure trove of chenille sweaters in my size (or close enough that a little roll of the sleaves will make the necessary adjustment). Got 3 for $1.00 each, 1 for $3.00 and 1 for $5.99. All very nice, soft and cozy. Lavender with subtle sparkles, deep red, black, coco brown, and periwinkle. They're spinning around in the washer right now rinsing out that thrift store smell, getting ready for wearing tomorrow (though not all at once).

Also for $1.99 each I got 2 VHS tapes: "The Princess Bride" and Disney's "The Aristocats". I'm a sap when it comes to movie choices.

I got a wooden dish drainer rack and a 2-quart glass water bottle to put in the fridge for a buck a piece. The dish drainer goes out to the barn to dry and store my bats (round masonite boards used on the pottery wheel). When the weather warms up, I think I'll use the bottle to brew some sun tea from herbs grown in my garden.

A lot of good shopping for just under $20, and in only 15 minutes. Woohoo!

©2007 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing


~ excerpts from today's journal writing

Deep breaths
Calm body
Still mind

Over the years, I've asked for advice and permission far more often than I really should. I need to give myself back the authority I've handed over to others.

My creative work is both hopeful and haunted. I have both strength and weakness and can hold these two, one in each hand, as I work. Passion and detachment. Independence and interconnection. The synthesis of opposites necessary for growth.

Life is filled with unresolvable contradictions. This is fertile ground for creative work.

©2007 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing