Spending our days…

DSCN4164Annie Dillard once wrote “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

As I move into my mid-60’s (yikes) I realize that this idea of living a good life (whatever that is) means everything. I know I am privileged to have choice in how I live my life–not all do. Discovering a passion, letterpress, and a way to play with words has allowed me to truly slip into flow.

“According to Csikszentmihályi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate experience in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning.”

This often happened when I was teaching, working with young adults and helping them find some meaning in their lives (always more important than whatever was in the curriculum). But I’m certainly finding it now in my printing work.

My other joy is having time to play with my grandchildren, watch them grow, and see my own children in their eyes and smiles. I spent yesterday with two children and Sunday will see the other two. Their visits fill me up with indescribable happiness.

Now that I’m settled in my new shop (or settled in two, actually since my new press is at home), I am trying to develop a routine. Summer is not exactly the time to do that, but it’s coming slowly.

I am trying to remember how each moment matters.

Home Sweet Home…..

SONY DSC

I’ve been traveling. To printers’ fairs (Lancaster, PA), workshops (Chicago, Starshaped Prss), classes (Charlottesville, Calligraphy) and a short trip to New York.

Needless to say, my head is spinning.

But that’s ok because I’m learning. Still. After two years of having my presses! Today I had great success with less ink, figured out a better way to layout a card, and used the cute star ornaments Jen @starshapedpress gave me.

I love the way the shadows hit my type case in this photo by Khirstie Smith, our intern. I’ve said, being my my shop is meditative, calming. And I’m looking forward to being home for a while.

 

The Sky Late

IMG_1053

 

I love the sky late in the day. Here, I caught the sun lighting up the trees on the river bridge behind the studio. Often the clouds melt into pink cotton candy. And then there’s the teal blue water reflecting off the setting sun at Turks and Caicos.

It’s my favorite time of the day, especially when I’m alone or deep in thought. Annie Dillard says, “Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.”

 

Finding Yourself, Losing Yourself, and Finding Yourself Again

Finding Yourself, Losing Yourself, and Finding Yourself Again

 

It’s the end of the year, and I get introspective around this time.

I also get sad, but that’s another story.

When I was younger, I refused to get sad. I was a Pollyanna girl, sure that everything would turn out all right in the end. “I’m fine,” is our family mantra, and I lived that way a long, long time.

But I’ve been in a lost period for the last few years, trying to figure out who I am and what I want to be when I grow up. In the process, I’ve changed from Pollyanna to Eeyore. I’ve been whiny, critical, and gloomy, sure the next plane will crash or my business will fail.

Sometimes we’ll never figure out what sends us spiraling. But now, five years later,  I’m grateful to be seeing the light. I love working on my presses, sharing time with my young students, and helping to run Water Street Studio. The other day, one of my students stopped by with a gift (pictured above). I was touched he thought to create a framed set of type, including the word “write” and my initials. Seriously, touched.

These days, I’ve learned how little I really can control in my life. But giving in to that helps me appreciate everything else so much more.  Now I say, “What’s the worst that can happen?” And the answer is usually something I can live with.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be a Pollyanna again. Wedged where I am feels like a good fit-a little vulnerable, a little realistic, and a lot hopeful.

All righty, then. I have some wood type waiting for me, and my hands are too clean. Back to work.

 

 

 

Focusing on the good

IMG_1270

I spent a lovely week in Turks & Caicos, reading, writing, and sleeping.

My poem “Abandoned” has been accepted by Vine Leaves Literary Journal Issue 10. The journal is one of my favorites, and I am thrilled to be included.

We may have had our last snow for the season.

Switching to an “anti-inflammatory” diet hasn’t killed me yet, though I do miss sugar.

I’m testing a Morgan Line-O-Scribe press this week and hope to bring it home. Expect letterpressed cards from me soon.

#lucky #grateful