Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lisa's Story Dolls

Two photos of Shell. Doll made by Lisa Mathias. Shell is an archer, complete with a handmade bow slung across her back!

Shell riding on Grayhorn. I can't remember the name of the artist who created Grayhorn!

My friend, Kara (mentioned several times now in this blog! -- well, her blogging inspires me to blog!) recently chronicled her journey to the Wallowa Valley in N. E. Oregon, where she visited our mutual friends, the Mathiases. Kara's words about Lisa's character dolls inspired me to post these pictures of one of mine, the one I call Shell -- or who calls herself Shell!

I spotted Shell at Vashon Island's Lavender Festival Farm Tour last year, where Lisa had a booth selling her amazing character dolls. I walked back and forth in front of the booth numerous times until finally deciding that I had to buy her! Here's the fun thing: Shell is the main character of that book I've been writing for the past 20 years, a story which has morphed into its own creation, finally, and not just a rehash of the novel I wrote when I was 25. When I saw this doll, I knew that she was Shell of the new version. And since then, my book character Shell and Shell-as-this-doll have been telling each other's story--creating their story. The doll has her own adventures -- I play with her when I play with my younger daughter Gwynne -- sometimes on our yurt floor with Gwynne's Polly Pockets, sometimes out in the forest or in the garden. Shell's stories unfold in my mind -- the tale that's taking place in my book, my games with Gwynne, and fancies with this doll itself, out in the natural world .... I'll share some of my photo tales of this doll with you sometime!

In the meantime, I bring up Shell now, because I know that Lisa has some magic planned with the dolls she makes and with story ... I'm looking forward to experiencing what emerges!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Stepping Into Summer

My daughter Gwynne created this path of petals one day, with calendula and some unknown purple flower. It seems a good metaphor for my experience of life right now. the place I'm at, beautiful and dappled by sunlight, but really, I've no idea where we're heading!

Oh, we have plans. A good, hearty road map to guide us. But I still very much feel the threshhold nature of our lives -- that we are still in the Unknown, and the answers won't solidly be in place for awhile -- perhaps!

So I tend to the things before me: working a little bit each morning on my children's magical nature novel, reading with my daughters (we're finishing the Harry Potter series for the third time), playing with chickens, hanging out with the flowers in garden and with their spirit natures, tending to the details of packing up our lives for our move to -- where? Well, as I said, we have our plans and ideas, but the destination does not feel fixed yet, even though we choose or discern our way and act on what we think is before us, what feels right. I think this is the way it always is in our lives, that quality of unknowing and change. It's just a bit more obvious right now!

In the afternoons I usually make a little time to work on some music. I'm digging up songs I've written which few, if any, people have ever heard. I'm astonished by what has happened when I haven't been looking! In the number of years I've had of not performing, not practicing much, not overtly working hard, I've discovered that much has flowed under the scenes. Hey! I have a voice that actually pleases me now! And the songs are ... fine. And my musical sensibility intrigues me. So much to be said for allowing things to lie fallow. It isn't time yet in my life to focus with intellect and fierceness on doing what it takes to perform these things with meticulous craftsmanship and artistry, but I can enjoy the heart journey of exploring their shapes and possibilities.

So, on step by step I taste what's before me -- the equivalent of the zesty and tiny Indian plum fruits and the tart red huckleberries, and the deepening flavor of the salmonberries that are now ripe. The summer has swelled into fullness of warmth and burnished grasses and the succession of fruits and seeds, with a sweet breeze cooling us off when it all becomes too much.