Thursday, September 23, 2021

Clearing Some Cobwebs

Anna Pugh
She is one of my favorite artists. I love her subjects, the colors she uses, and the textures she adds. I love the imaginative details interwoven with realism, how it blends gracefully, lovingly. "Acrylic on Board," read the details, but I am convinced there is more, that she has something in her possession, something that lends more than paint, canvas, skill and time. I sense fabric, fluid, motion, unknown media, rare matter. Someday, I would love to see an original painting of hers, and get close up to the acrylic and board. I have some of her prints, and have seen others. But I know, with art, the real thing is always something far better, more compelling, and the idea makes me certain that seeing her art in person would be wonderful.

This image is a screen shot from my phone. I don't have any idea where I grabbed it from, or when. Actually, I have started saying aloud, "I don't know. I can't remember," and I follow up with a certainty, "It must have happened in 2018, or before." Other than the times I have mentioned the issue of memory loss here, I hardly speak of it. Probably most of my friends do not know. I had hoped it would get better, or something, but I am regularly reminded of gaps, holes, blank pages. It's a sad, hard thing alone, that unfortunately also brings to mind the collision, the other losses, and challenges. If I need to come to terms with it, somehow, I am amused about movies and TV shows that I can watch again and find practically brand new. If I saw a show before the event, then I might know that I have seen it, like it's kind of familiar, otherwise details, plot, even the ending, are as though I had not seen the movie. Well, that was a funny/welcome (kind of) chance in the Stay At Home Season of lockdown, when watching movies was one of the things that I could do for amusement, because lots of repeat things could be enjoyed like they were new. Sometimes I am reminded that getting a little absent minded comes with age, it's normal, but this is different, believe me. It's not as bad navigating the blank spots since we are mostly at home, but the worst times are when someone knows me, and I have absolutely no idea who they are... not just "Oh, darn, what is his name? It's on the tip of my tongue." No, I am looking at a stranger who is often looking a bit hurt or confused at my reaction, because I cannot place them, at all. Those were people I met, had in my home, hung out with, but they were newer friends, people I met within 18 months or so of that thing. The blog has helped, and one of my children might fill in the gaps, and thankfully my brain is at least receptive, and their anecdotes, or my blog posts, and photographs are like found pieces of the puzzle that I can use to fill in what, until that moment, I wasn't aware was missing. It is weird. And at times distressing. Even the screenshot... popping up in the iPhone "remember this" feature, was a bit of a confounding torment. So, here I am blogging about it, trying to make it fit in my brain puzzle.
He is so handsome, our Cairo. Here he is in my studio, stretched out across two file boxes, looking languid, slightly noble.
Here I want to say Ta Da! This whole area, upstairs, has been... well, let's not mince words: In a dreadful state, for a dreadful long time. But William and I have conquered the beast! It is slain, and discharged! Mostly. We have at least one carload of donation destined boxes, and more to come. Lots. More. To. Come. We are on a mission to make space for another bedroom, and space. Just more space. More space and less stuff. These are the goals. I am easily discouraged both by the tasks ahead of me, and by the realization of all that I have not confronted, managed, addressed, tended in the last... oh, say 1,022 days, more or less. I wonder, and help me out if you can... can we admit what has interfered, or hindered our well being, our mental and physical capabilities, be open about it, without making it part of our identity? And here I am muddled and sorting it out, still. I have been trying to heal, to get over it, to deny, suppress, avoid, all things accident related, because I worry that I will sound obessive, that I will entwine Me, my identity, limits, and abilties, with something that happened to me. Okay, but my avoidance, downplaying method is not working. Something bad did happen, and it took a long, protacted, complicated, and badly managed time to get through the civil and criminal components, and the many physical and emotional circumstances are still an issue... so, as much as I do not want to become "accident victim," I am not who I was before that thing. I am changed, hurt, healing, confused, challenged, different. I can't tell if things are a mess with me, around me, because of injuries and compromised emotional/brain things, or because I have not managed the road to wellness, or something I am not recognizing, doing? I am embarrassed saying all of this, yet encouraged by the impulse to try and get it right, because I see things are not working, and I do want to be better.

I am glad it's fall. Happy Fall! Eventually, this season, I will write another post about all the things and feelings, and concepts I love about this season. I do it every year. I can't help myself. In the meantime, I would like to share some fall love and insight, from Nailah Blades, coach and speaker. She brought new thoughts and comforting ideas, that fit nicely into my brain puzzle, about what this season can be, for change, for letting go, for quiet reflection or even hibernation. And, I just like the way I feel when I listen to her.

The blue tea is natural, and the color comes from butterfly pea flowers, and Adagio Teas makes a blend with lemongrass that tastes like, get this: Fruit Loops, but not sweet. Is that weird? And cool? Maybe you have never had Fruit Loops, or don't remember, or would never! But if you know, you know. It's fun. I drank mine almost cool, and found it refreshing. It's like a lemon drink but skipping the acidic aspect of lemon, so it doesn't need sweetning sweetening. It's a smooth, floral lemon-like tea. And it's blue, unless you add actual lemon juice, in which case it turns deep pink! No dyes, just lovely tea magic. Bambi makes it especially for a full moon. Did you see the Harvest Moon?


Janece said...

Oh - I really, really enjoyed the Anna Pugh works you share here. The Birds and The Bees... love it! Something she did here that I've not figured out to do to my satisfaction is the overlaying of white onto colors underneath. I love it. Thank you for sharing her with us! And yes to the marvels and creative clarifications of seeing artwork in person.

I heard about a podcast interview with Link's wife (of Rhett and Link) talking about her experience with living with traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome. Maybe it is something that might be of interest and value for you:

I'm sorry you have to navigate your days with the gaps. You do it with such grace for those of us around you. I'm really glad you are sharing though -- hopefully, all of us can help you feel surrounded by love, support, and a safety net. Also, I imagine there might be support communities of others who live with it as well. ((hugs))

Your studio space and your very handsome art studio cat... fill me with joy!

Your upstairs area is amazing. I still marvel at the way you reclaimed that space! Congrats to you and William for conquering the beast!!

(If you can't tell... I'm sitting with your blog open in one window and the comment window open in a separate window next to it... I'm replying as I go... I hope it isn't too confusing.)

Forgive me if I'm repeating myself here (I have a sneaking suspicion that I am): but I came across a book title recently that really hit me. "Re-Arranged: Never the Same: The Nature of Grief" by Deva Joy Gouss. I found it because of where I am at personally - grieving Dad's death. The book is written from the perspective of losing a loved one. But, I think the truth of grief is the same. We have been hit by something bad. There is a deep loss within us because of it. We are never the same. I'm going to read the book soon - but the title alone has been influencing my own thoughts about grief.

Tea magic is wonderful. 🥰

And the moon -- I saw it setting over the sea the last few mornings. It's been incredible. I've attempted photos but they just don't capture the moon's beauty at that moment. Sigh. I keep the photos anyway because they remind me of what I saw and I can remember it in my mind's eye.

Thank you for sharing. I'm so grateful that you do.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

This is so much more than a "Comment," Janece! Thank you!
Right? Her color layers? They are a bit confounding... the technique makes me think "watercolor" or very lightly applied oils. Maybe it's the quality of the acrylics, or a medium she adds. I would love to sit in her studio and try to learn whatever she would be kind of enough to reveal!

I started the podcast... my first takeaway is that I probably did not take good initial care. I was in shock/denial, and desperate to get back to "normal." Christy seems to have had a similar experience. Even from outside, there is such a expectation of 'you are ok, be ok,' that I felt compelled to downplay what I was going through. For instance... I definitely lost consciousness, there are many indications that it had to be a few minutes, at least. But the firefighter, then paramedic, asked "You didn't pass out. Right?" And in my addled and confused state, I registered this as them assuring me that I had not passed out. But I could hardly put two words together. I think I nodded in agreement. After that, everything seemed to depend on whether or not I had passed out, and I didn't feel able or certain about saying otherwise... just my shy way, and not wanting to be a burden. Secondly, I am so thankful it wasn't worse!! I suspect that I would benefit from learning more. Thank you for the link.

That studio space... it is some serious good fortune. We all love being in that room. And the loft area... all of it has been a really good upgrade. I hope William will soon reveal his bedroom. It is honestly like a gorgeously curated museum! I would pay to visit! He's been doing a complete makeover, including molding, paint, and fixtures, and a lot of stuff lived in the hall and loft, while he worked at it.

Janece said...

It is more than a comment... isn't it? 😂 I opened the comments section and saw this looooong comment and thought - whoa, someone had a lot to say. And then... Oh...... that's me. LOL!

As for William's room -- I think another standalone building (ala Alex's art studio) where William could have a dedicated "William Museum of Arts and Curiosities" would be amazing! I get the need for a space that is created and maintained as a personal, creative, safe space. But William's creativity and genius could find expression and room to be shared in his own studio space. It's always a joy to discover and hear about what he's creating, what has caught his imagination and interest, etc... and a dedicated space that friends and family could tour when visiting... fantastic. I'd definitely pay to visit too. 😉

Little Dorrit does... said...

Wow, Anna Pugh, so beautiful! Thank you for the introduction! Haven't encountered her work before, but spent a happy hour sifting through Google Images and wishing that a copy of her book didn't cost £300!

I've been pondering your description of the brain puzzle, and trying to imagine what it must be like to encounter those jigsaw pieces and experience that horrible jolt when you realise you hadn't even known they were missing. I can't imagine it, just have little snippets of "sounds a bit like" to hold alongside...

...a bit like turning 50 and entering the menopausal fog and having to write everything down and make daily lists in order to function 50% as well as I used to at my job...or a bit like waking from a general anaesthetic with hours having passed in the flick of a light switch...or a bit like my mum putting her bag safely in a drawer and then thinking she'd lost it on the bus until she opened the drawer again three weeks later...or a bit like my husband's complex partial seizures where his brain shorts out and then resets a few moments later and his first impulse is to reach for a hug...

...a bit like, but not the same, I know. I'm sorry that the collision happened, and left you struggling to put so many pieces back together. Maybe another thought to store alongside the "getting to watch TV shows I've already seen, as if they're brand new", is the Japanese Kintsugi philosophy - the idea that sometimes in the process of repairing things that have broken, we actually create something more unique, beautiful and resilient? I think you are unique, beautiful and resilient!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

That's right, the books are expensive... I remember that now. It would be so nice to have a collection of her works in a book, but that is steep! I am glad you enjoy her work. It had been a long time since I looked her up, and I am delighted to find she has been making a lot more art!
All of your "a bit like" comparisons are good, and some are familiar, which is why I do tend to second guess what I have on top of being 54 and definitely menopause-ly brain fogged. *sigh* We can't seem to get this far along without some wear and tear, yeah? You think I am "Unique, brilliant and resilient?" Thank you! Add teary-eyed, because your kindness is really touching my heart. Kintsugi philosophy is beautiful, and you are beautiful for reminding me. I am recommitting to healing and coming to terms with who I am today, which is not always as easy as just "getting over it," but changing my beliefs will be easier if I just re-read your message, as a reminder, and to keep me looking forward: Unique, brilliant and resilient. It's the resilience that really makes a difference!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Ah, a standalone room for William... he is so worthy!
You are reminding me of something, too: William, since the beginning, has always liked to arrange his things, or hold on to stuff, and I was amused and would think, 'he wants to keep everything as though he's curating a museum!' It's such a special part of knowing someone from birth, when you can observe the traits and interests they have early on, and see what sticks!