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wreath

Sometimes, the words don’t come.

Sometimes, the words seem frozen behind an impermeable layer of uncertainty and hesitation.  You can see them staring out at you, waiting for you to step forward to claim them, to write them out, to give voice to them.  You feel them at the back of your mind where you have placed them, hoping to be freed from their persistent calling.  You hear them whispering to you in your waking dreams and you shove them away from you in favour of easier pursuits.  You move further into the morass of your own making, where movement occurs in slow motion and limbo is your reality.  You deny, deny, deny.

Sometimes, the words flow out of you like honeyed poetry, dripping down and off the page in a glorious sweet mess, golden and sticky with inspiration.  You roll around in the joy of the words and emerge sated and stuffed full of sugared goodness.  You come back to the words again and again, drawn to their nectar and feverish in your need for more.

Sometimes, the words are not enough for you to be able to overcome the fear that clutches at your heart.

Sometimes, the words are your only and greatest salvation.

Sometimes, the words fail you and you are left blank and grasping, gasping for meaning.

Sometimes, the words are your everything and you are simply their holy vessel.

Sometimes, the words.

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squamlightIt has been an overcast day in Los Angeles, and I’m now sitting at LAX waiting for my flight back to Melbourne to be called.  It’s been a week since I left Squam Art Workshops and it’s only now that I’m able to write about the third Squam that I have been fortunate enough to attend.  I’ve had to sit with the experience and let it percolate through me before I could even think about finding words to describe those five days in the woods of New Hampshire.

So here it is: Squam has given me the opportunity to create, describe, celebrate and bless the basis of my beginning.  Every time I come to Squam I know that I am so, so loved and that I am seen – truly seen for who and what I am.  I am embraced for who I am right now, as well as what I might or could be.  I am accepted utterly, despite my (at times) apparently incomprehensible Australian accent.  Elizabeth’s beautiful “Write Your Own Myth” class resonated so strongly that I found it hard to believe that she hadn’t designed the class specifically for me.  I discovered my modern myth – it is yet to be written out properly, but oh so much inspiration to do so!  Susa’s gentle and loving class, “This Precious Life”, introduced me to the joy of mixed media art work and brought me closer to understanding the arc of my myth through the prompts and encouragement that Susa provided.

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I had no idea that these two classes would mesh so perfectly together for me at this particular time and moment.  I truly felt as if both classes were created to help me draw together the threads of my life that until recently have seemed so disparate, and that everything I was learning and experiencing embodied the themes that I inevitably capture with my camera at Squam – the light (oh, the light!) and reflection of the trees, the lake, and the people.  The beauty of Squam is that we all take something different from it, and that it inevitably meets a need deep within us, even if we have been previously unaware of it.  Love, place, creativity, joy, writing, art, friendship, spirituality, light, reflection, home – Squam is all this and more – the basis of my beginning and the catalyst for so much more to come.

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I had not expected to want to write here while I was at Squam, but the words keep bubbling through my mind and they need to be placed somewhere, even if I can’t do so coherently.  This Fall session of Squam is a continuation of the cracking open that started for me when I was here in June, but also finds me feeling even more introspective and contemplative than I thought possible.  It is a strange contrast – unfurling my heart while simultaneously turning inwards.  I spend the evenings processing the photos I have shot that day, or scribbling in my journal or writing here.  I watch the people in my cabin talking and I join in when I’m moved to do so.  I know I belong at the centre of this place, and that we are all at its axis.  Today I have had women come over to me purely to take me into their arms and hold me.  Last night I had women share their energy with me simply because I asked.  Gentle touches, smiles and wet eyes are integral to this magic and all these elements blend together to create this earthly heaven into which I can breathe my trust and know that it is safe to do so.

I find that my thoughts chase each other, and in Camille’s beautiful writing class today I experienced a stream of consciousness that was overwhelming with its speed and truth.  The prompt to which I was writing had nothing to do with Squam but, in the end, I realised that what I had written was precisely my reality here: the stream of consciousness – the dream of consciousness – the awakening that we find here thanks to Elizabeth’s vision and her open, open heart.

“It is music and words and my pen moving across the page.  It is the light on the water and having the eyes to see it.  It is my camera in my hands and my fingers adjusting the dials, and the dock on the lake, and the loon on the water.  It is the want and the heart and the love and the fear – my god, the fear – and the lady skunk in the woods and the spirit moving through the trees on the breeze.  It is the cliche at my lips and the knowledge in my heart and the rhythm of the words and the flow of the ink.  It is the blood in my veins and the water in my womb, and the movement of my thoughts and the poetry of this moment.  It is the struggle of the mind and the longing of my soul and the desire to be moved and the creative path which I seek.”

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I miss this place, and I miss you guys. Life right now is about snatching precious starburst moments with beloved friends and family, as well as listening to my body and what it needs from me right now. Apparently what I need is a lot of sleep and plenty of caffeine. Yes, you’re correct – they do seem to be mutually incompatible.

I hope you are all well, and happy. I’m thinking of you.

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Weepingcherryblossom

He reached over and interlaced his fingers through mine, and my world broke open.

Irrevocably, irretrievably.

Helplessly.

Lovingly.

And nothing was ever the same.

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2013-07-12 18.21.58So, sometimes life is super tough. Right now I feel like I’m failing all over the place – work, friends, loves, families, habits, photography, images, words, friends, work, friends, family, creativity, loves, travels, courage, and did I mention work?

This week has been calmer than previous weeks, for which I am extremely grateful. It has still been as stressful as previous weeks, which is apparently par for the course right now.

Where do you want to be right now? And what do you want to be doing? If you didn’t have to worry about cost or implications or impressions or reactions, what would your heart be telling you to do right now? I keep asking myself these questions over and over, and I wait and listen and strain to hear the answer. Sometimes I think that I hear the answer, and other times I’m sure that I can’t hear and that I will never hear it. The most that I can promise is that I will keep straining and trying to hear it in the hope that somehow and somewhere I will work out what my heart wants and how I get to what my heart wants.

What does your heart want? Here is what I know: NYC calls to me. I want to create words and images that capture your imagination and inspire you. Images and words that capture my imagination and inspire me. Perhaps that place is somewhere different from where I am right now, but I am ready (or nearly ready) to embrace any change that comes my way. I am ready to open my arms and my spirit and see what happens. I promise to embrace everything that I feel in my bones and that calls to me. I promise to reach out for new experiences and words and images and loves and

I miss this place and I miss all of you – and I feel like I am letting each and every one of you down by not posting more regularly. I am so grateful to everyone who has continued to follow this small place despite its inactivity. More grateful than you can know.

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A writer out of loneliness is trying to communicate like a distant star sending signals. He isn’t telling, or teaching, or ordering. Rather, he seeks to establish a relationship with meaning, of feeling, of observing. We are lonesome animals. We spend all our live trying to be less lonesome. And one of our ancient methods is to tell a story, begging the listener to say, and to feel, “Yes, that’s the way it is, or at least that’s the way I feel it. You’re not as alone as you thought.

John Steinbeck

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