Magic

Upon entering Jamaica on holiday long ago when I was younger, I wrote on the application for my tourist visa in the space provided for occupation: magician. I don’t know what possessed me. At the time, I worked in a mental health center as a clinical social worker, a psychotherapist, studying and practicing NLP and hypnotherapy, and had an inflated view of my abilities to conjure profound changes in the lives of my clients. I liked the idea that I could trick clients into becoming the persons they wanted to be. I enjoyed using indirect hypnotic tools to induce trance, telling rambling, often boring, stories, with the understanding that I was the expert and the client engaged me specifically to practice such deception. People paid good money to change and yet, with every fiber of their being, resisted such transformation. How to help? How to bypass the resistance and engage that small fraction of self that hoped to move into new, uncharted territory? It was all about magic and illusion. Reframing a tragic situation as one that provides growth and opportunity. Providing a different perspective that encourages movement. Magic. Smoke and mirrors. Hope. 

 My career as a psychotherapist and later, as a life coach, spanned more than 30 years and during that time, I was astounded by how the issues presented by my clients mirrored my own in many ways. Everything from infertility to alcoholism to hair loss. If they had it, so, it would seem, did I. I don’t understand how it happened. I used to think such coincidences were gifts from the Universe. I’d work out and learn about my life challenges through the work my clients did in and out of my office. Maybe it wasn’t so odd, after all. Maybe there are only a limited number of challenges human beings face, and the challenges my clients brought into my office were bound to match up with my very own some percentage of the time. Nonetheless, it always seemed a magical coincidence, and delighted me in each and every instance. 

 These days, the magic shows up in different ways. In my paintings, for instance, and in my stories. I work in these media with very little interference from my analytical thinking center and instead let myself fall into trance and let slip out whatever is inclined. One of my classmates in studio painting class looked at an abstract painting I was sitting with and asked “this comes just from your mind?” And the honest answer I gave was, no, it comes from my hands. My mind is not involved in the process. I have no image of which I am even remotely aware when I paint. I just pick up a color and apply it then pick up another and apply it, too. With no sense of what is meant to develop. And that’s how I write, when I am at my best. Even now, the magic is in not knowing where this piece is taking me and how I will get there. It’s a journey into the unknown and that’s what’s so thrilling for me. That’s what makes it fun and engaging. 

 I used to think that I needed to know what the story was going to be about, what the image was meant to look like, in order to create. Now I know that for me, the joy is in the not knowing, the emptiness of mind and trusting the right strokes to take me somewhere delightful. And if I am not delighted, I can always revise. It amazes me every time I paint or write something that I like, and it’s happening more frequently as I learn to surrender to the joy of not knowing. I wonder if my love life will be affected by this same process. Surely I have surrendered to not knowing what’s in store for me in the romance department, but have I done so with joy? I don’t know the answer to that question. It changes every day. But magic is surely the only way romance will ensnare my heart, for the heart is on its own journey and I haven’t any control over it, and never have. 

 I sit in my living room surrounded by paintings I enjoy. I have painted all of them. Two years ago, I did not take delight in my paintings, but was learning only to tolerate and not reject them. Something has changed, and I think it’s the notion of control. I paint the way I live. I take the easy path, the path of least resistance, the path that is fun, pleasurable. I have chosen not to try and develop my skills in areas that are woefully deficient, like shape and perspective and copying reality. Instead, I’m creating my own reality, using skills that are inherent to my being, my pleasure and sensitivity to color. No one will ever praise the life-like quality of my paintings. Just as no one will praise the structure, discipline or craft of my writing. I am learning to surrender to my strengths and let my deficiencies shine through with affection. I am too old to learn the hard way. I trust in magic. 

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ARTIST’S STATEMENT

I need a philosophy of art to which I subscribe or at least aspire, a concept into which I can box myself, so that I am satisfied when something I paint has harmony and color and texture that moves or inspires the viewer, especially me. I guess that’s my philosophy and my statement, arrived at after the fact, as I pondered which paintings please me and why. I want my paintings to invite the viewer to stick around and enter them. They are an invitation to relationship with each painting that strikes a chord, but relationship with the paintings, not with the painter. If there is to be any relationship between painter and viewer, it will arise in the future, when the painter has developed her unique style for communicating with her art, and through her art, with her viewers. 
I believe there is nothing more important for human beings, at least this human being, than relationship, especially with other human beings. It is the crucible in which one is burned to ashes and reborn, over and over, to rise each time in Phoenix fashion. I think of relationships as sort of tests. Maybe that’s why I can’t make one last. But, hey, thirty years in one relationship, I consider that I’ve passed that test and no longer need to matriculate in that particular school. I’m at the point where I believe my relationships deserve to be easy, not fraught, and when they’re not, I’m not interested. That doesn’t mean I necessarily dance around the challenges. I don’t. I may take a while to get there, but that’s not new, it’s history. 
When someone asks me what I do here on this island in Greece, especially off-season, I might tell them that I write and paint and take walks and do my laundry and such. Or I might say, “I’m a writer and painter.” Those are two very different ways of answering the question and which way I choose depends on a bunch of variables, including how I am perceiving myself these days and, how I want others to perceive me these days. Which changes day to day. Now that I’m painting on stretched canvases that pose a logistical problem, how to get them cheaply back to Madison, I’m more inclined to sell them if someone wants to buy, rather than keeping them around for my own pleasure. For that reason, I would call myself a painter–painters sell their pieces. 
I like movement in my paintings. My colors surprise, even me. These days, no two are alike, a clear indication that every painting is pure accident. Does that make them less authentic or valuable? Because they’re not intentional, but rather like a hundred monkeys randomly typing the encyclopedia. One of my art mentors, Peter, with his instructions to do “variations,” is trying to get me to go deeper into a style, but I’m not ready for that kind of exploration. I’ll refine and discover “style” sooner or later, but right now, it’s all too new, exciting and frustrating for me to want to narrow my focus. I like being a beginner; there’s so much to discover. I avoid revealing how long I’ve been painting (since the year or so before I moved to Greece), because it’s getting to be four or five years, and I’m not doing it seriously. But I feel myself to be a painter, nonetheless. Just not a serious one. A silly painter. A painter who paints for fun, not to get better at it, whatever better would look like, except that I’d like what I’d inadvertently yet purposely created even more, probably. 
I currently am completely out of touch with whatever it is that compels me to pick up a particular color when I first sit in front of a blank canvas. I have no interior visual that prompts me. Instead, I just let my hand do what it wants, and choose the color to first apply. And I have no preconceived notion of how I would want the form, texture or color to be. I sort of rely on the accident of the state of the Sennelier Oil Stick I’ve chosen and see what happens. Instead of cleaning and preparing my oil stick, I sometimes start out with some very dry, dirty colors on the end of the stick and that’s what comes off on the paper or canvas, instead of clear creamy thick colors, which apply so very differently. I’m getting to know my medium in a deeper way, as I learn how it responds to stretched canvas instead of paper, and how I need to learn new techniques and tools for moving the paint around on the canvas, which responds so differently than the paper we use at Peter and Heidi’s. I wonder how long he’s used the oil sticks as his primary medium in painting How long it’s taken him to come up with his own techniques, like the towel rollover, for instance. It’s frustrating not to have more techniques to get the movement of paint where and how I want it. I approach the canvas with an intent, usually not well-formed, and only tentative, and inevitably, I haven’t the skill or tool with which to achieve my intended stroke, so it comes out differently and I have to deal with what I’ve done and make it harmonious and interesting and inviting and that’s how I learn what to do next. 
This afternoon, I faced one of my artistic fears and painted alone at home when I was bored. I took out a watercolor paintbox and paper and played with the colors and the textures and had fun. 
It was an activity that engaged me and satisfied my need to play and create. Then, even though the sun had already set, I bundled up and walked for an hour in the dusk to Ysterni. It was beautiful. I saw two types of orchids, passed a runner, a bicyclist and two people sitting at the chapel by the sea. I saw many houses lit up with open windows–occupied for the first time this year. It feels good to have people visiting my island, bringing more life. 

Oh, To Be A Superager

  1. There was an article in the New York Times today, “How to become a Superager” by Lisa Barrett. It’s about growing old and staying mentally fit. Which depends, to a certain extent on staying physically fit as well. The crux of the article had to do with willingness to work hard, hard enough for it to hurt, even. Apparently, the hard work keeps the brain from shrinking. Areas actually get thinner from disuse, much like our muscles. I can feel myself slipping into senility all too rapidly these days and it’s because I’m not now, nor have I ever been, willing to “feel the burn,” not physically, not mentally and I’m not sure about emotionally. In fact, I may have been a little too willing to burn emotionally. But maybe not. It’s complicated. I have a hard time understanding myself emotionally, even though I’ve been trained professionally and have been the professional’s client at many times over the course of my life. In any case, I don’t like to work hard enough to hurt.  The Times article talked about working hard at challenging activities, be they running or swimming or math problems or whatever. I tend to give up when faced with an obstacle to easy success. I’ll work hard in pursuit of a dream, but only as long as it goes according to plan. Certain setbacks are accounted for in the plan, but those that come along unanticipated or not readily surmountable generally stop me in my tracks and usually send me sliding down a hill. Or over a cliff. Depending. 

 Giving up is not a character trait of which I am especially proud. In fact, there are times I feel ashamed of my lack of stick-to-it-of-ness, and it may be that because I give up on my ventures, I end up in episodes of depressive illness. Conversely, it could be that in struggling to overcome a challenge, my stress levels and hormones increase, precipitating the precise chemical cocktail in my damaged brain that tips me into the depressive illness, undercutting my chances of successfully overcoming the obstacle. It’s most difficult to function with a creative mind when the brain is in depressive free-fall. The brain sort of takes over and wipes out other thoughts, and that’s where my words come from. My thoughts. My paintings don’t depend on thoughts, and are affected differently by depression, in the shapes, colors and textures I produce on the canvas. And paintings exist in the eye of the beholder, interpreted differently by each person who bothers to interpret. And my painting is easy, just like my writing. I don’t require inspiration to paint or write well enough. What I require to write well, though, are thoughts that are not produced from depression chemicals. 

 I fantasize about having a partner, an agent, an angel who will complement me, who is good at doing the things I can’t do, and who wants to support me and my work and will do what’s necessary to get my stuff out there, published and exhibited. Like many wives do for their husbands. A loving personal assistant who has me and my works’ best interests in mind. I would pay the right person, if need be, but I don’t want to hire a whole bunch of people to do the different jobs, just one, and Svetlana already cleans my house. This assistant can’t be too expensive, either, because I don’t have that kind of money, or if I thought I did, wouldn’t want to invest it so generously in myself. 

 I’ve come to see myself as profoundly lazy, and believe I’ve always been so. I wonder why I was so lazy as a youngster. Now that I’m older and have suffered many defeats, I can speculate that those defeats wore me out and sapped my motivation to put in the extra effort, but I’ve been lazy for as long as I can remember. For instance, I used to get a stitch in my side during physically exerting activities like running or playing tennis, so I sat out those activities. Enough things came easily to me, I never really learned to work hard and apply myself. I achieved high grades in school without much effort, and was talented in several arts. But without the willingness to break through barriers that arise, I’ve led and continue to lead a mediocre life, never reaching the heights of glory to which I aspire. And I do. I’d love to be famous, and a little extra spending money would be nice, too. 

 I want to be rescued. Knight in shining armor, compassionate angel, patron or benefactor, I’d take the help in any form it presents. I want to be discovered and supported. I will work hard at the things that I can do. I’ll show up and put in the hours and the pain on the activities where I can engage with all my being, but the stuff that overwhelms or bores me, both emotional states intolerable for me to navigate, that’s where I long for a fairy godmother to make it all happen. 

 There was once a time it did happen and my own personal angel came along. It was when I presented Spirituality and the 12 Steps retreats in Wisconsin. A very satisfied member of my second or third retreat weekend stepped up and volunteered to manage the administrative and marketing aspects of the retreat, tasks I’d been feeling burdened by. Her name was Jane and she was no ninny, either, but rather, a middle-school principal in the city of Madison. It was a fantasy fulfilled for me, but something went wrong, I don’t remember the circumstances anymore, but she quit her position after managing only one retreat. And so far, that’s the only fairy godmother intervention I’m aware of. 

 I don’t like being lazy, but what to do? As this person ages, it’s more difficult than ever to change my character traits, if ever it was possible before. I make jokes with my friends about my laziness and it amuses them, but I know the hard reality. Life is not much fun when not fully engaged and my laziness is another way of saying I disengage. I prefer to feel passionate about my activities, to live my life with zest and enthusiasm, wide-eyed with wonder. Wouldn’t you?

Embracing My Creative Process

I told my friend Gail that I was working on writing my blog post for today but was uninspired. She asked, “what’s the theme?” I told her, “that’s the problem.” I usually start writing without knowing what my theme will be and discover it along the way, during the writing itself. Not the most efficient way of writing a new piece, but it’s the way I work. She suggested that I write about creative blocks. That’s an idea–start with a theme and see what develops. So today’s blog is about creative blocks. 

At my painting class with Angelika last night, she suggested I bring in a large canvas to work with, and I also brought along the big chunky Sennelier oil sticks I use at Peter and Heidi’s studio painting circles. I sat at the easel in front of this big canvas and couldn’t stand seeing the empty white space, so I started covering the entire surface with a color, yellow ochre. Covering up all the white made me feel less nervous, but then I had to do something more and that made me feel a little queasy again, since I had nothing in particular I wanted to paint and Angelika has stopped giving me objects to paint in still life. So I took up another color with the big oil stick (it’s like a huge crayon and immediately upon picking one up, I regress in age to a seven year old). With the big color stick in hand, I scribbled on the canvas, drawing loop-de-loops and zig-zags and different lines. Then I switched to another color and again drew lines and loops and swoops but didn’t find a form to work on. After a while, the canvas was a chaotic jumble of lines and colors and I had to stop for a cigarette break.

Sennelier Oil Stick
When I returned, I called Angelika over for a consultation and she said “it’s missing some colors, pinks and purples” so I mixed up some pink from my tube oils and with a palette knife, started applying it here and there, at first not liking the color combinations and then beginning to really enjoy seeing the colors. I worked in pinks and then purples for a while and the painting started to come together and a sort of harmony formed. The more I enjoyed it, the better and more nuanced it became. 

In my work as a psychotherapist and life coach, I often considered the work I was doing to be editing lives, helping people  reshape themselves and their relationships.  I had always been stymied by the blank sheet of paper, the bare room, the unimagined project, but I was great at coming in to a work in progress and seeing how it could be improved, tweaked, restructured, added to or parts deleted. In the physical world, I have a “good eye” as my former husband used to say, discerning beauty and harmony and knowing what was off-kilter. So, I guess my way of creating in the plastic arts is to start by creating visual chaos and then edit and reform. Maybe that’s the same thing with the way I write creatively. 

Becoming aware of and embracing my creative process is showing itself to be an extreme act of self-love. Otherwise, I am rejecting a core aspect of my self, the playful, joyful, child within. Angelika helps a lot. She encourages me to embrace my singular approach. When I create art or write,  I feel like I poop out whatever is inside and then play around with my poop until it pleases me. That’s my creative process. Organic and messy. And if I’m not having fun, it doesn’t work. 

It’s all about accepting and forgiving myself for not being perfect. For not having the skills I would like to have, for not having enough patience, for being who I am. Embracing my process of living life my way. Because, after all, it’s the only way I’ll ever be able to live life anyway, so why not be kind to myself for it? And better yet, why not exalt and celebrate my quirky way? Be happy when I see it coming my way, just as I light up when I see someone I love. Wag my tail and greet it with whole body enthusiasm.

Roni came over, bringing her crocheting with her. She’s learning how to fashion flowers and baskets and other objects d’arte  from crocheted yarns, including yarns made from strips of plastic bags. I couldn’t understand what pleasure one could possibly get from crocheting small flowers on a tiny crochet hook with yarn composed of plastic bags. The pleasure in crocheting is all in the sensuality of the yarns. After a few minutes of working with the plastic yarn, Roni concurred and put it down, reaching instead for a yarn made from sheep’s wool. 

I’ve just now been blessed with a serendipitous incident; minutes ago I found the following quote on a friend’s Facebook post: 

“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us. Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise—you can make anything. So please calm down now and get back to work, okay? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.” 

― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

Thanks for sharing!

Energy Leaks

If not for Molly, I would sleep all day. She begins to bother me at around nine in the morning, licking my face and hitting me with her paws that have sharp toenails. I pet her for a while, then turn over, away from her, to sleep again. After a short while, she jumps up, licking and pawing me and again I pet her belly for a while before turning over. Sometimes, she lets me sleep for an hour, sometimes, only a few minutes. Today, she became relentless at 11:30, and wouldn’t let me alone even for a minute. So up I get. Out of bed and downstairs in my nightclothes, to heat up a cup of coffee brewed yesterday. I sit outside on the terrace, in the sunshine, warmer than inside, and drink my coffee and smoke a cigarette, yawning and checking my facebook comments and wordpress comments and email and then I want to go back into my bed, but I don’t because it’s the middle of the day. Cat comes in the house to eat and sleep on my sofa, and Molly begs for her biscuits, three each morning, two more than the box suggests. I can hear my neighbor talking to her son. It’s quiet outside, and mild, with somewhat overcast skies and a gentle breeze. A few cars pass by on the road. Birds are singing in the overhanging bougainvillea which has finally lost every last one of its leaves and blossoms. The dirty dishes have piled up in the sink and spilled over onto the counters. It’s time to take things in hand and tidy up my home. But I have no energy. What would happen if I stayed in bed all day? Nothing, except I would have trouble getting to sleep tonight.

I’ve had low energy since returning from my visit to NYC last week, still suffering from that dratted cold I caught while there. I’ve wondered whether it’s merely my age, depression, the lingering winter weather, or what? My friend reminded me that I have been ill, and perhaps I’m still recovering. That’s reassuring. I hate to think that I’m losing my stamina to age. Or depression. But I am so fatigued. I barely get out of bed and want to crawl back under the covers again. And those covers are ever so inviting, a thick mass of goose feathers that enclose and cuddle me. I love the weight of the feathers and love the warmth on these damp, slightly chilly days. Still, the weather is mild and I should be out and about, walking in the countryside and enjoying the spring flora. But when I walk, only ten minutes out, I want to stop and sit on a wall or lay down in the green meadows. I am tired. I don’t feel sick, just tired. 

When I was in Athens on the final leg of my return trip to Paros, I was deep in the worst of the cold’s symptoms, chills, wracking coughs, sneezing, and fatigue. My mind traveled to dark places and I thought seriously that this might be my last winter on Paros, that I preferred the comfort of my home in Wisconsin where I know the language and can navigate the healthcare system on my own. A few days later, I awoke in my bed in Ambelas and felt so much better, the thoughts of returning to Wisconsin seemed laughable. But the thoughts still linger. Who wants to be infirm and alone in a foreign country where the language remains unintelligible to me, notwithstanding twice-weekly Greek language lessons? 

Today was beautiful weather and yet I spent most of it in bed again. I’m concerned that I’ll be awake all night and unable to function tomorrow, and there are things I want to do in the morning. So far, sleeping during the day hasn’t impaired my ability to get to sleep at night, so my body must have needed the rest. But I don’t feel sick anymore, so I wonder about the consequences of too much daytime sleep. 

This isn’t much of a story or blog post. I wonder if I’ll bother to post it, but I’m late getting my weekly, and only my second weekly, post written. I continue to write most every day, but believe me, you don’t want to read what I’ve been writing. I do want to keep my commitment, to post a new blog each week, but what if I haven’t anything to say? 

Molly earns her emotional support animal certification if only for getting me out of bed every day. I am lucky to have a caring furry friend to watch over me. 

The Color of Weather

The Color of Weather

I walked to Orna’s house again today and we watched the sunset from her dining table and later, on her veranda. The sky gets streaked with colors, first with orange, and later, with rose. I love color. My latest paintings are simple experiments with color. Using only a paint spatula, I played with colors on two canvases last night at Angelika’s studio class and was very satisfied with what developed. 

Today’s post is a bonus for the week, a piece I wrote last month for BB&C (Bell, Book and Candle, the writing group Dolores hosts each month) when the prompt was Magic. I hope you enjoy!

Jan 26, 2017 Magic

Upon entering Jamaica on holiday long ago when I was younger, I wrote on the application for my tourist visa in the space provided for occupation: magician. I don’t know what possessed me. At the time, I worked in a mental health center as a clinical social worker, a psychotherapist, studying and practicing NLP and hypnotherapy, and had an inflated view of my abilities to conjure profound changes in the lives of my clients. I liked the idea that I could trick clients into becoming the persons they wanted to be. I enjoyed using indirect hypnotic tools to induce trance, telling rambling, often boring, stories, with the understanding that I was the expert and the client engaged me specifically to practice such deception. People paid good money to change and yet, with every fiber of their being, resisted such transformation. How to help? How to bypass the resistance and engage that small fraction of self that hoped to move into new, uncharted territory? It was all about magic and illusion. Reframing a tragic situation as one that provides growth and opportunity. Providing a different perspective that encourages movement. Magic. Smoke and mirrors. Hope. 

 My career as a psychotherapist and later, as a life coach, spanned more than 30 years and during that time, I was astounded by how the issues presented by my clients mirrored my own in many ways. Everything from infertility to alcoholism to hair loss. If they had it, so, it would seem, did I. I don’t understand how it happened. I used to think such coincidences were gifts from the Universe. I’d work out and learn about my life challenges through the work my clients did in and out of my office. Maybe it wasn’t so odd, after all. Maybe there are only a limited number of challenges human beings face, and the challenges my clients brought into my office were bound to match up with my very own some percentage of the time. Nonetheless, it always seemed a magical coincidence, and delighted me in each and every instance. 

 These days, the magic shows up in different ways. In my paintings, for instance, and in my stories. I work in these media with very little interference from my analytical thinking center and instead let myself fall into trance and let slip out whatever is inclined. One of my classmates in studio painting class looked at an abstract painting I was sitting with on the easel and asked “this comes just from your mind?” And the honest answer I gave was, no, it comes from my hands. My mind is not involved in the process. I have no image of which I am even remotely aware when I paint. I just pick up a color and apply it then pick up another and apply it, too. With no sense of what is meant to develop. And that’s how I write, when I am at my best. Even now, the magic is in not knowing where this piece is taking me and how I will get there. It’s a journey into the unknown and that’s what’s so thrilling for me. That’s what makes it fun and engaging. 

 I used to think that I needed to know what the story was going to be about, what the image was meant to look like, in order to create. Now I know that for me, the joy is in the not knowing, the emptiness of mind and trusting the right strokes to take me somewhere delightful. And if I am not delighted, I can always revise later. It amazes me every time I paint or write something that I like, and it’s happening more frequently as I learn to surrender to the joy of not knowing. I wonder if my love life will be affected by this same process. Surely I have surrendered to not knowing what’s in store for me in the romance department, but have I done so with joy? I don’t know the answer to that question. It changes every day. But magic is surely the only way romance will ensnare my heart, for the heart is on its own journey and I haven’t any control over it, and never have. 

 I sit in my living room surrounded by paintings I enjoy. I have painted all of them. Two years ago, I did not take delight in my paintings, but was learning only to tolerate and not reject them. Something has changed, and I think it’s the notion of control. I paint the way I live. I take the easy path, the path of least resistance, the path that is fun, pleasurable. I have chosen not to try and develop my skills in areas that are woefully deficient, like shape and perspective and copying reality. Instead, I’m creating my own reality, using skills that are inherent to my being, my pleasure and sensitivity to color. No one will ever praise the life-like quality of my paintings. Just as no one will praise the structure, discipline or craft of my writing. I am learning to surrender to my strengths and let my deficiencies shine through with affection. I am too old to learn the hard way. I trust in magic. 

A Fresh Start–Committing to Weekly Posts from Paros, Greece

A Fresh Start–Committing to Weekly Posts from Paros, Greece

Feb 21, 2017
Today has been a good day, maybe even a very good day. I went to sleep very late last night and thought I was entitled to stay in bed until 11 in the morning, but Molly woke me as usual at 9 am, wanting her morning belly rubs. After a few minutes of caressing her, I determined to arise and get dressed and have breakfast, but not exactly in that order, which would probably be even better for my state of mind, but anyway, it was easy because there was porridge already cooked and only needing reheating with milk and raisins and it was sunny and warm and easy to sit outside on the verandah and enjoy my breakfast, and while I was eating, I had the bright idea to call Vivian at the Nail Boutique and schedule a long-overdue pedicure and she said I could come in at noon but it was already 11:20 and I didn’t think I could make it in time so she said even until 12:20 would be okay so I finished my coffee and hung out my laundry and got dressed and combed my hair and even styled it with a bobbie pin which makes all the difference and put on some blush and brushed my teeth and off I went and showed up at 12:05 at the Nail Boutique in Naousa but she hadn’t even arrived yet. I walked over to Cafe Karino on the port and saw someone I know and sat at his table in the sun for 15 minutes until I returned to the Nail Boutique and Vivian had just arrived and was unloading her car. It’s always a pleasure, getting my nails or toes done at Vivian’s. People come in to say hello to her and she and I have pleasant conversation, and I feel happy with the color on my digits and nurtured, too, in a small but significant way. We were both at the tail ends of our colds, too and could commiserate with each other’s sad state for the last two weeks. Then I left and went back to Karino’s for lunch because I was hungry and it was already 2 in the afternoon and I saw a couple of people I know and we exchanged greetings and I met someone new through one of the people I already knew and I invited him to sit with me when I saw he was also stopping at the cafe. He ordered only a juice, but I had a sandwich and we made introductory small talk and the sky became heavy with thick dark-bellied clouds and I wondered if I would get my walk today–the forecast had been for clear skies all day and no rain, so as soon as I finished my sandwich, I left and came home and brought in the dry laundry and headed out for my walk with Molly and Cat. 

 We walked only across the street to Jane’s house and I went and sat on her porch to take photos to send her of the view from her porch so she could see if she was satisfied with the way her gardener had trimmed back the olive trees that obscured her view of the sea and Naxos. I thought one tree could stand to be trimmed back even further, but that’s for her to decide. After I sent the photos to her, I resumed my walk, but Cat chose not to accompany us this time. I had a pleasant 30 minute walk through the countryside to Orna’s house where I heard from the road her Greek music blasting from her house. She was happy to see me and continued cutting vegetables for the soup she was making while I rolled first a cigarette from her tobacco and then a joint from my stash. We got high together and somehow the subject of meeting men came up and then I showed her the profiles I’d written for myself quite a few years ago on Plenty of Fish and also OKCupid and she read them aloud and we laughed at the funny parts, like the part about Chico. 

 Somehow we got to talking also about writing a blog and she said she wanted to post her jewelry on a blog and write about her life and how she’s followed her dreams. She told me she wants to inspire Israeli women of her age to consider living for themselves instead of only for their families and children and grandchildren. And I thought, people tell me that my story and the stories I write about my life are inspirational and I thought, maybe I don’t need to be concerned about getting my writing published, but really just want to share my stories with a larger circle of people, and even posting that I have a blog on Facebook and asking my friends to share the blog would sufficiently broaden my readership. And that would be enough for me. And surely some people would read my blog and become followers and that would be great. Maybe even enough to satisfy my ambitions for readership. Orna really encouraged me — she’s a fan of my writing. I told her I wanted to commit to a weekly entry and asked her, if I set a date and time for weekly posting, would she inquire a few days before to encourage my progress? And she was happy to agree and I said I would do the same for her and offered to help her set up her blog but she wanted to try and figure it out by herself first. So okay. This is my next blog entry in Guide and Seek on WordPress and I will post a link on Facebook and tell my friends about it and commit to posting every Tuesday by 8 pm Greece time. There may be some weeks I’ll post a story I’ve written in the past and for sure, I’m going to use one of the weeks to post my OKCupid profile cause it’s a good piece of writing, especially for a dating site profile. 

 I also decided to talk with my friend at the retreat center down the road about my workshop, Spirituality and the 12 Steps, and see about getting it on their schedule. I got excited describing it to Orna and thought I’d really like to be teaching that stuff again, and maybe even coaching, too. So we’ll see. 

 If you’re reading this post, feel free to leave a comment. In fact, I would really appreciate it if any of my friends want to encourage me in this endeavor, please, please leave a comment and tell me to keep writing and posting. I need the moral support, and there’s nothing like a satisfied reader to inspire me to write more. 

 Much love to all of you, Hava.