Presence and Intuition

DLP #1 process 1

There’s never a dull moment in my life because I’m always engaging in a new project of some kind. For 2015, I’ve accepted two challenges. I’ve signed up for The Documented Life Project (a FREE weekly art journal prompt from The Art to the 5th Academy) and I’m taking part in Chantelle’s #FMSphotoaday daily photo challenge. My grand plan is to combine these challenges by printing my photos and including them in my art journal spread each week. We’ll see how long that lasts!

I knew I wanted a focus word for this year. With Life Book last year, I used the words “emerge” and “become”. Looking back on 2014, I am overwhelmed with how those words manifested in multiple ways throughout the year. This year, my focus is going to be on “presence”. There are many reasons that I felt this word was what 2015 was calling for, but that’s for a different blog post! Being present in each moment is what allows me to tune in to my intuition. It was that intuitive nudge that led me to share this process with you.

The Documented Life Project (DLP) offered the technique of using book pages and a prompt to be your own goalkeeper. I jumped in almost as soon as the prompt was posted and started going through my extensive stash of papers for collage. I didn’t know what I wanted to use, but through my experiences with Flora Bowley’s Bloom True ecourse and Tamara Laporte’s Life Book, I’ve learned that I can trust my intuition to guide my art-making process. It didn’t let me down today.

As I went through the papers that I had available, certain words began to call to me. I had dictionary pages, a dollar store Bible, pages from an old Methodist hymnal, a page from my mom’s daily devotional that she’d mailed to me (The side she wanted me to read is not the one I left face up, though), a scrap from one of my morning pages (a la Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way), and a bookmark that fell out of a Poets and Writers magazine. I’m sharing some close up images here so you can see some of the words in a bit more detail.

DLP #1 process 1-4

  • I used Genesis 1 as it reminds me that I was created in God’s image. Since he is The Creator, then I am also creative.
  • The page from my morning pages ended with the statement, “Do not be afraid!”
  • The page from the hymnal has the same lyrics as one of my favorite songs from the musical Godspell.

DLP #1 process 1.2

  • I love the significance (mathematically and philosophically) of the triangle.
  • I also found it interesting that on that same dictionary page was this spider image. I took a quiz recently to determine my spirit animal and the result was spider!
  • There’s also a quote from John A. Schindler that was sent with some other ephemera as part of a happy mail from a fellow artist last year.

DLP #1 process 1-3

  • Another piece of paper from that same happy mail included the words “amusement” and “forgive”, both very significant words for me.
  • A great source of interesting text for me is the directions that come with puzzle books and anything that has to be assembled. They often come in multiple languages.
  • The text from my mom’s devotional included a reminder to reach out to people – something that I don’t do enough of.

DLP #1 process 1-1

  • From the dictionary pages, I also selected the words “tribe” and “tree”. I have been blessed to find a place in several different tribes, both online and face-to-face. The tree image is a reminder to have roots, but still reach for the sky.
  • The bookmark included this wonderful quotation from Bob Hicok that inspires me to continue writing in addition to my other art-making.

I’m going to keep at this journal spread. I’ll post the finished pages in the next couple of days!

Late Again

Photo Credit: Peter Kratochvil

Photo Credit: Peter Kratochvil

If you don’t hurry, you’re going to be late again.

But I want to stop and smell the roses.

If you’d done it sooner, you wouldn’t have to rush.

But I enjoy the rush.

You don’t have time for that right now.

If not now, then when? We’re not promised tomorrow.

You need to think and plan ahead.

But I want to live fully in the beauty of now.

Hurry or you’ll miss it!

But I want to milk every last drop of sweetness from this moment

at the expense of being a little late for the next one


I Miss the Rain

Photo by Amy McGrath

Photo by Amy McGrath

When I feel a sense of normal

on board my crazy train,

When the shiny carousel is spinning

inside my manic brain,

I feel overwhelmed with too much joy

when I’m used to just the pain.

I know this feeling makes no sense;

it’s too hard to explain…

Though today’s awash in sun,

Sometimes I miss the rain.

Naive Explorer

fifty-shades-of-greyI love the prompt from OctPoWriMo today! Much like the playful approach to yesterday’s collage poem, today was about finding a poem in a page of someone else’s words. I am a dedicated book lover and believe I could have found a poem on a page of nearly any book. Given my background, I was even tempted to try it with a page from a math textbook, but decided I wanted something else… something a bit more… adult. I ended up using the first page of Chapter 2 of E.L. James’ book 50 Shades of Grey. Yes, the content of my poem lines up with the content of the book. What can I say other than it suited my mood tonight?


Blackout Shades of Grey


heart pounding scramble

fortunately cleansing what’s left

equilibrium affected normally

limits feel foolish, imaginary

on the surface, irritated,

gladly brief

cruising toward his cryptic agenda, I shudder

elaborate pink aftermath of breaking bounds rather intense

innocent idiot

I didn’t think

Confessions of the Woman Within

A fragment of my collection of clippingsA fragment of my collection of clippings
Leftovers after sortingLeftovers after

I was responsible for the prompt today over at OctPoWriMo. I had this idea a couple of weeks ago when I was working on a collage project for my Introduction to Design class. I’m sharing with you some photos of my process today as I began sifting through my own collection of magazine clippings to share some of the interesting combinations of words and phrases that appeared. I entered the process with no plan. I picked the words intuitively as I sorted through them.

Words that worked together, but not for this poemWords that worked together, but
not for this poem

Words that seemed to make sense together were placed together. After a short time (maybe 30 minutes or so), a theme began to emerge. The best part of this process for me is knowing that this is a poem that I would never have written any other way. The final image is my poem laid out on my sofa.


finished found word poem

May I have my attention, please?

Don’t judge! Try this…this works!

Avoid the mainstream. Go bold by stepping outside the norm.

Who needs perfectly cast, feast for the eyes,

death-defying, make-believe Mr. Nice Guy?

Holy cow!

I have a confession to make.

I dream of …

looking-for-fun-on-the-edge, hot or not,


touch and be touched, passion into power

pink boyfriends.

We can work with that!

Enough without Fire

Image by Amy McGrath

Image by Amy McGrath

At OctPoWriMo today, we were prompted to begin with the familiar words “once upon a time” and end with “and they lived ________”. After a long(ish) week dealing with a fibromyalgia flare-up, I wasn’t up to writing a full story, so I fell back on one of my favorite poetic forms, the blitz. Other than the beginning line, no attempt was made to have this poem come together in any cohesive way. It is very stream-of-consciousness (welcome to how my mind works!). This form even prescribes how to make the title and I must admit, I do like the title. Maybe there’s another poem hidden there…



Once upon a time

Once is never enough

Enough for me

Enough said

Said too much

Said no one ever

Ever and ever

Ever after

After the loving

After midnight

Midnight train to Georgia

Midnight express

Express lane

Express yourself

Yourself or someone like you

Yourself first

First in flight

First place

Place value

Place setting

Setting sail

Setting the stage

Stage fright

Stage design

Design elements

Design process

Process of elimination

Process mapping

Mapping skills

Mapping the brain

Brain fart

Brain science

Science and technology

Science fair

Fair grounds

Fair trade

Trade places

Trade off

Off to see the wizard

Off with her head

Head in the clouds

Head of the class

Class system

Class ring

Ring the bell

Ring of fire

Fire island

Fire and ice



Halfway House

*We are halfway through OctPoWriMo! That’s 15 poems (after today) in 15 days! I’m so thrilled to have managed to keep up with the challenge and keep up with my full-time school schedule. Today’s prompt invited us to work with the idea of “halfway” and see what that brought up for us. Here’s what happened:

Created in Life Book 2014 with Effy Wild

Created in Life Book 2014 with Effy Wild

I spent half of my life

in half-hearted pursuit

of someone else’s idea

of who I should be.

I found the half-life of my heart

was about five years.

Completely depleted after twenty years

I stumbled into art.

Art-making and writing poems became

the halfway house of my soul.