I'm in the Catskills now--it's fully spring, heavy with greens and peeps and early wildflowers. The waters are rushing with snowmelt and I feel a wonderful vibrancy everywhere--the air filled with excitement and expectation, dreams of canoes and campfires, picnics and swimming holes.
These days when I go to the studio I usually paint, but I also make mixed media pieces now and then--I love pulling together disparate objects and creating something from them. Something strange is going on in my life--it's like I'm back where I was before I had children. In those days I wrote poetry and painted. But slowly I gave that up--I didn't haven't what I think you need to be an artist and that is intent. I can't think of a better word for it.
So, I had kids, went to law school, worked for years in the trenches in the intersecting worlds of child abuse, homelessness, addiction, poverty and mental illness. I've quit that world, except for some pro bono work; my kids are more or less grown, and now I have what I didn't have when I was young, and that is creative intent. So I'm writing and painting again; it feels good, it feels right, and like something I can do for the rest of my life.
Recently Orion Magazine, which I love, hosted a poetry exchange, and my friend Kate and I participated. We did three exchanges and enjoyed it so much, we're continuing on our own. You can see two of each of our poems here on the Orion Tumblr Page. (Scroll down to Kate Reddy and Jennifer Jefferson.)
I'm telling you this because…this blog, and you who read and comment regularly, have become an important part of my life. We edit our lives as presented on our blogs, and I suppose I want to try doing a little less editing. Also, I'm trying to become more confident, less shy. In real life, I never tell people that I write or paint (or blog). In real life, I have all kinds of problems. I'm trying to integrate the disparate pieces of me, and oddly enough, this seems like a good place to do it. (I say oddly because it's so public. But it feels so private.)
Anyway, I hope this doesn't freak you out. I promise there will still be an endless stream of cat and flower pictures. Just maybe a little bit other now and then.
Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere - on water and land.
-Walt Whitman, from Leaves of Grass