On Turning Ten

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I’m coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light—
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.

Billy Collins, 1999

from his collection Sailing Around the Room

I'm going to steal like an artist.

I’ve finally created a blog. Or… a digital notebook. Or… an artistic memory box.  I came to this decision after a bit of back and forth. “Do I want to share my own thoughts or create a collection of digital fodder for thought?” 

“Well,” I thought to myself, “I journal quite a bit in my black Moleskine notebook as it is, and that’s just for me. I don’t need to share all THAT with the interwebs. I stopped the emotional livejournal posts years ago… and moved on to quoting Joni Mitchell lyrics in moody Facebook statuses (those were dark times), so I won’t be sharing my private life here so much as I’ll be sharing my personal interests—the words, images, and videos I enjoy—as a vehicle to explore and create a virtual scrapbook for my artistic musings.

Recently, I read the book “Steal Like and Artist.” It’s an exploration of how we can use the work of people we admire to inspire ourselves and enhance our own work. 

The author/illustrator, Austin Kleon*, describes it as his ”manifesto for creativity in the digital age.” Reading this short and sweet book inspired me to create this digital “swipe file” and share my interests with fellow friends and artists. 

So here goes nothing!! 

*If you get a chance, take a look at Austin Kleon’s website and find out more about the work he is creating!