The Dutiful Daughter and the Ardent Lover

I’m really grateful for your comments on my last post.  I’m humbled and amazed that anyone reads my blog.  You inspire me to want to keep writing, and to learn to write better.  Thank you.

June 10, 2014
I pedaled to the bench in the rain today, but by the time I sat down, the rain had stopped.  After a rain, my sense of smell is intensified.  I enjoyed the smell of green things, and even the exhaust of cars driving by.  Sunglasses passed silently. I saw R. on his way to work.

My mind turned inward to contemplate two characters that have announced themselves to me recently: the Dutiful Daughter and the Ardent Lover. The Dutiful Daughter has a long to-do list. She’s organized, responsible, efficient, time-focused, and goal-oriented. Her favorite words are should, plan, try harder.  The Ardent Lover, on the other hand, is creative, passionate, and expansive. She makes time for the happy accidents and incidentals that come her way. Intuitive and nonlinear, she finds her identity and value from an internal place, rather than external achievement. But her ability to forget time makes her spacey, and days can go by without her accomplishing anything of a concrete value.  At first, I wanted to get rid of the Dutiful Daughter, and just keep the Ardent Lover. However, I’ve realized I need the Dutiful Daughter to get anything done.  I’ve employed her as a handmaiden to the Ardent Lover. When the Dutiful Daughter is dominant, my tendency is towards resentment, hopelessness and self-pity. I’m working so hard, where’s my reward? She is never satisfied with what is, the desired end is always somewhere over the rainbow.  With the Ardent Lover back in the helm, I can live from a true sense of abundance that just has to be shared…

I think every artist, and almost every human being, has to manage a menagerie of such characters.   Integration rather than excommunication as a way forward.  How to get all these parts to sit down at the same bench and talk to each other?

June 9, 2014

A woman pulled up in an SUV and said my project was “so Bellingham” and hoped I didn’t mind that she had tipped off the editor of Humans in Bellingham about my project.

Cool wind blowing from the side. A dry leaf skipped up to the knit line and paused for a while, then continued on its way.

I’ve never really witnessed the blossoming and fading of a rhododendron until this year. First, an explosion of pinkness. Then they got the tarnished, yellowed look of Super8 film. And now, all the blossoms have fallen on the ground leaving only dry brown stamen sticking out like burnt noodles against the dark foliage.

“There she is Miss America! She’s our ideal!” It could only be one person—C. singing at the top of her lungs, her arms outstretched like Maria in The Sound of Music. D. joined in with her, walking up the middle of the street in time to the music. C. was wearing her electric pink shorts are usual. I asked them how their retreat went at Guadalupe Monastery, and D. said that C’s prayers are super-charged now. She’s become so holy, she glows in the dark. “Honey, let’s go to bed now while it’s still light out so I don’t have to notice you glowing beside me.” C. chuckles with embarrassment. She asked how I was doing. I told them I was down-in-the-mouth earlier today, wondering, now what? Yesterday, I had surrendered my dream of being a full-time artist. I have been working so hard to put my art out in the world, and watching my balance falling, getting more and more bitter and anxious by the minute. I wasn’t sure anymore if I was on the right path, or if I was trying to force it. Maybe I’ve been killing my dream by holding onto it too tightly. Then this afternoon, I got a call that two of my framed prints had sold in the Healing Through Art Show at the hospital. It was just the shot in the arm that I needed. I made pesto pizza and had a glass of wine toasting “risk, collaboration, art, love and God!” C. and D. got an earful, but they seemed happy for me.

A Latino family drove up to the stop sign. The man took his hands off the steering wheel and clapped loudly exclaiming, “I’m so glad you’re back!” His family’s faces looked a little stunned at his sudden outburst.

I rode home to a pink sunrise, the last rays of light shining on the black cargo ship. A wobbly, not-quite-full moon in the sky.

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2 thoughts on “The Dutiful Daughter and the Ardent Lover

  1. Cheryl's Excellent Adventure says:

    I have a 10-15 page paper to write for my Financial Management class and it is due Monday morning at 6 am. I did some research online yesterday, selecting several pdf’s to print and read. Each night at bedtime I tell myself that I will start writing tomorrow. Two pages a day minimum for the next five days.

    How does this relate to Dutiful Daughter and Ardent Lover? The Dutiful Daughter does the research. The Ardent Lover is writing in my head. When I sit down this afternoon they will wed.

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