“You’ve got to get obsessed and stay obsessed,” says Iowa Bob in the novel, Hotel New Hampshire, by John Irving. Some lines stay with you. I read Irving’s novel forty years ago and still think of this phrase nearly every day. Obsessions – read: passionate interests – are the fuel of life.
It’s been a week of making art, writing, listening to podcasts, reading new books, and getting a second shot of the Pfizer vaccine. I look forward to engaging with mankind again. However, as I’m both an introvert and an HSP, my engagement will find me in the wading pool of society rather than its deep waters.
The ancient Greeks defined temenos as a sacred space, a sanctuary, governed by its own special rules. According to Anne Bogart at SITI, Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung “imagined temenos not only as an object or place, but also as an experience – a virtual meditative space that can inhabited by the mind – signifying the inner space deep within us where soul-making takes place. In its modern usage, temenos refers to areas that are distinct from the hubbub of commerce and family, isolated from everyday living spaces. This term perfectly describes 16th Street Studios, located in the Racine Arts and Business Center, Racine, Wisconsin.
The problem with Shakespeare is William Shakespeare. The name provides PTSD to those who first encountered his work in high school.
don’t get around much anymore. That’s not just a song title or a result of the pandemic, it’s a fact of my life. Long-distance travel doesn’t suit me. I’ve tried to stuff my 6’3 frame into an airline’s economy class seat and found Houdini couldn’t escape from a space that tight. When my family would travel to Yellowstone or other spots when I was young, I was left behind in the care of my aunt. They did not want to be on a car ride with me then, and you don’t want me as a passenger with you today. It’s a good thing I’ve learned to bloom where I was planted: Kenosha, Wisconsin, the fourth largest city in our state, nestled on the shore of the second largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan.
Writers are rock stars. I wouldn’t cross the street to see Mick Jagger, but I’ve driven 500 miles on two occasions to see my literary heroes, Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient) and Robertson Davies (The Deptford Trilogy), in Stratford, Ontario. In early adulthood, I wore a maroon T-shirt with the J.D. Salinger book title, The Catcher In The Rye, printed on it, replicating the paperback edition’s cover.
In parochial grade school, circa 1967, Sister Margaret in her flowing black habit and veil, escorted my classmates and I every weekday to St. Mary Catholic Church in Kenosha to hear from Scripture and to sing hymns of our faith.
Author and pigeon-fancier Julia Cameron nearly ruined my life. Almost 30 years ago, I delved into Cameron’s self-help book, The Artist’s Way, following her instructions of writing several pages every morning until I had filled enough notebooks to make my home a fire hazard
In the summer of ’94, I spent a week at a folk school in Door County, WI where on one morning I sat on a slab of limestone to contemplate a garden of wildflowers, while fellow students walked a nearby sawdust path through the woods to our classroom. One student, a woman named Rose, who was as old as the years accumulated thus far in that 20th century, paused in her parade to question me. “Are you a person?” she asked.
Where do you live? You might reside in the town where you were born or you may have moved around so much you’re not sure where you are anymore. You might have found a connection with a place in your travels that’s so strong it feels like home to you. If you’re a writer, artist, or a professional daydreamer, you probably live most of the time in your imagination.