why untitled, unwritten?

I once labeled everything before it was written, until I found it kept too many words away. Now I am leaving the unwritten untitled, until it grows into a name.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


I like significant dates.

They feel auspicious to me.

I realize they're really arbitrary.  Each day starts with the sun over the horizon and ends as the earth turns round and we see the moon.  That's it.  I realize that I don't need to wait for dates to begin changing things, and I haven't, not quite.

But I like marking my changes with significant dates, like the first of January.  I like preparing, planning, starting fresh, starting new.  And, since I'm a teacher, my work resets in January, to an extent--a fresh six week grading period, a clean slate for my kiddos' grades and record, and a chance to re-establish all of our expectations (and look up the locker combinations for the fifty percent of my kiddos who have probably forgotten them).  So this is a natural time for me to reset, dig in, and put a little extra kick in the changes I've been making in my life.

Like these:

One of my most favorite parts of the new year is picking out a new planner.  In years past, I've wandered Barnes and Noble looking for just the right binding, pages, and size, but this year, I already found and ordered just what I need: a Passion Planner.  It's backordered until February, though, so I took advantage of the maker's very generous offer to try the PDF version free and printed out the first month of pages (read more here), then sewed them together (twice before I got it right).  I have absolutely no incentive to promote these planners, but if you're looking for something that unites creativity with planning?  This is what you need.

I'm starting this year with a focus on my health, both physical and mental: building up my fledgling exercise routine (three days a week is a major step up from zero), starting a controlled diet next week (trying to find what triggers my regular stomachaches), and restarting The Artist's Way.

What'll come after that, I don't know, but by the time I see December 31, 2015?  I plan to be very much different and very much the same.  

Monday, December 29, 2014

Less (and more)

I'm an accumulator by nature.

I come from a family of collectors and accumulators: get it now because it might not be here.  You like this?  You should have it.  It's on sale?  You might never find it at this price again.

I'm an accumulator by nature.

I'm a little hungry and so I eat a bowl of cereal.  I don't wait to feel full and eat another.  I'm restless, so I browse the pantry.  I don't want to feel hungry later so I have three snacks.  I'm so hungry that I eat half the bag of chips.  That pasta tastes so good, I'll have another bowl.

And even though this seems to be my nature--to collect, accumulate, live in this mindset of scarcity--I don't like living with the extra.  Because when you're an accumulator, you'll soon have two people and a tiny dog living in a four-bedroom house with three closets full of your stuff, not all of it important, not all of it sentimental, not all of it useful.  And you'll go from being at a perfectly healthy weight and size to a size that might look fine, but with your family history of high blood pressure and heart disease and high cholesterol is, well, less than ideal--and that backache every morning?  It's not your pillow or mattress.

This is a year for less.

I'm finally settling into a word.

Less stuff.  Less accumulation.  

It's also a year for more.

More space.  More clarity.  More movement.  More strength.  More freedom.

Monday, December 8, 2014

one word

Last year, choosing a word was easy: brave.  It stuck with me year round as I went forth into many adventures: student teaching, graduating, Europe, job hunting, starting one job in August and, finally, my first teaching position in September.

Words and phrases have stuck with me in this year of growth and exploration, especially since I began art journaling in the summer.

"I will try to allow your reaction to me."
Mandy Steward, print available here
"And suddenly you just know it's time to start something new & trust the magic of beginnings." 
Meister Eckhart, via the Bldg25 blog 
"You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
 A.A. Milne
"What sets your heart free?"
from art by Kelly Rae Roberts, available here 
"Your story matters."
unknown, on a pretty little card here
"Be brave & be kind."
Ghandi (I think)
"You do not have to be silent."
discovered on a bracelet by Jodi Bond (Whispered Truths)
"She believed she could, so she did."
unknown, discovered on gorgeous art by Valentina Harper
"It's time to begin, isn't it?I get a little bit bigger but then I'll admitI'm just the same as I wasNow don't you understandThat I'm never changing who I am."
Imagine Dragons

"I'm looking for a place to start/and everything feels so different now..."
Of Monsters and Men
"She was bold within her limits."
Ann Brashares in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 

and now I feel like a ridiculous hipster wanna-be and that's just fine.  I like dreamy, free-spirit quotes.   They suit me.  

Because here's the thing: these words and lyrics stick with me.  They settle into my mind and sit with me when I'm figuring things out and trying to understand myself and my life.  

Yet with all these words, nothing's settling in for next year.  This has been the year of brave.  

But I don't know what's ahead.  

I don't know what intentions I want to set.

I don't know what word I'll need to carry with me in the next year.

(and then it hit me as I went wandering through my Instagram feed to find a picture for this post: awaken)

Sunday, November 23, 2014


I finished this gorgeous book a few weeks ago.

I've had a complete inability to finish a book since.  I've started at least five.

My brain is going in a few too many directions right now, I think. 

But I want to read something new.

Does this happen to anyone else?

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Story (that isn't)

I began writing.

I made it to 5000 words.

And then grades were due and I was tired and I had a long, tiring Monday.

And then a whole week went by.

And I realized something: NaNoWriMo is awesome. The deadline is great...for most people.

But I only have so much space in my head and so much of my energy was poured into too many spaces.  So instead, I got out my art journal again--I hadn't touched it for most of October, through my first month of teaching--and I've done a handful of pages.

So even though my NaNoWriMo story fell apart (or rather, never fell together), I've been creating this month.  I've been making.  And that, my friends, is kind of the point of NaNo, right?  To create?

I have eleven pages left in my beautiful journal (made by Melissa Oesch of ReImagined by Luna).

And while I won't be writing a novel this month, I'll be filling this gorgeous book with my heart.

That's enough for me.