I’m eating oatmeal while child #2, the chef, is saying, “You know what would be delicious? Pancakes. You know what I want? Pancakes. You know what I wish someone would make me? Pancakes.” Father says, “There’s a package of pancake mix on the top shelf.”
“Pancakes pancakes pancakes.” says child. “Pancakes with a capital P. I want twenty tiny little pancakes that look like cereal but aren’t.” The rain is pouring down and he has a long nasty wait for the bus ahead of him to get into the city. It makes me sad, thinking of how many years I spent waiting at the same bus stop, rain pouring down the back of my legs, into my shoes. I’m more sorry for myself than the annoyance running around the kitchen.
“If only there were someone in this house who could cook.” I say. Child cooks at top restaurant in Manhattan. The other day when he was less annoying, he cooked us breakfast. Poached eggs that were lightly toasted in Panko and Afghan lamb spices, then fried, and served on top of sauteed brussel sprouts. “Poke the eggs so they go right on the sprouts,” he said.
How do you fry poached eggs? It’s like frying air. But they were delicious.
Okay, he started making the pancakes. He puts the mix into a small plastic bag, then cuts off the corner. “Piping bag!” he says. So fancy.
Husband says that he has to drink coffee or he’ll have organ failure. He read it in an article and it’s science.
“Big coffee’s feedin’ you a lie,” says child.
Child finishes his pancakes. They are the size of a quarter each.
So, a week ago, I woke up very confident about the state of this country. It was a beautiful Tuesday. September 11 was another beautiful Tuesday. The rain is drilling into the skylights.
Right now it seems very hard to want to leave this cozy little house with these crazy little people.
Yesterday when I was at my book group, my friend Monica asked me, “Are you still looking at pattern books?”
That’s because I am an eternal drawer and doodler and writer (and she was catching me doodling under the table), and last year, I was doing a lot of my doodling modeled on pictures from pattern books. I have incredibly restless, fidgety hands, and I have a hard time listening to a conversation if I am not taking notes, doodling, drawing, fiddling with yarn, or twisting something with my fingers. Thus has it always been. As you can see from the name of my blog, 135 journals, I have been keeping journals for some time. I have far more than 135 journals. (And yes, I do look back at them, and I still have all of them, and I am very happy I started the habit when I was 14 and I do write pretty much every day).
A few years ago, I became interested—or rather, re-interested—in art. Visual art has always been an interest of mine. It was my first love, before words came and stole me away. In recent years, especially since I have become sick, art has seemed to open different pathways than words. I feel as if there is a great roaring in my head of things I need to communicate. I have things I need to express, and things I need to be understood. These are two different things. Art has been utterly compelling as a force to help me to both.
On my path to rediscovering my own language in art, I started devouring art books, especially books on different kinds of patterns. There was something about patterns that particularly compelled me.
Studying these art books helped me. Why not be inspired by the gifts and wisdom of others? It gave me an expanded framework for thinking both about patterns and about symbols. This allowed me both to find and to create symbols that meant something to me. It showed me how repeating patterns can give emphasis and importance to certain areas of a piece. That designs aren’t just random. They serve a purpose. There’s a reason why people love patterns and have always found them comforting and important.
More importantly, I know why I love creating patterns. But now, I don’t look at pattern books for inspiration when I draw. I just breathe, put pen to paper, and let go. I don’t know what will come out, or, if it doesn’t, if I can fix it. But that’s okay. there’s a lot of paper in the world. And the patterns will still keep emerging, from the pattern book that is unfurling inside of me.
Not for nothing, but most of the time, other blogs give you one, or, tops, 12 days of Christmas cheer. But here at the festive halls of 135 Journals, the elves have handcrafted the full baker’s dozen for your Yuletide amusement. Here’s the first installment of the Mistletoe Madness. Keep watching for the next 12 installments. Happy Holidays, y’all!