After setting myself up to write this blog I PAUSED. What is this about?
My five year journal that I write five lines in every night included the quote above about collections. A collection doesn’t have to be candlesticks or antique china. Let me think about this — what collection of things to write a blog about might I begin today?
My friend, Judy taught me that a collection, in order to be a collection. needs to have at least three. I found a smooth rock with a realistic looking cat painted on it in a gallery in Occoquan, Virginia and I bought it to put in my office. Judy said three so over the next few years I found one more. Adjusting the rules, I found a wooden cat to sit on top of my bookshelf. Note the photo.
So my first thought on a collection of three to start now was walks to do every week: one in my neighborhood, one in my town, one farther away and more of a trek. Once I decide on the collection of walks, check them out, experiment by walking them, then the research is done. I can just walk. Next it occurred to me to collect three things to read; a book on Audible where I can close my eyes, sit down in a chair while a reader with a wonderful voice reads to me! (Currently it’s The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert —so good!) I show up for it day after day to be read to, sometimes putting her in my ears while I walk in my neighborhood. Number two is a spiritual book, a memoir by an Irish poet. I keep this book by my bed and read it for twenty minutes before going to sleep (In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World by Pádraig Ó Tuama). Some of his images stay with me in my waking hours and I look forward to rejoining the story with him each evening. The third in the collection is poetry; I’m now rereading my friend Anne Mugler’s book Additional Possibilities for the Ark. Rereading because good poems ask to be reread, the second time is usually even better, and because she and I are embarking on a new thing, a literary festival, and she will be doing the first reading in November. I want to read her poems again so I can pick out some to ask her about.
Using the notion of a collection, even doing this in 3’s, could be a way to get going in a meaningful direction. One cannot choose wrong. You might make three vegetarian dishes that you want to add to your nutritional arsenal. Or spend your Saturdays in October going to three art museums in DC that you’ve never been to, or have not visited in years. Visiting places with such intention helps to make it be your place. Julia Cameron, in her seminal book The Artist’s Way, gives the advice that so many of us follow to get unstuck which is to choose to do artist’s dates. The point of it is to choose to do something every week, by yourself, that will fill up your creative tank. My suggestion is that you choose a collection and follow it. Bring your curious mind along with you. Take note of what you are experiencing, either literal notes in a small notebook or on your phone or mentally in your mind. You will learn something from this. Collections can be useful.