Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Artist's Life: Wearing a Bold Headdress

One of the things I love to do most is to lie on the grass and look up at the sky. Everything immediately slows down. Concerns, thoughts, feelings--it all relaxes in the face of that vast openness. During the day, I can count on the processional of clouds and at night the constellations of stars to align me with the beauty and pulse of nature.

It's too cold for prolonged skygazing these days as we head toward the winter solstice so brief sky glimpses must suffice for now. Very early this morning, while the world was still cloaked in darkness, I went out to take a look out at the dome of heaven. A moment after I stepped out onto the deck, a brilliant shooting star curved across the dark sky.

What a marvelous start to the new day. A new day. Each day seems quite a blessing to me. I enjoyed some coffee, did some meditation and then turned my attention to my To Do List.

I have a few big items on it. I'm planning to run a crowdfunding campaign through IndieGoGo and have to make a short video to introduce that. Have to develop the concept, write the script, plan the shots.

I'm searching for a keyboard musician who has a recording studio in order to record an instrumental soundtrack for 8 songs in A New Wrinkle.

I'm sending out letters and copies of our preview CD for A New Wrinkle to some folks in media and the field of aging as part of the effort to introduce people to the project, stimulate interest and get some of the songs from the revue played on the radio.

I'm preparing for some photo shoots in January with photographer Helga Motley. The resulting images will be used in A New Wrinkle's promotional materials. I am having fun imagining the costumes, poses and people needed to make this a reality.

In the midst of cooking this creative soup, I've been thinking of creating a headdress that says BOLD with the OLD a different color from the B.

What would you do wearing that, walk around on the street? my business consultant Gary Einhorn asks. I can't tell what he is thinking. Yes, of course I would I tell him.

But I know that if I am wearing a BOLD headdress, the experience will start to assume a life of its own. It will involve more than walking around on the street, though that is certainly interesting to consider in itself. By the time I finish imagining and creating the BOLD headdress, I will know a lot more about the persona(s) who want to be seen and heard while I wear the headdress. I'll know more about how to present the BOLD elder story.

I have to admit that I'm not 100% gung ho about this idea of the BOLD headdress, the way a successful movie star is when she has just signed a fabulous contract for what looks like a sure-fire movie. Because first of all I am not a successful movie star. I am a 70 year old non-celebrity writer/Buddhist/creative aging artist and activist. Sure I have the gift of an imagination that likes to run wild, and certainly I have some chutzpah and curiosity, but still.

Not only that but doing the BOLD thing out among the populace is not like signing a contract for a sure-fire movie. There's no contract. Instead it means stepping into unexplored and sometimes highly charged territory--the landscape of growing old, a place that many people fear, deny or find quite uncomfortable. It's not at all certain this will be a box office hit or what it will be.

Yes, sometimes I think what are you dreaming that up for? Yet I do notice how it perks me up to imagine stepping into the adventure of wearing a BOLD headdress.

What would it look like? Would it have jewels, sequins, feathers, veils, brocade, dried grass, seaweed or what?

I did a little research into headdresses and found some that I really liked, including these exquisite ceremonial headdresses from different cultures.

I love the pom poms on this one and the mirror up top center.

Wearing a headdress is like walking through some kind of doorway.

When you put on a headdress you are no longer operating in the confines of the mundane world. You have entered the surprising and more dreamlike world of theater, ritual and magic.

That is certainly one of the things that draws me to daydream about creating the BOLD headdress.

It's afternoon and I am making some sketches of possible headdresses just for fun. I am imagining what materials I might use to fashion one. That is as far as I have progressed. I have no idea whether I will get to this or when. The other items on my To Do List are making noises, talking to me about why I need to finish them first.

I am going to sign off for now. I'm cooking some wild mushroom soup and making some Italian swiss chard patties (there is probably a wonderful Italian name for this recipe, which I learned long ago from the mother-in-law of my first marriage). A few friends are coming over for some poetry and a potluck sharing of food....I'm looking forward to hearing and uttering some poetry tonight. And I know the food will be wonderful too.

Solstice blessings to you.

"Fortune befriends the bold." -Emily Dickinson

"Freedom lies in being bold." -Robert Frost

“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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