…my Summer 2012 Art Project No. 2: Prayer Flag Project.
The first inspiration is a little afternoon I’m going to set aside for myself soon called Mudpies 2011: A Redux. I was drawn to the work of the children of Laura Munson whose creations followed the recipes in the book, Mud Pies and Other Recipes: A Cookbook for Dolls. In the late 1960s in northeastern Ontario, I liked nothing better than to sit in a nearby ditch, shape and stack mudpies, and coax the sun to dry them. If you could imagine a visual of the quote, “Happy as a pig in mud”, you’d see me as I was then, blissfully productive.
Last week at the first evening of a 4-week Intuitive Writing class, our uber-fun instructor Vedika asked us to write something following these words, “Before there was school”. I wrote about jumping in snow drifts in the winter and ringing in mud pie making season in the summer. I had a wonderful time writing about those glorious moments of a long-ago childhood. When I read Laura Munson’s blog post about the recent mud pies her kids created, I was inspired to add something that represented that happiness in my prayer flag. It was then I realized the theme for my prayer flag, tentatively titled, “My happiness is my prayer”. What makes it onto the prayer flag will be akin to, “Happiness is making mud pies.” Just writing it makes me smile broadly.
That brings me to my second inspiration which will also be added to the flag. It is a quote from Rumi, “Out beyond ideas of right doing and wrong doing, there is a field: I’ll meet you there.” This one is very apropos as I’m in the midst of my Nth iteration of my first ever pitch to an agent about my inaugural novel at an upcoming writer’s conference. Rumi is encouraging us to let go of assumptions and “shoulds” and be free to express ourselves outside of that space. Over the weekend, the quote hit home.
A friend was visiting and the subject of my novel came up. Not knowing that I’d written one, she asked me to tell her about it. Nervous but somewhat excited to try out my new pitch, I offered up a synopsis. Her first reaction was to tell me to read a book that sounded awfully similar (to her) to what I was writing. It was the second time in 3 weeks that someone advised me to read that same book. Initially, I went to that all-too-familiar place of staying small and believing others–that my book has no place on people’s bedside tables, as a companion to several lattes, or recommended to a friend in a flurry of text messages. Not wanting to be accused of plagiarism and to check out the competition, I ordered a used copy on Amazon for $3.96.
The next day, the tigress in me roared. I remembered to believe in my own power to tell a good story. I wrote the book; if it’s like someone else’s, so be it. I know it has elements of other stories, but I didn’t know that when I concieved it. The story pored out of my head onto the screen as-is, without any other stories influencing it. I wrote about what I find interesting and absorbing and fascinating. A story I’d want to read and I know my friends would, too. That’s what matters. That’s what makes me happy. Going into Rumi’s field calls forth the possibility of what we can create there. That’s where I want to hang out and I’d like my prayer flag to reflect an homage to it.