My Niece Used the Word, "Awesome".

One: a list of favorite things.

Two: a Polaorid taken by mistake.

Three: my dearest in his robot t-shirt.

Four: my favorite Polaroid photo.

Five: bird stencils w/ letterpress & image transfer scraps.

Six: sketch of a Stellar's Jay--from our campsite.

Seven: sketches from our campsite--chipmunks & birds.
Eight: found feathers.

There's something about this collection of things that makes me feel like I'm about eight years old. Okay, maybe ten. My eight-year-old niece (who lives in rural New York) recently wrote me an email and said, "How's life in California? I bet it's awesome," and I melted when I read the word "Awesome". Remember that? Feeling like everything around you was just awesome? I was charmed by her letter. I'm easily charmed by her, in general, but this letter sent my heart swooning. I'm not particularly nostalgic for my childhood but sometimes I'm nostalgic for how creativity felt as a kid. Do you ever feel that way? Like it was just, well, awesome?

There's something about that childhood "awesomeness" that I'm currently examining in my own creative work. Aside from the disciplines and specializations and various movements, I'm suddenly interested in returning to that feeling of "awesomeness" that was somewhat uncategorized in childhood artmaking. Sure, maybe it was actually drawing or photography or dance or acting or poetry or sewing. But mostly, it was just doing. It was just playing. It was just chasing the dogs around the yard to take their photos. It was just arranging things around my purple shag carpet until I was ready to sketch or write or perform. It was just endless hours spent in the basement listening to Madonna and Michael Jackson and Cindy Lauper until we had the dance routine just right.

Don't get me wrong--I'm all for education and research and critical theory. But I'm also all for intuition and inspiration and interdisciplinary messy work. And perhaps I'm still in my post-grad school phase of recovering impulses, instincts, and anything that innately seems creatively awesome! I don't have much more to say about it right now. I'll let you know as it evolves. For now, I'm just going to crank up the Madonna, take some Polaroid photos of my pretty cat, and make some more bird sketches with colored pencils. Wherever you are in the world today, happy Monday to you! (And PS-- I think you're awesome.)


  1. loving this. one of my favorite quotes is "unlearn. unlearn. unlearn." although i can't remember who said it, i love the idea of shedding some of our grow-up-ness and remembering our 8 (or 10) year old selves that were creative and wild and free.

  2. Ah, yes, 'awesome'... once that words slips into consciousness it is hard to stop declaring everything you see around you as being awesome.

    see you, g

    (Love that polaroid taken by mistake.)

  3. Anonymous9/30/2008

    Heehee, this post is Awesome!

    I like to think that having children has allowed me to be a kid again in so many ways. It's fun to get all crazy and silly with them. Their excitment for just about anything is contagious!

  4. your lines are awesome too...

    (i like that robot t-shirt)

  5. shauna9/30/2008

    purple shag! dance routines! oh, sweet freedom!

    love you

  6. Sweet post! I love the photo of your list (I heart squirrels too) and love the "mistake" polaroid.

  7. she sounds awesome!!! lovely post :)

  8. kelly rae: thanks for visiting, dear friend. i'm glad you liked this post. yes, "unlearn" for certain. you are an inspiration for creating art that feels like play.

    curious girl lisa: thanks for visiting!

    gracia: it's true, awesomeness is completely addictive. i'm quite sure my niece would agree! glad you like the "mistake" photo.

    andie: i can imagine your kids continually inspire you. and yes, allow you to celebrate playfulness too.

    esti: aw, you're awesome! and i do love my sweetie's robot t-shirt, so cute.

    shauna: darling, you know it! dance routines forEVER.

    jamie: that list was super fun to create-- i highly recommend making one of your own. thanks for your kind words on the polaroid and cheers to fuzzy wild squirrels.

    tiny red: she's quite a delight. i'm glad you enjoyed the post.

    cheers, friends!

  9. Loving all the visual delights...
    I'm new here... Feel free to visit me as well & Hope to hear from you too...

  10. fantastic collection
    Stash Jr turns eight today
    which means that technically so do I, eight years since my soul split open and revealed a new light ;-)
    feeling kinda philosophical
    way way way behind on blogging and visiting
    just hoping not to break my arm today at the roller-skating b-day party
    have a great one


Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.