bohemian

The worn cover of Carole Kings 1971 Grammy Award album “Tapestry”

bohemian

So, a while back a friend said she could finally afford to buy that bohemian coat she wanted.  The use of the word “bohemian” spurred memories. I’ve considered myself a bohemian ever since my aunt gave me a turquoise & silver ring when I was seven.  My aunt lived the bohemian lifestyle and getting that ring from her, in my simple-kid mind, meant I was in the club. My contributions to the movement were growing out my long straight black hair, wearing a bandana when I mowed the lawn and, as often as possible, sit on our couch in an incorrect manner.  

Circle of pipe vibe

Before the pale blues and mauves of the ’80s made their appearance into my childhood, I was surrounded by beatnik leftovers from my parent’s first home; my mother’s early ’60s style contrasted with her sister’s  ’70s experience melting together into a sweet avocado green.  Of course, I had no idea what either of those lifestyles was about! Our living room was crowned by a 3-foot round metal, astrological chart wheel hanging above a black and white leopard print flop couch, adjacent to a row of mahogany stained bookshelves and dad’s tobacco pipe cady. In my room, Barbie was living clean in her shoebox and lego “Dream House”.  Literature in the home included encyclopedias, LIFE Book collections, sci-fi books and poetry by Kahlil Gibran.  Music was predominately 60’s jazz albums, Bill Cosby, Helen Reddy, and Carole King.

But it wasn’t my stuff, it was the life and home that my parents built for us.  It was warm and happy.  As an adult, how do I recreate a modern art of living? Somewhere along the way, I lost it.  I need to get out of survival mode and find my faux-bohemian again.

Get Small
For $110 you can own this view, hang it on any wall, “Mount Corcoran”, by Albert Bierstadt

Turn those dreams of the high retired life down a couple notches.  First, be honest with yourself.  Instead of a dream retirement cabin on the lake, you can be just as happy in a studio apartment that’s 30-minutes away from a lake.   Just visit the lake.  You don’t need the whole lake. This isn’t the 50’s.  No lake for you.

The west coast of Washington and Oregon offer a high quality of life, clean air, water including water in the shape of lakes that we can all visit.  In WA we have all four seasons, mild winters, besides the scratchy track of volcanoes down the middle of the Cascades, we’re doing alright…except for the cost of living.  According to the site costofliving.net the cost of living in Washington is higher than the national average.  They report,

“Our cost of living indices are based on a US average of 100. An amount below 100 means Washington is cheaper than the US average. A cost of living index above 100 means Washington, Washington is more expensive.  Washington’s cost of living is 118.7.  Housing is the biggest factor in the cost of living difference.  The median home price in Washington is $381,300.”

D.I.Y. Life

How do you add quality to your life on a tight budget?  Of course, defining “quality” is person-specific.  In this economy, in this city, I am trying to live a good life but I feel like most efforts bring me down, and I am starting to take it personally. This American Life has it out for me.  I pissed it off somewhere along the line and it’s not giving me anything, no living income, no happily ever after, no satisfaction except in a sunrise, no joy but in my neighbors blooming trees, no love but when that orange cat comes by and rubs its cheek against my doorway, no peace but the ocean that tells me it’s always there—it goes out, but it will come back, it always comes back.  No glory but a rainbow around the moon and my childhood friend the Big Dipper and Orion chasing each other in the sky. The world is a big and resourceful place if you are a tiny red ant working with a million other clones.  It’s all about perspective.

photo credit http://pyreaus.com/inspired_manifestation/2015/pyreaus_inspired_manifestation_It%27s_an_Ant%27s_World_Order_Discipline_Unique_Perspective.htm

 

 

Poetry Day Camp

Saturday, I went to a poetry day camp taught by a well known poet here in Bellingham. Went in support of a friend and I’m surprised at the poems that came out of the day, well, not TOO surprised.Poetry is a personal art, an intimate process.  To write poetry in a group setting creates conflicts in my mind regarding acceptance, insecurities in presenting work not polished, and sharing my life with strangers.  Believe it or not, these are all good energies that will spark new creativity!

I’ve talked with dancers, musicians and writers and many have shared how a challenging outline, space, or environment pushes them into new creative territory. The more unusual the boarder of space, physical or otherwise forces our imagination into the problem solving quadrant and the results can be amazing.

I encourage artists of all types to look for new space to work and perform.  If it scares you a bit, you’re probably on the right track.  I’m learning to enjoy the uncomfortable.

Amazing or not, here are my two favorite poems from the day, unpolished, slightly edited, and fresh:

Photo prompt:

Goats in Trees Have Bird Bones

Air filled, no wings
not feather, but fur
covers the skin
soaked in urine
now a leather bag of a man
strapped to shoulder
walker of the road
follows the orange
setting sun until
he reaches the
land where goats
climb trees

but do not fly

Line Prompt:
Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.
 -a line from “Go to the Limits of Your Longing” by Rainer Maria Rilke
A Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist, b.1875-d.1927

Make Big Shadows I Can Move In

Protected by your stare
Sun’s rays will burn me
If they spy me standing there
Under covers of the bed I made
Next to a pile of books to read
Window’s light a threat
Curtains now a shade
Dull shaped pattern of gray
Cover thick on the ground
Outline the places where I can stay
***