Wednesday, October 31, 2012

BLOGTOBERFEST12 (DAY #31) WOO HOO OR BOO? CELEBRATING FINAL DAY OF DAILY BLOGGING, HALLOWEEN, AND A BIRTHDAY

HALLELUJAH FOR HALLOWEEN, OCTOBER 2012! This flirtatious skeleton bedecked with blue beads and matching pink lipstick and ribbon is the work of Nancy Wilkinson(photo by Hallelujah Truth)

Hallelujah for TIME and how we perceive it! As the last hour wanes on October 31, 2012, I am celebrating the conclusion of blogging for 15 continuous days, the day of the dead (Halloween), Ernie's 72nd birthday. TIME brings us endings and new beginnings. We need closure, so we may start again! 

WOO HOO to Decatur resident Nancy Wilkinson, who won yet another city award for decorating her yard so extravagantly well for Halloween. All during the month of October her yard was slowly transformed with a new skeleton added here, a tombstone there, a train there, until the night of Halloween it is a joyful scene of horror and whimsey! 
WOO HOO NANCY WILKINSON! Nancy is well deserving of this local award.(photo by Hallelujah Truth)
THE WINNER! Here is Nancy Wilkinson wearing a cowboy hat in keeping with her award winning 2012 cowboy themed Halloween yard decorations. Titled "Boneyard Buckaroos," her choreographed "bad" buckaroos were robbing trains and leading ordinary skeleton lives. You can see one of the train robbers on the skeleton horse behind her. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
YELLOW BOOTED COWBOY SKELETON.  Nancy Wilkinson deserves an entire blog dedicated to her  to display the extent of her creativity! For now, I will just say BOO! And WOO HOO and Thank you! (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

This Halloween evening, instead of going out to watch the trick-or-treaters, I had the immense privilege of attending Ernie's 72nd birthday party. It was the first time I have ever celebrated an October 31st birthday and this was a fun one. Ernie, who I met at Wednesday night improv classes, decided to host her birthday at Nicola's Restaurant here in Atlanta. 



ERNIE, THE OCTOBER 31ST BIRTHDAY GIRL. Here she is in her intriguing red Halloween mask and floral Asian top looking spectacular. About 40 people gathered at Nicola's to honor her with stories, dance, and champagne toasts! WOO HOO! BOO!  (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

Take a peak at this short video of Nicola as he dances toward Ernie bringing her wine. The birthday celebration heightened from this moment on! WOO HOO!




It is minutes from midnight, and I need to post this blog entry to conclude 15 continuous days of blogging for Kat McNally's Blogtoberfest12. I did it! I plan on returning to daily blogging in December. For now, I am giving myself a WOO HOO!  And looking at TIME for new beginnings!

That's Coffee With Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me! What do you have to WOO HOO about! Or BOO about for that matter! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

BLOGTOBERFEST12 (Day #30): SPIRITUAL ART PILGRIM INTERVIEW-- JESSE MERLE HARRIS IS WIDE AWAKE AND SEEING THE SACRED WHEN MAKING ART

JESSE MERLE HARRIS (photo by Hallelujah Truth)


At the end of the summer 2011, I interviewed Atlanta Spiritual Art Pilgrim Jesse Merle Harris in her Candler Park home seated on Mulberry Fields, a community garden that she created with the help of her neighbors. At that time, Jesse was in training for a walking pilgrimage in France with friend and fellow artist, Judi Adkins Ingram. For various reasons we only just completed this interview at the end of October 2012 so this exchange is a brief window into Jesse's art making process.

HALLELUJAH: Give me your personal definition of ART.

JESSE: For me, it is the thing that wakes me up. A way of being that allows all my senses to be awake. When that is going on, it is like I am a butterfly catcher…wide awake and paying attention.

Making art helps me see all the connectivity and the miracles and the questions--the knowing and the not knowing. It moves me out of the realm of the mundane and connects me immediately with spirituality. Art is the creation and reflection of all of that process.


HALLELUJAH: What is SPIRITUALITY to you?

JESSE: It is being wide awake. To me spirituality is walking through the world and recognizing it as the Garden of Eden in some way. Living in the present, seeing the sacred in everything around us. It is not connected to religion or dogma. I do think all the creation stories are the same and attempts to capture that mystery.


HALLELUJAH: What is the connection between the ART you make and your spirituality?

JESSE: The connection for me is some kind of deep truth telling that I feel a powerful urge to do. It is personal truth telling, very personal. When I am wide awake and something is rattling, I have the urge to throw that butterfly net out and capture it. I have that experience of stopping time. It is a profound spiritual experience when you are in the moment with what you have captured in your butterfly net. That is art making.

It is mysterious, and I will never understand why certain images stay with me. For example, I don’t know why these two images have a hold of me--the angelic cherub and screaming head, but they do, and they have a story to tell.

HALLELUJAH: Can you talk about the journeys these images go on?

JESSE: Yes. The first time I saw them, they were in this boat, but my vision has definitely been shifting. I think one thing that has driven me to make my art is story telling. For a long time, I was attached to the story, but that isn’t as true anymore.

Now, I understand that there is an underlying story in the images. When I set them off in a boat, I didn’t know they would end up at the bottom of the ocean, in a garden, on trees, parts of furniture, and then end up in an urban environment.

I am watching these images come, and there’s lots going on in them. I don’t try to relate them to what is going on with me. Clearly, this series that I am talking about shows that things are not the way they seem. They are also about change and impermanence.

JESSE MERLE HARRIS
JESSE MERLE HARRIS
JESSE MERLE HARRIS
JESSE MERLE HARRIS
JESSE MERLE HARRIS

HALLELUJAH: Can you talk to me about this image where you are underground with the potatoes?

JESSE: I can go really far into the underground where I am not feeling the world around me. It isn’t depression; it is just flatness.  Last summer when Sally Wylde was dying, I was in that place for a while.

The garden helps me. I have spent a lifetime landscaping and building gardens, and this activity keeps me awake. I was digging potatoes and had the realization that I had been “sleeping with the potatoes.” For me, this means being buried, silent, and not aware of what’s happening in my creative unconscious. So I did a series of pretty quick crepas and collage images to process what was going on with my feelings about Sally.

I will have these phrases come to me like “sleeping with the potatoes” or “l hired a douser to look for my tears.”  These phrases are jumping off points for creating art. I didn’t cry all summer when Sally was dying. But these phrases led to the art that let me know I had a lot of uncried tears about Sally. In this way, I use my art to process my life. I have never had the urge to sell it or show it.

JESSE MERLE HARRIS

JESSE MERLE HARRIS


HALLELUJAH: Could tell me something about the pink playhouse, which is one of your recurring images?

JESSE: When we were moving my parents out of their house, and my father was dying, I found a lot of childhood artifacts including pictures of the perfect pink playhouse my father had built for my sister and me. He did a very loving thing. Then his mother ruined it by plastering it with “I Like Ike” decals and Republican elephants, and I hated it.

As I was losing my father, I was doing images about relationships and loss, mining the depths of the pink playhouse story.  I love to use crepas, making lots of images and scratching things out.
JESSE MERLE HARRIS

JESSE MERLE HARRIS

HALLELUJAH: And the pink playhouse moved you into your next series about being a twin?

JESSE: I was dreaming and dreaming about houses, a lost and found of houses real or unreal. That process connected me a lot to the twin thing. As a twin, I have a lot of stories about being connected at the hip and then finding myself. Through the series of stories, I ended up being alone. The challenge of being twins is finding your own identity within this powerful connection. It is not easy.
JESSE MERLE HARRIS

JESSE MERLE HARRIS

HALLELUJAH: In what way does your ART enhance your SPIRITUALITY?

JESSE: It wakes me up and gets me out of the underworld. I do believe that there are things that are cooking in the underworld. It is working in the garden, making art, or singing that makes me present. That’s what the goodies are: joy, sorrow which is a part of life, and wonder.

HALLELUJAH: Has SPIRITUALITY always been a source of your ARTMAKING?

JESSE: When I was a kid (eleven or earlier) and had a little art space in our basement, I would go down there and lose my connection to time. I could be down there for hours and not know it. Stepping out of time. I wouldn’t have known or called it spirituality. But is was being open in the moment. Looking back that is what it was. It was all about wakefulness to whatever was present.

HALLELUJAH: Who (artists, authors, friends, etc.) do you consider influential in the way you think, act, and make ART?

JESSE: Ruth Schowlater (aka Hallelujah Truth—thanks Jesse!). Sally Wylde because she took her life experience and put it into art even when it was painful. She made books when she was depressed and a performance when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Hallelujah Truth because she stays connected with the Divine and works at it every day, and I love her images.

My closest friends have artists’ souls. So I’m always learning in certain ways.

Chagall really wakes me up. Magic and mysticism inspires me.

HALLELUJAH: What is your purpose for making ART?

JESSE: To embrace all of my experience, dreams, memories, and what my senses are taking in. To express narratives that I create in my head. To be mindful.

JESSE MERLE HARRIS
JESSE MERLE HARRIS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thank you to Kat McNally, for hosting Blogtoberfest12, and for posting such wonderful prompts on her blog, I Saw You Dancing. Although I didn't post on the topic for today, I did post! This daily blogging has awakened me, gotten me back in the writing flow!

Monday, October 29, 2012

BLOGTOBERFEST12 (DAY #29) LISTENING AND FINDING THE "WORD" FOR 2013

UNFOLDING MYSTERY IN THE NOW AND 2013! (Art by Hallelujah Truth)

Hallelujah for DAILY BLOGGING about meaningful ideas that push along the road to self-discovery and deepens our experience of being here on this beautiful Earth! Hallelujah for Kat McNally, who has hosted Blogtoberfest12 on her blog, I Saw You Dancing! Hallelujah for looking ahead to next year and choosing a WORD that will inspire and inform my PILGRIMAGE in 2013.

TODAY's PROMPT IS TO FIND A WORD THAT WILL GUIDE ME THROUGH NEXT YEAR!

"By inviting a word to travel with you for a year -- and by going a step further and representing it visually -- I think that what you are really doing is giving yourself permission to explore something. It's a way of surrendering up to the universe something that you do not fully understand but intuitively know will yield something important and meaningful to you. It's a new lens through which to view your daily life, a private prayer, a fresh muscle to exercise, a secret reminder that there is so much more to you than meets the eye." (See Kat's blog entry on this.)

My SOUL has been calling me to its door asking me to come out and play! I want "tee-hee's" and "tingles." Perhaps I want TEE-HEE TINGLES for 2013. Pure surrender to child's play and laughter, the thrilling kind from running, jumping, dancing, and being open to the many pleasures that LIFE brings knocking at my front door!
KNOCK KNOCK! COME OUT AND PLAY! TEE HEE! 

In the past several years, I have put my nose to the grindstone and produced a large body of creative work and met two important deadlines. Now, even though I have numerous ideas for new projects, the SEED I want to plant most of all is the TEE-HEE TINGLE SEED!

PREPARING FOR 2013: PLANTING THE SEED. This image is a typical drawing that I make when I first awake in the morning. I always start with what I am familiar with. Instead of second guessing myself, I accept the image that appears on the page and enjoy the discovery process of seeing how my repeating characters will arrange themselves. I am the character in the center in the purple striped skirt. You can see that my cast of friends are summoning me to do something. Behind me is a foot with a green leaf. This character is moving me along into 2013, a year which is going to be filled with Tee-Hee Tingles! (Art by Hallelujah Truth)

Dear Soul Bloggers, tell me what one word or words are you choosing to support your growth in 2013! Happy New Year! That's Coffee With Hallelujah!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

BLOGTOBERFEST12 (DAY #27) SAVOURY SATURDAY: EXPRESSING GRATITUDE FOR ALL THAT IS IN MY LIFE!

Hallelujah for LIFE and ALL of LIFE's ABUNDANCE. For Kat's 27th day of her Blogtoberfest #12 being hosted on her blog, "I Saw You Dancing," she asked us to write about the gratitude we experience in our lives. She calls her post "Savoury Saturday," and here is her post for today (You'll find a really delicious recipe for mango, avocado, and feta cheese salad there!).
ATLANTA BELTLINE ART, EASTSIDE TRAIL. I continue to be immensely grateful for the ART that Atlanta is providing now for the public in such a beautiful arena--a path that cuts right through the city's heart! In addition to being in the presence of city skyscrapers, cyclers, joggers, and pedestrians, we all get to pause to view explosive expressions from local Artists. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

THE EXPRESSIVENESS OF GRAFFITI.  I am grateful for the spontaneous beauty that explodes randomly on the wall spaces along the Atlanta BeltLine's Eastside Trail. I am grateful for individuals who possess the boldness to express themselves in a way that we can all see what is in their hearts and on their minds. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)


HALLELUJAH FOR COMMUNITY AND COLLABORATION! I am thankful how each and everyone of us has a unique vision and ability to express that vision. How exciting it is when we join together, and our voices are heard as if  united in one symphony. Here along the Atlanta BeltLine, I see a song here created by the visual expression of several graffiti artists and nature. How about you? (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

SMART COMPANIONSHIP OF A GEOLOGICAL SPOUSE.  I am grateful the exquisite companionship of my brilliant geologist husband, Chiboogamoo. I appreciate his love for all things geological and for speaking the language of rocks! It was such a pleasure to walk along with him on the Eastside Trail of the Atlanta BeltLine and see him hear local rocks calling out to him. "Some of these are probably granodirorite from Stone Mountain. Some are also looking like gneiss and amphibolite!" Thank you honey! (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

LONGTERM FRIENDSHIP.  I am thankful for these women in my life. As an army brat who moved constantly and did not have the opportunity to establish longterm friendships when I was a child, this group of friends that formed around 1994 constitute some of the longest lasting relationships I have had in my life other than my family. I am in the front row, far right. (photo by Robert Glickman)

INSTRUCTOR TO ENTHUSIASTIC INTERNATIONALS.  I am so grateful to the Language Institute at Georgia Tech and the intense, ambitious, and friendly students that attend my classes. This is a photo of the very first Improvisation-ESL class that I taught in collaboration with Lesly Fredman in the Spring 2012. I am now teaching the course for the third time! Hallelujah! (photo by an LI student) 

FELINE FAMILY MEMBERS.  Hurray for cats! Our two cat children bring us endless hours of fun and love. I am especially grateful that Sapelo and Tao love each other and keep each other company while we are gone during the day. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

That's Coffee with Hallelujah! What are you grateful for right now, right here, in your life? Soul Blog with me and tell me!

Friday, October 26, 2012

BLOGTOBERFEST12 (DAY #26): HOW CAN YOU INFUSE YOUR BLOG WITH MORE OF YOUR MAGNIFICENT SELF?

MY MAGNIFICENT SELF!

Hallelujah for the CHALLENGE of DAILY BLOGGINGThanks to Kat McNally for PLAYFULNESS and hosting the Blogtoberfest12! Today's prompt is this:

How can you infuse your blog with more your magnificent self?

MORE MAGNIFICENT SELF? As an artist, I feel that when I post an image of mine, that I have delivered to the Internet world as much of my magnificent self as I know how to do. However, readers of my blog have asked me to write more about my images. They want to know how I get an image down on a piece of paper--and before that, they want to know where my ideas for the image come from! Therefore, it is possible that in response to Kat's prompt for today, "How can I infuse my blog with more of my magnificent self?" that is a possible direction! I can write more specifically about how I make ART! (All Art by Hallelujah Truth, altered in photoshop!)
Pilgrims! This is an important question!: How can you infuse your blog with more of your magnificent self? I have just finished the first three days of an eight-week course, "Blogging for a World Audience," at the Georgia Tech Language Institute, and I am encouraging and supporting my 15 students (13 Chinese, 1 Taiwanese, and 1 Japanese) to create blogs that they will want to sustain for weeks, months, and years to come. 

THIS IS THE ESL BLOGGING-TEACHER SPEAKING TO HER STUDENTS: 
In order to love and care for your blog as you build its foundation, develop its theme, write its content, and respond to your readers, you must look inside yourselves, find what is UNIQUELY YOURS, and use that understanding to write about any content you are going to blog about. The topic may be food, basketball, technology music, or mathematics. Whatever the topic is, your perspective on that topic is what is VITAL and what makes your blog ALIVE and INTERESTING!

THIS IS THE ESL BLOGGING-TEACHER SPEAKING TO HERSELF: 
LOOKING DEEPER
I do the above, and...I continue looking deeper, writing when I am without answers. I write inventively because I know that what I write has "seeds" of new ideas. 
SEEDS OF IDEAS. In the beginning, I drew Wandjina because he stayed in my memory from the time I spent in west Australia. Then he became something more, something meaningful to me. As I continued to draw him, he started to represent my animus, the masculine energy in my psyche. 

I draw because it makes me happy. I draw because I discover things about myself I didn't know before the image appeared on the page in front of me!

That's Coffee with Hallelujah for today's Blogtoberfest12! I'm finishing late in the day, but I have succeeded in completion! 



Thursday, October 25, 2012

BLOGTOBERFEST12 (DAY #25): INVITING MORE ART, CREATIVITY AND PLAY INTO MY LIFE!

Hallelujah for PLAY! Thanks to Kat McNally for PLAYFULNESS and hosting the Blogtoberfest12! Read the guest blog entry on her blog, "I Saw You Dancing,"written by Monica, blogger of "The Creative Beast." Today's prompt is this:

How could you invite more art, creativity and -- perhaps most importantly -- play into your life?
THANK YOU! A great way to access fun and playfulness is to express gratitude for being here right now. Say thank you loud. Say thank you quietly. Thank the person sitting next to you. Take a deep breath and thank the universe! 
THANK YOU FRIENDS! In the Sycamore Place Gallery Studio, 2010, getting ready for Sally Wylde's memorial parade.

WONDER. Certainly, playfulness can be invited into our lives by entertaining wonder! Open your eyes! See the world around you like a child! ( all ART here is a collaboration with Sally Wylde and friends of Hallelujah! )
FEAR NOT. To play, we must jump in, take risks, be willing to make mistakes, explore, and discover! Playfulness is full of WONDER, not fear!

ALL WILL BE WELL. We can make a choice in our lives to take leaps and jumps. We can make somersaults. We can dance our own private dance when no one is watching. We can dance for the world. Whatever you do, decide it is not good. It is not bad. It just IS! Lose the CENSOR and all will be well.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:  Thank you to Sally Wylde for your artmaking and leaving behind these amazing block prints for your friends to use once you left this Earth. Thank you to all my artmaking friends and soul bloggers! Thank you to my Chiboogamoo for his documenting my life in photos!