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Sunday, March 9

The Drudgery Report

Ah, yes, this is the time of year I wonder what the heck I'm doing in this business. The snow is piled up, it's cold in the studio, few shows have been confirmed yet, I can't even remember what it's like to be in my little canopy selling things and goofing around with my customers. I also have forgotten just how I did some of the things I loved last year. I stare at the paper, turn it over, put some other pieces on it, move things around like a puzzle and it is like looking at a foreign object.

I face this every year. The re-learning period. It's as if December is the end of the year, the season and my ability to create anything. Eventually, it comes back. The first few items are clumsy and forced. Then I remember one little thing, then another. A cartoon light bulb goes on over my head. I remember some more. When I'm lucky, in the process of trying to remember, I invent. That's the best part. Having to force your brain to see something, often helps you see something new. It's a rush.

But, for now, I am covering book boards. Choosing papers that will look right with a collage piece on them, others that will stand alone. Deciding whether to use a certain paper on a large journal or a small one or, maybe, a frame. Saving the best of the scraps for my miniature books. Tossing the tiniest pieces into a basket for my collage cards. I'm accumulating "canvases" that will later become, hopefully, artful work.

It is drudgery, surely, but I like watching the boxes fill up with these squares of promise. The festive basket of collage scraps pleases the eye. Sometimes, a new paper I am experimenting with works so well that it actually makes me laugh. The TV is on. I listen to the women on The View, The Food Network (cooking is my second passion), every so often a Lifetime movie.

And the hours pass, the room doesn't feel so cold, the book covers pile together in rainbow stacks, the collage scraps spill over the sides of the basket. I begin to remember. I begin to get excited about what I'm doing.

Spring is coming, then Summer. My first show is just 7 weeks from today. In Virginia. I can almost feel the sun on my face.

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