“Living well is not wishing or hoping, or even fondly remembering. Living well is living well now.” ~ Ralph Marston
My Happiness Project gals were overdue a meeting, so we had lunch at Ramsey’s. For all of us it seems there are many wonderful happenings wrapped in difficult circumstance. Big life changes in one way or another: things that are both scary and exciting and somehow more intense at this age. It’s a very interesting time. These beautiful women, I feed from their bottomless wells – their keen minds, creative spirits, compassionate souls – today and every day they inspire me. I hope I’m able to repay them in kind. I’ve grown far more fond of each of them than I ever expected. It’s an honor to be at their table. [L-R: Stacy Yelton, Sandy Davis, Annie Bassoni, Deb Chenault]
“Beauty is alive in every moment, riding the breath of life to remind you of the flower that is your heart.” ~ Aine Belton
Stacy Yelton, Sandy Davis, and myself paid a visit to Deb Chenault at her stunning home in Berea. It was a glorious day, beginning to end. We ate delicious food, had deep, thoughtful talks, and shared art ideas with laughs aplenty. There was a chance to venture outside and behold the beauty of the day. The sky was pristine and the air crisp as the sunshine cast long shadows across the close valley. I came away with a few beautiful shots, but the one above may be my favorite (for now anyway). A hillside full of tall trees reaching upward to the heavens took my breath. Every Saturday should be this enriching.
“Let go of those who bring you down and surround yourself with those who bring out the best in you. ” ~ unknown
Today’s quote is quite fitting. These women bring out the best in me. Here, the girls of the to-be-named chapter of the Happiness Project met for the first time today (Deb Chenault, Erin Chandler, Stacy Yelton and – in the shoes – me). We talked a lot, ate even more, and when we thought we couldn’t possibly have more fun, the next generation arrived (below). Later this month Erin stars in August: Osage County at the Guignol Theater. These kids are her children, mostly, in the play. Sweet and engaging, they were a delight to meet. It was, in fact, a splendid day from beginning to end. Tell me again how I got so lucky?
“Whatever it is you want…Live it [life] as if it has already happened…and then it does.” ~Deb Chenault
Today brought several bits of inspiration, like the brilliant opening quote from my pal, Deb. Then, there was the inkdye for photo printing that can be used on textiles from Lumi, and a reminder that Walker Evans is one of my favorite photographers. Lest we forget the Impossible Project, in particular their Polaroid Classic line.
My friend Lori-Lyn Hurley today released one of her dreams: Spirit Voyage. She says of the magazine, “I believe story telling, art making, creative expression – divining down into our truest truth and sharing that truth with the world – to be a sacred and necessary act. It is the very heart of wellness. It is what it means to be alive. For that reason, it’s important that we share collections like this one, that we connect in this way with one another.” I couldn’t be prouder of Lori-Lyn. Let her inspire you.
That was followed quickly by a facebook note from an old professor, Nikky Finney, who also happens to have recently won the National Book Award for poetry in which she reminded us that “Dreams not only do come true — sometimes their truth outdoes the dream.” May it be so for us all.
Finally, today brought news of Gatewood Galbraith’s death which I feel compelled to mention here because I once had an inspiring conversation with him. Though it was short, it was nevertheless significant and impressionable. As an undergraduate, I did quite a bit of research on the legalization of hemp. I called Gatewood and asked if he’d grant me an interview for my research. He very willingly said yes. We met at Ramsey’s. He couldn’t have been kinder. He got a little weird when I asked about the legalization of hemp for personal purposes (marijuana grade, not industrial grade – there’s a significant difference for those who don’t know). He probably thought I was an opponent’s plant (he’d already run for governor once or twice at this point) or an DEA agent. Carefully avoiding an answer, eventually we got back to the matter at hand. He turned me on to The Emperor Wears No Clothes. I hate to see Gatewood go. He was a smart man with big ideas who was overlooked by the masses because of those big ideas. Not all big ideas are born from artists; not all people have big ideas. But collectively we must have big ideas – we’re all connected.