Hi there. I hope you’ve enjoyed the December holidays and look forward to a new year.
In the past 2 weeks, I’ve had what might most positively be described as an unexpected break from routine. It began one evening when I was headed home from my studio, looking forward to a delicious dinner of stew-like chicken soup my partner Joe had made the night before. I had just completed the finishing touches on a Chanukah gift I planned to give a friend at a lunch date the next day. I live about an 8 minute walk from my studio, so as I left the building that crisp evening I knew I’d be home and enjoying dinner in no time.
It was moments later that my feet hit ice, and in a flash I felt my body going down. After hitting the ground, I was stunned and afraid to move. There was nobody around that I could see right away. I remember reaching for my knee, and upon touching it, realizing that something was not right. In fact, it felt like there was a crater there. I’m naturally prone to queasiness, so I tried my hardest to keep my head together and not pass out. I decided not to move. My crossbody purse was still attached to me, and I managed to fish my phone out of it and call Joe. “I fell, and something’s wrong with my bones,” I said as calmly as possible when he answered the phone. He came immediately by car, and after touching my knee, said, “Okay, we’re calling an ambulance.” I tried elevating my mind to another level, to a place disconnected from my body.
The next day I had surgery to repair a broken patella and a ruptured tendon retinaculum. I knew I had no choice but to have the surgery, but I was pretty scared. The surgeon’s optimism about repairing it only calmed me to a point, and afterwards, the pain nearly drove me out of my mind.
A few days later, I was able to leave the hospital and come home. It was a week before I could get in and out of bed by myself, until the glorious moment when my wonderful in-home physical therapist crafted a helpful sling out of my bathrobe belt. That was a tough week. Over time the pain grew less intense, and today, 2 weeks after surgery, I had the 30 staples removed from my knee incision.
Today I became aware of the word “break” floating through my mind. As in: a break in the bone, a break from normalcy, a break in the order of daily priorities, a break in exercise regime, a break in independence, a break in the flow of work and business. I also thought of how the word “break” can have good connotations, as in: break bread, break the silence, break new ground, and “I’m on a break,” or “Let’s break for a while.” I am indeed “on a break,” albeit not of my own choosing. I ponder whether in the midst of this break there are ways to keep my art-making and my business operating right now that I’m not seeing. I’m poking around inside my mind for creative ideas, for ways around my limitations without excessive complication. I want to believe that maybe there are ways, and if there are, that maybe I can recognize and implement them.
I’m slated to be in this straight leg brace 4-6 weeks, followed by physical therapy to work on bending the knee again, with some adjustment in the brace to allow some movement at the knee. I’m told my leg’s eventual prognosis is probably pretty good. I’m happy about that.
I’m using this time to read “Conversations with Tom Petty” by Paul Zollo on my Kindle. It’s been a joy to read, in Tom Petty’s own words, his thoughts and feelings about his creative process. For example, the art of recording songs in contrast to the art of performing songs live. Or the magic (and sometimes the grind) of how lyrics manifest, sometimes alone and sometimes in collaboration. His descriptions of how so many songs and albums came to be is definitely inspiring my own invitation to the muse, whom I’m pretty sure is always somewhere nearby waiting for an open channel.
Right before my fall, I bought some orange coffee cups (pictured above). To me, the color orange is evocative of happiness, sweetness, motivation, and action. It’s such a silly little pleasure, but I savor drinking coffee with a spoonful of honey from one of the beautiful orange cups every morning. I often say that working on my paintings is color therapy for me, and for now these radiant orange cups provide me with a little of that feeling.
So, what I’m apparently not taking a break from is connecting to beauty and inspiration. If anything can help get me through to a better place, that can.
Thanks for reading, and I send you my heartiest “go for it!” for turning your dreams to reality in the new year.
Paula Ogier Artworks