Between obligations, I make time to nurture myself in our backyard sanctuary by spending time in the garden. Yesterday’s hours were spent extracting grass from the strawberry patch, transplanting tomatoes, decommissioning sweet peas, and pausing to appreciate the bright green hope of new growth in old dirt.
© 2015, Theresa Mae Funk. All rights reserved.
Eileen Brunetto, my dear friend and Vermont based author, recently invited me to tag along on a blog tour that her fellow Goddard College MFA classmate, Tamryn Spruill recently initiated. I’ve not yet met Tamryn but in accepting Eileen’s encouragement to participate in this tour, believe that a cosmic door has been opened, and that a personal interaction with Tamryn in the near future will likely occur. I’ll reserve my opinions and experiences with manifestation for another time. The purpose of this blog post is to answer the four questions that Tamryn is interested in having answered:
1) What are you working on?
Aside from my weekly blog posts, I’ve been writing new songs and re-working those that were recorded in 1996 with Full Moon Heart, a Vermont based acoustic quartet from the Mad River Valley. Picture Postcard Lullaby is the current working title for the collection of songs that I hope to record live at a few historic Sacramento locations for independent release in 2015.
2) How does your work differ from others’ in the same genre?
How my work differs from other writers or artists isn’t something I give much thought to because it makes me feel like I’m comparing myself to other artists. But for the sake of answering Tamryn’s question, I think that my work differs from others in the essence of the story, the authenticity in the sharing of an emotion.
3) Why do you write what you do?
I write in response to the emotions I feel in reaction to what I see, read, or have experienced.
4) How does your writing process work?
I take a walk with my dog along the American River every morning before I write or make art. There is something about physically moving through space that conjures up all sorts of ideas that I can then take back to my studio and translate into words or sketches. Other times, an idea presents itself and a song can be written in a span of 20 minutes. That is the most amazing process to experience, and I am so very grateful that I allow myself to be open enough to surrender to the muse.
© 2014, Theresa Mae Funk. All rights reserved.
Every artist has a muse and every muse, an artist. Mine are dressed in yellow and green. Sunflowers continue to bloom this week in the garden with stunningly brilliant perfection.
©2014, Theresa Mae Funk, all rights reserved.
I went travelling down a long paved road
listening to the radio playing
I heard a song about a white winged dove singing.
There were shore lined miles of open sky
A picture postcard lullaby
the mocking bird just could not sing
so I was trying.
I watched the golden hills roll by me
A speed limit sign read forty-five
But I felt
like I was flying.
© 2011 Theresa Funk, all rights reserved.
©2013 Theresa Funk, All Rights Reserved
In the silent recognition manifesting in a smile,
the moment catches you thinking that you can see it through
but you find the comfort resisted,
and you feel the distance that lies between.
In between suspension and intermission
is a slow motion,
like falling forward while moving back.
You’re getting nowhere, but you move so fast.
And the combination has no key for the lock
while you read the time from a faceless clock.
And in the middle of what you want and what you need,
there lies the distance in between.
Being laid off for the last six weeks in 2013 threw me into a slight depression, and I exerted a lot of energy countering the negative internal dialogue with an optimistic outlook for 2014. Joan Baez advised that the antidote to despair is action, so I am taking action every day to find a means of income beyond the $300 a week that unemployment insurance currently affords me. Without the love and support of my partner, I would very likely be in a much darker emotional place which would, with time, surely defeat me.
This morning, I reflected on The Flame, a song that I wrote in 2011. Reading the lyrics helped me to move away from the negative and doubtful thoughts that I almost allowed to infiltrate my positive attitude today, and inspires me to sing a song of sustainable hope for the world in the new year. May your new year be filled with more light, love, and well being.
©2011 Theresa Funk. All rights reserved.
Where you are going will be where you’ve been.
Its all the same place in the end.
Words spoken are ideas uttered,
sometimes in vain and then forgotten.
they make a connection
and need no clarification.
puts you over,
let one good turn lead you to another.
One chance is all life requires
and one dream
can be inspired by the
one spark that catches another,
and that spark will feed
the fire’s flame.
I spent an afternoon on Ellis Island a few years ago and was deeply moved by the experience. Millions of individuals arrived and were processed on the nearly 28 acre island between 1892 and 1954, each with a unique circumstance and history. Truly astounding when you think about the scope of it.
The Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation has a free searchable online database that you might find interesting and informative. More remarkable is a visit to the Island. It certainly changed my perception and attitude about feeling inconvenienced by travel delays. Chances are, I’m going to arrive at my destination alive (many people died en-route to America) and it isn’t going to take me a month or more to get there. Think about that the next time you feel yourself getting annoyed because your train is late, or you are stuck in traffic.
An untitled poem that I wrote in 2001 was penned as part of a writing exercise for a dream workshop I had taken at Middlebury College. Our task was to piece something together from the collective sharing of words and phrases that we derived from the dream recitations of class participants. I didn’t know what the poem was about or that it had a title until I stepped through the doors of the Great Hall that day in March of 2009.
© 2001 Theresa Funk
There were photographs in black and white,
Lines infused with a memory,
and I am skating through a strangers dream.
half of them are disconnected.
But a theme was tied by the threads
of celluloid on paper.
I see you standing in a drove of noiseless people.
You are waiting on a line while
on the other side,
my skate-shoes glide.
California is a stopover on the Pacific Flyway, a major route for the millions of birds that migrate from Alaska to Patagonia. My visit to the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area near Colusa, California last year was an incredible sight to behold, and an experience worth repeating.
The Migratory Bird Conservation Partnership seeks to protect, restore, and enhance lands that support bird populations in California. It is estimated that Less than 10% of the state’s original wetland habitat remains today, and the threat of losing more habitat persists. The Partnership is working hard to preserve and enhance the places where these birds rest, feed, and breed in an attempt to reverse the declines that many of these populations have been experiencing. I do my best to support worthy causes by donating time or money, and sometimes both. Regardless of how much or little that I give, the intention is always sincerely appreciated.
They arrive by the thousands and drop from the sky,
landing in groups of two, three, or six sometimes and all at oncce.
A Pintail circles around another,
one other takes to flight.
A cloud of Snow Geese grace
the liquid surface of the world.
The sound of wings uplifting is like a sudden burst of inexhaustible joy.
©2012 Theresa Funk
Uprooting 21 years of an established life in one corner of a country and transplanting it thousands of miles away in an entirely different climate and culture requires attention to details that can, if you let them, consume most of the 24 hours in a given day. The distractions have impaired my ability to fully getting my Funk on, but I’ve been making adjustments so that I have time in every day to create “art”.
When I lived in Vermont, I would most often prefer to write songs to play on my guitar.
Poetry was an interest I pursued while waiting for winter to pass, but it was always forsaken when the warmth of spring arrived.
My time was then spent absorbing the beauty of the natural world while plotting out the garden and germinating seeds.
California is pure inspiration and more conducive to growing things, in every sense of the word.
Today I sowed more seeds, transplanted beet starts and basil, and then took a break from gardening to play with my crayons that I like to let melt in the sun.