Sunday, November 29, 2009

Still Stuck Outside Time


I haven't reoriented myself in time
even though I've been home for a month now.

Egypt did something to my normal sense of place, of time.
It's hard to explain, really.
All I can tell you is this:
something's different.


© 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian. All rights reserved.

I lose myself in the moment.
I am spending hours writing each day but it seems like minutes.

I created a new series of 21 pieces based on chrysanthemum imagery
in a couple of days, but it seemed like a couple of hours.

Some call this state of mind "flow."
I don't know what to call it.
I just know I haven't been the same since the trip.

Talk about trippin.'

Oh boy.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chrysanthemum Imagery


Today my time went to the act of creation.
When that happens, everything else flies out the window.

Here's one of the new pieces in a series based
upon chrysanthemum imagery.


© 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian. All rights reserved.

My friend June tells me that in Asia, the chrysanthemum
is highly revered.  It symbolizes tranquility,
purity, abundance, joy, longevity, and life.

She says that John Steinbeck wrote a sad,
but sexually charged story about a woman
in The Chrysanthemum and that Cathy Song,
one of her favorite poets, penned a sensual poem
about the chrysanthemum in her work Ikebana.

She reminded me that Georgia O'Keeffe
painted chrysanthemums that were said
to have sexual overtones. She sees them
in one of the pieces I worked on today,
but she also sees bodhisattva figures
(enlightened female deities)
or shrouded figures in the same piece.

I sent her two files.
She thought the other one looked like a spider.

I hope it wasn't a black widow devouring her mate.

Things are hard enough in the dating arena.






Monday, November 23, 2009

Playtime



The chrysanthemum photos were just too tempting.

"Wallflower" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian.


I had to play today. 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Suffer for Beauty


A community museum somewhere in the outskirts of the local area
recently mounted an exhibition called "Suffer for Beauty."

I didn't go see it
because it just didn't fit into my schedule, 
but it got me thinking about the ways
that I have suffered 
in the quest forbeauty
on the outside,
the place that seems to be of utmost importance
in the American scheme of values.
Maybe where you live, too.


There are the obvious things, of course,
like cramming my feet into high heels
and teetering around town
with feet that are screaming 
and back that's trying to adjust its alignment
and ankles threatening to twist
just to stop the madness.

I've also had abdominoplasty,
a "tummy tuck",
to pull my muscles back into alignment
and cut out excessive skin and stretch
what's left back together
after repeated C-sections left my abdominal muscles a little lax.
Hurt like hell (more than the C-sections)
and the compression garments I had to wear
for about three weeks afterwards weren't exactly glam,
but I have to admit, 
the post-recovery results made me feel less self-conscious
about the little pouchy place
that no amount of dieting or "core work" had eradicated.

I haven't had botox injections,
but I have had a cool laser treatment that's supposed to
stimulate collagen production
and let me tell you,
it's not as "cool" as advertised
(though I thought my skin looked great afterward).


Who among us hasn't poked the mascara wand
into her eye by accident?
Or am I just incredibly clumsy?




I never laced myself into a bustier or corset so tight
 I had a 19 inch waist like Scarlett O'Hara,
but I have laid on the bed to zip my denim jeans
after they shrink in the dryer
and I wouldn't necessarily count that as suffering
but I have accidentally zipped my skin
in the process
and that definitely counts.

I've bought and used the little machine
from Suzanne Somers that she swears by
to keep her face firm.
The electrical current's not too strong,
so I'm not sure it counts as suffering
except that I let one of my friends try it
and she doesn't have my pain tolerance
and there were a lot of "ow"s 
before she managed to shut it off.


I haven't had my face lifted or my eyes done,
but if I can afford it and my vision is compromised
by the sagging or I'm totally disgusted
by living with jowls, I wouldn't rule it out. 

 Right now I am pretty satisfied with how I look.
 
No, that's a lie.
 
Unless I'm a size six or smaller
and so thin my boobs barely fill out a B cup,
so thin that everything I try on looks fabulous,
I'll always be dissatified with my weight.
And it's been a long time
since I was a 6. 

But I've got great skin
and my eyes glisten with intelligence
and excitement for life,
so I guess that's more important in the long run
than the size of my panties.

 




What things have you done
or are willing to do
that amount to
suffering for beauty?


 

Friday, November 20, 2009

An Invitation


I know that most of you are too far away
but still. . . .


I wanted to invite you to my upcoming show
of dreamscape images from my "About Time" series.


"About Time" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian


It's going to be mounted at
Dragonfly Holistic Healing
in Seattle's Fremont District
760 N. 34th Street


"In the Nick of Time" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

in time for the Fremont Art Walk
Friday, December 4 (from 5 pm until 8ish)
and will be exhibited through December 29.

There are seven related images in the series.
This is a sneak peek at two of them.


Enjoy!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Windows



Sometimes I'm lucky enough
to take a photograph that excites me,
an image that's a visual metaphor.

It might say

"oneness"

"grace"

or

"sadness."


"Seeing All the Way Through to the Heart of Things" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

Here, the magic for me is in
the wavy panes of glass showing their age,
being just as they are.

The meaning I ascribe shines through
the transparency and openness,
the way you can see all the way through
to the light on the other side of things.

The light
so pervasive and yet delicate,
coming in quiet in the morning
and illuminating everything inside .

The art leaning up against the window walls,
 hidden treasures just waiting to be revealed.

The whole tableau speaks to me
of light
and open hearts
and the gift of creativity.

What moved you today?

Tell me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Letting the Light Shine



One of the challenges that most women face

is learning how to gracefully wield their power
and let their light shine.


Some of us were lucky enough to find great role models
and learn from their examples.

Others of us acquired power but never learned to use it wisely.

The rest of us still struggle with expressing personal power.

What lessons have you learned
that might shine a light for other women?

Share with us, please.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Writing Circle


One of my favorite things about the Egypt trip
was the writing (and reading) circle.
Here's a piece that explains the magic.


Left to right - Margaret Kachadurian, Laura Janesdaughter, Nettie Eldredge, Piliaka Peter, Denise, Pat Chesser, and just the merest hint of Joyce Brady's peach-colored sleeve. Not visible: Nicki Scully, Mark Hallert, Gloria Taylor-Brown, Normandi Ellis, Barbara Lindsey, Kathryn "Raven" Ravenwood, Vera Kaplan, Cathleen Shattuck, Jane Wodening, Alma Donato, Donna Swindells, and of course me (the photographer).

The group sat in rapt concentration, bringing to a close the scribing of words that described alternative selves, alternative realities. Eighteen women and a lone man sat on chairs, sofas, the floor, with journals in laps and laptops on tables or perched upon their knees. The air conditioner exhaled a steady stream of air above our heads but we barely noticed the cool breeze caressing our shoulders, the sacred energy was so vibrant and compelling. The writing done, each participant floated back from imagination and inspiration to the present. These embodied goddesses and the lone god sat expectantly, attentively while in turn each pilgrim's voice emitted words so pure and true that they pierced the hearts of those who received them. I am the priestess, the protector of the vortex. I am ritual, the sacred nectar. I am the meaning of life. Sometimes my sisters and I sing with passing whales. I am the intoxicating drink brewed during the dark moon. I want to capture that creative juice in an iridescent crystal bottle so I can tip it upside down against my fingertip and dab the essence of spirit and sacred union on my wrists. I want to inhale its fragrance forever.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Raindrops. . .



The word for the day is

raindrops.

Raindrops on roses,
raindrops hanging for dear life on the leaves and twigs
of my coral bark maple.

Raindrops dripping down your face like tears.
Raindrops pattering a soothing sound on your roof.

Raindrops filling the creek behind my house
so the ducks can body-surf from the bridge to the pond.


Raindrops.
Have any fallen lately into your life?

Are they helping things grow
or making you think you might drown?

If there's too much rain falling around you,
stop complaining. Complaining doesn't stop the rain.
It makes you focus on what you don't want.
Just let your friends
shelter you with their umbrellas of love.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mum's the Word


My cold and I went out for an adventure today.
I couldn't seem to leave her at home, though I've tried.
I don't know why I think it's a her, but I do.
It might be because she keeps urging me to eat chocolate.
Whether she's a she or a he, it'll do her good to get a breath of fresh air.

We went to the conservatory in Wright Park in Tacoma

"Hanging On" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

and were overcome
by the beauty of the floral displays.

" Unfurling" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

She started whispering to me,
making lots of suggestions.

"Pink Princess" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

You know, said Ms. Cold,
people might like these photos.
You ought to get off your butt and get prints made.

She's pushy, this cold.

"Yellow in the Thick of Things" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian


So I said to her,
once you decide to go live in someone else's head,
I just might do that.
Are you planning to leave anytime soon?

"Cinderella Moment" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

She just smiled.
Mum's the word, she said enigmatically.

Indeed.

Friday, November 13, 2009

While We're on the Subject of New York. . .


I know the Empire State Building is taller.
I know the observation deck of the Empire State Building
was romanticized in An Affair to Remember
and Sleepless in Seattle,
but in my book
it doesn't hold a candle to the Chrysler Building.


It was designed by architect William Van Alen for a project
financed by Walter Chrysler, chairman of the Chrysler Corporation.
Ground was broken in 1928, not long before the crash of Wall Street.

At the time, there was intense competition to build
the world's tallest skyscraper
and with a few tricks up their sleeves,
Van Alen and Chrysler managed to do just that
but only for a brief interlude.


It was the first habitable structure standing taller than 1000 feet.
But less than a year after it was opened in 1931,
its height was surpassed by the Empire State Building.
The Chrysler Building still can boast about being
the tallest steel-supported brick building in the world.

The building is a National Historic Landmark
and is considered a masterpiece of Art Deco architecture.
The Chrysler Building is renowned for its graceful crown
consisting of seven radiating terraced arches
clad in stainless steel riveted in a radiating sunburst pattern
with many triangular vaulted windows.


Close inspection shows another decorative feature of the building
that I didn't know before my tour of New York on a Gray Line
double-decker tour bus.

The ornamentation on the building is based on details
that were used in Chrysler automobiles of the time
like hood ornaments and radiator caps.
Nice detail, I think.

What's your favorite landmark building?




Thursday, November 12, 2009

Flying Rats

I know they're considered pests.
I know my darling ex called them "Flying Rats."
Or was that seagulls? No matter.


I know pigeons leave messes on statues
and park benches


and sometimes even on people.


But don't you think these guys
are pretty?


They've got colorful eyes


and a vast range of feather designs.

They're very entertaining and useful too.
They make soft little noises
and keep Times Square free of crumbs.

That's kind of a miracle, when you think of it.

And lest you get all hrr-umphity on me,
consider this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

The invariable mark of wisdom
is to see the miraculous in the ordinary.

There.
Don't you feel better about pigeons?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vignettes

I love to find fancy little shops
that sell lovingly-chosen antiques
or decorative items
and arrange them artfully.

"It's Gone to Her Head" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

I especially love it when the items
are unique, unexpected

"Blue Glass" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

or when there's an arrangement of items
in my favorite colors or shapes.

"Those Were the Days" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

And it never hurts to find a display with cake stands,
particularly one with pierced edges,
because I love the way they look,
even if I rarely bake a layer cake these days.

"Drunk on Possibility" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

Stumbling onto a place like that
turns a lackluster day into a creative festival,
makes me positively giddy
and just a little drunk on possibility.

What treasures have you found
in your wanderings?


****************

p.s. Take a moment today to remember the service to our country
that military veterans have rendered and their personal sacrifices,
both large and small.

And Happy 120th Birthday to Washington
which became a state on November 11, 1889.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This Cold is Keeping Me Down

The cold I brought home from Cairo
is cramping my style.
Just going out to buy food exhausts me.
My get up and go has got up and left.

To pick up my spirits, I just have to remember
the fun of browsing in the Khan el-Khalili.
It was built in 1382 by the Emir Djaharks el-Khalili
and was part of the market
tradition
that established Cairo as a major center of trade
.


Like at Alice's Restaurant,
you can get anything you want (or nearly so)
at the Khan: gold, silver, brass, trinkets, clothing, shoes.
There are fragrant spices, pipes for smoking strong Egyptian tobacco.
There are carpets, lamps, art and artifacts.


There are gorgeous scarves and shawls, billed as Pashmina
that are really wool and silk fibers,
shawls that can be had for around $8
if you drive a hard bargain, hard enough that
the shopkeepers will tell you you're trying to make them go broke
and then delightedly close the transaction.


More than anything,
the Khan's a dandy place to people watch.
Young, old, locals, tourists, all the women
except a few tourists with their heads covered.


Shopping, anyone?
Bring your Egyptian pounds and get ready to bargain.
And if you're lucky, I'll show you where
the really flashy scarves can be found. Beaded ones.

At the belly dancing shop,
on the fourth level of the little building
where I took these birds-eye shots.

I'll even show you how to tie them,
so the beads dangle on your forehead
and make you feel dazzling.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Up Before the Sun


This morning,
thanks to the relentless door bumping
of my cats who thought I was a laggard,
I was up before the sun.

On a wet Pacific Northwest morning,
with heavy overcast and leaking clouds,
there is scant reward for being up so early,
except not having to hear the cat thumps and bumps.

Ah, but in Egypt it's a different story.

"Luxor Sunrise" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

No matter where you are,
no matter how gloomy the skies,
I wish you the colors of a Luxor sunrise.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fall Color

I'm looking out the window,
happy to be warm and dry
as I watch the rain sheet down
and wash away the fall color.

I think back to the paintbox
of reds and oranges and golds and yellows
that decorated upstate New York
and soaked us in a riot of color.

"Communion" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

I remember a Saturday filled with color
and kites and wind turbines,
friendships formed over food and images,
beautiful souls shining through their vessels.

"Soaring" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian.


"Harvesting Wind" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

I think of metaphors and shooting photos of a woman on a fence,

"Kissed with Light" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

watching the light dance off the planes of her face,
and wondering if she sees herself as beautiful
like the camera sees her.

"Wondering" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

Probably not. It's easy for us to see
the beauty around us. It's much harder to see
the beauty within us,
even when it lights up the world around us.

Such a blessed place, Earth,
filled with beautiful people and luscious color.

Enjoy your gift of sight today.
And stay warm.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Secrets


Since Mackenzie Phillips
started making the rounds of talk shows,
speaking her truth about her life as she sees it,

I've been thinking about secrets.

The kind of secrets that rule your life,
that make you see yourself as smaller than you are,
that fill you with a sense of shame.

The kind of secrets
that other people urge you to keep,
not for your own good
but for theirs.

What burdens have you carried for someone else
for far too long?


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Luxor Street Scenes


Our Egyptian tour guide
gave us a special treat one night,
a tour of the streets of Luxor
that tourists don't generally see.

These goats have taken up residence
on the street where he was born and where his parents
and grandparents lived before him.

This house is painted with scenes showing the sights
the owner saw on his pilgrimage to Mecca.
This is the way that people tell others about their holy pilgrimage,
publicly reveal their devotion to Islam.

The end of his old childhood street used to be walled off
so there was no direct access to the market area.
They had to take a several-block-long route to reach the market.

The wall of the neighborhood barber shop
tips us off as to the proprietor's religious affiliation.

A wide variety of goods is available
in local markets.

The horse, by the way,
is pulling the cart upon which we were riding,
Seeing American tourists riding on a farm cart
was a source of great amusement
to the citizens of Luxor.

We were more than happy
to have them see us in a new light.

The children were especially excited and amused
to see us.

All in all, it was a night of surprises,
a night of delight.