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10 May 2008

She had me at "cow town"

Showletter Oh, my.

I love to shop on Etsy. Real artists making art. I've made a conscious commitment to buy handmade.

My dream is to create a small shop at that will include only handmade objects that relate to my blog and book (did I mention I've written a book?), so in service to that vision, I've been exploring Etsy to find artists whose work I love, then asking if they are interested in creating 37days art. (Are you interested? Please provide a link to your work in the comments!)

One day last week, I found beautiful tiles with words on them. My very favorite color. I wrote to ask.

Showletter2Rachel wrote back. Turns out, that the very day I wrote to her was Day 37 of a big life change. She was struck by the synchronicity. So was I. Said she'd love to create some prototypes of tiles with the six practices for intentional living that are outlined in LIFE IS A VERB.

When she sent the photos of them, I burst into tears.

There is something about seeing art made from your words that defies description. I felt that way, too, when all the amazing art flowed in from readers around the world to illustrate the book.

I loved the tiles. Wanted to tile my kitchen so I'd see the six practices every morning when I wake up and stumble in there to make coffee. Wanted to Showletter3 tile my shower so I could meditate on them in the steam. Wanted to create a path of them in my garden. Wanted to carry them all in my handbag so when people irritate me as they are wont to do sometimes AND ESPECIALLY THIS WEEK FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON IS THERE A PLANET IN RETROGRADE?, I could reach in and feel the outline of the words and calm myself right down. I sent the photographs to Mr Brilliant:

"It must feel pretty good seeing your words incised in something (that isn't a tombstone). AND HEY:  speaking of tombstones, looks like she lives in the city where Oliver Loving is buried--remembered, Goodnight-Loving Trail? It was the promise Charlie G made to Oliver to carry his rotting corpse back to TX that inspired old Larry to write Lonesome Dove. So Oliver's trail ended there--she could probably drive there in 15 minutes and put a pebble on his grave if she was so inclined. Your potter lives a few miles from where the trail began for one of your favorite books. Pretty poetic. You should share with her--its a good story."

Showletter6 I think Larry McMurtry's novel, Lonesome Dove, is a Great American Novel. In fact, Mr Brilliant is working on a book about the series of McMurtry novels that are connected to Lonesome Dove. That's how much we like it.

I sent his story to the potter. "Yes!" she wrote back. "We DO live near where Charlie Goodnight is buried - at the Greenwood Cemetery - AND we live off of Greenwood Road. AND Lonesome Dove is one of OUR favorite books too - at LEAST once a year, we get out our Lonesome Dove CD set and watch the entire thing yet again.  We know it by heart. AND -  MY husband's name is Larry.  SO many parallels.  It is Synchronicity and  Serendipity."

Showletter1 She continued: "When I first read the book, Lonesome Dove, I was trail riding about once a month, living in Austin, and I grieved for an entire month when I finished it.  For Gus, AND for the book itself, that it was over.  I was so profoundly moved by that story and completely taken and emotionally involved with all of the  very colorful characters - of course, especially Gus McCrae.  And now I live here - at least 20 years later."

Synchronicity and Serendipity. Her beautiful Life is a Verb tiles will be available for sale (either individually or in a set of 6) soon in the 37 days shop. Do you like them as much as I do? Showletter7_2


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What are the odds? I'm long-time fans of BOTH of y'alls work. Talk about serendipity!

I adore them and can't wait to get my set(s) when they're available. such calm, gentle invitations.

They're beautiful. And the serendipity and synchronicity doesn't surprise me in the least...given your Fairy status. ;) As someone who would on the surface not be a good audience for a Western, I still have fond memories of sitting in my brother's darkened living room (my brother who should have LIVED in a Western)...the two of us in the middle of the day...watching "Lonesome Dove" on VHS...and not wanting to go back to 'the real world'... xoxo

They're unbelievably perfect. Please let us know the minute we can order them!

these are wonderful tiles! I wish Larry McMurtry's book store in n. texas was still open so I could go on my drive-bys.

Lonesome Dove -- one of the great classics.

these are beautiful!! and i'd totally be interested in participating if you'd be interested. i think you know where all my art lives, but if you need a link, let me know. i could do prints of the pieces i did for your book or something else with words...

Oh yes, these are wonderful, wonderful tiles.

Yes!!! But Im a little scared of how much the overseas shipping will cost!

The tiles look like something I'd like to carry in my purse too. So beautiful.

Lonesome Dove is one of my favorite books and movies. I was just telling someone about it the other day, how I loved every word, and cried so hard through the last pages that I kept having to stop until I could see again.

I *do* like them very much - I'd say, as much as you do, but I know there's a special thrill since they're... Well, Patti, I was going to say since they're your words, but that doesn't feel quite right...

OK - here's what I'm seeing: In West African drumming, there are certain, specific rhythms that are played. For the most part, they don't vary much, even from region to region. Kuku will be Kuku, no matter where you go. Many of these rhythms have been played... forever. Since people. The djembe accompaniment to the rhythms have several parts; one (or more) djembe will play one part, while another plays the second, etc. I sometimes "sneak in" a traditional rhythm accompaniment when I lead drum circles; sometimes, it just seems like the right thing to play. I am thrilled beyond measure when someone will, unknowingly, start playing the second part to my first -- usually it's someone who has never even drummed before. It's like these rhythms live in the earth and in the air and in our spirits, and you can tap in and pull it out of the ether.

That's how I see your words - you opened yourself and tapped into something larger; you were a lightning rod and a conduit for these principles, said in the exact word order that you said them. But they've lived in the earth and the air and our spirits -- since people. You opened your heart and gave voice to them; Rachel opened her heart and played the second part of the rhythm.

So - your words? Yep, inasmuch as any words are anyone's. They are yours because they arrived in their own particular order through you. I am very grateful you opened your heart to them. The tiles are speechlessly beautiful.

Happiest Mother's Day to you!

Gassho ~

These are just so perfect and I would so love to tile my kitchen in fact, I'm building a new home later this year and you can bet they'll be somewhere in that house!

They are really beautiful. What wonderful work.

This is just a quick, bleary-eyed, still swimming in my morning coffee, "THANK YOU!" for putting your brain and soul out there. I found your bracelets on skirt, which led me to even more.....
I identify.

Just for fun:

This is not nearly as perfect or customized, but I've always felt like this sounded like a title of one of your essays.

Unfortunately, I doubt I can participate in your project. As a photographer, I don't really "create" the art; I have to wait for it to find me!

In re the last tile: after my 1st husband walked out I remember like it was yesterday sitting on my sofa with my children gone to "visit" their dad and the house empty, saying to myself, "You can live the rest of your life hurt, martyred and bitter or you can choose to say 'yes' to life and live in hope." A few months later I met Scott and he asked me to marry him and again, it was a conscious decision that I made to say "yes." I've never regretted either choice. See why I'm Ebullient?

Funny... I was in Texas last weekend and saw a tile in a tiny shop in SouthTown, San Antonio -- I've been looking for more tiles to string along in my kitchen-that-is-still-decorated-with-someone-else's-ugly-taste-in-wallpaper-but-I-have-no-money-to-redo-it. I didn't buy the tile, because it only spoke to me, and I don't think it would have spoken to my husband and children. But I love these tiles, with words I would like my children (2 and 4 years old) to see every day until they graduate from high school. P.S. I LOVE Lonesome Dove, too. I must go back and reread it.

I have been exploring your blog as a visitor from dressaday with my mouth hanging open, amazed by what I am reading. I have had more than one "37 day" experience since 2005 when my dear Uncle Pete died suddenly, so your words really resonate with me. The books are either familiar or on my 'to read' list, but the real clincher is "Lonesome Dove." I read that book straight through when I was very sick with bronchitis; when I finished it I felt that I could start it again right away and enjoy it just as much. It absolutely transported me.

The mini-series was faithful beyond my wildest imaginings, and Bobby Duvall as Gus? OMG--perfection. I had a "Lonesome Dove" weekend and watched the whole series with a group of girlfriends.

On a more serious note, the tiles speak directly to where I am and want to be in my life NOW. My mother has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's: I am plumbing my depths for courage and grace that I didn't know I possessed. Your words for daily living on these beautiful tiles will provide quiet inspiration.

Thank you!

Today (5/18/08) I found your link on one of my other favorite blogs, A Dress A Day. She posted a link to your post about your daughter's prom dress and I loved it. I am also 48 3/4 (July 18), but I have granddaughter's that I have and will continue to sew for.

I love the tiles and I have decided that they would be perfect in the dream how I will one day build. In the perfect bathroom with the waterfall shower and the jacuzzi tub. Until then, they would just as happily reside in my kitchen....


Yeah, i do like them as much you do :-)... I said "YES" ...

- Anitha

beautiful story, beautiful tiles, how wonderful to see all this falling into place for beautiful you! i have a very big weakness for pottery and have just decided to take my first pottery class since high school this summer. rachel's work is truly an inspiration as are your words, as always.

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