Kass Hall and I speak to one another through Facebook, she is also a (4 time) cancer survivor and she has written a book, soon to be published about Zentangles, called Zentangle Untangled. Kass recently wrote a review of Dreaming from the Journal Page on her blog. Then she went and wrote this post.
And I got to thinking. When I was diagnosed, it was the exact same week I received the contract for Dreaming from the Journal Page. I approach life with a glass half full mentality. So, if you can’t do anything about a situation (in this case that would be a cancer diagnosis), and you love making stuff and have a contract sitting on your desk to write a book. You write that book and do whatever else needs doing, like get chemo and have surgery. This seems normal to me. Many people act as though this is an aberration, and make statements like, ‘I would curl up in a ball and sleep during something like that’. (Kass didn’t say this, but more than one person has.)
To which, I am nonplussed. Really?
But my thing is, if in doubt, paint something. If my mind is filled with negative, start a project and focus intently on it until reason prevails. Fear will always beckon, it’s the ‘frenemy’ you wanna shake and can never quite release. So, why give the mind a chance to settle in that place? And I am not saying that writing a book while going through treatment for breast cancer, or any cancer or sickness, is an easy thing to do, not at all. Maybe I am grateful that I have cultivated the wherewithal to apply art to major life experiences-no matter how challenging.
Where do you find courage and ability? Are you one of those who might curl in a ball and sleep? I find courage in the making. Painting, drawing, sewing, it fortifies me. It reminds me that I have ability and can push myself further. It reminds me that I want to be better, live more, extend myself to the limits of possibility.
To have my life threatened by a disease and to know that my lease on life is tenuous at best? That seems like courage to me. Or at the very least the impetus to be courageous. At the same time, I often feel like Kass, I know what I want and the steps I need to take in order to make my goals acheivable, but I freeze.
Are you frozen? Do you apply art to necassary situations? How do you cope with challenging circumstances? Kass and I would like to know.