May has been a month of Big Magic for me. And I mean that as in the title of a book I’m reading by Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame called Big Magic. I’ve read plenty of creativity books, including most notably The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, but Gilbert’s is by far my favorite.
Gilbert understands that creativity can come from either the Martyr archetype (cranked out under duress and torment) or the Trickster, who takes art with all the seriousness a flickering, changing moment of time allows. She understands, as I do, that the world speaks to us in synchronicities and dreams.
I have accumulated so many synchronicities in the month of May alone as to make my own Basket of Improbables. Two of them involve simply running into Gilbert’s name when I was in “the zone” doing my art.
(Below is a mini-gallery of three captioned images. Click on the first one, then there is a little arrow on the right that you can click to progress the slides. There is a second gallery further down the page that works the same way.)
But the story of this video underscores the power of synchronicity to sign us on our way…
Under the hard and shiny surfaces of things, there is another world…
On May 19, Peter and I gave a big party for my 68th birthday. My Other Brother Michael Paige gave me a strange object; even as he held it up, I saw that it was something my dad had made—necessarily back in the early 1970s.
Mickey/Mom, now age 92, also instantly recognized the maker’s hand and burst into tears of grief. This was no passing storm; she sobbed from the basement of the world for a solid thirty minutes, effectively bringing the party to an unusually nuanced close.
The following weekend, Peter and I went to Lincoln City, Oregon, for me to take a digital storytelling workshop at the Sitka Center for Ecology and Art from Oregon’s new Poet Laureate Kim Stafford and his hard-working teacher/wife, Perrin Kerns.
(Second short slideshow below. Clickety-click!)
I decided to write about this very cool object Michael gave me, which was a DIY car window camera mount. I would include my parents, Warren and Mildred.
Yesterday, I worked on it for an intense three hours in the library at Sitka. As I began, I cleared off my work surface of a paper someone had left behind. I glanced at it, and it said “Gilbert.”
I smiled at the go-ahead sign from the universe I received from it and dove into my project. Three hours later, I looked up, stretched, and saw the sign over the door: “Warren and Mildred Hale Reference Library.”
The name “Gilbert” is common enough just to evoke a smile as it reminds me of the book by Gilbert, Big Magic, but these two names are unusual enough and even rarer together that I went beyond a smile to hairs raising on my arms and a big flash of light behind my eyes. I had absolutely no question but I was in the right place at the right time with the right people.
This story just keeps blossoming:
This morning I got a message from Paula Goodbar of the Emerald Arts Center in Springfield, Oregon, asking me if I would teach a class in iPhone photography, and I couldn’t resist offering a follow up class in digital storytelling using pocket technology—phones and tablets.
I always thought I’d say no if such an offer came my way again after eight years as a Faculty Technology Specialist at Lane Community College, but the timing on this offer is just way too full of Big Magic.
May has been a month of friendship, learning, luck, creativity, hard work, and, above all, let me say it one more time: