October 31, 2008

It’s Halloween and I’m holed up in my darkened house.

Yes, the Scrooge of Halloween hides again. Usually I go to dinner and a movie with my friend Yoko, but this year I just didn’t feel like getting into the car. It’s been a busy week and the busy-ness is going to continue all next week. So I am enjoying a (very) quiet time keeping the little beggars away. I used to love Halloween when my kids were young, when I was young, but now it just seems like too much candy.

As promised, the sun came out strong this afternoon and Lila and I took a walk in the woods. At the other end of the brook a friendly neighbor came out to chat with us. We commiserated about Halloween. He too said he turns out the lights and hides in the back of his house. He’s thought of handing out toothbrushes and toothpaste. Then he wouldn’t feel so bad about the event. Good idea!

Posted by leya at 08:16 PM

October 28, 2008

How to break (in two) bad news

On the Maritime Noon show (CBC radio, of course), they were talking about how to tell someone they had a terminal illness. The Dalhousie Medical School has had a program for the past ten years using simulated patients with the medical students to give them practice in the art of breaking bad news. It's been very helpful in teaching them how to relate to patients' emotional needs.

At one point in my varied career, I did a lot of patient simulation. I was arthritic for physical therapy students, violently angry (I don’t remember why) for paramedics, helping my aging parent get the right medication for medical qualifying exams, and many other roles.

One of the most memorable roles I played was with a medical student. She had to tell me that, due to a possible error in judgment on her part, my elderly husband had died. She was visibly upset in telling me this. My reaction, without planning at all, was to put my hand on her knee and say “That’s all right, dear. It must have been his time. He had a good life. Don’t worry. It’s okay.”

She didn’t know what to say after that. I’m not sure which of the two of us was more shocked.

Posted by leya at 08:24 PM | Comments (1)

October 22, 2008

Reverberations from collaborations

Ever since my Friday night excursion into collaborative art-making, I’ve been haunted by the energy of the experience. It’s in my mind and in my hand, wanting to come out in the work in my studio. I want the freedom I felt then, the abandonment of inhibitions that came with the single-mindedness of painting, not even caring about the people watching, just feeling like the paint was part of me and I wasn’t really there. And the interplay of another person’s brush strokes. Being fed by someone else’s creative energy. Playing with it, changing it, enjoying it.

That haunted feeling is what makes creativity. It’s the obsessiveness of the creative process. It’s the dwelling place. It’s exciting, it’s demanding, it’s absorbing. It’s home.

Posted by leya at 08:09 PM

October 19, 2008

Autumn breeze

A couple of days ago, Lila and I went out for a walk in the early morning. It had been raining the night before but the sky was clear, the air crisp. As we walked along the road I heard what seemed to be rain in the woods but it wasn't raining at all on the road. It seemed strange. But then I realized it was the leaves falling from the trees.

Winter cannot be stopped. It will be here soon enough.

Posted by leya at 05:19 PM

October 18, 2008


Visual Arts Nova Scotia (VANS for short) had a fundraising “event” last night, an interactive, improvisational community painting frenzy called CANVAS. A group of artists gathered together at the St. Mary’s Boat Club to work on three double-sided panels. Starting with a literary passage for inspiration, the goal was to work together to complete a “painting” by the end of the evening.

I really didn’t want to go to the event at all. It was the end of a long tiring week. I would have been happy to watch Coronation Street and then curl up with a good book (I’m now reading To Kill a Mocking Bird and enjoying it very much), but I had agreed a couple of months ago to participate so I pulled myself together and went. When I first walked into the room, I looked around and was paralyzed with the thought of painting in front of all these people. My work process is very private, time consuming, intimate. Other than my children, I’ve never allowed an audience. Then I found a like minded fellow artist and we shared our discomfort.

But to my surprise some magic happened. I found a panel that had been started with a series of large (and small) hearts outlined in black. So I found some red paint and then some yellow and started splashing the paint on. Another painter joined me and we had a wonderful time. Sometimes I would paint over his work and sometimes he changed mine. It was exciting and it was challenging and it was fun. Sometimes the painting looked like mud but because it was acrylic it was easy to bring it back to life.

The only bummer in the end was I didn’t have my camera with me. So I’m hoping someone will email me a photo and I’ll post it here later.

Posted by leya at 08:13 PM

October 08, 2008

By the brook again

The weather has been very cooperative lately for us to have long walks in the woods by the brook. It is also turning warm, real Indian Summer weather.






Posted by leya at 05:53 PM

October 05, 2008

Orpheus and Eurydice

I went to see Compagnie Marie Chouinard from Montreal Friday night. They danced Orpheus and Eurydice to a full house. The performance was perfect. A beautifully integrated piece using voice, body and costume (accentuating the bare essentials of body) along with great movement, amazing music, exquisite lighting. And lots of fun.

I enjoyed this performance much better than the one last year's bODY_rEMIX/gOLDBERG_vARIATIONS. This was more human. Less props.One of the more fascinating elements (for me) was seeing one of the male dancers with a less than perfect body, with a soft belly. Very nice, very human. That seems to sum up the entire piece for me—very human.

Posted by leya at 07:56 PM