Looking to the future has been rendered impossible because so many friends, family and acquaintances have already passed on that I feel I have to live today because who knows what will happen tomorrow. On New Year's Eve I wore three beautiful handmade silver and gemstone necklaces. Most of the friends at my dinner asked why I was wearing all three necklaces and were shocked when I said "Well I'll wear them all now because who knows if I'll have a chance to wear each one in years to come."
Another great thing about this year has been a more profound appreciation for having lived my life with an unquestioned devotion to creativity. I didn't think about this devotion constantly over the years but it's been there since I was about five years old. Nothing beats drawing and painting and nothing beats a life based on creating something out of nothing – something that hasn't happened before, something that might have lots of meaning for others; something that usually has lots of meaning for the 'creator.' Now contemplating what might be called retirement I'm again grateful for these gifts of creativity because I always have things to do and things going on in my head and things to observe and feed into my imagination.
With no past, and no future, enveloped by the blessing of creativity, I have an even greater gift from the Gods. My original three children have three mates whom I love and adore (and wish they also were my own children but they already have parents), plus five over-the-top grandchildren almost 20, almost 18, two years old, 18 months old and four months old. They are all boys except for the 20 year old – a cross between Lady Gaga and Mme. Curie. She texts 2000 messages a month.
To see my three children who live far from me takes about six trips a year. I visited Geneva, Switzerland twice including once for the birth of the newest addition in September. I visited Olympia, Washington for the now 18 month old, three times including his first birthday in June. And I went to Omaha for two weeks in May to see the older grandchildren. And they were all here to celebrate my August birthday in April which is when they could all come at once!
This year we had three big Open Studios at our artists building in Sausalito. For the big Christmas show I spackled and repainted my whole studio and hung a completely new series of work. I painted a large view of Yosemite for my son-in-law's 50th birthday but I haven't given it to him yet! For the first time ever we held Open Studios over Labor Day Weekend to coincide with the Sausalito Art Festival which draws well over 50,000 people.
I reconnected with most of my Maine art friends on Facebook. For eighteen years in Maine I painted, had a studio, wrote weekly art stories and columns for Maine newspapers, and worked with arts nonprofits to create innovative projects like the Maine Crafts Guide. Now I feel like I'm part of Maine art again even though I've been in California for eighteen years. This year I also became re-involved in the Internet with Facebook and Twitter and the whole social media revolution.
I spent three weeks in July redoing my garden and was amazed at the fabulous response of the plants to love, care and fertilizer. Toward the end of the year I began a slow transfer from flowering plants to succulents. For the New Year's Eve dinner I put nine small succulents in nine small pots and made a centerpiece on the table. Guests took home the little plants for mementos.
Our all-equals, leaderless writing group was floundering until September when we organized an influx of new members. Now we are nine including four poets, a blind short story writer, a brain-injured genius who discovered he should be a writer, a Ukrainian Horatio Alger, a sweet former marketing executive who writes novels about drug trafficking and other tales from the dark side and me – a droll writer of scary stories that I want to make into Coen Brothers movies.
The highlights of this year have been reconnecting with a school companion from kindergarten through 12th grade whom I had not seen for fifty two years; reconnecting with another high school friend who turned out to be a profound fascinating person; indulging in a far-ranging correspondence with yet another high school friend whom I still haven't seen for fifty years (except five minutes at a reunion and I thought he was dead so I didn't recognize him); visiting my great grandfather's nephew and his family in Manchester, England; seeing all three of my children together at the same time; teaching two baby grandsons to call me Grandma; helping out the first three weeks of my newest grandson's life; and painting and distributing pictures of the new Yosemite picture.
Did someone notice that I am the luckiest person in the world?