Home again, but I wasn’t really ready to come home. I wanted to stay. Although it was a challenge to balance work and play while away, and although I felt myself constantly trying to fit my ICAD in around the edges of the days and with the limited tools I had with me, I have been rolling in the grass-is-always-greener conundrum since my return.
I miss many things that are true while we are away. There is an undeniable loneliness to coming home, a mental quiet and silence and stillness. There is so much laughter when we are away. There are so many games of cards. The days are long, and full, and yet while away, certain elements made working on ICAD possible, condusive, doable… things I hadn’t expected or realized but am seeing now that I am home. I was working on “work” sitting in a chair with my Chromebook on a footstool in front of me most days, and in between projects or calls or while I waited on things to load, I had ICAD cards spread around me, a bag of pens on the table next to me. The transition between one and the other was seamless. In the kitchen, on the bar, I had a stack of magazine clippings, a gluestick, a bag of fabric scraps, a travel watercolor set, and a pink plastic box of finished and in-progress cards. It was easy to walk to that contained space, stand there and make decisions, sift through clippings and scraps, add a bit of color. I found myself making and taking time.
Home again, I feel unexpectedly lost.
And ICAD almost slipped. In the hustle of the travel days, I almost let myself get too far behind. I didn’t want to get behind at all this year, but it happened. I got a day behind. Then, the day we arrived home, I was so unbelievably tired for most of the day that the gulf between me and my cards threatened to widen. Over the next few days, the sheer tiredness disipated, but the feeling of weight, of sluggishness, didn’t.
I haven’t completely found creative footing back home again. Awareness that this moment of return to my life and all the footholds of reality that go along with that has toppled me in the past is palpable for me. I have listened to my internal voices over the last two days. I know this is a precarious moment. I know that last year my pre-travel committment to being here waned upon my return. Last year, I didn’t really see it coming. This year, I see it… I am watching it… I am hearing my internal dialogue and trying to sort out how things shift in such a small time. I am here tonight, sifting my words, determined.
While I mull things over, ICAD continues.
When packing to come home, I held a few cards out that I felt might still need some attention (ICAD Circle members have discussed “completion”). I carried a few cards on the plane. Others were stuffed in the pink plastic index card box. Others have been stashed here and there, tucked in my book (A Spool of Blue Thread), my traveler’s notebook, my smaller journal, and even in the box of blank cards. Every book or notebook I pick up seems to have a card (either a drawn one or a blank one) tucked within its pages.
I have had a perpetual problem keeping up with what each day’s prompt is. When the prompts are released, I screenshot the (pretty) Daisy Yellow graphic with the numbered list for reference, but often it seems I end up looking up the list on the Daisy Yellow site as I consider the card for the day.
As I contemplated my (slight) slippage, and the risk of a widening gap, I grabbed a scrap of paper (e.g., I tore off part of a Jimmy John’s sandwhich shop bag that I kept for collage). I headed to the ICAD Index page, and I made a list of the prompts from 15-28 (weeks 3 and 4) and checked them off, one by one, as I mentally matched up the cards I had made. Without my cards in front of me, a few of the prompts momentarily stumped me… what had I drawn for “17 Landscape”? What did I do for “21 Invent-a-Prompt”? In fact, I hadn’t missed anything in week 3. I knew that, but checking off the list helped ground me.
Tonight, while stenciling in the numbers on the two newest cards, I found other cards spilling out of my composition book, finally unpacked. In the weeks before ICAD, I drew a number of “stuffed things.” I evidently drew even more of them than I thought. A few of those warmup cards spilled into view tonight and surprised me.
I need to make a list, a better list. I need to make a full list of the warmups and the ICAD 2016 prompts and my own cards for each.
And I need to clear off my desk (somehow) and pretend as I sit at my computer day in and day out that I am working on a footstool and can shift to creative tasks at any point without making a production of the shift.