One week down

10923582_10155022976295048_734283691227867210_nA week ago today I arrived in Taos here to the Mabel Dodge Luhan House to begin my long awaited residency.  It has, thus far, been a magical time filled with wonderful opportunities for inspiration around every bend.  I have had a chance to catch up with my Taos based community of friends over tea and the odd burger and beer.  I have had hours to walk and admire the natural beauty, even on the meltiest, most muddy of tracks.  I’ve been able to set up a bit of a routine which looks a bit like ‘up, write, coffee, check emails etc, write or draw some more, take a walk, have some lunch or a visit with a friend, walk some more, work some more, have some dinner, and then paint.’

I am so thrilled to have so much time and energy to myself.  While time is certainly passing as it is wont to do, each day feels nearly endless.

treesI love the idea of having enough energy at the end of the day to get a second wind and play with my oil paints. Here in Taos, where so much seems possible, I have been able to paint a bit in the evenings.  And to think I considered not packing my oil paints…..

cactiIt’s been an interesting transition into full time creative work on a daily basis.  When at home I am used to dividing my time between day job work, animal/household daily chores, cooking etc.  Just dealing with the day to day life of things which are part of my very rich and gratifying life.  I fit the art and writing in where I can.  gorge

However, here in New Mexico, everyday I stand at the edge of a great chasm of time and space which, I will admit, had me a little rattled upon arriving.  While I managed to step up to the drawing board and writing notebook a great deal each day to go about making the necessary work at hand, I spent my first few working days under the great weight of a sense of generalized anxiety, the likes of which I had not experienced in ages.  Not just nerves but the Utter Sense of Crushing Doom for which I am, sadly, somewhat hard wired.  The familiar elephant on my chest just wouldn’t let up.

So I walked, I wrote, I practiced my flute, I painted and drew picture postcards to place myself into the heart and mind of Ginger.  I just kept moving.  There is a lot of current writing and talking about creative work and how it can tend to go hand in hand with anxiety, what with all of the unknowns faced by those of us giving birth to new things and the vulnerability inherent to this work.  At least I’m in good company.

After some well timed conversations with friends who get this side of me, I began to visualize the elephant on my chest and decided to ask her why she might have taken up residence on my heart, disallowing this work I truly love so much.  And a word came to mind.  Play.  And then another. Relax.  So I opted to take an afternoon off of drawing and writing and took myself and my elephant for a hike.  Not just a walk for exercise, but a real hike a little out of town to a little bench I had heard might be waiting at the edge of the Rio Grande Gorge.

Elephant and I had a little chat.  I told her that while I can work when she’s snuggled so weighty upon me, it’s actually much easier to let ideas flow when I am not in a state of overwhelming anxiety.  She looked over at the gorge and asked me if she might ever be able to ride the wind in the way of the Eagle.  I told her anything is possible.



And so, on the little bench at the edge of the Gorge, I helped elephant strap on a little harness which is linked to a very capable parachute, enabling her to safely ride the thermals.  To my knowledge, she is still out there.  But I’ve made her a little bed in the corner by the fire to lie in and have promised her a lollipop if she keeps to herself while I work once she decides to come back.

Adjusting to life in Taos is exhilarating and challenging and different every time I visit, so those first few days feeling so weighty is no huge surprise.  Therefore, it is also no surprise that now the elephant has stepped away for the time being, I am finally feeling comfortable in my own skin again.  I am relaxing and playing and getting even more work done.  (Funny how that works, isn’t it?)

I’m taking my daily adventures and figuring out what Ginger Small has to think about it all.  She’s having a ball.  She has skied with her friends (utilizing the handy Raven Ski Lift Company who are ever so trustworthy as one cannot be too careful in the mountains when one is a mere Small Creature)photo



And Ginger managed to make friends with a field mouse on the Pueblo who taught her how to walk quietly among the buffalo and to gather the purple cacti that small creatures find so medicinal.  This adventure was exceptionally powerful.


The Wonderings and Wanderings of a Small Creature in a Big World is coming together – bit by juicy little bit.   I am enjoying the work and am so grateful to have the opportunity to be here. You all continue to remind me how loved and supported I am while out here…

mailMail is a thrilling thing.  I’m excited to head into week 2 of conjuring the Adventuresome Correspondences of one Ginger Small.  

p.s. There’s been a fair amount of counting in a long lost language of rhyme in the Rabbits Who Herd Sheep department as well.

Do stop in over on facebook, instagram, twitter etc to keep up with our adventures.  And thank you, again, from the bottom of my thankfully lightened heart.

Comments (7)

  • Angie Moore January 13, 2015 - 8 years ago

    Dearest Amy – thank you for this wonderfully frank and inspiring post. I, too, suffer from the dreaded anxiety when creating and loved the gentle way you worked with your elephant to resolve the problem. Blessings, my dear, as you continue your sacred work. much love – Angie xxx

    • amy January 13, 2015 - 8 years ago

      Thanks always for reading my posts Angie. I’m glad I laid bare the Elephant’s Tale. Sharing lightens the load. And she is still not back from wherever she went. We have snow today. I am guessing she is skiing somewhere or making elephantine snow angels.

  • CC January 13, 2015 - 8 years ago

    Am so glad your heart is lightened! Live in Joy!

  • Robyn Elliot January 13, 2015 - 8 years ago

    Amy, what a delightful and beautiful Post. The artwork is absolutely wonderful, and your honesty and integrity shine through your words and images. Enjoy every single moment of this creative life you have now; I completely understand when you talk about all the other stuff there is to do, and balancing those necessities with creativity. You are inspiring and courageous. Thank you for sharing.

    • amy January 13, 2015 - 8 years ago

      Robyn Thank you for your comment! I really did debate whether to share any ‘struggles’ of being here because it is so wonderful and such a gift. But at yoga yesterday, the lovely instructor read some quotes, the theme of them being, there is no light without darkness and that we must embrace that about ourselves which may be in shadow. And that’s been a theme lately for me. So I went for it in the blog post and it has seemed to strike a nerve in fellow creatives and readers of the blogs. Thank you for taking the time to read my post. It is much appreciated.

  • Penny January 15, 2015 - 8 years ago

    Thanks for this lovely post Amy. You cannot be afraid to share the struggle of creating art, however defined. No one who knows you would think that you are being a weenie! The community loves you and lifts you up.

    • amy January 22, 2015 - 8 years ago

      I’m not sure what I love more, your undying and loving support of my work or the fact that you just used the word weenie in a comment. 🙂 Love love love you Ms. Penny and cannot wait to spend part of June (in New Mexico!!!!) with you.


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