Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mardi Gras Whack

I woke up cranky, for no reason at all. It's the sort of morning when I stop to admire the incredible beauty of the rising sun, the softly glowing magenta streaks behind the stark black branches of our beech tree, and all I can really see is how badly the windows need washing. It's like that.

I had a great idea for a blog post, which I can't remember. My daughter lost her car keys, and left for school late, in a huff. (Actually she left in one of our old minivans, since my husband could find the keys to it, but you know what I mean.) The odoriferous incontinent dog is coughing again--I'll have to take him to the vet. Again. Everything that was right and good in my life yesterday evening, when I was terrifically content, is still right and good, except that I seem to have misplaced my contentment in the same way my daughter misplaced her keys.

I should be writing my novel. I don't know what to write--yesterday I realized I'd taken a wrong turn, backed up a few pages, did some research, made some notes--anyway, I can't tell whether I truly do need to let it sit, or whether I'm just being lazy. I hate being lazy. On the other hand, a nap sounds nice. I could sit here all day and play computer games while convincing myself that computer games, since they involve sitting at the computer, are almost writing. I probably should give up computer games for lent.

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. Today is Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras. Historically--way back in the day, when all forty days of Lent involved fasting from not only meat but every animal product, milk, butter, cheese--Mardi Gras was the day to eat up all these soon-to-be forbidden items, so that nothing went to waste. I don't need to worry about that, and I'm not really in the mood to snarfle up my weight in pastries, but I've decided to make this day a treat. I'm going to do art today.

I love art. I love drawing and painting. I always have. But I've always held it out as something I could do later, when I got all my important work done. In grade school "art" was mostly crafts; in my low-budget, overcrowded Catholic middle school it was taught by our homeroom teachers once a week, and so barely existed at all. My high school had a decent art department, I think, but I was busy taking all the honors courses and four years of foreign language and all the science in the world. (It didn't help that we had only six classes, one of them religion--Catholic school--one English, one math, and one some sort of history/P.E./government requirement. Add foreign language and science and you were done.) I never got to take art, though I always wanted to. In college I was a chemistry major fulfilling pre-med requirements, (yes, really!) sneaking in writing classes where I could. Second semester senior year, I let myself take Introduction to Drawing. My final exam, framed, hangs in my office today, right over the section of countertop that holds all my art supplies.

I have lots of art supplies. I sometimes take one- or two-day classes in the summer now. I have acrylic paints, and oils, and colored pencils, and blank canvases and lots of ideas. And I wait for when I feel I deserve to use them. Meanwhile, I play computer games.

Written down, doesn't this seem whack? Completely, utterly whack. Maybe I need to do art for Lent. Happy Mardi Gras, everyone. I'm off to make a mess in my office. I can feel contentment seeping back already.