My prophetic wardrobe

This top is homework.  Purchased under instruction to  “nourish the artist within”. Though mine’s been a little slack of late, I’m trying the carrot approach for a change.


Doyenne of creativity Julia Cameron was in town a week ago and I had a ticket to see her. She’s a screen writer, author, playwright, poet, composer, once married to Martin Scorsese. Over two days she  instructed us on how to recover  our creative selves. She in turn was her brilliant and generous self. Working in clusters (I want you to approach 2 strangers)on her exercises we covered a lot of ground. Our identity as artists, beliefs (good and bad, wrong and right), possibilities, compassion, abundance, strength, connections. There were some big things that needed addressing but some immediate fixes too.What change could we make to our homes that would improve our perspective? What change to our bedroom or bathroom? To the kitchen? Replace a faulty toaster…change a light bulb…paint a wall. Then she had us look at ourselves. A body scan from head to toe but starting with crown to neck, what change could we make? Treat ourselves to a perfume, buy a moisturiser. Go to the hairdresser.


Right on cue, a day later a pal told me of a designer pop-up shop selling off their stock. I knew the action I’d take for the clavicle to waist treat. In fact once there I treated myself down to my toes and invested in a wardrobe worthy of a prolific and successful creative. With wild abandonment I purchased silks, cashmere, leather, sparkle. I had a blast. Julia would have approved. Smart tailoring for events, bling for awards, vamp for date nights. I even pulled together a look for a December stroll along Fifth Avenue. All for a fraction of the label cost. Now I just have to work on the business to go with the life and wardrobe. Chronologics askew perhaps but it  will all slot in to place in the end I’m sure.

When curiosity calls

An elderly man in a green apron was stood on my doorstep. “Anything to sharpen” he asked.

I didn’t think I had, guessing wit and intellect weren’t part of his repertoire. So I declined his offer and off he shuffled. I heard his footsteps on next door’s gravel path. I went back to my laptop but  with a niggle. Maybe I was turning down more than a sharp blade. Through journaling I encourage people to be curious about their lives and other people’s too. So how could I dismiss this provocation.

I chased the man up the street. He hadn’t gotten very far. He was quite lame and making slow progress. I offered him tea but he had work to do – he told me he’d chat over a knife (£1).He’d carry on with his door-to-door enquiries and I was to come and find him when I had my blade. I went to my kitchen drawer. There was nothing for him there. We are managing fine with what we have and sharp utensils with children is not a clever combination. Surly there’s something that needs doing. No response from D’s mobile so I called him at work. The receptionist tracked him down. He wasn’t especially happy to be pulled from a client meeting to talk blunt(ly) with me though he did make a suggestion.

I went to the shed and retrieved the garden clippers. I caught Mr Smithy (the name he gave me) walking back to his wagon. He was delighted with these blades – a pair! He tells me he travels all over with his work – Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. His father taught him his trade just as he has passed on the skills to his daughters. He’s not so busy these days but he’s getting old and  he said he won’t complain about business. He gets enough. He opened his van, his workstation, and he started his grinding wheel.  Orange sparks flew as he chiselled my clippers. For a moment I was with Elizabeth Walton in the family timber mill.  Or was that Laura Ingalls at the forge. Responding to Mr Smithy had taken me back to a time before dispose and replace, where make do and mend held a simple integrity. He thanked me for my custom and gave me a squeeze. “Oh, it’s nice to get a cuddle” he said. For a man that works with sharp objects he’s a real softie. I’m glad that my curiosity got the better of me today.



Lessons from nature


A genius from Apple sorted out my cracked screens and migration solved the bird poop situation. Both were blights on my perspective. So my outlook is improving steadily as I work through life’s snag list .

For some days I’d been driving around without a right indicator and brake light. Easy to remedy. But not if, like me, you harbour a distrust towards motor mechanics and feel especially vulnerable in interactions with them. So bracing myself for the rip-off I drove to a small garage in our neighbourhood. Two men were busy working on a car. One offered to look my vehicle over.

He lifts the bonnet up, opens the boot and starts doing his thing. I resist the urge to talk about rogue traders and exposes as I’ve done in the past in a slightly Tourette-esque way. It doesn’t endear me to them and my suspicion triggers a self–fulfilling prophecy.

Ten minutes pass when hands are wiped on an oil rag and I ask how much they want.  He looks to his mate and I brace myself. “ Tony, what do you reckon… a contribution to our tea fund should do it?”  He tells me the bulbs only cost a few pounds and were lying around the garage. I have £7 in my purse so hand that over. I promise to bake them a cake . I leave feeling so much better after the repair. I hadn’t realised how anxious I’d been driving apologetically with my faulty lights.  I can’t believe my luck and their generosity. I needed that nod from the universe.

Today I went to make good on my offer. I dropped off the home-baked cake. They weren’t expecting it – this shot of serendipity.

It felt good to spread a little joy. I basked in that awhile until I was hit by a wave of uncertainty re the direction and speed of my own projects. Surly you’ve lodged enough in the Karma bank etc. The internal chatter went on. Until I was literally stopped in my tracks by crunching underfoot. All these little acorns spread out on the pavement ahead of me. Oh I love a sign. I smile. I hear ya.

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow

Sure, aspire to be/think/create the best. But remember a mighty oak doesn’t sprout overnight. Honour the acorns and marvel in the transformation.