I’m finishing up a Haven marathon. If you’re not familiar with this SyFy Channel show that got cancelled last year, think Stephen King (it’s based on one of his stories) when he’s not at his best. Hokey, repetitive and, at times, incomprehensible, but with enough great characters and moments of genius dialog to keep my attention. Gloria, the smart-ass coroner, is worth it all by herself. And Dwight, the Chief of Police, isn’t hard to look at either (This GIF is from an episode where they switched bodies—one of my faves).
The folks in Haven, Maine have Troubles—like attracting bullets, or talking to the dead, or blowing up anything they touch. I always liked that understated description for the load of misery the townsfolk suffer. Troubles. I’ve unofficially adopted it this summer. As in “my Trouble is flaring up.”
Which it did today. I got a naggy, creepy-crawly feeling that something bad was about to happen, sort of a Stephen King version of anxiety. Everyone looked suspicious and a little dangerous. And I was worried about screwing up my art projects.
However, I finished a couple of things without unfixable mishaps. I put together my first art journal in over a decade. Even though the memory of making those first ones got lost in the ECT void, I kept the written instructions and assembled all the ingredients over the past couple of weeks. I watched the Dark Fret try to stop me from finishing today, but pushed on. Somehow, it helped to have this new journal done. I did it. While Troubled.
I also finished a new piece for my front door. The text comes from Stephen Dunn’s poem, Reversal, which I loved so much I posted it a few days back.
I worked on this for weeks, waiting after each coat of paint or bit of grunge to see what would arise. Working with matte medium and fabric for the first time, I panicked over the result, then took sand paper to it and loved the effect. Yesterday I tore apart an old alarm clock for the gears. Today, I finished it with gloss medium and hated it. My Trouble screamed, “Ruination!”
The negativity and fear my Trouble conjures up slips into my body like an old, familiar song. But, practice helps me turn down the volume and remember there are no mistakes—just unexpected detours. Art work, fiction, life may not turn out the way I envision them, but they turn out. Most of the time, those detours are the best part of my day. Troubled or not.