I would have rather had a night in Paris over just a Paint Night Paris style, but beggars can’t be choosy.
Plus, it was a fundraising event for the PAC at Archer’s school. And I love me a good paint night! Last Friday night I went with my friend Emily, whose oldest daughter is in Archer’s kindergarten class and youngest daughter goes to day care with Maverick, to the kids’ school for paint night.
This is the painting that we were going to paint:
And, though I am hesitant to show you, this is the painting that I ended up with:
I have had fun at every paint night I’ve done in the past, which is two, so not a lot. But this one … this one was really hard! I like to take my time with things, creatively, and this painting had a lot of different steps to it. I fell behind rather quickly and then skipped a couple of steps when the lead artist started going over the Eiffel Tower, it’s kind of a focal point and I didn’t want to miss her instructions. My feeling at the time was that I wanted to let go and just paint, but I don’t really know how to do that. I was enjoying lazily mixing colours, letting the brush meander.
I just didn’t have time for it.
This feeling, of the project being out of my control, was reflected in something else that happened this week that has to do with my schooling. A big proponent of the Writer’s Studio is your workshop group, which is a group of fellow writers, hand-picked by a mentor. My group is fiction. Each of the stories being written by my peers is really beautiful, some not the type of books I typically read, but the writing is great nonetheless. Every second Tuesday evening, we meet online to discuss twelve pages of new writing submitted by three of the writers. I couldn’t get through the stories this week. Not yet, anyways. And it doesn’t feel very good.
Two of the excerpts came with trigger warnings for violence, which is something that I don’t enjoy reading about or watching, so I started with the third submission. The story is set on Vancouver Island, where we follow a woman on a solo camping trip on the north Island. The scene builds slowly and skips portions of the story that the writer hasn’t written yet. It was great, I was really enjoying it, until I had to stop reading. I didn’t see where the story was going and then I saw a name that froze me in my tracks. The protagonist met someone named Rae on her travels while out in the wilderness alone.
I couldn’t read any more. It hit far too close to home.
Thankfully, my mentor was understanding and told me that it was okay if I couldn’t read the piece, or provide my feedback. She also said that she would understand if I couldn’t make it through the violent pieces either, and would give me a better idea what exactly they were about when she read them. I felt discouraged that I wasn’t able to do my homework for a program I love and am finding extremely helpful while writing my next book. I’m sad, even, that it’s likely not what’s best for me to participate in next week’s workshop. But I know what’s healthy for my state of mind, and I recognize the choice that I need to make. That’s the thing about boundaries … just because you put them in place doesn’t mean it’s easy. Sometimes it’s the hardest thing to do for the best of reasons.
Not as hard as painting an abstract version of the freaking Eiffel Tower.
But close. 😉
Painting and pondering,