When we came back from those three years in Indonesia with the kids, I went to work as a merchandiser for Recycled Paper Greetings. My favorite client was the new Hastings bookstore that had just opened up there in Midland, Texas. I loved it for several reasons. First of all, they loved me. I came in and cheerfully went about the work of unpacking orders, stocking and straightening, setting up seasonal displays, taking inventory, and placing orders for any cards they were low on -- all things the employees would otherwise have to do themselves. Of course they loved me! I loved the fact that I could set my own hours, and create whatever schedule worked best for me. I was also tickled that this particular store had turned out to be much more successful than my employers had ever anticipated, and was therefore making me a whole lot more money than they had expected to pay me. Most of all, though, I loved it for the books and music. The music manager had very eclectic taste, and always had something wonderful playing as I did my work. One album in particular almost put me into a trance each time he played it. Finally I went to him and said "Whatever that is that you keep playing, I gotta have it!" Turns out it was that first Pavarotti & Friends CD -- the one featuring Sting. (Imagine that, me, buying opera!) As for the books, well, the card section just happened to back up to the information desk, so the whole time I was working, I could hear what books people were asking for, and what they had to say about them.
One day while I was there, something amazing happened. A steady stream of women came into the store, one after another, all asking for the same book -- Simple Abundance. Finally my curiosity got the best of me, and I went to chat with the book manager. Turns out this book had just been featured on Oprah, and now every woman in the country wanted it! I decided I'd better grab a copy before they ran out of them, just to see what all the hubbub was about. It changed my life. It taught me how to become the woman I was created to be -- the one I had somehow lost sight of.
Anywho, let's jump forward about eighteen years, to my discovery of mixed media art, and art journaling. A common practice is to start a project by layering on some old book pages or sheet music, to use as a background. I went to the thrift store to see what I could find, and there was a copy of Simple Abundance with nicely yellowed pages. (I still have my original copy, of course, but would never consider tearing it up!) I brought it home, and tore out one page to use in this project.
To quote Linda Ronstadt, "well let me tell you that it hurt so bad." I haven't torn another page out since. I did, however, have the most brilliant brain fart yesterday. Up until this point I have done all my art journaling in brand new books, made specifically for that purpose, and have managed to ignore the whole "altered books" phenomena. It just seemed like way too much trouble. But then, yesterday, I started off writing something about gratitude in my morning pages, then switched to reading an article in the latest issue of Sommerset's Art Journaling magazine, which had several techniques that I was dying to try. Later, I thought about blogging about gratitude, then remembered that one of the first chapters in Simple Abundance was about keeping a gratitude journal, so I went to grab that second copy and re-read what it had to say about the subject. Suddenly, I just knew...
this book wasn't meant to be torn up and used in other journals and projects. This book was meant to BE an art journal...a gratitude journal -- one where I can try out new techniques and experiment to my heart's content, with no expectations of an "end product" in mind, where I can scribble whatever is on my mind at the moment, and where bits and pieces of the original text can peek through the paint -- to remind, to awe, and to inspire.
Jeez-Louise! Don't you just love it when things come together like that? It makes me feel so very, well, grateful.