Ever find yourself in the place where you thought happily-ever-after would be and it doesn’t remotely resemble your imaginings? Did you shop the wrong store? Miss an expiration date?
What do YOU do when your happily-ever-after package does not look, in hand, the same way it looked on the shelf?
I am inspired to tear up books. Okay, I hear you book lovers gasping. I love books, too, so let me explain.
Flashback from Bernadette’s Pages: An Intimate Crossroad:
“Last night I tore up the copy of The Artist’s Way that Ray gave me. Page by page. I was so methodical. So angry… I didn’t know the woman who could do this. I couldn’t control her. Scribbled “commentaries,” in crayon, on the pages. Things I have been wanting to say to him… I am not letting him have any part of my artist self… I packed up all our special love trinkets. The cards. The handmade gifts… Tossed The Artist’s Way pages on top… He can take it all with him. When he got home, it upset him to see what I had done. He seemed really sad that I would have destroyed things that were important to me. Like they were sacred somehow…”
He was right. They were, and are still, sacred. I didn’t know it at the time but that outburst was the beginning of a birthing process for the kind of artist I am today.
As a matter of fact, as an artist and writer fascinated with the mixed-media expressions of art journaling and altered books, I consider this Artist’s Way copy to be my first altered book. Born of angst with a touch of drama, granted, but no less authentic to the process of transformation that this form of creative expression invites.
But that was THEN. What about NOW?
I am writing this post because there are some who question if that same angst is being expressed through my “121 Ways to Tear Up that Book” project. That book being Bernadette’s Pages: An Intimate Crossroad with a very different happily-ever-after than the one I am experiencing now, as a currently divorced woman.
There is no angst in tearing up my book for art. Letting my writer-self and artist-self play together with this project enriches me and reminds me that happily-ever-after is not a static destination but an attitude I can take delight in – if I choose.
Divorce did not destroy the value of THAT book as a book. We were graced with another 18 years of growth that led to levels of awareness and forgiveness deeper than we could have known back then. Those pages share a relevant “in the hood” transformative journey, one that we choose to continue today. That marriage did not fail. It did what it was supposed to do so we could preserve what is precious between us by choosing a healthier form for continuing growth.
So, trust me, I am not harvesting any sour grapes while tearing up these books. I am loving the creative process and challenge of visually upcycling the experience and awareness those pages offer NOW. In tearing up my book and making art I am reminded that happily-ever-after shifts and changes as we do. See, in my book, happily-ever-after is who we become.
So, what do YOU think about happily-ever-after? Would love to have you share your thoughts and experiences here!
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