Thursday, December 29, 2011

More questions: I blame Jack

Jack Skellington, the purse.

No longer one to look back on the year behind and find its faults, I am also no longer one to set impossible goals because the calendar says January 1. I do, however, have a specific question: am I, a genuine senior citizen, able to carry, happily and unapologetically, my new Jack Skellington purse to the cardiologist, etc., or do I want to keep trying for invisibility?

Jack's round face fronts a roomy bandbox-style bag with a cross-body length strap. There are four little metal feet on the bottom to keep it up out of the sludge - or germs.

In her Artist Success newsletter, Lesley Riley reminds us that life is one long continuum. She suggests that the New Year is not necessarily more auspicious as the opportunity for a fresh start than any other day, and offers three questions to act as compasses. The middle one, the one that spoke most vehemently to me, was, "...which ideas, which dreams hold the most meaning for me?" Regardless of our age, do we want to dribble away our time and creative energy on things about which we feel lukewarm? Also regardless of age, there are only so many things we can do well, so much focus to give to one or two projects. It matters that we make our time here count, however we define that.

Which brings me back to Mr. Skellington and who we believe ourselves to be, how old thought patterns and stored misinformation undermine authenticity, how to get over our own damn selves.

Having felt odd ("other") my whole life, I have also spent way too much of this fleeting existence trying to pass for regular. The gift of Jack's big, decidedly "other" head is an opportunity to meet truths about myself and my comfort levels. I do not have the answer today and I have begun to lay the diplomatic groundwork for whatever I decide. I often say, when I ask a favor of my son, knowing it may not fit with his plans but that he may squirm his way into doing it so as to be agreeable, "There is no wrong choice." We need to leave clearly marked, safe exits for us, for those around us. Choice allows dignity, being backed into a corner does not.

Whether Jack becomes a studio companion - and has already started nagging for other Nightmare Before Christmas gear to keep him company - or an age-defying fashion statement is really not the issue, though following an old pattern, I tried to turn it into one. I am at my best when I am comfortable in my otherness, without wearing the sandwich board that proclaims it. As soon as I begin to speak, a cloud of odd otherness starts seeping into the room. It can't be helped. The Jack purse was, obviously, chosen with much thought. We have a lot in common.

(Lesley Riley requests that, when sharing newsletter information, bloggers include the following, which I do with gratitude for her continuing, generous sharing of inspiration: Lesley Riley, The Artist Success Expert, is the creative founder of Artist Success, Solutions for the Struggling Artist. To receive her bi-weekly articles on creating your own success as an artist, visit ;


Rubye Jack said...

"how to get over our own damn selves" -- this seems to have been my burning question this last year and I have yet to figure it out. Ah well. I relate to every thing you say here Marylinn except for the Skellington fondness. ;o
I was stuck in Converses for way too long but finally gave them up when they became so popular once again. I have always felt odd and for some reason never want to appear too "normal". Finally, I live in a place where I can wear what I want, which is mostly jeans and black t-shirts with no pressure to look or act like everyone else.

I think my follower thing didn't "stick" and so I've added myself again. You haven't been showing up in my updates but hopefully it'll work now because I enjoy your blog very much.

Radish King said...

Oh Jack The Pumpkin King! Now Danny Elfman's voice is quivering in my brain. Once I reach the desired age of entitlement I WILL go to movies every single day on a discount but I won't wear purple like that stupid poem. I'll wear army boots and a huge coat made from tree moss beetles and all so I can shoplift and cause a ruckus.

Antares Cryptos said...

Watching an adult with a Jack purse would immediately identify the owner as a Burton fan and proclaim individuality not otherness.
We've gotten to homogenous.

Erin in Morro Bay said...

The interesting thing is, Marylinn, that so much time hasgone by, that now it's more normal to be other!! And what a good thing that is. Carry the purse because it's what you want to do, revel in being your wonderful self. Best of the coming year to you.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rubye - I, too, have yet to figure it out but seem to get to practice daily. (I thought of you and your Converses with the video on my Dec. 31 post.) And any illusion I once had about fashion or its importance have evaporated. Thank you and I hope Blogger rights itself so we can continue smoothly. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rebecca - No purple, no uniforms of any kind, unless we all decide to dress like Che and that would be fine with me. A tree moss beetle coat sound like its own sort of revolution and will keep the gum snappers, maybe even the cell phoners, away from you in the theater. Viva la ruckus. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Antares - I hope we're leaving the phase of the moon that accentuates my over-thinking. Jack and I will be what we will, he won't clash with my ancient Nikes (feet that refuse to get comfortable in anything else) and...what does it matter. It is a world made more lively by Tim Burton and his creations. Thanks for the vote of confidence. :)

Marylinn Kelly said...

Erin - Thank you...I seem to be coming to terms with being stuck, for better or worse, with my actual self. I'll do the best with it that I can. The best to you in this new year. xo

Antares Cryptos said...

Before I forget again, thought of you when I saw these:

Collage material perhaps?


Marylinn Kelly said...

Antares - Thank you. Hmmm, yes, possible applications. :)

beth coyote said...


I love your Jack purse. Of course you must take it to the cardiologist. It's perfect attire for any event. But especially the heart doc.

XXX Beth

Marylinn Kelly said...

Beth - A way to be remembered as a patient..."she was the one with the scary purse..." The eternal search for something to cure up-tightness. xo