Above: I'm not the only one attracted to the odor of the sizing in Arches watercolor paper. Des had to come over and check out the stack of cut watercolor boards Monday afternoon. He is very curious. I didn't have the heart to tell him they were for a project he's not involved in.
It’s that time of year again, no I don’t mean Tax Time, it’s almost International Fake Journal Month. (International Fake Journal Month begins April 1, no joke, and you can read all about it here. )
I even have suggestions in that post on how I hoped most people would approach the project this year—by waiting and deciding on how to start, right up until March 31.
Of course then the shit hit the fan here. My father-in-law ended up in the hospital after bladder cancer cauterization, and now he’s in transitional care. He’s getting his energy back slowly, but for the first time he really, really looks worn out, and yesterday during my visit he admitted it to me that he doesn’t quite believe that he will get back to his assisted living situation. We talked about the failing memory situation, which has progressed speedily in the past year, but which now he realizes is “all downhill.” (His words.)
We even had the talk today, the one where I hold his hand and tell him how important he has been in my life and how much I love him, even if I’m usually pretty bossy and flippant (huge laugh). And he told me how much it meant to him.
We could have it today because he is on the upward trend. Any weaker and he knows I know that he would see it as a sign that he wasn’t doing as well as he felt he was doing. Earlier and well, emotion is just kind of embarrassing for both of us.
But the funny thing about the elderly is that there is never any good time to have this talk. By the time you decide to have it, the person you want to talk to is already leaving the building. (Actions really do speak louder than words.)
C.R. won’t remember it tomorrow, even if he hasn’t already forgotten it.
But what he can’t escape is the growing understanding of how his brain is changing and how he can’t hold it together any longer. “I’ve already had mine,” he said to me, at one point.
I knew what he meant, but I made him say it, because I’m that bitchy, and because I wanted him to fight back. “Life,” he said.
And he did fight back, he perked right up. And I reminded him that none of us knew how long that downhill slope is.
More important he isn’t ready to leave yet because things in life still interest him.
He asked me how my classes were going. “Great,” I said.
“The students are doing well?” he asked.
“Yep, I boss them around and push them really hard, and they are doing some incredible work,” I continued.
“And they put up with that?” he asked, alluding to the bossing.
“Oddly, what you’ve been getting for free for 36 years they actually pay me for,” I replied. That generated the full laugh and the super twinkle in his eyes.
He was, however, disappointed when I said “all I’m doing right now is working.”
When I left I told him I would make a point to do something thrilling, “just so I can come back and tell you about it.” He had another good laugh.
While he may be on a five-minute loop most of the time now, one thing I know is that he appreciates the company. Humans, even ones like us who like solitude in which to work, are social. Sometimes sitting in a companionable silence is all that’s needed. Though it’s also sure nice if you bring in some of those good chocolate Easter eggs.
Something else he can’t escape, because I keep showing up, is knowing that he matters.
Now you thought this post was about IFJM? It is.
When I get stressed I get really creative. I dream up all sorts of projects to keep my mind occupied. When C.R. went into the hospital I started thinking about new projects I could work on. Something to keep me in the present moment.
This worked right up until Sunday night. I had scribbled over a couple journal pages and I realized I was coming up with all sorts of projects just to avoid the one project actually looming on the horizon—IFJM.
I have kept my year so busy, by design and happenstance, that I have literally not thought two moments about IFJM and what I might be doing.
Until Sunday night when I realized it was silly to not think about it a little because I had no time to bind a book and wasn’t sure what supplies I would need. If I didn't think about it I might find myself with no book/paper to use for a month on Friday. (Which is April 1, the day this all starts.)
So I pulled out a scrap of hot press watercolor paper and a scrap of cold press watercolor paper. I know that I could work in any medium on either of those papers and be challenged and happy for a month.
I did a sketch and paint test on each, about 30 minutes total. The Cold Press was the surprising winner. It spoke to me. It told me there were lots of discoveries to be made—it wouldn’t be easy, but it was time.
I went to my flat file and found some left over watercolor board that I had purchased for another project. I found that I had enough pieces to cut up into thirty two 10 x 16 inch boards—One for for each day of the month, and of course a title board and back board.
Monday I cut the board. (I still haven’t told Des that he’s not going to be involved.)
That’s it. I don’t know who my character is. All I know is that I’ll be painting and making a loose “sheet” journal this year.
The rest is just going to flow.
Participating in International Fake Journal Month
If you would like to participate in this event please go to the official blog and read about what it is and how to get started and participate. (It's all in the links at the top of the blog.)
If you are going to share your journal publicly, email me when you’ve completed 5 days of entries in your fake journal and send me a link to the dedicated blog, or section of your website, or whatever, where you are posting. I’ll list you with a link in the Participants 2016 list.
(If you have participated in a past year just send me an email with a note about the year you participated and a link and I'll put you on the list right away.)
If you want to participate and post in the Facebook group for this project look up International Fake Journal Month at this link and ask to join. (Please be patient as I'm not checking Facebook regularly right now in order to cut down on time distractions and to better deal with work and family matters.)
If you’re on the fence about joining in I suggest that you listen to the webinars Diane Gibbs did with me as her guest last year.
Then, because we got a little sidetracked, Diane decided to do a second interview. Find that here.
Even if you don’t participate in IFJM I think you’ll get a lot of fun information for your visual journal.
Where Will Roz Post Her 2016 Fake Journal?
Right now I’m not sure where I’ll post this year’s fake journal. Some years I have posted it day by day on the official blog. Other years I’ve only posted a flip through at the end of the year. My main priority this year is to find the time to work in the fake journal while everything else is chaotic around me. (We still haven’t finished the taxes!)
But one thing I can tell you:
"Life’s so short, why live only one?"