South Dakota 2

IMG_9553 copySo, I read through my list I came up with when I got back from South Dakota. When I write lists, which I do often, I do it with no thought for perfection. I do it by hand, with a pencil (Ticoderoga, please and thank you) on paper that I like, and I just begin to write. My lists are rambling things, with no order to them, although I always number each point regardless of chronology. I have a goal of 10 “things” no matter the topic, and after I get that, I often try for 20. Just because. Sometimes a point on my list will spawn another list entirely. I make at least one list a day, sometimes just for my goals for that particular day, and sometimes for more fanciful things, such as what I want to do with my children’s books in a general way. Sometimes I get very specific and write down what will happen to one of my characters in great detail.

My list from vacation flowed smoothly from my pencil when I wrote it, with very little need for thought or structure. Get it down or it gets away is my motto. Now, when I reread it, I see what points were the most important to me, because I wrote them more than once, but used different phrasing to convey my point.

Here we go, at least SOME of the things I learned on vacation, while walking on the rocks beneath that spread out sky. .

1. Hiking is a life goal. I love hiking. I NEED hiking. I need the feel of the earth below my feet and the scenery traveling by slowly so I can observe details missed from a car, or missed from sitting behind my computer screen.

2. Makeup is stupid when I’m hiking all the time. The older I get, the more I’ve pared down the makeup routine. In South Dakota, we hiked nearly every day. I wore very little makeup.

3. I don’t need much. I have a lot of “stuff”. I come from a long line of folks who have “stuff”. There is at least one honest-to-goodness hoarder in my lineage. I am not one. BUT, I can do better. In South Dakota I lived out of two bags, plus cameras and laptops. I could do that at home as well. And I STILL brought too much stuff.

4. I over-pack. Every vacation I try to think of contingencies and I probably make up situations in my head to justify what I should take with me. 3 pairs of shoes, and I ended up wearing ONE pair 95% of the time. 2 skirts? I wore neither. Tshirts and rugged capri pants. That was it, basically. But a part of me continually thinks I’m heading off to the Academy Awards or something.

5. So, I need to get rid of stuff at the source, here at home. I started the process the day after we returned by going through all the kitchen drawers. Pots and pans are next. Then dishes, closets, drawers…..Purging my house of anything I just don’t need or love. Travel lightly. Let go of what does not serve me. I’m getting rid of the couch in the upstairs living room. What the heck, we have a huge one in the basement. I’m going to put all sorts of funky chairs in there, with drawing boards and easels–and see #9 for elaboration on this one.

6. My body is becoming more about function than form. What a relief. I can totally ignore the culture that says I have to look a certain way to be valued. Value me or don’t, I don’t care. I want to be hiking and biking and seeing the world well into my 80’s and 90’s, just like some of the people we saw in South Dakota, and before that, in Colorado. They didn’t care what they looked like–they cared about what they experienced, the way the air felt in their lungs, the feel of the good earth under their feet. Can you be truly alive and, at the same time care so much about what others think of how you look? I can’t. It stifles my experience. Don’t get me wrong, a physical lifestyle brings about certain physical changes in form, BUT, hell, ain’t nobody gonna look 16 when they’re 80. It just isn’t happening.

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7. I dislike children in cars. I’ve had them for 18 years now, but kids and cars….blargh. When we got home, I needed such a break from the little boogers. I began cleaning immediately, so they would stay away from me. And they did.

8. They WILL grow up and leave me. And that’s okay. My daughter graduated high school this spring. She’s basically done. This may be our last family vacation with all of us. And then
another one will grow into his own life in a few years, and another and finally, the last. Then it will just be Mike and me–and I’m kind of excited. Think how lightly we can travel, just the two of us. Think of how we don’t have to decide everything by committee anymore. Think of how few WORDS there will be…just…silence. And breathing. And whatever we see and hear and feel. I love ‘em, these people I have incubated. With everything I have. But I am experiencing raising children right now. When that period is over, I will experience something else.

9. Speaking of experiencing something else–I’m ready to make some more changes with my job. I’m not giving up photography, but I am going to search for people who want really creative results with their portraits. I am going to start putting my illustration portfolio out there. I’m going to start selling my art photography. I’m going to start teaching classes. I’m going to open up my home to folks who want to be more creative, who want to grow and learn just like me. I’ve got plans to modify my studio and also my living room. I’m sprucing up the garden for folks to come over and do Art In The Garden in the cool evenings. I’m going to do directed painting classes, and teach mosaic tile techniques, and bookbinding. AND, I’m going to write more…..Inclement, here I come.

10. Vacation makes me want to connect with nature more. I need to do this. It’s tea time for me in just a few minutes, and I’m going to take my cup outside, by my waterfall and my tomato plants. I’m going to “hike” every day I can, even if it’s just uptown. I’m going out to Waubonsie more, because it’s there and it’s beautiful. I’m going to NOT hang out on my computer as much. I’m going to set up my drawing table on my patio and draw each day. When I surround myself with the four square walls of my house, I miss things that feed me.

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There is more. Do I need to share it all? I don’t know. We’ll see if I’m still interested in writing about it tomorrow. But that’s the general idea. Good vacation. Yes, it was.

Tracy Lovett is an artist, author, illustrator, photographer, wife, mom, and all around creative gal trying to spread the message that creativity is one of our most important qualities.  She uses her books, photographs, and writings to encourage others to just take the chance and be creative. This BLOG is about her creative journey into all her creative endeavors, including writing for children and adults, art and illustration, photography and photo-illustration, and book-building from beginning to end.  There may be other “sidetrips” that can’t be predicted–so hop in and enjoy the ride!  You may learn more about Tracy here.  You may follow her on Facebook here.  You may learn more about her books at !