"What art means to me" by Christina Rosalie.
Years ago along the blogging trail, I discovered Christina Rosalie's beautiful writing via her initial blog My Topography. Christina's honest and raw appraisals of the challenges of sustaining creativity - while juggling raising children, working and studying for a post-graduate degree - resonated with readers.
Christina's poetic turn-of-phrase in describing even the simplest events is elevating and inspiring. Compelling illustrations and photographs also are strong components woven through the tapestry of her work.
Christina has a rare gift for finding magic in ordinary moments. Her new book A Field Guide to Now: Notes on Mindfulness and Life in the Present Tense is a bold call to action. For all those too busy or distracted to notice creative instincts begging to emerge, A Field Guide to Now is for you. Christina's thoughtful essays and evocative illustrations help shine a light on how to celebrate passion and ideas and fulfill your promise.
"I want you to know that this is the way things almost always begin: innocuous and small; a note jotted down on a napkin; a phrase that circles in your head for days; a feeling you cannot ignore. This is when you must pay attention. This is when you must do whatever you can to begin."
In this post, Christina kindly shares some thoughts on her creative process:
"I was inspired to write A Field Guide To Now because I could feel how, in the midst of uncertainty, the only thing that was for sure was the moment at hand. I was also navigating life with a newborn and a four-year-old—and found myself amidst all the restlessness and repetitiveness and busyness that that entails, often just trying to live out the day to be done with it. The book began then as a question: what might happen if I showed up for my life with intention, arriving in the present tense with wholehearted wonder and attention and focus?
"It is my hope that this book is both an invitation for readers to do the same—and also proof, that this work of artful intention and mindful focus, beginning with the ordinary moment at hand, can be a springboard for creativity and grace.
Photo by Thea Coughlin.
"The best part of the process? Starting the book---and finishing it. Really. It felt rather epic to have an inkling of an idea—and to leap towards the unknown with it clutched to my heart like a parachute. I guess I expected that it would unfold and hold the weight of my dream, but I had never done anything so big before, so I wasn’t entirely sure.
"The truth is, I am someone who has always learned through doing—and in many ways I really did leap into the process of writing (and illustrating) this book without any idea what I was doing. It was helpful that my editor, Mary Noris, pushed for a proposal that became a roadmap for what I would write. Though the book evolved so much from what I originally proposed, as I found what I needed to say and my voice emerged from within the stories.
"I think the best thing about the process was that the answers emerged from the act of living the questions: from being in the moment, asking, observing, doing and taking note.
"The worst part? Finishing it. When the book was the inkling of a dream on Kickstarter, I didn’t have any idea that I’d be in graduate school when I would actually write it. But there I was, in the summer semester between my first and second year of an MFA program in Emerging Media, writing a book, while also learning to program Flash, edit videos and create digital stories, but there I was—with two young boys under foot as well.
"I couldn’t have done it without my husband, who is the most wonderful co-pilot. Every weekend and every spare hour was spent writing that summer and I was so utterly exhausted when I finished and shipped the manuscript off, that it didn’t set in for several months after that I’d actually gone and lived one of my biggest dreams and written a book."
Books in Christina's studio.
The book's appealing combination of wonderful writing and original illustrations make it an uplifting read and indeed, an encouraging field guide to help bring your own dreams and purpose to the forefront.
Author photograph by Thea Coughlin. All other photographs except where indicated are by Christina Rosalie.
Christina Rosalie is a writer, mixed-media artist and creative consultant whose award winning work and been featured in print and online. Most recently she has written for Kinfolk, Milk and Ink and the Los Angeles Review. Her mixed media artwork has been included in shows at Burlington City Arts gallery and SEBA gallery. Christina has an MFA in Emergent Media from Champlain College and lives with her husband and sons at the end of a long dirt road in northern Vermont. You can find her online at christinarosalie.com where she writes about the art of living intentionally and the hilarity and wonder that results from the convergence of curiosity, creativity and life with little boys.