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Embrace by Laura Botsford

The treasure of living in little moments

Where in wonder? I protested that I should live accordingly to that which can only be seen?

For I have witnessed miracles that can’t be explained; lived through moments where surely I feared that this eternal grace may die.

Fade from your bones and crumble in shards of splintered mirrors

I am promised a life far greater than I could dream of because I believed

That my caress is conceived in

My blessed friend, who tendered the broken in me when others did not

The lost and sighing

The unattended feeling blind the forgotten freed

That part in us that feared flying.

She is unafraid

Wished into being

Sovereign and sassy

Bold, gentle and classy

My future is in the face of your child,

Love them all well and give them the strength of a sea’s gracious tide

As she lives free

In a civil sort of wild

Preface for Prayers for the Artist

 

 

 

Preface for Prayers for the Artist

by Laura Botsford

 

   The story of the artist is a breath page from a book found written long ago in the halls of a poet’s dreams, written with nature’s brushes in quiet places where evening subsides into stillness.  The images, and sounds can be found like bells waiting to be rung. Only some find that these apparitions are fleeting, vivid, and then disappears as one will  wondrously awaken, suspended between reality and dreams. It is in this regard that the desire for the ability to hold the flame, and channel the river, is what we have come to talk about in this book. It is where the in-between moments are saved, savored, supported and scribed in detail for a lasting reflection of guidance and support.

   It is also for those that feel that they are lost in the spheres’ of indifference, casually displaced like mismatched shoes and forgotten languages. Because we know that we are sometimes  thought of as outsiders and unwashed social outcasts, flagrant eccentrics who wander down alleys watching for rainbows, mining out art forms that no one seems to care about. We appear as people who are against the grain of “responsible living.”  Prayers for the Artist is for us, the beautiful, the bawdy; the luminous splendiferous original creative souls.

   Our very presence as artists’ moves people, inspires compassion, and desire for change. We embrace emptiness giving it shape, color, music, and dance. It is a sacred trust passed on to us. Without this essential vibrant frequency in our infinite universes, nothing would exist; we would all still be in a shapeless void. The artist is a consummate patron of this belief, drinking from the communion cup, and sharing in the everlasting kiss of continuous creation. In a sweeter world, all creativity would be recognized as an integral part of sustaining the cultural atmospheres. The arts uplift life, and emanates positivity in our  global connectivity.

  This is a collection of poems, essays and prose dedicated to uplifting the co-creator within us all,  where we soul-fully praise the Source from which all creativity flows.

Thy Art Be Done

  Art is a gift fulfilling itself with every living and willing breath of participation in the creative flux; surrendering to its invisible animated workings of profound spiritual electricity is the power of make and believe, the power of attraction. We affirm in our art what we believe and this fortifies us and each other.

   Our alliance with the Creator is a living expression found in the trusted well-spring of an abandoned ego, a place of allowing the artistic touchstone to be translated.  Tendering these new and trembling fingers with a reflective heart, allows us to traverse along the vivid ethers in nuance and highlighted flecks from an infinite depth of field.  Imagination is God’s divine original motion.

   This enthralling echo unravels in the veins along artisans’ row where masters have left traces of their unique vibration. Their vivid emissions flow into the perfect light curves of history, scaled, and designed for individual interpretation by each of us. We as artists are circled, and highlighted in them with our own artful expressions, and by the artistic testimonies we create. We are a witness to the times, and a new covenant on the earth today. We are about the wonder, and freedom of expression that we whole heartedly express. And in this majestic presence of soul, and mind of all its natural velocity, and vast potential we come to serve original creativity by being on its leading edge.

     It is in the countenance of solitudes’ reflective silence, within a good stream of interstellar inspiration, where I’ve discovered the fullest joy. When I am relaxed and allowed the marriage of the inspired, couples with well honed disciplines to take place, is when something surprising transpires exceeding all my expectations.

   Everyone has their own expression. Each artist desires to be respectful of this shared covenant because it doesn’t belong to us. We belong in it. What we bring to the table is our full attention, and by doing so, we are choosing to generate either negative or positive vibrations. The flow is endless; the healing great, the personal reward is a prosperous, colorful living spirit that is educating and uplifting the world.

    To understand that the productivity of our creative actions generates energy into the universe that aids and alters our collective consciousness is the very and vital purpose for us to engage. It matters little whether our works are masterful or not; this is a personal endeavor. What matters is that creating anything that is artistic in nature draws imagination into not only our own lives but also kinesia generates collective unity into the universal atmospheres thereby sustaining the attributes of all mankind with infinite possibilities, hope, progress, healing and harmony.

    We are incense. We are the wind. We are a door into new lands that is reflected everywhere. We define the times with our works, the fashions, the political tambours in music, media, dance and art; they are all sympatric of this collective flux. Once again, if your heart of art is authentic on some level it is connecting everywhere, and makes a difference.

    The clarity we generate is respectfully recognized by the universe, and thereby influences everything with the intent of our creative purpose. It is in itself a generator feeding from its place in the universe back into the environment with social exchanges, political, cultural and spiritual transformations. It doesn’t matter if you are in a studio painting alone or typing out a screenplay in your home, or dancing around your living room; all of it has the butterfly effect and the flutters are felt everywhere.

      Our creativity encourages individuals in self expressive creative risk taking. We have a tremendous transforming impact in our world, and in the ever-changing atmospheres.

   We are the continuation of muse and masters, craft and devotion to art forms that speak to all with the added spark of life; an effect that I call, the Imaginative Cause.

   This process focuses on creating a positive environment where individual experiences in the arts can be shared, and supported by others.  The second kind of community-making we do is through of importance is in arts development. Throughout this little book are affirmations and quotes that I have found helpful in maintaining a balance between the world and what I think of as, us the spaces between – the connecting dots of what is and what could be.

   It is when we offered our lips to drink from the well-spring of God’s Imagination that we have come alive.   It is a Psalm Song to my Creator, for it is God Source that all creativity flows from. It is the universal spirit that weaves us together. It is up to us to decide which of spectrums colors we will blend, what notes to arrange, the steps to take, the form to make that will make our life vibrate brighter.

   I know that we artists and community makers are in need sometimes of a specific kind of encouraging support. It is with this in mind, and from the heart that we have written this book for you.  I hope that in some measure it brings comfort, courage, and inspiration when you feel adrift in a world that makes you feel less a part of.

   You Belong.  You are Important. Your creative energy is needed now, more than ever. There are many who whole heartedly believe in make and believe. You are not alone without connectivity, we are holding hands in this together.

    Your creative thought process generates a field of energy that penetrates that transcends space and time. In this energy all of us can tap in or out with each other.   We can eliminate each other’s struggle, and celebrate each other’s works simply by recognizing the places we see in each other as being valid.

   We are symbolically associated with the word artist. The definition of an artist is broad, but I like this one best.

An artist, A follower of a pursuit in which skill comes by study or practice. It is all-encompassing; the process, the journey, the expression is where we are united. It is in the commitment to widen the world with love and understanding.

  These accomplishments are intimated with a longing to pull oneself inside out in an expression or craft that tells us something about ourselves or the world.

   The voice of our ancestral beginning’s are from the foundations of when time first began, when the universe was created and everything was open to possibility; it is constantly changing. On this day, right now the paint box we choose from is many colors, words and the trumpeting sound of us all.

   Just as we did then, we do now in a different age. The relevancy is juxtaposed to the era in which we live. Curiously now though, the lines of time are blended more so than ever with the flux of global connection, technology and higher consciousness.  No longer do we have to travel far to see a great work of art or read a masterpiece. It is at the touch of our hands, and in the communing whispers of our souls.  Our artistic expressions will bend the walls, dissolve the divisions, and help change the shape of our collective soul.

   Only some find that these apparitions are fleeting, that they are vivid, and then disappears as one wakes from a beautiful definitive dream. We can allow the ability to hold the flame and channel the river that I have come to talk of here in this book. 

Prayers for the Artist is for us, the beautiful, the bawdy; the luminous, splendiferous original creative souls.

 Leaning Church Painting by Tim Sorsdahl

Woman to Woman

    Woman to Woman    by Laura Botsford

I ate of the vine, I ran in the wind, I cried out for wisdom until I had no tears left.

   I looked for love in those that had never kissed the sun to find their own warming peace. Who stayed in shadows because they didn’t know they deserved all that was good.

   They counted money, they bought fancy things and rode in long cars until there were no roads left. They were unaware that wisdom was theirs all along. They left childhood dreams behind in the tall grass; when indeed it was how they saw themselves from the beginning and yet chose to abandon the innocent wonder of it all.

   And why? Because they were told they should, no my dear; it is childlike wonder that always renews, keeps one keen and gladly surrenders a compassionate heart to one in need.

   The pouch of wishes, the rainbows one sees in a sky full of hope, and the ever contemplation of lush avenues of forgotten worlds that tender joyous memories more so than that which was not. This is you, the one with a sparkle of soft indigo in her eyes, the loving one who has hands, and arms always readied  for embrace. There are caverns and causeways that can capture your will, steal your soul. They were carved in times of un-evolved knives of low self esteem, self hatred by wounded knaves of misfortune and to many hardships; the human plight is pithed with these plunderers of joy. You are wise, you are rich with your own experiences, and you have me to talk to.

Saved by a Cricket

Saved by a Cricket

 a true story by Laura Botsford

when-you-wish-upon-a-star

      Life leads us away from each other and then back again when the time is right. Paul picked up his back pack and turned to me.

“Well the stars are coming out, I better get back to South San Francisco to my sisters, she’ll be worried. I hope to see you around angel lady, nice meeting you.”

“Nice meeting you too, Yeah, come back again.” I told him, hoping he really would; he was such a curious character that I wanted to hear more of his stories.

Quiet, simple, and ever present is what I knew about life then. I could give you a past, I could give you today, or recall the history of everyday people who meant something in my many encounters; but of all of them the man I called the glittersmith, shone like a new copper penny.

It was my vocation just to be and see what happened. I was traveling the streets of San Francisco, checking out stores and restaurants for jobs, writing and observing. I stopped on Market Street, revived from my earnest search for employment fresh as the yellow and white daffodils that bloomed in the gypsy garden carts on my way to Union Square.

How sweet is the bustle of 18 years of age? How new and fascinating the faces were to me, however weathered or broken. Their working days gone, old men, well beyond their present age, now sat in Union Square waiting for a hand out to buy another bottle of wine. Above the lonely din hovered one man in particular sitting alone on the stone casement, a distinguished looking man in his mid 50’s, though his clothes were ragged his stature still clung on to something upright. I immediately felt a great sadness from him that needed attention, so  I sat beside him.

“It’s a nice day, are you enjoying the music?” I asked him as the Jazz band began to play.

“I am, I’m hungry though, can you spare some change?” He asked seeing me as a golden opportunity to beg. I passed over his question as if he hadn’t asked at all.

“My name is Laura, what is yours?”

“My name is Anthony,” he said, surprised that I would even care. I felt he had once been someone special, he still carried himself well and spoke with an air of intellect, that only those educated in the art of conversation can facilitate.

” I bet you once had a job, what did you do for a living?” I asked.

“You mean before I came to this disarrayed lifestyle of wine and begging?” He said sardonically about himself then went on in a kind of euphoria with sudden clarity that even surprised him.

“Once I worked for Disney when I was twenty.  I was a cell painter … I painted the bluebirds and the haunted trees.” His eyes wept silently, streaming in sea turtles tears of a life laid ruin in the wake of temperance lost. “I was married and had two children but  they left me long ago,” his voice trailing off into a heavyweight of irrepressible remorse.

Around the corners of his mouth were hints of a smile that he must have used many times over once. I thought about how he was the one of the first who made branches move with wicked unrepentant grasps, tearing at snow white as she ran fearfully through the forest.   I saw twittering birds that flew all around in the balance of sweet air; the sun shinning up to him as he painted in the cells with liquid promise. His eyes must have been glimmering with enthusiasm as he blended the colors, knowing that many children, years from now would see what he created. His life was all ahead of him, dancing with the pictures that once filled his life with tumescent joy but now his only hope was to quit drinking.

“There is always hope. There are shelters and programs in the mission where they can help you find a new beginning.” I told him.

“Yes I stay at one but it is not enough for me. I am just getting by, waiting for release; something to live for again,” he replied.

“How about giving it to a higher power, get a sponsor and the rest will come along, it’s up to you.” I patted his shoulder and gave him ten dollars to, “ Use this for food please, get something to eat, not another bottle of wine, just one meal.”

“Thank you.” He wiped away another huge tear that streamed in a river from his eye to his chin, then he looked into the blue sky as if he were reading his life up there, searching for a cloud just to take him home.

     I was just about to leave when the jazz band of street musicians began to play ‘When You Wish upon a Star’. We sat peacefully together in a happier place as I sang along. “It makes no difference who you are.” I inwardly thought about how we all encounter a forest that either lurks to snag us with its scraggly pointed branches, or  chose to be wondrously courted  with loving welcome in a cricket’s song, ever allowing the stream of constant light to flow through us as we paint our cells in to make a story that is cherished. We sat quietly for a moment in the serendipity of our encounter. I saw him as he truly is inside and sang along with the song.

“If your heart is in your dream

No request is too extreme

When you wish upon a star

As dreamers do

Fate is kind

She brings to those who love

The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing

      I hugged him good bye,  looked up at the sunlit sky, hopefully wishing on a unseen star for Anthony, and that he would hear Ol’ Jiminy Cricket singing for him,  and maybe, just maybe… like a bolt out of the blue, fate would step in and see him through because;”When you wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are, Anything your heart desires will come to you.

Angels Among Us – Saints Within

   Natural Enchantment is the remembered elegance of one’s soul. We are at once the echo of the divine and the pursuit of our affirmation on earth; all entwined in the struggle of being loved, and dealing with what we find unlovable in ourselves.

   I’ve been giving some thought as to what it is we do that makes us happy. Is it the people we love or the people who love us: sharing in the cherished  history of friendship? Is the angel we seek  the one whose can turn it all around and sniff out danger ahead and whack it with a big sword? Or is it the one who floods the senses with a huge amount of love that we can’t seem to give ourselves?  Among us our human angels, who’ve stepped in to say, “I am here, you are not alone.” Maybe it’s all about what we choose to believe.

  There is a great love for each of us.  I try to remember this when I see those that are hurt, and broken, their cords to Life Source entangled in a belief system that keeps them there.

We seek to be free, they say, and I remembered that song by Donavan.

“Calves are easily bound and  slaughtered, never knowing the reason why, but whosoever treasures freedom, like the swallow learns to fly   Why don’t you have wings to fly with, like the swallow so proud and free? How the winds are laughing, they laugh with all their might Love and laugh the whole day through and half the summer’s night

Dona, Dona, Dona, Dona, Dona, Dona, Don a Do, Dona, Dona, Dona, Dona, Dona, Dona, Don a Don”

The long somber trailers rumbled through town, filled with unsuspecting cows going to slaughter, their moon eyes were dilated with confusion and lost lonely emptiness slumped their gaits in down trodden despair.   We have all felt like that at one time.

There  among the pieces of sanctioned misery, for all those who have lost, or never had their freedom;  there is a promised land. Out of the ruinous catastrophes of their seemingly hopeless lives there is a light. If one can Remix wonder with the beat of humanity;  then you will have something that resonates in the now, transcends the devastations of the suffering, and clasps hands with the ones who can take the simplest  of moments to soothe themselves again.

 “To all  you souls, who’ve lost your hope when the world you dreamed about is falling down. Would it mean a thing if you heard me sing about the ways a good life could be found. And the glowing embers still alive.” – Michael Tomlinson
New CD due out this Winter -2016 – http://michaeltomlinson.com/

Over the Rainbow

 Surely a dream must have a song, this is a classic common tale that we all share.

Featured Image -- 1934

   Why do I love this song? is it because it reminds me of my childhood? Or perhaps speaks of dreams coming true? Yes, all the best of life fulfilled eventually, after the longing, in the sweet sadness of life’s woes and disappointments.

   There in the heart of everyone is this universal truth, somewhere we can escape to, someplace where we can live our dreams. It is a common calling that comes with being born. No matter your fortune, good or lack of, there is always something we want to make right, to have or be delivered from. In a world of such diverse contrasts, it is an ignitable presence in all of our lives that resonates at our core and surely seeks a hopeful distraction.

   When I was young, the elders spoke of believing in oneself, and if you did that your dreams would come true. I’ve come to believe that as I got older my beliefs were shaken most by those that didn’t embrace this truth; and when my dreams coming true depended on them believing as well, then that was where all my troubles began.

   Yes, it is challenging to continue from a center of well being in the midst of chaos, heartache when people let you down. When I finally accepted that people have their own perspectives, their own paths, and the right to them, that I started feeling better. We can not control the behavior of others, we can only be as it is said, “The change we want to see in the world.”  There is great peace in knowing this.

   Maybe the rainbow is really just our hearts, and minds choosing to be happy just for the fun of it.

Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
There’s a land that I’ve heard of once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream,
Really do come true.

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops,
High above the chimney tops,
That’s where you’ll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can’t I?
If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can’t I?

To Sing the Light Fantastic

 To Sing The Light Fantastic

    Laura Botsford

   I wasn’t a very quite child by nature. I talked a lot, and thought everyone should listen to me. I thought that it was expected of me to keep the conversation going, or maybe  I was a little to precocious to know any better. Fortunately for me I believed in everything I said and felt confident in expressing myself. Oftentimes I emulated the best of my made up characters from my imagination; trying on personalities like hats. I was creating myself from plays, and movies that I admired; I was the song that I  wrote on, inventing harmonies for the present moments I found myself in. I always sang. That was who I liked being best of all. Life was a musical, and when it wasn’t, I was bored, detached from who I really was. It was a more than a pastime; it was a state of being.

    And all my favorite, invisible friends gathered in the basement just to hear me sing.  Looking back on this, I can see all the room aglow with inspiration. Performances were born out of this sweet spot. Incandescent lights appeared calling me to sing to them. I sang with heroic exuberance. In that basement I found my concert space and I  was content in knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up. Now to get there was a different matter. All roads carry turning points, filled with lessons if we stay awake and embrace them openly. I was a vast sea of ideas without a map. There were things I saw around me that were illuminated by songs. Patience my dear for the sound is a treasure somewhere in the sands of your timeless soul. If you feel the rhythm then you will find your way.

In the Sands   Halley’s Comet last appeared in the inner Solar System in 1986 and will next appear in mid-2061. Seventy Five years between gigs. Songs travel without time, they are buried in the sand, on the doorsteps of  relationships, good and hard times and in dreams. They are found in newspapers and paintings; maybe just a melody that is a wisp of a phrase. They move in and take over, like a hunger or a voice you can’t get out of your head. The nature of a song is in the very breath of Spirit and most times takes up collection from the depths of ones soul.

   The heart of a song is in the mist and silence is the only way to catch it as it streaks by. A good song tells a story, it weaves a spell, it tells the truth, it inspires and can change one’s life forever. Some songs are prayers while others are celebrations, and always a song seeks to sing the light fantastic, from it’s own timeless place.