In the 70’s I helped the “play therapists” in what was then the kids ward of the Vancouver General. Before the Children’s Hospital was built. I brought my guitar and voice and played to the kids of all ages in all conditions. It was heart touching and memorable. For the young teens I played what was on the radio!
Looking back at the Mother who grabbed me and wanted me to know that her baby hadn’t slept for days….but fell asleep while I was singing! I am reminded of another time on the ranch…when I created my nursery collage and songs and recorded them to play in a bedroom without me! It worked too! Maybe better because I wasn’t present to stimulate.
So I created a web site where people could go and play my recording if they needed a voice in the room for their little ones to fall asleep to.
You might surprise yourself at how many of these tunes and rhymes you already know!
Here are the Mother Goose Rhymes I recorded.
Did you notice how I changed the “Old Woman In A Shoe”?
Here are the nursery songs I recorded as a collage.
Katie sings Mother Goose has its own website. Hear the continuous loop of rhyme and song at this site and see if it helps to put your little one into happy sleep!
A high school graduate with shorthand, accounting and typing. I had always worked after school and during summers so I expected to find a great job with all my references! Excited to move away from the little cow town!
On one of my job interviews…
In downtown Vancouver I was applying for a receptionist position. This was a company leading the way for other company’s on: “How to hire the right people for your business.” Now I don’t remember their name. But I do remember their office was full of packages, pamphlets and signs for “industrial psychology.” Something I had never heard of. They were very busy.
The test would take three hours…
I was informed at my interview I would have to undergo the testing they were teaching other company’s. If I wanted to come back after lunch they would have the test ready and it would take 3 hours. I had a folded newspaper in my purse with the days job opportunities. I wondered if I wanted to give up most of my day to one application.
I thought about it….
Then I realized – Heh! People pay big money for this and I get to do it for free. So I came back and sat down to a stack of papers. Most of the questions were multiple choice. When I finished – yes it was 3 hours – I went to their waiting room. In time I was called in.
And the results of the test are…
The man behind the desk looked at me with what appeared to be a mixture of kindness and sadness. Holding the papers in front of him he shook his head several times and then he apologized.
“I’m so sorry…I don’t know what to tell you. What you should do…”
You have the highest marks I have ever seen for someone in the field of writing…with music second and art third!”
He looked at me as if I should say something. I sat stunned. He continued. “I don’t have a clue on what to advise you…maybe…(and at this he really sounded doubtful)…more schooling?” Then he really perked up: “I can tell you would never be the right applicant for an office job!”
And this was just a receptionists job…
So I had wasted a whole day. One part of me agreed with him. I did love writing, music and art, BUT I had already proven myself out working in office jobs I had references for. I had all my high school training! I could do short hand! And this was just a receptionists job…I kept these thoughts to myself. I thanked him and walked out.
I like to think I went for a nice coffee…
Today, I haven’t forgotten the atmosphere of his office, his look and his words. I wish now I had looked deeper at what he told me.
I became Secretary to the highest paid scientist in forestry…
I did work in Vancouver in temp positions moving in and out of many office buildings. In the course I learned dictaphone and telex machines and zerox. I became secretary to the highest paid research scientist in forestry in Canada at that time. A two year hiring on Russian research called “Muka”. But in the end I became sick with agoraphobia.
Eventually I became a folksinger and a multi-media artist. My ability to juggle the work on the ranch gave me what most ranch women get. Expert ability to handle logistics. This meant I could organize shows with successful outcomes and I did! My typing has been invaluable and I still love short hand. But everyday I’m faced with the same dilemma my “tester” had.
I still don’t know what to tell myself about the writing, the music and the art.
“The mystery is in the magic. How the magic appears is the mystery.”
In school, science taught me to approach Life through dissection. To view Life as a study of how things work…
So to figure out the Life of a Frog – I would need to dissect a dead one. I refused. How can the dissection of what is dead ever lead to how it had Life? Only it’s anatomy which is now purposeless.
As an artist I find Life at the centre of everything worthwhile. I accept Life as a mystery…A mystery full of magic. I live fully engaged in this because I agree with the Magician and expect the mysterious. In return, I have received a wonderful Life.
How does an artist find their way in this world?
So without taking things apart how do I find answers? I find them in direction – by having a sense of one and by listening for it.
The distilled essence of artistic vision is a direction. The sense you were given one at birth and all you need now is the discipline to follow thru. Only you have yours.
Agreement being the vehicle of free choice – choose now to agree with this. You were created to create by a creator.
Your direction is?
A question to ask yourself: “What does my heart really want to do?”
Remember: What we absolutely love we must follow or we will have no peace.
Note: No one ever discovers their direction through someone else’s dissection. Sorry therapists!
Listen to your heart. Something great is there – speaking. Learn to listen. Be patient. But mostly give your heart – Your Love.
The right direction?
You will know you are moving in the right direction when the mystery and the magic show up and take you by the hand. It might even be slight-of-hand as in: “How did that happen?”
Be a child…reach up for the hand reaching down.
Now’s the time to talk about all the things you love. What is living in your heart? Is it a mystery? Be prepared for magic. Write it down as words have a way of telling you something.
My Personal Experience
I find the multi-media work I do comes from the direction of my heart. The station I have tuned into. The life-long love I have for the creator who lives in my heart. In mysterious and magical ways – His Life shows up and asks me to create for him. He knows I am open to listening!
Creating my Christmas cards (The Snowflake Butterfly), led to writing it’s story. This happened while I was still painting the cards! So the piece of watercolour paper I was testing my colours on started taking on words to.
It was a matter of brush and pen working at the same time.
There is never a dull moment when you are truly alive in what you love. I am thankful to return the results of my “loving” to the Master of it all. There is always another assignment waiting!
I Only Have Questions For You…because You have the answers for You!
How do you feel as a creator in your world?
Alive or dissected?
Like I heard and am now saying:
“The mystery is in the magic. How the magic appears is the mystery.”
Is there something hidden in your heart? What do you truly love? Listen for direction. It’s a road map…it’s Life!
Conrad O’Brien-ffrench. He was an aristocrat who had been a spy. My parents, who knew him, told me he had been a close pal of Ian Fleming’s. Conrad was the “real” James Bond.
Conrad laughed when you asked him but a lot of people knew this about him.
I knew him as an old man who could draw and paint horses, people and places. Here I was walking down a dirt road with him. A little girl and an old man and all because I told him I liked to draw. So he invited me to come along with him.
I remember sitting behind the Bridge Creek Estate barn with him. Drawing horses and fences and the way the grass grew along the creek. He told me I must know the anatomy of a horse if I want to be able to draw it moving. He drew bones on my paper and I still have it.
It was a wonderful afternoon. Drawing and talking. Later, I saw his home in Colorado when I went to visit my Aunt. She signed me up for one of his drawing workshops. It was on hands and feet and eyes which he was very good at.
The workshop was okay but nothing like that afternoon sitting behind the barn drawing. He is gone now and I tease myself with the memories of sketching with the real James Bond.
(from my 1992 notes at Elko, Nevada)
During an estate sale a few years ago, I found an oil painting by Conrad that had been stored in Lord Martin’s Attic. It was leaning against a wall behind Lillian’s piano. There was no price on it. I asked and bought it! When I took it to the framers I discovered it wasn’t square. I knew Conrad had painted it on one of his many visits to the Lodge and had used the wood from their local wood shop. So I took it to my trusted carpenter friend, Peter Dalby (who also knew Conrad). He did the job proud and $400.00 plus dollars later it was framed. A fitting wood frame of knots and beauty. It is a picture of Jesus in the Garden.
Not the best of photography but for now.
Conrad wrote in pen, on a piece of manilla paper glued to the back of this painting the following, which was later lifted and placed onto the new backing:
This is what he wrote:
Sermon On The Mount “The Kingdom of God is within you” Leo Tolstoy wrote a book with this Title concluding it in 1893 the year I was born . Conrad
On the last Christmas my brother Terry was alive, I heard a loon. From the top balcony, outside his house it came, drifting down Sheridan lake.
I had stepped out to be by myself. Admiring the stars and the way the snow wrapped itself on the tree’s. Here and there a Christmas light poked through on the tree closest to the balcony. Having enjoyed a beautiful Christmas dinner with my family I pondered there. The haunting sound of a loon answered. I looked down the lake thru moon light and shadow only to hear it again.
“Loons in the winter,” I thought. “Was it possible?” So I went downstairs where the men hang out.
“You’ll never guess what I heard…a loon on the lake!”
I had to speak a couple of times. They seemed to be unaware of what I was saying. Then it came:
“Oh no! That couldn’t be…,” they chorused.
Perplexed, I went back up the stairs and stood by the large glass patio windows. The night was bright and the stars were dazzling. Turning to face my sister-in-law Roberta’s shelves, I was deep in thought. I know what I heard.
Faintly, like whispered murmurings, the sounds of a nature tape. “Oh,” I thought, Roberta had this on so low she must have thought she had turned it off! Would this tape have the sound of a loon on it? And if so, how did it get outside, increase in volume and come down the lake?
Today, I remember my brother Terry with the only craft he ever made. Dad had shown him how to make a loon box out of wood. He only made a few so I bought one before the other’s went into Roberta’s store. This was the summer before anyone knew… Now I have his loon box and the mystery of the loon I heard after our last Christmas Dinner with him.
Did the loon call come from the tape? How did it find its way into a beautiful night and setting? I often think of it as the Christmas Loon and it makes me think of my big brother.
“Shake a paw for a treat!” Sam and Boots with Terry 10 years earlier @ Christmas 1988.
Today I was invited out for Moose Chile with the Canim Lake Elders! There I presented my painting and story about Weswisxe. Here is the story which follows the painting. Also a note of thank you at the end.
by Katie Kidwell (a story as shown in the painting)
The Great Spirit, the Father, lives in the sky and at night the Star People dance for him.
Silhouetted by the night, the Mother Robin sits on her nest like she is a mountain and her nest is the earth where life is born. Notice her chicks in the nest as valleys and hills, rivers and lakes.
When you see the mountain in the robin; she sees you with starlight in her eyes. In the light of her beak her words are now a song.
The Father lives in the eyes of the Mother’s children. His light glows like the cool part of a flame. Together, in the nest, the Mother and Chicks are a living fire of Life. A campfire where the peoples of the Earth can gather and remember the star dance. The dance of flying over mountains in the breath of the Great Spirit; the dance of living and of being alive right here on Earth.
With twigs and with moss we build our nest…and live like a mountain.
My note on this: I am grateful to a Canim Lake Elder who expressed an interest in my painting: “Robin and Chicks” at my show, The Little Birds That Fly. There she told me the Shuswap name for Robin was “Weswisxe” and wrote it down for me. I promised her a painting with this name. The story came along for the ride and I am grateful to the wisdom of the Great Spirit in using every opportunity to reveal His presence. I trust I heard him right. If not, I will hear about it around the campfire…
One morning, while I was laying in bed, half awake and half asleep; I heard the voice of an expert.
“Her work will never sell.”
“Yes,” I thought dreamily as I stretched. “I know this one…it isn’t seen as commercial.”
Half awake, I understood what was being said. It was as if I was there, looking over the shoulders of the “expert” who was looking at my work.
But this is when I really woke up. The booming voice over it all…
“It’s the currency of Love!”
Two voices waking me up with two different messages!
So I laid in bed for awhile mulling it over.
It was such an intriguing line… “It’s the currency of Love.”
The fact is, one voice wanted me to know I would never make money from my work. The other voice wanted me to know I had already received!
Currency is another word for money. The largest part of the word is current suggesting flow, energy, power.
Yes, Love is a powerhouse – it runs the Universe.
The bible says: “God is Love”.
If you asked me I would tell you this. I find agreement with the work that comes to me. I believe God created me to create. Creating Love is what God spends on me and expects from me in return; The currency of Love.
This is the story of my Life!
This blog “The Living Of Loving” is what I spend on you the reader. If you leave “inspired” it’s been a good exchange.
A near stranger said to me once:
“You have different creative expressions because you are still exploring who you are!”
This is the ultimate pay off. “The currency of Love”
P.S. I will be mulling this experience over for awhile as I’m sure there is more to discover…on my own or in listening.
“The Tree That Grew From Rock” is a watercolor painting I splashed on last summer, from my belly boat on Crown Lake, at Marble Canyon Provincial Park. This scene has fascinated me for years. The tall column of rock with the lone tree on top. In a zippered compartment of my belly boat I found the water stained pad of paper, from which I had tried to express in 2010, the poetry of the rock and it’s invitation to the tree and everything around. So I have combined here the poem and the painting. I highly recommend floating and creating together.
The Tree That Grew From Rock (watercolor, Marble Canyon, Belly Boat)
Rock – Magnificent rock
Rock that hasn’t said
come tree, come bush
come crack, come hole
come be with me