still life 365 has been an incredible journey. There were times when I thought it was too much. Others times, I seriously considered (and honestly still consider) taking this project to the next level by pursuing a non-profit status and making a career out of this, somehow. Channeling my energy into this work has been so incredibly powerful and important for me and dare I say, healing.
As the year draws to a close, I realize that I created this space for so many holes I needed filled in my life. One of which is this pent-up grief energy. When Lucia died, I knew of one site that memorialized our baby's names. I remember thinking, "I wish I had something like that to do with this energy." Reading, collecting and viewing poetry, craft and art is soul-soothing to me. And so collecting and editing work on this blog is so incredibly moving. I exchange an email or two with most people, comment on their work in those personal emails, sometimes we work together to create something that worked for this unique space, and then imagining community poems, prompts, themes...all that is great creative energy. Very rarely did this space feel like a burden. I have been blessed with far more sugar than vinegar with submissions and interactions. All in all, it has been such amazing grief work.
As I stared my daughter's two year birthday square in the face this past week, I took inventory of this grief. I worked on this space and worked on my grief. All year. This was my Lucy time. I am so grateful for it. I have been so grateful for this space, and for the contributors, artists, poets, crafty chicks, musicians, sculptures, jewelry makers, the fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, friends who visit this space...you have given me far more than I could ever imagine receiving.
I am good at organizing, and I love organizing, so envisioning this space was easy once I began running with the idea. There is something powerful and healing about being present for other people grieving. I think others doing similar projects will attest-- reading story after story of loss, rather than being draining or difficult, becomes a way to understand this process of loss, grief and healing. This space is safe. It is sacred. And people treat it as such. While taking a wee step back is important for me, I still believe this project is important. This past year, I relied on a few key voices for advice, insight and help in devising projects, community poems, vision for still life 365, but primarily, I kept it to myself. I was selfish with this work. It was my Lucia time and moments. But ultimately, it seems selfish to keep that work to myself. I know this must sound weird, but I think grieving women and men who read this space might also at some point want to channel that grief energy somewhere. Maybe someone out there thinks, "still life 365 is the kind of project I wish I could do with this grief energy."
And so, I have been meditating and thinking about this quite a lot in the last few weeks. I want to open up this space to creative, driven people who may want to channel this project into their own grief work. What I am suggesting is allowing a different person each month to come in as a guest editor. I will show you how still life 365 posts work, answers email, responds to community poem/prompts. The guest editor will come up with the monthly community poem prompt and compile the poem, and other prompts throughout the month. If you are a visual artist and want to work on a community art piece, that is fine too. Also, I break down each week into prompts--first sunday is community poem, second is photo sunday, third is mid-month challenge (art, writing, craft or photo based on the monthly theme) and fourth is questions. The guest editor can change these weekly challenges, or not do them. But each editor will get a walk-through on what to do, how to post this work, be assigned as a guest poster on still life 365. I will introduce them before each month, they will post their community poem prompt and first posting of their month will be the community poem the guest editor compiles. I will be here always mentoring, guiding, helping in the ways that I can and helping the guest editor post. If it becomes overwhelming, I will take over, but mostly, it will be your art, poetry and craft site to guest host for the month. The only thing you cannot change is the format--no essays, no preaching, no advertising, no editorializing on pieces. You can publish your own pieces during your month. I usually try to spread work out from the same artist, so they are not in the same week. Each guest editor will have a biography on the side bar with links to any of his or her shops, blogs or websites. It will come down at the end of each month. But you will also be responsible for drumming up submissions (you get administrator rights on FB), getting people excited, writing prompts...I always do that myself, and will keep on doing so, but this will also be the guest editor's responsibility.
This seems like a strange offer--an offer for you to work for free just to channel some grief energy, but it was healing to me to be accountable everyday to a creative project, to know that my prompts and work were helping others explore their grief through art and writing, and just to be surrounded by so much light, love, creativity and art. In November, I emailed with some still life 365 readers and contributors on where this project should go, and we kicked around having different editors--photo editor, poetry editor, art editor, etc., in the end, I thought maybe someone would like to just take over the helm for a month, breathe some of their own creative juice and energy into the space, then hand the baton over to the next person. Doing something for a month is usually doable and a good, achievable challenge.
Maybe no one will be interested in guest editing this space, and that is fine too. Maybe it seems too overwhelming. Let's start a conversation about that in the comments, if you have questions about what is involved and how it works. I am probably going to figure out glitches as you ask questions. I can tell you think, that in the beginning of the year, I worked on the next day's post the night before, each post is maybe 10 minutes to 30 minutes of time. I was also developing a look for each post, figuring out how to write biographies and make it easy to publish everyday. Then I began working ahead, developing a calendar and working on the all the inbox postings once every few weeks in three hour blocks. I am trying to give an idea for how this works.
But if you are interested, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the subject line: Guest Editor. And in the body of the email, tell me why you want to guest edit. You can also choose a month, it is a first come/first serve type thing, but it might be a good thing in the month before your baby's birthday, or in the month of your baby's birthday. Also, send a link to your blog or artwork, if you have one.
Thank you all for an incredible year. And many more.