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  • Betsy Grace

Perceived Vastness (Week 10)



Making


Friendship Star Mini-quilt Ornament production continues! I've finished 18 of these little gems--I have 8 more to make, then they'll be off to new homes. I'm also cooking up a tutorial for these.




 

I tried my hand at some visible mending on a tear in Justin's shirt sleeve. It was fun and I love how it turned out:




 

I also hosted a friend this week for our 2nd Quilt Tutoring session - we talked about quilting with specialty fabrics (she has a beautiful collection of silks, linens and embroidered beauties from traveling in India) and continued working together on binding. If you or someone you love are interested in developing your quilting skills and think one-on-one tutoring might be a good fit, let's talk!


Writing


This blog: I didn't spend much time writing this week, but I did get this very blog you're reading right now up on its feet, a project I've had on my list for some weeks now! I'll be working to gradually backfill posts I've written over the last couple months in the coming days/weeks.

 

"Most Influential Films of 2022" Project: I'm still in data-gathering mode: I have now finished up the Ts, Us,and Vs - I've begun working on the Ws. I have ~50 films left to gather data on, then it will be time to compile and publish. It's been so fun to learn about all the movies that came out this year, and I'm getting excited to share my findings. Coming soon!


Watching


eXistenZ (1999) - It's got all the orifices, jiggling, squishy body sounds, and creepy fat-and-organs-wrapped-in-skin biocreations you're right to expect from David Cronenberg, but with virtual reality/video game flair wrapped in a cat-and-mouse techno-heist. It's a lot funnier than some of his other work, though, and more focused on twists and thrills than philosophy. Also: Christopher Nolan stole most of his best ideas for Inception from this movie, right?






 

The Rose (1979) - An immersive rock and roll slice of life that goes easy on narrative and hard on live performance spectacle, costuming, and production design. Bette Midler is totally undeniable - all charisma, physicality, vulnerability, and desperation... she inhabits a fully-exploded rock star icon AND a scared, lonely human being simultaneously.





 

Colette (2018) - A biopic of the mono-named French novelist/performer - who famously defied all sorts of gendered social norms - the film is an at-times tonally subdued portrait of a fascinating person, a true modern. Keira Knightly is fierce in this. Though the filmmaking is somewhat wah-wah, the gender politics and watching Colette learn about and grow into herself makes the film completely worthwhile.



 

Also on-screen at our place:





Reading


A friend shared a great NYT article with me this week called "How a Bit of Awe Can Improve Your Health" by Hope Reese. As someone whose time and energy is becoming increasingly focused on finding ways to bring experiences of beauty and sacredness into everyday life, I found this incredibly affirming. A quote:

Experiencing awe comes from what Dr. Keltner has called a “perceived vastness,” as well as something that challenges us to rethink our previously held ideas. Awe can be triggered from moments like seeing the Grand Canyon or witnessing an act of kindness... Awe is critical to our well-being — just like joy, contentment‌ and love. [Keltner's] research suggests it has tremendous health benefits that include calming down our nervous system and triggering the release of oxytocin, the “love” hormone that promotes trust and bonding.
 

I'm savoring Ross Gay's Inciting Joy... From this week's reading:

As the writers and ecological stewards Vandana Shiva and Robin Wall Kimmerer teach us, to be among the living, to be life, means to be in dependence, always and forever, whether you like it or not. It means, whether you like it or not, you are the beneficiary of a largesse so large, and so deep, you will never in one lifetime get to the bottom of it. Like it or not, you will never pay it back or settle it up, even if you devote your every waking second to the task.
 

And a poem from Mary Oliver has been ringing through my mind this week... Here's an excerpt from "Starlings in Winter"... listen to my reading of the full poem here.

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us, even in the leafless winter, even in the ashy city.I am thinking now of grief, and of getting past it; I feel my boots trying to leave the ground, I feel my heart pumping hard. I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.

Also


Gosh, it's hard to love your body as a woman in this world. I have been working on it, on strengthening my connectedness to my body, healing some of the scars of self-hatred, and cultivating a practice of daily care and appreciation. I got a massage this week (thank you, Molly!) and I've been doing yoga every day. At least 20 minutes.


My cat, Michael, always comes to hang out when it's yoga time. He's a great help.




Holy Time - Bioluminescence


Slides from this week's Holy Time gathering--with words from Annie Dillard and Mary Oliver, video from Elladj Balde, amazing body facts compiled by yours truly, and music from Mike & the Mechanics--are available here.


Holy Time is a weekly online gathering - Thursdays, 8:45pm CT on zoom (https://zoom.us/j/94849428936).

All are welcome.


Contact me at bgmatheson@gmail.com with questions or for more information.


Soundtrack



 

What you are making and reading and writing and doing? What is inspiring you? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.


Love,


Betsy

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