CC Willow art store

Thursday, October 8, 2015

An Introduction

Ariel hosting open mic
Poetry At The Playhouse, April 2014

Life has gotten messy.

Now, as someone used to life habitually throwing an uncomfortable curve or two during the week, and who has been described by a former professor as a person whose superpower is “attracting chaos”, you can just understand that my description of “messy” may be on a higher level than what you usually think - You may think dusty pizza boxes & basement apartments. Nope – I’m talking about unexpected financial landmines, bedrocks of suburban stability morphing into crumbling sandstone, dropping randomly in and out of timelines. Those weekly upsets have lately become at least daily, sometimes hourly experiences these past four years. And I am finding it hard to cope.

I have been “blessed” with a difficult childhood, followed by a challenging adulthood – a childhood that have given me strong tools for coping: tenacity, flexibility, determination, action, and foremost POETRY. It is through poetry that I found my way to myself and to survival. Poetry allowed me to find those hidden lessons, the human connections. Poetry gave me a voice “Ariel” when my own vocal one was denounced as “selfish”. It was my life-preserver bringing me to the far shore.

I know many poets can relate to this. And when I finally got the courage to share my poetry, I found it helped others as well to survive and make it to shore.

I finally knew WHO I was. Ariel . Of water, of air. A sylph. A servant. An elemental. Child of God. Human. Deep down to the core – just “Ariel”. Look up almost any definition or reference of Ariel and you would find aspect of me. And with words – I could breathe, think, reach out.

Still there were some things I did not have words for. My dad was a great, unknown artist; my eldest brother inherited that gift. I did not. And sometime in 2003, I realized I did not need to inherit it, I could learn it, develop it. It was however a “different voice”; signing Ariel in at the corner felt dishonest. I persisted in learning the skills of line & color & composition, gradually easing into my pseudonym of “CC Willow” .

This worked well. Between poetry & art, I weathered many storms.

Fast forward to about four years ago, when chaos took on a new urgency. Crisis were hitting hard, doubling down on their occurrences. I started having bouts of writers’ block. A week a month – intolerable quiet periods. Periods of absent poetry often were interspersed with periods of absent ability to paint. Then episodes of both words & color being silent to me. Two years ago they stretched to fallow periods of months at a time. Now, except for April 2015 and a few faint whispers, this year has been mainly devoid. And I feel … lost .

So back to basics for me. I cannot think properly without my “voice”. With no productive thinking, I cannot act, cannot plan. No wonder I got “lost”. And I got “quiet”; I withdrew and hid. This was never a productive habit for me – I don’t think it is for anyone; depression whispers and you have no one drowning it out, not even your own. I must find my voice again, use it. I must share it again. That means Writing and Painting!

And that leads to this … my steps back into the world.

This will be a journal. Or a workbook. A discussion board or a volcanic rant. I may place edited writing here or just a stream-of- consciousness. I will share the journey – my stumbling blocks and my minor victories. Hopefully a major one or three.

And this is a human experience – getting lost, finding yourself. Getting lost again, found again. Evolving into something more each time. Using new tools, working stuff out. Digging in & climbing out. Perhaps you, too, are feeling your way through each day. Wondering how you got to where you are. Wondering just who you are.

So I leave this with an invitation: If you wish to walk with me, please do. As someone wise said ”We are all walking each other home.”


  1. Ariel,
    What a lovely blog. You have such a poignant voice, as I read your posts, I was pulled in. I especially love this line, “...And with words – I could breathe, think, reach out.” You are reaching out, Ariel. Keep it up.

  2. Thank you, Sheila! Getting there, one step at a time. Writing has always been my life-line in the past.