Mammarian Inspiration

“Try to be inspired by something every day. Try to inspire at least one person every day.” …Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Saturday night, The Mammary Chronicles performed at Pondwater Society.  My kids call it Bongwater, where 1967 meets 2012, swimming pools have been turned into fish ponds and creativity grows like weed, ignites and fills the air with inspiration.  A cacophony of eccentric artists, poets, and musicians make this monthly event an experience everyone should have at least once in their lifetime.  And, you have to meet Joanne and Ed, the hosts and visionaries behind this magical happening.

This was our third Mammary Chronicles performance; each show as unique as a woman’s breasts.  Our mission:  A night of poetry and prose dedicated to the celebration and preservation of breasts, the woman who survived them, and honoring those who haven’t.  It was a great night.  Our performance was in Raundi’s words, “rad.”  I shared stories from my adventures in breast cancer, Raundi read her poetry and sang her own rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Breasts.”  And, to top it all off, we sang, “Check, check, check your breasts.” 

Click below to watch us sing:

Check, Check, Check Your Breast Song

The grand finale of the night, Helicopter played.  They rocked, we danced, and Sean burned.

 

Sean at Pondwater burning with inspiration

 

Sean is an artist and a regular at Pondwater.  Inspired by the Mammary Chronicles, he created a very powerful work of art.  It is so stirring I just had to share it with you.  Above is a picture of him finishing the final touches at Pondwater with hot coals.  He posted it on Facebook adding a sweet note, “Thank you Deanne and Raundi for the mammarian inspiration. Your words definitely influenced the direction of the piece.”

 

Chemistry? interferon-alfa2b, Knives? wide area excision or mastectomy Fire? radiation treatment

 

You inspire me too Sean.  Your piece is beautiful.  It captures the emotions of the experience of breast cancer perfectly. 

I can’t begin to tell you the excitement I feel when someone tells me that I have inspired them.  It feels so right, so good, reminding me of why I am on this planet.  I am here on Earth to write a book, tour with The Mammary Chronicles, and walk in the Susan G. Komen 3 Day walk.  I am here to inspire and be inspired.  I am here to stir things up a bit and shine a light on what seems like the impossible.  I am here to help motivate, encourage, egg-on and trigger-off.  I am here to show people that when something bad happens to them, it is not a time to throw in the towel and give up.  Like Winston Churchill said, “Never, never, never, never give up.”

I am also here to heal.  Writing, walking, and performing are great outlets for me.  They help me to mend my scars.  And, I have some big scars.  But these outlets, they are channels to health and happiness.  Not only do the help me heal, they help me get in touch with myself and unlock the mystery of both my inner psyche and the outer universe.  That is the magic of performing on stage.  That is the magic of writing.  That is the magic of art. 

For example, when I write, I enter into another world.  I leave my ego behind, tap into something deep and divine and write from my true self.  Usually inspired by some personal story, lesson or truth, and originating from some mysterious place inside, I feel a desperate need to get it out.  Ideas travel down my arm, through my fingers and onto paper.  Words appear, sentences form and eventually an entire story emerges right before my eyes.  It feels incredible when it all clicks.  Pure satisfaction! 

I am certain that this is what Joseph Campbell meant by “bliss.”

But getting to this tantric state of bliss takes work.  Ideas don’t always appear like a bolt of lightning.  I can’t speak for Sean but I am sure most artists agree.  There are times I have to force myself to sit down and write.  I have to say “yes” when I feel like saying “no.”  I can’t just sit at home and hope to be inspired; wishing ideas will be delivered to my door like a pizza.  I have to go after it, put myself out there, experience life and live fully.  Jack London knows this.  He writes, “You can’t wait for inspiration.  You have to go after it with a club.”

So, I am going after it.  Day after day, I write, I walk, I work, I play and I work some more.  It’s not easy but the satisfaction I feel makes it all worth it.  The harder I work, the more energy I have.  The more I play, the more my imagination soars.  The more I am inspired, the more I inspire.  And, the more I say “yes” to life the more life says “yes” to me.  It’s a win win situation.

I can’t believe I actually thought I would make a good accountant once upon a time.  I dabbled in the arts a bit but was afraid I could not make a living at it.  I thought it was something other people did, that I was not a part of that world.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I am an artist through and through.  And this is not to put down accountants in any way, because even accounting is an art, I just personally wouldn’t do it any justice, unless I could turn numbers into prose.     

So it seems I am a bit of a late bloomer, but that’s ok, better late than never.  And, the weird part about all of this, cancer helped me to come to this realization.  It opened doors for me that I did not know were there waiting to be unlocked. 

But just having a door opened is not enough.  I learned you have to walk through it.  This is the most crucial step. 

We all have a door.  Life is hard.  Shit happens.  The trick is to not run the other way or go back to life as before.  Instead, put on your most durable shoes, and start walking.  Grab a pen and start writing.  Turn off the T.V. and start living.  Be an inspiration or get inspired, whether it is through some form of art, music, walking 60 miles in 3 days, swimming pools converted to fish ponds or accounting.  Try them on for size and walk through that door.  You will be amazed at what you will find on the other side.

2 Responses to “Mammarian Inspiration”

  1. Raundi Says:

    Can I just say that I have had the time of my life with you.

  2. Sean Campeau Says:

    Very nice, Deanne.
    Although this is my first time swimming in your writing, I am finding it magical, provoking change from a station of confidence. I am tempted to ask if all of your writing is similar. But I realize that the archive is right here at my fingertips.
    “The more I play, the more my imagination soars.”
    Play it again, Deanne.
    Thank you.
    – Sean Campeau

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