Site icon Liesl Garner


Frank Sinatra, like every great artist, grew into his craft. I heard a biographer talking about him, and she said, “At this point in his life, he hadn’t started inhabiting his work, like he did later.” The idea that someone could, and did, and it can be talked about so nonchalantly captured my imagination like someone grabbing me and shaking me and telling me to pay attention.

That was months ago now, and I still have the thought of Inhabiting Art whiffle through my mind. It is working quietly in the background, painting a mural on the canvas of my thoughts, staying longer than I planned, a guest who is becoming a resident, the idea is beginning to inhabit me.

This morning, I realized that I want to give this idea room to truly grow. I want to hold onto this word and see where it takes me. Some people choose a word for their year, a word to focus on, a word to meditate on – my word this year is Inhabit.

In my planning calendar, I am playing with ways to inhabit my life more – not just scurry from one thing to the next, or check off things on my To-Do List. I want to sink down deep into this life I lead, and enjoy all the facets of it. I want to dwell richly with my family, and spend time with my boys and my husband in ways that we will remember fondly. I want to enjoy the daylights out of my home, not just bed down here. I want to consciously choose the ways I’m spending my time. I want to abbreviate my online meandering, and engage with the world around me. In my job, I want to own the company motto, and live and breathe it, represent my company well, and enjoy the work I do.

I want to thrive and grow where I’m planted and enjoy it all and spend my life appreciating, not negating. So, I’m in process. That is exactly where I want to be. I am becoming. I also AM! I am in this place. I want to inhabit my life – which means treasuring this space right now – enjoying everything about it. We spend so much of our lives thinking of someday, when we can afford new furniture, or someday, when we can put in new landscape, can build those fences, can pour concrete for patios, can put in new carpet and flooring.

Instead, I want to appreciate where I live right now. Exactly as it is – no wishing or hoping or daydreaming or being heaped in dissatisfaction – right now – this moment – these flaws and foibles, these feeble knees, right now is what I have accomplished so far and isn’t it glorious? Look at my life’s work – all around me in piles of wrestling boys! My husband at my side – we have everything we could ever want and more. Sure, we have some plans – but where we are right now is good and beautiful and perfect already – to be treasured and cherished and adored exactly as is. There are no improvements that could make me happier than I am right here and now.

To inhabit my art, I want to be true and honest about it. My writing is a work in progress, and at the same time, the part of me that is the most real, the most worn on my sleeve. This is my heart, right here. I started to have plans to submit my poetry this year. I have had plans to do this every year for probably 20 years. I will have great plans, and then get involved in the dailiness of living, and next thing I know it’s mid-April, and I’m a Poet, and April is National Poetry Month, and I haven’t even been writing poetry in April, and I feel like a disaster of an artist, and unworthy, and am so far behind, and I postpone again until next year when I do the same damn thing again.

So, this year, in an attempt to inhabit, I have no great plans, except to live and breathe and acknowledge the difficulties of being an artist with a busy world and life, accept, breathe, sink down deep into the messiness of it all, write about it, cry about it, soar on mornings when the words pour onto the page, hug my family more tightly and for longer than they want to hug back because I am in love with them so ridiculously, and am blown away by their talents and plans.

This space, this Love.Sparks.Art little blog world is my attempt to capture all that they are to me: our dinner conversations, the emerging brilliance of them, the way they make me grateful to be alive and be their mom.

I forget to write here, because sometimes I feel like I’d rather enjoy them in person, than spend time here writing about them. I can sugar coat things, I can be poetic about them, I can love them ever so much more fervently in writing than my actual everyday interactions with them. Sometimes I snap at them for not getting their chores done, or not being ready to leave the house to get to the bus on time because they’re play sword-fighting in the living room instead of brushing their teeth or putting on their shoes.

And then on the driveway, waiting for the gate to open, I remember how glad I am that they are kids with what feels like nothing but time to play in the downtime between stuff they’re supposed to be doing. I wish I had that childlike playfulness to jump or draw an imaginary sword to swish at someone just because I am not currently working on a serious project. And it dawned on my that I need to be coming here to write these observations more, because when I’m thinking of them poetically, I’m more at peace. When I forget to come here and wax eloquent about them, I forget how glorious they are.

For me, as a mom, and as an artist, writing about them helps me live in the moment more, find the humor in their deviousness, see the subtlety in their way with words. To truly inhabit my life means observing as a poet, paying close attention to the cues in each situation that are calling out to be noticed and cherished and scribbled down for posterity. They will not live with me forever. Someday, I will so miss the sword-play when they are supposed to be getting ready.


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