Lessons from the French Revolution – A Matter of Principles

I recently finished a biography of Madame Roland, a woman who played a key part in the 18th century French Revolution. I was familiar with late 18th century French politics but it was never an area that I studied deeply before, mostly looking at the time from the Royals and from the Americans’ point of view, as well as the Jacobin side. Madame Roland was a part of the Girondists, a more moderate faction of the revolutionaries than the Jacobins. Her life is fascinating, and I’m planning on reading her memoirs that she penned while in prison in the future.

Reading about Madame Roland and the revolution reminded me of the horrors of the mob, and also how the mob can be roused and utilized by individuals or small groups of people against others. And it also got me thinking again about liberty and the rights of individuals and morals and principles both in general and personally.

The brutality of a portion of the poorest people whipped into a frenzy in France was horrifying. The streets literally did run red in blood. So me being me, I immediately tried to put myself into that situation. Do you ever do this? Ask yourself – what would it take for me to be so angry, to dehumanize or blame someone so much, that I would relish in witnessing their public murder and be gleeful at the blood? Or what would it take to be swept up in the tide of a mob and how far would you let that tide take you, if there were rioting? We mostly want to think of ourselves as too civilized, too intelligent, too above the common herd to fall sway, but what if we were chronically on the brink of starvation and freezing to death?

And the flip side – have you ever asked yourself if you have a cause or a principle that you would be willing to die for? Or to try to manipulate people to achieve the goals of that cause? The Girondists really believed in the Grecian ideals of liberty and freedom for France, but the general population at that point mistook licentiousness for liberty, something many still do today. And that’s a point I think everyone really needs to reflect on. I do firmly believe in liberty and self-governance, but I also know that not everyone is ready for self-governance, so the best thing we can be doing is to help others become more aware of their power and responsibility over themselves as individuals because without that, society is pretty much doomed to keep repeating the mistakes of the past.

While I’ve been having all this swirling in the background of my mind that past week, a quote of Alfred Adler’s came up on a podcast I was listening to – “It is always easier to fight for one’s principles than it is to live up to them”. And that just kind of turned everything around and made me consider things even more. It is an interesting and instructive exercise to reach into the dustiest, darkest corners of your inner self, even when it is uncomfortable.

Anyway, I hope we never have to repeat something like the French Revolution, and that the revolution, when it does come, can be a more enlightened and less messy one.

Advertisements

My Time of Year

The end of August and beginning of September is the time of year that I get super productive and active. My motivation goes into full throttle, I accomplish a lot through the autumn months, and then it begins to wane in December as we approach the shortest day of the year.

I wonder if it’s biological – if my DNA remembers ancestors of mine gathering the harvest and preparing for winter. Or maybe it’s because my birthday is at the end of August, and this is “my” time. Or perhaps it’s merely Pavlovian with my years and years of starting school at this time, with all the preparation that went with it. Whatever the reason, and it may very well be all three honestly, I love this time. I love starting new projects and  recommitting myself to whatever ongoing projects I’m working on, I love the bustle and activity, I love the feelings I get running through my veins as the quality of the sunlight shifts and autumn starts to show itself.

Do you have a certain time of year that feels like yours?

New-ish Art

I’ve finally updated my gallery page with the 3 paintings I finished for the art show last month, and I put two of them up on my Fine Art America page too.

This abstract is entitled Breaking Through, and I painted it with the thought of people finally breaking free of their programming.

abstract_web

The last two are watercolors that started out as experiments with my son from about a year ago, using salt crystals on the page to create interesting texture. After letting the textured pages sit for a long time, I built on top of them in ways that seemed interesting to me, without any set plan in mind. The first was more successful than the second and may have become a personal favorite. I titled it Outer Space 1 because I assume I’ll be painting more on the theme at a later date. I loved playing with my new set of metallic watercolors that I got over the holidays on this one.

space_web

The second is a generic landscape that seems a little garish to me, but it is an interesting effort so I am sharing it. Because I wasn’t as satisfied with this one, it is not getting a name nor did I upload it for merchandising purposes, but I do have the original available if anybody is interested.

landscape_web

I have been meaning to share these for over a month now, but work and life has been insane. Still working on coming up with some solutions to give me more time to create, but I am taking things as they come. It felt so good to work on these.

Art Show Appearance

My husband and I will have a booth at the Baldwinsville Canal Arts Festival this Thursday, July 5th, in Baldwinsville, NY. It’s our first art show in years, and I am excited about it, even though the weather doesn’t look too great as of earlier today. We’re doing it in big part to get to know our local community of artists better. I want to be more active locally.

So if you are in the CNY area, stop out and see me! There will be original art, prints, and books available, as well as some various leftover merchandise from our convention days.

36409698_1061623720629423_6647483190833315840_n

The Sound of Silence

Despite my resolution to do so at the beginning of the year, I have not been posting more regularly here. I have not been churning out creative work at the pace I had hoped. I have been having to work through a lot of internal stuff again.

I feel ready to begin the next chapter of my life, and I feel trapped in a cycle of mere existence. Like a snake midway through shedding it’s skin but unable to break out entirely, I feel awkward and stuck. Things are shifting, but not fast enough, and I feel like I’m missing out on the time with the kids that I so desperately crave. I also feel like the universe is mocking me and piling more on top of me lately.

Then all the pain in those around me weighs down. The separation of the family at the borders, knowing the irreparable damage being done to those kids. Knowing the damage being done to so many kids around our country in general. And knowing that all of humanity could be living in abundance and have the freedom to pursue their passions right now, if we used technology to work with nature, if we set aside our hatred and our greed, if we stopped viewing others as “less than”… we could accomplish so much good. What we are and what we could be are so vastly far apart right now, I grieve.

But I have been grieving fairly silently. I have gone deep inside myself, to the very depths of my being, and such a journey is always traveled alone, out of necessity. I’m only just now struggling to the surface.

I don’t know what the future holds, either for myself personally or for us as a nation or a species. What I do know is that we have to make the choice to stand up for ourselves and others, for what is right, even if the cost feels too high. Maybe my personal struggles right now are a reflection of the larger struggle of humanity, as we work to evolve. It’s a thought.

Sister in Love, a poem

  1. Sister in love,
    Though you claim to despise
    There is now
    Such a deep connection
    Between us two.
    And I, who formerly
    Had claim to his
    Constancy
    Now find myself
    Wooing you
    In his name.
    I should forget
    And would,
    If I knew how,
    But the sweetness
    Of days gone by
    And my shame
    In being not what I
    Appear to be
    And knowing
    All that I have
    Sacrificed…
    The price is too dear.
  2. Sister in love,
    For such we are,
    Through no fault of mine,
    I would remove
    All hurt
    If I only could.
    Bathe your wounds
    In my tears
    And cleanse you anew.
    For love has only caused
    Me sorrow.
    I live with
    As little hope as you
    To ever gain
    My own dear one again.
    Perhaps to truly
    And deeply love
    Is not a kindness
    To our sex
    For there is no contentment
    In the flames of passion.
    Only pain,
    Even in success.

Copyright 2018, Kat Micari

This poem is inspired from Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona.

I Wrote a Thing!

I wrote a short story that is going to be included in a children’s story collection about Kindness! I used this illustration I made years ago as inspiration.

Spring Hope

As soon as I get more details, I will share with you.

It felt really good to write the story, to have a solid deadline of when it had to be finished, and to get it out into the world. My hope going forward is to get one short story written a month in addition to continuing on with my novel, because it makes me feel accomplished to “finish” something regularly, and maybe after I get enough done, I’ll make a print collection out of them along with Penumbra. We’ll have to see.

 

Jack and Jill, a poem

Jack and Jill

Went up the hill

Needles clutched in hand

They both got high

Jill gave a sigh

As the euphoria began

 

They sank deep down

Dropped to the ground

While inside they touched the sky

Not a worry, not a care

No deep despair

No need to ever ask why

 

Jack once had dreamed

How good life seemed

When hope was in his heart

But the dream was dead

The noise grew in his head

And escape was easy to start

 

Jack passed out

Jill flailed about

And wondered what to do

She needed on hit more

So she still could soar

And when the needle bit, she flew

 

Jack faded, then died

Jill finally tried

But she couldn’t stand to stay

One more wasted life

Couldn’t handle the strife

So now it’s thrown away

 

Copyright 2018, Kat Micari

 

This poem was inspired by an incident in the parking lot at work yesterday – 4 teens were shooting heroin in their car. A client told me about it, and I called the police, but I’m not sure what happened afterward. It’s such a huge problem in our area now, as it is everywhere else in the country. Very easily avoidable too… just stop the shipments coming in. But someone somewhere is making lots of money off of it, pretty high up the food chain, so that’s not likely to happen.

I grieve for the wasted potential, for the dimming of their possibilities, for all the lives affected. It’s so sad.

The Fires Burning Within

I have been feeling this increasing need to create for several months now. I’ve laid a lot of groundwork, have my pieces all laid out on the game board, but things keep getting in the way, not least of which is my refusal to ever work myself sick again. Not excuses, just frustration at the delay.

My goal is for all my creative endeavors to be fueling each other, for the art and writing to flow back and forth, to use them as inspiration for both my music and my costuming. My husband and I are talking about starting to sell homemade bath and beauty products which we did as an offshoot of our Fairy Magik label years ago but at the tail end, so we didn’t give it a very good go. To do all of that while taking in freelance sewing work and spending more time with the children. But to do more than chip away at that requires me first and foremost getting out of this stressful and physically exhausting job I’m currently in, which we’re working on.

I’ve been posting older work on Instagram to inspire me to continue chipping away, but honestly, by the time I sit down and have a few minutes to work, it’s so late at night that I’m spent and can’t tap the space I need to be in. Everything comes in it’s own time, and I feel the “soon, the time isn’t right just yet, but soon”, but patience has never been one of my strongest points. So the fires within continue to burn, to grow, threatening to overwhelm me.

When I finally unleash the fire, it will be a sight to behold.

Breaking the Cycles Collectively

Let’s have a bit of a philosophical discussion! I have noticed that more and more people are making an attempt to break free of the programming that binds them, in essence trying to cease the constant loop of life and give more meaning and freedom to their existence. I see more conscious parents actually making an effort to raise their children in ways that break through generational cycles of abuse, neglect, or lack of consciousness. People actually trying to reason and think and doing it alongside of caring passionately for others. All this happening, though, while society as a whole seems to be getting worse.

So I have been thinking lately, is it possible to break the bigger cycles? If enough individuals break their personal ones, process past traumas, take control of their lives, stop playing the game and feeding into the mess, can society as a whole do the same? Do civilizations always have to follow a similar script in their rise and fall, or can we actually create something entirely new and step aside? What are your thoughts?