Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A new home

Dear Readers,

I have transitioned my blog to a new name and home on my website. Please visit http://www.kimevansstudio.com/blog to read and comment on my current posts. THANK YOU!

~ Kim

Monday, December 3, 2012

A glass of rocks

An image popped into my mind today while I was sitting at my desk.

A glass of rocks. It could have been a fragment left over from a Stephen Covey "7 Habits of Highly Successful People" exercise I did back in the late nineties. I remember something about focusing on your "big rocks" instead of the sand or something like that. (Like I said, it was a fragment.)

But I'm seeing the image differently today. I'm seeing the rocks as the circumstances, responsibilities, and challenges life presents to us at any given time. Some of them may be very difficult to manage, but there they sit nonetheless.

And I think of pouring a nice glass of water over those rocks. And this water represents love. Love filling the glass full, surrounding the crappy, painful, space-consuming rocks, and marinating them. Love has a way of infiltrating things like that, a liquid light flowing around and through the dark solids. And I'm thankful to know that. It gives me hope.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Giving voice to invisible loss

Dear readers, please allow me to introduce……drumroll please……..The Moment I Knew: Reflections From Women on Life's Defining Moments!

I'm honored that my essay, What I Gave to the Fire, iincluded in this anthology.

What I Gave to the Fire is the story of the trauma and immediate aftermath of my second miscarriage, an invisible loss that I could not keep hidden inside. I wrote this in response to a persistent calling I felt to get the story out there. Along with this calling came an amazing pathway to a women's writing community that has supported me in sharing these words on the page and through my voice. I had my doubts about sharing a personal story in such a public way, but my desire to name myself among the women and families who have experienced similar losses gave me determination.   

The essay contains a scene in which I'm having dinner with my family at McCormick's Creek State Park's Canyon Inn. it's a comforting scene that occurred a few weeks post-trauma, on a mini-retreat with my husband and daughter, then six years old. This October, we returned for a day of hiking at McCormick's Creek followed by dinner at Inn, where we found ourselves sitting at the very same table as we did seven years ago. We were even seated in the same positions: Olivia, now thirteen, to my left, and Trent to my right. It was one of those full circle experiences for me: an opportunity to take stock of how far I've come; to  notice the degree to which the pain and uncertainty have subsided.

I continue to write the full story of how these early pregnancy losses changed the trajectory of my life. With each section I add to the narrative, I become more grateful for my life. Writing has given me a way of healing, identifying beliefs I held that perhaps served me at the time, but I now I see as false: particularly the belief that God had abandoned me.

I continue to be humbled by the amount of time, dedication, and discipline it requires of me to write this book. I now bow in awe to anyone who has ever written a book. Having my essay published in The Moment I Knew has given me fuel to continue writing each essay that will eventually appear in the finished work, to believe that my words are readable and this intimate story worth sharing. If all goes well, I hope to have the first draft of the manuscript done by mid-December.

I am deeply grateful to editor, Terri Spahr Nelson, for selecting my essay for publication in this fine anthology of women's words.

More about the book:
The Moment I Knew—Reflections from Women on Life’s Defining Moments is a collection of essays and poems about those unforgettable times in our lives. Thirty women from six different countries share their personal insights from the wonder and sublime of everyday life to unexpected crises. This is a perfect book to share with a friend or a women's book group.

For more information or to purchase the book, please visit Sugati Publications online. During the month of November, Sugati invites author's blog readers to take advantage of one of the following special offers:

Girlfriends special: Save 25% -- buy two books for only $22.00 (one for yourself and one for a friend) available only at Sugati Publications

Free shipping: Discount code BlogSpecial (to use at checkout)

The book is now also available on Amazon.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten years ago today

I was filled with a sense of calm as Olivia and I started our day. The sky was crystal blue, the sun shone brightly. A yellow cast in the air hinted of early Fall, my favorite season in Indiana. I pulled into the Martinsville Wal-Mart parking lot. I had just dropped Olivia off at preschool, so I had a couple of hours to run errands. The Jeep needed new tires. While I waited for them to replace the tires, I strolled up and down the aisles. The Wal-Mart television network was on video monitors around the store. I was in the women’s clothing department when I started to notice the audio was broadcasting over their speaker system.

“…World Trade Center… bombing…”

The words entered and left my consciousness as I looked for clothing in my size on the clearance rack. I dismissed what I heard, wondering why they were talking about something that happened in 1993. “Must be a historical news report,” I thought, continuing to shop, “I’m glad they caught those terrorists.” As that thought registered in my mind I felt a sense of comfort.

For a historical news report, however, it had an immediate and frantic nature that caused me to listen more closely.

“The World Trade Center is under attack,” the reporter said. The historical feel I previously imagined was gone.

“What?” I thought, “Didn’t they catch the terrorists who did that?” Then I remembered they hadn’t caught them all. It was impossible to catch them all.

I grabbed my purse and left my cart by the exercise wear and went to Electronics. I found an employee at the cash register.

“Do you know what’s going on?” I asked, checking my purse to make sure I had my cell phone. It was there, and on. I was always sure to turn it on in case Olivia’s teacher needed to call me.

“This is IT,” she said while she ripped a receipt from the cash register. She seemed to be so certain, and I wondered how she knew so much more than I.

“What?” I asked, immediately wanting to place all of my trust in her, as if she were my mother, minister, or some other keeper of the Truth.

“This is War,” she said. “We’re under attack.”

An image of fighter jets flying over my house in Morgantown flashed through my mind. My tailbone tingled. My heart started beating faster.

“Are we safe here?” I asked Cash Register Woman, still looking to her for the Truth.

“They’ll probably target areas where there are military bases first,” she replied matter-of-factly. I immediately thought of Camp Atterbury, a National Guard training facility not far from our home. My stomach shifted.

A few people had started to gather around the TV screens, which were now all tuned to CNN. I walked over to see an image of a reporter I didn’t recognize in downtown New York. The image was repeated on screens across the entire wall, like a fly might see it. The camera panned upward to the top of one of the World Trade Center buildings, and smoke was billowing upward against the same crystal blue sky I had just seen only moments earlier outside in the parking lot. Then the news cut to a tape from a few minutes before of the same building with no smoke billowing out. Then an airplane sliced the sky in half horizontally and slammed nose first into the building. Screaming was audible on the tape. My jaw dropped.

A protective urge immediately arose inside me. I needed to get my child and go home. I went to the automotive department. “Is my car done?” I asked, trying to catch my breath.

“Just a few more minutes, Ma’am,” the attendant told me.

I sighed and sat down in one of the plastic chairs in the small waiting area. My senses were amplified. The coffee in the pot on the table in front of me smelled like it had been cooking on the warmer for a few hours. I tried to be calm. I was remarkably successful at flipping back into normalcy for moments at a time, reading the newspaper, watching another customer slide a key off his ring and hand it to the attendant, studying my cuticles.

I was startled from my seat by the sound of my name. The Jeep was ready. I paid for the service, walked across the garage, opened the driver’s side door and got in. I immediately drove to Olivia’s preschool and parked along the curb across from the play yard. They were already outside. The children were a palette of color and energy, painting the fence with water, climbing the pine tree, swinging, pulling each other the wagon. They were enjoying the last carefree minutes of life as they and their parents knew it in America. I approached the gate and captured the attention of Ms. Rebecca, Olivia’s teacher.

“Did you hear what happened?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she said. Here widened eyes were her only physical reaction. “We’re trying not to show any alarm around the children. Would you like to go ahead and take Olivia home?”

“Please.” I said.

Olivia saw me and came over to the fence. Her blond hair looked almost white in the sunlight.

“Hi sweetie,” I said, “time to go home.” I buckled her in her car seat with extra care.

I watched the news for the rest of the day. Images of the planes flying into the buildings were repeated over and over and over. The people in New York cramming their cars into the tunnel to leave the city. The reporters standing in front of the buildings as they collapsed. I was soaking it all in, not able to process it yet. Just absorbing. Numbing. Not knowing yet how much life was going to change, on so many levels.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dear Readers,

In an effort to consolidate the blogs I've written over the past two+ years, I'd like to share a list of links to the monthly (give or take) blogs I wrote for the Poplar Grove Muse from July 2010-May 2011. While you're visiting "The Muse," I recommend you also read some of the wonderful writing you'll find there from a high-quality panel of women writers.

40 Shades of Grey (April 2011)

Footprints on Campus (February 2011)

New Year's Intentions (December 2010)

Eight Seeds (October 2010)

Tiger Encounters (July 2010)


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rip Currents

Blogger's Note: Cozumel Dreamin is back from hiatus! (At least for today…I don't want to put too much pressure on myself…read on for more context :) When my gig as a community columnist for the Herald-Times came to a close in the summer of 2010, I migrated over to write with a talented panel of writing friends at the Poplar Grove Muse. Now that gig is over, and I am happy to be back here at my original blogspace, Cozumel Dreamin. So, basically I never went away, I just migrated…and I know my hearty handful of readers personally, so this isn't big news to anyone :) Anyway, enough about that.

Last week, my family finally got to take our Michigan vacation. We wanted someplace cooler, less humid than the sauna back home in Bloomington, AND we wanted beach. We got our wish. Picturesque Saugatuck couldn't have been a more perfect place. Think artsy village shops on a river with a beautiful Lake Michigan beach literally around the bend. Think amazing summer art school (Ox Bow) where I'm now fantasizing we'll send Olivia in a few years, as well as be an artist-in-residence myself. Think lovely fresh water beach with soft sand.

Our first full day at the beach was interesting, however. It was quite windy, and there was a visible layer of blowing sand hovering at knee level which added some crunch to our tuna salad picnic. The surf relentlessly pounded the shore all day. Suddenly the "What To Do if You Get Caught in a Rip Current" sign posted at the concession stand became relevant. Nevertheless, my family and I cautiously joined the sizeable number of people playing in the water. The waves were fun to navigate, cresting and foaming, pulling us many yards down the beach from our entry point. I was the first to go and lay on my towel to catch my breath, sand stinging my body, wishing I had a beach chair. I told Trent to watch Olivia like a hawk My protective mother instincts intact, even after 13 years.

Later the evening news reported on the rip currents up and down the Lake Michigan shoreline that day. Some beaches closed due to the severity. People die in these things.

I've been thinking about that day at the beach ever since we got back home. The relentlessness and loss of control was an apt metaphor for my current experience with my professional life. In my effort to neutralize the uncertainty of a freelancer's income, I took on a part time job about 9 months ago. Ever since I took that job, it feels like my income streams have been pounding me like those waves. The illusory captain's wheel has been out of my hands, spinning of its own accord. While I've appreciated the abundance, I've been challenged to maintain it energetically. I've been short-tempered, negative, tired. Abundance doesn't feel so great when you are drowning.

I know there's something for me to learn in this experience (isn't there always?). Maybe it's time to learn how to direct the flow.

I'm not asking the flow to stop, I'm not even asking it to change, unless it wants to. What I'm asking (praying) for is the confidence to get a hold of the captain's wheel and direct my vessel through active waters. This might mean extending completion dates for some projects. This might mean taking a day off if I need to catch up. This might mean quoting a premium rate if I'm being asked to complete a rush job. If all else fails, this might mean saying no sometimes. The world won't stop if I say no.

Maybe I just need to follow the instructions on the sign:

If caught in a rip current:
  • Don't fight the current
  • Swim out of the current, then to shore
  • If you can't escape, float or tread water
  • If you need help, call or wave for assistance

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Feedback, both positive and negative, notable for writer

by Kim Evans for the Herald-Times

It’s hard to believe, but this is my 28th and final column. A year has blown by, and I find myself writing the parting words I knew I’d eventually be searching for.

I am not fond of good-byes; yet, the time has come. In doing so, I’d like to share some notable moments from my past year as a community columnist:

The online poster who threatened to report me to Child Protective Services after reading about me letting my toddler daughter play naked in the yard back in 2001, citing my poor upbringing by a mother who threw peanut shells down a man’s pants.

The gentleman who sent me letters warning against the elusive “I-me-my” syndrome, complete with clippings of my column in which each of these pronouns was circled and counted. I continue to wonder how one is supposed to express one’s opinion in the third person; however, I was flattered that this reader took the time to write and compare me to Bob Hammel, although I never broke his record “I-me-my” word count.

A large number of online comments followed my column about mothers balancing work and family. I was excited that I seemed to touch on a sensitive topic and stir a public conversation.

I gained confidence in writing about the poor public relations on the part of the Bloomington Area Arts Council and their dealing with the funding shortfalls for the Waldron Arts Center.

I thank the BAAC board member who invited me to meet and discuss my ideas for bridge-building, even though I did not accept the invitation. Suddenly, I felt the responsibility of having my opinion published in a public forum.

While the MCCSC budget cuts largely felt too overwhelming for me to tackle, I was able to write about my Bradford Woods memories. There are still columns to be written about the importance of art and music education in public schools.

It was fun to have my column about the long journey through the College Mall ending in a double rainbow linked online to photographs of the rainbow submitted by H-T readers.

My biggest honor came after my graduation address to sixth graders was published, and I discovered my words had inspired individuals to quote excerpts from this column at local life celebration and graduation ceremonies.

This is when I truly felt the power of connecting through the written word.

As I look back, I see a body of work I can be proud of.

This gig has allowed me to develop my writing voice, and for that I am very grateful to Bob Zaltsberg for the opportunity.

I also would like to thank the H-T editors for writing great titles for me on those occasions when I drew blanks.

A big thank you goes out to my writing community at Women Writing for (a) Change, whom often listened to these columns in draft form and continue to celebrate my words.

Also thanks to my Friday night women friends for all their support; and my family, particularly my husband, Trent, for his constant encouragement, and my daughter, Olivia, for her extremely helpful feedback on my drafts.

And finally, I thank the entire Bloomington community for helping this be such a great place to call home.

Farewell for now.

Starting in July, you can find me blogging monthly for the Poplar Grove Muse and here on Cozumel Dreamin.