Discover more from Letters from Jackie
For three years now, stewarding Jackrabbit Studios has been joyous and far-reaching. And in the last few months, I have tried to conjure, outline, draft, bewitch, coax, wheedle, summon, whisper, carve, elicit a note such as this. How, when staring down three years of devotion, and the weaving together of disparate past with focused present, might we reflect and refract our ways in? I’ve attempted a few, and—between you and me—they were all shades of painfully overwrought. Clouded by scholarly instincts (see also: so many darling fears), these early sketches were full of three-pointed angles and shapes, tertiary supports and stabilities, and even some pontificating on the rule of thirds and why we count to three before we jump. Or snap a foto. Or end up on timeout.
Have I achieved crystal clarity? Not so. A semi-opaque creative channel is what I present to you now. Still sweating an outline like an elementary report on Nefertiti—encyclopedic or else!— while also yielding, at last, to divine ordering and pacing of time. Despite and in spite of any prior writerly conditioning and presumptions (such precious spirals), a deeper inner knowing has emerged. This post has taken forty years. And what I’m learning I’ve always known. So many of our fears and truths, tunnel-crawls and hurdle-clearings simply: take the time they’re meant to take.
If ever you’ve heard me utter a response a la ‘ah, yes, it takes the time it takes’ about anything and everything—escrow, editorial revisions, grieving, hamstring loosening, resilience, shifting from cortisol-ambition-driven-efforts into trusting-regulated-enoughness, neuroplastic repatterning, honing a meditation practice, easing away from distractions and fixed narratives—this describes not only my most core lived experience, but also one of my oldest truths.
For the first six years I was described as blisteringly shy. I may have simply been warming up. Stretching assorted hamstrings (there are three), pacing a clock of my own: sprouting with absolute wonder and burgeoning articulation. Observing first, considering deeply, and speaking with care at the speed of trust lies at the center of my most fundamental philosophy. Met with an opportunity, an uncertainty—especially a moment or scenario dressed as certainty—I’m most myself when this ideology of ‘let’s see…’ leads the ways.
The first year tending to Jackrabbit was one of learning, service, and the reverberating mantra-meets-north-star of ‘let’s see’ steering lists, tasks, and detailed curiosities. 2020 brought inquiry, and thrilling new devotions: to native plants and mature pine trees I’d not yet hydrated through several distinct seasons. Hosting inner and word-of-mouth circles of guests, we masked and tested ourselves, balancing bubbles and atomizations alongside the safety and novelty of spaces to feel expansive. Folks gathered for a particular election weekend, newly cherished work off-sites, and slightly less distanced holidays, milestones, and reliefs.
While unlocking the gates for others, myriad layers, depths, pacings of inner-unblocking would, in time, come into view. Newly attuning to the Mojave Desert horizons, I couldn’t so much as ‘let’s see’ the foundational and celestial personal landmarks up ahead. It’s slow in the sand, and sweaty; and also deliberate as hell.
Year two unlocked wider nets of residents alongside global efforts to reopen and convene again. My assignments felt comparatively rhythmic, and focused on sustainability—the trees bloomed, and also the irrigation system grew even more dialed. I could sense when the counsel of creatures at the watering hole started to declare happy hour alongside the shifting savings of daylight.
Artists and makers, healers and multi-hyphenates arrived from further afield and stayed longer than they’d envisioned. Some honeymooned, others babymooned, so many sets of families and friends co-worked, co-lived, and collaborated; one pair designed an entirely new healing modality they would transport back to first responders in New York City. Another created a post-modern lounge act that would be set to stage in Los Angeles. The Mountain School of the Arts celebrated their graduation weekend, and I welcomed repeat, recurring residents. Such steady momentum through each of these souls and seasons propelled the ‘let’s’ that flywheeled, continuing to ‘see’.
This third year (and ffs, my fortieth) revealed an altogether different padlock, set of codes, and keys, as I observed, stretched, and crawled forward with my own creative pursuits. Not until July of this year did it even occur to me to design my own days as resident rather than stewardess—drafting poems and letters, reveling in artist dates, and reorienting the rest of the summer so as to see with even more perspective. After all of my years studying, interning, working adjacent to artists and gatekeepers, and in the spirit of cultivating and elevating authentic expression, I’d finally trusted the gates at Jackie wide open.
An artistic hamlet steered by a blocked creative could have a certain kind of charm, I suppose, but by this season, I’d reckon it neither aligned with the legacy of female independent artists who’ve steered Jackrabbit before me, nor particularly useful within the portal of energies and potentials coursing through this expanse. And so I put pencil to paper.
‘Let’s see’ gathers many personal paths, stumbles, growing pains, and elevations like stratocumulus clouds over the Morongo Basin skyline. I’ve called in expert coachings, mentors, champions; delved illuminating coursework and sacredly held routines; morning pages, daily poems, and weekly artist dates; peer-led poetic, spiritual, glue-like, survivor, and Artist’s Way kinds of cohorts; and fulfilling, synergistic client-based work exploring opportune uncertainties set to the pace of our nervous systems.
All the while, residents at Jackrabbit requested lengthier stays, returned again, offered further insights and interviews, launched businesses, grew pregnancies, opened doorways, welcomed pauses, received poetic awards, drafted novels, fashioned collections, gained acceptance into prominent workshops, trained for athletic feats, and continued respective choreographies of unblocking authentic expression.
As with any set of keys, locks, I’m even more aware of the diligence required as rust (fear?), grease(doubt?), weathering(spirals?)—all manners of stickiness—inevitably surface. No longer surprised by the ways in which we must proactively clear and anoint our creative spaces and vessels, I might also better speak to the magics of our internal processes(gifts!) when met with an opportunity to retreat and hone.
Perhaps ‘let’s see’ rings true for you. If not yet, or if ever you sense its siren sounding, I hope you’ll call on Jackie and me. And I welcome every thought, feel, rec for future offerings, as I round the edges, tumble through each of the clouds and vibrant skies in these spaces with you, too.