Jes Lee

Listening to the rain

Another long ‘creating’ weekend is slowly ending. I’m a little nervous, because this is one of my last long weekends free before my show goes up, but I’m not going to dwell on that.

It was a great weekend! I have made more progress on my artwork than I could have hoped, and I have a pretty clear path to the end. I must keep focusing! I can do this!

Right now I am sitting by our deck, listening to the rain, and smelling the damp earth….my favorite scent is the smell of spring rain. There is nothing like the first one of the season.

I have of course kept up on the poetry this weekend. Both of these came from writing prompts that Kris Bigalk posted on her Facebook page. I love how many places you can find writing prompts during NaPoWriMo!

April 27th – What can you live without: (I’m on day 6 of no coffee….tomorrow morning marks one week! And Lynn, if you are reading this, I did just go to the Tea Source today to stock up, and picked up some of the Blueberry Fields tea you mentioned as well as two others! I think I’m set!)

I can live without….

I can live

without coffee


With almond milk

Whatever smooth flavor

Of Peace Coffee

was featured that week

Fresh ground


French press





Black tea

Is just as good

Loose leaf

Steeped in the French press


Almond milk

And just a bit of honey

But he drinks tea

Not coffee

And now I have to share

I never had to share my coffee

I can live without it…..

I can…..


April 28th – try writing a poem with the phrase ‘I remember’ repeated at the beginning of each stanza….

I remember

I remember
my granny’s collection of apples
she had because she was a teacher,
and teachers collect apples.

I remember
specifically her clear glass apple
filled with liquid
and flakes of shiny gold.

I remember
when it sprung a leak
liquid oozing out,
the gold flakes stopped floating.

I remember
her searching
through phone book pages
for the company named
on the apple’s gold sticker.

I remember
her writing down an address,
wrapping the apple while grinning
“We are going on an adventure”.

I remember
riding in her red Caddy through
the coolest area of town
filled with old buildings and train tracks,
and so many signs about art for sale.

I remember
walking inside
one of those buildings
with my granny and her apple.

I remember
we met a woman
who gave my granny a new glass apple
with floating gold flakes
and carefully she took
the leaky one away.

I remember
she gave us a tour
to see where they made
glass apples
before being filled with liquid
and gold.

I remember
watching many people hanging out,
listening to loud rock music,
wearing grungy clothes,
and turning liquid fire
into these amazing hollow glass objects.

I remember
the woman explaining
those were the artists
and they created the glass apples.

I remember
when I first decided
I wanted to become an artist.

It was right then.

I remember
thinking that being an artist
meant you could hang out with your friends,
listening to loud rock music,
and make amazing things.
That you could wear grungy clothes,
because no one cared what you wore!
You were an artist and you were awesome!

I remember
years later I realized
that was only partly right,
but I wanted to be an artist anyway.

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And so I am. True story.

landing for a minute

The last few days have been a blur.

Having a weekend off of work was amazing, having so much time to work on artwork for my show. I managed to get a few major things finished, or closer to completion. There is still quite a way to go, but I am closer.

I appreciate all the encouraging comments many of you have left on Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr over the weekend as I was posting photos of what I was working on. It means so much!

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Yesterday was filled with so many ups and downs, being back to work, listening to what happened in Boston…

Facebook is a good place to find quotes, and this morning was no different. At the top of my timeline this morning was this: “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” ~Gandhi

There are many heart-breaking sad events in the world every day. What happened in Boston is sad, and sadly not the only one. But I believe, at least for myself, that we have to keep believing that good is possible, to keep putting positive energy out into the universe, and keep making beautiful things.

Today there were will be more creating, more printing, more paper cutting, and more writing for me. There will be a lot less broadcast radio and tv…but perhaps that is just my way of coping.

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Last night John and I had a chance to go to one of the films being shown during the Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival at St. Anthony Main Theater. If you have a chance to go see any of the movies during the festival, GO! We try to see as many as we can. The movies we can’t see get added to our list to watch later. Last night we saw Allez, Eddy which was great! A story about a family who has owned a butcher shop for generations, and the youngest child who has dreams to be a bicycle racer instead of a butcher. I hope we make it to a few more movies before the fest is over.

I have still been writing a poem a day for National Poetry Month, and even though I was busy with artwork this weekend and didn’t keep up on blogging, I still wrote my daily poems. Here they are in their usual raw unedited form:

Saturday, April 13th (more a list poem and journal of my day)

art supplies:
paper for a flip book
fresh linoleum block
exacto knife.

4 green dresses tried on
emerald green
teal green
greenish blue with lace
green tea green with lace
finally fit.

dress shirts:
3 shirts tried on
shiny satin red
darker linen red
darker red and grey finally picked
and a grey sport coat with white pin stripes.

back corner table
by the window
people watching
mustard yellow pants
blue hair streaks
many leather jackets.

baking raspberry muffins
white bean pot pie
coding programs
gluing photos and boxes
drinking white wine
that tastes like citrus
like summer.

somehow you make the mundane
the small details
seem amazing.


Sunday, April 14th (inspired by a line posted in Ojibwe on Facebook by Heid Erdrich)

Every day is a good day.

Each day will change everything forever.
there are a million options
a zillion ways each day can play out
an infinite number of ways a day can end.

But each day we are here
each day we start together
every day we end together
is just the very best
of an infinite number of possibilities.

Every day is a good day.


Monday, April 15th (inspired by a ‘Three Things‘ photo post on the Hazel and Wren blog)

she fancied herself
one who could dance
on nothing but air.
moving weightlessly,
as if the music alone
could carry her
with the wind.

she ate nothing
but eggs
to keep her feet
as light as the birds
so she could dance
ever higher
and fox trot
with the clouds
and mingle with the stars.
the habitants of the sky
so much more interesting
and more graceful dancers
than human partners.

she was the best dancer
of all the humans,
her feet tiny and nimble,
as if they had their own
feathery wings.

she was unaware
that her ego had become
heavier than her
tiny body.
the air grew tired of lifting her
and simply left her to fall.
she plummeted back to earth
past a dusty grey
elephant swimming through the clouds.

“how are you here swimming,
and I am falling”
she demanded to know.
“you chose to be better
than anything that helped you
along your way, including the air.
An elephant never forgets
to tell the air
‘thank you for choosing me’”


Tuesday, April 16th (inspired by that same photo, and a line I jotted down in a note on my phone a long time ago, and a bit from reading the last book in the Wicked series)

be where your feet are
track each step
every foot fall
plot them out like a map
you will always know where you are.
be aware
be aware
the wrens sing to you
the flying monkeys are hot on your tail
when you start flying with them
floating with the stars and lightning bugs
swimming with the elephants
you will no longer be able to be tracked.


~Choose Love~


Extra days

I often find myself wishing for extra days. Extra hours, or minutes even. There has been a lot going on lately, and I have often felt like I’m non-stop-running from job to job to project.

Because of the threat of bad weather, schedules were changed at my day job, and I wound up with today off of work. My ‘make all the things’ weekend started a day early!

I made the most of it! There are now prints ready for my next box, quite a bit more of my wood block engraved, test prints done, more ideas thought, and new artwork framed for the gift shop at Bloomington Art Center.

At first, I didn’t know where I should even start. I still couldn’t fathom having an extra day to myself. So, I piled organized everything on the kitchen table, and picked something to start with.

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Before long, it looked like this:

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Happy chaos of prints, book pages, and everything else. More of that tomorrow!

I wrote poem #10 today. I wrote it earlier today while I was in between bits of projects. I noticed there were no birds or squirrels out here, and the princess was huddled in a corner of the room. Everything seemed to be waiting. It isn’t my favorite poem, but it is one for today.



The atmosphere seems to be holding its breath,
keeping all of us waiting
for the crescendo,
the seemingly inevitable storm
that will plunge us back into winter,
remind us that the ground is still sleeping
and the growing season is still not here.


We will see what the storm brings tonight!