i am agog
with images,
and i want to stitch
most of them
but sometimes
(more often than not)
when i pick up cloth
and thread a needle,
i see blank.
it’s neither white
or black
just the color
of nothing.
and then i worry
if i ever really
saw any images
in the first place
or if this is a sign
that i’m not to stitch
the images.
maybe i’m just
going crazy,
my creative capability.

things swirl
and grow.

who do i think i am,
(there’s no question mark
because that is no question.)

i refuse to live
in nothingness,
so i turn my hands loose
to grapple.
to gather
and join
and to give
my hands
without interference,
i set my brain
aside in a playpen
and turn it loose.

or do i?

is that even possible?

i remember the delightful
conversation i had with my son’s
girlfriend this past
sunday morning.
she regaled me with
the overlay
of her undergraduate
humanities studies.
at the essential core
was identity
and from there,
each year was
spent reading about
and pondering
identity in
specific contexts.

i want a copy of her
(is this how you say
“more than one syllabus”?)
(i’m fluent only in
english and southern,
you know.)
when she can dig it
out of storage
so i can forge
down that same
will i find myself
there in the books
she read
so many years ago?
will i finally know
who i am
why i’m here
and what i am
supposed to do
on my stay?

do i make too much of this?
where “this” is
my self,
my life?

why can’t i just be satisfied
to be here,
to take one day
at a time,
living it
wherever it takes me?

am i too big for
my britches
in even considering
that i’m here for a
particular purpose?

is that too high falutin’?

who do i think i am?

is that the voice of
my big, bad

and as if that isn’t enough,
i’m on the verge
of a new identity,
one that has me
and pinging
and tumbling
in emotional
and existential

:: ~ ::


my mother loves irises,
and they are beginning to
fill her backyard
with color.
seen through my macro lens,
they appear as
an entryway.
perhaps not a yellow brick road,
but a road nevetheless.
a road leading into
the unknown.
into possibility.
into Mystery.
an altar
of the finest
most inviting
(if not the most unsettling)

More about 365 Altars


  1. Karen Sharp

    I think we all have a soul’s purpose, and it is our essential task to figure out what it is, and do it. Without knowing and doing that task, we cannot truly live well. And at the end of our lives, to look back and see our live as not having, not truly, in its essence, been lived well, however well we might have lived…?

    That’s not being too big for our britches.
    No more than our lungs are too big for our breath.

    And even in the ways we concretely inhabit our bodies, to take that metaphor literally — if we are not using all of our lung-space, drawing in to the full potential of our own breathing/being, then the problem is that our breath is not being big enough for our lungs. That we aren’t being big enough for our britches.

    I find myself breathing shallowly all the time. Little shallow sips of air. My solar plexus compressed, tight, small. I need to remind myself to breathe, all the time.

    It used to be that if I consciously stopped and intentionally breathed deep and slow and full, it would make me anxious. A little-girl fear, hiding in some atavistic place in my being, that I’d get in trouble… for taking up the fullness of my own breathing/being.

    At least I’ve moved forward from that. Now, when I stop and breathe, full and open and spacious, I touch calmness. Certainty. Solidity. Strength. Knowing. More than anything else, the word I use to describe that feelingknowing, is queenly. Down there at the bottom of my lungs.

    I forget about her, that queen inside me, all the time… but I do know she’s there now, as close as my own breath, all it takes is the paying attention to re-find her.

    She knows my soul’s purpose full well. When I forget about her, I forget about it as well.

    But when I stop, and remember, and breathe deep… all of us, my soul’s purpose, my inner-queen, and I, are all right here. Living well.

    • whollyjeanne

      as always, i thank you sugar. for so many reasons, i thank you. and hey, i was thinking about you today as i stitched and grappled. about how you’ve reminded me several times that something must die to make room for something to be born. you’ve intimated that perhaps that’s what’s going on here. and today, as i grappled, some things – seemingly disparate things – snapped into place and brought a smile . . . a smile with your name on it. more soon. . .

  2. ☆little light☆

    Your angst
    is creativity itself..
    and your gift
    is the light you shine into my days..
    mommas irises look fine…
    oh so fine

    • whollyjeanne

      whatever wouldest i do without thee? you turn my head around straight. snap my ears into place atop my head (so i look taller and thus slimmer) from the added height. wankle my nose so it catches the rain, and uncross my eyes so i see only one of everything and every person and no longer have to guess which is real and which is not. all this AND put a smile on my face.
      (yes, i’m sleep deprivated.)

      (but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.)

  3. angelakelsey

    Well, no. It is impossible to make too much of this, because “this” is infinite, this is Divine, this is you.

    • whollyjeanne

      well, it sure seems infinite, this angst and turmoil! wishing i could get some traction under me, get my feet connected with the ground to propel me forward. okay, honestly, i’d settle for movement, period. thanks, though, for understanding and for reminding me that this is all part of life, all part of the Great Plan. xo

  4. Mrsmediocrity

    i know this angst. we live in the questions. i truly believe that. and we never know the answers, i believe that, as well. the tricky part is figuring out how to be okay with that.

    • whollyjeanne

      you nailed it, sugar. (no surprise there.)

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Hey, Sugar! I'm Jeanne Hewell-Chambers: writer ~ stitcher ~ storyteller ~ one-woman performer ~ creator & founder of The 70273 Project, and I'm mighty glad you're here. Make yourself at home, and if you have any questions, just holler.

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