Welcome to BLOG Zentangle. To learn about Zentangle, visit our website, read our free newsletters, take a class with a local Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT), and best of all . . . create your own!

Saturday, February 16, 2013


I get up most nights, for an hour or two.  Rick, too.  
Is it a good thing?

Is it a bad thing?

Who's to say?
That's the sentiment from one of our favorite stories in a children's books called "Zen Shorts." I actually found a YouTube of someone reading that story from this book!

Anyway, Rick and I say this to each other all the time when something creeps into our life that may not be what is the "norm" or expected.

"Oh, we forgot to buy wine!"
"Is it a good thing or a bad thing"
"Who's to say?"

"We missed our flight!!!!!"    
"Is it a . . . ."

You get the picture.

So we started worrying less about our night time adventures and began doing some of our best work then. After a while when it felt right, we'd go back to bed, sometimes together, sometimes not, but eventually we always went back.

We'd also get to feed the wood stove and find it toasty warm in the morning.

I'd sometimes get ready for breakfast, set the table, etc., so maybe sleep a bit later.

Rick would read his books uninterrupted (we live in a busy house, lots of wonderful people with our business being here!!)

So whenever I hear someone worried about waking up at night . . . by the time I was done talking to them, they were looking forward to the next time they woke up at night. (Well, most of them . . . .)

I've read some really great books, and watched a few good movies, too, that daytime doesn't let me fit in.

But, tangling . . . this is when I do my best work. I am super focused, no distractions, no time constraints (again that time thingy) and in my comfy clothes!


So last night, I decided I would do an illuminated letter (if you're not familiar with this art, check out these samples.)

But if I wanted to give this away to one of you, what letter would everyone want?

Such a conundrum. . . . . . 

So I decided on this:

And, I didn't think anyone would "question" it!

So, dear Tanglers, what might be one of your "Is it a good thing, is it a bad thing" stories?

We're having so much fun with our "Time" blog post give-away, that we're going to try it again. Please share and you might get the "question." We'll use a random number generator to find a questionable one of you next week!
-- maria

Materials used include:
  • Zentangle tile
  • Sakura® Pigma® black and brown pens
  • Pencil
  • Dip pen 
  • Peat ink
  • Gold leaf

Rick adds:
Wow! Did you notice how many Zentangle-inspired letters show up in that Google image search?

Before your tile is done, and when you have no preconception of how it "must" look, how could anyone know if any particular stroke is a "good stroke" or a "bad stroke?" And, there's always bronx cheer!

Click image for the bigger question.


Tangle Jam said...

Maria, your post captures my feelings today. I have many people arriving at my home this week. My sister, her son, his girlfriend, her friend. My niece and three (yes three) of her friends. So we will be nine people. Their will be one on the sofa, on an air mattress and all the beds filled. It is reading week for these university students and Family Day here in Canada on Monday. I live near a ski hill, so there will be lots of gear too.
When my sister first asked me about this I thought, Why not. Let's make lots of great memories together. I can remember being that age and all the fun we had. I am wondering if this will be a good thing or a bad thing, but am definitely willing to take a chance and so are they. I have a few rasberries in the fridge in case some one needs a bronx cheer.

Ellen said...

When I started living from my savings and being the artist who I felt I am a lot of people asked me "when are you going to get a proper job?"
And who is to say what's a "proper" job ;)

Now that I'm planning on putting my work up for sale, I heard "Do you call this art and do you think anyone is interrested in buying"?
So thank you for the reminder, so I can put my inner voice to rest ;)))

Magicaldamselfly said...

Oh my, I'm not a night bird at all, my best is always done at the breaking of dawn. Yes everyone is still snoozing away. I look at the leftover dishes from the night before,snacks and such, and I think, oh well they'll be there later and off I go to be creative. Is it a good thing or is it a bad thing. Depends on who's eyes your looking through but for me it is a good thing. No worries here.


BarbaraW said...

My two grown daughters and my two young grandchildren (6 and 2) live with me. Is it a good thing...? I feel really blessed to have them so near. Do I have enough "me" time? Probably not. Your tile really speaks to me.

Mickey Weitsen said...

Most of the time I am looking for "the good thing". Like when we see people bungee jumping off bridges, it turns into "see Honey, we don't ever have to do that." You've got to latch on the the little things.oftdomi

Lois Stokes said...

I am still ~ water ~ reflected patterns ~ neither up ~ nor down ~ maybe ~ good ~ or bad ~ who can say ~?~ as I Whisper ~ Aloha

Debby said...

My young adult son is on the Autism scale with a diagnosis of Asperger's. At one point he was living on the street and called me to say that the carnival was in town and he had taken a job with them and was going on the road...Imagine, my son running off to join the carnival...was it a good thing or a bad thing? At first, we were totally freaked out but then we thought, "with his quirky personality, it may not be a bad thing". It didn't work out for him- but it COULD have.

Earl Stokes said...

Every day I am faced with the decision to do one thing or another. I make a choice and walk down that path. It's like a parallel life. Who's to say which choice is good or bad? It's just different.

Linda said...

What a great thought~"Is it a good thing or a bad thing?"~to think about in all events in our lives! Hindsight can put all things in perspective for our lives! What we think is a "bad thing" may really be a blessing in disguise!

Carol said...

I often wake up at or near 4:27AM. I fought this for a long time, stubbornly trying to WILL myself back to sleep (you all know how effect THAT is!), before finally accepting that perhaps it "is as it should be". When I began to embrace the idea that maybe there was a reason for me to be awake at that time - I too found that it resulted in some of my best stuff.
I need to stop letting my logical left-brain, talk my creative right-brain out of so many things!

Ginny Stiles said...

Robert Frost's "the road less traveled" is about choices.
Moving forward and not backward.
I once urged by 16 year old grandson in his decision to take a magnificent scholarship rather than play soccer.
I know he'll never be sorry he did.

Deb said...

My first time to your site. I haven't made my first tangle yet, but I think it will be a good thing.

Francie said...

Your thoughts really spoke to me today.
Thank you.

Molly said...

I just packed up my entire family on a blizzardy, cold day to drive 40 minutes to attend a party. Only to learn once we were there that the party was actually next weekend. Well I pulled out my "Is it a good thing or a bad thing?" mantra ... and we all had coffee and cookies at the fancy bakery around the corner. It turned out to be a perfect afternoon.

Genevieve said...

I worked for a high-tech company for 30 years, it was my first job straight out of university. Two months after receiving accolades for my 30th service anniversary, I was laid off. I was shocked. But was it a good thing or a bad thing? I got a nice severance package, pay for my unused vacation days, and early retirement with pension.

Six months later, the company files for bankruptcy protection. From that day on, there were no severance packages, no vacation pay, people who left got nothing.

Who knew, six months earlier, that I was the lucky one?

Angela Werner said...

These "give-aways" make me so hopeful.Like I'm really going to get one some day. Is it a good thing? I sure hope so :)

Vaempyress said...

I've hurt my knee.
Is it a good thing or a bad one?
I really love this question, so good for giving perspective!

Joyce Evans said...

Thank you for your post. You made a beautiful tile and it would be wonderful for someone to have. I too sometimes wake up in the wee hours of the morning and Zentangling is my choice of activity as it is quiet and won't wake anyone else. I used to practice the violin in the wee hours of the morning but Zentangling took over my time for music. I am enjoying your new book.

wendy said...

Is it a good thing or is it a bad thing? Every "thing" is just another opportunity to get to know myself. So much to learn!

Carole Ohl said...

Wow, I am really enjoying everyone's comments! Questions without answers, knowing without question. It's so fun to hear about everyone's process. I also love the question tile, of course! Thanks, everyone for a wonderful start to my day!

Jessica said...

I am playing with my pottery wheel again! Yeah, ssounds like a good thing or is a bad thing? I purchased fresh clay, 500# and threw my back out unloading it, Ouch! Sounds like a bad thing but, now I have more time to heal with my Zentangles! So, good thing, bad thing, there is a little of both in everything. YOu just have to decide! Thanks Maria for this post, just reading it made me feel better.

Babe said...

There was a couple who tangled,
Who brought us an art so newfangled,
A question was asked
"Is it good - is it bad?"
Who knows, but let's call it Zentangle!

Chris (Zentangle)Titus

DonnaMarie said...

Is it a good thing or a bad thing? I guess it sometimes can be just what you make of it. A good mantra to keep close to the heart!

Daniele OBrien Design, CZT said...

Maria, love your post. I often fall asleep early and wake up about 4am. At night problems seem overpowering and scarey. For me pre-dawn can be a time filled with possibilities and renewal. I find I'm most productive in the morning. If I don't look at early rising as a bad thing... Your mantra applies to so many things in life.

Dorian said...

Is it a good thing or is it a bad thing?

Perhaps a bad thing can be a good thing, even if only a lesson....part of our journey

Anonymous said...

Is it a good thing, or a bad thing? Trying to turn it in to the good thing, or just another adventure is what I like to do! Are you lost, or just taking the scenic route? Is the glass half full or half empty? I try to take the scenic route. Is this a good thing, or a bad thing?!? :)
Kate A. CZT9

Tinkered Art said...

Is it a good thing or a bad thing? In the moment when presented with life's challenges that prompt this question I never really know which it might be. It's only with the passage of time that I've discovered - in most instances it turns out to have been a good thing. Love the thoughtfulness of this post - great way to mediate on the day ahead.

Cathy said...

I am facing the decision to retire after 37 years of teaching. I love my classes. I love the job. It has been a stressful year with a new - less than zen team member. Will I enjoy not being with children? Retirement, is it a good thing or a bad thing?

Margaret Bremner said...

I love the Chinese parable, 'good luck bad luck' story:
Once there was a couple with one son, a lovely young man. Good luck! One day the family's donkey kicked the boy and broke his leg. Bad luck! The next month the emperor's soldiers came through town to conscript all the young men. Bad luck! They didn't take the couple's son because he had a bad leg. Good luck! And on it goes.

I love how you did the question mark! It looks raised; is it?

Zentangle said...

I thought this was a Very important question, so, yes, Margaret, it is a raised gold leaf mark. Fun stuff. . . . .maria

Blogger said...

Do you need free Google+ Circles?
Did you know you can get these ON AUTO-PILOT & TOTALLY FREE by using Like 4 Like?