Checking out the Portland Winter Light Festival

IMG_3320Last night we left our comfy pocket of country life and headed up to check out the last night of the Portland Winter Light Festival.  This is an annual event where light artists present installations and personal performances on both sides of the Willamette River for the public to enjoy for free.  The event is a family affair intentionally designed to take place when everyone is weary of the dark, rainy days and long nights of winter that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

You may walk across one of the bridges to see it all or take a boat that leaves on the half-hour.  Another option is to dress up in your best-illuminated paraphernalia and participate in the Light Parade that walks from one side of the festival to the other.

There was not enough time for us to experience more than the west side. (Darn- I reallyIMG_3330 wanted to see the neon Hoola hoopers) From what we saw, the fire dancer performance was the most impressive.  Though I admired the installations, by far the most enjoyable part for us was seeing the children’s delight as they interacted with the light exhibits.  Then, of course, was the “Keep Portland Wierd” factor.  IMG_3319We spied a plethora of illuminated strollers, dogs, and individuals creatively lit up with all manner of LED bulbs.  There was an awesome jellyfish gal that got away from me before I could take a picture…

If you happen to be in Portland in early February stop into the Winter Light Festival – a truly unique experience.

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Dealing with Your Inner Critic

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If you are any type of creative person you probably have a cheerleader on one shoulder and your inner critic on the other.  My muse is my cheerleader, that voice that feeds me sparky ideas and inspiration.  My muse is the positive force in my life.  My inner critic, in contrast, argues with my muse.  She likes to shout words of discouragement and fear in my ear to the point I quiver with self-doubt.  Unfortunately, she’s an annoying fact of my life.

I have come up with strategies to deal with this bitchy pest that tries to drown out the voice of my sweet muse.  One of them was to give her a name and draw a picture of what she looks like….

Helga, my IC, is an ample pickle-shaped-figure with spiny whiskers protruding all over her grotesque, gelatinous body.  She has a high whiney voice resembling the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard.  The only facial expression she has is a grimacing frown of disapproval.

Daphne, my muse is a sprite of a being that emits light from her colorful body.  She dances with joy and speaks to me in cheerful songs of encouragement. Her voice is softer than Helga’s and can be easily drowned out.

I’ve become more adept at isolating those two voices by putting an identity to each.  When Helga gets too annoying I visualize swiping her off my shoulder with a THWACK and then dropkicking her out the door. (So satisfying).

Inner critics tend to love periods of creative inactivity.  The best way to keep the beast off your shoulder is to diligently keep up your work on a daily basis in some form.

To those of you that suffer from dealing with your inner critic, I hope my strategies can be of help.

Best of luck!

 

MUSE

Come out & play with me

you my best of friends

I am happiest when we hold hands

& dance our secret dance.

Whisper in my ear

& fill my head until it is overflowing

with sparks & flowers

of inspiration.

Let’s bring forth from the cauldron of the ethos

a new incarnation of matter & thought

an offering of our magic

to the altar of the earth.