Creativity by the Hour

stop-watch-396862_1920I’m a master of avoidance.  Once I’m in my studio I”m ready to roll but getting there past all the distractions and excuses can be tricky business.  Really, does laundry need to be folded and put away first? The “Thing” that needs to be manifested from your psyche in words, paint, ink, or whatever medium you work in is the priority.  Here is a system that works well for me…

  1. Make an appointment for an assigned studio time. The earlier in the day, the better. Your cell phone is not invited.
  2. Enter studio, close door set timer and say to yourself “for one hour I will focus on nothing else but THIS.”
  3. Do not answer the phone, check email, or do anything not essential to your project on your computer- NO EXCEPTIONS!
  4. Work, work, work for one hour and then STOP. Continuing for more than this often leads to overworked material.
  5. Take a break for at least a half an hour and do something mindless like weeding or doing the dishes.  Stretch and get outside for a breath of fresh air.  This acts as a reset for the creative part of the brain that’s been working hard.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 if needed

Most of the time I can get an amazing and satisfying amount of work done in a focused 60 minutes and I’m good for the day. If I have more to do, I find that by taking a break I come back to work reenergized with “fresh eyes”.  I also use the timer method for unpleasant tasks around the house in 15 minutes increments (ex. cleaning out the fridge- ugh).  You can accomplish great things in a small measured amount of time!

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Taming Your Inner Critic

Being a creative type can be a lonely affair as one toils away at their desk and/or in their studio.  To combat the negative, yappy little voices in my head that say “this sucks” I keep a good supply of reading material on hand to feed my “inner cheerleader” so that I may merrily stay the course.  I just finished listening to a very good book that I would recommend to any person that needs to keep their inner critic at bay which is…

Your Inner Critic Is a Big Jerk: And Other Truths About Being Creative,   by Danielle Krysa and Martha Rich

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This 136-page gem is packed full of wise advice and anecdotes gleaned from the author’s interviews with other artists and from her own experiences.  She covers such topics such as facing the blank page, dealing with criticism, jealousy, excuses, and blocks with humor and sensitivity.  You’ll get advice on how to navigate through roadblocks with various exercises designed to make you stronger.  Though I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the book and will listen again, I will be buying a hard copy so I may mark it up and enjoy the great illustrations by Martha Rich.  Put this one in your toolbox!

 

 

We Matter

img_0324.jpgHow did it happen that the U.S. government has forgotten the well being of its own people?  I watched the “March for Our Lives” rally broadcast this morning from Washington D.C. heartsick hearing the Stoneman Douglas student speakers express their pain from the mass shooting at their school.  Equally heartbreaking was hearing their frustration from the lack of response from leaders who have done virtually NOTHING after the myriad of massacres that have occurred in schools and public spaces across the US in recent time. I substitute teach part-time in high schools.  It’s sad that every time I walk in the door I feel I am not in a safe place anymore.  Students feel that every day.

There was a pivotal point in one student’s speech where he said we should “arm teachers.”  I sucked in my breath saying to myself “oh not this.”  The student went on to say, however, that teachers should be well armed with pencils, paper, books and good enough salaries to teach.  The crowd roared. As an educator, I know how underfunded our education system is in this country.  We fund wars across the globe, give tax breaks to the rich, but neglect the safety, education, healthcare, & mental health care of our own people.  WE MATTER.

If anyone can make a change in this country, these kids can.  They have started a movement and I am right there with them.  For now, all I could do was write a blog post & make a picture (but that’s what artist’s do).

 

Throwing Stuff Overboard

hook-111316_1920CHECKLIST

High School

CHECK

college

CHECK

work

CHECK

marriage,  divorce,  marriage, child, divorce

CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK

Grad school, career

CHECK, CHECK

Child leaves home

CHECK

Retirement

CHECK

?

REALITY CHECK!

Continue reading “Throwing Stuff Overboard”

Staying Tuned to The Muse

 

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“Wild Birds in My Head”  by the author

I’m always staying tuned for ideas (see my post “Where my Ideas Come From”  ) but sometimes they pursue me- relentlessly.  Think about wild birds flapping in your head endlessly or like someone tugging on your apron strings constantly.  Yes, the ruckus will go away eventually, but not entirely.  The inspiration will just go to someone else to be manifested and then pretty soon your muse will give up on you all together and you will be very lonely.

WRITE ME

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The poem tugged on my apron strings

Begging for attention

When I ignored it

It crept into the kitchen of my mind

Rattling the pots and pans with such a clatter

I could bear it no longer

“Stop!”I cried

“Don’t you know I wasn’t an English major?”

“Find someone else to write you!”

But the poem persisted with such a fuss

That I relented,

Sat down and wrote it,

Then kicked it out the door to the internet

Sighing with relief

Until I felt another tug

on my apron strings.

Liebster Award

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One of my fellow bloggers & blogging friends, Louise of Louise In-Btween nominated me for this award a couple of weeks back.  It is sweet to recognized and know that someone out there finds value in my words and images.  I started a writing practice in late 2016 and shortly after this blog in 2017 with few expectations.  All I knew is I wanted to express myself in words and images.  WordPress became the perfect venue for that. What I find!  Blogging is like putting your handprint on the universe.  I write for no reward other than my own satisfaction.

I’ve noticed blogging awards here and there and have been wary of them.  After researching them a bit, I decided to go with the Liebster as is an award given by a blogger to bloggers with fewer than 200 followers, with an aim to help others discover and spot new bloggers.

Continue reading “Liebster Award”

Untold Stories

Upstairs in my studio is a jumble of old photographs and boxes of slides from my youth in shoe boxes beneath a work table.  Those of you from the “pre-digital” age might relate to this. When my son was born over thirty years ago I changed my ways and carefully IMG_0067documented his life and our life as a family in tidy photo albums- until he left home.  Currently, my photos are all on my cell phone or floating in “The Cloud.”  Now and again I think that I should go through and sort out my old photos into albums.  But then I ask “Why?” I’m not famous.  I have no grandchildren.

They have no meaning other to myself and will mostly be recycled as with my physical body.  Maybe if I’m lucky some will wind up in some artist’s collage.

Shoe Boxes

When I die he will find them

Decades of my life

Stored in shoe boxes upstairs

Hundreds of captionless photos tucked in envelopes

Slides stacked neatly in folding Kodak boxes

Captured by a cheap camera

In eager hands

They illustrate the stories

That have largely gone untold

The forces of my life

That sanded me smooth on the inside,

Carved on the surface

Experiences of a young woman

Seeking adventure

And a place at the world’s table

When he finds them

He will see a younger me

With unnamed friends and unnamed lovers

Unnamed mountains

Unnamed rivers

Smiling

He will see walruses basking on rocks,

But not hear their music

Cabins, but not feel their warmth

Trails, but not know their destinations

My stories will die with me

Melding into the ethos

He will never know my joy

My youthful dreams

My pain and disappointments

The person before Mother

The me before you