Friday, November 27, 2009
Just one of those little things in life to be thankful for.
Truly though, it sort of makes you wonder how some people in the world manage to have any fun at all.
Anyway-as we all finish wiping the last of the turkey grease from our fingers, and make yet another turkey-cranberry-stuffing sandwich, I want to know, what things are you thankful for this year? It can be anything. Serious or not. But I'm curious-the goal being to try and avoid too many Hallmark Card slogans or catch phrases.
Some of the things that I've been reflecting on lately:
1. See above.
2. The random people in life who make me laugh and smile-like this kid dressed up in blue jeans, a random Christmas T-Shirt, Santa hat and furry hood thing...sucking on a sucker, holding an empty plastic cup waiting for her dad....and it's 60 degrees outside! (c: I love it. Makes me smile.
3. Dancing to some reggae music that I never would have discovered on my own with a friend last night after some very wonderful conversation. What better way to spend Thanksgiving Night than grooving to some great music in a random little dive bar with a friend? Awesome.
4. Ridiculous blogs that are all about weird, quirky, material that if it weren't for the internet would never see the light of day.
5. My family (cue the Hallmark Home Classic muzak..) but getting to spend time with my dad, without having to invite myself over for Thanksgiving, was really nice. We ate, we talked, I played with the kids (though according to them they were totally ignored) and watched the Cowboys stomp the Raiders. Which doesn't give me too much joy because I hate the Cowboys almost as much as I hate the Raiders but whatever. Someone had to win. The Bronco's did win however, which makes me very happy!
6. The unexpected text message that comes through at the moment when you really, really need reminding who matters in your life and who doesn't. I'm learning on recognizing when The Great Ether is trying to tell me something...at least that's the goal...it's hard to learn how to listen when you've spent most of your life with your fingers shoved in your ears (la la la style).
7. Beautiful, glorious sunshine in which I can ride my road bike. In November!
8. Days spent lounging with a friend, talking about creativity and painting and all that good stuff...even if we never actually got the act of painting. The conversation is sometimes just as important.
9. My Job. I have one. It's real. I pays me consistent money and it allows me time to work on all those projects and things that have been building up. If standing from rooftops screaming about how wonderful it is to work at a place that actually utilizes my strengths wouldn't get me arrested or committed, I'd do it.
10. And finally-though not least importantly-the people in my life that I can call "Friend." The past year was quite a rollercoaster ride-lots of those buzz words like "growth" and "learning" came into play. I hope that this year I can begin to repay all the people who shared what they had with me.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I did some meditation tonight-It's been one of my goals to get back into it-mainly because it does wonders while I'm in the waking world.
It's not just soothing and relaxing and all of that. It's baring and revealing and when I'm "on" I find that I can learn things about myself that I wasn't really aware of. It's sort of spooky sometimes.
I've been thinking a lot about the ideas and value structures I read about in Robert Pirsig's book. There's also a friend of mine who talks a lot about self betterment and the idea of personal growth. Some people either have it or they don't.
Which may sound a bit harsh, but really. I really believe that you're either in this life to make the most of it and learn how you can improve or you're not...and it's not always intentional. I don't think that many people really make the choice to stay in their one facet of life.
I think a lot of it has to do with a person's basic upbringing-what they were exposed to when they were little. And, it whether or not they were encouraged to be curious as a kid. This isn't always true-people in my family that I know had perfectly good opportunities to explore and be creative and learn new things and they adamantly refused and continue to refuse not to take them.
You compare that to some of the people in the world who literally came from nothing but knew that there had to be something else out there and it makes me a little bit angry. There's something to be said for shaping your situations into something that can help you grow.
I had a conversation with someone the other night...and it about made me crazy. This person tries so hard to argue with me for studying about the things that I"m interested in, or pursuing the random stuff that I do. They live their life based in paranoia about what might happen or what could happen or what they think is bound to happen instead of actually going through and finding out what the reality is.
More specifically-because of their own fear of the unknown (which is a lot in their world) anything and everything I suggest absolutely just has to be wrong or bad or misguided.
The book Lila talks about this. People who suffer from a non dynamic, low Quality life fight like hell against those people who are aiming for Dynamic Quality. Robert Pirsig explains all of this in pretty good detail and he has a lot of points but the things that stick out to me are that the life we live and the environment that we live in is fluid. It's always changing. This sounds like a pretty obvious statement but when you really think about it, it's pretty mind blowing. The idea that because everything is always in motion, and assuming as he does that, that motion is trying to move towards a higher state of Quality or Value, gives a whole new perspective to some things.
Your day to day life becomes about the fluidity of the moment and the idea of progressing towards something. Instead of moving away from the past, which people always tend to glorify, you are moving towards the future. Instead of moving away from what you used to believe or feel or know and suffering a loss for it, you are moving towards a new understanding of things, a new value structure, etc.
The idea, of course, is that in moving forward you really are moving towards something that has a higher level of Quality or Value (you'll have to either read the book, google it or wait for me to try and explain it all later if you're curious what he means by this) and not the other way around but one of the main tenets of the book that I got is that forward motion is positive motion. It's when you begin to stagnate or regress that you start having problems.
One of the major flaws that I find in the book is that he makes some pretty grandiose blanket statements, but that's also one of the "charms" I guess. There are a lot of things that I don't really agree with or, more specifically, that have changed a lot since the book was written but overall it's a great book to start generating ideas.
All of this was sort of vaguely floating around in the void while I was trying to meditate. Tonight was not one of the more stellar moments-I feel like a car that has been sitting in the driveway too long. It'll start but you have to really convince it.
My mind was all over the place for one thing (sort of like this post) and I kept having to bring it back to just breathing to get back in the moment. And sometimes, that was a struggle. I sort of had to laugh at myself at one point. I was supposed to be counting my breaths and before I realized it I had forgotten where I was at and was thinking about the fact that I need to change my air filter and how much it's going to stink because it's raining and cold out right now and tomorrow isn't promising to be much better.
'cause that's related to meditation. Ahem.
Anyway-I'm not trying to say that I've got some lofty, super clever goals and methods and that I'm working my way towards self betterment. I'm don't-I feel like I"m making a decent effort but I have eons and eons of work ahead of me before I really have any right to start telling other people what they should or should not be doing.
I just don't always know how to handle it when someone is so aggressively 'Anti Learning'- about different things or places or trying random stuff that has no real relevance to the greater schemes in life but that are fun or novel or whatever.
I dunno-I should probably be more concerned with getting some actual sleep tonight. I'm going to have to get up early for once tomorrow and, well, sleep is sort of helpful for that. :D
Lots of random stuff on my mind.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I'm sort of excited. I think it's going to be a really good fit.
And, on the art scene, things have been going well too! It's the really fun, twisty turn down part of the roller coaster ride I think hehe. Good times. I got to get back into the swing of First Fridays on October 2nd for a friend's show (his site is here) and I practically sold out of jewelry stuff. I had to keep arranging the table to make it look like I still had inventory. It was mainly necklaces that were selling. People were all about it for some reason. Exciting. (c:
I also talked to the gallery owners and there's a potential I could have my own real show in their space in the future. Which would be great because really, I am overdue for a real gallery space I think. Personally speaking and all. I might be biased.
I've also decided that I need to devote some more time to writing. I've fallen out of the habit of writing much of anything so I sat down the other night and went back to talk to some of my characters. Happily enough, the fact that it's been rolling around in my subconscious since I started it means that the doors had not been sealed shut with super glue so I think there's a good chance for some development.
I had a few stunning realizations too-one, there was a huge logic flaw that i need to figure out before I can really progress the story. I started asking myself questions about my "bad guys" (thank you Tim) and I realized that there's this whole chunk of information that I've just sort of been glossing over that is extremely relevant. It may not make it into the actual story but I need to know how it happened so I can move forward.
And-I realized that I had completely neglected one of my main, integral characters...she's not exactly the protagonist but we need to care about her and i couldn't even tell you what she looked like two days ago. Sort of astonishing if you think about it really. My story has a big cast, which is a challenge and sort of interesting at the same time, and could be dangerous territory and I guess she got lost. Which is bad. The others I have all this great information for, and she always got swept under the rug I guess...whoops.
Finally, I think the biggest realization I had is that a lot of the stuff I wasn't writing or haven't been writing is the stuff that my character is supposed to be working through and dealing with-which are very important to me and I hadn't reached the point where I could actually write about them yet because I didn't understand them. I've since had some time to think some of these things through and process them and I guess I feel more prepared now to try and associate them with a character and her perspective.
Writing is one of those things where because your life is part of the material you pull from, if you're not comfortable with certain emotions or subjects, I feel like you can't always accurately write characters that are comfortable with those emotions or subjects. Not that you have to have lived every experience of your characters life-they are characters, not carbon copies of you, but I think for some of the bigger emotions, it's hard to write an interesting perspective if you've never had any experience or spent much time thinking about or working through your own perspectives first....
hopefully that makes sense cause I think I just confused myself. (c:
On a random note-people are so interesting. There is a well dressed business guy who is working on some paper or another...and he brought a sack lunch with him. We're in a coffee shop....but he brought his lunch. It's sort of funny. The owners here are really cool and I've done things like that before too but it's funny watching him unwrap his sandwich and eat his chips that obviously were not purchased here...oh wait...he's ordering something....cherry pie! (c: Ok, so at least he's being a patron now instead of just sort of enjoying the music and the view for free hehe.
People are strange. But I guess if they're cool with it-why not be economical. And they do have good pie. Mmmm....pie.
Alrighty-I've got to step away from the internet and go do a few things that I've been neglecting because of everything else.
Oh yeah, and I"m almost finished with my transcription training! I passed the mid-term exam for it with a pretty good score and I'm working my way through the last seven lessons. w00t!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
the arrows actually point to something new and interesting now! Happy clicking...(go peek in Painting (at the end of the second section) and Jewelry for most of the new stuff...)
It got me thinking, which is always a good thing and I think I have to post. For those of you who would rather just have me tell you what the original post was about, too bad! Go read those two really great blogs! I'll wait........
I think I have to beg to differ on some of this and I have to offer a "new" idea or two of my own.
Creative folks like to talk about "it"- the magic, the thing that keeps them going, their muses, etc. They (we?) talk about it like it's a tangible, concrete object that we've somehow inherited or found lying in the gutter. We look at it like it's a big secret that only a select few of us have managed to find...and then when they lose "it" they either hang up the brushes, or they put up the pens or walk away from their novel or whatever. Some of the more attention starved ones choose to openly mope about how they used to be this or that and some tend to go sit quietly in a corner and wait it out and some choose to kill themselves.
So this is where I start to get a little...argumentative.
I don't think that there is a magic inherent to artists-at least not in the sense that most people consider. I think it comes down to something more universal-perhaps passion, or perspective. I say passion because a person without at least a shred of passion could very easily fall into the same holding patterns as all these artists who chose to end their lives early. Any person, mind you, without at least some interest in what the next day holds, or what the next month holds or the next minute holds, can find themselves considering some pretty drastic measures, just to shake things up a bit. People express their passion or at least interest in life in lots of different ways, some creatively, some not. We're all familiar with this-you dress a certain way, you order a decadent dessert just for the fun of it, you go on vacation to a place you love or a place you've never been, etc. etc.
Some people choose to paint. Or write. Or draw. Or sing. Or write music. They choose to express their passion or interest or opinions in things/life in a more direct way. I argue that it's when they become jaded towards their life or their environment that they begin to think they've lost the ephemeral creative "it".
You see it all the time. Artists stop creating because they stop caring. It happens to people all the time, it's just more noticeable by the time you've gotten famous enough to see your name in print, in lights or on an award or two here and there. It's also different because when you break through the fourth wall the exists between those who are famous and those who are not, everyone has an opinion on what you're doing. So if you have a bad day or year or month and you put work out anyway and it doesn't jive with the perception of what your work should be, people start to accuse you of losing "it" when really, maybe you just didn't care about the flowers as much this year as you did last year for whatever reason.
So let's say an artist stops caring and therefore stops creating. They haven't lost the spark that makes them creative, or talented. They could still sit down and draw the pants off anyone that challenges them probably, or outsing the best contestant on American Idol (idle...) or whatever-but they don't. Because they're over it.
Sometimes this can feel like they've lost their spark when really they're just bored. Thinking of the magical, artistic "it" lets people off the hook-it makes it seem like they have some special vision that makes the world more interesting or more exciting to them-so much that they just have to sit down and paint a picture of it in an attempt to convey that magic. I think the reality is that staying engaged in life enough to where things really do seem that intriguing takes work. Lots of work.
It's the same problem most adults have I think-you look at kids and most things are new and exciting because well, they haven't lived long enough to figure out the tricks behind the magic-as adults we come to expect certain things-cause and effect. Beautiful sunsets, etc. If those things are going to remain surprising and engaging, we have to choose to treat them as though they are new and exciting and different. It takes a great deal of effort sometimes I think to remind ourselves to stay engaged. Whether that means that we're going to wake up every morning and just make an effort or whether that means we're going to wake up and sit down at our respective Muse Centrals and "do" something with what we see or feel, is entirely up to us.
The other thing that you need to consider is that people have different desires to do things. I'll use my friends as examples. I have friends who are artists and friends who are creative and friends who are practical and all these things....each one of them is plugged in and engaged in life-they just desire to express that connection differently than, say, me. So some of us choose to paint and play with silks because we get really excited about the colors of the sunset last week-some of them choose to sit down and code some really complex computer languages because they just care how things work. But we're all plugged in to life. If my computer coding friends woke up one morning and suddenly didn't give a damn, they wouldn't lament that they had lost their ability to create code. They wouldn't think of it as having lost their "it". They would probably either relax and wait until something new developed technologically that got them excited or they would go back and revisit some of their older stuff to see if they could make it better or whatever.
Two more points and then I'll move on I promise:
One of the points that Steve brought up (which you all know 'cause you read his post...ahem. (c: ), is that perhaps Hemingway should have waited it out, spent less time concerning himself with what was, etc. etc. I couldn't agree more, but I think it has to do with social context. At the time that Hemingway and Jack London and all them were having their breakdowns, it wasn't socially acceptable to talk about your feelings, really (maybe moreso with Jack London's time, but he was a notorious drunk who, I think, personally, just got lucky...and wasn't real stable to begin with..), and I don't think the same essential skills of socially taking a break, or working through a tough period, etc. etc. had been instilled.
I'm reading "Lila" right now by Robert Pirsig and he talks about how the rebels following the Victorian era who were against all the stuffy reason, logic, manners and pomp of the times were able to rebel against it without any negative impacts on the overall society because they had been raised with an inherent social structure. They had a certain level of moral quality (his words, not mine) instilled in them and therefore the overall societal structure didn't suffer because of their personal rebellion. So fast forward to today-we have all that inherent, societal "talk it out", "processing," "closure", "becoming more centered" , dialogue programmed into us, whether we want it or not really, and therefore are better equipped to just wait out the tough periods, or change our focus, etc...Picasso didn't have that luxury. And he was clinically insane, without the same level of coping or medical help available to those of us today, so societally I think the odds were against these guys being able to work through their ennui.
Or perhaps they really were just sparks of genius that have gone out of existance. I don't know.
In the case of Johnny Cash, I think he was fortunate enough to live through the time periods that dicatated that you made it big and then you faded away-and he was blessed with enough internal flexibility to recognize the opportunities he had when he had them. He went back to what he cared about-the guitar and the lyrics and the music and the act of doing what he did. It stopped becoming about what his previous songs had become and kept being about what he was probably chasing to begin with-the passion for playing the guitar.
I could be wrong-there is such a thing as doing things purely because you are an opportunist and you're blessed with the talent to pull some things off better than others and there ya go, paycheck at the end, a little bit of fame, some comback action and your equation for success is completed. But I prefer to think that some of the really ingenious, creative people out there, aren't quite that....corporate...in their creations.
So, to bring all this to an end-talent will carry you a long ways, so will love of fame and the desire to be the center of attention-but when it comes down to it, you have to care about what you're doing and that takes work. It's a lifestyle and not an "it" that is always out of reach or always threatening to dissappear. You either have the drive to keep caring or you don't.
It's the whole "the unexamined life is not worth living" thing-you have to care enough to peek under the rock and let that curiosity drive you to express what you see in whatever way comes naturally.
I'll put my soapbox away for now.
Monday, August 10, 2009
I don't have internet at my house so it makes posting into the wee hours a bit more difficult. Anyway-I'm sitting at the office right now working on some things for tomorrow morning and it occurred to me that while I'm here I could be posting. I'm printing and I've got everything queued up for the next round-just have to wait for technology to do its thang.
The Fringe Festival was a success I do believe-there was some confusion and a lot of improv and required flexibility but I sold lots of jewelry (almost 400 dollars!) and I got to show some new work and stuff like that...always a plus. I also had some jewelry on display for the fashion show this year which was pretty cool. I had a good time too-there were a lot of cool people and despite having to sell jewelry in the parking lot of the venue instead of inside where we all thought we were going to be set up...(as I said, mandatory flexibility) things went well. I had a fantastic designer next to me who not only let me borrow one of their lights so people could actually see what they were shopping for but let me run around in the most gorgeous little shrug I've ever seen for the whole night. Hehe. It was a good time. There was 3 dollar Boulevard beer which was awesome and overall, it worked out pretty well.
I may have found myself a position on the visual arts committee for next years Fringe too...oops. I talk a lot and I have lots of opinions which is not always a good thing I know, but whatever. It needed to work better and I think I could help with that. The kid they had doing it this year got bombarded with two different equally demanding jobs for the Festival and on top of all that, he was getting his ass chewed for not having any information to really give to the artists. So yeah, it needs to have a seperate person in charge. Visual artists-we can be hard to work with, ya know...(c:
I also managed to get the show up at Black Dog Coffee Shop set up. Phew. That was a crazy dash. Remind me to have "spare art" on hand so next time I can just hang stuff and not have to do everything from scratch. Oy.
In other news-been getting some good freelance projects here and there which is good. You can check out my latest creation at: www.maxfearingart.com It's a site I did for a friend of mine who is a local artist. We're trying to get him some web recognition. It's getting there-currently it's a work in progress still but it's on its way. I also did a little bit of work for another friend of mine that I work with....jewelry commissions have been coming in since the Fringe as well. Not enough to pay the bills or buy the totally adorable, must have building that I want in Parkville but ya know. I'll take what I can get. If anyone wins the Powerball and wants to buy me a storefront, you know where to find me. (c:
I'm heading out to Colorado in September to go mountain biking with my boyfriend. It should be a lot of fun. There's a beer fest going on in downtown Denver too that we're going to hit up. That'll be a nice cap to our week out in the mountains camping and biking. Hopefully I don't actually kill myself hehe. We've been going out to a place called Landahl Park in Blue Springs, MO lately that has some really good mountain bike type trails. I know, I live in Kansas, there are no mountains, but this place does a really good job. All naturally cut trails that have lots of technical sections and lots of cool stuff to ride. I dig it a lot. I got a little banged up this weekend but no real battle scars. I was sort of disappointed. (c:
The weather has been crazy hot. I swear God was trying to come through my window last night....it was actually some severe lightening. I really did think that the generator outside my window had been struck....scared me half to death. Today was beautiful-I guess it got all of it out of its system.
Alrighty. Not much else at the moment to really report per se. Just trying to get as much playing outside done as possible as of late. (c: And spending lots of time at the coffee shop trying to get some things finished up so I can free up my time and maybe take on a real project here and there.
I've been reading lately too but that's another post all by itself. It will give me some incentive to post more regularly if I leave it for later. hehe. Hopefully at least.
Friday, May 15, 2009
So I'm posting for a multitude of reasons...one-it's been forever and I thought it'd be nice to take a minute and drop a post.
two-I'm trying pimp this site-I've got my web hosting through them and if anyone you know needs webhosting for cheap, have them click this link for me...it's like a referral program thingie. Shamless. Shameless.
Thirdly-I've got lots of random things going on at the moment.
I'm working on stuff for the upcoming Fringe Festival in July still..sadly nothing has really surfaced as far as work...it's a process and I'm trying to learn not to force things. I've been putting a lot of pressure on myself lately to make all this great, moving work about my year off and all that and frankly, not much is coming to me...the things I"m thinking about are related but I'm not sure how to let the viewers know that...or if it matters....I dunno. It's weird. I"m trying to avoid just doing some nice abstracts that are some open to interpretation that you could throw a dart at a "What's This Painting About" board and so long as you hit something, you'd be right...
I've also been thinking about another book...which I know is just one more thing, but I already know it would be easier to write...because it'd be true. And I'm a much better non fiction, this is what already happened and now I'm telling you a story about it sort of writer than I am a from scratch fiction writer...
I am still working on my novel though. Just not right now. Ahem. I know. I know.
I've been reading some great books lately too....I'll do a post on them later. I promise. ;-)
I'm glad that it's the weekend, that's all I can say. Work has been dead lately with summer break and all so I've been pantsing it....should be interesting over the next few months. (c:
I did get up some balls and go audition for the 2009/2010 season with The Unicorn Theatre and The Coterie...I'm really hoping I get cast for some of the projects. I'm stoked about this one in particular-and they're paid positions. Like, real money. Do you know how exciting that is? Hehe.
I'm throwing around some ideas about getting some different types of "padding" for my resume, some type of business logic certifications or something. I dunno. I'm no tech anything but I could definitely find something out there that would play to my strengths and get certified in it..hehe. Sadly "people skills" isn't a certification.
Anyway-I have to scoot for now but I'll keep things updated more often I'm hoping. I've got a few projects that I should be able to show off in the near future too.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
So-I've moved into my own place. I have no furniture except for a computer desk and a small table that I recently acquired to put my TV on...I don't have anything to watch on the TV yet but I have a DVD player and somewhere I have movies so life shall continue. I also have a coffee table that I painted turquoise and added cherry blossoms to...I think it looks smashing (c:
I've also found a second job, which is going fine if a bit scattered at the moment. I enjoy the work that I've got to do, if I can pin people down long enough to get the details and the resources so I can move forward with my projects.
I've also been doing a lot creatively...kinda....not really my own work, but I've been getting some small projects here and there which has been a nice buffer to my meager funds hehe. I am still a Mad Scientist happily enough and I'm going to be looking into a puppeteering job. Good times.
I also got cast recently in a one act play that is being produced as part of a fundraiser for Kansas City's upcoming Fringe Festival. (It's a big art festival that runs for a week where all the edgier and more indy artists can come and get some representation and have a lot of fun.). So rehearsals have been keeping me busy. I'm excited about the role though, I've been meaning to get back on stage for a while now and I found my opportunity to do it. The performance is April 18th.
I'm also going to be exhibiting work in the Fringe Festival so I've been trying to get ready for that though right now I seem to be more obsessed with finishing some of the books I've started instead of sitting down to paint. I'm still in the brainstorming stage as far as all that goes.
Finally...( I wasn't kidding when I said I had a lot going on..) I'm going to be attempting my demonstration in my martial arts class. I want to get my next rank really badly and I'm going to go for it next Tuesday I think. I"m not really nervous as it stands right now but I'm sure that could change. I"m trying not to psyche myself out or anything-I just want to get up there and do a good job and give it a good effort. If I fail, whatever, I can try again.
I'm hoping to be able to sit down and blog about some of the books I've finished and will soon finish, they've been really good and really influential I think as far as some of my ideas for my upcoming show at The Fringe. I titled the show "Wanderlust" because I've been wanting to sit down and focus some of my artistic energy towards exploring the deeper emotions and experience behind the traveling I did.
And I'm already planning the next trip hehe...I'm not sure how it's all going to work out financially but if I can find a freelance job to work that doesn't require me to be anywhere in particular I can work and still make some money I figure while I'm gone. (c: It wouldn't be for more than two weeks or so this time, my friend Jen and I are aiming to take a short trip before she starts grad school. We're trying to get to Scotland. It may be worth it to work on finding a ride from here to NYC and then flying out of there R/T since flights have been quite reasonable lately.
Also, you never know, I could get lucky and make a bunch of money at the festival-I'm going to be selling jewelry at the fashion show (which'll be a good place to try out some new design ideas I've been having I think) and hopefully sell some work. We shall see.
I'm also waiting to hear about the art grant I applied for and I"m keeping my eyes peeled for some other ones that may pop up. I met a grant writer the other day so I'm hoping to turn that into a great resource so I can learn how to write better proposals.
Anyway-that's about all for now, I"m going to go sit with my blank canvases and see what comes out. I had bellydancing over at my house tonight which was great and it got some good creative energy flowing.
So far, I'm in the process of fulfilling some of my promises for myself: I've had people over to my house to do creative things, I"ve danced in my home and I'm working on getting some unique pieces of furniture or the imitation there of to make it feel more like my space.
If I keep this up, I won't want to leave. (c:
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Thank you Steve for sharing this...here are my favorites from the "50 reasons why they don't want to publish your first book" list.
31. There’s a fine line between writing authentic regional dialogue and making all of your characters sound like stroke victims.
36. God may have told you to write this book, but he didn’t tell you how to give it a decent ending.
27. You know the talented creative writing professor who told you your work showed so much creativity and promise? Turns out what he really meant was that he wanted you to blow him.
24. The alternative-history genre has lost its appeal. Everyone knows it doesn’t matter what else would have happened if the South won the Civil War and the Nazis won WWII: George W. Bush would still have been elected president.
22. You know the part where the protagonist stuffs those puppies into the wood chipper? It’s not quite as funny as you seem to think.
Oh boy. That was fun.
Anyway-I'm going back into my cubby hole.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
I read a study the other day that said that people who are out of their 20's focus on the Now more often than the Future and that they are happier for it.
I'm not sure whether I agree or disagree but I know that I am clinging to Now with my fingernails. I am not happier. But, my Now is collapsing as I speak so I release myself from guilt and regret about not seeing the proverbial sunny side.
For all my desires and daydreaming, I demand stability in some form or another. Right now, I just have vertigo.
I write this and I'm fighting myself-things seem very trivial when you put them in print form-I don't know why I put these things in public spaces but I have always been this way. Give me a stage and I will tell you more details than are necessary.
The number one thing Americans are obsessed with is money and while it's really easy to ignore when you have it, the absence of it can drive people into tail spins. I'm also there. I have run out of creative ways to dodge the oncoming train. Just hit me and get it over with. I have spent the past four days blanketing Kansas City in job applications. All to places that are "accepting applications" which is corporate bullshit for "We're not hiring".
I've got a funeral that I'm supposed to attend next week (found this out on Tuesday)...this not only translates to the standard set of emotions and processing that comes with funerals and the passing of someone that has been part of your life for a very long time...but also with the overarching question of "how am I going to afford to get there?" And....not even as simple as that!
If I could turn into a singular cell instead of many and commit cytokinesis I would.
The weekend of the funeral is also the weekend I"m supposed to take a family member to get gum surgery, teach the second week of a brand new after school program with my job, and sell jewelry at First Fridays which would enable me to pay my bills for the month of February.
Oh, and there's a job fair that I was told I should attend if I was serious about being hired by a particular retail store. All on that same day.
Additionally-the part time job that I thought I was hired for...the one I technically AM hired for has committed the most heinous acts of unprofessional business management I've seen to date. I'm trying to get approved for an apartment and I need a letter from them stating how many hours I will work and what wage I'll be making...I called. She put me on hold for-count them-9 minutes, never came back, never called me back and is now away at a conference until SATURDAY. What morons am I trying to work for exactly?
I thought I had found the perfect solution to my want of a part time job the other day. Too bad I'm not fluent in Corporate and instead just make an ass out of myself. I don't know why I bothered.
All of this is swirling around the core of me-the one that knows that the power of intention really does work and that if I don't get my head out of my ass I will be running from The Nothing (sans Luck Dragon) for the rest of my 20's at least and that I really do just need to take a deep breath and wait because something will surface.
I won't say I've hit bottom because I haven't. Things can always get worse. I have been at the bottom and this is not what it feels like but right now, the snow is falling heavily and I am afraid that if I breathe too hard everything will disintegrate and there will be no resolution.
I know the sun has to be out there somewhere.
Monday, January 26, 2009
We ended up renting a movie called Saawaraya or something. It was really pretty but we were all fairly engaged in talking and hanging out so it turned into Bollywood Mystery Science Theatre 3000 style hehe. We were providing our own dialogue. It was fun. A few of us actually watched the movie and really enjoyed it. I've got it for another week so I'm going to sit down and watch it for real one of these afternoons.
We all sat on the floor and though some of us ate with bread we did end up keeping the forks. I delegated several tasks out to some of my friends-I had one bring a salad, one bring some rice, another brought mango lassi and another friend brought dessert and various wine and stuff to drink.
I made Tandoori chicken (though I thought it was more orange...I'm thinking my spice proportions got a bit off when I started multiplying by 3...) but it was really yummy...
Indian spiced eggplant which wasn't quite as crispy as I wanted but it tasted good
Grilled veggies over saffron rice (I cheated and bought the packaged stuff...)
and, finally, Spinach and Chickpeas.
I went out apartment hunting again on Saturday and found a place that I think I can turn into an alright space for me. It's big, has an area that is supposed to be for a dining room but that I am going to turn into my artist studio corner, a patio (can we say outdoor dining room? Summer here I come...), a decent sized living room and a really big bedroom which is exciting.
The bathroom is really cool too-there's a seperate vanity space and a decent sized, well organized bathroom bathroom with a tub and shower combo. So w00t. Now I"m just waiting to see if I get approved. I'm not making a ton of money right now but I think I'll just pass the requirements. And, I'm looking for a part time morning gig...I'm thinking I can always go wait tables somewhere for a bit until I find something a bit more satisfying. My problem is I'm bad at quitting.
That all being said...I don't have a ton of stuff left to report. I'm coasting creatively again for the moment. I cleaned my room and I'm sort of basking in the open floor space before I dig it all out again and work on some paintings. Though I do have some ideas.
I'm actually considering...gasp...working with more kids. I know. I thought I'd never utter that sentence but if I'm really honest about it, I like playing. And playing usually equates to working with kids. Ah well.
I started teaching the Secret Agent Lab kits today for Mad Science. Totally fun stuff. We got to do burn tests with fibers and learn about hydrophobic fabrics and all that nifty stuff.
I'm off to go finish my hunt for functional yet fun furniture (throw in another F....free? fancy?)
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I know my inner cynic took one look at the millions of people in the crowds today, turned a tentative ear towards the perfectly executed and direct speech Barack Obama delivered and decided that today would be a great day to go take a hike in the cold.
I'm hoping it stays gone. There is a really beautiful thing about these sort of suspended moments, where "reality" has absolutely no authority.
There are lots of ways people define reality-to anyone out there whose reality consists of naysaying and countering the swell of energy and hope pulsing through the veining of streets and boulevards across America today with criticisms and fear-let them have it. I will take no part.
I have to admit that I was definitely teary eyed this morning watching the whole thing unfold--it's not just about history being written from this day forward. It's not about the electric power created when potential energy turns into kinetic energy on a scale larger than I can imagine-it's about the synergy of all those things.
I read the other day a particular point of philosophical theory that talked about the debilitation of fear and judgement. I have to admit, there has been a lot of that woven throughout my recent past and through the pasts of people's lives whom I know and deeply care about. But there is always tomorrow.
That's the thread I want to follow. That's what I'm taking from this, just before we all exhale.
There is always tomorrow.
Let's see what we can do.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
So maybe it's the excessive amounts of Food Network I seem to like to watch. Or maybe it's one too many years spent wishing I would have entertained more often.
Maybe it's because I have too much free time.
Whatever the reason, I've now had more dinner parties than I've ever had in my life...which totals 1....however, there is one in the works. It should be interesting if nothing else.
I love to cook and I've decided to try making Indian food. I'm excited. The only small problem I can think of is that there are going to be 12 people including myself and my roommate...we have a table that seats 6 if everyone really likes each other. I'm going to have to hunt down a card table and some folding chairs I think.
I never realized how daunting making dinner for 12 people can seem. It doesn't sound like a big deal-and it probably won't turn out to be as difficult as I'm conjuring in my head-but wow. I'm looking at recipes for stuff trying to figure out the best way to do things.
It's less that I'm worried about having enough food and more that I'm worried about having enough food that everyone will like. It's easy to say find three or four side dishes and make them-that's great-unless people really like one and not the other three hehe. So I'm going to aim for somewhere in the middle.
I'm making a basic main course that everyone should like and then I'm making two sidedishes that are interesting and fun and one bigger side dish that is more basic. And lots of rice and stuff.
That should, in theory, work. (c:
I've got it on the brain tonight especially-the dinner party is on Saturday and I'm going to have to tackle shopping on a budget for the stuff on like Tuesday.
There's a lot of prep that goes into Indian food too that I never quite thought of. Lots of rubs and mixes and sauces and delicate handling of hot peppers. It should be a really fun night-there is going to be a wide range of people there and we're going to rent a Bollywood movie and I'm telling people to dress up if they have brightly colored stuff. (c:
I'm going to have to be organized if I'm going to pull this off-which should be interesting since a lot of the stuff can't really be done overnight without getting weird in the fridge.
I dunno-this is all sort of random-
I've got other stuff going on too, this just seems to be where I'm fixating energy at the moment.
I'm also trying to figure out if I'm going to move into my own space or if I'm going to stick around the place I'm at right now for 6 months or so and look at moving out then. It's a tight balance of finances at the moment either way so it's just a matter of looking at the pros and cons and going from there.
There are some good deals that are close by-I'm going to be doing the obligatory drive by and stop in and take a look around on Tuesday I think (unless they're open tomorrow, which would be nice) so I can see exactly what I can get for the money I have available to spend. I'm basing it off of the worst case scenario so I can make sure that I can pay my bills if things turn south.
There's this one apartment that sounds great-there are few concerns-the main one being where it's located because of the weird tax and property tax nonsense that happens when you live on one side of the state line and work on the other, and the fact that it's not in an amazing neighborhood-but still decent. I'm going to give them a call and see if they even have any openings. The place down the street from my apartment right now is probably not as cool or nice of a place as the one in MO but it does leave me hassle free as far as the taxes and all that stuff. And it's closer to my job. If I could just smash the two places together it'd be alright.
The one in MO would definitely give me some space to set up my art studio though. And it's right in the arts district--there are also some really rowdy bars nearby though which can translate to getting broken car windows and stupidity at 2am.
I know that wherever I end up going I'm going to have to find some very functional and fun, multi purpose pieces of furniture so I can continue to entertain and have people around and stuff.
Enough of the noise banging around my brain case. Things usually work out the less I think about them so I'm going to go on gut instinct and see what it brings me.
The pics scattered throughout the post are some of the new work I've got hanging right now at Black Dog.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
It's days like these when I really wish I had my studio-but it does give my bedroom a nice vibe. Makes it hard to sleep though when you've got all your work around you, waiting to be finished.
The latest news: I'm going to be hanging some of this work (as soon as it's done. ahem.) at Black Dog Coffee Shop near my house, good stuff. It will be nice to get the work out in the open again. I haven't had a show in a bit and I'm really looking forward to it. This particular month is going to be a collective showing of four different artists including me but then I get my own solo showing in July. I have plenty of time to prepare for that at least. I'm excited about the possibilities.
I began reading a series called The Hinges of History written by Thomas Cahill. I really love his writing voice, it's not just conversational, but really passionate. And he's a non-fiction writer so I'm learning stuff. I just started "How the Irish Saved Civilization" which is both funny and packed quite to the brim with interesting perspectives and information.
I have been craving historical and philosophical books lately. I don't know what brought it about but it seems to be going hand in hand with my drive to really create. I've been on a roll the past few days. It's a little bittersweet-I tend to feel somewhat like Charlie in Flowers for Algernon-you enjoy the ride of productivity and the feeling of being connected and all that and yet sometimes I feel like I can feel the end coming. Not that it's really a bad thing-if i were always pushed to the fullest degree creatively I'd probably explode. There has to be time to collect and gather your thoughts and get into the mindset. It's a process all by itself just to get to the phase where creativity becomes possible.
There are other books in the Hinges of History series-to get back to what I was originally talking about-one of which I read in college and really loved. It's called "Sailing the Wine Dark Sea" and it's about the history of the Greeks. I've always had a really strong passion for that particular culture-partly because our culture has glorified their past and their accomplishments and partly because they really were just that cool.
I would like to work my way through all of the books in the series-though I'm going to be contending with own my distraction level-a friend just lent me the book "The Fabric of Time" which is all about physics and String Theory-which I quite blissfully know nothing about and am excited to learn. I was the kid in school they said wasn't allowed to take physics because I was bad in math-too bad they never figured out that there's a huge difference between applied mathematics and regular old stupid math. (c: I'm getting my chance now though and I'm looking forward to it. I'm hoping the writing is well done and not so overly technical that I can't see the light of day.
I'm on the hunt for another part time job. I got hired supposedly at this shop but I haven't gotten a start date yet and frankly I need the money so whatever. I'm moving on. They can do as they please. We'll see what tomorrow brings. I'm going job hunting early on and then in to work and then off to teach and then I don't know what. Probably back here to harass my poor canvases some more. I've got one that's done, one that's looking really cool and two that are crying for help. I may have just overworked this one to death but there are tricks around having way too much paint on the canvas. Hello brush cleaner. It's brutal but it works.
I saw a beautiful and interesting movie the other day called A Christmas Tale. But it was in French. Great film. There was a specific quote that they were reading that has been poking in the back of my skull. The friend I went to see the movie with looked it up online after much digging-it seems appropriate given the conversations on Tim's blog, the train track that I am currently on and the general hum of esoteric ennui that has been hanging around some specific friends and acquaintances of mine lately:
We are unknown to ourselves, we men of knowledge—and with good reason. We have never sought ourselves—how could it happen that we should ever find ourselves? It has rightly been said: "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" [Matthew 6:21]; our treasure is where the beehives of our knowledge are. We are constantly making for them, being by nature winged creatures and honey-gatherers of the spirit; there is one thing alone we really care about from the heart—"bringing something home." Whatever else there is in life, so-called "experiences"—which of us has sufficient earnestness for them? Or sufficient time? Present experience has, I am afraid, always found us "absent-minded": we cannot give our hearts to it—not even our ears! Rather, as one divinely preoccupied and immersed in himself into whose ear the bell has just boomed with all its strength the twelve beats of noon suddenly starts up and asks himself: "what really was that which just struck?" so we sometimes rub our ears afterward and ask, utterly surprised and disconcerted, "what really was that which we have just experienced?" and moreover: "who are we really?" and, afterward as aforesaid, count the twelve trembling bell-strokes of our experience, our life, our being—and alas! miscount them.—So we are necessarily strangers to ourselves, we do not comprehend ourselves, we have to misunderstand ourselves, for us the law "Each is furthest from himself" applies to all eternity—we are not "men of knowledge" with respect to ourselves.
It's long but I liked it overall. I don't know where it came from yet-that's the next bit of the search. It was from a German text-I noticed that when they panned the camera towards the book he was reading from-so assuming the movie was telling the truth I should be able to look it up and get an author. I read Plato again for the first time in a long time-actually tucked in between the pages of Irish History, Cahill's book discusses the fall of Rome and how it was relavant in shaping the history of what would become "Unholy Ireland" as he words it. He mentions Plato in that whole mess of history-discussing what would be lost with the coming of the Dark/Middle Ages. I'll be posting more of the book later on as I get farther in-his wording deserves to be shared.
That's all for now it seems. I need to think about getting prepared for tomorrow and cleaning up some of this mess. I'm doing good to have space for my laptop and me on the floor right now.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Alright-so where to begin.
I just scampered off to read the newest post on Tim's site from Chris regarding creativity and it got me all fired up. And it got my brain turning.
Years ago I had this inherent fear that I was faking being a creative person. I still have a hard time writing that about myself.
I was convinced that I had just fallen victim to all the romanticism tied up with being an artiste and that I lacked any real drive, ability or-specifically-need to create. I may have mentioned this but it merits mentioning again.
The first time the thought crept into my mind was right before college. I dismissed it. The second time was after college.
I remember simply stopping. I didn't paint, write, draw...do much of anything that could be considered creative. I went and got an office job. I quit buying cool art supplies. I deemed it a waste of my money since the first three years of my college had been such a "failure" and I figured that after ending on a strong note I had gotten it out of my system.
This was not the truth. It almost made me go off the deep end. I found myself finding the strangest and most roundabout ways to "make" stuff. So I finally caved in to myself and my own rediscovered need of making and doing and started pushing for shows around the area.
I'm still not living off of my art but it helps scrape past the rent every month.
Here's what prompted this whole deal though-in Chris's post on Tim's site he discussed finding your medium, acknowledging the small ways in which people are creative in their day to day lives (myself included) and making it a habit.
All of those things are fantastic and hold a lot of truth. But, given the length of my comment on Tim's site, I can't seem to wrap my brain around the idea of my found medium.
I pitch myself as a fiber and textiles artist. I remember distinctly being drawn to the fiber dept at my school because it seemed the most versatile. I mean, really, what isn't a fiber or a textile? Canvas. Textile. Reeds and twigs. Organic fibers. Silk. Obviously a textile and a fiber. It's almost totally open. I didn't take full advantage of this while I was in college mainly because my head was up my arse but that's besides the point. I figured it out afterwards-I chose the one department that could feed my passion for doing a bunch of things at the same time.
So, where does this lead me? To a house full of random art supplies, multiple unfinished projects and a burning desire to just figure it all out. I don't know that I would trade liking and being interested by a bunch of different things but at the same time I wouldn't mind being able to find the beginning to my "life's work" as it were. I don't know-the answer I usually get is "I need time." Well-time be damned. I keep feeling like the answer is already right in front of my face.
I tend to stick to three main things right now: silk paintings, regular painting (though I'm quickly realizing that this is going to move to the hobby pile unless I get much, much better), and jewelry. I can't say that I"m really pushing any envelopes in any of the fields but that's always been my issue. I am not someone who sits down and says "let me figure out every single thing I can do with these tools" before I move on. I usually accomplish something, deem it as neat or a waste of time and move on until the bug strikes me to come back and try again or rework something or whatever.
So, do I go against my sporadic nature and focus my energies, even at the risk of getting bored or do I keep pushing in several directions all at once and just wait for something to fall out of the sky that is a coherent artistic direction or thought?
I don't know the answer. Maybe there isn't really one.
To wax on the borderline of sounding conceited-I've always sort of felt like the kid that was good at testing in school when it comes to art and making stuff. There are definitely areas where I am totally worthless (woodworking, sculpture in general...) but overall I never really had to bust my ass at something to get a passable result. Therefore, I think I never really learned what it's like to have to work all the way through an artistic process to get a really stellar result. Like I said, I"ll do something, it'll be "alright" and I"ll move on, my brain considering it done. Even though I know in my gut and everyone else knows, in their guts and their brains that the work I produced wasn't or shouldn't be the end. I guess I am good at getting a good start at something and then wandering off to do something else.
Perhaps part of it stems from an overall fear of success and commitment. I have a big issue with the idea of being good at something. It tends to have some nasty levels of expectations. I'm working on it. I also have a big issue with the idea of defining myself as one way or the other. I"m finally to the point where I can label myself as "creative" without totally fearing that the walls are going to cave in around me and the negative comments will start telling me that I'm full of it and pretentious and don't deserve to be parading around calling myself an artist.
It's sort of a weird position to be in when you think about it. I definitely am drawn to creating and I want to succeed at it and live my life supporting myself in those ways and yet I'm terrified of admitting it. Hm.
All this may add up to wee hour babbling but it's been on my mind for a while. I do things because I like to do them and I think it's fun and interesting, not because I feel what I'm guessing is a deep, personal connection to the art and craft. Perhaps it's in there somewhere and I just haven't had my radar turned up enough to notice it creeping along the edges. There has to be some reason I keep coming back to certain things, even if it is in a roundabout way.
So, my throw out question is: How many different and random creative pathways have you been down before figuring out what really resonated within you? Or have you really found that yet? Do you think it changes as people get older or is it something that doesn't really pay much attention to time?
Thursday, January 1, 2009
So I haven't seemed to be able to get near my blog in a few months. I don't know why. Energy has been focused into other areas and writing just didn't seem to be in the works. Things come in cycles with me a lot of the time, though I haven't been on any specific creative kick lately-just sort of doing things here and there.
I hate all the talk about the potential of doing this that and the other when it comes to the New Years Resolutions that everyone talks about...they tend to just lead to disappointment because the goals set are unrealistic.
However, I have learned a great deal about myself over the past 2008 sprawl that we just finished and there are things that I want to carry with me into 2009 and things that I'd like to leave where they lie.
For starters-I now know that travel is essential to my life. I knew that before but I really know it now.
I also know that I like knowing how much money I make each month instead of trying to play a guessing game each pay period. I'm working on rectifying that now but as things go, I'm honing my hypothesis skills. Bleh.
I know that I need to get back to working on my energy focusing skills. There was a time when I could actually meditate without feeling like a stuttering record. Breathe 22.214.171.124...breathe 1.2.3....I need to do my laundry....4...breathe 1.2....and I should really be working on my jewelry stuff...3...where was I?...oh yeah...4...
I need to work on bringing that back to center. I am going to start from scratch and build the environment and pretend like I don't know anything. Probably not too far from the truth. (c:
I also learned in 09 that if I can stick with something through the initial stage of frustration over not knowing where to start or what to do that I can actually accomplish something. So we'll see where that takes me. I'm referring specifically to my guitar learning skills and my writing abilities. I'm still working on my story and while it hasn't taken any amazing leaps, neither have I. I've been toying with it. I'm working on it off and on and I'm ok with that. It's a cool process. Now I just have to keep it up.
I'm also trying to follow through with my risk taking. I've always been all about the adrenaline and all about the random acts of fun and craziness-but it never really went much farther than the basic stuff for adrenaline rushes and all that....for example: I went Skydiving but I couldn't summon the guts to go do a real audition for a play.
So...the other day I was sitting at this coffeeshop that I'm at now and voila, a local short film was holding tryouts...so I walked in, asked if I could try and did it. We'll see where that goes.
I'm excited about the opportunities that I had and took in 08 and I'm stoked about what 09 will bring.
I think i'm more excited, however, about the prospect of getting my own space. I love roommates and my friends and stuff but I need to challenge myself to build a home. Ideally I'll own my space...even if it's a little townhome or duplex or something in a moderate neighborhood. I think that would be really cool. Mainly because then I could leave all my stuff there, go travel and come back and it would still be there. (c:
I'd also like to turn off my inner cynic. I don't think I'm negative generally but I know that there is a lack of balance in my brain between seeing things as very good or total crap.