April 22, 2010

Oh Creative One! I am on vacation for the next 2.5 weeks! I shall return the week of May 10, hopefully with a new place to live and a bit of vim with my vigour. All my best! Jenna


Oh Creative One! When we first moved here, it was hard to find and trust the food that would be safe for my anaphylactic son. Even with English being the main language and a great labeling system on most UK foods, it was hard to know if the bread made on equipment that used milk would be as safe as bread with a similar warning in the States. Trial and error is terrifying with allergies as severe as my sons. I could stop cold in my tracks, or I could see it as a fortunate thing that I could even afford the convenience of trying a probably-safe-food.

Whirling Creative One, remember your complaints can serve as reminders of all the good things in your life too. It doesn’t make it less worrisome, but it will give you enough energy to find refuge in your art.

Just for you

April 19, 2010

Oh Creative One! I worried all day today about other people. I worried about my daughter falling asleep while looking at houses and missing lunch, I worried about what new landlords would think of me, how to be disappointed but not a drag with my new friends, how my husband is doing, how my son is handling the news of another impending move. Then I came home and printed on my letterpress. It was quiet, the kids had fallen asleep, my husband went for a run. The time and the ink were just for me.

Thoughtful Creative One. Above all, your art is for you first.

Oh Creative One! Yesterday I had thought I turned a corner. I bought a large wide flower pot made from a recycled truck tire and filled it with sand for the kids. I began to organize the space where I use my letterpress. I thought, okay, I can make this leaking, smelling, electrically dangerous place with a heater that doesn’t work my home. I could make it home for just a while and then we received notice of non-renewal. We’ve nowhere to live after June 18 in a foreign country that has officially taken every ounce of energy I had with little in return. It will be our 5th house in 18th months due to the financial hubris of the Scots.

Lost Creative One, there is a graceful way through the sadness and frustration. You came here to try something different and no one said it wasn’t going to be trying. While the world is organizing itself to care for you, do the following: Dance with your kids to their favorite Phoenix songs before breakfast, watch the sun rise over the tired city in the distance, imagine the life you will lead in 10 years. The creative don’t need to create every day.


April 15, 2010

Oh Creative One! Last night I was surrounded. I was cornered by an ill-behaved anaphylactic son, a grumpy daughter, a crappy rental we can’t get out of, rejection letters, stories that fell flat, no family and few friends in a new town, an unexpectedly tight budget in a foreign country, an extended family that can’t visit me, no work for me that would even cover the cost of a sitter… Dammit. This list goes on and is boring. But, last night while surrounded by macadam and worries at my husband’s office parking lot, my son and I found a red-throated British bird. We stood there in the crisp spring evening. We watched it sing its beautiful and varied song as it sat in a secure crook of a budding tree branch.

Tired Creative One. Take a deep breath. Keep your heart open even when your work has you in an uncomfortable spot. Listen. Pay attention to the details. Soon you’ll find a surprise that makes your heart sing.

hamburger hamburger

April 14, 2010

Oh, Creative One! I’ve had the most rotten week. Rotten. I got a bit of a breather and went downtown all by myself today. I saw a hamburger phone at Urban Outfitter’s. It made me smile. It’s a phone! It’s a plastic hamburger! It’s an odd thing! So multifunctional! It reminded me of the scene in the movie, Juno, where she calls the pregnancy advice center on her hamburger phone. What a well-placed prop that said a lot without being anything but a whimsical item.

Quirky Creative One, think of the unassuming bits that might find a home in your piece. A note? A color? An object? A word? A gesture? Is there a thing that could do a lot of work for you without being much at all? Call me on a hamburger phone if you’d like suggestions…

Take a bigger bite…

April 13, 2010

Oh Creative One! I cringed this morning – not because my daughter made moves to bite my son after his snatching her favorite airplane from her soft and fat toddler palm. I cringed because he asked if she was a “bad girl.” He is searching for order that is beyond a time line. He is searching for order in people and words. He is having a hard time understanding that biting siblings is bad, but being angry beyond words at a snatching sibling is a good and healthy thing for a learning girl to feel.

Perplexed Creative One, where are your judgments? Are you laying flat and thoughtless terms on your work? Another’s? Take a moment to describe your judgment further. Use more than a dismissive word like “bad” or “good” to consider what you judge. You will find a beautiful place to grow.


April 12, 2010

Oh Creative One! My mother-in-law brought a baby newt that died and dried in her jade bush in Tucson, Arizona. The newt is no bigger than half the length of my thumb and she carried it all the way to Scotland on a bed of cotton in a cheap little jewelry box. She and my 5-y-o son marveled at its tiny fingers, its permanently and gracefully curved tail, and the rise of its spine.

Delicate Creative One, the gruesome and the beautiful all have marvelous skeletons that tell us wonderful stories. Spend time building the bones of your work and don’t be afraid to whisper its stories to a loved one while you create.

snippity snip

April 9, 2010

Oh Creative One! My son cut my daughter’s hair yesterday. She now has random and disturbing bald spots all over her head. I took her in to see a stylist as her hair is way beyond my hair-snipping abilities. She looked at it and sighed and said, “Well, there’s not much we can do.”

Exuberant Creative One, there is a lesson to be learned from my shorn daughter. Sometimes, no matter how much you love you put into an artwork, the end result is just wrong with little to salvage. It is alright to sigh, and chalk it up to a lesson learned.


April 8, 2010

Oh Creative One! Here is a list of some of the things I do: I cook, wash, clean, do yoga, walk 2-4 miles a day, read, care for my children, teach my children, grocery shop, manage money, and write. I do not call myself a cook, a cleaner, an athlete, an academic, a childcare worker, a teacher, an assistant, or a banker. Yet, all of these things are valuable and important to my well-being. Somewhere along the way, I picked up the notion that if someone else did not value my writing – either by deeming it publish-worthy or by calling me something along the lines of “THE SUPREME WRITER OF EARTH” that what I wrote was not of value. Yet, it is in the list of all the activities that are of value to my well-being.

Thoughtful Creative One, shake off the need for value from outside sources. Your work is yours alone and imperative to your well-being. If you really must know if someone is truly happy that you’re working on your art, please know that I am so glad you’re here!