cowgirl princess ballerina

October 29, 2010

Oh Creative One, my children’s respective halloween parties are today and tomorrow there’s a costume disco put on by my son’s school. Costumes and role play abound. My daughter had planned on being a cowgirl complete with the cowboy boots my mom sent her from the States. However, she walked out the door as a cowgirl princess ballerina with a tutu, a sparkly necklace, hat, red boots, flower shirt, polka dot tights, green leggings, faux cowhide vest, and a wand. There is that maxim, the one that Oprah and self-help gurus, and your own experience teaches you. The one that goes: pretend what you want to become. So, if you want to be happy, choose the positive outlook on a crisis. If you want to be popular, talk to lots of people. If you want to be kinder, remember to say please and thank you and act more kindly.

Wonderful Creative One, think of what you’d like to become and practice. Even take on just the smallest bit of the mantle of your wish. If you’d like to be a famous designer, think about what those famous designers do. Do they keep a sketchbook by their bedside? Do they meet up with colleagues over coffees and chat about , oh-not-much-at-all? Do they write about fashion for a newspaper or keep a blog? Perhaps they wear their own clothing? Whatever it is, do it, no matter how silly or little – even if it includes being a cowgirl princess ballerina for a minute, an hour, or gasp- a whole day.


Gold Dust

October 28, 2010

Oh Creative One, my latest song du jour is “Gold Dust” by DJ Fresh. Oh, it makes me so very, very happy. It got me to thinking about Diane Ackerman’s “A Natural History of the Senses.” At the very end, she discusses synesthesia – a case where one sense is simultaneously stimulated by another. Numbers have color, music has taste…you get the picture. On a more daily level, children with fine motor oral issues find they improve when their other fine motor hand skills are taxed. Our senses are connected in amazing ways.

Adored Creative One! Pay attention to what all of your senses are doing when you are working. What do your ears hear? What do your toes feel as your fingertips sink into clay or type on the keyboard. Let the experience of on part of your self affect the other. It can be as simple and as enjoyable as writing with your favorite tune playing in the background. You might even find that you make something as sparkly and intriguing as gold dust.

i’m not a bedouin

October 27, 2010

Oh Creative One, I sold almost all of my books before we left for Scotland. At the time, I was trying to live out a philosophy that I was teaching to my kids; people matter more than stuff. But, there are some things that I have found are a bit more than stuff. My daughter has an old pillow case of mine that is her “fifi.” It is her comfort and such a part of her, it is sickly inappropriate to use it as a consequence or punishment – “If you don’t ____, you may not have your fifi.” It would be like saying to her that she may not have her hands or or her heart. I miss my books. I have a palpable sadness and heartache without my books. Certainly, my daughter and I would survive without our respective fifi and books, but thriving after survival would certainly include these items. I’m just not a successful bedouin and a lesson I wish I had never felt compelled to learn.

Lovely Creative One! Go ahead and list your faults. List every single one of them. If that list includes faults that damage or destroy others, certainly strive to be more than those soul-shaking faults. But the rest? Bah. Could care less. I don’t care what they are as long as you bring your real and true self to the table. Bring all your self, faults and failures and strengths and joys. Get to work. So glad you’re here.

wiggle while you work

October 26, 2010

Oh Creative One! Last night, ooof. My husband is away on a business trip, my daughter had a issues with sleeping, I was gestating, and the only thing mildly entertaining on television was “Beyonce and Friends” on a video network here in the U.K. She is a wonderfully silly dancer. But, really, I am a sillier dancer. I love to dance. I am the first to boogie my woogie on any dance floor and I have the reputation and stories amongst family, friends, and strangers to prove it. It made me wonder if I missed my calling and then I remember that I don’t even have a voice to find even if I wanted to sing. It will just never be my day job. But, rather than careening down a the path of existential crisis whilst watching Beyonce as I usually would, I stopped to consider movement in conjunction with my work. Beyonce is a great singer, but her work has a different energy when she does her silly yet good gyrations. Some kids squirm while reading because their bodies need input even while doing a relatively sedentary task. My son reads better whilst standing up for this fact alone. Rebecca Solnit has written an entire book, “Wanderlust,” about the act of walking on creative beings from mathematicians to painters to philosophers.

Curious Creative One, consider how to add movement when you work. Can you hold your paintbrush differently, let your body tap its foot while you write, talk a walk while learning a new tune? Let the energy of movement feed your creativity.

Oh Creative One! I missed you! Here’s something to ponder. Consider the incredible core beliefs that an artist must have. I was listening to U2 the other day and The Edge played the same 2 notes over and over on “Where the Streets Have No Name.” If I picked two notes and played them over and over, you would laugh. But, The Edge, had incredible faith and knowledge that these two notes were just the thing we all needed to hear, right then, over and over again. All of his experience and practice allowed him to find those two notes and have complete and utter faith in them. Just those two harmless notes…

Faithful Creative One! Can you imagine having enough faith in the beauty of the two notes you choose? What about knowing that the color of red you’ve found is so great that there is no question it must be an entire painting? Whatever your beloved art form. Find the small bits you have utter faith in expose them large and wonderful for the world.

Find Your People

October 20, 2010

Oh Creative One, first business. I have to take my computer in for warranty repairs. My keyboard is quite literally dying. 1mm cracks forming around the edges, no tab key, no number one key, the q is soon to follow… My dog did not eat my homework and I did not have a very pregnant few days. It’s just that my computer needs to be repaired. Now the real stuff: I wax on about finding and nurturing your community. For some artists, it is particularly difficult and different. I’m thinking of writers, sculptors, painters…they are often lone wolves and the communities offered are lately found in the strict structure of classes rather than comrade. But, there is important value in finding your people. If you don’t believe me, consider this interview of Steven Johnson listed at the end. This rare sudden flash of genius isn’t rare only in the scientific world, philosophers, writers, mathematicians, all have histories of the best ideas coming from the community they keep, the conversations they have, the walks they went on together to clear their heads.

Solitary Creative One! I value your work and will absolutely give you credit. Now, go outside and share the sandbox.

Don’t forget, I’ll be gone for a few days due to computer error. Misses…

Know Your Judge

October 18, 2010

Oh Creative One, tis the X Factor season here in the UK. I love it. Love it. Except for Louis. He’s one of the judges and almost always wrong and it is so irritating that when he is right, he still sounds just dumb.

Steadfast Creative One! We all need external feedback on our work now and then. When you do open your work up to that kind of view, make sure you value the person’s judgment at large. Never, ever listen to the Louis-s of the world.


October 15, 2010

Oh Creative One, I am a bit of a chameleon at times. I try things on for size to see if they fit. I heard an interview with Pavarotti before his death. In it, he said he enjoyed all kinds of music but rap. He did not understand or like rap. I took that on for a while. I mean why not? He was a master in an astounding old school sort of way. But, then found myself missing Missy Elliot, Jay-Z, Black-Eyed Peas, Fugees, Grand Master Flash, Beastie Boys, well there is a list that continues. I also listen to these artists as much as I listen to Mumford and Sons, Roberta Flack, MIA, Kasabian and Yo-Yo Ma – most lately his Appalacian Journey and Appalacian Waltz work.

Groovy Creative One! Your groove is your own. Uniquely your own. Rock to what you want as long as no one gets hurt. Just because you are relatively inexperienced compared, say, to Pavarotti or Alice Munro, or Cormac McCarthy, doesn’t mean that you aren’t wise to what makes your soul hum.

Consider the Sprinters

October 14, 2010

Oh Creative One, one of the most important points in Mr. Reilly’s interview below is that fact that supporting roles are in a way harder work than a lead role. They are a sprint of skill; short, transient, yet necessary in nature.

Diligent Creative One, consider the analogy of Mr. Reilly’s assessment of supporting roles within your own work. Even within a painting, a sculpture, a handwoven piece, are the supporting aspects doing all they can to create the whole? Sure, the sculpture may be a face, but what about the arc of the neck? Or the twist of an ear? What about your handwoven scarf? Is the fringe too long? The color? The fiber choice doing all it can for the function and the user? We are all necessary as are all the wee bits that go into your work. Pause and make sure you consider them all.

scaredy cat

October 13, 2010

I really like those entries that never posted as I planned. I am staring at the screen forgetting all that I wanted to write to you because I really just want to publish these bits. So, here you go, a bit later. This one comes from the week where I believed I could grant you powers all with a  the use of my daughter’s unused wand and fairy dress as she is a tomboy afraid of tulle.

Oh Creative One, it can be a bit scary to be consumed by your art, can’t it? But, that’s why I put such an emphasis on your community and surroundings. Those delightfully boring non-creatives in the mommy-gangs, they are needed and necessary too. Just as grocery shopping and mortgage or rent payments and a change in the weather are needed and necessary. These bits will catch you when it gets to be too much. Again, I don my twinkly gown and wand…

Afraid Creative One! I grant you permission to not be afraid when you are consumed by your creative work. The other non-creative bits of life will catch you if you lose your breath. I will most certainly be there if you lose your way. Ting!