Public and Private Creativity

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Last weekend I finished reading Kim Werker’s book ‘Make It Mighty Ugly’.

I love this book.  I love you, Kim, for writing this book.

There are a load of reasons why I love Kim’s book.  For me, the main reason–she is clearly a kindred spirit when it comes to creativity.

On page 116 she describes an aspect of her creative process.  This is the first time, since I began reading creativity books, someone has described a pattern that is dominant in my creative process.

As a writer and artist, I cycle between two creative states.  I work full on, taking everything in, being connected, being public with what I am doing thinking making—art shows, blog, social media, leading workshops.  Then I go dark.  I retreat to my studio, shut the door, and continue making but in private.  I do not want to see, talk, or interact with anyone.  Leave me alone.  In this creative state, I bite.

I have always created in this way, always shifted from one state to the other.

I used to think because I wasn’t entirely one state or the other, there was something wrong with me.  I thought I was being wishy-washy and inconsistent, possibly unreliable.  Isn’t that one of the myths, artists are unreliable?

It took me years to understand this is my creative process.

My creativity has and needs both my public and private states of making.  These states are not opposites.  They are partners.  Each feeds, supports, and inspires the other.

Maybe this is obvious to you, but for some reason I couldn’t see it.  I had to learn by doing, understand through experiencing, that this pattern of creating is my normal.  I learned there is not something wrong with me.  This is the way I operate.

The other thing I learned from accepting my pattern of creating is there is no single creative process.  There are as many processes as there are people.  Each of us has a unique way of making what we make.  The creative process is as wildly creative as creativity itself.

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In this post:

Kim Werker, book, ‘Make It Might Ugly:  Exercises and Advice for Getting Creative Even When It Ain’t Pretty’, Sasquatch Books, 2014.  http://www.kimwerker.com/  Thank you, Kim, for sharing your book and your creativity.

 

Embracing My Inner Teenager (Tantrum Part 2)

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What Gives Me Joy Nov 17 2016 (maps)

The wabi sabi human is here, and she is bored.

I’ve shifted from my inner two-year-old’s tantrum (last week), to my inner teenager’s boredom.

I am bored.  I know these words and this feeling.  I used to be here a lot when I was a teenager and figuring out my life.

I’ve not felt bored for a very long time.  I’ve been busy creating word and image and mostly happy about it.  I’ve had perfect successes and perfect failures.  I’ve learned and grown as a creator.

And then, Bang!  I’m in a week-long tantrum.  And then, Pop!  My two-year-old morphs into a teenager who keeps saying ‘I am bored.’

Boredom is interesting.  That sounds like an oxymoron (love that word), but it isn’t.  I am curious about this feeling of boredom.

What I am thinking:

  1. Boredom and my previous tantrum are really the same thing.
  2. What am I bored with?  And why?
  3. This boredom is an aspect of my creative process and a piece of my creativity.
  4. My morning pages show me I am tired of pushing myself.

I have four puzzle pieces to play with, and here is the picture they are making.  I’ve realized the pushing is towards intentions that are not completely aligned with what I love and how I create.  It’s taking me out of alignment with my heart (where my best work comes from) and my process (how my best work grows and completes itself).

This is Big.  If I had not gone into tantrum and boredom, I wouldn’t have slowed down enough to see this.

Continue reading “Embracing My Inner Teenager (Tantrum Part 2)”

Embracing My Inner Tantrum

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‘When I Took It All Apart, There Was Nothing Left’

It’s Thursday.  Blog writing day.  I want to be all sunny today, writing lovely positive words.

Nope.  My inner two-year-old took over on Monday and is having an extended tantrum.

‘No’ is my word right now.  No, I don’t want to work on my book.  No, I don’t want to draw.  No, I don’t want to read anything enlightening.  No, no, no, and no.

The funny thing is I am totally okay with writing my morning pages.  Usually these are what I resist doing.  Not this week.  My inner two-year-old is taking great delight in having permission to whine, complain, be ratty and growly as much as she pleases in the morning pages.

In fact I have given myself full permission to be as ornery as I want for as long as I want.  I have decided to embrace my inner tantrumy-self.

Usually I try to push my bad attitudes away.  Cure them somehow.  Cheer myself up.  Force myself to be upbeat.

But halfway through Tuesday’s morning pages I write, ‘I am tired of pushing myself.’  Six words.  They stop me in my tracks.  I sit there, pen and mind stilled.  I say out loud, ‘Oh.’

I can feel the truth of this.  I want to love myself exactly as I am.  Always pushing and always reaching doesn’t let me be settled with who I am right now.  Instead, it keeps saying ‘not good enough’.

I’m tired of being not good enough.

I need to love myself now.  My inner two-year-old needs love and hugs.  I need to be loved for who I am, however I am, always.  No exceptions.  Love myself whether I am having a tantrum like now, or whether I am feeling clear and light and joyful.

Love all my moods.  Love all my flaws.  Love all my talents.  Love all my beauties.  Love the whole of me that makes me human.  Love me, Cat, the wabi sabi human.

This says I am good enough now.  This says I love myself now and I am lovable now.  This says I am perfectly imperfect.

I can handle being a wabi sabi human.

 

Here Is Joy

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More Snow Coming.

Here is joy.

New snow layering the bare branches of the aspens.

Crunchy toast with peanut butter and homemade raspberry jam.

Cold, clear water to drink.

Lovely Lady, our upstairs-neighbours’ rescue dog, looking in the window of our french doors, hoping for treats.

Warm socks.

Albums on my ipod.  ‘Autumn’ and ‘Winter Into Spring’ by George Winston.  Music that moves and flows and leaves beauty in its wake.

Writing valentines, to deliver by hand and to drop in the mail.

Time and space to play with pen and paper and words.

A nap after lunch.

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In this post:

Musician George Winston.  His piano music paints pictures for me each time I listen.  My favourite albums–‘Autumn’, ‘Winter Into Spring’, and ‘December’.  ‘December’ contains a piece titled ‘Minstrels’ that haunts my heart every time I hear it.  http://www.georgewinston.com/recordings/