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.

_____________________________

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/

My Love Affair With Books

 

1.'Containers for the Soul'--Cat Fink
‘Containers For The Soul’ by Cat Fink

I have a long love affair with books.  With stories.  With words.  Longer even than my love affair with drawing, but only by a year or two.

My husband knows about this affair.  How can he not?  He helped me pack 55 boxes of books last time we moved.  The back wall of our suite is all shelves of books, two rows deep.  I’ve probably added three more boxes since we moved in two years ago.  That makes the current total 58.

This love affair, in other eyes, looks like an obsession.  Or maybe a difficulty with hoarding.

Only someone who does not love books would think that.

My parents read to me when I was two years old.  A story before bedtime.  Thus begins the love affair and my book collection.

Continue reading “My Love Affair With Books”

I Am A Contrary

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What Gives Me Joy Nov 23 2016 (connection)

Tomorrow is the US Presidential Inauguration.  I am having a hard time believing that Donald Trump is becoming the US President, that he was voted in.  And yet, it is so.  What concerns me most?  The divisive way he sees and talks gives others permission to do the same, to pit group against group, to use anger and hatred as the path to what they desire.

I say to this–I Am A Contrary!

I am a contrary.  Much of the society and material world I live in tries to tell me all is divided, labelled, specified, separate.  It tries to say I am separate from you, from the water I drink, from Raven chuckling in the fir outside my window, from the ground I walk on, from the smooth grey stone I hold in my hand.

Not so.  I see, I know, I feel all life, this world, everything as one whole being, one energy, constantly connected, breathing one breath, all flow.

I am a contrary.  The material world tries to teach me to see only polarities, black and white, either-or.

But I see pattern, illumination, both-and.  I see richness and range.  As a child growing up and as an adult living in an either-or world, I remain knowing I am the stars, the sky, the earth water wind, the grey stone, Raven, the fir tree.  I am you.  I am and we are, both-and.

I am glad I am a contrary.  Because of this, I know all is one.  I get to see the one whole beauty underneath all of the pieces of this divided material world.  I get to see the beauty and the heart living within each person I meet.

I get to see the hearts each of us carries.  I don’t just mean the unique shining heart each of us is.  I mean every one of us is covered with hearts, all sizes and every colour, one pinned onto us by each person who loves us.  We move through life covered, carried, loved, connected by all these hearts.

Continue reading “I Am A Contrary”

Thursday’s Rant – Just Let Me Create!

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What Gives Me Joy Nov 10 2016 (flowers)

It is blazing sun outside my studio window today.  The thermometer says -10 Celsius.  Even with the brilliant sunlight, I do not go out without doing up my coat all the way to my chin, and adding hat and mittens and snow boots.

Contrast and preparation.  Like the weather, that’s what is happening in my studio today.

Here is the contrast.  I want to be playing with my book draft, but there are other needs today.  What I call ‘administration’.  I am frustrated.  I want to be doing one thing, and need to be doing another.  Ugh.  Contrast.

And here is the preparation.  I have to do the administration in order to smooth the path for my writing and drawing to get out into the world to be shared.

The preparation part of my creative life is the time and effort spent on meetings, questions and answers, contracts, proposals, emails and phone calls.  I try to like this part but, honestly, today I don’t.  Even though these things are a necessary part of the path, I’d rather be writing or drawing.  Today the administration feels like it is in my way and it’s pissing me off.

I have tried to readjust my attitude.  My adjustment dial appears to be momentarily stuck.

I know this would be easier if I wasn’t so growly today.

How do I solve this?

I write my morning pages, asking myself this question.  I don’t get an answer.  Rats.  Now I’m writing my blog post, asking again, hoping for a solution and a settling of my pissed-off-ness.  Nope, not yet.

Continue reading “Thursday’s Rant – Just Let Me Create!”

Getting My Second Draft Right, or Not

 

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What Gives Me Joy Nov 9 2016 (books)

All the intense, warp speed creating I did through November was fun and fulfilling, and it did me in.  I needed a rest.  So I rested.

Now I’m back.  My well of inspiration is full again, to the brim and bubbling over.  (Watch out.  You might get splashed!)  I am itching to get creating again.  Writing stuff.  Drawing stuff.  Making stuff.

I am in a New Year.  Possibilities abound.

Yesterday I made myself a list, ‘Stuff I’m Doing’, and posted it beside my studio work table.  I used sheets of paper from my sketchbook and my set of fifty Crayola felt pens.  My list covers the first six months of this year, and has lots of room for additions, alterations, and addendums.  Even my lists are drafts.

At the top of the list is the second draft of my book.  I have been struggling with this for more than a year.  The main problem—no clarity on how my book needs to be structured.

Structure did not matter while writing the first draft.  Now it does, and it has had me baffled.

Not anymore.

I was thinking of my book structure as written in stone.  I have to get it right.  Totally scared myself, saying I have to get it right.  Stopped me for all of last year.  That is sad.

Actually, I don’t have to get it right.  I have to get it down on the page.  This is exactly what I tell myself when I am writing content.  I don’t have to get it right.  Just get the words down and then I can change them.

I am now treating my book structure like I treat my content.  It’s a draft, a work in progress that is allowed to shift to meet the needs of the book as I create it.

What a relief!  This feels so much better.  I have space to play with my book’s structure.  Get it sort of right.  Get it wrong.  Get it eventually right.

Why didn’t I think of this earlier?  Probably because I have never moved past first draft in a piece of book-length writing.  No experience at this.  A total newbie.

So here I am.  A New Year.  New ideas and space to play.  I am closing my first week of January 2017 by meeting with two of my artist-writer friends.  Tomorrow we are having lunch together.  We’ve promised to bring writing (two of us) and paintings (one of us) to share and receive help.  The best way of all to begin my year.  Sharing creativity with friends.

Happy New Year, All!  Let us give ourselves full permission to play, and space to create what we love, through love, all year long.

Now go make something.

________________________

Thank you, Meg Ward, for your listening ear and sage advice in getting me started again on my second draft.  Meg has an info page at http://www.shareyourbigidea.com/

 

 

Warp Speed Creativity

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What Gives Me Joy Nov 8 2016

I have compressed my creative process into a month-long, fully-completed-drawing-a-day challenge. No, challenge is not the word, although this is challenging in every way. No, the word is assignment, because I expect and know I will complete each daily drawing.

‘Make it so!’ I say to myself each morning, Captain Cat Fink on the bridge of her studio sighting the creative horizon. Warp 10. (Yes, Star Trek fan, total creative fun.)

I’m drawing at warp speed. There is something that begins to happen when I work with this intensity and compression.

Instead of feeling more emotional stress, I feel less. I am moving at such speed that I pass through these emotions into full creation mind much sooner than usual. I know I have experienced this quickening before, but I had forgotten. Such pleasure to reacquaint myself with this phenomenon.

Part of this change is knowing I want this drawing complete by the end of the day. I have no time to be a drama queen. No wasting my time and energy on emotional upset. My time and energy and emotions are here to be used for drawing, not for whining about drawing.

There is more to this. I have set an intention.  I am focused on this alone–be here in the gallery’s studio in my creative process and nowhere else. The intention sets a boundary for me, even though my drawing itself has no boundaries. It tells me where to put my attention and energy and emotions, all on the sheet of paper in front of me. It makes the choice of what to do with all my creative energy very very easy. Draw.

Part of this change is daily movement through my complete creative process. Trust shows up, based on the tangible proof of the drawing I completed yesterday. My mind says, I did this yesterday, I can do it again today. And I do.

I am reminded here I do better as a daily creator than a stop-and-start creator.

Could I sustain this warp speed creativity for longer than this month?

Possibly not. I have a life outside of my studio that feeds my creative life, and it is lacking some attention right now. This intense activity would eventually drain my creative well, as I am pouring creative energy out onto the page faster than I am replenishing it. I know that my long term creative process requires periods of rest and quiet, letting inspiration arrive and develop a richness that eventually says create me now. Seeds in the ground awaiting the right season to move above the surface and be seen. My warp speed creativity, while fun and crazily productive, lacks true balance.

That said, I am realizing that a month of warp speed creativity, set amidst my more sedate daily creativity, is a very good thing. I am thinking I want this as a new creative habit.

Warp 10. Carry on, Captain.

_________________________

The Joy Diary interactive art show is happening at the Station House Gallery, #1 Mackenzie Avenue North, Williams Lake, BC.  The show runs to November 26th.  Gallery hours are Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.  I am drawing in the gallery studio through to November 24th.  Come and join me!   https://www.facebook.com/stationhousegallery/

Everything-and-the-kitchen-sink Creating

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What Gives Me Joy Nov 7 2016 (games)

There are eight new drawings on the gallery walls as of this past Saturday.  Big drawings. Thirty inches high and twenty-two inches wide each.  My favourite size.

I don’t do well with small drawings.  I love seeing other people’s small drawings or paintings or sculptures or prints.  They are lovely, perfect jewels.  I covet them.

I know, however, that small does not work for me.  When I try to work small, I end up feeling frustrated.  I can’t get enough of my idea onto that small piece of paper.  My marks and colours feel cramped, like I had to bend and break them so they fit.

I was this way all through art school.  When the assignment called for small format, I would do many, then butt them together so they could be big.  Small felt like whispering to me.  I was thirty-eight years old.  I had waited twenty years to go to art school and become Artist.  There was no way I was going to whisper.  And I didn’t.  My colours and marks and ideas yelled ‘I am here. Notice me.’

Mostly what happened is that I noticed myself.  Noticed what I loved and did not love in my artwork and creating.  Noticed who I was and was not as Cat the Artist.  Noticed how what was not authentically me fell away and was left behind for someone else to play with.

I learned I liked to create sideways.  I would look an art assignment in the face.  But then I’d begin turning it around and upside down and inside out.  I would find an interesting side door into the work, and that’s where I would begin.  My own point of view.  My sideways creation.

I still create this way.  It is how I see the world.

This past week and a half, I have discovered I am another kind of creator as well.  I am an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink creator.  I am using everything in the body of work I am creating this month.  The Joy Diary is pulling things out of me I did not know I could do.  I have discovered a way of marrying word and image that works for me.  I have discovered how to mix chaos and order.  I am matching up opposites and I like what is happening. This is double FUN, this chaotic order, this ordered chaos!

I am realizing here is the reason I have always loved comic books and graphic novels, have always loved Dr. Seuss books.  They tell stories on several levels and in several ways, all at once.  They are imagination and creation gone wild, pushed to the point of delight for both the creator and the reader.  They are sideways creations that allow in everything and the kitchen sink.

I am so glad I am a sideways-creating, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink Artist and Writer.  This, absolutely and perfectly, gives me joy.

_________________________

The Joy Diary interactive art show is happening at the Station House Gallery, #1 Mackenzie Avenue North, Williams Lake, BC.  The show runs to November 26th.  Gallery hours are Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.  I am drawing in the gallery studio through to November 24th.  Come and join me!   https://www.facebook.com/stationhousegallery/