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)”

Messy Creative Process

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What Gives Me Joy Nov 4 2016 (music)

I’m on a break today after three days of drawing.  Sort of a break, because while I am doing laundry and other such household chores,  I am thinking about my creative process.

I had this idea, when I was an art student, that eventually creating art would be easy.  Once I was a well-experience master artist, there would be none of those messy emotional stages of anxiety, fear, and outright panic during my drawing process.

Yes, you who are are constant creators, go ahead and laugh.  I’m laughing right along with you.

That naive art-student-me had lots of hope.  Hope carried me through the hard scary emotions of creating.  I refused to let myself be blocked because I knew making art would get easier the more art I made.  Also, I am stubborn.

I was right, sort of.  Art making did get easier, the more art I made.  Even though the anxiety-fear-panic has not disappeared, as a stage in my creative process these emotions have become smaller, shorter, less intense.  I have become used to them.  I can keep creating right through them because I know they don’t last.

Anxiety-fear-panic have become signposts for me.  They are indicators of how important this drawing or piece of writing is to me, and how important being an actively-working artist and writer are is me.  They tell me how non-negotiable it is for me to create from my authentic heart.  No shortcuts.  No faking it.  What shows up in my creation has to be the real thing and nothing less.  Something I am proud of creating and sharing.  Something that speaks to my heart, and connects with the hearts of others.

To reach that kind of authentic creating, I am willing to move through the messy, hard stages of my creative process.  I will be moving through messy and hard again tomorrow, and coming out the other side with a new drawing.  I would not want to be doing anything else.  I was made for this.

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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/

 

Writing Past the Internal Critic

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My studio window is open. It is a gorgeous day. Sun. Blue sky. Sweet warm air. My bamboo chimes are moving with the wind, sounding between the calls of robins and chickadees and songbirds I can’t identify but whose voices I love.

Perfect weather. Or maybe not. My internal writing weather, up until this moment, was all ice, frozen way below zero.

In other words, for the last two hours I have not been practising the art of creativity. I have been practising the art of procrastination, and doing it well.

As a direct result, I have renewed a studio rule for myself. First write the blog post.  Then, and only then, turn on the laptop and play in the email and the internet.

I already knew this. If I turn on my laptop before I write, I am lost. My email inbox and the internet in general are a wonderful and devious distraction. Even as I play in them, I know what I am doing—putting off the writing.

Why? I love writing. Totally true. I am not a writer who prefers having written. I am a writer who prefers being in the action of writing, being in the energy and process of creating. Having written is fun and satisfying, but being in writing is where the whole of me sings. I am in love when I am writing. Joyful. Playing. It is work, yes, my work, and it fills me when I am in the midst of it. Work that is play.

So why the two hours of mucking around on my laptop and putting off the writing?

Most of what I have been doing the last four weeks has been needed and necessary, but most of it has not been writing. I am out of practice is the simplest way of saying it. When I get out of practice, my internal critic attempts a coup to stop me ever writing (or creating) again.

She is sneaky, my internal critic. This morning she got me to turn on my laptop to do some essential research. Ha ha. There should be quotation marks around the word essential.

She is a know-it-all, opinionated and bossy. She used to be able to stop me in my tracks, keep me away from the page and from the easel. Now she only manages to occasionally slow me down for a couple of hours. My love of creating is stronger than any fears she can throw in my way.

Over the years of creating, I have found ways to distract and weaken my internal critic. Here are two that work well for me.

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Lynda Barry’s books

I’ve added a new listing to my Resources page:lyndabarry1

Lynda Barry Books ‘What It Is’, ‘Syllabus’, ‘One Hundred Demons’, ‘Picture This’.  The creative process through image and word combined.  I love the questions she asks.

I’ve become a Lynda Barry fan.  I read her books slowly.  There is a lot going on and I want to catch all of it.  I love how her mind moves around the creative process, asking it questions, testing out answers.  Her books invite me to play in the thousand thousand possibilities of creating.  I am a kid again when I dive into one of her books.  How cool is that!

lyndabarry2I read her books with my sketchbook beside me.  I always come away with ideas for my own work, and questions about my writing and drawing process.  I know from experience to write down what comes to me, so that I have it to hand tomorrow, or next month, or next year when I need it.lyndabarry4

Lynda’s books give permission by example, to play and create, each in our own particular way.  Did she intend that?  I don’t know, but this is the effect her books have on me–FREEDOM!  I am already playing and creating in my own way, and she invites me to explore farther and deeper, see what else I can make with my heart and head and hands.

lyndabarry3The book I am reading right now is ‘Syllabus: Notes From An Accidental Professor’.  This book is dense with image and word, pages from the classes she teaches, drawing and writing from her students.  So much to take in and learn here, to experiment with.

Thank you, Professor Lynda!

Postcard #8 – In the middle of things

I Choose Knowledge
I Choose Knowledge

Camp Nanowrimo ends tomorrow.  I’ve done my best.  Will meet my word goal tomorrow.  Yay me!

I am well into the revision of my first draft.  20,000 words of the original 55,000 done.  I’m in the middle.

Being in the middle of things is not always comfortable or comforting.  This happens with my drawings.  I get a third to half-way in, and it’s like I hit a major oobleck hole.  Thick.  Sticky.  Sink-y.  No traction for my wheels, which are disappearing into the green goo.  Where did my ideas and inspiration energy go?

I have to get out and push.  And I have to get help with the pushing.

The fact that I’ve been here before does not help me evade this place in my creation process.  It does help that I know I always make my way through and up the other side.  It helps that I have strategies for handling the middle oobleck hole.

This is what I do.

Continue reading “Postcard #8 – In the middle of things”