Creating Stuff With Friends

kevintheminionandfriends
Making Stuff With Friends

The past two weeks I’ve been experiencing one of the things on my list for living a creative life—Find friends who love to create too, and inspire each other.

Drawing and writing give me great joy.  I mostly create alone, and this works for me.  I hear my heart, mind, and Source clearly.  There is peace in this, and an awareness that holds both energy and ease.

Lately I have been visiting with my artist and writer friends.  Meeting for lunch.  Going for walks.  Sharing what we are each creating.  Asking for and giving advice and points of view.  Laughing a lot.  Appreciating.  Being inspired.  Making notes of books to read and websites to view.  New resources to play with.

We talk about creativity and life.  For us, these are threads that wind round each other.  Impossible to separate.  I know I wouldn’t want to.

Thursday I sat across from a friend, at her round wooden table.  The table was high, and I am short.  I put an extra pillow on the seat of my chair.  We had pens and paper.  We wrote.

There was peace in this space, and the quiet act of creating in the presence of another.  My friend and I know intimately the feel of writing alone.  This day we chose to write together.  There was joy in this.  I feel it again as I tell you.

There is power, too, in creating with a friend.  Familiarity, love, and acceptance of the creative process.  Friendship, love, and acceptance of the person across the table.  This power is ease, and it let my words flow.  I looked up and saw my friend moving her pen across the paper, her words taking the shape of a new story.

Grace was given both of us in this time and place.  Grace, joy, friendship, and writing.  A perfect afternoon.

_______________________

In this post:

July 10th post, List For Living My Creative Life, https://catfinkknowtrustchoosecreate.com/2016/07/10/list-for-living-my-creative-life/

The Happiness Formula

laid to rest 80,000 obstructing spirits (north)--detailWhat makes me happy?  What gives me joy?

Here is today’s list:

Writing (of course).

Today’s polka-dotted weather.  Sun.  Cloud.  Hail.  Rain.  Sun.  Thunder.  Wind.  Repeat.  A smorgasbord.  I am leaving my studio lights on, even when it is the sun’s turn, because in five minutes the clouds will be sailing in and taking over.

Jazz, piano and violin playing off each other, a conversation, harmony and counterpoint.

Raisin bran and milk and demerara sugar for breakfast in my Blue Willow cereal bowl.  Raisins sweet and chewy.  Milk cold.  Flakes getting progressively soggier as I go.  I eat them, when they are soggy, only to get to the raisins.

My pen with its sky blue ink.

Water from our well, poured into my Shrek the Third glass.  Hard water with a lot of minerals and iron in it.  I think of the cartoon I watched as a child.  Popeye the Sailor who ate his spinach to get strong.  All I do is drink my water.

Reading a new novel.  Death in Florence by Marco Vichi.  Chief Inspector Bordelli who drives a noisy Volkswagen Beetle and smokes too much.

Discovering a new-to-me author who’s writing I love.  Thank you, Marco Vichi, for offering me a new treasure chest of words and ideas and story.  All translated from Italian.

Yes, a satisfying list.  Perfect things that happen every day for me.  That give me happiness and joy.

A few months ago I watched a documentary about happiness.  Someone had come up with a Happiness Formula.  My happiness equals my brain’s happiness set point (didn’t know I had one), plus my life conditions, plus my choices.  According to this formula, my life conditions only make up 7 to 12 percent of my happiness.  My choices make up 40 to 50 percent.

There is the key.  What am I choosing?  And what am I choosing to notice?  Where am I placing my attention?

Well, today my attention is on writing, weather, music, the raisins in my cereal, sky blue ink, cold water, the novel I started reading at breakfast, and appreciating the author I have discovered.

My life contains so much every-day happiness.  All I need do is be here, right now, present to the gifts I am being offered.  Choosing to notice.  Choosing to let the cereal in my bowl catch my attention, the taste of water from my well, the colour of the ink on this piece of paper.  Things on today’s happiness list.  This is my Happiness Formula.

____________________

In this post:

Death in Florence by Marco Vichi, published by Hodder and Stoughton, 2013.  http://www.marcovichi.it/

The Happiness Formula  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/leadership_b_3379150.html

 

Second Draft, First Draft

Blackbird Dance (desire)'detail
Blackbird Dance (desire) – detail

I am thinking about the second draft of my book.  The one I put aside last September.

I am coming back to it.  I’ve made a pact with my friend who is also writing.  She’s close to the end of her first draft.  We both need someone to write with, partner, give us each that extra push to reach the finishing line by the end of the summer.  Tell us in a sure voice, yes, you are doing it, almost there.

Chocolate and iced mochas, cafes and beaches will help as well.  Bribery works.

I wonder, as I look at my half-done second draft, why I wrote the first draft.  What sent me to the page?  Who was I writing for when I sat all those days at my studio work table, moving words and pen across the paper?

I can give the usual answers.  I was writing for me.  Writing to understand what I experienced.  Writing to make sense of the path I walked.

These are all true.  Not specific enough, for me, right now.

What was it that sent me to the page with enough words to fill a whole book?

Here I have to pause.  Feel back to where I was when I began the writing.  Not think.  Feel.

Like all I create, it was the push of an idea.  You might say ideas are thoughts, and thoughts are not physical.  This may be true for you.  Not for me.

My ideas and thoughts carry weight.  I feel them in my body.  No two feel exactly the same.  This idea to put words to my experience was heavy and insistent.  It sat in my belly, all of my belly.  It was very sure of itself and its importance.  It would not leave.  The only choice was to birth it.  Sit at my work table and write.  Day and day and day.  Let the idea flow as words from belly through heart to hand to ink and paper.

The insistence and sureness and sheer weight of idea into words is what carried me through to the end of the first draft.  This, and joy.  Joy runs as a thread through all my creating.

These things sent me to the page.

I tell you what I know for sure.  Without that weight in my body where the idea sat, the writing would not have happened.  That weight was the connection between the idea and me.  That weight told me the idea was real, here and whole already, even though I had yet to write a word.

Now that the first draft is done, and the second draft half-done, paused and returned to, is the idea and its weight still here in my body?

It is.  I feel it now, sure and insistent and whole, waiting for me.  I am not going anywhere, it tells me, until we are done.

This feeling is a gift of knowing.  It has carried me, and continues to carry me, as I write.  This knowing is all I need to know.  This book will be.

Insistent.  Sure.  Whole.  And the thread of joy.

Today Is A Writing Day

chantel.fixed.large
I dreamed the wind and danced its edges. (Chantel)

This gives me joy—today is a writing day.

Five words.  A declaration and an intention.  A pen with dark pink ink and a stack of loose leaf paper.  An open heart and a hungry mind.  This is all it takes to give me joy.

I can write anywhere.  My joy is portable.  How cool is that?  It is easily called and easily, instantly created.

I could make this difficult, make my writing feel like work.  Be all serious and ‘this has to be good, this has to be perfect, this has to be outstanding, a twenty out of ten on the Writing Scale.’  Putting my focus on the product, the outcome, how my writing will be received.

Ick.  No.  That is the job of my internal critic, who is sleeping right now.  There is no need to call her.  She is grouchy when woken up.  Truth, she is grouchy all the time.  No.  I don’t need her here, being bossy.

I am putting my focus on creating.  Being in action.  This is play.  Writing my blog post is play.  Jumping into words like they are the biggest ball room at the playground, and I get to wiggle into the middle of all these words and find the ones I love best today.  Try this one or this one.  String together these ones.  Nope, not this one.  Choose the one over here instead.

Joy.  This is joy.  Imagining.  Being curious.  Experimenting and finally choosing which words I want.

This is how I played as a child.  No expectation.  Just diving into the ball room of my imagination and letting myself go wherever I wanted, for as long as I wanted.

Pablo Picasso said every child is an artist.

He is right.

I am a child today.  I am playing with words and pen and paper and my imagination.  I am in joy.

Today is a writing day.  There is nothing better.

________________________

Mentioned in this post:

Pablo Picasso, artist, 1881 – 1973,  http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/p/pablo_picasso.html

 

In Beauty I Write

studiodesk.spring.nemiah.focusd

Before I begin to write, this is what I do.

I ask for help.

I am writing, I say. Come and play and imagine and daydream and write and create in concert with me. I say this to my angels and guides, to Source, to the universe around me and within me. Come and play.

I am always answered.

Two days ago I am doing this, thinking ahead of the blog post I want to write today. Into my mind pop the words ‘in Beauty I walk’. The Beauty Way Chant.

I am not Diné. But I am human and these words show up in my life at various times.

In Beauty before me I walk,

In Beauty behind me I walk,

In Beauty below me I walk,

In Beauty above me I walk,

In Beauty all around me I walk,

It is finished in Beauty,

It is finished in Beauty,

It is finished in Beauty,

It is finished in Beauty.

 

The words are here now.

This chant, this blessing moves into me as soon as I read or hear the beginning words.

I breathe deeper. My mind slows, my body quiets. I feel my weight on the earth. I am present to this moment in time (time doesn’t exist, I hear as I write this, there is only now). My heart opens and listens.

Here in this place of no-time, I stand in creation. Here is all balance and harmony, all life in concert with all life. Here is holy, sacred, all blessing. Here is love. Joy. Here is breath and being and all connection. Here is Beauty, whole, one.

These words shift me into communication with life. I am not just Cat, the single small me. I am Cat, a creation point among many creation points. I am supported, guided, gifted with inspiration and vision.

This is what asking for help does.

It connects me to all that supports me.

I have had two long conversations this week about releasing old feelings of being alone and unsupported in work and life. I know this is no longer me. I know all I need do is ask for help, and help arrives. Words, resources, and people show up. Ideas and images appear. I have a whole world supporting me. I am never alone, unless I choose it.

This is what the words and energy of the Beauty Way Chant do for me.

They connect me to all that supports me. Instantly. Perfectly. With ease and with grace, they stand me in creation.

Every one of us has something that opens us into grace like this. It may take the form of words or image or sound, an object, a person, a place. We just need to recognize it and then choose it, deliberately and consciously. Choose to ask. Choose to be supported, connected.

Choose to stand in grace in creation.

_____________________________

Happy Birthday, Bryan!  I love you.  Your presence in my life is a gift. xoxo Mom

 

 

 

 

Random Thoughts About Good Things

drawingforanna.detail
Drawing For Anna (detail)

 

Thursday, early afternoon. Warm sun and blue sky and a cool wind. Outside the window, the neighbour’s fir tree shifts, shakes, bends as each gust of wind hits it then moves on.

I am in my studio in Victoria, on the couch, sketchbook on my legs, writing. Jazz music playing. KPLU Seattle. I love this radio station. Coffee at my side. Decaf latte, to be precise.

So many good things in this life. I’ve easily named twelve in the previous two paragraphs.

I count the blessings in my life. Noticing keeps me present and grounded in my senses, my body, my heart. The best place for a writer and artist to be. Noticing is my direct connection to the world.

My drawing and writing come from noticing. Come from love and joy, from curiosity and questions. Some say that art comes from pain, the heart needing to express things that have no words. I know for sure my work comes from joy and love.

It was love that led me through the door of the art school every day for three years. It is love that leads me to the page and my blog each week. There may be pain expressed in what I create, but it is love and connection and the joy of creating that sparks me into action. All good things. All blessings.

So what blessings have I counted here today?

A day to be alive on this Earth. Warm sun. Blue sky. Cool wind.

The fir tree bending, shaking, shifting.

My studio and it’s old, comfortable, blue-and-white striped couch (an Ikea special).

Sketch book, the latest in a 20-year series.

Writing.

Jazz on KPLU (that’s 2 things).

Coffee (mmmmmm).

My body and senses and heart.

Connecting with this world.

Pain, joy, love (use everything).

Curiosity and questions.

Drawing.

Art school.

Words and my blog.

Creating, connection (again), action.

Sparks.

Yes, let me count my blessings. Gifts from the world. Thank you, World. I love you too.

What I Learned From Reading ‘Living Color’ by Natalie Goldberg

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Last week, Wednesday, I am pulling books from my studio shelves. Preparation to lead a writing workshop on Friday.

I pull down Living Color by Natalie Goldberg. I have had this book since 1997. Have read it through at least four times, and thumbed through it many times more. Inspiration, from writer to writer, from artist to artist.

I open the book and a piece of folded, loose leaf paper falls to the floor. I pick it up, open the page. In pencil, all caps, printed across the top margin, underlined, in my hand—what I learned from Natalie’s book ‘Living Color’.

Mystified. I don’t recall writing this. I did, obviously. After the first reading of Nat’s book, or the fourth. I sit down and read.

Here is Natalie’s wisdom distilled through mine, writer to writer, artist to artist:

‘Finish every piece, even when I think I just doomed it with my last marks or words. Take off from there into a different relationship with the drawing or the writing.

Nothing I ever create will hold that same intensity of joy I feel while I am creating it. The joy is inside me.

Trust and act on how I feel (my artist’s instinct).

Slow down and look.

If I really know a thing, it is there in my work whether I can see it or not.

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