Wednesday, January 19, 2011

still fine tuning perspectives

The writing has mainly been inside my head of late - been very busy in sense that I'm constantly in motion - finishing/ending some things and preparing to begin others.  The week has buzzed by and I feel like I've let both my physical and mental exercises lapse.  Got this in the email today from Betsey Streeter and it's a good way to get at least one of them back on a more productive and proactive track:
And the funny thing is, I've never been a fan of "what if" - always seemed too passive and reluctant to me.  But lately my head has been more full of "as soon as..." or "I can't do this until...".  I think in this case the 'what if' is a much better lyric to play in my head.

Now the dog and I are going to address another lapsed routine!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day Musings...

Snow is as Snow does...
I needn't have worried about missing the big snow over Christmas - it's come back around again!  And while 'business as usual' will re-commence as soon as it seems practical and safe, for now we're tucked into a wintery wonderland.  The dog, as always, reminds us to live in the here and now, and take a romp around the yard!

So this year's intent to do more writing is cruising along.  Third blog within a week, a few more pages filled in the new journal.  I was finally unpacking some boxes of books recently - cookbooks! Many I love to read almost as novels and many are 'food for thought' in more than one form. Tucked inside one of the boxes, I found a smaller box of letters and cards received from friends dating back almost 20 years.  Some from Atlanta friends after I had moved to Chicago, and then those again and more from Chicago friends after I moved to DC.  

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed letter writing and even the fact that I WROTE as much as these replies seem to indicate.  So if you recognize yourself as having corresponded with me over the past nearly 20 years, you may expect a little piece of mail in the future.  I'm adding letter writing to the new writing intention, and these first will be warm-ups, to be sure.  Funny, I almost feel like the first letter has to be a re-introduction to the whole idea of letter writing!  

So between romps in the back yard with the dog, and forays into other good snow day activities (cleaning, but not too much.  organizing, but not too much.  cooking/eating, but not too much...), I'll continue my letter writing.  And I'm not sure if I'll get many replies, but I think I enjoy the act of the writing almost as much as receiving an envelope with my name written in a familiar hand.  And I'm kind of excited about collecting stationary again!  And I've even got some stamps around here somewhere...

Other fun finds on a snowy day...

A friend on facebook has started a routine of posting 'who' she has her morning bevvie and sometimes brekkie with, as in naming the artist who made the cup and/or bowl/plate, etc.  I've joined in and it's fun seeing the extended 'family' of pots we all enjoy.  We've also taken to posting links to the artists we mention, as another way to spread the love.  

This morning, I actually dug into my housemate's collection and had my morning cuppa out of a Jeff Martin piece that I really like.  When I went in search of his website, I found his blog, and also found that he (like more than one potter I know of recently) seems to have moved more to painting.  While searching through his archives for any images of his potterly type work, I found this wonderful list of his personal approach to happiness and success as an artist.  Since it was printed on his blog for everyone to see, I'm hoping he won't mind my grateful reprint. He's preaching to the choir with me, but I really like reading and hearing other perspectives on what are essentially similar or same beliefs, and as he says, it needs repeating daily.  And sometimes it's nice to hear something you already know or believe from a voice outside your own head as a reminder to actively think about it and act on it (#2 I need reminding of daily!). Take a look and see how many you might also do, or how many you might think about adopting. 

From Jeff Martin's blog about a year ago:

1. Get up happy. Say some affirmations. Get rid of the negative chatter in your head-that voice that says things like, “I’m not coming up with any good ideas. I’ll never make this deadline. I’ll never be good enough to do this job.” Instead, train that voice to say something positive. Reprogram yourself. “I am illustrating books that people love. I am happy with my art. My career is going great. I am a successful artist…” This might sound too simple, and you’ve probably heard it before from the self –help gurus. Have you ever actually tried it….consistently over a few months?

2. Exercise and stay healthy. This is not an option. When you feel healthy, you are more open and ideas come more quickly.

3. Sit quietly each day, do yoga, or meditate. Get calm and peaceful so that when the ideas come, you actually realize they are there. Worry, anger, fear, and other emotions actually block the ability to grasp those sparks of imagination.

4. Create a place and time to be at work. This is important if you are working at home. Your mind needs to understand, “I am now at work. I will now be creative.” So sharpen your pencils, put on music, sit before your drawing table and begin.

5. Don’t talk too much about your ideas; this depletes some of the magic. On a subconscious level, your wonderful idea has become a real thing in the world. It’s not real, and it won’t be, until you do it. So, instead of sharing your magnificent thoughts, go make the work happen.

6. Take time outs doing something you love. Go to a museum. Sit by a lake. Walk through the woods. You must replenish yourself. Fill the well. Don’t view this as goofing off…this time is very important.

7. Don’t be a workaholic. This is difficult, because you won’t know it, until it’s too late. Your friends and family will know it before you will. ONLY YOU CAN CONTROL THIS. Be the work police and set your own boundaries. Make a contract with yourself. “I do not wok on Tuesday and Sunday. I go on vacation without my work. I have lunch with a friend on Friday every week. I only work from 9am to 2pm.“ Put up a sign. Remind yourself that you are free to set your own schedule. Work as late or as little or as early as you want, but make sure you’re enjoying the pace.

And don't forget to play in the snow! (that one's from me & Gable)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

a final look back on 2010...

I don't think I'm alone in having been more than happy to say goodbye to 2010.  Yes, the year-end is purely symbolic, but like anything, if it's believed strongly enough, it has merit.  So 2011 is a new page in a new journal and that's a very blatant metaphor for how I feel about it.

But rather than drone on about why I'm glad to see 2010 end ... I feel I spent enough time in THAT place at various times throughout the year ... I'd rather focus on some of what I am immensely grateful for that I experienced in 2010.  Yes, I am very much a glass-half-full kind of gal, and that can start the list because without that mentality embedded deeply within me, I would be curled up in a corner blathering 'ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba' to myself (KCQ: THANK YOU!).

I'm grateful for dogs, and I'm grateful to have experienced the love of a wonderful dog, and through her, the friendship and love of many, many others (dogs and humans) near and far.

I'm grateful for good clients who are also good friends who are also good mentors.

I'm grateful for being able make a bowl that others can enjoy and eat from, and more grateful to make a bowl that can help see that others eat (borrowed and paraphrased from DY).

I'm grateful to have the opportunity to express myself in my art, and grateful to soak up the music, words, and art of those in my life who have such strong and beautiful expressions that inspire me daily.

I'm grateful for good counsel from those far wiser.

I'm grateful that I was/am a part of a creative, generous and inspiring group of artists, and together we taught each other, learned from each other and found ways to spread our love for getting muddy.

I'm grateful for facebook ... yes, I said it ... because only through that have I re-connected with good friends, discovered new friends and cool things I may have otherwise missed, found daily inspiration, giggles and breath-taking awe from people around the world in seemingly small snippets that leave much larger impressions.

I'm grateful for that laugh you really only get when you're with really old friends (and I say this with love, yet being the youngest member of the Sisterhood of Travelling Candle Wax).  And I'm grateful for those old friends who just feel like home, no matter where they/we are or how often or seldom we connect.

I'm grateful for the close friendships I've made since I've been in Asheville, that feel like they run much deeper than the almost five years I've been here and have given me a sense of home (some in a more literal sense to be sure!).

I'm grateful for each and every person I've come in contact with, in person or over a wire or online.  No matter the impetus or the outcome, I learn more about myself in each interaction and with the sting of pain as much as the flutter of joy, it's that capacity to feel that makes one alive, and I'll opt for that over numbness any time.

I'm grateful for every person who's held me up and kept me going, and I'm grateful for every opportunity I've had to give even a small portion of it back to someone else.

I'm grateful for being able to joke with my mom that I couldn't possibly have anything new to tell her 'since yesterday'.

I'm grateful for friends with beach houses (what, not deep enough?).

I'm grateful for symbolism, for as the last quarter of the year began, I was feeling like I was losing my voice.  Or perhaps my direction ... or maybe my sense of where I was, not to mention where I was going.  And as the year end approached, I slowly felt a realignment of place within me, and almost literally with the chiming of midnight and the dropping of the ball, felt the low rumbles of a voice returning.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

If there's one thing I'm resolute about...

... it's about NOT making resolutions.  I've always felt that they're kind of a trap.  I think goals are great, but they should be fluid - adaptable, and a resolution (at least for me, those times I had tried it) was very limiting, and it set my own intentions seemingly on the lack of something I had to resolve, rather than embracing a new practice or goal that might be adjusted along the way.

All that to say that I started a new journal recently.  It may be the 12th or 15th journal I've started.  Started ... all of them have many, many lovely blank pages in the back.  Sometimes I'll pick up one from years gone by and just start writing in it again, but starting with a new book always feels like a way to discard that which kept me from keeping up the previous journal.  Many of those journals had been resolutions in previous years.  This year, I intend to journal more, but some of it might be here and some of it might be in the book.  

How I intend to build this practice:  well talking about it here is one way, because making an intention public puts more responsibility on seeing it through.  I also find that when I read more, it's easier to write.  Ideas and thoughts get stirred up, sometimes in response to something read, sometimes just to spark a little inspiration.  So this year I'm going to start the journal exploration by sharing some of what I'm reading for my own motivation, inspiration and entertainment.  In no particular order, here's the first:
The Fred Shively Daily
Fred is a freelance photographer, creative director and vagabond.  I had the pleasure of working with him back in another life and got to know him and his lovely wife Arpi (who also produces something I read, but that's for another post).  They're kindly keeping a room for me in their lovely home in southern Spain, an invitation I hope to accept sooner than later.  The Daily is an online compilation of other online sources for news, arts & entertainment, technology, politics ... you name it, he seems to have it covered.  And the coverage is wide and often from sources I would otherwise not find myself, so it's been my morning companion to at least the first cup of coffee when I don't have to dash out of the house.  Today I am kind of on a dash, but I had time to glance through and here are a couple of links I'll be coming back to later:

NOWNESS:  this blog just promises 'daily exclusives for you to love', and today's entry is 'on the ninth day of Christmas'.  I'll be looking back over the first 8 and looking forward to those to come.

IRISH WEATHER ONLINE: seriously, how else would I ever end up on this site?  The article linked is titled 'How the Sun Could Control Earth's Temperature'.

DRWEB:  ok so I have no idea what the text says on this site, but the title of the post: 

40 unglaubliche nahinfrarote Fotos

told me at least there might be pictures, and they are pretty cool!

What any of this will inspire in my journaling, I don't know.  But I do like the practice I've started, and I'm looking forward to all the discoveries along the way.