Day 1 Take 2

March 3, 2013

I got blindsided by 2 illnesses and then a virus that ran rampant through nearly all the websites I was overseeing. Sickness on all fronts, and then I lost motivation and it has seemed daunting to come back to this. It feels like a new years resolution gone wrong as so many do and so many donuts later I’m back to the same fat ass I started with.

But, there is always time, and only time and a reason is needed to start back again. My business is officially done, and time is more open to me. I am getting back on the horse. I have been writing morning pages sporadically, but I think I will get a new journal, one with smaller pages and a more approachable demeanor. My current journal is a thick black hardcover with big white pages that seem to bury me every morning.

I am also going to go in more gently and start with what I know – that is The Artists Way. Walking in the World was novel for a bit but I think that it may be a bit above my paygrade at the moment. I jumped in too deep and will wade this time, get my callouses back. So here I am, back on the page, 1 false start later.

Categories: Daily Update.

Day 16: I’m Angry List

January 17, 2013

Anger as fuel. List 50 angering grievances from the historical to the hysterical, the heavy to the petty. (from chapter 3 of Walking in this World):

I’m Angry……..

  1. about the meat industry
  2. we are destroying our planet
  3. about Sandy Hook
  4. I can’t lose more weight easily
  5. I don’t have enough time to do what I want to in a day
  6. Aby (my 12 year old dog) whines all the time about nothing
  7. Aby is getting old and senile and annoying
  8. the NRA is full of a bunch of bastards
  9. I grind my teeth
  10. I’m losing my hair
  11. my business is about to go belly up
  12. I can’t control how Google works and they can just change things and fuck a bunch of people on a whim
  13. Xavier screams every time I try to play piano or guitar
  14. I don’t play guitar or piano enough
  15. I haven’t gotten better at playing music in a while
  16. that crappy songs make so much money
  17. that I have lyric writing block
  18. that the music of the youth (dubstep) is so jarring and I don’t understand it
  19. about consumer culture
  20. about the status quo
  21. I’m out of touch with most of the real problems in the world
  22. that tv sucks
  23. the Broncos lost that game when they had home field advantage throughout the playoffs
  24. when I waste my day because I drank too much the night before
  25. when I drink too much and say stupid shit I regret
  26. I never went to my grandparents funeral
  27. I don’t have a close relationship with my sister in Kentucky
  28. that I worry about money
  29. when the marble maze keeps falling apart
  30. when Xavier won’t take a nap
  31. that Jacey’s work takes precedence
  32. I’m not more easily inspired, or don’t let inspiration in as often as I should
  33. I don’t have a community in my neighborhood
  34. my band is non-committed and unmotivated
  35. more restaurants don’t have good vegan food
  36. when I waste food – throw food away
  37. I don’t have a job I really love
  38. I haven’t read a book in a while
  39. I don’t put more effort into nurturing good friendships
  40. breaking bad is almost over, and I don’t have a show I really like
  41. when I waste time watching shows
  42. I don’t take time in the day to do creativity
  43. I didn’t have more patience and fortitude and guts for Nashville or Country Music
  44. I don’t take more creative risks
  45. I don’t exercise
  46. I’m getting old
  47. greed is a part of the human condition
  48. winter lasts so long
  49. I don’t know how to fix anything mechanical or otherwise
  50. I haven’t achieved more, figured out much or made a mark on the world

This is my list for the evening. A lot of it is more like dissapointments rather than anger – I’m feeling more melancholy than firey at the moment. One point of this exercise is to notice the “what can I do about it” that pops up with some of these things. A victim mentality is never pleasant, so there must be some positive solutions in there. Some obvious right away ones are:

  • Read a book – maybe start with a book of shorter stories. I want to read Tenth of December by George Saunders.
  • Write some lyrics, even if they suck
  • Play some music, even if it sucks
  • Spend some quality time with Aby like the old days throwing ball in the park
  • Call my sister
  • Reach out to a few friends

Sounds like a good list to start.

Categories: Daily Update.

Day 15: Following the Thread

January 16, 2013

Chapter 3 in Walking in This World jumps around quite a bit (she does mention all of her work is self published, I wonder if that means self edited too?) It was hard to follow the thread. Julia covered the distinction she sees between therapy and art, the positive role anger can play in art, and the process of artists mapping out the world as cartographers of the collective unconscious.

She seemed like a woman scorned by therapy in the first part, even pointing out that had she followed her psychoanalyst’s advice she would have been in the secretarial pool rather than a best selling author. At every turn, art was superior to therapy. Can’t the two support each other? Obviously she hasn’t visited the right kind of therapist, as I think therapy can help you discover who you truly are, and give you the strength, courage and understanding to pursue your deepest dream and gifts, as well as great fodder for artistic exploration. Nevertheless, I do agree that creativity can be extremely therapeutic, and a primary vehicle for psychic and world change.

I assume ruminating on this bad therapy experience made Julia feel angry, which fueled her creative fire. I do think anger can be a positive driving force in creativity, and the fuel from anger can be used in a passionate & positive way. I like the anger exercise she presented and will try and do that this week. I know it bubbles up for me, and I’d like to use it more productively and creatively rather than repressing it or fantasizing about kicking my whining dog.

The artist as a mapper also resonated with me. She talked about artists at the precipice of the future, that right now we are as close as humanity has ever been to what happens next, and that artists often look into the future and report back what they see. Or delve inward and bring back insights from the dark heart. I liked both ideas – and that right now we are the culmination of everything that has happened so far, so we are always at the edge.

Right now is a special time, as we are witnessing a peeling back of culture to expose so many different ideas and art from all round the world. There is truly a mish mash melting pot of art whirring in front of our eyes. No wonder the current music and urban art scene is so disjointed. The unification of all this culture is happening right now, and it is being synthesized and forged as we speak ( or write, or sit in our self driving cars or telepath with one another).

Perhaps what I learned by the end of the chapter is that the thread is not linear, maybe it jumps around, follows the flame, acts on whims and uncoils in the wind. Maybe the thread leads to that bleeding heart and stitches up the wounds, if you have the nerve to allow it.

Categories: Daily Update.

Day 14: NotOurHouse Furniture

January 15, 2013

So I carved out some time today for a quick artist’s date. I was going to hit the Dairy Center for the Arts for a little visual soak. Went on lunch hour and when I arrived all the installations were completely down, they were preparing for new artists. I did find out the new artists will be doing a talk about their work on Friday, however, with an opening reception, so made a note of that for next week’s date.

In the meantime, I had to come up with something. So I parked the car and wondered over to a high priced furniture/home design store in the 29th Street Mall –  Arhaus Furniture. More like NotOurHouse Furniture because we are too poor. A lot of the pieces were made of reclaimed materials, or at least made to look like them. Old munitions carts that double as a charming kitchen buffet, stone fishing anchors from Thailand that make for bulky yuppie paperweights.

I really don’t like shopping, so not sure why I chose this place. I guess it was the best I could do at short notice, and maybe if I was able to ignore the price tags it could have been more inspirational. It beat most of the other shops in the vicinity (except maybe American Apparel), but why a store at all?

One reason was it was nose hair freezing cold out today, so I needed something close. Another was that nearly all of Julia’s suggestions involve going to a store of some sort for your date. An old clock store, a rug store, an exotic fabric store etc. Now maybe since she’s sold 3 million copies of the artist’s way this kind of shopping is appealing to her (I’d be interested to see what the suggestions were for the initial printing of artists way – probably a ramen store or the library) but it’s not my cup of earl grey.

I learned that a different attitude is in order for future dates. I am going to try and just take it in through the senses next time, not through the pocketbook. Ignore those price tags and try and find the intrinsic beauty below. And if I do decide to go to a store, make it an authentic one that can stimulate my senses.

After my initial plans were thwarted I entertained the idea of visiting EADS bookstore, the 100 year old treasure on the corner of 28th and Canyon. Alas, it closed last week after 100 years in business. Probably destined to become the next Buffalo Wild Wings or Shitburger.

I wanted to thumb through some long forgotten magazines, touch some old paper, connect to something dusty and tobacco stained. Instead a closed sign hung in the window, and I made my way to a store that sells new things and tries to make them look old, tries to capture the same nostalgia without any of the substance. Like so many others, a place that adds fake rust and produces hollow things that make somebody really rich and nobody really happy.

Categories: Daily Update.

Day 7: Robot Dildo

January 8, 2013

I had cordoned off some time for an artist’s date today, just me and ms artiste. Big plans to hit the Boulder History Museum and learn about Chief Niwot’s curse and why I can’t get the hell out of this town (supposedly he put a curse on all Boulderites that they can never leave, but I guess I’ll have to learn about it another time. I’ll be here for a while so it shouldn’t be a problem).

I arrived, all decked out in my artist flannel and mussed hair – sans beret – and alas they were closed Mondays. Of course, thwarted on my first attempt. That damn conspiring universe. So I had some time to kill. I briefly considered counting the trip to Liquor Mart as a date, since I did venture into the scotch and gin isles, but ultimately decided that I would have needed to visit the schnapps isle and probably bought my artist some mad dog for it to be official, so I ventured out to somewhere familiar and fun, like an old worn out brown musty couch… Savers!

butterfly mask

“I taste with my feet” – Iphone photo of mask with a little fireworks cs4 embelishment.

I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, and I wanted to get something I normally wouldn’t, so started out in the knick knacks area. Low and behold, a trippy butterfly mask appeared. This seems appropriate with the whole transformation theme these days, plus we had been to the butterfly museum yesterday, so it made sense. Here is an artists rendition of the mask.

Another score was this robot dildo (please someone let me know if you stumble upon this post searching for robot dildo and know what this might really be used for). I am officially rave ready except for my tendency to be in bed by 10:30, my distaste for techno and a complete lack of access to any good drugs.

The real find however, was a little craft table that needs some paint. So I am going to paint it and set it up for Xavier. Me and my artist. I’ve never really done something like that so I’m looking forward to it. It was nice to go in without expectations or plans and leave with some pretty good finds. All and all a successful date, and I think we might try it again next week, is she calls me back.

Categories: Daily Update.

Day 6: A Day Off

January 7, 2013

I realized in this process I probably need a day off, or at least a day where I don’t expect myself to do anything (Except of course morning pages, those will stay everyday for now). So Sundays will be that day. It is the only day where Jacey and I don’t have other regular commitments so family comes first on Sundays. Very old school, but it’s important for us all.

So if something does happen I’ll report it, and if not, no sweat. That being said I did have a tarantula walk across my hand for the first time today, so that’s gotta count for something.

Categories: Daily Update.

Day 5: Beet Juice Playdoh

January 6, 2013

I feel my creativity awakening slightly, I think this is mostly from the morning pages and just shifting my focus and filter towards being more creative. A couple of ideas have come up from my adventures playing with Xavier. There is always room for more childrens books, songs, activities, foods etc. (a case in point are those fruit/vegetable pouches that sold 53 million dollars worth last year compared to $4800 when they first came out in 2008).

1) Organic Playdoh. Made with all organic ingredients. We made some homemade playdoh and it is very soft and works better than the toxic stuff from the store. What if it was made with all organic ingredients and the food coloring was beet juice, kale juice etc. If people are willing to buy everything else organic, why not this? Maybe it could even be edible. (of course a quick internet search shows it’s already been done – back to the drawing board)

Organic Playdoh Alligators

Organic Playdoh Alligators by Xa & Dad – photo artistically enhanced by the ArtistaOil app

2) Ipad Book Matcher: An App that matches up with a book to give more info, or have some little animations, or time markers so you could match up a book with a movie. So you are reading a book with your kid and there are little things on the pages that you look up on the app. Of course you could just have all of this in the app but it’s fun to incorporate several mediums at the same time.

Got this idea because we were watching bits and pieces of finding nemo and trying to find things from the finding nemo book in the movie. It would have been much easier if there were time markers next to some of the images so we could find them – and skip the scary barricuda!

Now these are nothing like brain flashes I used to have (caffeinated soap anyone) but do reflect where I’m at at the moment. Raising a 2 year old allows you to see a whole different world, with lots of potential product tie ins I guess……?



Categories: Daily Update.

Day 4: Forward Ho

January 5, 2013

I’m tempted to skip this self reflection today as I’m several drinks deep, cloudy eyes, the “a” is sticking on the keyboard and I’m ready to crash. But something short is better than nothing, so I’ll peck out a few paragraphs.  Morning pages went well again today. Alarm at 7:15, 1 snooze, up by 7:25 and done before 8:00. Xavier has been cooperating (meaning he is sleeping until 8:00) and that has been key so far.

Today had some built in creativity in that I had band practice this afternoon for the first time since Xmas. It went fairly well I think, we picked up a new song that started julian marley but ended more black keys which was a good thing. I will post the first rough version when I get a chance. Of course it needs lyrics and some definition between parts, and lots of other things, but I was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out.

Here is the original seed idea – recorded on my iphone using Blue Fire app and a horribly tuned guitar

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Here is the first full band version recorded on Shawn’s iphone

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Not much more to report and I’ll leave it at that. Forward Ho.

Categories: Daily Update.

Day 3: Tangential Gobbeldy Gook

January 3, 2013

I successfully completed my morning pages journal style this morning. Alarm went off (I’m into the iphone harp for waking at the moment – Xavier is partial to the robot) and half an hour later I had 3 pages worth of barely legible drivel. A great way to start the day actually, and I felt a sense of accomplishment before the coffee was ground.

I’ve had a few creative urges today but haven’t been able to satisfy them unless you count thumbing through a sidewalk box of old vcr tapes (don’t have a vcr) or ordering steamed rice instead of lo mein as creative. I’ve actually been pondering what is creativity quite a bit, and hope to become clearer on what it really means through this process.

I was also perusing kitchen designs online during a “work break” to get a sense of some cool remodels and thinking of ideas I could copy. Is that creative? Or is that just copying? If I put together a bunch of other’s ideas in a new way is that creative? It seems like so much of what passes as creativity these days is really just a rip off. DJs, enough said. But, when you tie things together in a new way then that is creative, that is creating something that hasn’t been done before. Or when you use other’s ideas and apply them to a new field, that is also creative….to a point. It’s also just copying.

Maybe it’s a starting point. Maybe it’s like how painters have to copy a bunch of other works to really learn how to paint, and then they can go off and create something new. In that case it seems like a process, though, with an end goal of becoming original in mind. But that end goal can be a real drag on creativity. So maybe it’s just a part of the creative process. Maybe it’s one of those baby steps that Julia talks about. Or something to fan the flames, a spark that can ignite an inferno.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so judgemental about what is and isn’t creative and just start doing it. Maybe
I shouldn’t be so judgemental about being judgemental.

O.K., this is starting to sound like my morning pages, full of tangential gobbeldy gook. So I’ll close with that. I do feel like the juices are flowing a bit, and hope to get to another task in the book soon, as well as an artists date in this week. Maybe I’ll go to a copy shop and see how it’s done.

Categories: Daily Update.

Day 2: Is the Universe Conspiring Against Me?

January 3, 2013

Already some setbacks today. I felt like the universe was conspiring against me (it just maybe, just like it is for Dave Schwartz). This morning was rushed getting Xavier ready to go so I didn’t get to my morning pages until later. I know first thing is best, but I did carve time out after breakfast, so that was a positive. I only had a few hours to work today so I tried to cram everything in, the internet was slow and issues were coming up with clients that had to be addressed. So, creativity got pushed aside and worker bee mode kicked in. It’s 10pm now and I’m just writing this red eyed and ready for bed. So how can I work the creative process into my life? What can I do?

This morning I decided I am going to move my morning pages to a journal and bring it upstairs so that when the alarm goes off (now set 30 minutes earlier) I can just roll over and start writing. I think this is the only way I am going to reliably fit them in. I  was hoping to do them on the computer, but I think I need a break from the screen and from setting it all up. Just make it simple and do it journal style.

I need to start incorporating creative breaks into my day somehow – either on my calendar or setting an alarm. Something that I honor and set aside. I’m hoping the book will elucidate some ways to accomplish this easily.

Although today was a frustrating day from a time management standpoint, I did start the morning pages, so I’m still on the recovery path. I’m realizing that I am going to need to restructure my days in order to make this work. I feel motivated and committed, now the practical piece needs to manifest. And this is only day 2!!!

Categories: Daily Update.

Day 1: A New Cliche Beginning

January 2, 2013

I’ve been targeting this date for several months in a cliche new year’s resolution, but whatever works at this point is just fine. I just read the first chapter of “Walking in the World; by Julie Cameron. Ive read The Artist’s Way several times over the course of my life so thought I would start somewhere new this time. The presentation and format are very similar, and this is comforting. Nothing to learn and the quotes seem right on target today. I’ll be starting morning pages tomorrow, and an artist date this week. The new twist to the routine is a weekly walk, which makes sense and seems to round out the other 2 processes – adding a more free form element to the mix.

The main point I got out of this first chapter is “just do it”. When you are thinking too much about the end product and how daunting it will be to create, it can get intimidating and overwhelming, and the work never gets off the ground. A journey always starts with a first step. The first task in this chapter is “What the Hell, you Might as Well”: List 20 small creative actions you could take. I think the idea here is to see that there are always options, and actions you can take to be creative.

Here is my list for the day:

  1. Buy a cheap didgeridoo
  2. Write a verse to a song I am working on called “Riverboat”
  3. Donate 3 shirts to Goodwill, and buy 1
  4. Explore some kitchen designs for the house
  5. Learn how to make a a chain of people out of paper and make it with Xavier (Xa for short, my 2 1/2 year old)
  6. Get some food coloring for the playdoh we made
  7. Make an alligator out of said colored playdoh
  8. Write a letter to my Grandma
  9. Find a new vegan recipe and make it
  10. Download a creativity app for my phone
  11. Write a Haiku
  12. Learn some tamborine parts from the Babysitters album, a band I may play with
  13. Make some muffins
  14. Get finger paints and paint a picture with Xa
  15. Fix my amp and play electric guitar turned up loud
  16. Do a craft activity from that crappy Disney magazine with Xa
  17. Build a snowman the next big snow
  18. Order something off the wall from Fiverr for someone
  19. Go to a tea store and create my own herbal blend
  20. Listen to 5 new bands, one song each.

It feels really good to finish this first post and feel like I am doing something that I’ve wanted to for a while. I feel a real sense of accomplishment just reading a book in a chapter and getting this one down.

Categories: Daily Update.