Wether you have school, kids, cats, dogs, hamsters or are a lonely hermit in a shack on the Cliffs of Mohair life is hard in different ways. Then throw in our personalities with their unique neuroses, habits and quirks and it’s a wonder we do anything more than curl into a ball and hide under the covers let alone create beautiful art.
That being said last week Hurricane Irma roared up Florida to my little neck of the woods flattening trees and putting most of the state of Georgia without power. My house included. We weathered the twenty four hours without power easily enough and I’m thankful we got power back as quickly as we did considering there were people without power for a full week–and let’s not get started on Florida and the Caribbean Islands. No, I am very thankful indeed! Later that week I had to return to work with my girls in tow because daycare was closed but my work was open. Thankfully, I have a job and a boss that makes this easier but it was still mega stressful. Things didn’t go well at work, once we got back, and were hectic and just a mess.
Needless to say, I did not work on any of my creative endeavors unless you count fretting over the lost work days and looming deadlines for the Literary Festival I am producing but fretting is not really productive just agonizing so I tried to put it out of my mind and enjoy my family. There is always a part of me that hates a lack of work on my creative projects–I guess that may be called drive? Ambition? Anyways, my point is that life happens and you have to put aside the creative work sometimes to just live. And you can’t punish yourself for that.
I think a little of my stress and angst this past week was sort of a mental punishment for not “being creative enough”. Life is necessary. It informs us as artists and helps shape our art. This is a reminder to myself and to you that it’s ok to step away and take care of your house, kitties, car or children or whatever.
I give myself and everyone permission to not be productive all the time.
His melodies undulate back and forth between crashing gargantuan pillars of sound and the lightest most delicate tiptoes of fairy steps.
It just makes sense that he wrote so many ballets because the whirling energy of his orchestrations perfectly balance the image of ballerinas twirling onstage. Yes, much of his music is overplayed and undervalued–looking at you Nutcracker.
Swan Lake is thunderously under appreciated. I had a small little hand cranked music box on a handle that played the theme from that ballet and it always sounds melancholy and magical but at the same time powerful.
The 1812 Overture is glorious. I listen to it in the mornings to get myself ready for the day. And not just the part where they fire cannons. The whole thing is intense but complex with intertwining layers of soft melodies that build to the crash of the final twenty seconds. He doesn’t just throw the power in your face. He carefully crafts it so you don’t even see it coming till it’s upon you!
Back and forth his notes climb and spiral, twist and weave till at least you reach the final spire–then fall in a heap to the ground.
His music is movement, power, subtlety and a harsh beauty.
I don’t feel old, although it still amazes me when I look at my daughters. Wow. I’m a mom–I’m someone’s mother! I feel pretty fulfilled with my life. I’d like to have one of my plays produced but that’s some thing I will have to work at–it isn’t just going to fall in my lap! I am mostly happy where I am with my artwork–just wish I had more time to do it! I have a steady job that I mostly like, but really are you supposed to like your job ALL the time?
I’m not really sure where this post is going. It feels a little bit like the blog equivalent of sobbing on the bar top, mascara running everywhere after three too many glasses of wine while the bartender dries a glass and shakes his head sympathetically. It isn’t. I promise. I am very content in my life. Content is a good word for the long term–happy is too transient. Too prone too mood swings but content is good. Steady but with constant room for improvement.
That is the only constant. And with that constant I have learned the art of adaptation as it pertains to myself and my creative works.
When I was younger I could spend hours of intense focus on reading, writing a story, a single piece of artwork. It made me so happy. As I grew older –through high school and into college beyond it became increasingly stressful to sit and work on something for longer than 30 minutes. Then I would get upset that I couldn’t work and finish things.
It wasn’t until I was long out of college that I began to realize that more frequent shorter bursts of working were not only more productive for me but more fulfilling. This worked well since my job and family demanded much more of my time and creative work came either early in the morning while I drank my coffee or at night for a very few short moments before I fell asleep (parenting is exhausting!) Now that I have recognized this as the most productive way to use my time I am constantly trying to improve this technique.
Art: mostly these short bursts come either during nap time or during my lunch breaks at work.
Writing: again Lunch breaks are the best writing time for me these days. However, recently I have embraced using my phone more. I know, we should be striving To be less on our phones but it’s just very easy to use–and I strive constantly for moderation. With my job I often find myself sitting places with not much space for much more than me and my phone so why not make use of it rather than playing the millionth level of Candy Fruit Crush Ninja. It has taken some getting used to but I’ve been pretty happy with the bits and pieces of writing I’ve gotten done.
This leads me to my actual point–yes, a point!
I’ve been most unhappy with my lack of reading time lately. When I was young I used to spend hours upon hours reading. Granted, we all have much more free time on our hands as children than adults–that I recognize. However, I knew if I could find spare moments to write and draw I could find spare moments to read.
At first I tried at night before bed and early in the morning. Both of those made me so sleepy I could only get in a page or two. So I have finally gone digital with -some- of my reading with a Kindle app on my phone. Most of my reading is still analog but in embracing the digital I get to experience a few moments here and there of stepping into another world.
That’s the number one writing advice I see out on the inter webs and it makes a lot of sense. You don’t want to lose an idea while going about your Mundane Life*
This notebook was gifted to me by a dear friend and has been a life saver for a lot of my writing projects. And while The Literati isn’t really active this notebook is a verdant reminder to stay creative and that no idea is too crazy not to write down!
*Mundane Life just refers to my life outside my creative pursuits. The name is meant to be ironic in that my outside life is ANYTHING but mundane!
I am working on some nifty new projects for our craft show in December–yes, it's only August but with a family to take care of it is important to plan out how the crafting will get done! And more importantly stick to the plan! It helps a little that I haven't really been drawn to any of my writing projects lately; I am thankful that I have art to turn to when that happens! Don't worry the stories are still percolating brainside!
I'm very excited about trying out some new stuff: alcohol ink on ceramic coasters, lettering on bookmarks, dragons, ornaments and more! Some of these things will be available to buy online eventually!
There you go! A little sneak peak! I'll be posting more pictures as some of these projects actually get finished!
Spencer Montaire is from Achelon City: City of Hope formerly Children of Destiny (I will never not cringe at that title!) and I am going to reference THIS post as to the history of the writing project itself. Basically Spencer was my token boy in the group and foil for Luna–sort of. Looking back on things he really wasn’t developed at all. I mean, in 8th grade I was barely able to understand myself let alone boys so how would I know how to write male characters and make them interesting?
He represented fire and I knew I wanted him to be thoughtful and moody as opposed to the hotheaded stereotype of most fire Elementals but that was about as sophisticated as it got! Evolution
Not much changed with him until this most recent incarnation of my story and really the changes in his character are what set off this new interest in the story. At one point I had Luna and Spencer hook up but that never felt right–too forced and formulaic. They always worked better as friends and partners. It wasn’t until a few months ago when I was pondering why I didn’t like any of the romantic pairings I had for him it dawned on me: it’s because they are women and he isn’t attracted to women. It was as if after all these years I had finally hit the right set of tumblers on the lock and Spencer’s entire character came flooding out in a way that finally made sense.
Of course I have some trepidation at writing a gay character: will I make his character believable? Will I accidentally make fun of gay people somehow? I feel mostly confident enough–don’t focus on the fact he is gay. It is part of who he is but not the defining attribute. Focus on his relationships male and female and hopefully he won’t become a caricature of anything. We will see. That is obviously what revisions will be for! And lots of talking to others–something I am always for! I want to be more inclusive in my writing; it can be awful vanilla, I think, and this will help me start.
What I like best about him:
He is a painter–using the rich colors to work through his grief, or try to work through his grief as well as capture how he sees the city around him. In this incarnation he comes to Achelon City to start over following the death of his last partner and is really struggling to overcome guilt and grief. It is through his partnership and ultimately friendship with Luna that he starts to heal. I want to show this process within the larger story develops.