Posts Tagged ‘ personal stuff ’

Hard knocks and creative habits.

This week has been rough balls. To quote a draft that’s hanging out in my WordPress account:

This week has already had me through the ringer and it’s only Wednesday. I won’t give too many boring, mopey details, but let’s just say that the 0:2 loss that the US suffered at the hands of Brazil at the friendly last night was probably the icing on the Anxiety and Hyperventilation Cake.

If we’re being honest here, the above is an understatement. After all, when one of your required hurdles in straightening out your financial aid is going to the state’s Federal Building, your stress levels are not at their healthiest lows. It’s definitely a great way to harsh your post-vacation mellow, which is why there is still a draft for my first Montana Tale lingering in the Drafts category instead of in front of your eyes. But fortunately, there’s a happy ending — mostly, the Fed Building and the IRS are not nearly as scary as I thought they would be and the gears are back in motion. There’s a wealth of other good things that have occurred within the past week that have kept me on the even keel, some of which were even featured in that famed draft that I keep making reference to in this post. Let me steal some of those Good Things* from there and add a few more of my own to the mix. It’ll be like giving you an actual entry!

  • I joined 20 Something Bloggers, as the little badge to the side with the link to my profile professes. So far, everyone has been too kind RE: leaving comments on my blog and the like. It said that I should invite friends, but a lot of the people that I talk to on the internet don’t usually blog and those who do… well, I don’t know, they might like to? Bueller? Bueller? Anyway, I’ll let the handful of readers I think I have from the IRLs read this and check it out of their own volition. In turn, if there’s anybody here from 20sb: hi! Welcome! I hope that my blog doesn’t (under)whelm you. I’m trying best to blog more frequently, etc. etc.; the fact that I have 3 posts this month is a miracle that I am celebrating as I type. You will find that my apologies for not updating as much as I “should” constitute at least 25% of the content on this blog. Actually, make that 30-43%, if we’re all being honest here. The rest, however, covers most of what the sidebar/”ABOUT” page is talking about, so hurrah!
  • Starting knitting again! I’m making a baby blanket for my hairdresser/magician and it’s going pretty well. A few more rows and I’ll be done with the border and starting on the ~inside~. It’s a superb apple green color! I’m also making my baby sister this cute little number and it’s coming along happily as it’s considerably speedier than a baby blanket. Also, thank god, it’s much more portable and kept me sane within the scary waits at the IRS. After that, I’m going to be making some socks with some leftover sock yarn that my mother bought ages ago and forgot she purchased and some new needles from KnitPicks. Basically, it’s one big fiber Renaissance.
  • I found a new collection of Dirty Jobs on Netflix. This is big. You have no idea.
  • I’ve also been reviving my reading practice, complete with getting through a book in a day again for the first time in… a long time! It was Big Fish. I enjoyed it. My big vacation book was The Innocents Abroad, which I enjoyed immensely despite my simplistic review to the contrary, and now I’m reading The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. Go figure, but this my big transition into the actual content of my blog today — after all, it’s almost the beginning of school soon, so lord knows I need to get back on track RE: ruminating on ~creative process~. I hear it’s my non-apology schtick or something.

So, this book was recommended to me by a friend whose creative opinion I value very greatly. (Not that I don’t value her other opinions, but she’s a pretty keen illustrator/animator and therefore when she recommends something of a creative bent, especially when it applies to process, I sit up and listen. Ugh, this is probably going to just dig me a greater hole, but whatever.) It was big enough of a deal that I went to the library and held it on inter-library loan. That’s right, everybody: I went the distance for this book. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. It came into the library just yesterday and I’ve spent most of the morning perusing its advice on how to become a more productive creative being. I haven’t finished it, as my Goodreads account will attest, but I’ve chewed away a decent enough chunk to give an unsolicited verdict on the book at large.

So, Tharp sells this book as a universal approach for artists — that is to say, painters, writers, dancers, and musicians alike — that are struggling with making creation a regular part of their everyday lives. Mostly, this is true, but there are aspects of the book that read painfully as if she’s talking to dancers and dancers alone. The book is rife full of exercises that I find to be particularly important (and more on that later), but there are a few that make me balk — mostly, if not exclusively, because they read as if they’re for dancers only. I’m thinking of the Egg exercise especially, wherein Tharp instructs you to go into the fetal position and to take delight in whatever movement you create from that. Although I am belatedly realizing that I could apply this to my work as a figural painter (and yes, maybe some abstract work too), I’m failing to see how this could help a writer or musician. Furthermore, for someone who was an art history major, the way that Tharp talks about painting as a process makes me cringe sometimes. There’s also a self-satisfaction in her tone about talking that grates against my delicate sensibilities. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a mere twenty-three to her sixty-nine, but between the name-dropping (Maurice Sendak is my bff!!!1) and the way she talks about her successes and how you too can get there, I groan sometimes. Granted, I get it: she’s an insanely popular and successful choreographer that has decades of experiences that I can only imagine at this juncture in my life, but I think what bothers me about her occasional narcissism is that she’s supposed to be appealing to the everyperson who is trying to become creative too. That and she advocates temper tantrums at one juncture. Temper tantrums. Really? Maybe it’s just me, but anger never gets me anywhere. But whatever.

That being said, there is a great deal of good in this book. Her chapter on “The Box” is invaluable, because it appeals to that OCD organizer in me, as well as the part of me that needs (and loves) to do more research in order to make good work. As many past articles will opine in this blog, I frequently ache for a way to use my sketchbook that makes sense to me — and said chapter made oodles of noodles of sense! She also makes excellent points about what are cornerstones for creative prowess, involving memories, metaphor, and — yes — hard work. There is one questionnaire in particular that I think would be very valuable to anyone who wonders where their art may be coming from or what have you and I think I’m going to make it a series next week, knock on wood! I’m thinking about posting it on one of the 20sb groups next week, so we’ll see how that goes.

But first: taking back my weekend by posting two of my largest Montana stories. Because real girls post on their blogs on the weekends, damnit.

_________________________________

* No Martha.
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State of the Union: Holy Shit, When Did It Become May?! Edition

All this and a picture of tits got me to where I am today.

All this and a picture of tits got me to where I am today.

Funny how those resolution things work; half of my posts in here are, “Oh gosh, how sorry am I that I haven’t written in here!” when, in reality, I’m only apologizing to myself. That being said, this is a case where I’m hardly ashamed of abandoning this blog for four months, for the dearth of posts actually represents a wealth of productivity elsewhere. I’m finally on the other end of sophomore review, finally capable of boasting the role of “member of the junior painting faculty” to show for it, and within the span of the month I’ve learned more about my artistic process than I have within the past three semesters combined. Even within the span of last break, I didn’t have much to boast by way of productivity/studio time, but now I feel as if I have a solid plan for Making Stuff Over the Summer. I want to experiment with media, do this and that, and I feel empowered to do so because I have a voice. I’m not really capable of painting for the sake of process in the sense that it doesn’t give me a proverbial carrot to lock myself downstairs and get high on paint fumes. There needs to be a theme behind it, and courtesy of an extremely helpful Drawing IV project, I think I have just that. I’ve certainly learned a lot this semester, and I suppose I’ll take now to look at a few entries back to see if those lofty goals I set for myself are in effect: Continue reading

Me, myself, and food.

As is per this time of year for any college student, I have been hellaciously busy over the past few weeks. A lot of my courses are sprinting towards the “projects before Thanksgiving” deadline, so all of my weekdays have been spent foregoing the comforting verbal arena of the Internet in lieu for self-portraits, painting series that change mid-project period, and the ever-present weekly deadline for making a book. By Friday, I was longing desperately to get back to my writing communities, as it seems that all my friends there are specifically crafted to be the penultimate cheerleaders in your life (and if any of you are reading this? Thank you so much), but also because I’ve found myself to be a little rusty at the edges in terms of using the English language. All my creative energy was being invested in the visual, so when it came to catching up with my creative collab work elsewhere, I found myself lacking. Ergo: this entry.

I’ve had quite a few entry ideas for this tiny blog throughout the week, to boot. The horrors of undergraduate figure drawing are probably going to be up pretty soon (especially as one of those aforementioned cheerleaders in life may or may not have said something to the point where I need to relate my ongoing adventures in this subject), as well as a general art dump that I figure this place warrants. But my first topic to get me back on the writing horse is something that quite a few people asked me about a few weeks ago, thereby making this a long-overdue entry (especially, in all places, this blog): my relationship with food. Continue reading

Combatting autumnal intolerance.

Admittedly, for the past few seasons, fall hasn’t exactly been agreeing with me in an emotional sense. I don’t give a shit if people think that SAD is made up — it usually feels pretty damn real to me around the time where the first real weather shift happens and my summer commute turns into the dark and dreary drudge on I-70. Still, that doesn’t mean that I don’t love the good old atumnal equinox in an intellectual sense; after all, my birthday usually falls (har har!) right on the first day of autumn, the weather is nothing if not striking (when not raining), and there are great smells that exist with the departure of leaves et al that are incapable of being reproduced anywhere else. As such, I like to take advantage of the awesome thingsĀ  that fall provides, even though I am frequently moping and pining through it.

Some examples of this awesome were taken at the Mansfield Covered Bridge Festival with the biffle, who makes being sad at any juncture rather impossible:

Sadly, I did not see how fucking delicious this was.

Sadly, I did not see how fucking delicious this was.

I totally crapped myself taking this photograph.

I totally crapped myself taking this photograph.

Seriously, I thought of My Antonia the entire time we drove through here.

Seriously, I thought of My Antonia the entire time we drove through here.

Sometimes, Indiana can be pretty. Really really.

Sometimes, Indiana can be pretty. Really really.

When you go to my Flickr account, you can see some of the more humorous accounts of this particular adventure, but these are by far the prettiest examples I have of early fall in the Midwest to date. I want to go on a leaves-are-changing photo spree sometime in between assignments or drag the family to an orchard to depict the epic inevitability that is picking a good load of apples fresh from the tree, but these are for times when I am not procrastinating desperately on starting the beginning of the end of my study blitz for my midterm. I think this tiny entry has served its purpose of warming me up to write, though, as well as a nice reminder that there are lovely things about this season even when shit feels rough.