A few weeks ago I attended a networking event where the speaker recommended reading The Artist's Way in order to break out of a creative rut. "It's self-helpy," he said, "and it's a little cheesy, but it just might work for you." So I'm trying it out.
He is correct; it is most certainly a self-help book. But I think it just might work, at least for a little bit, to get me in a creative mindset again.
At the beginning of the book, Julia Cameron the two main methods for replenishing th artistic juices are "Morning Pages" and "Artist Dates." I don't know about the Artist Dates yet, since I haven't participated in one, but she describes them as "a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist. In its most primary form, the artist date is an excursion, a play date that you preplan and defend again all interlopers." I'll try it out this weekend, but I don't know what it will look like.
But I have started the "morning pages," which she describes as "three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning." It's been quite a challenge, even for my first week, but I think it's been beneficial. I mean, I'm writing this right now, right? Considering that I barely posted a thing over the summer, it's pretty nice to pump out a notes in the weblog for once. And chances are that my ability to write during the days starts with the fact that I've started each day with writing.
I've had journals before. I have a few unfinished ones strewn about the apartment. Sometimes I find old journals, read them, and shred or burn them. I know some people say that old journals show "how far you've come" or "how much you've grown," but I tend to only feel humilation from them, shame that I was such a fool. Perhaps if I was happy with where I'm at in life, I'd feel less shame. But my main feeling when I read my about old journals is simple: the person who wrote them is a neurotic, lonely fool whose ideas are not worth the page he wrote them on. So I destroy them.
But these are a little different. I'm writing them on looseleaf paper and I'm not trying to "be deep." I'm just trying to strew it out there. I'm not good at the stream-of-consciousness focus of this writing; I always write in full sentences and paragraphs. But these feel different than the average journals that I've destroyed before. Despite the paragraphs and sentences and semicolons, I don't think I'll have to destroy these.
Simultaneously, I've been seeing a counsellor who wanted me to "write down all the bad things you say about yourself and your life, then put them away for the day so you don't have to think about them all the time." But I couldn't seem to do it; it seemed to be kind-of out of my wheelhoue and flighty. A few years ago, a psychologist had once got me to write down all the things I was angry about, and that seemed to work at that time; this time around, however, the prospect was unappealing to me.
But now, with these "artist pages," I'm doing exactly what the counsellor ordered. And that feels good.
I'll post now and then about my progress with these, but so far it seems like this is the best journalling method I've ever used. So here's to hoping I can create some good stuff out of it.
The Hexanon 57mm F1.4 lens has been my main lens for the last year. It's almost always attached to one of my Konica SLRs and I trust it. It's taken a while to get used to its focus range, but overall it's a consistent, solid lens that. Since I will likely never be able to afford the 57mm F1.2, chances are it will be my main compact portrait lens for a while.
Here are some scenic/object photos I've taken with it. See how much light it gathers, even in low-light circumstances, even with rather expired film.
Mainly, however, the 57mm F1.4 is a portrait lens. This lens is intended for people, intended to be the most compact means to get a photo of somebody without distorting their features. Here are a few portraits it has taken recently.
When it became clear that I was not going to find work for July, I had to find an alternative means to earn some extra cash. One of the sources I found was Rover, an app-based sytem for connecting dog walkers with dogs. One of mmy first customers was Remy, an energetic golden retriever whose owner had injured her leg and needed to recover.
Since mid-June, I walked Remy three or so times a week. We would walk along the dyke in northern Chilliwack, or through the parks in downtown Chilliwack, and sometimes I'd taker her to Popkum. I learned not to let a golden retriever near fast-moving water, that there aren't enough good walking spaces in the farm areas of Chilliwack, and that a dog will really love you if you only show up in their life to take them for walks.
Yesterday was my last day for Remy walks. His owner has healed up enough to take her for walks herself. I'm a little sad about it, but it's also a bit of a relief; it was a little too hard to be a good enough teacher while I ran away at the end of the schoolday to take a dog for a walk three times a week. It gives me a little more sympathy for the many underpaid techers in the world who need to take on second jobs in order to get by. I was essentially doing the same thing, on a very small level, and it was a little too much.
I'd love to get a dog of my own one of these days, but I don't feel like I'm home enough to do a good job. I work every day and spend a lot of time not-at-home. It would be cruel to bring a dog into my life when I'm never really there.
Terry Lefebvre, over on Facebook, posted a video of me playing "Good Times Roll" at the Triple Play pub in Chilliwack a few Thursdays ago. It's definitely a jam, but it also sounds kinda' good. For a bunch of people playing the song when we've never rehearsed, it's pretty fun.
I can't seem to embed it, but here's a link: CLICK HERE.
When Ric Ocasek, lead writer for The Cars, passed away a couple weeks ago, I got pretty sad. The Cars were one of the first rock groups I really connected with. When I was only 12 years old or so, my sister came home with a vinyl copy of their debut album. I played it over and over again and the music never wore out on me.
When I went through the classic "throw out your secular music" phase of my evangelical youth, The Cars were one of the hardest ones to justify. The music was just too good; the lyric connected with me too much. Destroying it felt wrong.
Ocasek's songs have always stuck with me and they're a regular feature of my solo live shows. They're often just a little too complex for the average pub jam, but they're nonetheless solid crowd-pleasers.
So singing "Good Times Roll" and a few others at a pub jam seemed approriate.
Rest in peace, Ric.
In order to make my online presence appear a little more professional, I will delete many of my previous, more vulnerable posts to this weblog.
I don't like doing this. I don't think I've posted anything incriminating or negative. But the world wants a squeaky-clean image online, and posts that can be read as evidence of mental imbalance, well, they can go.
There's an irony here, though. I mainly want to delete the posts that might seem un-educational-leader-ish, but whenever I attend leadership conferences, people praise people who are "vulnerable" and open. I go as far as to assert that there's a fetishization of vulnerability in these communities and in educational discourse. It annoys me when I see people praise vulnerability as a virtue, as something we should all aspire to; my annoyance stems from my perceived double-standard: they want you to be vulnerable, but only once you've earned enough trust to gain the position already. One takes a big chance to hire somebody who already wears their heart on their sleeve.
Anyhow, in case you follow the weblog semi-regularly, that's why some posts will disappear over the next few days.
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