I say it often to the folks who take my classes: don't ignore the things that inspire you, even if you don't know why they are making you feel inspired. Maybe, even years later, it'll be the missing puzzle piece.
I’ve been needing a creative kick in the pants. More, a swift kick in the creative pants.
And I’ve been giving lots of thought to this blog and what I want to do with it. I suppose part of that is the time of year, this time of birth and renewal, and most of us start to think about change naturally. But I’ve been feeling a little stuck here; losing motivation for participation in the blog world.
Not long ago I protested to my lovely friend Susan that I don’t participate in blogging as a social networking forum; that I wish this to be a creative endeavour – to improve my writing, to become braver about what I put out there, and to foster my creative perspective. But all that can’t be entirely true because blogging is a social endeavour by its nature. And oh I love the friends I’ve made here; you’ve all enriched my world, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
But it is like minds I seek in the comments section, not numbers. I’ve had lots of fun participating in blog challenges; and it has found me some of YOU, but it also turned me off to one element of blogging – in that many people dart in and out of other’s writings to make a quick, superficial comments, just for the sake of making an appearance. And for the higher count in your comments section you’re obliged pay the person back by visiting them and adding to their numbers. After a period of that, the numbers just didn’t mean anything to me anymore.
Having said all that, I do want to come back and visit you more, and find more of you. Things distracted me this year. A new job in a new industry, which required lots of learning and new commitments. And later in the year a new man. Things with him have settled into something warm and comfortable; a kind of matured happy that accommodates me sitting in the same room with him and being able to sit at my computer and write. Like now.
If I were to listen to myself when I offer advice to others about how to kick-start creativity, I would say “journal more. Just journal. Get the moments down, write with no mind to 'good' or 'clever.' Just let go of the need to be good."
I’ve never lost inspiration – I still find that everywhere; and so it seems natural that I have been thinking about expressing that in a new way. It’s my resistance from making a commitment that has stopped me from full out beginning a 365 Project. But here I am, committing: a photo a day for 365 days.
I’ve always loved taking pictures, and occasionally I can produce a pretty good shot. I take lots of photos these days, mostly thanks to a half decent phone camera. Sometimes I take pictures to help me find the appropriate words later. Sometimes I just like an image and can't articulate why. Or I take a picture because I don't want to forget a moment. Sometimes there are just no words.
So I have given birth to a new, sub-blog of sorts – a photo journal – my 365 project. In keeping it separate from this blog, I hope to better sustain the focus for both. This space will still be dedicated to the story, and my endeavouring to become better at telling one. The photo journal is more for me; going public keeps one accountable. It’s a forum in which I can write bad sentences and post shitty photos (and hopefully some good ones!) and just record my daily comings and goings for a year.
So it’s not so much a change for this blog, but just adding a new project on the side. Getting back to journaling without mind to how the writing sounds, to it being clever or interesting, will improve the original project. Of that I have no doubt.
My Photo Journal is found here: 365 Project: Photo Journal
It's bloody cold today, but I made myself get out for a walk. I'm glad I did because the colour of the sky was the most gorgeous gradation of blues: from asure to cobalt to indigo to navy to midnight. And probably a whole lot of others I couldn't define. And it's not even supper time yet.
Queens Quay West, Toronto
This is a 365 Project – wherein I will endeavour to post a photo a day for a year.
I needed a creative kick in the pants. And I have been wanting to get back to a more basic daily diary keeping – a basic capturing of my daily comings and goings and getting down those significant moments, without mind to "good" writing or story. Unlike my main blog, which encompasses many little stories and encounters, this project will evolve as a story over time, it will grow and change as each day unfolds.
A photo journal fits. I just like to take pictures, and I take a lot of them. Sometimes I take photographs to help me find the appropriate words later. Sometimes I just like an image and can't articulate why. Or because I don't want to forget a moment.
Sometimes there are no words.
Today I had lunch again with Ceri and his lovely father Al, and when I came into the street to walk home I found this. This gentle sun looks like Christmas Eve usually feels to me. I hope your Christmas Eve is (was) peaceful too.
The Esplanade, Toronto
Big walk today, and then walked down to meet Ceri and his father for lunch in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood. Walked down Church Street for a change. Had a very enjoyable lunch of chicken parmesan pesto salad with wonderful company in a cosy pub by a gas fire.
Only the bell tower remains after a fire in 1955. When I was searching out its details online, I found it in a list of "Toronto's Best Makeout Spots."
I’ve been purging. From my closets I mean.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to think that in moving through progressively smaller places – from a two and a half storey house with a full basement, to what is now a small one bedroom condo with two closets for storage – there couldn’t be much more to purge, would there? However, four bags of clothes, plus two more bags of coats went out the door to a donation bin, as well as another five bags of “stuff” to the garbage or recycler. AND, there is a section of my larger closet that I’ve not got to yet.
Last night I got to thinking about why I hung on to these things. It wasn’t all THAT bad; with some investment into storage pieces, I could have accommodated a lot of that stuff it in a much more sensible and meaningful fashion than I had until now. I won’t tell you what non-sensible and non-meaningful looks like, but it's not pretty. But I think the hanging on to stuff is a measure of self-burdening. Why someone would justify self-burdening is beyond me but I'm working on it.
I’m sure I’m not the only one. Some bits of clothing you look at and decide you are NEVER WEARING THAT AGAIN. There are the buying-on-a-whim mistakes. And those things you so wanted to look good in, but much as you wanted to, an honest look the mirror would not return a favourable picture. There are pieces of clothing that look nice on the hanger and match other pieces perfectly and are a great colour – but not a great colour on you. “I think I look good in red," but when you walk around feeling like you look about as attractive as a mud puddle, it becomes apparent that you don't look good in THAT particular red. There are the old favourites – so favourite and for so many years, they look tired of life and are begging for eternal rest, only you’re not ready to let them go.
Then there are the items saved for certain creative projects. One of those un-started creative projects came with me from Windsor, seven and a half years ago. I still like to partake in creative projects, but the main one is writing. I also like to photograph and paint and journal. These are the things I do all the time; so items related to projects I’d not started in the years they were stuffed in closets – gone.
And the papers, oh the papers. Bills and paperwork needing to be destroyed or filed. Stacks of paper that had graced my kitchen table right before guests were coming so got put onto a bag in the closet. Bags. Evil, multiplying demon bags.
My name is Jennifer and I will am ready to come clean with a problem: I have spent HOURS these past evenings sorting, destroying and pitching paper. Hours people! And it's not finished!
I’m fifty. Will I ever become one of those people who sorts and files mail when she gets it? One of those people who thinks “big picture” when she’s adding an item to her wardrobe? Holding on to found items because they’ll look great in a collage one day?
Not bloody likely, but in the meantime I’m feeling about 300 lbs. lighter. And the feeling of lightness is not only related to order and space in my closet and dresser. It’s coming from the knowledge that the clutter, and the resulting “to-do” things – both creative and not – at the root of the clutter, are things that live like little thwarting demons behind the walls. Demons that impede me from doing the things I need to do and want to do, like writing, and cooking.
When I’ve got the extra weight of clutter and disorganization weighing on me, I find it difficult to move forward. I procrastinate and hesitate and in the end get nothing done because I don’t want to make time for the mundane tasks in favour of the fun and more meaningful activities. Funny thing is; whenever I get down to a purging, decluttering effort like this – it is enjoyable and very satisfying.
Last night I laid in bed with the closet left open on the clean side, just so I could bask in the Zen.
(That Zen – beautiful thing number 71.)