:: WHY WE BE ::

Boo to false, self-imposed limits, we say. These champion oracles want to live enthusiastically. Follow our trip through projects that challenge, frustrate, and/or scare us. In the end (which is really the middle) we want to live like big bright free and authentically awesome people.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You've got to move it move it (Holly)

Is it the antithesis of creativity to structure my blog?? I have too many things floating around in the noggin to not do this, so forgive me if it seems a little....um...German. My current plan is to have the following headings be a staple in my blogs as they're all (mostly) part of the 12 week course I'm embarking on.

Morning Pages (mp's):  So, just to back up a minute. Morning pages are "non-negotiable" in the 12 week course the "Artist's Way".  Three pages of handwritten, stream of conscienceness writing should occur first thing in the morning.  In the last 10 days, I have only missed them on Thanksgiving day.  (And, even then, I did try to do a page when I finally got home that night-not pretty, let me tell you!) Oh, and yesterday....and today. But today I'm writing a blog at 5:30 am! That should count for something, right??? Anyway...I LOVE LOVE the morning pages.  I hope that I can keep them up after my 12-week course.  It is such an effective way of clearing your head before the day starts (therapy! yup).  I have been able to focus better at work and feel a lot more grounded with a more realistic outlook on life when I do them consistently.  Now, if I combined regular exercise with consistent morning pages! Whoa! Watch out Des Moines! If I combined those two with a wholesome, well-rounded diet! Whoa! Watch out Iowa!

I've actually been doing mp's since late September when I first attempted to do Artist's Way (AW).  I stopped for a couple weeks for some reason, and missed them! They're a lot like exercise in that when stopping you can really feel the negative effects in your life - if you're listening.

Artist's Date:   The Artist's Date is the other non-negotiable in the AW.  One hour per week when you take yourself out on a little creativity adventure.  No guests. No children. Doesn't have to be complicated, but it is a "must". Ok, well this is much more challenging for me.  Not necessarily with coming up with things to do, but actually scheduling them, and then following through.  My idea for the artist date in week 1 was to go to the Holiday thing in the East Village.  It started at 5pm, all the shops were open, and fireworks at 6:15pm. Perfect! I met a friend for a cocktail at 4pm in the Village, and then at 5pm decided I was too lonely, grouchy, and had bad shoes on, so NOT GOING! Week 2 I didn't actually get scheduled but am going to say my date was cooking alone on a Friday morning.  I made a recipe out of Food Network magazine.  It's potentially a little bit of a cop-out, but I do find cooking soothing and creative when done in a fun, non-rushed, non-obligatory way. 

My dates were better when for attempt 1.  My first date was to West End Salvage.  COOL!! I had never been there and loved looking at all of the items. I loved dreaming of ways I could make my home more creative.  In the end, I bought two old Iowa licence plates-one from 1968 and one from 1971. Mine and my brother's birth years. I save the licence plates from my first Iowa car as well as my Colorado plates. I have visions of doing something creative with them all. Something about a big ol piece of wood and the downstairs family room. Hhhmmmm…..

The other date I took myself on was to the East Village Bizarre the weekend of World Food fest.  It was definitely thought provoking to see all the creative peeps with booths. I even bought a really cool, kinda retro long jacket for 10 smackers. I've gotten lots of compliments on it.  I may even feel very creative when wearing said jacket!!

Extra Credit: The extra credit section is where I will report to you on the "other" activities that the author suggests for the week.  So far, I'm complete crap at these and it's the reason I wanted to do this course over 24 weeks instead of 12.  I just can't get to them.  Ok, well, I kind of did 3 this week.  One was a balance wheel, mandala-esque, if I may.  Draw a circle, divide in 6, label with exercise, play, spirituality, romance/adventure, friends, and work. Then plot out how fulfilled you are in each area (or time spent or something like that).  Essentially, this is about BALANCE in life.  Achieve balance, you achieve peace, right? Well, as you can imagine, I'm off balance, but actually, not as bad as I thought I was.

Another task that I was pretty successful at was re-reading the "Basic Principals" on page 3 every morning and night.  Sure I missed a couple, but for the most part, thumbs up.  What are the Basic Principals you ask? How about we do another category and I'll do one each time?? What a great segue, thank you.

Basic Principals:   There are ten that the author lists.  The first: Creativity is the natural order of life.  Life is energy: pure creative energy. I love the quote on this page and think it goes well with number one:  Creativity is harnessing universality and making it flow through your eyes. Peter Koestenbaum
Pondering these two thoughts definitely helps to silence my "Who the hell do you think you are trying to be creative!?!? " curmudgeon.  More on curmudgeons later......

Rules of the Road:  These are in Chapter 2 and when talking to my partner in creativity crime (Joe the bro) he kept saying, well, you should be reading and re-reading these everyday too!! I'll get back to #1 next week, but wanted to share #2: Fill the well by caring for my artist.  This rule of the road is important at anytime, but I would argue, uber important for me, now.  I am nearing the end of one of the worst years I've ever had.  Surviving non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma is just one in the "Axis of Evil".  Ooohh,....I like that. I just thought of calling the events of the last year the axis of evil. Yup, works.  Anyway....I have been attempting to fill my well.  Doing this project is one very, very important way I'm doing that.  In the last 10 days I also went and got a FABULOUS massage using a gift certificate.  And.....I'm starting to exercise again.  Man, I was in the best shape of my life in June when I got diagnosed with cancer.  Why, oh why, couldn't I have AT LEAST done more walking during the 4-5 months of chemo!??? I'm starting over from square one.  I can't run as long as I used to, I'm gaining weight, and I nearly killed myself by doing Kickboxing on Saturday morning.  It's Tuesday and I will still be taking Advil today.  Perhaps I can actually make it downstairs and pick stuff up off the floor today, but I'm not holding my breath. 

Anyway.....regular exercise is a must for me and I can't wait to get back to my old self.  I could probably drop the AW blog and just write about that challenge!

My curmudgeons:   In the last 10 days, the curmudgeon screaming at me went something like this- What are you doing? Why are you spending all this time on AW?? You're not an artist!! You're only mildly creative, and then only sometimes! And, anyway....you'll never be any good, only mediocre, at anything you create.  So many people are so so so talented, and you are not one of them!!
A little intense, you think?

Not to cheat by jumping ahead, but the #10 Rule of the Road has helped a bit with this.  Great creator, I will take care of the quantity.  You take care of the quality.

I still am not sure of my ultimate goal in doing this course, but I know that I MUST do it.

Random Thoughts:  I like emoticons for communicating via text.  I would find it very helpful to have these emoticons added to the menu: Shower, Driving, Wine glass, and Clapping hands.  Yes, I know you're not supposed to text and drive, but a quick little emoticon indicating that's why you're not texting back could save lives! And, fyi, there is a coffee mug emoticon and a beer mug emoticon. 

I'm thinking of adding two more categories for next time.  Ok, I was going to add them this time, but I really must go to work now, and I think it best to just get this puppy posted.  Anyway.....first one is "Chapters" wherein I'll talk about what I've learned from the weekly chapter readings.  There's a theme per chapter (duh) and they're very good and thought provoking (duh).

The other heading was a suggestion from a friend. What do you guys think? Life after death. Thoughts and musings re: surviving two near death experiences.


Holly said...

Ok, I really need to re-read these before posting. Noticed some typos and room for improvement in the writing. Sorry ya'll! Next time! Don't let the perfect by the enemy of the good. Repeat x 10, Holly.

Wendy Jans said...

Holly, I LIKE that chapter title! I liked your post, too. I'm so impressed by how you're committed to your effort. I have done the AW as well and I still have a running doc called "Morning Pages" that I try to write in daily (okay, usually it digresses to 'to-do' lists, but still!)... I believe that the more you are creative, the more you ARE creative.

And as for the curmudgeons trying to dissuade you...you're wise to recognize them for who they are and dismiss them immediately! It's so interesting how society has trained us to believe that only certain people are creative, or only certain people are born artists. I think that's hogwash. We are all direct descendents of the greatest artist of all -- it's just that some people practice and develop their creativity more. (For more on this, I recommend reading Talent is Overrated (Colvin) or Outliers (Gladwell).)

Anyway, YOU are inspiring me to be more creative!

PS. I think you should post a pic of yourself wearing that coat. That sounds fab!

patresa said...

first of all, i think that anyone who says that creativity is only creative if it's chaotic and fly-by-the-seat is foolish. structure the crap out of whatever you'd like, holly jolly.

second, this was GREAT! yes! you are off to a brilliant start. i love that you're getting so much out of AW and the morning pages. i especially loved the wise observation about them being like exercise, that you notice the harm of stopping…if you're listening. yes.

lastly, for someone who has not called herself creative or a writer, you have a very strong "voice" in your writing. i don't know how else to say that. but it's natural, and it's seems, to me, the mark of someone who has something worthwhile to say. keep spitting it, holly.

Katie said...

Holly! What a great post. And that curmudgeon voice - we all seem to have it, and it's always horrible things that we would stop someone on the street for if we heard them saying stuff like that out loud to another human. I don't know why we are the cruelest to ourselves (unless you're Donald Trump with an ego the size of Manhattan, and then you pretty much fill up your time thinking "hey, I'm just plain fantastic.") But I'm so glad you're taking that voice on.

Also, I love that you posted this without editing it to death. I noticed that when I stopped doing that it was because I trusted this group enough to feel like they would look past the typo and see the message - and they do, they DO! So, thanks for the trust, lady!

And keep on writing - I really enjoy the thought flow you get into. Flow with it!

Tanner May (Tanya) said...

Holly, this is all so wonderful! I wish I had something wild crazy to say to tell you purposefully just how rock star it is, but my mind is impaired and tired from a long day of trying to be in a good mood when I really didn't feel like it...... but your post, your post is RIGHT ON!

I love the emoticon info.... for the record, I love the beer mug emoticon and sometimes use it just because I can! Ha!

Keep on writing Miss Holly. You are a creative soul, and I love what you wrote about how we all are artists but have all these negative notions only some people really can be. Now, of course, I would still have to speculate my artistry is something of the offbeat kind, but yeah, I like the thought a lot! And you are way artist-y. Ok..... rock on. And just know, I have wildly other cool things to say but my brain is just taxed silly, and yes, this is a bad excuse. Again, ROCK ON Holly!!

amy said...

Your writing is just fine, Holly. I like the very organized approach (lists are the BEST). I once went to a writer lecture thing at the Margaret Mitchell House in Midtown Atlanta, and many (many) creative writers are actually quite logical, organized thinkers. They outline, they notate, they organize and re-organize. I think you're in good company!

The take-yourself-on-an-art-date once/week project was my favorite part of the Artist's Way when I attempted it briefly back in 2007. I loved the challenge of finding cool things to experience, alone.

Other thoughts:

-I wholeheartedly love Road Rule #10

-I think your next two categories will be just as fabulous and inspiring as this one

-and yes! I'm so with you! why aren't there more expressive emoticons now?? It's 2010 people, get with the program! :/"?~!! (That's my "get with the program!" emoticon. You can use it, whenever you want.:-D)

blj said...

Beer mug emoticon? I am so out of it. Where do I find these? Or do I have to know how to build them with punctuation?

And I think I should try that balance wheel thing.

And nice progress, hojo. Really impressive. Ditto to what everyone else just said. Lame, I know, but i'm working on it. . .


Joseph said...

Sister from the same Mister! Kudos, congrats and woe-be-gone(s)! Wow, I just read through all of these wonderful things people wrote and how about it!?! Sounds like you are becoming rich (in the best & non-monetary way) and influencing people. Very nice indeed. I like the format & as I mentioned to you earlier today its a bit like a News rag but less newsy and obviously more soulful! I dig. Thanks for inviting me on this journey with you.
Oh! And by the way, I went to "Found Things" for my week 1 Artist's date. I too found myself looking through old Iowa license plates & had picked out a 1971 & a 1968! How's that for synchronicity Chapter 4!?!

Steph said...

I say organize away, girl! Whatever works. I'm not familiar with the Artist's Way, but I'm totally ripping off the morning pages thing. The idea of dumping everything in my head before starting the day is so appealing, so freeing, so exciting! I say YES to that- absolutely, positively YES!
As far as your curmudgeons go, I hear ya. Those are a real... female dog. Knowing what they sound like and taking steps to squash them, though, there's power in that! Real power. Keep squashin', keep writing, and I can't wait to read your survival stories. For some reason, I know these are going to be important!

T-Free said...

I love the structure of your blog. My dad used to blame my love of structure and organization on my "German engineering" background/heritage, so I totally knew what you meant by "forgive me if it seems a little German." Haha.

I'm impressed that you stuck with the morning stream-of-consciousness writing. That sounds like a great way to remind yourself of what you'd like to accomplish with your day so you can hopefully stay focused on it. I want to try it!

I have no idea where I'd take myself on the artist's date in Oklahoma, but I love the idea of that. Take pictures, please, so I can live vicariously through you. :)

Rock on, creative lady!