Category Archives: creativity

Writing

I take my journal to lunch with me. It’s my regular noontime companion. Why? BecauseI have this romantic notion that lunch in the park will invariably inspire me to write something profound.

It hasn’t.

That’s a problem, because I insist on having this dream of writing. Being a Writer. Yes, a Writer with a capital W. But lately I’ve been doing much more reading than writing. I’ve been completely uninspired. So much that yesterday I actually wrote five pages in said journal bemoaning the experience of having nothing to write about. Seriously. You’d think that somewhere in all of my moaning and groaning there would be a kernel of inspiration.

Not even a speck. I’m confounded. Not only that, I’m stymied. See? I’ve got all of these really good words and nowhere to use them. And what makes it worse is that I’ve had plenty of time to write this week due to the glacial pace of Big Real Estate lately.

Lots of time plus an absence of ideas equals a frustrated me. And right now the irony of this isn’t lost on me, truly. I mean how much more ironic could this get? Blogging about the absence of any ideas to write about? Really? Only in my head, I’m sure.

Hopefully Some Great Inspiration will pop up immediately after posting this. Hopefully. Maybe. What about you? How do you deal with mental blocks and frustration?

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Filed under Blogging, creativity, Writer's Block, writing

Anti-Pin

I must be on a roll – this is my second post today. Hopefully I’ll keep it short, since it’s been a long day and I’m tired. But I have to get this off my chest. It’s been bugging me for a really long time.

I am Anti-Pinterest and Proud.

There. I said it. Me, the one with conformist tendencies. I am rebelling. I refuse to get involved.

When I first heard about it, I was intrigued. Lots of crafty ideas in one handy place. Coolness! And then it hit my workplace worse than the parachute pants fad of 1984. Worse than Silly Bands. I mean it.

Where’s the creativity in pretty much just copying something that someone else has done? There isn’t any. It really hit home at Christmastime, when I saw at least twenty Elves on the Shelf doing exactly the same cutesy little things every day on Facebook. Mommies proudly tagged Pinterest as their source.

Our elf is boring. He moves from the fireplace to the fridge to the hallway and back. He’s a creature of habit. Period.

I felt guilty and substandard in my parenting and decorating skills for about five minutes. And then, with all of November’s greatness (insert much sarcasm here) I got over it. Where’s the great skill in simply copying others? Nope. I’ve always been a nonconformist with my decorating ideas, and I’m proud of that. Matching? Not in my house. In fact, my house is the one place where I have deliberately done the opposite of what the decorators say, just because it’s my house, darn it!

I don’t need some cutesy, handmade calendar to tell me who goes where on what time and day. We have our own color-coded system on a white board that has worked just fine for ten years. I have an eggplant-colored dining room with a red rug. It looks great and it was our own idea. Design and craftiness should come from internal inspiration, not someone else’s pin board.

I’ll step down from my soapbox now. I’m looking at new colors for the walls – from actual paint chips, thank you very much. And I’ll probably -gasp- pick two from completely unrelated swatches and color families. Just because I can.

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Filed under Art, creativity, decorating, inspiration, non conformity, Pinterest

A Jaunt With Jung

So, on the hunt for something interesting to do out and about this week for my Artist’s Date (mandated by my new guide, The Artist’s Way, I happened upon a Facebook post from the Museum District. At a loss, I clicked and started to read – and was immediately sucked in. I had heard of Carl Jung. Wasn’t he one of those early psychological types we had to study as part of child development or educational psychology? Scanning the foggy depths of my brain, I had only the vaguest recollection of Freud/Piaget/Jung as quickly memorized facts for a distant midterm exam. So I was surprised to learn that Houston actually has a Jung Center. More than that – this place actually offers workshops and sessions, the latter being the topic of the earlier-mentioned Facebook post. The Jung Center offers Feldenkrais sessions on Tuesdays. That’s right, Feldenkrais. I admit, I had to Google that one. ‘A somatic method to movement instruction.’ Wh-at?! Sounded interesting, so off I went.

Since the highways were parking-lot free, I arrived down in the Museum District with plenty of time to spare this trip. Imagine my surprise when the Jung Center was open for business – and I discovered a Jungian art gallery just inside:

Ironically enough, this first piece is titled ‘Alone.’ Which exactly described my feelings at the moment. Surrounded by a bustling city in the midst of an art gallery, I felt alone and a bit out of place. Almost turned tail and went back home. But, Feldenkrais I had come for and Feldenkrais I was going to get!

At the back of the Center there is a small movement studio. Mary Beth, the instructor, soon arrived and gave me an overview, set me up with a mat and gently reminded me that sensory stimulation is to be minimized in the movement room. Hint taken. IPhone put away and silenced. After two other participants arrived, we began.

What followed was an hour of sensory introspection. Lying on a soft mat covered with a warm blanket, the lights dim and the only sound that of her voice, Mary Beth led us on a journey of minimal movement but maximum results. Instructed to focus on breathing and tiny movements of the joints in my left hand and fingers, I became aware of the jerkiness of even the most simple bend of my fingers. The movements gradually progressed up the forearm, elbow and into the shoulder. Slow, simple progressions accompanied by intensive thoughts and awareness of how each movmeent felt versus how it looked. At the end of the hour I can honestly say I felt more relaxed than I have in months – and the usual pain and stiffness in my neck and shoulders was completely gone on the left side. I felt lopsided. Unbalanced. Desperately wanted to stay another hour and repeat the movements on the other side – which I couldn’t do but was able to complete later at home, thanks to the handy informational card we got as we left. It detailed the sequence of movements and the purpose of each. Nice – now I have a tool to use next time I am feeling pain.

I do have to say this was a nice change from yoga, Pilates and some of the other types of movement I’ve dabbled in over the years. By focusing on the unconscious as well as feeling the movemetn I was able to identify areas of stress, tension and pain – then work to resolve them. And the mandated time lying in a dark room was just an added bonus…

As I left I took one more lap around the small galleries:

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the Jung Center also has a library and bookstore if you are so inclined. I do have to say that the H-town lunch hour traffic was more manageable than ever before thanks to my heightened relaxation! Check it out – you just might find yourself Feldenkraised!

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Filed under Art, Carl Jung, creativity, Houston, Pain Management, Stress Relief, The Artist's Way

Me, Myself and Midtown

So, in the continuation of my new trek on life’s journey, I discovered a fabulous guidebook via a Facebook friend (in a roundabout sort of way.) This friend happened to post a link to a book they had just read which sounded interesting. In reading the reviews, I noticed that many people preferred an earlier book by the same author. Next stop, Barnes and Noble! Of course they had the earlier book in stock and I quickly snapped up my copy and adjourned to the closest coffee shop to dive right in. Wow! This book seemed to be written just for me! It’s called The Artist’s Way. It challenges us to rediscover our true creative nature through weekly exercises and daily stream-of-consciousness writing it calls ‘morning pages.’ I challenge any random readers of this blog to check it out! One of the facets I particularly love is its focus on spirituality as a source of creativity. This spoke straight to my heart, since I have struggled for years (ok, decades) with the notion that my life as a creative person had to be egocentric and narcissistic out of necessity. It’s the main reason I turned my back on a profession in the arts back in the day. But through this book I have realized that, not only is a spiritual connection necessary to creative inspiration, creativity is by its very nature a way for me to both give praise and glory to God while receiving His grace and blessing.

Anyhoo, one of the non-negotiables to each weekly romp into self-creativity is what the author terms an ‘artist date.’ A date with yourself. Destination unspecified, other than to a place which might inspire you. For this week’s jaunt I chose to head to Midtown – an area of town I’d previously heard of but had only the vaguest of notions of its actual location. All I knew of Midtown was that it was an ‘up-and-coming area frequented by young, hip professionals due to the growing number of hot nightspots.’ Quotation freely abridged from any and all H-town guides you may have seen. I can’t believe I’ve never spent time there in the nearly thirteen years we have lived here, but there it is. That’s reality. I forsee many more jumps to this locale in the future. Moving on…

The Houston Center for Contemporary Craft holds free – repeat, FREE – workshops on the first Saturday of every month. These are staffed with plenty of helpful volunteers who are expertly trained to help even the novice (read, ME) learn a new technique and complete a project on-site. This week’s topic was finger weaving, something I remember learning as a kid but had forgotten. In just the span of an hour I had my project completed – a fuzzy scarf I now need to find just the perfect outfit for! I spent some time in the galleries themselves – again free, but with a box for donations should you be so moved – and was amazed at the ‘crafts’ turned art. The Center also has artist studios on-site which you are welcome to explore, and if you’re lucky enough to find one of the artists at work you can observe and ask questions. Very cool! I left there inspired, invigorated and just brimming with creative desire that far exceeded my current abilities. But hey – everyone needs a goal, right?

Here are some scenes from the quirky-cool garden behind the Arts Center:

Oh, and I was lucky enough to see this amazing mural just across the street which, as it happens, was the front-page story of the Midtown News this week:

And a few more scenes from my trek midtown. This blog is truly not intended to be a travel resource, but I was amazed at all of the inspiration I found in just a one-block footprint. Definitely worth a return visit or three – and did I mention it was FREE??!!

Downtown from Midtown:

Next time, baby!!

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Filed under artist, craft, creativity, free stuff, inspiration, Midtown