My husband and I were talking late into the night Saturday night. He had been cleaning off his desk as he talked, and I had been fiddling at mine. I had a few photographs laid out, thinking of a layout, but was finding it difficult to split my attention between that and what my husband was saying. There were some old library dewey decimal cards laying on my desk and I just started randomly cutting them into strips and squares. The next thing I know, out comes the gesso and a six inch high cardboard initial “M” that had been laying around. (It had been part of my mantel decor previously). Not too much later, and the whole thing was covered in the library cards. I think I’ll paint it with a watercolor wash- maybe green? I found this quote in my piles of scrap paper while looking for something else…”maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.” Amen to that.
Yesterday I found myself feeling pretty fried, creatively. I’ve been working hard on a project that has called in all of my technical skills and my artistic eyes, and before lunch yesterday, everything was blending together, looking flat, and not making a lot of sense. I needed to find my center again.
I’ve learned when I get into this sort of place that walking away is the best thing I can do. Sometimes it’s just taking a few minutes to sip a cup of coffee and look out the window. Sometimes it’s searching out creative inspiration from other artists and makers for a few minutes and refueling the visual tank. Sometimes I find stepping away from what I’m doing and doing something else creatively inclined breaks down the roadblocks that are blocking my way. So it was yesterday.
I received some lovely bouquets from my beloved and children for Valentine’s Day, but after a week they were starting to look a bit bedraggled. I pulled and trimmed and cut- from two large bouquets I created five smaller ones to place around the house. Even the trimmings were pretty eye candy. Stretching myself a different creative direction, using my hands and playing with color in a touchable sense, rebooted my creative brain and I was able to return to what I was working on with renewed focus.
Switching gears this week, I had to put down the cowl for my sweet Lorelei’s scarf. She’s been learning how to knit herself from a kit she received for Christmas, but as I well know, it’s hard when you are first learning. After a tearful episode last week, I realized that she really wanted to wear the scarf before it got to warm, so I’ve helped her along a bit. She knits one row, I knit ten.
Since I’ve gotten back in the writing groove, I’ve found my tastes swinging wildly. Sometimes I just want good clean fun, sometimes I’m reading a book not so much for content but for structure. The books I choose this week were an interesting experiment- I wanted to find books written either about Asian or Middle Eastern culture (or their culture set within Western culture). I didn’t realize in so doing I was also ensuring that each other was also writing in English as a second language. That is truly fascinating to me, particularly in structure and style- the words they chose and why and when. They were all very good books.
The Cry of the Dove was just fascinating. The peek into someone’s life so very different from your own; the ending is truly heartbreaking though. Some might find the prose a little hard to follow but it is worth it to dig through it; the mechanics get a bit flipflopped at times. The Surrendered was just.oh. I don’t even have words. It’s a peek into the Korean war from the other side…I just…oof. So very, very good, and so very, very hard. It’ll live with you for a very long time. Absolutely five stars. It covers ground you don’t want to cover but you really need to. The prose work is masterful- I learned so much as a writer when I could tear myself away from the story. It’s so tightly woven. I’ve just started The Bonesetter’s Daughter. I’ve read Amy Tan before…the way she renders relationships makes you remember your own, even if the story is about a girl, halfway around the world.
Sharing with Ginny.
I finally get to reveal my secret project I’ve been hinting at on Instagram! I’ll let Elizabeth tell you about it in her own words.
Click here to take the first step.