Look at the light through the windowpane. That means it’s noon, that means
Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us.
These, our bodies, possessed by light.
Tell me we’ll never get used to it.
– Richard Siken, Scheherazade
We’re getting older. We’ve had our hearts broken. We’ve broken bones. We’ve bet on the wrong horse or man or woman. We made a poor investment along the way. We lost something important. We wasted time or money or energy on the wrong people. We’re all a little more fragile now, a little more careful. Curiosity is a trait we most associate with children or cats.
Not for us.
We tread the familiar paths.
Continue reading “Dwelling in Discomfort”
Writing and creating art are most often solitary experiences – hours spent staring at blank computer screens or pieces of paper or canvas – time spent trying to find the right words or colors. Time, largely spent, in our own minds. But we don’t have to – and shouldn’t – create within a bubble! Most art is made within a community, with support from family and friends, with sage advice from mentors, with the occasional self-help book. If you’re having trouble getting started or finishing a project, here are some books that will help.
Continue reading “1o Books Every Creative Should be Reading.”
If you missed part one, find it here: Why We Procrastinate (Pt 1)
1. Give Yourself Permission.
When we’re putting things off, often it’s because our conscious and unconscious are in a tug-of-war. Our conscious is curious, creative, spontaneous, adventurous. It’s the part of us that is not just living, but alive. The impulses from our conscious can seem crazy to us at times. Two months ago, I was hiking through the South of France with my friend, Sarah, and had the sudden desire to take off my boots and feel the ground under my feet. My unconscious’ initial response was – are you crazy? You could step on something sharp! Kids go barefoot, not adults. Where is this even coming from?
Continue reading “How to Stop Procrastinating. (Pt 2)”
When I was sixteen, I was a fan of a one-man-band, Dashboard Confessional. My friends and I traveled miles to tiny clubs all up and down the east coast, stood shivering outside in line in winter in bad neighborhoods, got our ribs bruised up against the partition in mosh pit, covered our backpacks and messenger bags in band pins from Hot Topic, went thirsty or hungry or without sleep – all to hear the soul-bearing lyrics of someone we considered to be a modern day poet. Continue reading “SELL OUT: Does Art Suffer from Success?”
As someone who travels frequently, I find that a change of scenery can inspire and inform your writing, but often doesn’t make for the best work habits. Whether you’re trying to take in museums on holiday or traveling on business, the following tips will help you to get your work done anywhere in the world.
Continue reading “How to Write Anywhere in the World.”
In a world where it’s all about the next, young innovative person to come along, it’s easy to feel like we have passed our expiration date as writers or artists. But does creativity have an expiration date? Is there such a thing as “too late” when it comes to creating?
Continue reading “It’s Never Too Late: 10 Writers & Artists That Were Late Bloomers”
We’ve been taught to think that perfectionism is a good trait. No one ever goes into a job interview promising to do less-than-perfect work. In fact, potential job candidates are often coached to answer interview questions about their greatest weakness as, “I’m a perfectionist in everything I do.” But is perfect attainable? Or even desirable? Or is perfect holding us back? Is our mental image of that “perfect” thing keeping us from doing anything at all?
Continue reading “5 Ways Perfectionism is Keeping you from Living your Creative Life.”
A few months ago, the idea of an “Artist and Writer’s retreat” wasn’t remotely on my radar. I was about to finish a one-year teaching contract in Korea and was looking for my next job. Would I stay in Korea, go back to Japan, return to the States or go somewhere completely new? The possibilities stretched out before me, but none of them felt right. Something in me resisted the idea of entering a classroom again. I loved teaching and my kids, but I needed a break. Not a vacation, crammed with sight-seeing. My soul was crying for a return to itself.
Continue reading “What’s stopping you from going on a Writer’s Retreat?”
Five years ago, I was working in a beige cubicle with no windows in downtown Chicago. There was nothing wrong with my job on paper – the pay was good, I had fabulous coworkers, a healthy working environment and a relatively stress-free commute. Every morning, I arrived early to enjoy my Venti Starbucks coffee before my coworkers began to trickle in and I thought, well, it’s not happiness, exactly, but I’m content enough…I think? I didn’t technically have anything to complain about. I had job security and health insurance. I didn’t bring my work home. So, I gained a few pounds from being largely sedentary and snacking on the pastries that inevitably filled the break-room at lunch. So, there were lulls of boredom or stress when working up to deadlines. So, it wasn’t my life’s passion…
My cubicle in Chicago (with bonus cupcakes – thanks Dad!)
Continue reading “If Not Now, When?”