Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Back from Hiatus: The Paperie Project

So, it's been about a month and a half.  Wow!  I've been busy having a life, but I'm back.

With my backness I would like to reveal: the Paperie Project.  The indomitable Meggie Pops suggested that we comb the state for stationers and paperies, finding the best, the cutest, the nicest, the most fun and funky and luxurious papers in the state of Connecticut.

And blog about them.  With pictures.  So, I think that's what we'll do.  I haven't decided whether we'll start a separate blog for it - but it sounds SO FUN!!!!!! 

So, details to come.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The End. The beginning.

Finally, FINALLY it's week 12 of The Artists Way.  Actually, chapter 12 is pretty good.  I'd lost faith for a few weeks.

So, here are my end-of-program affirmations:

- I feel like I deserve to be creative.
- I'm still having issues with my ideas not being "good enough" but I've realized that in order for me to truly make progress, my ideas have to be good enough FOR ME, and what I want to write/do/create, and screw everybody else.  I can't be creating with a market in mind because that's not creation.  I look at it this way: I want to write stories.  That's kind of like pretending, right? A lot of people get paid to pretend: actors, writers, musicians - everyone's got a persona.  But who else gets paid to pretend?  Hookers.  And I refuse to whore myself out for the sake of progress, because that's not creativity.
- I don't need to be a financial success to be a creative success.
- My family is not going to abandon me or hate me for being creative.  Truth be told, they'll be thrilled that I finally got off my ass and out of my own way.
- I WILL go crazy.  This was one of the negative things in chapter one, and I think it's true, but not in the way it was meant in chapter 1.  I will go crazy, but it's the crazy of being true to myself in a world that tells me to ignore myself and my needs in favor of a "greater good" that really, I will probably never see.

So yeah.  This has been interesting.  I am still not as good to myself as I should be, but it's a process, it's a journey, and I'm getting there. 

I realized this week that I come up with all these ideas for stories, but I never write them down because I think about how "the market" would receive them and I figure, eh, it's been done/ it's not good enough/ no one will like it/ I won't like it.


And then I realized that when I go to bed, every night, I tell myself stories - really, one story, that varies from day to week to month, but is always within the same basic framework.  Tiny snippets of story, scenes of interactions, of characters, of small situations set in sweeping worlds.  I never question these.  I've been doing this since I was 13 and I have never ONCE, in 14 years, questioned it.  You think THAT might be the true story, the one that's waiting patiently to make it onto the page?  The one that is so much a part of me that I tell it to myself every day? 

Yeah.  I think so too.  I'm gonna try writing THAT one down.


I think the thing that has scared me is that the story I tell myself is pretty epic.  WORLDS are involved.  Who am I to write about WORLDS?  Creation, destruction, epic struggles, decisions that change the future of an entire race, an entire planet?  Who am I, to dare to lay a hand on such a world?

That world's creator, that's who.  It's my toy, and now I'm going to play with it.  Boo ya.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Changes

One of this week's tasks:  List the ways you have changed since starting The Artist's Way.

I'm in week 11 of 12, so there have been quite a few.

1. I am quicker and more willing to "do what feels good," to give myself things that I want.
2. I am more able to sit and do art without feeling like I must DO ART - it's not as big a deal.
3. I submitted a story to a real-life publisher.  I was never brave enough or confident enough in my work to do that before.
4. I am starting to understand that ALL artistic output has value.  It doesn't have to be accepted or even SEEN by The Public to be valuable.  (I think that in this era of highly visual art and instant communication, I see people making art and getting it out there immediately and being instantly praised.  The Fame Monster rears its head - I want that too!  But I am beginning to understand that it's not really art unless I'm making it for me.  Otherwise it's a consumer good, and I'm not interested in making consumer goods.  I'm interested in making art - which means making it for ME.  The rest will follow.)
5. I see that my creativity is appreciated, and I am therefore more open about sharing it.
6. I am less emotionally sedentary - my artist self rages against some of the choices my adult self has made and continues to make - but, funnily enough, making art not only uncovers these discrepancies, but also allows me to take steps toward reconciling my internal differences of opinion.
7. I have started to do creative things that I used to do but stopped.  I stopped because they were a waste of time, they wouldn't make me any money, they wouldn't help me with a career, they wouldn't do a damn thing for me.  I realize that's not true.  They do plenty for me: I feel better when I do them.
8. I have become restless and mentally active - my job didn't used to drive me nuts with boredom, but now it does, because I could be out CREATING.
9.  I no longer feel guilty about buying stuff like beads or sidewalk chalk, or a purple plastic ampersand, just because.
10. I'm better at fun.

I added this section, although it wasn't part of the prompt:

Things I still need to work on.
1. I still fear ART as something I am not worthy of.  I need to believe myself deserving and capable of creative expression.
2. I need to shoot the perfectionist that still tends to control me - I still have issues with 'drafts' in any medium.  I still tend toward 'if it won't be perfect the first time, I don't want to do it at all.'  I need to get away from that.
3. I need to actually believe in myself more - sometimes I do, but the confidence isn't as consistent as I would like it to be.
4. I still often read instead of write.  I need to work on realigning my time & choices and cutting back on the addiction to other people's words, because it's really just a way for me to avoid my own words.
5. I need to allow myself to play and not feel guilty about it, like I'm shirking some duty somewhere.  I feel like by playing, I somehow disrespect the universe.  I wonder if really the universe makes us children first because that's what it likes, and it doesn't understand why we grow out of it.

Honestly, I'll be glad when this 12 week thing is over.  I'm not giving it up in week 11 because that would just be stupid, but I DO plan to ditch the morning pages as soon as week 12 ends.  Julia (the author/teacher) says that the morning pages are one of THE most important parts of our artistic development, but honestly, I have journalled my whole life, pages and pages every day.  The stuff that comes out in my artist pages is the same stuff that comes out in my regular journals.  She says the morning pages get done first thing in the morning because the critic-brain isn't awake yet and can't interfere.  I'm guessing Julia's not a morning person.  For me, as soon as the alarm goes off, even if my body's not awake yet, my brain is rarin' to go.  The critic jumps out of bed apace with the creative child, and is always there when I'm writing.  Even at 4:30 am.

I have always been a journaller, and I have always been honest in my journals.  Brutally, sappily, cruelly, vulnerably honest.  Because no one else reads them, so I don't have to put the show on.  So the morning pages are really something I was already doing, but at a different time.  The only other difference, other than the one on the clock, is that I now pay more attention to what the pages tell me about me and my mental and creative position in the universe.

I can do that with pages I write at 2:30 or 5:30 or 7:15 pm and not have to drag my ass out of bed before dawn.  So I'm giving up the morning pages and going back to my standard journalling when this is over.

The program itself has helped though, if only because it's made me pay attention to myself and to what I want, and not just to the elaborate show I've created to put on public display.  If I can focus as much energy into artistic-creation as I have into deceptive-creation - into creating a face to show the world - I'll have creation oozing out of my pores.

That's what I'm setting my sights on.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Things We Don't Say Out Loud

This morning in the bathroom at work, I saw a woman putting her makeup on.

It took all my effort, ALL of it, to stop myself from saying "Honey, no amount of mascara is going to change the fact that based on your extremely visible panty line, I can tell that you're buying your underwear too small."

I wish we could say these things sometimes.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Wait Ends

By the way, the first magazine I submitted to didn't want the story.  Not that I'm surprised - they get 400 submissions a month, and even though I think my story was good, I didn't expect it to really stand out in front of 399 others.  However, the first hurdle of getting over my fear and submitting has been cleared, and I plan to submit this story to another mag online when it opens back up for submissions (on Oct 1).

Meanwhile, I shall continue to write.  I have some cool ideas that I think could do with developing.

We can't entrust the Sword of a Thousand Truths to a newb!

Finally, finally the weekend.  Tomorrow we fly to Block Island - I haven't been back in a couple of years and I'm really looking forward to it.

Tonight, off to see TheAzmon and his guests at his nice-but-too-angular-for-my-tastes condo.  Must resist pizza.  I've been so good; I've lost 3 1/2 pounds since Tuesday, and I don't want to screw it all up with one stupid binge!

Currently, I'm installing World of Warcraft on my computer.  This is very dangerous.  But I'm going to limit my play because I have a ton of other stuff that needs doing too, in real life.  You'll probably be seeing more acronyms here, though.  My playing WoW was really inevitable - I love The Guild, I love fantasy, and I love video games.  Really, it's only amazing this didn't happen sooner.

Right now, since the download will probably take at least another hour, Ima spend some more quality time with Harry Potter.

Whee!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Wait

Yesterday, I finally sucked it up and sent my story out to an online SpecFic magazine.  I was fretting and worrying and re-formatting for days, and then realized that it was all behavior that enabled me to not actually send the story out.

I was mostly waiting to hear my uncle's opinion of it, because he has experience in the fiction market and I figured he would be able to tell me whether it would sell or not.  He takes forever to read things, and I realized that I was holding onto that "forever" like a lifeline, because it was a gate between me and the world. 

It was all stall tactics.  No matter how much I trust my uncle's judgment, he's not the editor of the magazine I submitted the story to, and THAT'S who I have to impress. 

So, yesterday, I checked the formatting one last time, put together a brief cover letter, and sent "Lightbringer" on her way. 

I want to say I don't think they'll like it, that it probably won't even make it past the slush pile, but I know that's only my inner critic talking, because my inner artist is jumping for joy - that I really believed I had a story strong enough to show the world, and that I finally, finally made that leap. 

If this particular magazine doesn't like it, there are others I can try.  So we shall see.  But I'm excited either way, and now it's just down to the wait to hear back.