Friday, 2 January 2015

2015: Make it ugly

What am I doing with this blog?  I've been lazy about posting, as I feel that my life isn't all that exciting to write about.  And there are many days when I feel like I never want to touch a computer ever again (thank you, work email!).  It started out as a way of keeping people in the loop about my move to Saskatoon, but when the initial upheaval subsided and I got the job I really wanted, it seemed boring to give a run down of my week all the time. 

I'm coming out of a weird place.  There was a lot of change in a very short period of time, and it messed me up.  If I told you I was okay in the past three years, it was probably a lie.  I spent most of last winter paying for the time I went on autopilot, which perhaps wasn't the healthiest thing I could have done to deal with library school, job interviews, the move west, and other stressful, sad things.  However, it got me from there to here and I'm still alive, so I suppose that time I spent with tunnel vision did what I needed it to do.  I guess that's what happens when your survival instinct kicks in.  My creativity took a beating during that time and through the past year of retreat and recovery.  I haven't made much of anything, except the stuff I 'make' at work.  I miss it a lot.  I'm envious of my coworkers who go out and make music regularly, or write, or sew, or whatever.  I've been encouraged to make stuff, but I ran away from it for whatever reason.  I just wasn't ready to create again.  Then I starting reading this book...

It's called "Make It Mighty Ugly: Exercises & Advice for Getting Creative Even When it Ain't Pretty" by Kim Piper Werker.  I ordered this for Fine Arts because it seemed quirky and down-to-earth.  I'm reading it because I thought there was library program potential in it (turns out the author thinks so too, as she has an entire section on her website devoted to librarians who want to run the Mighty Ugly workshop), but now I'm into it because I think it will give me the kick up the backside I need to start making stuff again.  I've been feeling out of sorts: digestive upheaval, my skin is breaking out (but only on the left side of my face...WTF?), and I'm having an insanely hard time getting a decent night's sleep.  (Seriously, if I could get seven evenings of excellent sleep in a row I would be able to die happy.)  This kind of thing happens when I'm shifting from one place to another, and though it's uncomfortable, it's generally a sign that I'm moving forward.  And right now is the time to move forward creatively.  I'm going with the suggestion in the third section of the book: make something (anything) for at least 15 minutes a day.  This is where the blog comes in...I can create daily, and share weekly.  There are lots of blogs and websites out there that chronicle people's journeys through creativity, and I hate to follow the crowd, but it makes sense to do this at the moment.  It goes back to the Seven of Wands.  To me, that tarot card is all about feeling the fear about doing something and carrying on despite those uncomfortable feelings. It's what got me where I am today, and it's the right time to channel that energy into bite-size creative goals (rather than huge, life-changing goals, which is exhausting...I'm done with that for now).

So off I go, making stuff no matter how ugly or disastrous it may be.  I haven't decided exactly what to make each day, probably a mish mash of things, but I've already started.  This week I got out my flute and made Bach.  It wasn't great, as evidenced by the number of times I called poor J.S. a bastard.  I've never had a good relationship with Baroque music and despite the fact that I'm learning pieces that are at a grade level far below what I'm capable of playing, it's still a challenge.  And I forced myself to play in a manner that exposes all my tonal deficiencies, which was even more painful.  But then I hauled out a concerto by Quantz that I learned almost twenty years ago and was delighted to discover it's still under my fingers.  So I'm not a lost cause after all.  Onward.

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