Tag Archives: writer

Probably the final post of 2015

Frankly, I’m happy to see this year end. It has been one of the most difficult years of my life. Lots of loss. In that loss, my mind has not worked as it usually does. That has proven to be a very negative factor in my creative projects.

The thing about loss is, one is expected to produce as though no loss has occurred. Creativity, good creativity, requires the use of the brain. I spent the last six months grinding. In the grind, eventually, I got where I wanted to go. But it was hard work, that required that I not say, “I can’t do it. I give up.”

I’m going to discuss what I’ve learned during this year of losses about the creative process. 
Being honestly and productively critiqued, is an important path to improvement and growth. My design classes included critiques at least three times during a project. The first was given within days of the beginning. No one feels ready or remotely confident at this critique. Nor should they. It’s rough sketches. Raw ideas with little direction. Painful. And very useful. This is an excellent time to determine whether the idea has merit. This first critique has saved me time and clarified direction. The next critique is in the middle of the project. It is about refinement. More specifically, about simplification. About cutting the fat, as it were. It reinforces the good, cleans up the bad. It defines what might be missing, the final steps, and drives the project home. The final critique is not the “wow “moment one would get if it had never been seen, but it is a moment of polish and great satisfaction. This critique is a vital part of the fine art and student process. I will incorporate it in my music and film endeavors as well. The other things about the critique process are, it forces you to have a team, it makes you more honest about your imprefections, and ultimately it better prepares you for constant incremental improvement. 
The other thing I learned this year is, the creative process can be corralled. I use to say, like so many creatives I know, “I have to wait for the feeling to hit” or “I have a block.” For a while now, I’ve been saying, “Show up to the canvas.” The idea being you most certainly will not be creative if you don’t move toward it. If you flip on the TV, or Facebook, or Netflicks, you have determined you can not be creative, so you won’t. If instead, you go to the tools of your creativity, you’re likely to engage. This can be applied to all forms of procrastination- going to the gym, making love with your partner, washing the dishes. Show up. Start. The block will likely dissipate after some engagement. But what about when your mind is crazed as mine has been this year? What if circumstances are so stressful, your concentration is gone. And worse yet, your reason for doing a thing? You aren’t sure how to make it through the day, much less make pretty clever things for people you’ve made commitments to? 

This is when you ask for help. Maybe every day. Maybe the critiques are more frequent. Maybe there are more sketches. Perhaps you allow more time for the projects. This is what I know. There is a process to creativity. There is the beginning, when you’re learning how to walk. Nothing you’re creating has any merit. You owe it to yourself to keep going. The beginning is a process of data collection. Nothing more. It’s exploratory. Allow yourself to be messy. To be inaccurate. To be free and childlike. What I’m actually saying, is don’t be mean to yourself. Don’t be critical. (Which is different from a critique, by the way.) Instead, see the value in what your working on. Allow yourself to grind. What I found was that my projects were 90% grind. I mean that I went around and around in my head without new thoughts. Without new direction. Another metaphor might be, I was treading water. There came a point where it clicked. I went through this process again. And again. And with each effort, I came to understand, if I kept at it. If I let myself grind, I would eventually click. What came next is confidence. Confidence that I am not a slave to my muses. Instead of waiting for them to come to me, I can call on them. And if they don’t immediately answer, I keep asking. I keep trying. Trying something new. Anything. 

Like so many of life’s lessons, it comes back down to moving through and past a misguided belief. To do that, one must make an effort. Effort is everything. 


Things I think about while waiting for my turn at Open Mic night.

 1. Why am I here?

2. Why didn’t I bring a friend with me so I’d have someone to talk to? 

3. Is it worth the wait? 

4. Whose smoking a cigarette? 

5. What will I sing this time? (This is joke, I sing the same songs every time.)

6. My friend’s dad is usually here. Not tonight. I never thought I say I miss my friend’s dad. 🙂

7. I need to stop coming to open mics. 

8. I hope I don’t blow out my voice when I get my turn. 

9. Open mic makes me grumpy. 

10. I feel uncomfortable when a guy stares at me because I’m sitting here by myself. But only a little bit. Stare all you want, dude. This makes me laugh! 

11. The weather is perfect. 

12. I have data, so I can look up lyrics. 

13. It gives me a chance to catch up on my blog. 🙂 


Namaste, my friend.



The smile I’ll miss

 This is Fay Taylor. She was born September 18, 1999. She died today.

She was a constant companion to my daughter and me. A fantastic watch dog, a sweet love bug, and a horrible flirt. Fay never met a man she didn’t love. She was smart and also smiled. It was one of the things that made her so special. 

When you get a puppy you never think into the future to this day. It has been so terribly sad.

Namaste, my friend. 



My new voice.

Yesterday was the most beautiful day. I had a photo shoot at a home about 40 miles from mine. The sky was the most amazing shade of blue and the clouds were puffs of cotton high in the sky. The sun was selective shining on specific spots to illuminate them to anyone paying attention. Everywhere I looked, I saw beauty. I made notes where I would shoot once I was done with my paying job. 

The family I worked with was so gorgeous, I could hardly stand it. The woman soon to give birth, the man so proud, and a boy 8, excited to have a sibling. The baby is a girl. I told the boy she will think he is the coolest person alive and want to go everywhere he does. His eyes got wide. “Really?” He asked. I assured him it was all true. The woman looked like a goddess. I can’t wait for them to see the shots. 

On the way home, I stopped at a park where there are ancient indigenous burial mounds. The first thing I saw was a pond with dragon flys dancing everywhere. I walked further and found a swamp. Had I had waiters, I would have gone in for photos. The quality of today’s sunlight was so special, that even a dark place like the swamp had an illumination that reflected the sky. I found several sights I was not expecting, and on the way back, this dragon fly stopped and posed for me. 

When I got back to my car I took a minute to look at all the images I shot and I cried tears of joy. The process of photography is a special new voice I have as an artist that is allowing me to see beauty I would not otherwise see. It asks me to stop and look in a way I never have before. I see beauty everywhere. And if you read my previous post you know, the remedy to fear is to look for the beauty. This new gift allows me to cull the beauty I see and frame it in a way that asks the viewer to focus the spot of it I see. It has become a lovely freedom and joy. 

Namaste, my friend.



Forgiveness and love.

I think I have finally figured out how to forgive. 

Years ago I had an unimaginable betrayal from someone I should have been able to trust with my life. It was so unimaginable, that I blocked it from my memory for most of my adulthood. The experience was not absent from my mind altogether, though. I made many decisions based on how best to protect myself from allowing that to ever happen again. Unfortunately, it meant living in an almost constant low-grade level of fear in some areas. It contaminated my perception and gave me a half life. 

A few weeks ago, a series of news stories and life experiences made me question my responses to them. And in a quiet moment, my memory returned. With it, came the understanding I had created a language for my experience that was untrue. I think for the first time since the experience, I’m feeling a release. There is beauty in facing the truth. I did a lot of crying. And sad as I am, I’m also relieved. I made some choices in my fog, that were the right ones.

Another reason this may have been the right time to remember is because of the coping skills I’ve learned and also the spiritual path I walk. 

I’ve talked here a lot about practicing love. I’ve been practicing love for about a year and a half. The simple idea that one faces everyone with love and compassion, regardless of whether they have earned it. By distributing love to everyone, it removes the responsibility of making the judgement of worth. Everyone gets it. It’s surprisingly delightful for you in it’s simplicity. 

It’s not too hard to give love to someone we don’t know. But what about the person who has harmed you? How can you dispense love to him? What about the person you know given the chance will hurt you again? 

If you can figure out how to dispense love to a person who has harmed you, you have taken up with forgiveness. You have walked the same path. And the way to do it is to focus on the love. Stay with the positive. Look for the bright spots. Look for the joy. Look for the beauty. It’s okay to do this from a distance. It’s okay to do it without any contact. It’s okay to do it in a safe way. 

Forgiveness once seemed unattainable for me. Now I see it’s simply the act of giving love when it is the last thing that seems reasonable, and yet, love is always the right choice. 

Forgiveness = love.

Pretty simple.

Namaste, my friend.



The zen in the fight


One of the things I’m trying to balance is when to let go. 

Let go of an annoyance, an argument, a dream that no longer appears attainable, other people’s fights, past injuries, past regrets.

Balancing my effort at seeing the world and people in love, compassion, and forgiveness, with how to include standing up for what I believe is right. 

What I’ve come to understand is I don’t need to argue with anyone. I don’t need to interject my opinion on anyone. I don’t need to change anyone’s mind. I don’t need to coherce anyone. If what I believe and share with the world resonates, those who wish to learn more, will be drawn to me.

Yet, there are injustices that require fighting. There are people who, if given a chance, will hurt you as often as you forgiven them. There are people who are injured and inflict injury. 

I can avoid these people, which in most cases is the most effective way to manage them, but what about social injustice? 

I must find the zen in the fight.

Avoidance is not the spiritual answer. 

This is what I ponder tonight. 

Namaste, my friend. 



Thought for the day…

Talk about what you like and love in greater proportion than what you hate. 

Namaste, my friend.