You know that feeling when you’re all bright-eyed about some project you’ve been working on, but somebody’s careless comment suddenly makes you feel not so confident? Well, maybe that’s just me. But I was having a rough time navigating various rejections (and, let’s be honest, perceived rejections) a few weeks back, and it got me thinking about self care for the minor day to day heartbreaks that sometimes come along with the creative life. It occurred to me that someone else out there may deal with this from time to time, so I wrote this piece, Ten Cures for a Creative Person’s Vulnerability Hangover, which, to my delight and honor, was published in The Daily Positive, and I thought I would share it with you, too… just in case you ever have a need for such tips.
This from In God’s Care: Daily Meditations on Spirituality in Recovery, March 13:
“Inspirations never go in for long engagements; they demand immediate action.”
— Brendan Francis
God speaks to us in many ways at many times. If we are spiritually alert, we will know it when it happens. A stray thought occurs; we overhear a bit of conversation; a passage in something we are reading suddenly stands out — and we know we have connected. … The trouble is that we might acknowledge this contact only briefly, and then it slips away. The time to act passes.
And this from Netflix, description of the cartoon Uncle Grandpa pilot episode:
When a kid is sad because his favorite shirt will not fit over his big belly, Uncle Grandpa shows him that fashions pass, but a big belly is always cool.
I’ve never seen this show, I just came across this line and it stuck with me. Then today I was at the Transforming Gender Symposium at CU with Sam and we heard Amos Mac’s keynote talk — he’s a photographer and the co-editor of the trans male culture and lifestyle magazine Original Plumbing. He showed a lot of his work and talked about art and cultural activism and it was just damn inspiring. It made me want to write stuff.
Then I went outside and saw this brick in the wall that said Integrity. And it made me want to freakin’ do the things, already.
So this is the thing that came to me: 30 days of belly pictures.
Self Love is the theme of this year, and I’ve been working with the body aspect for a while, and I just decided, why the hell not, I am going to spend the next 30 days taking pictures that celebrate my belly. It’s spring and the skin cells want to be out in the air. So let ’em out! At least for a few minutes each day.
I’m practicing acting on my inspirations.
Oh goodness, how did that much time go by? I got caught up in the rapids of the end of the semester. Then, no sooner had I hit “save” on the final grades than I was off to Missouri for Ozark Sufi Camp, and when I got back to Colorado, here it was, time for summer session to start.
And then there’s that old “I don’t want to write about that, that’s boring, but I do want to write about thisthisthisthisthisthis and this, ah, but, maybe later, right now I need to, uh, rearrange all the cans in the kitchen cabinets.” That ever happen to you? No? Must be just me then …
Well, one project I did work on and actually finish during that time was this CD that I made with the help of my friend Jen F., who provided the equipment and technical know-how. It’s called Starter Kit and it’s a collection of songs and chants I’ve written over the past few years. This past spring I started really working with reclaiming my dreams around writing. I started to have a growing sense that before embarking on new projects (or at least while embarking…), it would be good for me to clear out some of the stuff I’d written but never published. For whatever reason, I got the inspiration to make this CD. I had long resisted the idea of putting folk-type songs and chants together on the same album — I planned to wait until I had enough of each to make two separate records. But it just came to me one day that this was the thing to do — collect the songs I have, and let them be available for those who have expressed interest. My goal was perhaps as much to open the flow of writing and sharing as anything else.
So this is basically a DIY project by two women. I played all the instruments (wow, multi-track recording! I am such a newbie) except for one track on which my partner Sam plays the bass, and Jen did everything technical, including providing the recording location in her home studio. I wanted to do it all with an intention and an aesthetic of simplicity. I drew the art for the cover of the CD; that too popped into my head in a sudden flash. Weird, but honest! All these ideas, I just went with them, and crossed my fingers that it would sound ok! I frequently quoted Anne Bradstreet in my mind: “In better dress to trim thee was my mind, But nought save homespun cloth i’ th’ house I find,” etc. But I wanted to take the CD with me on my summer travels, so we took the takes we liked and put it together in a little less than a month. Craziness! And yes, we had a lot of fun!
So, you can read more specifics about that CD here on its own page, including how to get one if you want!
In other news, my dad asked me today if I was still working my ass off. I told him, “No, it’s summer; I’m only working one cheek at a time.” That means I actually have a couple of days off in the average week, and I’ll be posting more soon about my travels in the Show Me state, new projects under research, and more thoughts about paradigms.