So those that know me know I like lists. Like I reeeeeally like lists. I like them the way people like Netflix. I pursue them the way some people scroll Instagram. I read and reread and order and reorder them. Honestly, I don’t know how people function without them.
My brain simply can’t hold all the stuff I need/want/probably shouldn’t do.
(Note: In finding this image I went down a rabbit hole called “Exploding Brain Syndrome”. This is a thing.)
Arguably the mother of all lists is the BUCKET LIST. Like Google, it has even been “verbed.” But a bucket list is a problem for me because it indicates a plan to do things someday, preferably before you die. And who knows when that is, right? Continue reading →
Ernest Hemingway once said “Write drunk, edit sober.”
One of my writerly friends says, “Write drunk, edit on caffeine” Pret-ty kitschy and more up my alley. I already edit on caffeine so…
I decided to test this theory, like, track it, test it, tie one on. 🍺🍻🍷🍸🍾🍹🍶 Oh, the things we do for science. 🤷🏼♀️
(Side note: There are A LOT of really great drinking memes. Don’t writers have better things to do? Doh. Guess not.🙄)
To be fair, I’ve inadvertently tested this drunk writing theory back in college. The result was lackluster and barely legible poetry. Overall, a fail. But I’ve grown, evolved, matured. Obviously.
Testing drunken-writing is probably not a true measure of maturity.
If alcohol lubricates social anxiety, couldn’t it also grease the wheels of creativity? Then, it occurred to me that many great and brilliant authors are/were alcoholics. This is either a 👍🏻 for alcohol or a 👎🏻 for writing.
For sake of research, let’s hypothesize that alcohol triggers creativity (with a few grammatical errors) and set the experiment parameters. This is very scientific after all.
1. While writing, I will track the time and alcohol consumption in 20 minute increments.
2. I’ll have to judge the material myself, with a sober set of eyes, because I can’t imagine letting someone else do it. Unedited?!?! Chah!
3. No distractions. This is no party! This is a rigorous experiment that requires I imbibe alone and diligently. No funny business.
4. When I sense a particular profoundness happen, I’ll mark it. My college inebriated poetry always felt brilliant… Until the next day. So here, I’m testing my drunken judgement of quality. Think beer goggles. (This could be the most embarrassing part of the experiment.)
5. Lastly, as I write, I’ll note the speed and ease (or maybe incessant brain-stalling) with which ideas are hatched as well as the inspiration to keep going. All the creativity of JR Tolkien doesn’t help if all you want to do it watch “This Is Us” and eat Red Vines… Not that I would know or anything.
Ready… Commence the spirits! And remember, I’m doing this for you.
Brene Brown keeps bobbing on my radar from random places.
That’s what the universe does. It smacks me over the head with something when I’m not listening.
Ok, universe. I get the message (because I have nothing but time) but actually I’m a little obsessed with her ideas.
I don’t love the idea of vulnerability cause that sounds awful. I’m developmentally stunted in it for sure. But if it promises to be as fulfilling as all these people think… well, what the heck, right?
I want to be a quirky, creative artist. And I want to be brave about the quirkiness, about the art. I want to drop the mic so bad. You know, like after I get the courage to actually pick it up.
Back to New Years resolutions… I know what you’re thinking. You’re STILL working on those! It’s July! B-O-R-I-N-G. And you would be right. I am.
I set out this year to soak up creative people mojo, to absorb them, to osmosis-ly grow brave, because that is what creativity requires.
My teenage years scared the weird out of me. Now I have a snarky mean girl on my shoulder telling me how lame this or that is. I cling to social constructs. It’s hard to unlearn.
But I miss my weird. I want my weird back. I’m working on that, committed to being open-minded. So I’m doing stuff that makes me open-minded-ish. Like seeking out the artists.
Where is the line of open-minded and just knowing what’s vulgarbase atrocious yuck. Do I have to “appreciate” art I can’t stand just because it’s art?
Fashion, for instance. Is that God-awful runway outfit valuable because it’s part of a new fall line? (I actually have no idea what I’m talking about because fashion confounds me. Yes. Choosing this analogy was a dumb. Onward.)
I like poetry. And bravery. So I like poetry readings. Watching them, I mean. Because I like other people’s bravery.
So, a friend and I go to a little bookshop for a poetry reading. (someday, I will graduate to doing these kinds of things alone). A man approaches the mic. He looks like my old neighbor, the accountant. His name was maybe Doug or Peter. He even stands like maybe-Doug-or-Peter… staunch, slovenly but confident. The I-could-care-less-what-you-think-and-therefore-don’t-shave look.
When the poet speaks, the words pirouette. They’re fluid, a puzzle of sounds. Subtle rhyme from line to every other line. His pace is halting, rushing, pulling back. A tide. I hunch in my seat for what promises to be a work of magnificence.
But it is all about a stream of “piss”.
Okay okay. Suspend judgement. I think. This is celebrated literary art. Open-minded, remember?
The man proceeds to describe a penis, words sashaying together. Words like flaccid, fleshy. Um…
I’m trying not to retract. It’s a siege for my prim mind. Stay present, I tell myself but I can’t help wondering if this guy is somehow related to my old neighbor. I have no idea what ever happened to that guy. Didn’t he move to New Mexico?
The poem is building to a crescendo.
What does this guy do with his days? I muse. Is he an accountant or cable company representative or professor? Does he have a wife who raves about his vivid descriptions of male genitalia, who discusses his work over a glass of Malbec?
Piss. Piss. Piss. It’s every other word. The mother in me winces.
Art is supposed to make us feel something. Conflicted, disgusted, confused? So, is this success?
And yet, I feel wrong about it. Like I’m getting it all wrong. Fine art has a clever way of projecting its own insecurity onto me. Like, am I just too shallow to get this? Am I just too foolish to see the emperor’s clothes? Surely, there is a social theme here that, if I were more scholarly, I’d pick up. What does the penis represent? The hand around it? The peeing? Or is it only acclaimed because it’s gross, because it pushes the line of social etiquette? So its graphic nature makes it raw, groundbreaking. Is that what we’re going for here?
Artists have the self-appointed obligation to scoff at hoi polloi opinion. Artists are more evolved, both more and less desensitized, and the masses are asses. Pollock, Warhol, Picasso. Marilyn Manson, Jimmy Fallon, Lady Gaga, penis-obsessed poet. It’s all art.
There’s a panel out there deciding what art is fine and what’s commercial. Those people have art degrees. And there are people who probably “appreciate” it, even if they don’t like it, because that’s what they’re supposed to do. Especially if only a distinct population likes it. Commercial success is the demise of the edgy artist. They’re not starving for their art.
The bigger the audience, the less fine the art. But what is art without an audience? And who decides this stuff? Obviously, not people like me.
There. That’s what I mean. Kind of. I think.
After the reading, a fellow audience member asked what I thought. Do you think I told him that I was honestly just grossed out? Nope. I said something like “interesting” or “different” or “the prose were elegant.” Because I’m not even brave enough to be the one to point out that the emperor has no clothes! Ack!
(I started this blog a couple of days ago and then, well… you know, I put it aside. Procrastination, you old nemesis! 2017 is going to be on your a$$!)
Pre-New Year’s Eve Post
Now is a good time to eat pie. Because pretty soon, my New Year resolutions won’t allow it. After the cooking and serving and saran-wrapping, you can’t see the fridge light. And then, eating leftovers becomes a bit of a goal. Each Tupperware emptied, an accomplishment. You can see how this line of thinking gets out of hand. I am nothing if not goal-oriented, for some suuuper important things, like emptying the fridge.
Soon will NOT be the time to eat pie, it will be to deny thyself. Whether it be donuts, laziness or procrastination, the New Year is about doing what you don’t want to do (like an early morning run) and not doing what you want to do (like eat ice cream and watch Westworld until 2am). Ah, the constant battle that divides doers and, well, non-doers.
I’m ready (after I finish this piece of pie) to hit the ground running. I’ll spend the next couple of days writing what I call resolutions but are really goals. There’s an important difference. Resolutions say “do better”. Goals say “here is a step to do better”. So I don’t do resolutions. I DO goals. But I really like the word “resolution” so I still use it.
Now it’s time to flurry into action putting away my Clark Griswold Christmas because 2017 doesn’t have room for that kind of chaos! Continue reading →
It’s that time of year again for us creative types. NaNoWriMo, you ask? Um… actually I meant Halloween, creativity fodder.
(For those not down with the quasi-acronym, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. November, the month in which we writer-folk try, or think about trying, to write a book in 30 creatively-fertile and frenzied days.)
Every year I think. Yeah, NaNoWriMo! I should totally do that! And then I look at my to do list and realize I need spray paint and fabric and well, that’s super important, because you know… costumes.