What chooses you?

Another quick coffee shop perspective; ideas flow; housemade chai at this place.

Another quick coffee shop perspective; ideas flow; housemade chai at this place.

I like to think about creative works coming into your life and taking residence. You hem and haw about how best to serve those ideas--what's your medium, how sound it look or sound? Here's an article about What Chooses You. Enjoy and think about how creative projects tend to take a life of their own once you've accepted their fellowship in your bones.

Writing Advice from a Pro

I always love a good writer's interview, packed with tips and how-to's. Such articles always inspire and reaffirm little habits. Passing along an article about Jesmyn Ward. It starts...

 

When Jesmyn Ward was a young girl growing up near the Mississippi Gulf Coast, she said she didn’t see herself or other young people of color reflected in literature. She grew up to write those books herself and has won two National Book Awards and a MacArthur “genius” grant doing so. Her latest novel, “Sing, Unburied, Sing,” tells the story of a rural Mississippi family haunted by its personal past and the larger history of the place.

— PBS News Hour, "Jesmyn Ward shares the best writing advice she’s ever received"

Small Change/Watch the Ripple in Your Life

I took this photograph of very strange light pollution over the Cascade Mountain Range. I had never seen nighttime light like that before across this stretch of the mountains.

I took this photograph of very strange light pollution over the Cascade Mountain Range. I had never seen nighttime light like that before across this stretch of the mountains.

Some view change as a deep, dark secret or something to fear. Well, fear not, experts advise. Here is a short documentary from the New York Times on how changing one small habit can have a ripple effect. Have a happy new year and keep those resolutions.

Sad Blue, Happy Blue: Poet Rita Dove's Explanation on Folders + Other Inspiring Takes

Years upon years ago I wanted to drop everything in my life and go study poetry at the University of Virginia under the tutelage of Rita Dove. Well, that did not happen, but her as an inspiration still exists. I'm so happy to have found this interview with her. Drop in and drop out of the interview as needed. It's 33 minutes long. I like her explanation of writing and writing in drafts around minutes 4:00 to 6:00-something. She's so brilliant, grounded, and lovable at the same time.

mini montage

Tucked away with a manuscript. When I get out, here are some image highlights. Hope this finds you well. Humanity always rises up in times of suffering.

I love this little yoga studio in the woods. Search and rescue vehicles in the back. Someday, when life's a little less hectic, I will train to be an SAR wilderness volunteer. On the bucket list.

I love this little yoga studio in the woods. Search and rescue vehicles in the back. Someday, when life's a little less hectic, I will train to be an SAR wilderness volunteer. On the bucket list.

From a workshop on dendrochronology and wildfire. This tree dated to 400 years. I learned how to date a tree based on fire scars. The rings look like the mesas in Arizona or peaks of the Cascades. 

From a workshop on dendrochronology and wildfire. This tree dated to 400 years. I learned how to date a tree based on fire scars. The rings look like the mesas in Arizona or peaks of the Cascades. 

coffee shop random doodle. tiny notebooks work, too.

coffee shop random doodle. tiny notebooks work, too.

First Things First

A rare self-portrait: a sense of renewal in the summer of haze and smoke of wildfire. 2017.

A rare self-portrait: a sense of renewal in the summer of haze and smoke of wildfire. 2017.

I married a master tactician and analyst. He's brilliant; he's good at everything I am not. And I'm good at the skills or controls he lacks. We are yin and yang, a rare breed of a couple. He teaches me things he learns from reading Harvard Business Review, books written by M.I.T. professors, and living inside case studies. I teach him, well, you'd have to ask him. He'd say something smart ass, like how to burn toast or how to pick up dog poo.

I do like our walks and musings. What could a business analyst teach an artist? Something simple and easy to say. It goes like this: First Things First. I'll let you chew on that. 

He and I move at different paces but we both come back to one place in the end....

eclipse magic. and then this...

My photograph appeared on the front-page of The New York Times. I took a quick screenshot of it above the digital "fold." 

My photograph appeared on the front-page of The New York Times. I took a quick screenshot of it above the digital "fold." 

9:30 am Monday. I've been calling this the great eclipse "apocalypse." We made lots of jokes about the world ending. The merchandise, the emergency response plans, and the hype had been unprecedented along the "path of totality" [cue awesome drama music].

We sat on chunks of obsidian and oscillated our naked eyes between watching the light fade to wearing our NASA-approved glasses. Humans made a balancing rock sculpture. Dogs scratched at the ground. The blue hour descended with the quickness like never before.

When the eclipse got closer to totality, outside house lights switched on: the sensor had been tricked into (phantom) dusk. The bats flew and darted above our heads. The night birds sang. And we stood in darkness. Stunned. I felt like I was living inside a time-lapse camera. 

The hairs on my arms stood on guard. Chills down the spine. 

From deep in the forest, cheering and clapping erupted. Meanwhile, a dog remained vigilant at a nearby rock, staring and waiting for a golden-mantled squirrel to reappear. 

"Good job, pups, you made the squirrel miss the eclipse," said the huz. One dog, who has a great Arctic Fox hunting pounce, looked up at him and then went back the prey's arrival.

"Okay," he said. "Back to work. The world is still here." We all walked back to our daily life with the sun opening up to its full potential and the glasses tucked in our pockets. The house lights had turned back off.

New York Times story here:  A Solar Eclipse's Journey Across America.

Thinking about Intelligence (a meta circular thing)

On a recent hike, my family and I discussed the types of intelligence. There are different variations of this theory. The theory we were working from included creativity, sexual, and sensual in its intelligence list. Howard Gardner's popular version, however, as illustrated below, doesn't include those categories. Harvard's Gardner includes naturalist and musical, Here's a quick recap of Gardner's work

We talked about each of our intelligence strengths. We first had to assess ourselves and then everyone else got to have their say on your "intelligence." (Cue random insults from a family of one-up out witting each other.) Result: none of us were the same. We're an eclectic bunch. They all agreed on my strongest intelligence as creativity (outside Gardner's intelligence, apparently). My daughter said, "It's because you're lovable and weird--I mean in a good way." Later that day, I'm not sure what I said, she said, "Mom, now you're being weird, and I mean that in a bad way." Intelligence is a spectrum.

And because I am the "creative" one in the family, they are used to me being armed with a load of graphic memoirs on long airplane trips or stacking them on the sofa table to read at night. Here is BookRiot's comprehensive list of some of the must-read graphic memoirs that I've adored. 

And that's an abrupt ending to a blog post. Shazam.

with a sliver of time, little wins

When a child's wonder catches my eye...

When a child's wonder catches my eye...


But the combination of movement and stillness enables you to unleash your creativity in all directions—wherever the power of your attention takes you.
— Deepak Chopra

I  have hit a new speed with a creative project: the sliver of three, uninterrupted hours a day has made all the difference in the world. It's unleashed creative output at a speed that I haven't known before. Rest and attention are paramount to tapping into the images and stories in my mind. So fun.

A Brief Break

It's that time of year again to take a break from digital life and delve into creative noodling, finish up some deadlines, arrange new timelines, and watch things grow. I look forward to coming back with new adventures in graphic novels, sketches, inspirational passages, and whatever else I come across that hits me in the creative mind-gut. Have a good one. Find the quiet to feel the poetry....

Sketching day at an alpine lake. A good day, yes.

Being my own field scientist: documenting random tree growth. My version of Walden.

Being my own field scientist: documenting random tree growth. My version of Walden.

The Bookstore Rule

My daughter had to pull me by the hand to the cash register. "It's time to go," she said. "You're dangerous in a bookstore; you get distracted and stop listening." I became the child in this instant. Ooops. 

We were late, and I wasn't paying attention. Blame Powell's City of Books for its selection and tall stacks. I spend as much on books as I would on an ottoman. We have a rule in our house: if you want a book, we'll buy the book. My kids never walk out of a bookstore without at least one. And they read it, hover over it, and stick it in their bedroom.                                          

Books tell stories to you (duh, of course), but they also say something about you in that space and time of your life. It goes both ways. I can look at my bookshelves and tell you my mental state, life happenings, and the importance of that book as it has a place in my life. They are almost like photographs except nobody can "see" how they matched an interior life episode. 

Here are some outtakes of books I mulled over, browsed, and couldn't wait to read: (I've hit the strange, illustrated book mode, again)...

IMG_0489.jpg

Another woman

and I went for this book at the same time. Nerd Alert in the Adult Graphic Novel section. 

found  

in the youth graphic novel section. 

My daughter, off to the side, decides if the Rookie Yearbook is worth the money. Her criticism: "It's busy; I don't know where to look. I can't focus. I'll just get frustrated." She passes on it. She's ten. 

My son leans and reads a military strategy book he picked up in the store. He's a middle-aged man in a tween body. 

found

young adult graphic novel section, again

if

I shop around people my age

I dislike

cereal but this isn't about the soggy-factor and milk. I took an image like this year's ago, so I think, aesthetically, I'm on the same page as the creative director. Trying it.