Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Day At The Movies...

Well, not actually a day at the movies... more a day at a video shoot.

I have friends in high places with good connections who enjoy hanging out with me. (yeah, it still surprises me every time I realize it). Several of these cool folk were working on this (still secret) video shoot Friday, and realized it would help them to have an extra body hanging around; you know: the Go-Fer, the extra pair of hands, eyes or ears, the "assistant".

Guess who THAT was? Yep. Just call me Queen of Duct Tape!

It took a little finagling as the spouse was out of town, so I had to get someone to come in and let the dogs out. Also, I had to remember to get up at 5:15 am, and be driving the freeways of San Francisco at 6. I managed well enough to be the first folk there. Gorgeous secret shooting location.

Worked whatever needed to be done for a long day: we started setting up at 7 am. and closed the door on the shoot to head home at 8 pm. But I got to hang out with some terribly cool bloggers, eat food that isn't on my diet (hush!), and observe the behind the scenes of shooting a video. Not every day you can say that.

Things I learned:
1. Duct Tape is a good thing.
2. Duct Tape is a bad thing.
3. For video, looks matters.
4. You need both hot water and soap to get grease off dishes. (OK you two, stop laughing!)
5. A great make up artist is a GREAT asset.
6. I should have gone to hair stylist school in my free time.
7. Great knives are so much better than good knives.
8. Light is a blessing and curse. Depends on where and when it arrives.
9. "Shoot" food is normally simple carbs.
10. Being able to recall the visual organization of a space is an asset.
11. When in doubt, smile.
12. When others are in doubt, smile more.
13. Drink enough water.
14. I really need to work on my "maps as a metaphor for life" post.

When the videos are posted online, I'll let you know.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

This is How It Began...

"Creativity, it has been said, consists largely of re-arranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know." George Kneller

NOTE: I worked on this for several hours Sunday, imagining it would be my Monday BlogHer post. By late Sunday night, I knew in it's current form it wouldn't cut it. I had had a great kernel of a concept Sunday morning, don't recall exactly what it was, but got way off the intended path. By Sunday night, I knew it wouldn't cut it; Monday I reworked parts of it into a passable article.

If you look back to the early days of the BlogHer website, you will find that I was a prolific poster. As I built blogrolls for my beat, kept up with "hobbies", and reached out through others' blogs for the best writers, I was constantly amazed by what I found. I spewed each find immediately onto the page like mental morning sickness. While my posts were frequent (at one point, almost every other day), they were small and a bit unfocused. I believe one post was exactly one sentence. A perfectly good sentence, but still...

What was happening?

I was teaching myself a new skill. While I was an experienced blogger and writer, I had always written in a personal style. Proselitizing for my corner of the blogosphere, I found myself inexperienced, uncertain, and unsure. I covered my wariness with a profusion of words hoping nobody noticed. It was a living lab experience in the creative process and I was rushing through the first phase: Blossoming. Fully engaged in learning the blogs and the process of sharing with you. It was fast, fun, easy, play.

Until I hit the wall.

I work with a remarkably talented group of editors. I am frequently in total awe of them. They write funny, focused, thoughtful, skilled articles beside which my own paled. Step two of creative learning set in: resistance. I was not worthy; these blog finds were not worthy; I didn't belong here.

Ah, resistance. The witch of the process, resistance is your inner-critic. She shows herself as boredom, frustration, and over thinking. Although we want her to be unwelcome, she is important to the process, acting as the Balance to the Blossoming. This is the point where work slows down or stops.

Resistance comes to visit early in the process and may revisit frequently. If you sit down and have a cup of tea with your Resistance, you will learn about yourself and your work. Resistance will have good ideas if you're willing to listen. She'll ask you: what if?

To me, she asked: what if you tried to focus your posts on a topic, linking several blogs together in some coherent way? The result was the format I often use in "round up" posts: Digging the Dirt, Knitting It Together and Crafting A Life. The partial title informs the reader and focuses the article, allowing me to search for a common thread or two among the blogs.

Relax into the work. Read blogs again. Write less but better. I was OK, but it started to feel too formulaic. I needed to shake things up a bit.

It was time for creative phase three. Anahatakatkin explained this step when she wrote about ping-ponging:
When I reach my resistance phase or in a sense a place of critical mass, I bounce to a new
material and a new perspective. ...The trick seems to be to move even more quickly and impulsively at this point. Remember your critic will be trying to grow but by using your impulsive instincts you learn to tame the critic
faster. With Ping Ponging you can gain a real momentum in the artwork and trick your brain into a new place. Change your focus ... Anything that will hone your intuitive creative eye and switch your perspective.
I think of this phase as Mixing It Up. New perspective lead to examining Podcasts and YouTube, Social Media and Etsy (well, etsy is coming). Recently it's lead to pieces like this one: more personal than anything I've written here the past. The process continues: Blossom, Question, Listen, Mix It Up. Breathe. Blossom, Question, Listen, Mix It Up. Breathe.

How does this apply to our hobbies?

How often do you find yourself rushing out to buy some new supply for an exciting project you've read about? Or tearing apart your stash to find that perfect thing you know you had? Yep. Blossoming.

How many unfinished projects have you hidden away? After beginning them, you lost steam. You moved on. You met resistance. Grab one of those projects, sit and have a discussion with it (tea truly helps). What do you need to do to move on with this?

How many of your projects have been a near-copy of something you've done before? (I will not put knitting socks in this category, though some people might.) Maybe it's time to mix things up a little.

Breathe. Cast on. Knit. Count. Bind off. Breathe.
Breathe. Iron. Cut. Stitch. Press. Breathe.
Breathe. Choose an image. Place. Journal. Breathe.
Breathe. Choose a green thing. Plant. Water. Grow. Breathe.

How do you define your personal creative path?


The Creative Process: Working with the 5 stages to Overcome Creative Resistance.

The Copywriter's Crucible: Why Creativity and Good Copywriting Comes in Waves.

Ajay's Writings on the Wall...A blogger's tips on keeping the creativity juices flowing.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Way It Goes..

I have so many blog ideas started that one would think I would be spitting these things out like they were watermelon seeds! Unfortunately, there is this gap between fabulous concept and brilliant shiny words. I'm working on it.


1. How LIFE is a lot like driving from a map. This one came to me driving home from BarCampBlock, which was what? a month ago? It's still stewing.

2. Anahatakatkin's Five states of the creative process. What do I think?

3. Can you be living a creative life if you are not creating? (OK, this one really needs to be worked on!)

4. Publicly committing to taking more pictures. Nothing like telling the world you're going to do something to make the guilt set in. Or, why do commitments to others rank higher than commitments to ourselves?

5. Plans for the next quarter. What I hope to accomplish and where I hope to be by the end of the year.

6. Day of the Dead art. I'm going to an exhibit at the Oakland Museum on this; the post will follow soon after.

7. Turning wool sweaters into cute handbags. The handbag is done, I just need to write it up. (and it's so cute!)



I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sunrise, Sept. 21, 2007
Sunrise, Sept. 21, 2007

Thank you all for your comments on having/keeping/making male friends as we get older. Seems many of us are feeling a void, but aren't quite sure how to bridge it. Let's keep our eyes open for opportunities and share them. K?

I'm looking back on this week and wondering where it went. OK, I did some paperwork and housework, but I truly can't imagine how I spent this week. I've noticed that not only have have I slacked in blogging, I've slacked in my photography. I'm at the same places, seeing the same things every day and my mind has gotten dull. In the right frame of mind, I could still find something to document; it's mental laziness!

Today I'm taking the dogs for a nice long walk at Pt. Pinole; my friend Janice and her dog Woody are joining us. I'm hoping that between the location, the canine interaction and the potentially great conversation we have, I am inspired to take some more shots. I'll be practicing "imperfect photography."

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I Am Not A Geek, But I'm A Girl...

I am not a Geek. I'm a writer and blogger; a crafter and artist. However, I live online as much as off, spending time playing with the newer social networks and reading about some of the more "techie" things to come along.

Call me a Geek-Wannabe.

With that in mind, when Kaliya Hamlin was talking at BlogHer's Unconference about the upcoming She's Geeky conference in the bay area, I listened. I asked if it was really a good fit for someone who isn't that geeky, but is a woman.

She affirmed that this would be a great way to network, a great way to talk about blogging, and a great way to get my "geeky" feet wet. I signed up. Later Kaliya asked me to help out with some of the organizational work; I grew from an attendee to part of the organizational team.

Wow.. talk about getting your feet wet!

It's OK. I'm going to be working on getting child care (if we need it), and coordinating room sharing at the hotels and ride shares around the bay and maybe to and from the airports. So just call me Ms. Hospitality!! Geekiness not required.

So, blogger babes, you're wondering what She's Geeky is all about.

She's Geeky
A Women's Tech (un)conference
October 22-23 in Mountain View, CA.

This event is designed to bring together women from a range of technology-focused disciplines who self identify as geeky. Our goal is to support skill exchange and learning between women working in diverse fields and to create a space for networking and talking about issues faced by women in technology.

Please pass on information about this (un)conference to any women who would enjoy attending and contributing to this event. If you are planning on attending, I'll see you there!! And now is a great time to register before prices go up at the end of September. There is a two step process 1)registering on the wiki & 2)paying via paypal.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Seeking the Yin and Yang

There must be a memo somewhere, but I never got it. Neither did some of friends. So I'll ask you and see if the pattern plays out:

How many guy friends do you have? More or fewer than you had in your 20s and 30s?

I've been muddling at odd moments lately that I really miss having guy friends. When I was in my 20s, I think I had more guy-pals than girl-pals. We'd meet at a bar to watch a game and drink a beer, they'd come over to eat and catch up on life. Sometimes we'd stay up until the wee hours of the morning talking about deep and serious subjects. Or maybe not so serious. Depends on the amount of alcohol consumed.

As we all got married, spouses got introduced and some added to the friendships while others started to drift away. Must admit it was hard to maintain a friendship of any kind when my friend's significant other didn't like me or my spouse. Maybe the opposite spouses weren't friendly, giving "the friends" little time together. Either way, across-sex friendships became challenging because of marriage. I have a feeling this has always been.

At this stage in many women's lives, they go on to have babies and concentrate on raising their family. The friends become like them: mommies and daddies. Families circle in on themselves. It's a survival method centuries old. It's instinct. We didn't do the kids thing; and many of our friends were those whose kids were grown or fairly independent.

Relationships still shrunk and got complicated. Still, they remained.

We moved to California 10 years ago and my whole life changed. For the first time I have girlfriends I can rely on; but all the guy-pals of my past are 2000 miles away. I haven't been able to make any new ones here.

I don't know if being part of a couple "marks" me as off-limits for friendship or if it's more simply that people already have friends and aren't looking to expand their circles. It's hard to break into any crowd; there seem to be limited opportunities for developing new friends across the sexual divide.

However, I am feeling the imbalance in my life. I've got too much yin and not enough yang.

Remarkably, I mentioned this to some internet friends the other day, and was surprised to find they are feeling this loss too. Yet we don't quite know how to get it back. Those of us who are married have spouses that don't seem to understand the feeling, either. The idea of a platonic relationship based upon similar interests and personalities? Between a woman and man? The spouses don't seem to get it. They can't imagine that we might have friendship needs that could best be served by another man. Not a girlfriend, not a spouse, but a guy-friend.

Do guys not need gal-pals to feel balanced? Do they expect their wives to complete all their female-contact needs? (And how silly is that??)

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Let's Plan a Cruise through the Northwest Passage!!

As I mentioned last week, I'm reading a trilogy about global warming by Kim Stanley Robinson. I just stopped at the point where they are participating in an annual regatta at the North Pole on MidSummer's Day. Yep. Open water at the ice caps.

It was probably because of this that I clicked through and read this article in the USA Today online with particular interest:

PARIS (AP) — Arctic ice has shrunk to the lowest level on record, new satellite images show, raising the possibility that the Northwest Passage that eluded famous explorers will become an open shipping lane.

The European Space Agency said nearly 200 satellite photos this month taken together showed an ice-free passage along northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland, and ice retreating to its lowest level since such images were first taken in 1978.

The waters are exposing unexplored resources, and vessels could trim thousands of miles from Europe to Asia by bypassing the Panama Canal. The seasonal ebb and flow of ice levels has already opened up a slim summer window for ships.

Leif Toudal Pedersen, of the Danish National Space Center, said that Arctic ice has shrunk to some 1 million square miles. The previous low was 1.5 million square miles, in 2005.

"The strong reduction in just one year certainly raises flags that the ice (in summer) may disappear much sooner than expected," Pedersen said in an ESA statement posted on its website Friday.

Pedersen said the extreme retreat this year suggested the passage could fully open sooner than expected — but ESA did not say when that might be. Efforts to contact ESA officials in Paris and Noordwik, the Netherlands, were unsuccessful Saturday.

A U.N. panel on climate change has predicted that polar regions could be virtually free of ice by the summer of 2070 because of rising temperatures and sea ice decline, ESA noted.

Russia, Norway, Denmark, Canada and the United States are among countries in a race to secure rights to the Arctic that heated up last month when Russia sent two small submarines to plant its national flag under the North Pole. A U.S. study has suggested as much as 25% of the world's undiscovered oil and gas could be hidden in the area.

Environmentalists fear increased maritime traffic and efforts to tap natural resources in the area could one day lead to oil spills and harm regional wildlife.

Until now, the passage has been expected to remain closed even during reduced ice cover by multiyear ice pack — sea ice that remains through one or more summers, ESA said.

Researcher Claes Ragner of Norway's Fridtjof Nansen Institute, which works on Arctic environmental and political issues, said for now, the new opening has only symbolic meaning for the future of sea transport.

"Routes between Scandinavia and Japan could be almost halved, and a stable and reliable route would mean a lot to certain regions," he said by phone. But even if the passage is opening up and polar ice continues to melt, it will take years for such routes to be regular, he said.

"It won't be ice-free all year around and it won't be a stable route all year," Ragner said. "The greatest wish for sea transportation is streamlined and stable routes."

"Shorter transport routes means less pollution if you can ship products from A to B on the shortest route," he said, "but the fact that the polar ice is melting away is not good for the world in that we're losing the Arctic and the animal life there."

The opening observed this week was not the most direct waterway, ESA said. That would be through northern Canada along the coast of Siberia, which remains partially blocked.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Creative Connections

Sign of Life #1 Signs of Life. Apparently, teens mourning the death of a feral cat they befriended. Something about this gives me hope. Weird, I know. I'll come back to this.

I was running through my BlogLines articles last week, when I saw that there was a new one up by Christine Kane. (I am a huge fan!) Went to read it, one of the "related readings" titles tickled my fancy, and I ended up at 17 Things I Know for Sure About Creativity. Go read it now, then come back and let me know which ones really speak to you.

For me (at the moment) its:

5. Creativity is Squiggley
8. Judgement Transmogrifies into Discernment When You're Creative.
14 - When you’re creating something, you really GET that all of the things that are supposed to matter so much don’t matter much at all.

I supposed I really have to add: 11. Blogging is creative.

When I'm "thinking like a blogger" I spend every minute of the day observing myself and my environment. Which moment will it be that defines today as special or unique? What is happening that it important? By observing I notice; by noticing I apply value and meaning; by applying value and meaning, I create.

Since I'm talking about a creative blog that has nothing to do with fiber, I'm going to point out two other fabulous creative blogs:

If you haven't already checked out keri smith's Wish Jar Journal, DO. Keri is a guerrilla artist in the nicest way possible. If you're bogged down with angst about creating, take any of her suggestions and she will cure you. (or you could become an accountant or something!)

Three years ago at Christmas, Elizabeth Perry could only draw stick figures. Then she was given a blank page journal, (I think grabbed her copy of Drawing On the Right Side Of Your Brain) and started sketching. She has posted a drawing every day since then at Wool Gathering.

I roomed one night with her at BlogHer06 and got to touch the actual journal. I don't think she quite understood the excitement of seeing the real thing over it's online representation, but that's OK. I was thrilled. (and she didn't even make me wear white gloves!)

For a glimpse of a brilliant and creative younger mind, you might want to check out Sarah Dopp's blog: Dopp Juice. Sarah is one of favorite folks: funny. open, energetic, and friggin' brilliant!! Her blog is all over the place, so simply admire the mind doing the work. She's much too young to be as talented as she is.

For myself, I'm in a "filling the well" stage. And a "moving on" stage in ways. Or "moving along"??

As long as I accept this, I'm happy exploring different creative expressions and attitudes. So I'll be taking a writing workshop and that singing workshop I mentioned last week. Becoming the explorer of expression.

I'm also considering starting a new group at Flickr called "Signs of Life". It would be similar to Good Graffiti in that it would any of the random and senseless acts that demonstrate that human beings still exist on this planet (along with all the animals in clothes who are fakin' it). The idea started perking when I saw the graffiti in the photo above. I'll write more about this soon, as I firm the idea up. In the meantime, keep your eye out for signs of life around you.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Green Grocery Bags

edited from a post at BlogHer.

September is National Sewing Month. Last year, I gave some guidance on the basics of sewing (here, here, here and here.) This year, let's apply those ideas. I've picked a favorite crafting activity of mine: sewing some kind of bag. It might be a simple grocery tote, a cute felted bag, or a real purse. There will even be some talk about what you might not want to do. But we'll be "baggy" all month!.

With everyone talking "green" and "recycled", I thought I'd start out with some suggestions for sewing your own Fabric Grocery Totes.

Writings under the faerie moon's pointed out simple directions at I found their .pdf instructions a little confusing, but they have a wonderful "how to" animation that answered all my questions. This is NOT my solution for a reuseable grocery bag, though. The MorsBag does not have a flat bottom, and packing groceries in this bag will be challenging. It will be a good bag, however, for Farmer's Markets, drug store runs, picking up a couple small things somewhere. Sorry. Didn't sew one of my own.

Classic Tote
A better option is at Make It Easy. The classic open tote. This design is offered free for personal use and is an example of the designs one can find in Hold It!! by Nancy Restuccia. I made my version with some "scrap" upholstery fabric to give it some class and strength. It's large enough to carry more than my standard grocery store paper bag, which might tempt me to overload it (by weight). Wider padded handles would help with this concern.
ReUsable Grocery Bag-stuffed
Which is why I think the BEST tutorial might be this one at U-Handbag blog. Not only does she explain how to sew a prefect curved gusset (the side panels), her instructions include a cute little bag cosy to carry the empty grocery bag in! Plus padded, comfy handles!! I made this one up in just a couple hours; and since I've figured the pattern out, I'll be making more!

Lisa has a monthly contest on her blog, and has set up a Flickr Group for people who have made her bags. Check it out!

Another take on the tote comes from Kawaii Crafter's blog: Zakka Life. She uses a large rice bag.

I hope these options encourage you to start sewing your own re-useable grocery bags (remember: holiday gift gifting time is just around the corner! Imagine making a bunch of these bags in which to present your presents... and passing the green grocery bag idea along!) I have set up a Flickr group so we can share our work.

Coming Next Week: Not So Green Bags and Fun Alternatives.
Today I'll blog my Tale of the Scale at Deb's Daily Distractions. I also blog at BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Invitation to Bloglandia Ball

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Bunsen. crossposted at BlogHer

Elizabeth Bunsen has sent out an invitation to an irresistable dance: The BlogLandia Ball.

The Date: September 26th (the full moon).

The Venue: Our Blogs

The Purpose:

Dancing, creativing and sharing.

The Dress:
now... about the "DRESS" (in any medium that suits you) - the dress wears YOU - your soul, your truest innermost SELF - fancy, casual, colorful, basic black... etc., - the "DRESS" is your personae at the Ball - BUT!!!!!!! - don't get hung up on these words - make something fun, surprise yourself, make several as your mood changes and the ideas flow... its not a contest but a co-mingling... together.
Who is already planning on attending?

Jungle Dream Pagoda has already chosen her stunning red dress...

Sunflower Wine's dress is a tribute to Sting's "Fields of Gold".

Calamity Kim is searching for her costume on Google Images.

Tinker Art hopes to find a fairy blogmother...

While Things and Stuff plays tribute with She Sachets with Sea Shells by the Sea Shore.

There is still plenty of time to design your own ball goddess. Will we see you there?

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Babbling about books: 40 Signs of Rain

I am not a scientist (a fact my husband will strongly agree with), but I love reading well-written work that has a scientific base. I may not push to hard to examine the theories in the text, I simply reading intelligent prose. One of the authors who I think does science well (for the smart but non-scientific) is Kim Stanley Robinson. And since the third book in his latest trilogy is out, I've given myself permission to start reading it.

Forty Signs of Rain
is a remarkably fast read given the introduction of various characters who will be around (I hope) for all three books. The book is primarily dealing with global warming and it's effects throughout the world. Sounds like a yawner, right?

It's not. That's what Robinson does best.

So far his book deals with the politics in Washington DC; the structure of the NSF; the intricate interplay between start-up research facilities and universities.

Still, there are Tibetan monks living on a flooding island off India and seeking assistance in the US.

There is a work-from-home dad who quite literally balances a toddler and political activism.

There is a scientist in love with game theory trying to find the woman of his dreams whom me met on a stuck elevator and rocked by Buddhist's lecture on science.

There is a mathematician-mother.

So when I'm not organizing my workroom, or researching an article for BlogHer, or (gosh) actually blogging, or walking the dogs, taking pictures, working out, or obsessing about the last month of regular season baseball, I'm reading this series.

And I suggest you read it too. If you like smart, engaging writing based only just into our own futures.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Move On From the Old


Taken at BarCampBlock in July. Then I liked the design. Today it's about the sentiment.

This was crossposted at BlogHer Sept, 3rd.

True confession: Last March I spent 5 days at the Claremont attending a surface design workshop with Rayna Gilman. It was wonderful: lots of play, great connections, things to build upon on my own. The supply list required me to pack 3 boxes with "stuff" for the class, which wasn't so wonderful, but since I love Rayna's work so much, I forgave her.

When I came home, those 3 boxes sat on a chair in our almost-entrance hall for 3 months because I didn't wish to bring that stuff into my workroom until there was dedicated (read organized) space in which to put it. But the room needs more than simply organizing; I need to admit that many of the "stash and supplies" that are stored there just are not ME anymore. They are taking up valuable space and keeping me stuck in a non-creative place.

June, I started the organizing process: tossing out items that were used, dried out, empty, useless. At some point, I felt comfortable moving the boxes out of the entrance and back into the workroom. After all I needed those boxes to use again.

I sorted a lot of stuff I will realistically never use labelling each box: fabric, beads, UFOs (unfinished objects) and yarn, ribbons, trims. Those four boxes are still sitting in my workroom blocking access to a number of drawers of supplies I could be using: dyes, paints, found objects. They sit partly because I see the monetary investment I made in them and cringe at simply giving them away, and partly because I'm not how to dispose of them aside from giving them to charity.

So instead of reducing the hidden clutter in my room, I've let it become a 4' tall cardboard "elephant in the room." I also have found myself walking into my workroom for whatever small supply I need (thread, scissors, tape measure) and immediately walking out. This is NOT a friendly-clutter situation. And I've got to either tackle it or put yellow "Crime Area" tape across the door.


First step: search the nets for suggestions that go beyond buying more plastic boxes to items that might actually make me feel better or give me some ideas exactly what to do.

I am not alone with my creative clutter-block. Last year a number of us cheered when the NY Times published an article Saying Yes to Mess. We loved quoting Jerrold Pollak:
Total organization is a futile attempt to deny and control the unpredictability of life. I live in a world of total clutter, advising on cases where you’d think from all the paper it’s the F.B.I. files on the Unabomber,” when, in fact, he said, it’s only “a person with a stiff neck.
John Nez (artist and author) applauded the research results explaining that his office isn't cluttered, it's creative. I love how he describes his organizational theory:
Actually I am very orderly. Except I'm the only one who knows the order. It's locked away in my mind in a sort of geographical location system. I successfully employ the studio GPS system of storing important papers and artwork. It's more based on location than category or date modified or anything else.
Alas, while I remember living with that kind of archeological clutter, that isn't my problem at the moment.

So I turned to Linda Dessau, who wrote Clutter & Creativity. She broke down the clutter into types: physical clutter, time clutter, mental clutter, emotional clutter, relationship clutter, then explains:
The clutter in the rest of your life blocks your communication – it’s just too hard to listen with your whole heart when there are layers of clutter in the way. This affects your inner listening as well – your ability to tune into your intuition, your “muse”.
Her quick quiz is supposed to help you understand if clutter might be a problem for you, (I scored a 38.. so there are problems but I can fix this!) and let you see the areas of your life where you might need to declutter and where the clutter is acceptable.

Moving on to her Clear the Clutter from your Creative Life tips. Nope. I'm occasionally forcing myself to work through the items and get them into boxes. I think I'm emotionally stuck at giving up the boxes. Maybe I need to take them to a guild meeting and see if I can sell some of this stuff. Or look for an Ebay agent to take them off my hands, sell them, and simply write me a small check when the dirty deed is done.

When you have realized that you are moving on from hobby to another, how do let your supplies move on? Do you have the space to store them? Do you have groups to donate them to? Do you feel guilty about the monetary investment you're "losing"? Or do simply refuse to admit that anything has really changed?

Additional reading:

Just One Quilt has started a Virtual Piggy Ban.

Annie is using an an old fashioned solution to quilters' stash busting: String Quilts.

Emelia, who knows she's staying put for a while, has a plan for stashbusting some of her yarn

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Finding the Chord...

OK. One perfectly free random thing about me that I haven't thought about in years: I used to a natural harmonizer. Before my first time through hearing a song, I could hear the harmony in the song. In bars and concerts, I'd be singing it. Probably in grocery stores, too.

It must have been an inborn trait. I could hear not just the melody but the entire chord. I could predict where the melody was going and know if the harmony should move with or against the tune. I understood and appreciated the complex harmonies of the Beach Boys later work or The Eagles tight 4 part harmonies. Don't even get me started on CSNY. I spent hours learning all the independant parts.

Anyone else recognize this?

Anyway, when music stopped being "musical".. with the spoken word of rap; with the electronically altered voices of pop; with music that often lacked complex instrumental arrangements or harmony at all, I quit listening to new music. Then, partly because of disagreements between the spouse and I about the style and volume of music, and partly for other reasons, I quit listening to music all together.

Those years of not listening had an unexpected effect: I lost my ear.

My ability to hear the cords has disappeared. And I've been trying to figure out how to find it again. Last week, I thought that the best way to redevelop my ear would be to try and find a way to get back to choral singing. Singing in a choir is all about chords and harmony. As an alto, it would be a guarantee that I'd at least be practicing harmony, I think. (and no, I'm not a member of a church, so don't suggest I join a church choir).

You know how they say that if ask for something specific the universe will try to provide it?

Happened again.

Last Friday I went to a luncheon that's held in a local "social/community" club. It was the first time I've actually been able to attend. The speaker was from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute which is opening it's doors at UC Berkeley. They will be offering two classes on Fridays beginning in October (one following the other with a break in between):

Finding Your Voice: Writing Deeper which intrigues me no end. I wish to improve my blogging skills considerably and a course like this might move me along.

AND.... tada:

Singing For Pure Joy: Choral singing!! I'm hoping that this will be a start for me refinding my God-given talent of a harmonious ear.

Hoping soon I will once again be finding the chord.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.