Archive | August, 2009

Rules vs Fun

31 Aug

If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.

-Katherine Hepburn

I love this quote! My husband found it in a women’s clothing catalog that came in the mail last week and said I needed to paste it into my journal. It now resides just inside the front cover. It definitely belongs there.

Well, I’ve fallen behind a little bit on my goal to do a page in my journal each day. Not a huge surprise…”Life happens,” right?

Last week was a bit crazy with a two-day business trip to Arizona, celebrating my oldest son’s 19th birthday and preparing my first speech for my Public Speaking class.

Oh, well…Whatcha gonna do???

Start up again where I left off, right?

Here’s a couple of pages I did last week, though:

Technically, I didn’t hang this in a “public” community-type of place–I figured an open doodling invitation to myhusband and kids counted instead. They loved it, BTW!!!

Another page instructed me to color outside the lines. I took a 60s “free-love,” tye-dyed approach to it for some reason…and definitely had to use CRAYONS!

I also stapled a couple of pages together and poked holes in another page and discovered it’s a great way to work out my frustrations!

As an aside, I admit that I enjoyed a secret papier-mache sculpting session last week… just for fun. I happen to love any art that incorporates paper. There is something particularly enjoyable and soothing about the texture of slimy newspaper. (Although for some reason, the feeling of sticky bread dough in between my fingers makes my skin crawl–go figure!)

I’m too embarrassed to post a  picture of my modern art “sculpture” here, but suffice it to say that it resembles a headless, armless, legless and very pregnant Venus of Willendorf. Not sure where that image came from–deep in my psyche apparently. Art can be a bit scary at times, especially when we surprise ourselves by revealing something we didn’t know we wanted to reveal.

Papier-mache is  French for “chewed up paper”, BTW. I find that fact amusing considering my experience of chewing up a journal page and scraping off strips of sticky wallpaper backing last week. A connection me thinks…

All I know is that I feel happier even if I just take ten minutes each day to do something creative.

I think that using the typical excuse of “Life Happens” limits my creativity. It is a weak attempt to get myself off the hook. But I don’t want to make excuses for myself anymore! Creativity is a reward, a form of self-love. I’m going to try to use the phrase “Creativity Happens” more often and see what happens.

I feel some zany and bizarre outbursts coming on…:-)

The Power of a Paper Chain

24 Aug

For this page, I couldn’t cut the page into strips and make just ANY old paper chain. Perfectionist that I am, I had to give it some color and find a way to make the paper chain into something truly meaningful, something artistic, something metaphoric maybe? I noticed that there were 20 strips. Something needed to be written on the strips…maybe the months of the year–I could write the name of each month and rip off a strip to mark each month that I stuck with my creativity goals for the next year, maybe. But that would leave eight strips without any writing on them. No, that wouldn’t do. What could I write 20 of?

Eureka! In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron lists 20 Creative Affirmations. Perfect! In tiny print, I wrote each affirmation, colored them with my Pentel markers and looped them together in ROYGBIV order. Nice!!!

 Then I attached the chain to the page and looped it around the outside of the book as a constant reminder that creativity is an ongoing process–a succession, a sequence, a string of courageous actions that build upon, link and entwine with one another.

Creative Affirmations (From The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron)

  1. I am a channel for God’s creativity, and my work comes to good.
  2. My dreams come from God and God has the power to accomplish them.
  3. As I create and listen, I will be led.
  4. Creativity is the creator’s will for me.
  5. My creativity heals myself and others.
  6. I am allowed to nurture my artist.
  7. Through the use of a few simple tools, my creativity will flourish.
  8. Through the use of my creativity, I serve God.
  9. My creativity always leads me to truth and love.
  10. My creativity leads me to forgiveness and self-forgiveness.
  11. There is a divine plan of goodness for me.
  12. There is a divine plan of goodness for my work.
  13. As I listen to the creator within, I am led.
  14. As I listen to my creativity I am led to my creator.
  15. I am willing to create.
  16. I am willing to learn to let myself create.
  17. I am willing to let God create through me.
  18. I am willing to be of service through my creativity.
  19. I am willing to experience my creative energy.
  20. I am willing to use my creative talents.

The Joy of Reckless Abandon

24 Aug

Because I’ve been turning to pages randomly, I didn’t realize until I completed this page on Friday that Wreck This Journal comes with a WARNING statement at the opening of the book. It states:

During the process of this book you will get dirty. You may find yourself covered in paint, or any other number of foreign substances. You will get wet. You may be asked to do things you question. You may grieve for the perfect state that you found the book in. You may begin to see creative destruction everywhere. You may begin to live more recklessly.

Well, that explains my nearly uncontrollable actions this past week doesn’t it???

I was also thrilled to see on Keri Smith’s acknowledgment page a dedication to perfectionists all over the world and a thank you to Brenda Ueland–one of the people “whose ideas and perceptions continue to rip [her] wide open.” (That’s one way to put it!) Brenda Ueland happens to be one of MY favorites, too! She was a very spunky writer and the author of If You Want to Write–my favorite book on writing and the creative process. Now I feel like I have two more connections endearing me to the author of Wreck This Journal.

And not only that, my other sister, Darcy is going to join in on the fun! She couldn’t resist buying Wreck This Journal, too. Time for a book par-tay! Wahoo!

Scrubbing

21 Aug

 

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, let me assure you that I did not traumatize my 6-year old son by ruining his cookie dough fund raising materials. I just about grabbed his packet first but thought better of it at the last second. Once he saw how much fun my daughter and I were having destroying her packet, he gladly offered up his and joined in on the paper thrashing.

Let me just say here too how much I hate certain types of school fundraisers–particularly the ones that exploit our young children and lead them to believe that they could EVER sell enough cookie dough to earn a limosine ride. How cruel IS that, really? Not to mention how cruel it is to expect an already overloaded mom to take her child door-to-door in a neighborhood with 50 other kids who are doing the exact same thing. I’d much rather just send the school a check for $50 knowing they will get ALL of the proceeds instead of just a small portion. AARRGGHH! Done ranting now… 

See what this book is doing to me? It’s making me snarky. I told you it was going to get me into trouble…;-)

Yesterday’s “Scrub This Page” was really fun, BTW. I got out the Comet and a sponge and went at it. The black ink and paper started rubbing off. Then I took a soapy nail brush to it and scrubbed so hard, I ripped a couple of holes in the page. I also used white nail polish to paint synonyms to the word “scrub” across the top and bottom of the page.

Next thing I knew, I had a very strong urge to take on a home decorating project that has needed to be done for quite some time. I went into my main floor bathroom, began ripping the wallpaper off the wall and spent the next several hours spraying and scraping off wallpaper backing. It was a very satisfactory feeling, indeed, to rip and scrub and make such a mess of things!

When my girls came home from school, they were amazed. I NEVER do things like this. The world as they knew it had been upended for a moment–until I asked them if they wanted to join in on the fun. Guess what their answer was?

What I’m discovering from this experiment already is that when you give yourself permission to play, to create, to break the rules, to LIVE, you give other people permission to do the same.

(And that goes for our rowdy Yorkie puppy, Jonas, too–who gladly ripped apart a roll of toilet paper and TPeed the bathroom while we were doing this project!)

Chew on This!

20 Aug

Well, this is the page I opened up to yesterday…Kind of gives a new meaning to the idea of “having a taste for books,” doesn’t it? I’ve always loved the smell of books, but now I KNOW they don’t taste as good as they smell! The hardest parts about chewing on the page was keeping my gag reflex in check and manuevering the chomping in such a way that I wouldn’t get a paper cut in the corners of my mouth. Now THAT would hurt…

I have to say that doing these creative (or destructive) exercises is already freeing me in other areas of my life. Yesterday my elementary-aged son and daughter came home from school with their cookie dough fund-raising packets. My 6-year old son was eager to tell me all about it and was absolutely convinced he was going to be the one to win the grand prize–a limosine ride. My 10-year old daughter, on the other hand, looked quite dismal.

She asked, “Mom, do I HAVE to sell cookie dough?”

I looked her straight in the eye and said, “Nope. Let me see that packet.”

She handed it to me and I promptly tossed it on the ground. “We can even stomp on it if you want to,” I offered.

She looked at me in amazement. “Really?”

“Really! Go for it!”

We took turns stomping on the packet, then found other ways to deface it like tearing it up, smearing it in the mud and pouring water on it.

This book is going to get me into a lot of trouble… 😉

Ideas Are Brewing…

19 Aug

I think I’m getting some ideas of what I really want to do for my little year long “project.”

I had a really good talk with my sister Tracey on Monday about how I desperately want to focus on my creativity (or dearth thereof) and how I’m dying to do something rebellious for once. She told me that she had bought a copy of Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith some months ago but didn’t have the guts to do anything with it.

I remembered checking that book out of the library myself this past year and laughing at the suggestions inside when I read them. But since it was a library book, I couldn’t possibly follow through with what seemed like the equivalent of literary sabotage and sacrilege.

Tracey said if I bought a copy of the book that she would do the creatively destructive activities with me. And so I took her up on the challenge and bought the book for $12 yesterday at Tattered Cover, my local neighborhood bookstore. It was the only copy on the shelf so it must have been serendipity for me to come along and buy it ;-)!

Next I went to my library and checked out another of Keri Smith’s books, How To Be An Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum. While I was taking the book off of the shelf, I couldn’t help but notice the other titles nearby and slipped three more titles into my book bag:

  • The Sound of Paper: Starting from Scratch by Julia Cameron
  • Getting Unstuck Without Coming Unglued: A Woman’s Guide to Unblocking Creativity by Susan O’Doherty
  • Make Your Creative Dreams Real: A Plan for Procrastinators, Perfectionists, Busy People, and People Who Would Really Rather Sleep All Day by Sark

Hmmm….What fun!

When I got home, I pulled my copy of  The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron off my bookshelf and spread my wealth of books out on the dining room table. I also went to Keri Smith’s website and printed “The Artist’s Survival Kit” onto brightly colored cardstock.

I couldn’t wait to try the first exercise in Wreck This Journal and so I randomly opened it to a page that commanded me to tear it into strips. I decided I needed to decorate the strips first before tearing them so I drew fun designs and wrote encouraging messages to myself such as:

  • Go ahead and do something naughty for once!
  • Raise some eyebrows OK??
  • Just do it!
  • “I think, therefore I am” — Rene Descartes

Then I started ripping…MWAH, HAH, HAH! What freedom! What exhilaration in mischief! What delight in being disobedient!

I’m going to do a page every day!!! Yahoo!

Will You Wreck This Journal With Me?

18 Aug

Okay, Beeb. I did it. I went out today and bought a copy of Wreck This Journal. The bet is on, Sis!!!! 1…2…3…Open randomly to any page and do what it says and I’ll do the same. Ready…set…GO!!!!!

Now you must take a picture of the page and send it to me to prove that you did . I’ll post my results here!

Anybody else want to join the fun? Check out www.kerismith.com and www.wreckthisjournal.com to see what we’re talking about :-)!