Anxiety + Creativity

A bulleted list as it appeared in my phone notes; brought to you unedited to further that closed-in anxious vibe.

  • The curse of social media—mostly Instagram. Comparison. Seeing other artists create and “succeed” making things you know you should be making or better by this point.
  • Comparing years of experience and dormant plans to others that seem…yes seem…to have it all together in a year. 50K followers. Admiration, steady income. Good lighting and a highlight reel that you just don’t have.
  • But, your brain, oh your brain is a virtual feast of creativity. The ideas you’ve never realized are so much better than theirs. But the thought doesn’t count, motherfucker. Make. That’s what counts.
  • Too many ideas resulting in paralysis.
  • The time though? When is there the time when you must focus on your health and your shitty guts and packing school lunches and going to teacher meetings and vacuuming the floor and finally maybe considering fixing the windows or the siding or the many crumbling parts of your house. Or spending a grand on your elderly dog that you love too much. Or going to concerts and relaxing and feeling ok about relaxing instead of guilty.
  • Having writing ideas and sitting down and producing nothing.
  • Or getting sick in the midst of research and a surge of creative juices only to spend the rest of the day vomiting and woozy wondering what you ate and sleeping the day and evening away instead.
  • Going back to work and being so overloaded with the work of others that takes priority because it pays your bills (when you remember to) and keeps food in your mouth.
  • The anxiety of not even remembering to frantically type this into the notepad of your phone in time before the big fish swims away to the sea and the thought is lost forever.
  • Not being able to celebrate the small victories when they do come.
  • The anxiety that writing this as a blog post on a blog that barely anyone reads is a waste of time when it could be energy expended on producing those ideas that are beating the back of our eyes with a shovel day after day.
Advertisements

Weekend Warrior

How much living and creating can I fit in to the weekend? Apparently a lot.
Yesterday was a trip to Cleveland with the purpose of seeing Glassjaw. We haven’t been to House of Blues Cleveland in over 10 years, the last show having been Silverchair on their Young Modern tour. The venue was as nice as we had remembered and a friendly bartender even let us in early. I felt comfortable and tipsy and a-okay.

Here’s some photos from Cleveland/the show—

*     *     *

NanoWriMo is slow going, for sure, but I’m so proud of  the chapter that I churned out today given how exhausted I am after Saturday. I feel like it is so much stronger than how I started. I will likely scrap everything before it and use it as my opener. I also find that listening to Nine Inch Nails “Ghosts” while writing is exactly what I needed to really propel me into the appropriate mindset thematically.

*     *     *

We had lunch at my parents’ house today, and my dad gifted Eliot a hand-me-down writing desk that he is mad stoked on right now.


Overall, a healthy balance of creative productivity and mindless fun this weekend. Good stuff.

Jeez, Louise! Joy in existing.

  1. Who am I?
  2. If I had just 4 months to live, how would I spend that time?
  3. What would I like to have contributed when life my life is complete?

Three questions posed by the Rich Roll podcast. Three pretty obvious “la la woo woo new agey self development” questions. Maybe not? To me, at least. I’m no stranger to that woo woo shit. But, are you surprised that these three questions absolutely fucking paralyze me? Especially that “who am I?”—who is anyone? FUCK.

I try consciously to notice love and joy in every moment of the day (I’m looking at you sweet ‘lil chirping birds in the trees outside the Children’s Museum this morning), but I also get easily caught up in negativity and expectation (both societal and self imposed). My emotions fluctuate a lot in day, hell, in a hour sometimes. Digressssss. During this podcast, there was mention of the things that stirred happiness in your six-year-old self. I suppose that’s a good jumping point from my gravy brain, so I am going to attempt to suss some of this out.

As a six-year-old, I was talking to trees. I was standing on stumps and singing to grass. I was outside a lot. I was riding a bike (I want a new bike—this is something recently on my mind). I drew pictures of super tall women and portraits of my family. I watched movies and kept to myself a lot. I wrote in my diary. I recorded songs from the radio onto cassette tape. I begged my mom to buy me poster boards from the grocery store and I would spend an entire afternoon making a GIANT collage from old Metropolitan Home magazines (We lived in a trailer; I resented the shit out of this magazine and I know my mom never willingly subscribed to it. There was this weird time bubble in the 80s and 90s when magazines just appeared at your fucking house—it’s a fact).

The past couple of nights Eliot and I have spent an hour or so working on collages made from old National Geographic magazines Joe picked up at a yard sale (from the 80s, no less—I’m just putting that “coincidence” together at this moment). I found myself in that sweet spot where you lose time. Even cooler to get to experience it with your eight-year-old kid. (Will he sit down and write something like this one day?) I have a lot of ideas and feel cool about making simply for the sake of it.

I’ve been caught up the past couple of years in having a “plan” financially to get out of my day job. I’m not entirely divorced from that mindset, but it has almost always included a way to make money from art—not that I’m downing that—but it really helps you to lose the whole purpose of making art in the first place. I think most creative minds can attest to that. The making, the doing, has to be the first priority or the rest of it is just an inauthentic wank off fest.

To quote David Lynch: “Enjoy the doing. So many people do stuff but they don’t enjoy the doing of it. And I always say, that’s your life going by. It’s important to enjoy the doing of something. Jeez, Louise!”

So, I suppose I do find joy in making. Joy in existing. Joy in creating. Joy in expressing myself and convening with nature. Joy in consuming the art of others. I am pretty sure that answers all my questions in one. I’m not shocked they are all interconnected…I’m sure that’s the point of the entire exercise. I need to do all or part of these things every day with that intention alone—joy.

How do these questions make you feel?

I Drew A Picture of My Food – “Tuna” Noodle Casserole

tuna-1

Full recipe view

tuna 2.jpg

Instructions close up.

Spent a little longer drawing and coloring this one (colored pencil, Sharpie, ballpoint pen, on Moleskine sketchpad). I thought it would be rad to take a more comic book approach to the illustrated recipes I’ve been doing.

Classic recipes with a twist. Gotta love that comfort food. It’s also way easier to get my kid to eat when I make stuff like this. I have recently made the transition to almost entirely plant based, so this one is vegan AND gluten free to accommodate some of the most fickle guts. (Expect vegan and gluten free stuff going forward.) Yeehaw! I’m hoping the measurements are ok. I apologize if some of them are off at all. That is something about my own recipes I need to get in the habit of doing, ya know, measuring. I cook very intuitively, but if I want to share those recipes with people, I am going to have to get more precise. Workin’ on that. Enjoy!

Bright & Busy – Personal Style Evolution & Art Inspiration

I’ve been working on a lot of commission work lately, so the other night I took some time to work on updating my own denim jacket. A close friend sewed me a new patch and I had a couple vintage patches I’ve been sitting on for a few years (yikes!) that really needed a new home. I love that jacket. I bought it for maybe $10 at Avalon Exchange in Oakland (Pittsburgh, PA) in maybe 2004. Memory is fuzzy about the nitty gritty (pointless) details, but I remember picking it up and seeing the moon and star buttons like it was yesterday. I have such distinct memories of combing the racks of that store. I was in an intense Morrissey phase at the time (some things never change, just evolve a bit), so I was on an obsessive mission to find the perfect denim jacket.

237c5da79bb5f9b81967a87168976714

Mega babe inspiration.

DSCN0010.JPG

My own patch in the middle I’m pretty proud of. Still so much space to explore and fill on this thing.

I’ve always been more inspired by quirky and outcast men’s fashions than super girly style. Not to say I look at a beautiful feminine aesthetic and cringe, it just isn’t my go-to ensemble. The days I go super femme, I am not being completely honest with myself. I am open to experimentation, but I feel most comfortable in jackets, t-shirts, jeans, and flannel.

Another one of my clothing inspirations is Ryan Adams. Something about him feels like home. I cannot explain it, but he speaks to me on many levels. I’m pretty sure his influence on my life is painfully overplayed. I have the tattoos to prove it. Sorry, guys (no, I’m definitely not).

ry-ry

Ry at Newport Folk Festival, 2014, repping Terminator and the Canadian tuxedo.

Speaking of Ryan Adams, he shares a birthday with the late, great Gram Parsons. I’m sitting here sipping a glass of Riesling listening to The Guilded Palace of Sin by The Flying Burrito Brothers. Let’s talk about Mr. Parsons and the Nudie Suit and a style I’m in the mood of not only emulating, but creating and adapting to my own art style, as well.

03-gram-parsons-nudie-suit-timeline-bb11-style-2016-billboard-650

Gram in the Nudie Cohn original design.

These bright and bold designs have me so inspired, people. I’ve always had this style subconsciously on my radar, but, lately, I am particularly drawn to the vivid beauty. I’m not saying I want to start sewing polyester suits, but I am saying I want to start upcycling some thrifted and vintage pieces with lucid designs that scream: “I’M ALIVE, MOTHERFUCKER!” I’ve also just heard of Manuel Cuervas. I’m woefully behind, man.

Manuel-Cuevas_3907.jpg

Manuel Cuevas suits

manuel-jack-white-.png

Jack White in Manuel Cuevas garb.

When I was a kid, there were two things I always said I wanted to be when I grew up: a cartoonist and a fashion designer. Why not combine the two?

I Drew A Picture of My Food #1

Last night I made some pretty simple, pretty bangin’ crustless quiche. I had a half bunch of asparagus I really needed to use before it started the great slime. My favorite vegetable really does not age gracefully. Instead of your standard “here’s a picture of my food” I thought: I should draw a recipe. My brain is busy and glittery. I can’t help myself.

Ever heard of the Moosewood cookbook? I love that thing. My friend Betheny bought me a copy many moons ago and I’ve always thought how rad would it be to draw a cookbook.

dscn0003

My copy.

dscn0006

Exhibit A

dscn0005

Exhibit B

AND, here is my version of a hand drawn recipe. I drew it in the antique ledger that I had been journaling in for a bit because I just thought it looked cooler.

15231480_10154672265581897_101634407_o

15233800_10154672265491897_1599616829_o

The recipe itself was pretty straight forward. Gluten free, obviously, to accommodate my fickle guts. Also, vegetarian, but certainly not vegan. I used a feta, cheddar, parmesan cheese blend because that’s just what I had. I’m sure you could sub any veggies you have on hand. The parmesan crisps topping was from a bag I got to put on salads the last time I was at Kroger. Also, measurements are pretty loose. I cook very intuitively.

It was fun to experiment. I may stick to a more pen and ink approach next time, but I do enjoy adding the pops of color. Maybe I’ll dedicate a new sketch pad to it in the future. What do you think? Fun idea?

 

 

The Consumption!

I thought it might be cool to start perhaps a weekly / bi- weekly / monthly?? (dunno, still sussing this out) blog post about the books I’m reading, podcasts I’m listening to, music I’m obsessing over, etc. (you get the idea).

I have been doing a lot of podcast-listening these days. Perhaps it’s an escapist thing given the current fuckery of the world. Not perhaps. That’s definitely it. Especially given the nature of the media I am consuming on the daily. Aliens. Bigfoot. Skinwalkers. Werewolves. Witchcraft. Mothman. GIMME ALL THE CRYPTO.

15056461_921266268008118_746865614269243038_n

Example: A handsewn Mothman patch I sent to my friend Angela

Current podcasts in heavy rotation:

bizarrestates_feat

I love this misfit podcast. Jessica Chobot and Andrew Bowser highjack a corner of Nerdist studios and talk about weird shit, current events, bodily functions, and Junior Mints. They are at times irreverent and aimless, but I don’t mean that in a negative way. It’s refreshing to hear people sit around and bullshit about subjects that some people take far too seriously. It reminds me of my friends and I in high school and college lounging around and discussing theories and possibilities of the universe.

podcast

Recent obsession

The above, Astonishing Legends, I have been binging for the past week. They just wrapped up a four-part series about the Mothman. They also introduced me to the stories of Skinwalker Ranch. I am really surprised I had never heard of this place and the lore surrounding it, but I am now on a mission to read all the books referenced throughout the episodes about it. Speaking of books, this podcast is really great at sprinkling in really great reading suggestions for all-things-weird-obsessed folks like myself. Do check them out. I am also planning to start donating to their Patreon page which can be found here.

Current books I have lined up are in the same ilk as the above mentioned content (all of which I bought recently at a book sale to benefit the Mt. Wood Cemetery in Wheeling, WV).

facebook_event_1848768338671805-e1478099565563

Mt. Wood Cemetery photo from Facebook event page

dscn0056

Love Stephen King and this is a classic I didn’t have. Finally gonna get to read The Mist!

dscn0057

Alien abduction. Need I say more?

dscn0055

My friend Matt spotted this one. This is the real deal, y’all. (see below)

dscn0060

Just in case…

dscn0061

Thank god. I’ve always wondered.

Cool. This was fun!