Sunday, 26 January 2014

Advice to creatives: Rachel Power

There was a lot that Rachel Power said in her talk, 'Giving yourself permission to create' at the Big Hearted Business Conference 2013, that resonated with me. But one thing that keeps making me smile in recognition and further fuels my desire to create is this:
Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive and go do it, because the what the world needs is people who have come alive. 
A painter friend of mine recently told me that for her without art there is only shopping, and I completely understood what she meant. 
If we’re not producing something, we’re consuming something. For artists, writing or drawing or making music is what keeps us satisfied. Ignore that and you’ll end up spending way too much time in Ikea trying to fill that hole. It gets very expensive, and, worse still, when creative energy isn’t being used to make art, it can just as easily bend its talents to evil ends. When I’m not writing, I find my powers of imagination go to feeding my fears and anxieties instead, or to ugly bouts of self-scrutiny and criticism.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Who knew that my best budgeting strategy might be to indulge my creativity?

Saturday, 25 January 2014

creative inspiration and...massage?

I spent this afternoon with Sammi and Karen, and we watched some talks from last year's Big Hearted Business conference. Oh there was gold in them thar hills.

I need to think and process more about what we watched before I write about it, but suffice it to say I'm inspired to grab onto the creative entrepreneurial ideas that have been percolating in my head lately and try to make a go of it.

It may not seem related, but it is: I have just enrolled in an Introductory Massage course at the Australian College of Massage to see whether I'd like it enough to do a Certificate IV. You may wonder what that has to do with anything, but it's all part of my plan. My serene, relaxing plan. Bwa ha ahhh.

I'll explain later.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Advice to writers: Robin Hobb

I've been slowly reading through the reddit AMA (ask me anything) Robin Hobb did today. She is one of my absolute favourite writers and I am eternally indebted to Jennie for introducing us. Every time I read one of Hobb's books, and reading this AMA now, I just want to go and hide in the woods and write, write, write until my hands fall off.

I know I don't need to go to the woods to do this, and I'm not even sure where these mythical woods are, but it just seems like the sort of writing where you need to be locked away in a comfortable room with candlelight and reams of paper and a good pen. Off grid, as Kevin McCloud would say.

I'm not finished reading through it yet, but just got to this bit and thought it needed to be shared, as much to be a reminder to myself as anything:
Advice to new writers. First, just write. A lot. Second is Read. A Lot. And if you are in school, I’m not sure that you should major in How To Be A Writer. Instead, consider all the things you are interested in and go learn lots of things about rocks or history or mushrooms or the Abyssinians (I’m pretty sure I spelled that right.) Because editors and readers will ultimately forgive you errors in syntax or formatting a lot faster than they’ll forgive you for telling a boring story. And one last thing to do? Write some more. And then read yourself to sleep that night. 

Edit to add - ooh, this too! I've always been a bit discouraged by those writers who Have A Schedule, as I am the sort of person who detests schedules and submits to them unwillingly. So it heartens me to read:
Writing schedule. No, I'm afraid I don't have one. my computer gets turned on right after the coffeepot and it's the last thing I turn off at night. I flit in and out of my office, writing pages, doing the laundry, deleting paragraphs, clean the cat box, put the paragraphs back, and add three more pages, make notes to myself on where this seems to be going, and go weed the garden. This works for me. I will quote here my remarkable writing friend Vonda McIntyre. "There is no wrong way to write a book." So if this is very different from what you are doing, you are still fine.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Sweet gentility

Now that I'm all growed up, I quite like revisiting movies I loved as a child and seeing what I missed. When we moved to Papua New Guinea, we only had a few things on video to take with us (and the only TV available was ABC). So we got to know a certain collection of Looney Tunes cartoons really well, as well as the original Star Wars trilogy. When they re-released that trilogy and I went to see it in the cinema, I had many "ohhhhh so that's what that meant" moments. My brother and I had memorised the sound and cadence of the dialogue without having any idea of the meaning.

Mary Poppins was on last week (probably because of the release of Saving Mr Banks) and I found that although of course I remembered all the songs word for word, I'd missed a whole lot of the meaning. In the chalk picture holiday section, all I had noticed as a child were the animated penguins and the harried fox ("view hallooo!"). But listening to Mary and Bert's song, Jolly Holiday, I was struck by Mary's verse:
Oh it's a jolly holiday with you, Bert
Gentlemen like you are few
Though you're just a diamond in the rough, Bert
underneath your blood is blue.
You'd never think of pressing your advantage
Forbearance is the hallmark of your creed
A lady needn't fear when you are near
Your sweet gentility is crystal clear
Oh it's a jolly holiday with you, Bert
A jolly, jolly holiday with you!
That meant nothing to me as a child. And I found Dick van Dyke quite annoying. But as an adult, I am quite surprised at this reference to adult men and women's behaviour, and I like that Bert is obviously a gentleman. Apparently P.L. Travers was adamant there be no suggestion of romance between Mary and Bert (she didn't want this whole animated sequence either). But I do like the hints of extreme fondness and admiration between them. Old fashioned romance.

Could you imagine Mary Poppins letting any man get away with pressing his advantage? Certainly not!

I've also always wanted to go on a chalk picture holiday.