I feel like I just jumped off a bus and rolled onto a train track, narrowly escaping a train barreling by, only to discover that I landed in a pit full of crocodiles and miraculously, didn't get hurt. That is the level of relief and adrenaline this book gives me. That's probably kinda weird.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I finally finished reading a book I've been working on for what seems like forever. It's the third book in a series recommended by SAM (initials of the boy I'm dating- cue mushy "aww" noises). The book. Is. Crazy. The whole series is crazy. So crazy, HBO is turning it into a series airing in May, I think. It's got everything a daytime TV series needs to succeed: political intrigue, backstabbing, blackmail and bribery, incest and other sexual deviancies, war crimes, torture...all coupled alongside other characters who embody everything good and noble in the world. Those ones usually get killed, though. SAM's advice to me throughout the book was "don't get attached to anyone." That advice was generally given after I'd beg to know if one of my favorite characters is going to die.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
I started reading my Artist's Workbook last night. It's a project I started last Summer, but I put it on the back-burner. I bought the book after having a conversation with an artist friend of my mother's. I took a painting to her house looking for some advice on how to finish it, and she gave me advice about life simultaneously. She talked to me about fear of success as much as failure, fear of finishing something- the finality of it. She talked to me about how you can never make a painting worse by adding something- you can only ever make it better by trying something new. She recommended I pick up the Artist's Workbook as a way to open up my creativity. The next weekend, I made a mad dash to Border's.
In the opening chapter, it outlines two techniques. The first is a practice called "Morning Pages". It's an assignment asking each reader to write three pages, free-hand, first thing in the morning. The purpose is to clear out any fears, anxieties, trivial thoughts that consume you during the day, or anything that causes mental clutter. It's meant to be a virtual "trash bin" for your mind. The second assignment is called "Artist's Dates". These are solo activities that you go on once a week. They should be something that you'd otherwise convince yourself out of doing, and they have to be done alone. The book says you should look at them as you taking yourself out on a date. Treat yourself to something fun, nice, interesting, exciting, peaceful, quiet, whatever you need, once a week. Give yourself a break and go on a you-date.
Whenever I've heard someone say that they feel lost or too wrapped up in the wake of a breakup, the advice they're often given goes something like:
"You should really spend some time doing things you want to do. Be by yourself for a while."
That's all well and good, but it doesn't really say anything. It gives a vague direction that the individual should be alone, doing things. That leaves the already lonely/upset person with a feeling that they're still alone, and not even doing it right. One thing I've learned through leadership training is that experience by itself is fun, exciting, boring or neutral. Without intentional processing, that's about a deep as it gets. Any learning that comes from that experience is purely accidental, and oftentimes not the best lesson.
The advice to go out and do things is a good one. New experiences, especially ones that we've always wanted to do, or never knew we wanted to do, give us plenty of chances to learn new things about the world and ourselves. The learning part is what's next. That's why I like the Artist's Workbook's advice. Go out and do stuff, then write. Write even when you haven't done anything. Write every single morning and process what happened, what you want to happen, what didn't happen, everything. It'll get rid of the junk and leave space for the creative.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Some of my friends- some of the best people I know- have recently started blogging. Specifically, they've started blogging with the sole purpose of sharing themselves openly with others. This isn't something that comes easily for a lot of people. Sharing yourself is an act comprised of internal elements which tend to scare a lot of us off; I'm talking about courage, self-knowledge and acceptance, allowing others to see how you see the world. These actions open you up for both criticism and praise- which can also be off-putting and scary. I think for a lot of us, we build walls. Most of the time, these walls are built in response to some negative experience we've had. Unfortunately, the walls don't generally discriminate who they keep out, or who they hide us from. We may let a select few figure out how to get through our walls (only after proving themselves through vigorous tests), but the walls can't be targeted. And once they're up, it's tough to break them down.
Consider this blog an attempt to deconstruct my wall and open myself up to sharing. This blog is the Angry Bird to my Evil Pig castle.