Tag Archives: Creativity

The Creative Catalyst

I’m not someone who has a lot of faith, but the little faith I do have, I put into searching for moments. And occasionally the moments that I seek, and that I desire, arrive.

Since returning home to Australia, my creativity has flatlined. Life has taken up the space where creativity grows, numerous half-finished projects before me with little insight into how they will be finished. Images of never achieving that to which I aspire gain greater clarity with each passing day. It’s as though I feel the gravitational spin of the earth more acutely and have a greater awareness that time is running out. But the act of writing something, anything, lately has brought me pain and I’ve wanted to avoid it. So, for the most part, I have.

SusanOrlean

The catalyst

The last week, I watched a short film. But it was not the subject matter that inspired me, but the experience. It stirred something in me. Like an old car – coughing, spluttering – my creative soul awoke. After hunting around for it, finding something that truly inspires me gives me such a thrill! Great ideas were released, unleashed, and my hand struggled to keep up the pace as they poured forth.

Inspiration = elation, energy, excitement

This new inspiration has produced great feelings of elation, energy and excitement. By opening myself up to new experiences, it proved a catalyst for unlocking the next layer, one that I had been labouring in vain to unlock for myself.

For me, creativity doesn’t work like that — something you can flip on with a switch. My creativity needs external input and action and laughter and sadness and elation and moments of brevity. Maybe that’s what it is I seek when I travel: Moments of magic, moments like this.

And so I dance: a choreographed movement of starting and stopping, of being inspired and searching for the inspiration, of squandering time and trying to improve my inner discipline. I’ve not known anything different. Only with each sequence comes greater urgency, greater force.

Hemingway

A new period of creativity

But right now, I am in tune with my own ability to create and I am celebrating being back in this space and being inspired. But this is not the easy part. Actually harnessing the energy to sit down and write is tough. It requires moments of reflection, development, problem solving, projection, discussion, revision. But it’s what I love to do. It’s what drives me. And I know I’m not alone in finding the whole process challenging.

I opened my ideas book to see I’ve already had at least ten other ideas of varying degrees of awesomeness, and they’re all worth pursuing in some fashion. So now, I’m switching off, plugging in to the world of my characters and trying to see where they will take me.

Taking Time Out to Enjoy the Small Victories

Earlier in the week, I posted about our new short film called ‘Neon San Francisco: the N Judah’.  And it’s outdone all of our (rather modest) expectations. We’ve been so fortunate to enjoy a spot on the front page of the SF Weekly, numerous high-profile mentions on Twitter (including from the @SFMTA_Muni, the Director of Transportation for SF @EdReiskin, and Lonely Planet US @LPUSAstaff), and tonight, we made it to the San Francisco page of the Huffington Post! Woot woot!

...and then we made it to the Huff Po SF!

…and then we made it to the Huff Po SF!

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Post #55: A Day in Pictures.

Post #55: A Day in Pictures

Today, I decided to take the day off.  Along with the American and his mate, we all watched the Euro 2012 games. Afterwards, we set out to wander around the city with the aim to have a picnic in the Marina.  The day off was much deserved and enjoyed.

Post #55: A Day in Pictures.

Sometimes I forget just how beautiful San Francisco is. All you have to do is just step outside. It was invigorating to spend the day outside exploring, appreciating the beautiful architecture and natural environment of the area.

In stark contrast to the rest of the Bay Area, June and July in The City seems to genuinely be the coldest months of the whole year. And today was your typical San Francisco summer day.  We wore our winter jackets, and sipped our bowls of coffee in North Beach to warm up.

Here’s a selection of what we saw along the way.

How was your Monday?

The Dhalies: Pleasing With You EP

Every day I am lucky enough to spend time with my marvellous husband, the American. And whilst I try not to sound like a total braggart, he inspires me. Every single day. He inspires me to create and live the way we want to.

Since the American resigned his post as a full-time golf pro, he’s been much happier and life is good. He’s creating a tonne, and has thrown himself into creating as much content as possible for his new (well, newly revamped) website at CommunistComics.com.

And so now, to the big news:

I wanted to share with you something we (very loosely me, more so the American’s doing) have been working on over the past month or so. The world premiere of our new EP! WOOOO!

Our new free downloadable EP! Yes, FREE!

We’ve called ourselves The Dhalies {DAH-lies}. And this is our first official offering to the music gods, called ‘Pleasing With You’. We recorded this in our living room/bedroom/studio in our box in the sky here in the big City and County of San Francisco.

We want to share this experience with you, and have made it available in a free download. Whoa! Catchy pop tunes for all! All tagged and ready for import into iTunes.

Now, the download can be a little tricky (until we are ‘in the money’ , we can’t afford the $50 hosting for MP3s a month!) , so we’ve hosted it offsite. Just follow the instructions, and you’ll be apples. I have done it myself, and can guarantee there’s no issue with any crazy pop ups or viruses, even though it looks a little dodgy. The bottom line is that it’s just not as straightforward as we’d like. So thanks for your patience in advance.

My favourite song is one called ‘Puppy Sale’. I came home from work one day, and my talented husband had written me a song! And it was about PUPPIES! Swoon.

And if you have some more time, check out James’ other stuff at Communist Comics: ‘Larry & Gary’, video of his comedy sets and he’s just about to upload a funny animated cartoon he made about a pizza tray. Pretty funny stuff…

I envy the American’s talent, and am so fortunate I get to create with him each and every day.

So… what did you think of our first EP?

I’d love your feedback on our first effort. There’s plenty we’d love to change or do over with better equipment, but nevertheless, we’re pretty proud of our effort. Well, I am so proud of the American — I can only claim some back up singing.

Yay for the Dhalies!

Link love

Upon doing my weekly catch-up of blogs, I stumbled across this on A Cup of Jo. The American and I laughed our butt off over this, because it’s spot on.

How Women See Colour v How Men See Colour

How women see colour v how men see colour

[Source: +GoldRush+, via A Cup of Jo]

In other blog love, I am IN LOVE with these images from artist Howard Schatz. I have always adored anything that’s ballet-inspired, and these underwater studies are unbelievable. The bloke’s a genius.

Colour palette of ladies

[Source: Howard Schatz via Thoughtful Day]

Beauty personified

[Source: Howard Schatz]

And you know when something makes it to Jeopardy, there’s no denying its existence. We were happy being ostriches about a certain reality TV show, but apparently, you need to at least know who the characters in Jersey Shore are in order to answer questions. So we watched some.

It. Was. The. Most. Horrendous. Show. I. Have. Ever. Seen. And I agree with this sentiment completely:

I hate the Jersey Shore. And you can quote me on that.

[Source: Abby Sharp via The Daily Dawdle]

It’s sad. I can never get those minutes back…

Radvent 2010 – Day 3: Writing

It’s day three of Princess Lasertron’s Radvent 2010 blogging project, and today we’re focusing on writing.

 

Radvent 2010 - Day 3

Radvent 2010 - tasks for Day 3

[Source: Princess Lasertron]

Write a letter of love to yourself to read in one year.

Dear Bec,

Face it: you are totally cool.  And you’re totally awesome. Being that was just two compliments bestowed upon you, I know that if you could blush, you would do so right now. So go on and be your awkward, bashful self in the face of praise, but make sure you accept the gift of praise when you receive it.  Particularly from others. They are doing something nice for you when they say thanks for your hard work, or that your crafty work is awesome etc.  And I know deep down you really enjoy hearing that you’re doing something right, and that someone has noticed. They wouldn’t say it if you didn’t deserve it.

I love how, with each passing year, you get more comfortable in your own skin. Knowing what I know and what you know, it’s getting easier to be you.  And that’s wonderful news! There will still be times when you feel as invisible, incredibly awkward and green as you did at 15. It’s just the way it is, and sometimes a reality check works in your favour. This awkwardness is a common theme with you and I think you should embrace it — people are obsessed with turning back the clock, and you get to do this on a daily basis!

Even though you still focus on the uncertainty of your character and the weight of ‘stuff’ (like where you’re heading, what you are doing and what you want), it is wise to be so. The American balances you so well, and in a world with infinite possibilities (and in a life and a mind that rejects structure), you find yourself yearning for more structure. It’s a nice change from your freewheeling nature of the past decade, and I know you’re interested to see where structure, discipline and planning take you. Your new job in the DA’s Office will whip you in shape and provide you with a great challenge. I know how excited you are about it and I’m excited for you.

Bridging both sides...

I think it’s marvellous the way you’re really starting to accept and participate in the concept of ‘holidays’. It has been years since you really put forth any effort, and your memories and experiences have suffered for it. So harness that desire to make the holidays a memorable occasion, even if things are still rather low-key and don’t turn out as planned. We can’t all have the bandwidth, time or resources that Martha Stewart does to make her tables look like this:

 

Holidays can be a little overwhelming...

[ Source: Martha Stewart]

And that’s okay. That’s not what the holidays are about for you (and don’t forget, Martha pays people to make her tables look like that…). It’s more about making an effort to separate it from every other day of your life. So don’t worry about what the super-low-key American says about not bothering — just go ahead and do what you want to make the day feel special. He will appreciate it even though he says he won’t ;)

2010's effort: Christmas lights

Remember how great it is when you are alone and tending to your own needs? Be it writing, curling up with a good book, creating, or simply singing along to your favourite songs when you’re in the bath. It’s bliss, but it’s also necessary. I encourage you to do more for yourself and take better care of your own body than you have been. Sacrificing the self for the good of others is an inherently female trait, and it’s certainly ingrained in you. So let’s make a compromise: before someone asks you for something, just pause. Consider it for a few seconds, and then respond. It’s okay to say no.

It's okay to say 'no'!

[Source: Martha Stewart]

I love your offbeat sense of humour, and your enthusiasm for new projects. I understand the struggles you have in keeping old projects going when motivation and inspiration has waned. Your talent lies in starting new things, and in revamping old ones: knowing what you’re good at is half the battle. So let’s get this crafty business ramped up and manufacturing things in 2011. How bout it?

Also, I really think you should make more of an effort to learn musical instruments. It’s never too late to gain enjoyment from such experiences, but you have to be prepared to work at it. A little each day and it can open up new worlds for you. Anytime you feel that paralysing fear of being heard when you sing, banish it! You’ve got a good voice and you’re holding yourself back. You and the American harmonize so well — I think you might well be on to something…

So just keep being yourself. You are offbeat and interesting, and there’s certainly not another person like you out there even if people think they recognise you. Your features are common, but your soul is not. Feign the confidence, the control until you have it; like they say, “Fake it till you make it”. Look how far it has gotten you already, miss! I’m very impressed.

I love how beautiful this city is!

From the 16-year-old version of yourself who returned home from a school trip and declared to your Mum, “I love San Francisco and I want to live there!” — and you are. You have achieved a dream, and overcome the infinite hurdles to do so. Well done! Now, what’s the next one? Take some time to reevaluate your goals.

Keep rising to the occasion and searching for your true passions.  Keep being inspired to create, keep challenging conventions, and keep your heart and mind open. There’s so much more to experience and to create, and you will become a better version of yourself with every revision.

You are amazing and I am so glad that we’re friends.

Heart,

me