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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Creativity and its other side


Thursday, November 03, 2005

the other side of creativity

For me, creative expression is the wind beneath my sails. It's what I do, how I feel good, how I express me. This comes through writing, sculpting or painting, but I have tested the waters shallowly in many mediums-- made a few quilts, sewed, done some macrame, tole painting. My creative expression shows up in my home, garden and lifestyle choices. When I explain who I am, being creative is high on the list.  

Lately I haven't done much sculpting but these are some of my clay sculptures. Most set in the attic as I have not been successful in selling them, but then I haven't put the effort into selling that I did into creating. I feel a mix of emotions about them and my other work-- a stack of paintings are up in that attic as well as 11 completed manuscripts on my hard drive (ranging from 85,000 to 140,000 words). I feel proud of what I have done-- finished works, skills learned-- but not so proud that I haven't worked harder to get them out into the world. I have done a lot of things in my years but marketing well is not one of them. It feels like a mix of failure and achievement when I think on my works. Like I let them down. 
 I don't have one clear reason for why I have not been better at doing what I see as the other part of creating. Some is not fitting the market. I can say that about the books at the time they were rejected-- those that ever got submitted. 
When we hope to trade our artistic work for someone else's dollars, we have to meet their needs. I don't blame the market when what I have done didn't succeed in that. But that's only part of it. Part of it is I haven't tried hard enough and this goes back to another part of creativity. We create it and then we put it out for the world to judge through sales, showings or even contests. These paintings, manuscripts and sculptures are pieces of me. They are my babies and when someone else looks at them and says pedestrian work, not enough interest to them, it's like they are saying it about me. 
An artist who has the whole package believes in their work, believes enough to get out there and send it again and again to publishers or to galleries. Maybe I'm not a true enough artist or maybe it goes back to the recent reading I received from the medium where she saw the negative patterns in my life. Number one was I didn't trust enough, that I felt I would lose whatever I gained; and number two was I didn't have enough belief in myself or my abilities. I would guess that's true of a lot of us and the way past it is to take the risks and keep taking them until the barrier is broken-- but the reason we don't goes back to the patterns. Sometimes not believing in my work is not a mistake. I mean it's not wise to kid myself on what I'm doing. I am not as gifted a painter as my friend at Golden Acorn. I don't know if I never quite developed the craft side of painting or just don't have the gifts, but it doesn't stop me from enjoying painting. It does cause me to often not show it to others. What ends up on the canvas has not yet been what I had seen in my mind. 
When I got online for the first time some years back, I learned how many people can write well. It was an eye-opener. The main difference between those who have published books and those who have not is at least to a degree marketing skills. I intellectually know the process, have read how-to books, talked to agents, other writers, but it is one thing to know what you should do and another to face your baby (and creative work is your baby) being rejected yet again. Wait a minute. Those characters were good. Didn't you laugh at that part? What was not to like? Sometimes an editor says you can change this or that and we'll consider again except either you can't do it or it goes against your sense of what the work was supposed to be about-- creative integrity vs marketing reality.
I am working on getting past these blocks. My problem has not been in having ideas or finishing my projects. Or maybe it is. Is it really finished stacked in a dusty, cobwebbed attic or will it only be finished when it has moved to someone else's hands?

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Dreams from 2005



For years I have gone through periods of time where I get dreams that are vivid, in story form, and applicable to either my life or creativity. I have dreamed story ideas, paintings, seen troubling options illustrated for their consequences and very much enjoyed the times of the vivid dreamworld. 
The idea for this painting came from such a dream where the woman had feathers, was like a kachina or Isis and it led me to rereading who Isis was, some sketches and finally a couple of paintings that varied around the dream. I believe it's important when I first wake to try to retrieve any dreams that are lingering and sometimes I lie for a few moments putting together the stories, the colors and any images that are clear. Most times there is nothing important to remember. 
This week I had ones I call medicine dreams (as in their meanings go beyond what I was doing and are for helping me). Two mornings I could remember the important aspects but not today. Although I remembered it when I first woke, by the time clear awareness came, it was gone. All I know for sure is it was negative and not sure why I lost it. The earlier dreams illustrated current life situations-- one night being full of barriers which I have been feeling a lot in my life and the world at large. 
Sometimes without any help I can come up with the meanings of the dreams but other times by looking in a dream dictionary I can consider meanings that would not have been obvious to me. I went looking for that site after the night I dreamed of a skyscraper, elevator, dragon, and a couple of other symbols that were not part of my regular life and seemed odd to be in my dream. I live a certain kind of rural life that normally is used in dream illustrations. I have come to believe for the most part that in my dreams the people in them aren't as critical to the meaning as what happened. I think my subconscious uses whoever is handy to illustrate the needed lessons. 
Although I do not, as some do, keep a journal alongside my bed to write down everything, usually in the morning when I am up, I do write down the gist of the dreams as only a few will I remember well years later. The dream dictionary was a helpful source when I had a dream where I was going to jump from a rocky ledge into bright red, molten lava and then opted to decide that would hurt too much and reconsidered it with instead throwing myself in the cool blue of a beautiful ocean. Both were symbolic of optional ways of solving life problems and actually could be figured out for myself if I stopped to think-- anger vs peace. I have never had truly prophetic dreams but I often have very illustrative ones of what is going on with my life, and I try to remember and use them.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Passion or an obsession from 2005

The first of my old blogs after I sorted through them before losing internet. I found enough to cover every Saturday until September 4th. I might or might not be able to  put out some things midweek, but it will depend on getting internet and at the farm, that means cell coverage, which is not in the house at all. Will it be in the vacation trailer? If so, it'll not be a lot. I am taking my water based oils and acrylics; so might do some painting, which doesn't require internet :)

The below picture might be where the trailer ends up... All undecided for now. The mobile home you see beyond could be an eventual more permanent solution when we visit. It was my parents' and they both died in it. Might I also??? Life is so uncertain. It needs a LOT of renovation before that can happen and this year, with all the needed farm work, that's not happening to turn it into a tiny house.

As for this topic, in some ways, it's an old one but then we see people getting too close to wildlife with that desire to be one with them and it's not really that old... Well, that and how we separate passion from obsession for ourselves.

Passion or Obsession?

I have been reading Grizzly Maze the story of Timothy Treadwell's fatal obsession with Alaskan bears-- in particular grizzlies. It has made me think about the whole thing of when passion crosses the line and becomes obsession. Is one healthy and one not? If so, what converts passion into obsession? 
 The dictionary says obsession is preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling. Passion follows along the same line, even to the state of being in pain but doesn't say it's unreasonable, but then there is the Passion of the Christ. Was that passion or an obsession-- certainly if we used commonsense, as we think of it, it'd be an obsession that brought Christ to the cross. Maybe obsession is what takes someone into a realm of creativity or action that changes worlds whereas passion just leads to the bed-- figuratively speaking. 
Treadwell certainly had an obsessive desire to be with bears, to become one with bears (something he actually succeeded in albeit not quite as he had doubtless planned). Still he lived his life exactly as he chose, lived it right on the edge and while it eventually did kill him, was his a fitter end than overdosing on a Malibu beach? Perhaps his obsession saved him from mediocrity even if it did shorten his lifespan. If he had sat at home where it was safe, read books on grizzlies but not gone out to live amongst them, might that have been called a passionate interest? 
The bear experts have fits to imply that Treadwell did any good but is it any less valid to do what he did than sit on the sidelines measuring and observing? Treadwell lived a vibrant, passionate life and used all the tools at his disposal to maintain doing that. Did it accomplish anything? Does anything in the end? A life well lived-- even if a bit unusual-- might be the only real accomplishment anyone can claim. "The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him... The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself... All progress depends on the unreasonable man." George Bernard Shaw 
There is nothing reasonable about obsession, you can't argue with it or talk someone out of it-- at least not until they are ready to release it, but have obsessions been why we had a Van Gogh who painted even though no one bought his work? Is obsession why we have electricity? Is an obsession why we had Lewis and Clark or Columbus or so many others who set out on an exploration with no certainty they would return? How about Crazy Horse or Sitting Bull? Are great deeds logical? Was the concept of a Round Table and Arthur's Knights a passionate quest or an obsessive one? As best we know it, it led to Arthur's death and failure of the experiment-- except the dream grew possibly into something more than it ever was in history and even today lingers on in men's hearts. Can great deeds be attained by acting sensibly? 
Is a life lived sensibly superior to one that bucks the odds and reaches out for that obsession even if they fail? Certainly for every person who had an obsession that led to a medical breakthrough, there were thousands or more who had it and it led to madness or an old age of disappointment. I have experienced more than a few passions in my life given my nature but I believe-- at this point-- I have only had one obsession. It definitely wasn't sensible or logical. Even today I think on it and my blood rises, my heart beats faster. I don't necessarily regret that experience, but did it get me anywhere to go through it? I don't believe I handled it well but was that the fault of the obsession or my being unprepared to handle it given we live in a culture that stresses mediocrity as the safest venue for anything. Risk implies failure as part of its nature. Obsession is risky. When I began writing this, I was convinced obsession was bad and passion good. Now I wonder if obsession might be a gift we don't appreciate enough. I think I may do some more research on the topic...

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

living space

 Because many aren't aware of what vacation trailers offer, I thought I'd post a few photos before losing internet. I think not having it will be the biggest deal for me, but we aren't sure if we can have some at the farm... maybe. In the meantime, we set this trailer up well for working. The first photo is what you see as you climb the steps to the entryway.

The person from whom we bought the used trailer had changed some things for his own use-- a big one was taking out the booth and two TV watching chairs on the slide. That worked well for us as we then used that space for two desks and a work table, more fitting our needs than the booth would have been. More changes might come as we and the three cats live in it next week for a few months.

There are things we still want to change and get more workable for us-- also finding places for dirt boxes, one of the issues when traveling with cats. We also are not sure we'll get much use out of the outdoor entertainment area but time will tell. That and creating an outdoor yard for the cats to be safe and not too far from home base. You can see the small bathroom through the open door. It also has a door to enter from the bedroom, equally tiny but the main space is for the living area.

Saturday, May 22, 2021


Casa Espiritu garden

I have mentioned changes coming ahead and want to say a bit more about what is next for this blog. Before that though, I had another health issue arise and would like to inform others in case this kind of thing could catch them by surprise as it did me.

Recently, I experienced a bout of low blood sugar, hypoglycemia when it is permanent. I woke up one morning and didn't feel right at all. We did the usual poke the finger to get a blood sugar reading (which I wanted to check for diabetes not imagining low blood sugar). It's not like the first time it's happened, but this time was unconnected to nightshades. What happened is I was shaky, felt tired already, unsteady, didn't want to eat anything. My husband recognized the symptoms based on experiences with his mom. 

The numbers confirmed I was going the wrong way with my blood sugar. 70 is just barely okay, but it was not okay for me. So some sugar, honey, toast I didn't want, orange slices, and we got the numbers up to the 90s and later in the day mid-80s. Those are okay numbers but the reason for all of this is not okay. The reasons people develop low blood sugar readings are various but it's not a good place to be.

This chronic problem is hard to diagnose or deal with but we've been reading about it. It leads to a lot of symptoms I've been experiencing, like anxiety, odd heart beats, shakiness,
etc. etc.

Time for more diet adjustments, which means more complex carbohydrates, which many of us have avoided. I've not been eating healthily for getting something like low blood sugar. I've had a normal breakfast, my lunch has been light, and I've skipped the evening meal because I just didn't want food then. Guess my body disagreed.

Another is no whiskey as it can be a trigger especially as I was using it to feel normal for my blood sugar. As with so many things, it has other impacts. I never liked feeling drunk but sips of it off and on during the day to deal with the tremors had other implications.

If you have experienced hypoglycemia and know what someone can do to avoid the symptoms, I hope you will share.

So, our trip north has become dicey as to when we leave with so much to do once we arrive. Due to my illness and the weather, we will wait at least a week for going. Will reservations be more difficult in June? who knows. Either way, we are going-- getting in hay, fertilizing fields, separating cow calf pairs, selling a few, getting a crew out to cut the bad limbs off the huge oak trees, and on it goes. Not to mention getting there with three cats who will hate it all, then building a safe fence for them to be outside but not as they once were. The farm has new dwellers, including a cat.

That doesn't impact the blog but lack of internet does (no cell cover at the farm) and a lot of the RV parks say they have internet, but they do not. As best I can figure it out, it will be October or maybe early September before we are where I'll be able to publish a blog. Again, who knows as life can take some abrupt turns.

To keep this blog active, when I cannot be online, I had one idea-- my older blogs that I can pre-publish, where most readers today won't have seen them and some (in my opinion) are worth considering. I won't include comments with them as sadly many of the early blog commenters have since died. A reminder of the shortness of life.

Another possibility would be if someone wanted to take over the blog for a few months. I had hoped that would be Diane, but she had other directions to travel. I'd like to keep the blog active even if it's old thoughts-- they all are things with which I still like to think-- not like I agreed with all I wrote back then. I've changed in many ways. What I will share the next few months will be those ideas that I still consider relevant to my life. You won't know what I am doing from the posts, but I already told you-- living in a vacation trailer.

Photos above are of the garden Ranch Boss created at our Tucson home. Fortunately, we have nice neighbors who will look after the house, pool and maybe eat some of the veggies and pick the flowers until we can return. As it stands, we have no idea when that will be but we love this place. The trailer in the photo below is one we may have to sell if we keep the new (to us) one. That will be decided in the fall.

Saturday, May 15, 2021


 My first experience with staying in a vacation trailer came the summer after we got married when my husband's uncle towed their small trailer up into the Cascades for us to spend a few nights. We enjoyed the experience. I'd slept in tents since I was a child but never a small trailer. I wish I had a photo of it and might but it'd be in Oregon if so.


In 1972, we had camped with our babies in tents but decided to get our own small trailer--an Aristocrat and about 15' maybe. It had no bathroom but did have a refrigerator, sink, table and enough beds for us and our toddlers. That trailer went with us camping around Oregon and to Arizona. With no air-conditioning, we had to rethink a few routes south-- like not heading straight to Tucson and instead to the Grand Canyon where it'd be cooler. Photo above was the Metolius in Oregon-- many happy days spent there.

We stopped using it as the kids grew too big for the beds and went back to tents as well as resorts-- but didn't give up on road trips to the Southwest. The times were memorable but then the kids grew up, found their own lives, and it was just us.

The first time we went out with our Astro Van for our camping was I think 1990. I loved the freedom of not pulling anything and being safe in a van with curtains I made and a cushy big back bed. If we didn't feel secure somewhere (and that did happen), we'd just drive off. The sad part was that van began having more and more problems with the 'improved' versions. When the last one locked up on steering, we needed something different and a lot safer.

That led to 2012 when we had a truck big enough to pull a bigger rig (as well as a trailer full of hay). It had a bathroom, bed, cooking ability, cabinetry, table, sofa and a good set up for us and our cats, which sometimes were 4 and other times just 2 depending on old age or illness taking some from us

We loved the Wildcat by Forest River, but along came a new need this year when we must spend months in a trailer for helping with the work on the Oregon farm (we meaning one of us). Although the windows were great in the Wildcat, it didn't have the kind of space we needed for living. For now, we have not sold the Wildcat as maybe the bigger trailer won't be a long time need. We will have more space for work and the rest, we're still sorting out. We've been buying some 'things' to make it feel more homey. We will see how that works out.

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Why a blog

 Since it's only me writing here, as it was for many years, I don't need to say by... I thought I might write a bit about why I have done blogs. It's been a lot of years. I think I began in 2004, but felt it wasn't going anywhere, as I had no feel for it, stopped it, then found someone had taken my 'name' when I decided to try again. And this one, since 2006 has continued and will continue. 

Why do a blog?

For me, it's about communication and sharing. It's about my ideas but also those who come across the words. I don't do much to bring readers here, as in reading a ton of other blogs. I count on putting out ideas that will attract those looking for such ideas. I avoid using keywords that might draw trolls. Nobody should want trolls as they aren't about ideas but about destruction. Why is that fun? I have no idea.

Blogs are not just about the writer but those who come to read the words. I feel a responsibility to them. I though have never done a memoir type blog where I tell readers all that is going on with my marriage or family. There are such blogs but I never wanted my blog to be about my personal life-- instead, my ideas, oh yea, definitely that.

This blog draws from nearly a thousand viewers to a hundred with very few who comment. I suspect that's because I don't comment other places-- with a few exceptions. What you put out, you get back--mayb.

It will change over the next months as my life will-- this time, it's about me. We are heading north with a new vacation trailer (new to us) as we have to live in it for a few months. I'll write more about that in the future as we leave our Arizona home and head back to the Oregon farm. More next Saturday on the trailer that will take us north...