Wheel Time

I made some small dishes this week with fitted lids. This was a first attempt at lids, and I have to say, I came pretty close to not bad. The dishes are sized to hold a small wheel of Brie cheese, so it was good practice making a series of pieces to a certain size. I threw the lids “off the hump” as potters say, which meant I could pull three lids from a one pound ball of clay. Below is one lid in the making. I slice that off, then begin another one from the remaining clay on the wheel. (I haven’t figured out how to make and post my images smaller, so please forgive me the massive photos!)

When it was time to trim the lids I had some difficulty in how to secure it to the wheel and centre it; because I had the knob to consider I couldn’t just flip it over and trim. I wound up making a “chuck” using a small cup. I padded the rim of the cup with a ring of clay, and then centred and secured the chuck on the wheel. Then I placed the lid upside down on top of the chuck, centred the lid, and then was able to trim it. That seemed to work, but it was somewhat finicky, and I thought there must be another way so I watched a you tube video on how to trim lids. This is so me. It would have been a good idea to do that first, because I saw there was an easier way to make/trim lids. And yet the lids, when finally done, do actually fit very well on their little pots, so I got off lucky this time. I’m wiser now when I make another set.

The white dish is a plastic Brie container I used for reference. The dish in the back right with the fluted edge was my way to salvage that particular lid. I had trimmed it too thin at the edges, and was about to scrap it, then thought to turn the edges in decorative way- saved!

What I’ve learned about how to make a lid is to throw it upside down, like a little dish, this way the inside rim is already done. It’s sliced off the wheel or hump and the top knob is made the next day by placing and centring the lid right side up on the wheel and with the surplus clay left when the lid/dish was removed is trimmed into the knob. Genius. No mucking about with a chuck. Wait, I don’t want to speak too soon, not until I actually try the other method, and see how they come out. That is my focus the next couple of days; Dish With Lid Project! These little dishes, when finished, are intended to be sent to my daughter in Sorrento. She has a business called The fridge Light, (on instagram @thefridgelight /www.thefridgelight.net) and she’s asked if I could make her little brie pots for her Charcuterie boxes, how could I refuse her and the practice I need?

My songwriting I think has taken a vacation. I have been working on a song off and on but nothing seems to be jelling, so I won’t push it. The previous ones I have written and posted came together each week- many times on the challenge’s cut off day- almost of their own accord. But I did spend a lot of time letting themes and lyrics stew in my mind over the challenge week, then would cram an entire day or two with the guitar in finding chords and a melody, then hours rewriting, well, you get the idea. I was like a college student cramming for finals with pin point focus. I loved/ love the process, but these days my energy is on other things I guess, so I’ll just go with it for now.

Today I received my second vaccination of Pfizer, and hoping I won’t wake tomorrow with a reaction of covid symptoms. Bob had none with his a few weeks ago, nor my son or daughter. But I know friends who were hit hard after their second, so fingers crossed.

Cheers~

Monday Motivation

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.” Brene Brown

It has a bad rap. We see being vulnerable as being weak. Letting our guard down means we can be susceptible to the slings and arrows from others. We can be “taken down.” We are tacitly encouraged through life to keep vigilant watch over the armour we wear in public; never let ’em see ya sweat, or cry, fall or fumble. Never let them see you be afraid, silly, or frivolous; never let them see you be human. We all have the desire to avoid being seen in our vulnerable states, and we do our best to keep up appearances by angling a flattering light on our qualities and strengths just so. Because what if, horror of horrors, while in a vulnerable state we have just met someone whom we probably will not see again? We won’t have the chance to show them our more solid, intelligent, confident, brilliant sides. We say to ourselves, oh off they go, thinking I’m this wing nut, or this sad, or frivolous, or untalented person. They will have an untrue image of who we think, who we know, we are, which now only muddies the vulnerability waters with the, What Will Others Think neurosis, followed close behind by its bothersome cousin the People Pleaser. The whole business is exhausting!

A large part of my creative recovery is trying to be conscious of my vulnerable states, and to allow them room. The songwriting I’ve been doing is the most vulnerable for me so far because it was a whole new thing for me to “put out there,” and because lyric writing feels very intimate and personal. And I already know I feel vulnerable about painting because in my head I’ve seemed to have created a critic who is waiting to pounce on the first brushstroke with, what the hell is that? I am still avoiding starting a painting. The easel sits at the ready with canvases stacked beside it. What will I say with paint? It’s been so long since I’ve painted anything, what if the work I produce is shallow, boring and trite? Am I shallow, boring and trite?!

Just writing that makes me cringe and say, Oh Pa-LEEEse, spare the dramatics, and get over yourself.

Yet I know down to my deepest self that to expose our soft underbellies, worts, beauty marks, and all, is to break through self imposed static and limitations and allow real growth to happen. I know this. Practicing it is the tricky part. Getting comfortable with vulnerability and allowing others to see it is masterclass league. Baby steps y’all.

Cheers~

This week

My regular postings have lagged, yes I know, busy days are whizzing by and the hours within them seem like mere minutes. I tell myself I will write and post in the evening, but by then I’m done and in bed by nine. Currently I’m nursing a knee injury that I hope won’t incapacitate me for too long, but it slowed me down enough to allow me to get my WP post done because I have to sit! Previous to injury I have been getting some work done on the wheel, but I’ve done no writing on any of my stories. Finding that quiet, reflective time has been elusive to me lately but I am consciously moving to reinstate a set block of time each morning for planting myself at my desk and committing three hours to the page as I was doing not so long ago. Songwriting I suppose has been filling the “writing” quotient the last three months, taking the place of my other writing, but even songwriting has dropped out over the last three weeks; again it’s finding that reflective stretch of time. I do however have a song I’ve started working on, began writing two days ago and expect to post on Sunday. (Hmmm, maybe knee nursing is just the thing, I can’t do anything else right now but sit and write, play guitar!)

Last week in the studio I decided to make some large bowls. I had previously made some small bowls; I hadn’t gotten my new wheel or throwing bats yet, and I had some challenges removing my little bowls from the wheel head, but still managed to without causing much damage. Now that I have my new wheel, and removable bats, I knew the first thing I wanted to try out was to see if I could make a larger bowl since I now wouldn’t have to sweat over trying to slide the finished piece off the wheel head, or have to leave the bowl on the wheel to set up until the following day before removing it, tying up my wheel for hours.

So I weighed out and wedged nine balls of clay ( I have 9 Bats) at three pounds each. I would test myself to see if I could actually make something larger than a mug or cereal bowl. I had never thrown anything on the wheel over one pound, and if I may indulge for a brief second, I am happy to say each large bowl came out rather good- well, a true professional potter could likely squeeze out even bigger bowls with three pounds of clay, but mine came out well proportioned, not too thick, not too thin. Usually in a throwing session I’ll have a couple of pieces that go awry and need to be tossed back out on the board. This session however, all nine bowls were brought straight to satisfying completion. I popped out the bat and bowl off the wheel head, set them aside on the table overnight and the following afternoon removed them from their bats easily without warping the bowls. So, I was kinda thrilled. And I am loving my new wheel.

Fresh big bowls still attached to their bats, soon they’ll be removed and bottoms trimmed. I placed my little one pound bowls beside my three pound bowls for comparison.

Next I thought I’d try marbling my red, and buff white clay after watching a youtube video on it. I combined the two clay bodies and wedged out six, one pound balls, and started throwing. Very soon I was having difficulties. I had been careful when wedging the clay because I was attempting to not over blend the clay too much and lose the distinct white/red marble, but it meant I still had air bubbles in my clay, so after I scraped the two failed pieces off the wheel (see, I told you!) and tossed them back on the table I re-wedged the remaining four balls, hoping there will still be enough marbling running through. Not the case. The clay did become more on the homogeneous end of the marbling spectrum after more wedging, and the ones that I scraped off the wheel, after re wedging them they was no marbling at all in them, just a pale shade of red by the time they became mugs. But there was some marbling clearly coming through on two of the mugs which made me happy.

Some marbling came through

The shape and size of the mugs came out nicely I think; I just finished putting the handles on a couple of days ago. I have been pulling handles for all the mugs I’ve been making, but this time I rolled out a slab of buff clay and cut strips for handles. Next step is bisque fire and glaze and I’m debating if I should use underglaze again because I’m concerned as to how they may turn out due to the issues I’ve been having with the final clear glaze with my previous pieces. I do have a new clear glaze to try out that comes premixed, which should eliminate any clouding, or opaqueness problems I’ve been having; but, I’m still hesitant to commit this last body of work to a possibility of it failing again, so maybe I’ll just do some test tiles instead! I do have “regular” glazes I could use too, which are predictable in their outcome, more or less.

Handles on

So, with a hobble and a hitch I’ll see about finishing that song next. Cheers to all ~

Songwriting Challenge

As per the weekly songwriting challenge this one is late to posting. I didn’t approach writing this song until two days ago, because I didn’t know how to distill down what I wanted to say into a few stanzas. I wish you to know these are personal opinions I’ve long held. I don’t wish to be inflammatory to the reader. It’s not this particular blog’s format to voice political/racial topics, but as it relates to expression through art, in this instance, music, I feel compelled to share the thrust behind the song I wrote.

With recent events concerning the Kamloops Residential School and watching the documentary Exterminate All the Brutes, by Raoul Peck earlier last week, my heart was (is) awash in a consuming sadness for the lack humanity we can inflict on others. I never will understand what it is that makes any one group subjugate another, and it’s sickening we build on this heinous legacy still today.

Why do we give our logic, reason and compassion over to charismatic individuals (dictators and religious leaders) believing we must do their will, follow their orders? What goes through the mind of someone under the influence of those characters? They surrender autonomy to their so called “greater cause;” they no longer think for themselves, falling under a kind of herd insanity perpetuated by delusional individuals in positions of authority. Fear plays the largest part in this scenario most certainly; fear of retribution by torture and death under a dictatorship (pressure from a physical presence, but one they could have, at the least, a slim chance to fight against) and fear of eternal damnation and suffering under religion (something invisible and deemed all powerful); both entities steeped in fear and control. What recourse does an individual feel they have within an existence of assumed hopelessness and incapability to rebuke their “authorities;” to think/believe it’s out of their hands because it comes from a “higher order,” which they interpret as exemption from all responsibility of any wrong doing. It’s easier to believe, to go along, than think critically.

Awareness, and courage to stand up and recognize social, religious and political madness when it presents itself, in all its guises, is lacking in us. I don’t have an answer. I wish I did.

We are ONE RACE. ONE SPIRIT. ONE HOME.

Believe D. Brint June 8, 2021

Before you did what can’t be undone, before the smoke blocked out the sun

What were you thinking just then, when you shut the doors and sealed them in

Did you question how this came to be or did you think, better them than me

It’s easier to believe

It’s easy when it’s out of our hands

Kneel beside that fresh running stream

The pure water washes them so clean

When you took that oath of love and light, what made you believe you had the right

To lay claim to all land and life, then chain the hands and force the knife

Believing your acts were sanctified, is this how your god is gratified

Its easier to believe

It’s easy when its out of our hands

Kneel beside that fresh running stream

The holy waters wash them so clean

Centuries long trail of blood and tears, carved under the boots of greed and fear

This merciless lust for domain over people, land and souls is profane

But we can find our crimes redeemed, cleansed in that pure water stream

It’s easier to believe

It’s easy when it’s not in our hands

Kneel beside that fresh running stream

The pure water washes them so clean

This Week

I picked up my mugs from K’s yesterday and, sigh, the clear glaze, again, didn’t quite do what it was supposed to do. I have to admit though that most of the mugs, although they didn’t come out as I had expected, are still acceptable. One in particular though- the photo top left, came out particularly heinous, but K said I could re-fire it to correct the “holes”. As you can see, the clear glaze fired whiteish and a little thick in places and clouded the detail I had painted, but on some of the pieces it also kind of “works” as part of the overall glaze effect. So, feeling somewhat ok about this batch of ceramics, (looking for perfection in imperfection!) But, we do have another clear glaze we are going to try out. It comes already mixed in a four quart container, and if that doesn’t work I will put aside underglazes for the time being until we get it figured out- I mean how hard can it be?! ( well, apparently….)

In the meantime I will revert to the usual glazes we normally see on pottery.

Got out for a sail yesterday, and although the winds were iffy to none (still indoctrinating Squilly -aka Sequoia- to sailing, so picking gentle weather days) we were entertained by a small pod of five Orcas for two hours! They were too far off for my iPhone camera, but close enough to see their details with the binoculars. There was a lot of full body breaching and tail lobs (slapping) the entire time! That much action is a rare occurrence to witness so maybe there were two happy groups meeting up and communicating, or they might have been hunting salmon, and communicating about the school of fish they found, who knows, but it was spectacular. After the first hour people heard the news of the pod and three Whale Watching boats showed up and then a few private power boats arrived to have look. All keeping a respectable distance from the pod.

The garden is growing, I have three support structures I need to build for the pole beans that are now four inches high- better get on that, like Jack and the beanstalk they grow fast from this point on. The pollinators are out in full force. This one bush in particular in my backyard, a Grevillea type- Canberra Gem, really attracts the bees, hummingbirds and butterfly’s and I managed to sneak a photo of this Western Tiger Swallowtail beauty.

Cheers!

This Week

I suppose the title should read The Last Two Weeks since I didn’t post last Thursday. As I had mentioned on my Sunday Songwriting post (that was posted a week late)- things got busy with putting the vegetable gardens in, errands into town to get stuff for the gardens etc. We also managed to get out for a sail one beautiful sunny day, our first of the season, and Squillie’s first sail ever. We picked a calm day with light winds so she wouldn’t feel threatened when the boat leaned when under sail. She did great! Nervous, but she held her composure like a champ for our four hour cruise in the Strait of Georgia

Sequoia’s first sail

I’ve been getting some writing done in the mornings. It’s funny that I am retired, my schedule is of my own making, and yet to lock myself down in the chair for three hours in the morning is harder than it sounds. Especially this time of year. I’d already been out for my two mile walk at six thirty, I make breakfast, wash up and now, I say to myself, sit down to work. But the sun is up and the day outside beckons me like a cheerleader with a bullhorn. So I think, maybe I should do the outside work first, then come in and write. And many times I do that, because I feel guilty for being in the house at my desk until noon when the day is gorgeous. That arrangement doesn’t help my writing, I know my best time for doing anything creative is at the start of the day, when my energy is winding up and I really need to honour that. By the afternoon I really lack any creative focus other than making dinner.

I spent three hours today putting the final clear glaze on my clay work- at last! That was a long wait for the first firing. I was excited to see my mugs, it’s been a couple of months, and I was concerned about how much they may have shrunk in the firing, as has been the case with my past pieces. When I saw them today I was really happy to see their size was just what I wanted, and really happy with my designs and underglaze colours. K usually has the clear glaze already mixed up, but not this time, so I made up a big bowl of clear glaze and set to work dipping the mugs. Now the wait for the final firing and keeping my fingers crossed the clear glaze doesn’t come out milky and too thick this time. This last firing phase has been the frustrating part for me, the time and effort spent in making the pieces, and then the end product is less than satisfactory. But here’s hoping for a stunning reveal this time!

This is how the pieces look before I coat them with clear glaze, which doesn’t look clear at all when its applied just white and chalky. Now they wait for the glaze firing – the final fire- and oh I hope they emerge like little jewels!

Cheers!

Sunday Original Song Challenge

It was written yesterday in one shot. Not expecting to write on this topic, I was writing words on something else – a tragically sad experience – but it wasn’t coming. Then I wrote the first line; Nothing I can do to make things better, (that I later changed to Nothing is feeling much better) and the rest of the lyrics just rolled out.

Fellow Man D.Brint, May 8/21

Nothing is feeling much better, with my back against the wall

Can’t help but feel the pressure, question the sense of right and wrong

One side says we must do more, others say to do less

Some ask what’s it all for, sometimes I agree I must confess

Does anyone ever have the answers

Is someone drawing up a better plan

Is humanity really making advances

For the good of the fellow man

Conflict always follows us, like a dog snapping at our heels

Like a ride we can’t get of off, caught in the spokes of a spinning wheel

And the sun still rises, the moon shines on the sea

They watch over our crisis, impartial to you and me

There’s trouble in the east, and in the west, fights in the south, the north is melting

We’ve seen the powerful undressed, we’ve joined the throngs of protest marching

And it’s round and round day after day, corruption sits in the power seat

Deaf to why it has to be that way, dumb and blind with greed and conceit

Does anybody ever have the answers

Is someone drawing up a master plan

Is humanity really making advances

For the good of the fellow man

This week

This post was scheduled for last Thursday, but didn’t get out- so here it is.

This week was a nourishing one. I spent three days alone in Victoria, only leaving my suite for a two hour waterfront walk in the late afternoon. The stay was specifically to do research for a project I have on the go, and my choice of accommodation was most relevant to the project. I embraced the solitude and undistracted time. No TV, no outside music, or people. Just my guitar, books, paper, pen, sketch book and laptop. I even brought prepared food from home, so no restaurant eating, (except for the take out burger from the Ogden Point bistro on my last day-it was an amazing burger!)

The songwriting is still fun, although I was late with this last one, posting it Tuesday morning- I had begun to write it while away on my stay, but didn’t complete it there, thinking I still have time when I get home. But as life is as life does, one thing and then another, it was suddenly Sunday. I thought ok, I’ll post Monday, and worked on it -between pleasant domestic distractions- thinking I would get it out Monday night. Wound up working on it until midnight.

The lyrics I was tackling felt so “big” in that I had a lot of emotion and story I wanted to convey and I struggled in how to distill it down. This is the amazing thing I’m discovering with this particular creative practice and what I love about the challenge. Also, having the deadline is important for anti-procrastination purposes! And then posting it gives it viability. In my mind anyway.

It would be the same with writing poetry, but working out a melody to add to it is another level! I’ll keep hammering away to see how it all transpires over time. My college art professor had our class draw the same nude model over and over each day. His theory, and I agree completely with it, was the repetition eventually brings new ideas, new ways of seeing the model- probably out of boredom!- but innovation begins to take place; how can I do this differently, what else am I seeing here, what if I do this or that? I’m using the same theory in my songwriting challenge.

Right now my guitar playing is limited, my lyrics and melodies monotonous and stilted, but (and it’s a big but) over time maybe something will open up. How long do I give myself? That I don’t know, or even want to impose that on the practice, but for the time being I find it very cathartic.

My desk and pages and pages of rough drafts of lyrics!

Cheers~

Sunday Original Song Challenge

This song barely made the Sunday deadline! I wrote half of the lyrics yesterday afternoon and the rest this morning and put the final music to it this afternoon. Then it takes me several, and I mean several takes to get the recording down. All week I couldn’t seem to find reflective time to work on lyrics, waiting for nudges or cues to come to my attention. But by Saturday I made the time, made space, for something to come, whatever it would be. I started just writing on an idea, whatever words came up, free association, then scraped what I had. Then I played a chord progression – C/F/G and hummed hoping to coax out some words, and what came out was carry them down. It immediately felt like coal mining, which is what my city and my little island is steeped in. Strange that that theme was not on my radar at all initially, but came out regardless. One of the fascinations I have with Writing; who’s doing the writing or am I being written? So off I went with writing the rest of the song.

So it seems fitting to include a link to my short story “Pocket Watch” about the story of Protection Islands coal mining tragedy.

Carry Them Down D.Brint April 25/21

Carry them down, deep down in the ground

Into that long dark hollow

When the work is done they’ll rise and then

Return again on the morrow

Living by the lamp the air cold and damp

Stooping low to work that seam

They’ve come from so far to be where they are

Digging down their roots for a dream

Carry them down deep down in the ground

Into that long dark hollow

When the work is done they’ll rise and then

Return again on the morrow

Heeding the call there was work for them all

There was land and steady pay

Earned by a hard run both father and son

Clawing Dunsmuir coal from the clay

Carry them down deep down in the ground

Into that long dark hollow

When the work is done they’ll rise and then

Return again on the morrow

Like a mole in that deep dark hole

Swallowed into the belly of a snake

Each man devoured by long tunnels and hours

A cruel barter that seals their fate

Carry them down, deep down in the ground

Into that long black hollow

There they’ll stay the rest of days

They’ll not again come on the morrow.

My New Morning Practice to Nurture Creativity

I have an amendment to my previous post. I, in fact, have been very good at getting up each morning and doing a work out, (and changing my clothes twice in the morning) and, more importantly, another thing I have added to the start of my day is Morning Pages. I picked up Julia Camerons book The Artist’s Way, the book that introduced Morning Pages as a daily practice, and having recently searched it out at my local used book store, I have begun working through it.

I’ve been familiar with Morning Pages for some time; The Artist’s Way workbook has been out since 1992, but I never took a look at it-for whatever reason. Too busy with the mechanics of married life, working, etc. It’s now I felt I could benefit from this book in helping with not only my writing, but to facilitate an overall reconnection to my creative yearnings after suppressing them so long.

Beginning with the first week of Tasks in the workbook, I discovered it is exactly what I needed at the right time. I much prefer starting my day with this, rather than a work-out. Doing the Pages and working through the workbook provides an avenue for beginning my day in a creative flow, sets the right tone that creativity comes first, ideas come first, insights come first. Mind before body.

I have always “journaled,” since the age of fourteen, but doing it as a Morning Pages practice feels different. There is a type of intention in it. So each morning I rise early , 6 am or so, and the first thing I do- pour a cup of coffee and set down to write three 8″x11″ pages of stream of consciousness writing. Then my work-out, shower, then breakfast at 9:30 or 10.

I think this is what I’ve been struggling with. Reading over what I’ve written in that previous post, I now realize that the “domestic” work needn’t dominate the day- those tasks will always be there to do, never changing in their nature. So do them when time allows, but the creative work is the priority because it has the of risk slipping away from us if not well nurtured and attended to. It has something of a “shelf Life.”

I’ve only just now begun Week Two of the twelve-week workbook, so it’s all still a new endeavour. So far I look forward to the Pages each morning and have even noticed some humble synchronicities and serendipitous effects since beginning the workbook. Of course these serendipitous episodes may have always been happening, perhaps I wasn’t “tuned in” enough before to notice. I think probably.

I’m curious to experience any shifts in insight over these next weeks, and so far, with Week One down, it’s feeling beneficial in general.

Scheduling my time is still in process, but I think instead of the word Scheduling I will use Committing.  Things are falling into place ~

 

 

Long Beach, Tofino 2017, iphone6

How to time manage a creative life

I’m not a great candidate for strict routine or habits. Which could be a character deficit when faced with the many things I want to accomplish each week. I prefer to follow “leanings.” Left to my own devices and left alone in general, I usually allow an activity or project to find me. Like, when I had accidentally discovered a fascinating effect on my laptop Photo Booth app one night. (while alone, so left to my own devices as I said). I had stumbled upon an exciting photography tool that could be so creatively employed for artistic expression, was so excited by it and engaged this app so rigorously I wore it out. It no longer does what it was doing before. I may have to buy a new laptop. I did gather a sizeable portfolio to work with though, but that app is toast.

I have much that bids for my attention. Painting, drawing, making something in clay, writing, practicing music, editing photographs, practicing Spanish, yoga, reading, or making/baking food to contribute to my sorely neglected food blog. And I’m married. And he is also retired, and now home, all. the. time. I need to acknowledge my spouse every so often, and feed him. (this isn’t a feminist issue, I’m a better cook, although he makes a fantastic curry chicken.) I can’t just bury myself away in my rainbow room of creative projects and ignore him hours and hours at a time.

Then there’s the house. This morning I was making a batch of apple chutney, and looking up into the stove’s hood vent, and noticing the thin layer of grease inside the hood, thus discovered where all the fruit flies that came in with my backyard grapes disappeared to. None fell into the chutney in case you’re wondering.

There is work to do in the yard like rebuilding that dilapidated back garden gate, and gathering material for making raised vegetable beds, cleaning and organizing the shed, taking stuff to the recycling centre. All the domestic stuff that, you know, those without hired housekeepers or hired gardeners have to attend. There are the sojourns by boat to town to shop for groceries.

The drama.

By rights any clear thinking organized person would in fact set up a type of schedule; to ensure especially that time is devoted to creative work. To prioritize. And I have tried that, starting with the mundane: a morning work out. I get as far as every morning I will rise and do my 25 minute weight work out before breakfast. And I will, for a couple of weeks. I acknowledge to myself how good I feel doing this, how energized my body feels and prepares me for the day. Then, one morning I’ll get up and think that I don’t particularly like changing my clothes twice in the morning.

Because, of course, I wear “work out” clothes to work out in, then after a shower, I have to dress all over again. Some mornings I wake up and think, I just want to get dressed in the clothes I’m going to wear for the day and go downstairs and start my day with a project, right off. No sweating first thing in the  morning. But the fact remains that I need the work-out and I do feel so much better physically in doing it. Starting my day with the work-out I feel helps me begin my day with some vigour at least. I know, the stupid preoccupations of a retired person. And it’s not like I don’t have time to change my clothes twice in the morning.

Then I’m stymied by wondering if I should work outside first, while there is daylight, then spend afternoons and evenings with inside projects. But, by the afternoon and working outside I am too physically tired to think in creative terms-like ok, now I’ll go downstairs to my studio and work up a painting, or get on the wheel and throw a mug. Before having to prep and cook dinner. Ugh, I know this  is such self indulgent mental pre-school!

I think now that I have that freedom to do the work I want to do, rather than the stuff I have to do that once required a schedule, ie: going to my job in town each morning, gives the illusion I no longer need to follow a schedule. But it’s increasingly apparent I do still need to have something, the very least a quasi-firm guideline, some form of time management.

 

 

 

Does Cleaning Kill Creativity?

Cleaning is a distraction. It is a necessary duty, true, but to clean house is a big time suck. And it is a repeated action that does not cumulate in an end product. As if painting a wall or putting up a gate, well that’s done once and for all- moving on. You are never done with house work, oh no, that activity will be revisited time after time- no, moment after moment. Okay, for a short –short- time perhaps the act of cleaning can have a reward of everything polished and tidy, even smelling good. Hands can be wiped and all in the domain once again resembles an ordered universe. As long as no one moves. As soon as a chair is pulled out, a drawer opened, a glass of milk filled, a meal made, the build up begins all over again.

And it’s only the two of us in the house.

I have this thing where I can’t begin a creative project unless my surroundings are tidy. Even if my creative project will take place in another area – down in my studio for instance, which can be in some comfortable level of disorder. My home on the other hand; the kitchen, bathroom, living room, etc must be in good shape. My bed is made before I leave the room. Before coffee for Petes sake.

If I am going to work outside in the garden in the morning, before I do, first my house has to be in order- I move from inside to outside. So that when I’m done outside I come inside into a tidy home. I am relaxed. Not confronted with a house to now clean. I exhaust myself.

No leaving dirty dishes. Anywhere. No leaving dinner dishes till the morning. Sacrilege. Such a heart sinking way to begin your day welcomed by a pile of last nights dishes! The kitchen must be clean at all times. I think this might be that when entering my home you come directly through the middle of my kitchen. I mean through, as in walking between the stove on one side, sink on the other side. Yeah, I can’t sequester a messy kitchen out of site of anyone. So I’ve become a little OCD about it.

So anyway, it’s annoying. Not sure if this is more prevalent in women than men- but I’d wager it probably is. And sometimes by the time I’m done cleaning, the creative juice is drained. I know, I know, I have to turn it around. Turn a blind eye to the dust on the glass coffee table, the floor my feet are sticking to, the faint ring around the toilet bowl and make creative work the priority. Do that work first, then tackle the mundane.

I remain ever diligent on the road to recovery ~Although this morning  before finishing this post I had to vacuum. And clean my kitchen. I’ll get there.