Monday Motivation

Sometimes the best thing we can do to tap our creativity is to leave. Go out, do something different, see something different. We may think we are being “unproductive” but our subconscious will be at work pulling in millions of bits of information, feelings, nuances that can bring a ton of inspiration; from a sound, a sight, even a smell can trigger some deep seated memory or emotion. Inspiration can come from the way light enters a room or spills across a street and onto a building. As a creative it’s too easy to dwell continually in ones own head. And yes, it’s what creatives need to do. That quiet concentration and focus requires shutting out the external distractions for a time. Then, we have to recognize when it’s time to leave our head or to look at it another way, open up the windows and let the fresh air in, let the view in. It doesn’t have to be much, or an expensive outing. Pack a lunch and be Huck Finn for spell.

That’s what I’m doing today. I’m heading up island with my sister and plan to hit the thrift, and antique stores. A good ol’ Rummage is what’s on the menu today, and maybe a walk on the beach.

Cheers~

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!

Monday Motivation

For this Monday’s motivation I am sharing a bit of what I had written in my Morning Pages the other day. But first I need to clarify, in case you haven’t read the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. He writes about The Resistance. It doesn’t relate to any political agenda, not waging a war and overthrowing the powers that be. But it does relate to a war of sorts. The Resistance is the critic, the chattering monkey in your ear that says; just stop doing what you think you can do, because you know and I know you can’t do it. Why are you wasting your time? “Resistance is the war within.”

We’ve all had this inner dialogue at some point, if not all the time, anytime we take up a new venture or work away at an ongoing project and self doubt rears its poopy head. The chattering monkey, the self doubt, the self defeating inner critic IS the Resistance.

In my M.P I wrote:

I’m fighting against Resistance right now. I’m fighting against the challenges and expectations I’ve set for myself. I’m fighting to believe I have anything worth saying. One part of me says why set challenges or goals? The other part of me frets over each hour of the day when I’m not meeting the challenges and goals I’ve set; not doing the work. I can be near frantic if I let time slip or lapse one day- then two, that it will be too late to regain ground. I worry I will lose all momentum. I have a raging conflict of interest within. A part of me appears to have an interest to give up with the self imposed expectations, hang out, I’m sixty-three, it’s done. Any work I do or input I have from this point on has no merit, so chill. The other part of me says the exact opposite.

The other part of me ( the stronger part) has an interest in the exact opposite.

This is classic Resistance at work. My inner dialogue was sliding under Resistance rule, I was almost believing those words to “give it up”. It was only as I was writing it out in my Pages that I saw it for what it was. In fact as I was in the act of writing it out, I recognized immediately the seductive, slithery, slippery voice of Resistance.

How could I tell? Looking at what I wrote I knew I didn’t believe the words “give it up”. I think I saw those words as what others would expect of a sixty-three year old woman. The status quo who says, why put yourself in situations of having to meet “unnecessary,” self-imposed expectations, why challenge yourself when you don’t have to? What do you really hope to gain at this point? Because I recognized where that voice was coming from I had an opportunity to rally my better self and shake off the self defeating babble.

Setting personal challenges is the prodding, pointy end of the stick I use to ignite, motivate, to see what I can do. What I want to do. Because it can be too easy to succumb to acquiescence and let self discovery, and growth atrophy; and to allow that to happen is a kind of long, slow death with missed opportunities to blossom. And there is no excuse or reason under the sun to deny ourselves that privilege.

Cheers ~

Monday motivation

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding make even more art.”

Andy Worhol

Shut out the chatter and carry on!

P.S. The feature photo is the art of my three year old granddaughter who love to draw all the time 🙂

This Week

Spent a day with a good friend, then another day with my sister as we walked through Little Qualicum falls, and also rummaged in a vintage store where found a sweet small cake stand. Then I spent a bit of time wondering the abandoned exhibition grounds at Beban Park while Bob got his vaccination, and took some photos. All in all a recharging week off the little rock I call home and found some inspiration in my escapades.

Motivation Monday

“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.” Pablo Picasso

Easier said than done! As we grow up we become layered over time with so many “should’s” and “better not’s” and “what will people say” that we shrink into a homogenous, bland, colourless expression of our child selves for the sake of “fitting in” to the stats quo.

I’m going to keep looking for ways to allow some of my actions/ activities to fall under the definitions of Just because and Why not.

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

Ok, two days late.

Inspired by Canadian Artist Emily Carr. I stared writing this while I was away this week and finished it last night at midnight; recorded it this morning, which is why I sound like a wrung rag. Oh, and May the 4th be with you 🙂

EMILY

D.Brint, May 4

I saw your ghost through the trees, you were walking through the garden, the place you loved

Your arms were full of white lilies, your voice like the coo of a dove.

You came on the bite of a winter storm, a tempest in your eyes, a heart untamed

From where the wild things are born, that hands of nature ordained

You’re not so small in this world at all, Emily

The western forest deep and ethereal set fire to your soul, the light that guides you

Your own sacred cathedral, your passion, your truth

You’re not so small in this world at all, Emily

When you felt your world so hostile you took shelter under eagles wings

Your eyrie high as a steeple, safe in the solace it brings

You’re not so small in this world at all, Emily

You walk alone in your forest home, Emily

Monday motivation

“Creativity is something you practice. You can’t be creative if you’re constantly censuring yourself. Don’t get ready, get started!”

Book, Art & Fear: Observations On The Perils (and rewards) of Art Making, by David Bayles &Ted Orland

Found this quote I had scribbled, who knows when, on a yellow legal pad while flipping to find fresh paper. Now I’m reminded, I need to get this book!

Monday motivation

“What moves men of genius, or rather what inspires their work, is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough.” Eugene Delacroix

The saying; There is nothing new under the sun, is a truth, but our added perspectives are valuable and worthy to further understanding and insights and explorations of a theme or idea. In that, we “re-discover” something new.

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.

Monday Motivation

“It’s nice to be able to put yourself in an environment where you can completely accept all the unconscious stuff that comes to you from the inner workings of your mind. Block yourself off to where you can control it all, take it down, that’s where true creativity comes from.” Bob Dylan

Sunday original Song Challenge

This came out as a rather long song, over 4 minutes of your life you won’t get back if you listen to it. Thank you for your time if you do. It started off with an offhand thought of the phrase, days like these, and went from there. Yes, I did have soooo many great concerts lined up for the summer and into the fall….

Days Like Those D. Brint, April 17/21

I was hanging out in cafe’s, I was out shopping for shoes

There was a bustle out on main street, and family BBQ’s

I was planning my vacation, I was booking my hotel

I was hugging all my friends up until

Days like those became days like these

Got to go with the flow, but we’re on our knees, with days like these

I had tickets to my favourite concerts, I was going to the movies

I was meeting friends for lunch, and going out for sushi

We gathered around the table, we gathered in small rooms

We shook hands with total strangers whose hands weren’t so well groomed

Days like those…

Last year I saw whole faces when I went to the grocery store

Saw their smiles heard their voices as they came and went through the doors

My friend just out of surgery, I sat at his bedside

Nurses weren’t so tired then, not so much anyway

Days like those…

These days became a waiting game, looking for ways to bide our time

Learned a language, reno’d the kitchen

Took up macrame and made a batch of wine

Days like those…

Monday Motivation

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Suess

This doctor gives great advice! Why do some of us ( Um, me ) have a tendency to shrink ourselves for the sake of being concerned what others will think ? I love it when I meet people that have moved on from the opinions of “others,” they are a breath of fresh air and an inspiration to be around.

Sunday Original Song Challenge

I believe this 4th song in my challenge constitutes as a Ditty, in that it’s short, simple (and I think, a little cute). The inspiration for it came when my husband was reading inscriptions from his parent’s wedding guest book from 1948 the other day. Reg, just home from WW2, and Florence, a young accomplished bagpiper, were both born and raised and living in Parry Sound Ontario, where they remained after marrying, raised their children, and died in old age. Some of the entries in the guest book, I’m yours until butter flies, and, Yours until the kitchen sinks, written by their friends piqued my sweetness bone and I thought, why not a song with those play on words? So I did.

I’m Yours D.Brint April 4, 2021

The moment my eyes fell upon your face

Is the moment I knew my heart had found its place

My world stopped the day you took my hand

Birds sang, flowers bloomed, there was peace upon the land

I’m yours till butter flies, until the bed springs

Till thunder storms and Niagara falls

Until tulips kiss and the kitchen sinks

When hot dogs bark and the barn dances

As the years gather and the road behind us long

There’ll be no doubt in our hearts it’s here where we belong

I wouldn’t change a thing in this life I have with you

And I thank my stars it’s me you took a shine to

I’m yours till butter flies, until the bed springs

Till thunder storms and Niagara falls

Until tulips kiss and the kitchen sinks

Till hot dogs bark and the barn dances

This Week

I took my mugs off to be bisque fired on Sunday, and I’m also looking forward to trying out some underglaze pastel crayons I bought, along with an underglaze pencil. Unlike liquid underglazes, to use crayons and pencils the clay must have been bisque fired first to make the surface hard enough to work on; so I left a couple of mugs and a vase plain as samples to practice on.

I don’t have a kiln at home, but my artist/potter neighbour down the road does. We’ve worked out an arrangement that benefits us both. So I pack up my work in a bin and run it over to her place either with the help of a girlfriend with a car, or load it into my wheelbarrow. ( Reminder, I live on a tiny island.)

The week’s also been spent settling in with our new dog Sequoia, a Boarder- Heeler cross and an amazingly smart girl! She’s taken to her new home like a champ, and is a perfect fit for us! It’s been twenty years since we lost our last dog, a Schipperke named Smokey. He also was an awesome little guy who came to us at three years old from the local SPCA. Took to our family as if he was born to us. Still miss him.

I’ve been having a lot of fun with my Sunday Original Song Challenge, although having headaches with consistent posting of the videos via Youtube! I thought I had the wrinkles ironed out, only to find another wrinkle. None-the-less, they’ll get posted each Sunday. So far this song challenge is becoming rather cathartic for me; different from just journaling and Morning Pages.

Today the sun is shining, a beautiful spring day, and beckons me outside to think over the vegetable garden plot and its preparations to be made, and to play in the yard with my hound 🙂 ~

Cheers!

Monday Motivation

“To practice any art, no matter how well or how badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Just do it.” Kurt Vonnegut

The work is important in that it isn’t “Important.” It’s all in the doing. Watch a toddler with paper and paint. She creates like it’s the most natural thing to do, and isn’t it? It doesn’t matter what the subject matter is and of course it doesn’t matter how it “Looks.” A toddler doesn’t care, she is absorbed in the moment, and as adults looking on we don’t care either. It’s beautiful, whatever it is they’ve made, it’s genius. Let’s be that!

Sunday Song Challenge

Just finished the second song in the challenge! I was soooo busy this week with family (my bubble) and lots of activity, I was worried I wouldn’t get a song down before today. Worked all day yesterday on it, starting by just writing on a theme to see what would come out, then carved out some stanzas. This is a real challenge. The songwriting process is fascinating, even if the results are not. For instance this song went through a massive transformation in one day. I had an entirely different meter going, and longer lyrics. Then I tried putting a melody to it, and was having some, well, a lot of, difficulty; more I think because my guitar playing is rudimentary, to be generous. It’s ok to keep it simple! I’ve heard songwriters when interviewed asked the question; ‘what comes first the lyric or the melody?’ I think I’ve discovered I must begin with the melody and fit the lyric to it.

Cheers!

Pathless Road, D Brint 2021

Spent a long time passing through rooms that led down dark hallways

Through doors leading nowhere, no direction to guide me

I’m as rootless as a cloud

My heart in my hand, collecting broken pieces I thought I could mend

Pathless road don’t own me

Don’t lead me astray, and make it hard to find my way

Finding footholds made of sand and shifting stone

My hands remained empty, in the end I stood alone

Not every smile is a home

Nothing to give, but still wanting more

Pulling blood from a stone

My heart felt squandered and misused, desired for meaning

Questions unanswered, barely left beating

Then I touched down

To ground unmoving, and arms embracing

A heart’s that’s true.