Tag Archives: Art

Cleaning the clutter, wiping the dust off my heart.

I’ve been finding it difficult to write lately. I’m in a period of massive information intake, and so I’m not sure of anything. It feels like I know SO MUCH, but at the same time, very little. Some say this feeling only gets worse as you learn more, which spells doom for this blog, since I tend to only want to write when I’m pretty sure of something and I can express it clearly.

But anyway. I came here to talk about something, which reminds me: it’s actually probably more accurate to say that I’m in a period of purging.

I need a pattern interrupt. I’ve been doings things a certain way for about a year, and though it’s been an upgrade from the year before, it doesn’t feel like I’m getting any closer to my major goals.

At the same time, I’m not a fan of forcing and pushing. I know I can force myself to instill new habits or accomplish goals. I’ve done it countless times, and while it feels good to have completed something, the process is gruelling.

But, this is the norm. So many people tell you that that’s how things get done–but I’m looking for a different way. A gentler, funner way.

Sometimes I get frustrated, though, because I want things to move faster and I consider just going on that diet, or just committing to exercising every other day, or committing to writing every day or whatever. While that certainly will get me closer to my goals, it just doesn’t freaking inspire me!

But again, I do realize that my habits need to change.

Yesterday, I actually felt inspired to switch off. I’ve become a little addicted to the internet as of late, and yesterday felt SO GOOD. Well, in the end, it felt good. I spent quite a bit of time sitting on a chair tapping my knees, not knowing what to do next. During a lull, I’m used to checking my e-mail or Facebook, which usually turns into minutes or hours wasting time exploring which of my high school friends has gained weight, reading e-mails I should have probably trashed, or checking if it was really that actor in that movie and how old he is now and who he’s married to. And I’m used to having my computer around if I get an idea I want to write down (I’m addicted to that, too. Notes/brain everywhere).

I HATE being bored. I hate it so much that I don’t allow myself the time to figure out what I actually need. What I actually want to do. It’s not like Facebook makes my heart sing and I just HAVE to check my notifications. No. I just feel compelled to drown out the boredom, and that’s what I’ve come to automatically do. This isn’t very different from any other addiction.

So anyway, I decided to pretend I was a kid, like when my family used to go to the cottage for a week. Zero things on my to-do list, perfectly safe, and absolutely bored. (It’s actually quite helpful to think back to your childhood; I do it often.)

What fun did I make for myself as a child? What would I do if there was nothing TO do? Surely there’s no way I’d sit around all day. I’d find something to do.

Many people are finding that being constantly connected and entertained is actually a hindrance to creativity. As you may know, I sold most of my belongings last year. Still, I normally take a few key things with me wherever I go: my computer, some books, my camera and an extra lens, a sketchbook, sometimes some paints, clothes, and all the usual toiletries. A few years ago, I couldn’t imagine living in such a minimalistic way. Today, I’m finding that excess exists, even within this lifestyle.

Not that I’d sell my computer. It’s not her fault; it’s the fault of a mindset. Having backup–just in case life gets boring–smothers my creativity.

As I sat shaking my legs and itching to just do something, I found myself gravitating toward the piano. Still drowning out the boredom, but, in my opinion, practice is infinitely more productive than Facebook-surfing. I played much longer yesterday than I have in a while. And, incidentally, my voice teacher called me while I was playing and offered me some great advice and support (is that synchronistic or what?).

I also took out my sketch pad and began speed-sketching people on TV. Not my best work, but still fun.

Last year, I spent a lot of time reading books and listening to spiritual and personal development stuff on the internet. I spent a LOT of time on the computer, and there is no part of me that believes that this time was wasted; I had so many questions, and there is so much intelligent and inspiring information online.

But at this point, I feel like I’m good. I still have many, many questions about life and love and the universe, but there is so much knowledge that I could be putting into practice. My mind is saturated, and additional information is now confusing.

It’s time to get back to the basics and let myself guide myself.

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Life Is Good

Anything that feels worthwhile to me involves making other people happy. I know this because when I focus too much on myself, I’m unhappy, and when I help other people meaningfully, I’m happy. Not too complicated.

After performing at the open mic, I started having all these thoughts that I’d never really had before, as is normal after a new experience. I think I understand why I haven’t been able to motivate myself to make “art.” The problem I’m having, I think, is that I see art as a hedonistic and egotistical pursuit. It doesn’t have to be, but that’s how I see it right now, at least if I were to make it mine. I mean, I like making music and painting because they’re methods of expression I enjoy, and everyone needs to express themselves. I also think I’m good at it, and I like how it feels to be good at something and have people tell me I’m great, etc. Who doesn’t?

I’ve been having trouble envisioning my future. I see music as a “dream,” and you’re not supposed to abandon your dreams, or else you lose at life. But if it’s a dream, then why am I having so much trouble acting on it? Why can’t I actually see myself being a musician? What’s missing? Why do I feel like I have no idea what I’m working towards? Why am I not excited for my life in 5 years?

I think it’s because I can’t devote the bulk of my days to trying to get people to compliment me. What I’d hope for in making music is to make millions of people happy with what comes out of my mouth, but that depends a lot on luck and talent, and I’m no Bob Dylan, or whoever. And if that did happen, it wouldn’t be for years, and I’d have to spend most of my time until then devoted to nothing else but writing and getting better, concentrating on myself and not contributing to anything else very meaningfully. At least, that’s how I see it.

The guy I played with at the open mic is a very good musician, and he was just in the greatest mood after the show and all the admiration he was showered with by the audience. It was like he was high, and I knew it would wear off. It made me think that maybe music is an addiction, and those who can make a living off it are addicts. It would explain why some of the greatest musicians were all fucked up and depressed. Which explains the great music.

Maybe I’m just not an addict. Don’t get me wrong, I love making music (and writing, any artform), and I need it to express myself. But I can’t see myself spending most of my life expressing myself. It sounds exhausting! Success in music depends on constant product output, and I just don’t pump things out very consistently. I can’t see myself spending most of my life, for me. And if I did happen to help someone with my art, I’d have no way of knowing. I can’t see myself spending my days as a musician because I don’t spend my days as a musician.

I wrote about this before, but I’d love to find a way to blend art and goodwill. I’m still not sure how to do this. But I do know something I didn’t know before: I can see myself spending my days thinking about other people, and making other people happy. I don’t have a job, and I’m not happy. I still play music and write because I have to express myself, but the rest of time, I’m twiddling my thumbs, wondering why I’m not playing music and writing, because that’s what I like to do, right? Right, but I like to help people more, and that’s what’s missing in my days. It’s so good to know this, because this motivates me, and the 30, 40, 50-year-old Stephanie I imagine looks happy, fulfilled.

It sounds all generous and shit of me, but really it’s pretty selfish: I want to feel like people need me, and a career in art wouldn’t give me that. I’m just finding out how to get what I want.

I’m starting to think about going into nursing, for many reasons. I’ll write about them another time, because I’m bored of this and I have to pee. Peace!

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… I Got Bored

So about that self-congratulation stuff. Yeah, I got bored. Plus, I don’t have internet at home, so when I do feel inspired to write, I can’t. Well, I guess technically I can, but it’s not fun if I can’t post immediately.

I’m still trying make it a point to congratulate myself for things I do right, I just haven’t been writing about it. I’ve actually been making tons of progress in different areas of my life, so I’m pretty happy about that. For example, yesterday (or the day before?) I called my parents. I always think about calling them because I know they’d love me to and they tell me so, but I never do. I just don’t really like talking on the phone for no reason, I guess. But that day, I bit the bullet and it turned out really well because my aunt was visiting my parents, so I got to talk to her a bit, too. Also, I had a time limit because I had to be somewhere half an hour after picking up the phone, so knowing I could say “I have to go now” truthfully made the chat time more enjoyable.

Another thing I did right was finally order a frigging cell phone. It should be here in about a week. I wish it would get here sooner though, because right now I’m borrowing one from a friend… and I have a bad history of breaking cell phones. I won’t forgive myself if I break his.

What else?

I think my efforts to build more meaningful relationships with my friends is working. Constantly being around people distracts me from what’s important, so I’ve been spending more time alone, trying to figure myself out. And because of that (somehow), when I do spend time with my friends, I feel like I’m being more respectful towards them, and towards myself. I’m spending more one-on-one time with people, which I think is really important.  I’ve always been more comfortable getting to know people privately or in small groups, so I’m not sure why it’s been so long since I’ve made that happen. In fact, large social events actually traumatize me. I have fun, but for some reason, I regret so many things the next day. Which is what is happening right now, but it’s all good. Just means I’m taking something away from the experience, though I’m not sure what it is yet! Time reveals all… (I think I just made that up?).

In terms of career… Like anyone else, I’d love to get paid to do what I love to do. The problem is that I’ve been having trouble finding the motivation to actually do what I love to do. What the hell? It’s really hard for me to play music, to write, to make art. Especially the last one, because art (like painting, or whatever) is such a private thing, and I’m already lonely enough. But I tried something yesterday: combining art with goodwill. That sounds so mathematical and ugly, but oh well. I spent all day making and decorating cookies for a friend’s birthday and I had a lot of fun doing it… but I can’t see myself having had that much fun if I hadn’t been doing it for someone. I wouldn’t have been able to just make these cookies for myself; I wouldn’t have cared and I wouldn’t have tried as hard. I’m trying to figure out how I can couple painting/sketching/whatever and goodwill. The thing is, I don’t see why people would have a desire to own a painting, for example. You can eat a cookie, but a painting? I just don’t get it. I guess that’s why artists are poor. But there has to be some sort of value artists provide! Why do I like looking at paintings? I don’t even know if I do. I like guessing at the artist’s technique, but only to get ideas on how to experiment with my own. I don’t feel like, thankful towards the artist, and that’s what I want from what I do: I want what I create to come from a place of love, and I want to feel like I’m contributing to someone’s happiness.

So I can’t bold this one yet, but I’ll leave it in italics because I don’t want to abandon it. I’ll probably write about this periodically (well, that’s essentially what this entire blog is), but I still think sitting down and writing self-congratulations for the small stuff consistently (as in, once a day for a week) would be a great way to motivate yourself to do more things right. Give it a try if you’ve got more stamina than I do!

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Paintings by L.S. Lowry (1887-1976)

A painting of his titled “The Football Match” was recently sold for £5.6 million in London. Geez. Sick art though!

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