If I Was Really Cool I Would Call This a Manifesto
Creating with paint and paper and scrumptious colors is about the most fun I’ve ever had. As a kid, it was a fantastic boredom-buster and one of my favorite things to do. Just a few years ago, I rediscovered the fun of making things, the fun of big, vibrant swaths of color on a page or canvas.
Before that, I wrote essays (mostly about food) and cooked as a means of being creative. Then I tried my hand at fiction. I wrote two novels and man alive, that was hard. Now I read fiction for fun and have a warm place in my heart for anyone who’s ever written a good story.
Morning is my favorite time of day. I get up around 5:00 (or 5:30, or 6:00, depending on how late I stayed up reading the night before) and write three pages, longhand. I write about anything and everything: No filter. On a good morning, while the house is still quiet, I do something at my craft table. I get color down on paper; nothing is bad or wrong.
The night before, at bedtime, I gather art goodies and lay them out. It’s my mise en place, a French term that means “putting in place,” used mostly in cooking wherein chefs get together ingredients and cooking tools for a particular dish. That little habit is a means of priming the pump. I go to sleep and imagine my mind already spinning away with ideas just from handling the bottles of paint and paintbrushes and thick paper. Sometimes the next morning what I had planned to do isn’t at all what I want to do, so I do something different. There is no wrong and no can’ts.
I sound so evolved. It took a while to get to here. There are untold numbers of projects that I stopped with the power of my own mind, defeated myself before I even began. It took me a long time to take to heart the advice I read in an essay by author Elizabeth Gilbert. To her way of thinking, self-discipline is overrated. She suggests that the most important part of living a creative life is being kind to yourself and forgiving yourself when you don’t reach a goal or keep a resolution. We vow to create every day! Then we don’t, and are disheartened and discouraged. It’s easy to get down on yourself and give up. It takes courage, and self-forgiveness*, to try again.
Trying is scary but it’s never boring.
This About Me is excerpted from an interview I did with artist Kate Mericks at her blog. Her questions prompted such fun exploration and she happily let me use the content from that interview. She is sweet that way.
Coming soon: Fun, crafty goodness.