February 27th, 2011

I’m mystified that this movie didn’t attract any Academy Awards attention and that it slid in and out of our local theater in a week. It made me realize all over again the power of Ginsberg’s poem — it’s just as raw and stunning now as it must have been in 1955. James Franco is amazing, and the form and production of the movie are wake-you-up creative.

In the Mood

November 23rd, 2010

I came home from work to find that a friend had left a care package on my porch with recommendations of places to visit if/when I get to Paris this winter along with a cd to put me in the mood. When I listen to Best of Costes, a compilation of selections from the cds put out by the very hip Hotel Costes in Paris, I float into a frothy Carrie Bradshaw/Mikhail Baryshnikov or a wicked, melancholy Marlon Brando/Last Tango in Paris frame of mind. Music is the fastest way to take my mind/imagination to another place in time — my solace, the secret soundtrack of my life.


Priming the Pump

November 13th, 2010

I just ordered this book from Amazon because I really, really need a creative nudge. Even though I’m a writer, not an artist, sketching helps the words flow for me when I feel like I’m stuck or in a rut. And I like Katherine Dunn’s work and loved the description of some of the exercises she offers.

Since we’re all students in life, these are rules that apply to any kind of calling you may have. Evidently they were posted in the art department of the college where Sister Corita Kent taught. (I found them on Keri Smith’s excellent blog.)  I also highly recommend Corita Kent’s book called Learning by Heart.

Cool Tools

September 17th, 2010

I love writing and sketching with Pilot Bravo pens because the ink seems to glide across the page. The only catch is if you want to add some watercolors to your sketch, the ink runs. So I usually stick to Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens for that purpose. My new favorite blank books for sketching or writing are 5 1/2  x  5 1/2 Hand Book Artist Journals. They’re small enough to carry in my purse, I like the binding and they lay flat when opened. And I just plain love buying new tools. What are your favorite tools, accessories, gadgets?

15 Minute Tasks

September 16th, 2010

I can’t remember where I read about doing a 15 minute task in the morning — meditating, drawing, playing music, etc., but I’m trying to do that when I come home from work. Because I can’t think straight in the morning, and I can’t get up early enough to add creativity to shower, breakfast, make lunch, blow dry hair, pack workout clothes, get dressed and find keys. I like drawing and painting at night because it totally occupies my brain and hands. It’s a little transition from work and worry to being home, being sheltered, being the most me. This is the chair in my living room, which in real life is covered with a beautiful aqua-colored fabric from Maine Cottage with a tiny faint red wine stain on one corner. Just to keep it from being too perfect. I love drawing the fat contours of it, the curls and swirls — one day I hope to get it right.

Creative Rx

September 13th, 2010

At the art center  in Virginia where I took a wonderful workshop this weekend, rows of these artists’ carts were lined up in the hallway. They reminded me of hospital carts — so appropriate since I was definitely in art intensive care for 2+ days. Drawing and painting was the object, but most important was learning to see things in a different way. My brain felt squeezed dry by Sunday night, but I’m looking at the world more closely. In Creative Sparks, Jim Krause suggests picking a part of your daily routine where you’re in the same place over and over, viewing the same things day after day, and then the next time you’re there, look around until you see something that you hadn’t seen before or had forgotten about. Do it every day, he says, and make it a ritual. You’ll be amazed at what you haven’t been noticing.

Learning to Play

September 9th, 2010

This week, I’ve been working on the October issue of Skirt!, and since the theme is Smile, I’ve been writing about playfulness. In the process, I’ve realized how little I play, what a drudge I’ve become! That’s why I’m really enjoying Free Play, which is all about the creative process and its relationship to improvisation. Not a new book, but new to me and coming into my life at just the right time. I’ve purchased several copies for friends who are starting new projects, because I think it will give them courage to go forth. And don’t we all need that?

Brain Waves

August 30th, 2010

Do you want to lower your heart rate, decrease your blood pressure and increase your learning ability and productivity? No, it’s not a new wonder drug, but some studies suggest that listening to Baroque music with its 60-beats-per-minute pattern may do just that. So next time you’re working on a poem or a Powerpoint presentation, turn on some Bach, Handel or Vivaldi. This Glenn Gould recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations is one of my very favorites.

Are You Done?

August 29th, 2010

Lots of good points in this…find the background on the post/manifesto on this blog.