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Artist’s Way 3: Week 8

Artist’s Way 3: Week 8
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Blacknuss.

The chapter for Week 8 is titled “Recovering a Sense of Strength.”  Julia Cameron stays whispering to my soul. She really has a gift when it comes to breaking down the creative process and talking in practical terms about the barriers that sometimes arise.

Check out this excerpt where Cameron is talking about the important of “filling the form.” She’s talking about the importance of taking those small steps towards the big goal instead of trying to do everything at once.

As a rule of thumb, it is best to just admit that there is always one action you can take for your creativity daily.

Mmmmhmmmm. Yop. Say that! No excuses. I was just talking to a writer friend about finding the time to work on personal writing projects. We all love to put in big talk about screenplays, novels, anthologies and the like, but none of that gets done unless we create a plan and start making those incremental steps towards the larger idea.

What have you done today towards your creative goals?

For the week’s Artist Date, I hit up the Blacknuss sidewalk shop in Harlem that was put on by author Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts. She had vintage, rare and hard-to-find books as well as albums, magazines, bean pies and all types of goodies that celebrate the African diaspora. Eventually, she’ll be taking Blacknuss into a brick and mortar shop and I’m all for it.

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2014 in Creativity

 

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Artist’s Way 3: Week 7

Artist’s Way 3: Week 7
From my awesome "new" book about art in the Louvre.

From my awesome “new” book about art in the Louvre.

Week 7 is called “Recovering a  Sense of Connection.” It’s basically about feeling connected  to your creativity. There’s lots of good stuff in there about not falling victim to “perfectionism” (aka surefire ways to never finish a project), turning professional jealousy into productivity and things of that nature.

The interesting thing for me about this week was that before I was even deep into the reading, I had already kind of re-established some things for myself, mostly dealing with my home and making it look more like me and making it more conducive to creative work. They were relatively small things, but things that made a difference for me. I finally framed and put up the pictures I’d been meaning to add to the bathroom walls. I got some new pretty flowers for the front room and I did a deep clean/purge of the whole apartment. Like I said, the little tweeks I made were minor, but they meant a lot in terms of having a cozy, comfortable, clutter-free space. That is the optimal space for me to flex my creative muscles.

I went on at least three Artist Dates this week, but the one I’ll share is about going to one of my favorite haunts, the Housing Works Thrift Shop. When you buy stuff there, the proceeds go towards helping homeless people living with HIV/AIDS. Pretty noble cause, eh? I have a number of home accessories and furniture pieces from them (including my lovely Queen Anne desk). I went there for my Artist Date and picked up a coffee table book from 1951 that is all about art in the Louvre. There’s background on the art and the institution itself as well as fabulous color pictures. Good stuff!

 

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2014 in Creativity, Writerly Things

 

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Artist’s Way 3: Week 6

Artist’s Way 3: Week 6
Just me and a trail on Governor's Island for my Artist Date.

Just me and a trail on Governor’s Island for my Artist Date.

Like I neva left…

Week 6 of the Artist’s Way is called “Recovering a Sense of Abundance.” Maaaaaan. Le sigh. So, those of you who really follow my blog like that, know that it’s been mooooonths since I’ve updated my latest Artist’s Way progress. This weekend, I finally decided to really get back in it and get back to posting about it.

This morning, I made my morning meditation about abundance and then I went on Instagram and a friend had posted about abundance. Then when I got back on task with AW, the topic was abundance. Message much? Ha!

Julia Cameron spoke to me in this chapter when she said “Making art begins with making hay while the sun shines. It begins with getting into the now and enjoying your day. It begins with giving yourself some small treats and breaks. ‘This is extravagant but so is God” is a good attitude to take when treating your artist to small bribes and beauties.”

This past weekend, I bought myself a bouquet of flowers for my dining room table (as usual) and I spent Sunday afternoon on my Artist Date at Governor’s Island. They have a whole section full of hammocks for people to use. HAMMOCKS!! So friggin’ awesome. There’s also tons of historical stuff to explore, the beautiful views (Hello, Lower Manhattan) and there happened to be an art fair going on this weekend too. Good stuff!

Abundance indeed.

Good week.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Creativity, Writerly Things

 

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Artist’s Way 3: Week 5

Artist’s Way 3: Week 5

 

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“A Subtlety” by Kara Walker

Week 5 is titled “Recovering a  Sense of Possibility.” It’s basically about nurturing yourself as an artist and getting rid of the 8,000 excuses you have for not feeding your creative spirit. A lot of times we feel pressure from other people and ourselves to be “selfless” or to just stay on the 9 to 5 track and nothing else.

Cameron is not suggesting that everyone ditch their day jobs to become underwater basket weavers, but she is suggesting that everyone should pay attention to and cater to their inner artists. You don’t have to quit your job, but you can buy an easel, a canvas and some paint. You can take a salsa class. You can create a bright orange accent wall in your living room. Let your inner artist be fed and be great. Get rid of those excuses! There is no upside to keeping roadblocks.

A quote from Collete in this chapter was my favorite for this week. “You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.”

For my Artist Date I went to see Kara Walker’s amazing art installation called “A Subtlety.”  It is a sphynx-like figure of a naked black woman made of 80 tons of sugar. This incredible artwork is housed at the historic Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn. The original structure was built in the 1850s and the factory was at one point refining more than half of the sugar in the United States. I knew about the factory’s existence (the sign is one of those NYC icons), but I did not know how old it was nor that it was such an integral part of the sugar industry. The curatorial statement was very enlightening.

A construction crew will be demolishing the old factory soon to make way for a new development, so Walker’s work is an elaborate adieu and a not so subtle way to finally acknowledge the labor and lives of the people who worked those sugar cane fields. If you don’t know anything about slavery, sugar cane fields and even post-slavery sugar cane field work, please do Google that.

This was perhaps my favorite Artist Date so far this year. Walker has a brilliant mind and the layers in this art installation are numerous and each worth a thesis. I’ll have to come back and do a seperate post with all of my thoughts on this work. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to go see “A Subtlety.” It’s free and it’s open every weekend until July 6th.

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2014 in Creativity

 

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Artist’s Way 3: Week 4

Artist’s Way 3: Week 4

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Week 4 is about recovering a sense of integrity. Yes, ma’am. The crux of this chapter is right here:

The snowflake pattern of your soul is emerging. Each of us is a unique, creative individual. But we often blur that uniqueness with sugar, alcohol, drugs, overwork, underplay, bad relations, toxic sex, under-exercise, over-TV, under-sleep–many and varied forms of junk food for the soul. The pages help us see the smears on our consciousness.

Alla da truth is right there. I’m using this space to document and not really go in depth, so I won’t speak on what parts of that paragraph really struck me personally, but it definitely did.

Moving on…My Artist Date was going to a local artist supply store in Harlem. I got a super cute new Moleskine notebook. I also went to Staples and got a new pack of pens. I’m kind of particular about pens. I write hard (I’m intense, son) so I need pens with a nice rubber grip. Anywho, It was nice to me immersed in all that artistic awesomeness and my notebook is super cute.

 
 

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Artist’s Way 3: Week 3

Artist’s Way 3: Week 3

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Week 3 is all about recovering a sense of power.  Good stuff here. Cameron talked quite a bit about anger and how to use anger in a positive way. I got angry a couple times in the past couple weeks and I expressed that anger in such a way that I had to apologize to the folks on the receiving end. So, it happens.

One quote from this weeks’ reading that I really enjoyed was from Goethe. It reads: “Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace and power in it.”  Well said. Or like Nike said, “Just do it.” You’ll never do “it” if you don’t make that first step no matter how tentative it is.

For this week’s Artist Date, I attempted to go and buy a new notebook and some new pens, but my mission ended up a failure because I embarked on said adventure on Easter Sunday and stuff closed early. Womp, womp. So, my Artist Date became the walk there and back. The picture above is from my travels. Reminds me of a song from my adolescence. “The red, the black and the green. With the key…”

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2014 in Creativity, Writerly Things

 

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Artist’s Way 3: Week 2

Artist’s Way 3: Week 2
My view during my run/Artist Date.

My view during my run/Artist Date.

Week 2 focuses on recovering a sense of identity. My girl Julia goes all the way IN with this chapter. Here’s an excerpt where she talks about having “crazymakers” in your life, essentially the folks who always manage to suck away all of your energy creative and otherwise:

Crazymakers discount your reality. No matter how important your deadline or how critical your work trajectory at the moment, crazy makers will violate your needs. They may act as though they hear your boundaries and will respect them, but in practice act is the operative word. Crazymakers are the people who call you at midnight or 6:00 am saying, “I know you asked me not to call you at this time, but…”

Yes, Julia, yes! I most certainly had a crazymaker in my life a while ago and I’m so glad I let that go. Good riddance to drama. But here is my absolute favorite quote from this week:

The quality of life is always in proportion, always to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.

She’s basically saying that even when life seems to be piling on every possible miserable thing, focus on the good stuff. Appreciate the little things. FIND THOSE LITTLE THINGS.

For this week’s Artist Date, I went for a walk/run along the Hudson River and it was great. Just a bit before sunset and it was a beautiful night–70 something degrees. Just me, the sun, the river and my music. It was an Outkast mix by the way. Got in some good people-watching of course and got to notice nature showing all the way out with different little creations along the path.  Good week!

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Creativity

 

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