Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I contributed to the Kickstarter campaign to fund Jihae's album. She has one of those deep textured singing voices. It's not exactly pretty, but the kind of voice that pulls its own weight, the box that houses her soul. When she sings, she releases a little bit of soul out into the universe. It's my kind of voice. 

It was probably listening to the pitch that did it for me. Sometimes, when people talk about their passion, you pick up on their enthusiasm, you feel happy that they're happy, and their success becomes yours. That is the essence of a good pitch.  

She included this song on her kickstarter page. I looked up some of her previous music and they're not as good. There's a promise here that better is coming. I believe it. 

Monday, October 28, 2013


"I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become."
 -  Carl Jung

Friday, October 25, 2013


Photographer Petra Bindel
I'm not delusional. This is not at all easy and it may take forever - but this is an interesting idea: attaching boxes to walls to act as shelves, and painting the interiors to add a little bit of visual interest. There are two views here, from the front and from the side, to provide a little perspective. Takers?

Monday, October 21, 2013


I've never given a prompt before, and I've never even taken anyone up on one, they've always felt weird, but in the spirit of creative innovation, I will from time to time give out a picture prompt.  If you look up, I have provided a visual location for an event to take place. The streets are empty. It's a sunny day, and the point of focus is the house with the archway of flowers over the door.

To test this out, I will respond to my own prompt. Here goes:

She moved forward with an economy of movement, with minimal swinging of arms, or jutting of elbows. She walked the way a turtle swims, with inborn naturalness and casual elan.  She walked until she stopped, quickly and abruptly, in the precise center of the block, a movement that while sudden, was also completed smoothly and with consent.  Looking out in front of her, she arced her eyes over the entire length of the street. There were no cars, no other people. Instead, there was a pervading sense of waiting, for someone who had missed his mark, who should have been here. Waiting for her.

From the corner of her eye, she could see a flood of crimson blossoms arching over a doorway. They waved at her like hands, fluttering in the wind. Above the door, reflecting the sun, was the closed glass of a window. Behind the glass, she was sure, someone was watching. Attractive women could always tell when they were being watched. Over time, they learned their better angles. She knew that when she tilted her head back to turn, the sunlight would split across her face, haloing her features. He should have come out then; he should have already been there. The door was only steps away from where she stood. But the door remained closed. No one came out to greet her.

Of course, there were options. She could knock on the door. She could be polite or persuasive, but that went against one of her key guiding principles: never to reward cowardice. She waited a beat longer, and when the door remained closed, she adjusted her handbag over her shoulder and walked on.

Self-critique: This was self-indulgent and possibly made no sense. It's a jumble of images and descriptions with very little editing. I consider this part of a creative burst (or diarrhea or explosion) that I think is necessary to the act of creating. You have to give yourself the freedom to look bad.

This excerpt is also what I would consider a layer. French actress Juliette Binoche once described good acting as being like an onion - there are many layers to a performance. In that same sense, this scene is one layer in a larger piece that I've been constructing inside my head recently, and I will lay another perspective on top of it later, and then I will keep going, layering away until I have something substantial.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Here are some creative ways to improve your photography.

23 Hacks to Learn Anything Faster and Better
True learning takes reinforcement and work, so maybe this will help.

Catchy title, isn't it? Doesn't that make you want to read it?

There are some skills that will make life better, such as saying "no."

All the Things You Don't Need
I've been doing a lot of culling lately, both physical and mental, so this seemed appropriate.

How to Self-Publish a Best-Seller: Publishing 3.0
This is one of the most thorough and informative articles on the topic I've come across. 

And related to the above article, I have to agree that making your own audiobook sounds like a great idea - I listen to a lot of books on audiobook (multi-tasking), but the reader's voice has a huge effect on the experience. On that note, I highly recommend audiobook reader Scott Brick. I really notice when men read as women and vice versa, and the results can sometimes be jarring and/or offensive. Scott can do both genders in ways that are insane.

Monday, October 14, 2013


I don't own this book and I've never read it. I'm sure it's good. Amazon seems to like it, but that's not why I'm talking about it. I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but seriously, just look at it. Just look. It's beautiful. I found this on a design website because she thought it was beautiful. Again, neither of us was talking about content.  The yellow is striking and inviting, the writing is in a personal script, and the juxtaposition of freehand script against a geometric book pattern is simple, minimalist perfection.  

What struck me is how fresh and modern this cover is; this is a deliberate and calculated choice, as all covers are, and I believe that it works. By "it works," I mean that it will make a reader curious about the book, to want to take a peek inside, and sometimes that little push is all you need.

This cover would look beautiful hanging out on your desk or on the face of your iPad. I am by no means a book designer or cover artist or whatever the official title may be, but this is something worth considering, yes? 

Friday, October 11, 2013


To be perfectly honest, hanging wall art isn't easy, and it probably will take more than a weekend and that will ruin your Monday. That said, I ran across Spain's Glamour website (I think - it's in Spanish and I don't speak Spanish, but I do speak the international language of interior design) and they have some very good ideas. Above, I really like the idea of mixing large and small art pieces, even if the smaller pieces are of insects and this may be the dining room.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I happened to be beside a friend the other day as she finished a book.  She turned to the end where the picture of the author happened to be, looked it over, and said "I knew it."

What did she know?

I'm not going to answer this question immediately. Not to be coy, but I want to give the idea some time to percolate. If I jump in with my theory too soon, this becomes a leading question*, and I'd rather the answer evolved naturally.  

I tell people on occasion that I like to write. The act of writing is an act of joy. I always thought that this was a neutral fact, like saying you liked your eggs scrambled, your sky blue, and your favorite season to be preferably spring. It recently occurred to me, possibly in aftermath of the "I knew it"fiasco, that this identification could be negative.

There are two perceptions that I see running in parallel: that of the writer, and that of the introvert. This comes from reading Quiet by Susan Cain, which covers the gamut of what it means to be an introvert in the modern world. In part, she argues that introverted behavior is considered negative, while extroversion has become the ideal. People asked to described the generic introverts use descriptors such as "ungainly," "neutral colors," and "skin problems." In contrast, the extrovert ideal is "gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight...prefers action to contemplation, risk-taking to heed-taking, certainty to doubt." So the idea of someone typing away in a cafe, happily translating the ideas living inside their head onto the page probably falls under the definition of an introvert. That is my assumption.

There are exceptions. I'm sure there are writers out there who have mastered the trifecta of socializing, binge drinking, and writing. This person clearly has it made and has nothing to fear. I can't speak to that person.

However, when I thought of a hypothetical writer, I used to picture a deep and intense thinker, someone who lived a little ways outside of social norms, who observed and created, someone I could admire. That picture may be changing. When the phrase "I'm a writer" comes out of my mouth, it can act like a filter, and I wonder how the perception of me alters when that filter has been applied.

Of course, none of this means I'm going to act any differently. Life is difficult enough as it is.

* A leading question attempts to influence an answer.  For example: What color is the grey dog?

Yes, this post has been re-written. 

Monday, October 7, 2013


Two songs that are mellow and just slightly captivating, a nice bit of sound to have in the background while you're typing furiously away. The videos are also tell an interesting story of disconnect.

Friday, October 4, 2013


You must not fear, hold back, count or be a miser with your thoughts and feelings. It is also true that creation comes from an overflow, so you have to learn to intake, to imbibe, to nourish yourself and not be afraid of fullness. The fullness is like a tidal wave which then carries you, sweeps you into experience and into writing. Permit yourself to flow and overflow, allow for the rise in temperature, all the expansions and intensifications. Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them. If it seems to you that I move in a world of certitudes, you, par contre, must benefit from the great privilege of youth, which is that you move in a world of mysteries. But both must be ruled by faith.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Photographer Grant Harder

If you're looking for some beautifully written advice, try Caitlin Moran's advice for her daughter

You may want to check out the Writing Tools of 20 Famous Authors.  
It is exactly what it sounds like.

About this time, you may realize that I have a problem with procrastination. So I read this article about Clearing to Neutral to stop the little things from getting in your way.

A nice article of the definition of creativity from authors with a history of putting it to good use: What is Creativity?

Actually, the Wellness Mama blog has a bucketload of great beauty DIY's and I just chose this one.

This article on the Value of Suffering is a nice meditation on the subject. 

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