Supplies: Respecting My Creativity as Healthy

tao_natural foods

– shot taken at Tao Natural foods in Uptown, Minneapolis

A good friend of mine hates fan fiction. She just can’t stand it. She complains about why on earth people write fanfic when they could write “something that pays.” I have no problem with her hating fanfic. The impulse to write it is a weird one; the shame associated with creating it is akin to how most people are programmed to feel about masturbation.

I mean, sure, fine… but in public?

Nevermind all the implications of derivative works… (is masturbation the derivative works of sex?)

Obviously she’s not in publishing and I don’t think she’s willing to learn the intricacies. Also, most of these conversations came about before Kindle Worlds was a thing.

For writers, there’s usually a very long journey between writing something and writing something that pays. It can  be disheartening.

Fan fiction is what helps a lot of writers buck up along that journey. When I was working on the since-dropped MFA in grad school, writing Daria fan fiction saved my love of writing. While surrounded by people learning the self-indulgent, semi autobiographical mountain format of plot, I borrowed the friendly W of a favorite television character, filling out what I perceived at the time as unmet potential.

When the impulse came to write those silly stories I honored it. I’m glad I did. I haven’t done fan fiction in a few years – not since 2009, I think. Maybe 2010? I have paid work in the way of it and that’s OK.

But if a strong urge clutched me, I’d totally set aside my work for an afternoon of noodling with someone else’s characters. It clears up my chakras like only one other thing…

Filed under: Supplies, Tasks

A list to get me through today

List of works by Alphonse Mucha
List of works by Alphonse Mucha (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • I love the artwork of Alphonse Mucha.
  • Just knowing someone like Leonardo Da Vinci existed inspires me.
  • The cheap perfume Muguet still makes me tear up and smile.
  • Since meeting Mike, I love penguins even more. I just don’t want to decorate our home with them – they rapidly become like Tribbles.
  • I have come to understand why I am so anti-competitive and why that’s one of my best qualities.I am finally holding my own when playing Scrabble with my partner.
  • I am so busy because people want me around. That’s not new – but my understanding it is.
  • It doesn’t matter if what I do looks frivolous. It brings a little bit of joy to the world – and happy people are the ones most inclined to do good.
  • I have a fireplace. I can’t burn stuff in it but it’s still an excellent space heater and wonderful for scrying.
  • I do have something to say – so my inner critic can piss off.
  • I have been to Paris. I will always have that. Europeans will roll their eyes, but few of them get that I live in a country the size of Europe and a chunk of Asia. It’s going to take serious effort to see all the major points of my own country … and getting out of it takes a lot of work and financial planning. Going to Paris was a privilege – but it was also an achievement hard-earned. Yes, I did work on learning French before I went. I’m a US Citizen, not a jingo.
  • I have the principles of the Artist’s Way to ground me, because I live in a world with Julia Cameron in it. That’s pretty cool.


Productive Spirituality

Creativity Monster

There’s a lot of “how to be spiritual” stuff out there – “think kind thoughts,” “rise above it when you want to strange a parent or in-law,” “be something vague that makes you feel all spiritual and superior.” On a different path, there’s a lot of stuff about getting two billion things done in a day, how to keep the muse chattering day and night and how to how to how TOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I’ve bounced around in all of these. I generally find the “how to be spiritual” the least useful. Most of it, to me, reads “You should think this way and only this way to be a good person.” I’m not a fan of being told what to think so I find this as off-putting as the “There  can be only one!” approach  to religion. Seriously, the god(s) I work with is not a judgmental jerk –  when bad things happen, it may be a natural consequence but it’s not for the sake of petty punishment. There’s a lot of the “sacred path” stuff even among Pagans that is still pretty judgmental. By judgmental, in this case, I mean “Believes making you feel like crap about yourself for enjoying innocuous things because they are frivolous will actually make you believe that said person is more spiritual than thou.”

Frivolity is creative. I follow the Artist’s Way (a creativity path) where one of the maxims is “Creativity is a gift from God.” Those frivolous things – TV shows, fluff novels, candy – they took significant work to create. Have you ever tried to make hard candy? It’s pretty labor intensive. Overconsumption of anything – books, food, whatever – throws us out of balance with our minds and bodies.  Consuming in moderation lets us have a good time – and honor the original creator of what it is we so enjoy.

I’m a creative person with a lot of projects going all at once. I often feel like I have to choose between that and my magic practices. Much of my work in recent years has involved bringing one in line with the other. The magic informs the creation. The creation evolves the magic. If done well, I don’t need to create time for my spirituality – it’s right there with me as I go about my life.

My way of getting there – writing, poetry, cooking – they won’t work for everyone. But there’s something in your life that you already do, that you already take pleasure in that you can make spiritual, that you can infuse with your total engagement and pleasure.

So that’s why I’m considering starting a workshop: productive spirituality. The kind where you can say “Hi, creation/nature/poobah!” while still going about your day – knowing that living your life is not the least bit unholy.


Sickness and Creativity

Hmong Farmer's Market March 2013

Creative energy is a funny thing. It is universally available but not universally constant. I’ve read accounts of mothers, brilliant productive aritsts in their own right, who can not write during pregnancy. Why? Because their body is using that creative energy to make a new life. Once the child is born the creativity returns. I will never have the experience of baby creation – but based on how I feel when I get sick, I think it’s true.

Lately this blog has flowed more easily than it ever has. Part of it is maintaining my artist’s way work. Part of it is all the work I’ve done in therapy, in ritual, in every day life to overcome the voices and cultures that kept me from my best self. I’m even getting more comfortable writing and saying things I know some of my own  just won’t like.

So when I sat down at the keyboard last week and not even the slightest dribble would come… I knew that cold that had chased me for weeks finally caught me. Even now, my face hurts – an impacted sinus kept me from taking my nasal inhalant medication. My coordination all but disappeared. I used what energy I had left to tag and sort my flickr account and then I lay on the couch watching Reno 911 and sleeping while my partner tappa-tapped on his laptop beside me.

Sometimes – rarely – I can keep working through illness. If I maintain a good schedule of artist’s dates then I can usually muster some basic work. But since moving, I haven’t as much. So yesterday I made sure I got a good one. Over the summer I’ll be doing all I can to refill that well – because it makes the dryer times much easier to work.