Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere…

Jim Jarmusch on creativity:

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.

 

 

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time.  When I think I’m being entirely original that’s when my ego emerges and my work suffers.  If I take note of my inspiration (creative theft), then my work is often more authentic.  Thank you Jim Jarmusch and Jean-Luc Godard, “it’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to”.  Indeed.

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In December I was…

diagnosed with ADHD inattentive presentation.  I’ve suspected this for years, but at this stage in my life it was becoming unmanageable.  As an artist and mother of young kids I naturally had to shift gears constantly just to keep things running in our household.  There were endless ways I could stave off boredom and feed my brain’s insatiable hunger for disruption, distraction and change.

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I could hide my challenges quite easily because the whole universe was operating in a constantly distracted way. The endless buzz in the world rewarded my brain with “quick fixes” and made me believe I was managing just fine.

Then four things collided at roughly the same time

1. My children became more independent and my day to day responsibilities shifted. 

2. My husband, children and friends were telling me that I was leaving out crucial information in my communication AND I was getting defensive about it.

3. I studied positive psychology and the necessity on both a personal and societal level to quit spinning, slow down, reflect and get more focused on how I want to spend my energy and talents.

4. I turned fifty.

I know people joke about the endless diagnoses out there.  I’m a little OCD or that’s my ADHD talking or I can’t get that done because of poor executive function etc.  I was resistant for years because I didn’t want to be off the hook for the behaviors that were affecting my life and those around me.  I did however, need some answers and solutions for help to narrow my focus and allow me to better utilize my skills in both my private and public life.

Now being able to look back at the ways ADHD manifested in my life has provided a certain amount of ease and less shame about my deficits than before.  As a child I was highly adaptive, creative and curious about so many different things.  However, I also was a day dreamer, a poor tester, I rarely followed directions and was often told that I wasn’t working to my potential.  I was always armed with loads of ideas and didn’t follow through on them. I created a narrative around my deficits that I was less than.

I fell asleep during the science portion of my ACT test in high school. I got the minimum score required to go to private schools in South Dakota.  I also dozed off during the ADHD test I recently took with a psychologist.  I think my brain was bored and the competition of it all wasn’t enough motivation for me.  I wasn’t getting any juice so my brain just shut it down.

I recently remembered as a high school kid reading one page of the dictionary before I went to sleep to boost my vocabulary.  When I think of this now I believe I was trying to find ways to boost how my intelligence presented to others because it was less quantifiable than my siblings and my peers.  The really smart kids wanted to be friends with me, but my grades were very average unless I loved the subject. Then I could focus.  Thank you English and creative writing.

My husband remembered that my Dad told him when we got married that he would have to help me with certain things—paying bills, insurance and so on.  My Dad knew on some level that I had some challenges with organization.  I recently found insurance paperwork he had requested in the 1980s for me to sign and send back.  I never did.  I guess he asked me again.

I did all of the stuff I was told to do to quiet my brain and help my focus—manage stress, exercise, meditate, rest and eat well…and yet it just wasn’t quite enough.  I’m taking a low dose of a psychostimulant on the days more focus is required of me.  Now, with greater knowledge about my brain’s chemistry, I have renewed hope and focus about my life.

So, I’m unsure why I need to share this now on such a public forum.  I guess I feel that storytelling is what we need now more than ever in this uncertain world.  I believe that a willingness to be vulnerable and share our stories and fears is very important in 2017.

I don’t want to hide behind this diagnoses.  I really am the only one that needs to understand my brain.  However, if my story helps you share your story than this was well worth my time.  We are all in this together.

Go forth and be bold and share something personal or painful from your story.  That small act of courage could change someone’s life.

 

http://www.adhd-brain.com/adhd-predominantly-inattentive.html

If I was invited to my own studio…

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I would think it’s a co-op of about five different artists and I wouldn’t even know what to pay attention to.  No wonder when I get there I’m not always sure what I’m going to work on—I want to do it all and sometimes, unfortunately, that’s immobilizing.


I think at this stage of my life I am seeking a more direction.

I don’t want to get static or rigid, but good grief, I think there’s a space in between.


I’ve decided to take a few minutes, get quiet and see what I want to work on BEFORE I take off for my studio.  I’m hoping that simple act will get me more focused and deliberate.  I’ll let you know if it works…but I might forget and you may need to e-mail and ask me about how it turned out. It seems like this just might be a natural state of our world…but I want to fight it.  There are so many things to pay attention to that it’s overwhelming.  OK, off to the studio, but first, I want to check out that song, book, technique, read my e-mail, the news, oh there’s a video I bookmarked…aaaarrgggghhhh.

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an artist’s lament.

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I will forever be seeking to understand the creative brain better. I have to, it’s a matter of survival. With creativity often comes a fair amount of SADNESS. It’s taken me many moons (I’m almost 49) to come to a truce with my own brain, creative process and THE BLUES.

Sadness in creatives is well documented and studied, however, I’ve decided instead of completely accepting this as an undisputed fact that I will seek a REFRAME.

THE BLUES are a part of me that greatly affects how I see the world and make connections in all facets of my life. THE BLUES are not a human flaw or always a part of a bigger mental health problem. They can truly be a gift.


Of course, when these feelings are systemic and debilitating—they need more attention.


Too often in American culture everything is about HAPPINESS, MINDFULNESS and INSTAGRAMMING a life of JOY. Really, all the time? That’s a lot of pressure.

I thought this quote was quite insightful.

“For creatives, this depression is what amplifies motivation to do their work better. It’s not enough to keep doing what you’ve been doing as a creative, you have to do more, and do it well. That’s empowering, if you can make it through the initial dip in energy.” —Tanner Christensen (The link between depression and creativity, and how it can be good for you.) The link is below.

The key is in understanding that energy dip when you are feeling THE BLUES and ruminating—trying to make sense of something. Today is a good example after another, all too common, senseless shooting in America. How can we not ruminate?

http://creativesomething.net/post/55508909341/the-link-between-depression-and-creativity-and

My REFRAME about my own version of THE BLUES is two fold:

—I’m not going to knock THE BLUES back when it comes to my creative work.
I’m going to welcome them with open arms, a cup of tea and a nap if needed.
I’m going to thank THE BLUES for helping me make sense of this complex world
and for giving my work and thoughts more depth.

—I’m CHOOSING to celebrate the fact that I have a lot of creative ideas for projects and try to not get THE BLUES that I can’t possibly manifest them all. After all there’s only 24 hours in the day…damn it!


That is my reframe of THE BLUES and it’s working for me right now.  Perhaps next time you’re feeling THE BLUES creeping in you can give them a hug and ask them what you’re suppose to be paying attention to right now. The answer might surprise you.

the art of doodling…

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I know for me that even a little bit of doodling or drawing in the morning makes me happier and more flexible than when I read the newspaper. I wondered why it makes such a big difference in my overall demeanor…so I did a little research.

I found this fascinating link about what are doodling tells about our psyche.

WOW.  I need to pay more attention to my doodles.

http://liquidblueflame.deviantart.com/journal/Psychology-meaning-of-doodles-drawings-220917663

“Flowers
Flowers represent our feminine side, and a desire to see growth, nature, and reproduction. If flowers are in an arrangement, it denotes a sense of family and togetherness. McNichol writes that Jung believed dreams of flowers suggest a need to release emotion people feel unable to express openly.” Deviant Art Journal

You don’t have to be an artist to get the benefits of drawing. 

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Just draw, there is no right or wrong. 

“We may not be aware of the complexity of drawing, but when analyzed in detail it becomes clear that drawing is an amazing process that requires precise orchestration of multiple brain mechanisms; perceptual processing, memory, precise motor planning and motor control, spatial transformations, emotions, and other diverse higher cognitive functions, are all involved.” Dr. Lora Likova, a cognitive scientist at Smith-Kettlewell.

This amazing process of drawing, whether observational or conceptual, depends on diverse brain regions:

  • cerebellum (major brain region): movement
  • frontal lobe: reasoning, planning, movement, emotions, problem solving
  • parietal lobe: movement and orientation, spatial relationships, recognition, perception of stimuli, linked to a role in creativity
  • occipital lobe: vision, visual processing
  • temporal lobe: perception and memory

http://www.printmag.com/featured/draw-yourself-happy-drawing-creativity-your-brain/

Try using the guide to see what your doodles are telling you. You might learn something you didn’t know was front and center in one of your frontal lobe.

Happy Doodling.

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Thank you Raymond Hains.

Raymond Hains (9 November 1926 – 28 October 2005) was a French artist and photographer. He also has the same birthday as my mother-in-law—good company for a birthday, Mary.

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Thanks Mr. Hains you are providing today’s creative inspiration.  I’m glad I came across your work on Artdaily.com.  I’ve always loved poster design and I like things “mucked up” so to speak.  Off I go to see what I will create today.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Hains

It’s challenging when there’s inspiration everywhere…

and sometimes it’s downright debilitating. Come on you creative types, don’t you just want to shut it off sometimes? On the days in the studio when I am deliberate and focused it feels really amazing, but it’s rare. I’m trying to embrace the brain I’ve been allocated. This brain is pretty cluttered and noisy and ridiculously interested in everything.

I can’t help myself. I am truly stopped in my tracks by a shiny object on the side of the road, what’s in my garbage, or stuck to my boots. For years I have tried to fight it. I’ve tried to resist the urge to photograph or jot down something that sparked me and now I’ve realized that although it isn’t actually a most inconvenient trait—it’s a big a part of me and cannot be stifled. It will surface again and again especially if I try to ignore it. Then it gets loud and really obnoxious. I do however really wish that there was a way to shut it of…a metaphoric MUTE button for muse. Let me know your thoughts on this topic. What do you do to shut it off? Thank goodness for truly amazing television right now and a state filled with craft brews.
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