I found this Main Street photo of my hometown in Burke, South Dakota. I wanted to create a parallel universe of sorts, playing with the way our memories fade and shift.
This photo was taken way before my time. However, because of family stories and photographs, it’s somehow familiar to me…even with a vintage wallpaper sky and a black and white tiled road. I didn’t get too far in my cleaning and sorting project. Oh well, the mess will still be there tomorrow.
When I have a lot of things to do that I’m not very interested in, I escape by creating something. Anything. I like what happened when I put off my “should do” list tonight.
A different perspective? MAYBE? That would be noble.
Nope, I was just giving my brain a creativity fix.
Vintage shoes, an abandoned farmhouse, South Dakota two-lane, a Vegas sign, urban ruins (Detroit), California fires, summer feet, Lucy & Willa, New Orleans lights, an octopus and an alligator in the Everglades…all provided my muse. I could while away many more hours making these.
However, I’m going to bed. I’m optimistic I will actually conquer more of my “should do” list tomorrow—now that my creative bucket (or bottle) has been filled.
This morning in my Instagram feed was a post from VIDA and the model was wearing my scarf. It’s one of my favorite South Dakota two-lane images. There may be an algorithm that puts the designer’s image in their feed. I don’t know. It was pretty cool anyway.
This design is titled “finding your way home“. Conceptually this is something I believe we spend a lifetime doing, sometimes literally…often metaphorically…always worth the emotional effort.
What story are you willing to let go of to have a future unlike your past?
Last week I was in South Dakota for a funeral and a wedding. In between those emotional events I found some time to drive back roads with my husband, see the stunning late August countryside and find some much needed quiet. I’m always reminded of how much the prairie landscape resides in my cells, bones and heart.
This landscape gives me clarity, helps me understand my choices and guides me back to my personal True North when I get off course a bit.
South Dakota is my interior geography, no matter where I am in the world.
Recently, I had to draw a compass at Courage Camp in Bristol, Rhode Island. I laughed at myself because the way I still figure out directions is to imagine I’m standing on the front porch of my childhood home. It’s there that I’m most confident in knowing my directions. (photo below)
Standing on the porch I know which direction the sun sets and how to get to Nebraska. With that knowledge, I can find my way most places.
I often think of my intrepid ancestral homesteaders who ventured West, uncertain of what they would find in the Dakota Territories. However, and more importantly, perhaps they knew they could handle whatever the prairie offered them.
I understand that now, at the tender age of 50, in a way I didn’t when I was younger. I don’t know what’s next, but I know I can count on my interior geography to help guide my way.
One of my favorite books is Elizabeth Gilbert’s BIG MAGIC. She writes about creativity and what type of energy we let dominate our lives. She boils it down to two types.
The martyr OR the trickster?
“Martyr energy is dark, solemn, macho, hierarchical, fundamentalist, austere, unforgiving, and profoundly rigid.
“Trickster energy is light, sly, transgender, transgression, animist, seditious, primal, and endlessly shape-shifting.”
“I believe that the original human impulse for creativity was born out of pure trickster energy. …Creativity wants to flip the mundane world upside down and turn it inside out, and that’s exactly what a trickster does best. The trickster is obviously a charming and subversive figure.
—Elizabeth Gilbert/BIG MAGIC
Martyr energy is a total bummer.
If the universe is meant to be played with, then we must PLAY. This doesn’t mean we can escape the mundane parts of daily life, grief or death. However, deploying our creative trickster energy when needed (even in very difficult passages of our lives) gives us more options and lets us access more creativity.
The trickster trusts and doesn’t let doubt or paranoia get in the way of a good time.