Disclosure: There's going to be lots of link love happening below - NONE of them are affiliate links. Just connecting bits of my universe of interests together.
"If I can't be creative, I'll die."
While I'm not often given to being that hyperbolic (because thoughts have great power when you put them in words that strong), I chose them purposefully when I spoke them to a group of co-workers during an off-site annual planning meeting this past week. You see, I needed them to understand, like fully grok, that I cannot exist long-term in a space in which I have no creative expression. And not just a little, teeny, minuscule amount of psuedo-creativity (like, "We really need this chart to pop - can you help?"). I want BIG chances, programs I can spend a week or a month or more researching and creating and practicing and delivering. That feels like a far-out dream right this moment. But/And I can't let that dream just drift off to Neverland - smaller expressions keep me engaged and satisfied. And keep my mind open enough so that I don't slide into cynicism because nothing much ever gets solved there. I'd rather be a source of sunshine.
Last night, I sat in bed with my handwritten journal for the first time in a very long time and after working through some frustrations, I found myself compiling a self-portrait in terms of other artists who I admire and in whom I can see aspects of myself of which I am proud. I started with the question "What Is Possible?" and from there it was an organic exercise I created as I went that felt like a really powerful way to see how the people whose work I follow are really mirrors of myself. If you try it, don't feel like you need to have as many people as I do or that they express themselves in such different ways like mine do. Maybe you really love TEN different mixed-media artists whose art inspires your work. Or musicians. Or dancers. Or whatever passion calls to you from beneath your skin. It's an almost perfect before-sleep exercise to put you in a positive frame of mind... Almost because it also had the effect of jazzing me up, exciting my creative thoughts, and getting me pumped for the possibility of the weekend ahead.
So, here comes the link love...
I want to inspire entrepreneurs by setting a sparkling example... Like Leonie Dawson and Danielle LaPorte. Brave, outspoken, knock-down-the-barriers, and take-no-guff women who always have me crying, "YES!"
I want to offer the world my own perspective, through sharing my personal experiences (obviously, since that's what I'm doing right now - ooo, meta), like Amanda Palmer and Russell Brand. I highly recommend their books The Art of Asking and Revolution, respectively.
I want to create fun, funky, fresh, deceptively "simple" art, like Lisa Congdon and Lisa McLoughlin. When I'm stuck on a piece, I know I can use their art as reference and quickly find myself able to move again.
I want to luxuriate in the squishy, warm, fluffy world of fiber arts, like Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and Stephen West. Truly, even though I mostly crochet very practical and simple things, these two knitters NEVER fail to inspire in me a sense of intense wonder. I mean, Stephanie keeps a SPREADSHEET all year long for her Christmas knitting - have you ever heard something so wonderful?
I want to write books of fiction that create fan bases so dedicated to characters that they want to dress like them or have them permanently inked into their skin, like Anne Rice and Laurell K. Hamilton. When you have well over THIRTY books to your credit, I really just have to offer up my awe and gratitude.
I want to develop and share deep, resonant wisdom, like Clarissa Pinkola Estés and be wonderfully wacky, bold and succulent like SARK. They are the best friend-grandmother-healer-nurturers that our world desperately needs.
This final pair simply keeps me connected and grounded with their amazing music while I'm creating - Ani DiFranco and Bon Iver. Interestingly, I adore them for exactly opposite musical reasons - Ani for her insightful, unflinching lyrics and Bon Iver for his intricate, layered melodies/harmonies (I don't speak "music" well, forgive me). I like her music and his words, too, but the things with which I most deeply connect in them each is what is the opposite, if that makes sense.
I have ONE favorite thing in common about ALL of these folks - they are, each and every one, relentlessly genuine, willing to share their foibles and never let the shroud of fame hide their humanity. It doesn't mean they're not also fiercely protective of their private lives, too, and that gives me deep respect for them.