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Category: Artful Dodging

making, mindsets and strategies that foster creativity

TRAIN YOURSELF TO CLIMB OUT OF THAT BOX

TRAIN YOURSELF TO CLIMB OUT OF THAT BOX

Who has NOT heard it?  If you want to be creative, the ubiquitous They tell us, you have to “think outside of the box.”

The only problem is, it takes a different mindset to get out of that other-people-imposed box than our more usual ones. It makes sense that you do need to train yourself to climb or crawl out of that box in the same way that you train yourself to do some sort of physical discipline or other that isn’t just regular walking.

It occurs to me that Parkour players, martial artists and master craftspeople or performing artists are made, not born.  They work at developing and improving their unique skillsets until they achieve their own kind of mastery.

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YES-BOOK VS NO-BOOK

YES-BOOK VS NO-BOOK

Poets give each other weird gifts.  About ten or so years ago, a friend of mine gifted me with a chewy metaphor that I’ve gnawed on for a while now.

He said he thought that, at birth, every person got issued two infinitely expandable notebooks.  He said one of the books was a YES-book and the other was a NO-book.

I imagined them to be like the kind I use for making my journals but with automatic pages or something that appear as you write on them so you don’t end up with mountains and libraries of journals.

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STALKING THE WILD QUESTION (Another IPS)

STALKING THE WILD QUESTION (Another IPS)

One of the more intriguing bits in Nilofer Merchant’s book about the care and feeding of wild ideas that can dent the world, THE POWER OF ONLYNESS, is the one about taking a closer and more considered look at “the question that you can’t answer but can’t stop thinking about.

That annoying question is like a bedraggled, adorable con-artist mutt that follows you around and accepts occasional handouts from you but warily stays out of reach.  It hangs around.

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BUILD YOUR FRAMEWORK WELL

BUILD YOUR FRAMEWORK WELL

It is a truly amazing thing to witness what people who own their passions can build on a legacy dream that has a solid foundation grounded in taking joy in the fervor, fire and zeal that comes with a devoted pursuit of an appreciation for the power of the creative human spirit.

On the island of Maui, Hawaii USA, there is a community-supported radio station that describes itself as a “non-commercial secular FM broadcast station.”  Its official call letters are KMNO and it streams at 91.7 FM from around 7,000 feet on the slopes of Haleakala mountain.

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USE YOUR BIG ERASER

USE YOUR BIG ERASER

The Light of My Life likes to tell a story about how he learned one of the most important lessons an artist can learn about doing line-work well.

In the village of Masset in Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia), Mathew happened to wander into the studio of a local artist, Wayne Edenshaw, who works in the Haida Indian traditional style.

In case you’ve never seen Haida art, here’s a short YouTube teaching video, “Haida Art!!,” uploaded in 2020 by Art Around the World with Morah Brooke.  It shows some of the “form line” shapes and patterns that are typical of the style.

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DIFFERENT-BUT-SAME (Un-Seeing Exercise)

DIFFERENT-BUT-SAME (Un-Seeing Exercise)

Lately I’ve been stumbling over books and assorted other offerings by shiny people and various sorts of life-advisors parsing out all the advantages (plus some of the disadvantages) of “being different.”

If you do this, they say, you will stand out.  You will be an “interesting” being.  You will be a Winner-with-a-capital-W.  Maybe you’ll even get to be rich and famous.  And isn’t that a cool thing?

The problem, as these life-advisors will also tell us, is that “being different” can turn your world into a battlefield.

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JOURNALING 201 (Mind-Mining)

JOURNALING 201 (Mind-Mining)

Journal-keeping and diary writing – tracking daily events and happenings in some sort of record book – has been going on for centuries.

Except for wanna-be smarty-pants and wise guys (i.e., the “intelligentsia”), poets and writers and Creatives of every stripe, and young girls teetering on the brink of woman-ness, the keepers of these journals mostly recorded daily events and happenings with an exterior point of view.

People with a visual orientation did sketchbooks.

Most everyday journalers used their ledgers, record books and such to document and track their doings in the world, stay on top of their obligations, commitments and schedules, and note the progress made and the results of the actions taken.  

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GO OUT AND PLAY (An Un-Seeing Exercise)

GO OUT AND PLAY (An Un-Seeing Exercise)

I just stumbled over a quote from the amazing Maya Angelou that resonates with me enormously, especially during this time of lockdowns and disconnection:

Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that,

the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.”

The lady knew.  To become fully human, we have to go out and play.  Then we need to come back inside and tell each other our stories.

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MARY OLIVER: Poetry and Peace

MARY OLIVER: Poetry and Peace

Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom): an understanding that every form of Making is ultimately another way of practicing being human.  [Humans make things.  It’s how we connect with one another and with the World.]

I am pleased when I can wander through poet Mary Oliver’s words and borrow her eyes and her heart to see again the beauty and the mystery of Life-Its-Own-Self.  The words remind me:  I am not alone.

That one helps me get back to peace again amid the hurly-burly bustle and the noisy push-me, pull-you tumble fades away.  AHHH….

My favorite Oliver quote does not come from a poem.  It was part of a rare interview she gave with Rachel Martin on a 2012 National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition Sunday.

She said, “I said once, and I think this is true, the world did not have to be beautiful to work.  But it is.  What does that mean?”

That, I think, is a worthy big question.  It’s certainly big enough to fuel a life-long work.

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MINDFUL ROAD-BUILDING

MINDFUL ROAD-BUILDING

Lately I’ve been stumbling around after tripping over a mind-game construct called “doing a mindset reset.”

Apparently, it’s based on pretty recent neurological studies that the guys and gals in lab coats say reveal the inherent “plasticity” of a human brain’s ability to control our body’s functions, actions and all that.

There are all kinds of big words and dizzy-making charts and boring numbers and, as usual, my poet-brain goes to sleep when I try to think on them.  The best I can do with all this stuff is to come up with yet another story.  So, here goes….

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