Posted in creativity

IMAGINE THAT

Sitting here on New Year’s Eve again, watching football, burning my bayberry candle (Bayberry candles burned to the socket, bring health to the home and wealth to the pocket!”) I am once again pondering my One Word for the new year. For 2018, it was, “Adventure.”

I did not do as well chronicling my adventures this year. I am without a laptop at home and hunting and pecking with fingers or a stylus on the iPad didn’t seem feasible. I now have a decent bluetooth keyboard and hopefully that will help with my apathy.

From adventures in Disneyland to the skyward reaching pines of Arnold, California, I thoroughly enjoyed this year. I embraced many new things and sought to treat the ordinary as adventures in themselves.

I had a lined piece of paper on my coffee table with 23 words that I started for my One Word search. The last one is the one I’m choosing for 2019. The other 22 will have to wait.

My #ONEWORD365 is “imagine.” So much of my life has changed because I have dared to imagine that my life could be different. I have imagined living my most authentic life, and now here I am. I have imagined that I could tell stories with words and images, and I have. I have imagined that I could make my way in the world, and I have done that as well.

In 2019, I will carry forward all I have imagined and will imagine and execute new dreams and plans. Can you imagine? I can.

Posted in creativity, photographers, photography, Uncategorized

CREATIVE MOJO

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I truly, madly, deeply love photography. I love being a photographer. I feel alive in the creative process from beginning to end.

For the last couple of years – through my ups and downs with cancer and hypothyroidism – I lost my creative drive.  Most people do not realize how much energy creativity takes, especially for someone who has to measure out, sometimes selfishly, how she spends her time and energy.

I decided it was time to reclaim my creative drive and ramp it up.  I have been participating in the FMS Photo a Day, a photography challenge that has a daily word (a color, food, “right now,” etc) you must snap a photo and post.  I asked some friends to join me in October’s challenge and it’s been interesting to see “orange,” “stuff,” and “good vibes,” through their eyes.

Today, my friend Kim picked me up this morning and we headed out to parts unknown, to me at least.  We ended up in small towns like Shiner, Flatonia, Schulenburg, and LaGrange, Texas.  We’d occasionally stop, snap some photos, and continue on. It was a perfectly creative day with a good friend. I can’t ask for a more creative and satisfying Saturday.

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I can feel the creativity boiling in me now. For example, as Kim and I were talking, I noticed this reflection in her wine glass, stopped, snapped the photo, and continued talking. It’s one of my favorite shots from the day.

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Grateful for days like this! Getting my creative mojo back one day at a time.

Posted in creativity, music, pop culture

WHEN FANS CRY

Today one of my coworkers, who usually checks the news around noonish, blurted out, “Prince died!” I went on the internet immediately to verify.  It was true.

Ironically, I had spent the morning searching for and finding the video of a coworker singing, “Purple Rain,” during karaoke at the company Christmas party in 2014 to show one of the interns. She had just received them when I walked back to her department to give them the news.

After the denial wore off and other coworkers took their turns singing parts of “Purple Rain,” and sharing random thoughts and memories of Prince, I couldn’t get the song, “Purple Rain,” out of my head – and it’s not even my favorite Prince song.

My 2nd favorite Prince song is largely unavailable – it’s “Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” from his 1995 release, The Gold Experience.  The song is not only beautiful and inspiring, it shows Prince’s amazing range.  I also have some of his recent funk and random jazz cuts in my collection.  He also wrote songs that he didn’t sing himself, like Stevie Nick’s, “Stand Back.”

So much talent and creativity packed into one mind and life.

Super Bowl halftime show – AMAZING.  Pouring rain, and when asked if he was going to perform in the rain, he said, “Can you make it rain more?”

My favorite song, though, is “When Doves Cry,” from his iconic Purple Rain album.  I was a freshman in high school when it came out, and the lyrics, which I sang with all my heart and pain, resonated with me.

How can you just leave me standing?
Alone in a world that’s so cold? (So cold)
Maybe I’m just too demanding
Maybe I’m just like my father too bold
Maybe you’re just like my mother
She’s never satisfied (She’s never satisfied)
Why do we scream at each other
This is what it sounds like
When doves cry

Musical therapy.

When I came home tonight, MTV had cleared all their normal programming to show Prince videos and the movie Purple Rain.  I watched it in its entirety, which I haven’t done in years.

It’s odd, watching an iconic movie filled with such iconic music and persona when the force behind it all is no longer earthside. The performance seems fuller – as if the last breath of the soul finally made its way to the celluloid.

As I expressed in my post WHEN YOUR CHILDHOOD STARTS DYING, the grief is different, but it’s there in every note, video, and other expressions of sadness. Even now, as it appears that Prince’s death might (might) be drug related or suspicious, that doesn’t lessen his impact on people’s lives or my life through his art.

I believe there’s a fine line between creativity/genius and insanity or otherworldliness that is nearly impossible to walk and nearly impossible to understand or fathom. I think that line is what scares me the most when I find myself at my most creative and expressive. Artists like Prince (and many more) inspire me to walk that line regardless of the mystery and to trust the process because no matter what happens if we obey the muse, we bare our souls and may inspire, encourage, challenge, and change others around us.

As people around the world listen, watch, and remember Prince tonight, we will all remember that we have gathered together to get through this thing called life – and his genius was a big part of it.

 

Posted in allergies, creativity

SASSY SACHETS (for the girl who’s allergic to everything)

I recently purchased a new dresser, much smaller and more realistic in size.  I have been waiting to move the items I want to into it, but it has not lost that “new” smell no matter what I put/spray in the drawer.  I really don’t want my clothes to smell like that.
Since I am allergic to most fragrances, simply putting any sachet in the drawer is risky for my sinuses.  So, one of the nights this week I was wide awake I pondered a solution.
Knowing that baking soda absorbs odors, I knew it would be the main ingredient.  What I didn’t have was something to put it in that would let it breathe and absorb without making a mess.
I was in Walgreen’s picking up yet another prescription and saw those little nylon ankle stockings in the little plastic balls 3 for $1.  I held up my prescription bottle and remembered I had several empty at home.
I could see the light go on over my head in the mirror above the product shelves.

SASSY SACHETS*:
1 empty prescription bottle (the bigger ones are better/easier)
1 pair of nylon crew or knee highs
3 tablespoons of baking soda
1 martini or other shallow, wide-mouthed glass/container
By the way, I did this without making a mess.

Stretch one of the nylons over the mouth of the martini glass.  Scoop 3 tablespoons of baking soda into the martini glass.  Take the nylon out of the glass and tie off the top.  Cut off the excess nylon.
Carefully stuff the soda-filled nylon into the prescription bottle.  Wrap the bottle with the second nylon so the top of the bottle is covered.
Notice you have not made a mess and tell yourself maybe Tamoxifen hasn’t completely eaten your brain!
I ran out of bottles believe it or not. I had thrown away quite a bit, so as a backup, I just wrapped the inner nylon with the outer nylon and set it on a paper towel just in case.
I will update when I can tell how well they work.
* Yes, I know they have those nifty boxes of baking soda that you can rip the side off and it breathes, but those were too big and I felt those were overkill for these tiny drawers!

Posted in creativity, music, Yahweh's fingerprints

THE ELUSIVE, YET STUNNING BEAUTY WITHIN SUCH MALADY

I enjoy reading the Owl City Blog.   Even though Adam is my mirror age (24), I can identify with so much of what he writes, especially his recent entry about his struggles with insomnia. 

It’s a funny thing. Even now I often find myself wide awake staring at the ceiling, and when the Ambien runs out, it seems as though all I do is toss and turn. However, a wry irony lurks within such sleepless nights by which my restlessness ultimately becomes the fuel for all sorts of dreams — consciously wakeful though they may be.

Adam does what I cannot seem to do – use that curse of too much awake time to be productive and turn my sleep deprived dreams into reality. Even as young as he is, he has learned to harness the power of that which keeps his eyelids glued open and uses it to bring his dreams to life.

Despite any such treatment, the ailment is altogether chronic and incurable BUT it may be the very reason by which I’ve unearthed such elusive, yet stunning beauty within such malady.

The elusive, yet stunning beauty within such malady.  


To have such insight and vision to see the beauty in the very thing we feel is a curse is a gift.  Embracing this gift may not lead to restful sleep, but it may bring me to a place where I can accept my normal and learn to work within it.

By the same idea, the alluring light at the end of the tunnel can often flicker and burst forth into a hideous freight train hurtling in my direction.

Been there, many times.  The freight train is the reminder that my beautiful malady has a dark side that I must deal with on a daily basis. The creative dreamer must make the freight train, the insomnia, the oddity, the malady work together.

However, I delight in the mere fact that being a dreamer often exempts me from the rules of reality and her consequences, be they good or bad — and I love how dreams propel the mind of an artist into imagining what the world might be like if such dreams were in fact reality. It’s a compelling thought and it keeps me on my toes. I love that.

Adam often says that “reality is a lovely place but I wouldn’t live there.”  I know exactly how he feels.

Posted in creativity, NANOWRIMO, Writing

HELLO, BACK? MONKEY’S GONE

I finished NANOWRIMO two days early, with only 15 days actually writing, which is a new personal best!  I’d like to thank everyone who prayed for me to finish strong.  I desperately needed to get this monkey off my back.    I needed to prove to myself that I could finish.  I wrote almost 18,000 words in three days, another personal best.

The novel isn’t finished, and needs a major rewrite, but I accomplished something major in the process and the novel itself isn’t what’s important.  What was important about this entire exercise was that I finished.

I now need to refill my word bank, so I will fill in on some other details later.  😉

Posted in creativity, NANOWRIMO

TIME TO DUST OFF THE COBWEBS!

I am a person afflicted with too many ideas.  The light bulb comes to life, but a lot of times it burns brightly and gathers cobwebs because I always have great ideas.  The ideas are like children to me. The hardest part for me is to choose which child brings life and which I should bring to life. 
So, as crazy as it sounds, even with the traveling and all the craziness of November, I’m still planning on participating in and completing NANOWRIMO.  Keep that in mind as my sleep-deprived posts appear.  Follow me on Twitter @sassyshae for the up to the minute insanity!
Posted in creativity, NANOWRIMO, travel, Writing

NANOWRIMO AND THE NEW JERSEY WRENCH

About a week ago, I had decided to try to squeeze out a novel in November, as I have done twice in the last five years, for NANOWRIMO. The day after I allowed myself to make that declaration public and start getting excited about it, my boss delivered the news that I needed to travel to our New Jersey office.  The time window for this to happen was about three weeks.

I was a little taken off guard by my boss’ request because the NJ office and I had tried to schedule this trip the second week of October, when, for all intents and purposes, it was the most convenient time for everybody, especially me, but the trip was a no-go.  So now, the only week that made sense within the proposed window was the first week of November.

I will have no time whatsoever to devote to NANOWRIMO on this trip unless I get extremely creative. I could get the novel started on November 1st, but I will be packing that night and the Texans are playing the Colts in Indy on Monday Night Football.  So, while I plan on writing that night, I won’t be writing much. Tuesday, I will have time on the plane to write.  That will require me to take my laptop to New Jersey, which I hadn’t planned to do. I would also have some time to write before bed on Wednesday and Thursday nights in the hotel.

The next two nights, however, I will be in New York City with my work buddy Chrissy, and I promise you, the laptop will not see the light of day.  I can, of course, write more on the plane on Sunday on the way home if I don’t pass out first.  If I take the laptop, I only lose 2-3 days, and since I tend to finish early most of the time, that’s not an insurmountable deficit.  If I don’t take the laptop and I come back and try to start writing on the 9th, I don’t know that I will actually get started, let alone finish.

So you see the dilemma.  Do I give up before I even start, or do I go ahead and try to overcome this wrench in my plans? I still haven’t decided.  First I have to see if I have an idea that I believe is worth trying to overcome this obstacle.

I’m tired of all the things that suck my creative well dry, or obstacles I let get in my way, and I need to write 50,000 words in 30 days more than I ever have.  Perhaps this trip will provide a much needed refill of the creative well. Then, after I do 50,000 words in 30 days, maybe I should do a similar photo contest as well.  Regardless of how this turns out, I need to refocus my time on the activities and people that feed my soul, and begin to tune out all that does not.

Stay tuned for updates!

Posted in creativity, random

PAUSE, THE BUTTON I CAN NEVER SEEM TO PUSH

I tend to go at life at an all or nothing pace.  Either I am running along, full steam ahead, or I am at a complete standstill, most likely because I had too much full steam ahead.  Balancing my busy schedule the past three months was so impossible, I stopped trying. Three weddings in six weeks, two of which I was very involved in, left little time for “nothing” time. 

I call it “nothing” time, but in reality, doing nothing actually means emptying my head of all its creative, insane thoughts, while doing laundry, cleaning, editing pics or whatever else needs done.  So really, I’m not all that good at doing “nothing,” and as a result I’ve written nothing in two months.

Don’t get me wrong.  The last few months, helping brides and grooms prepare for weddings has been a lot of fun (and a learning experience that maybe one day I will find time to write about) but free time was not usually a luxury I had.  In fact, on more than one occasion, I found myself faced with more than one bridal shower in a very short amount of time on a Saturday.  Juggling feelings and expectations isn’t something I do well normally, and under pressure sometimes my own expectations of how I handle all that is met with a big, fat, fail.  Double that with my lack of down time and yes, there are some things I wish I could do over.  I do believe, however, I came out on the other side of wedding season better than I was before.

I don’t download my brain easily.  There’s a certain combination that must happen before my thoughts come flowing out.  The first requirement of the combination is uninterrupted time.  The second is the desire to face whatever is being stored in my head.  The third is usually a combination in and of itself that can be vary between whether or not I’ve had enough sleep, to what I’ve eaten or what I’ve done that day, but the first two are a must.

I hope to start downloading all my thoughts soon, but I at least need to find a way to pause more often in my all or nothing schedule so that the gaps are not this long again!