Creativity Contract With Myself

To continue with The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I’m finished with the first 25 pages, describing what to do and the key concepts; The Artist’s Date, and The Morning Pages. I think the Artist’s Date will be easier for me to do. I know many people who will let me view their work and talk with them, and receive great inspiration.

I need to review about the morning pages. It really sounds like something I don’t want to do. I need a nice journal to capture those thoughts, whatever they are. Cameron has included a contract in her introduction. She requests people to make a commitment to themselves to complete the course in 12 weeks. Gosh, this will take me into late March! WOW! A lot can happen in 12 weeks.

Tomorrow, I will start. I’d like to see how it goes, getting going on the first week of reading. I think I can catch up on the reading and exercises in time to start the second week. It’s exciting to begin. Speaking of the beginning, I signed up for a series of painting sessions online. It was on a big sale, and I need to find which day of the week will be best for this extra activity. Gosh, that could even be my Art Date once a week.

The Babe is putting together three large book cases so we can finish unpacking after 8 years. More de-cluttering ahead! We can finally donate books we no longer use and have some extra room. No one wants great aunt Martha’s candy dish. You know? No, kids, we won’t make you take it. Not to worry.

It’s only 4 days into the New Year and things are going great! How about for you? We’ll get there, together. Invite your friends along on our journey. We’ll all work on regaining our creativity. Stay safe out there. And we’ll see each other tomorrow.

The Basic Tools

Of Julia Cameron’s way to recover our creativity are these:

The Morning Pages – These are about three handwritten pages about your thoughts as you wake up. I’m not sure what to think about these. I’ll try my best. Usually, the early hours see me drinking coffee with the Babe, and checking Facebook. We also watch Good Morning America. I see I need to add a notepad and plan on writing three pages of musings, sort of brain-dump to get to the good stuff.

Cameron mentions all the petty stuff, the whiny stuff, etc., are what’s keeping us from creating. We need to get the junk out of our minds, to make way for the creativity we are itching to get it out – onto the page, the canvas, the staff (music), and out of our minds.

As we’re getting out our thoughts, our doodles, or whatever we need to, there is the chance our critic/censor will discourage us. After all, we’re not any good. If we were, we would have done it long ago. We would have published, printed, whatever, long before now.

Our censor, wherever the dialogue grew from, can derail our creativity. After a steady diet of negativity, of course it’s easy to give up. But we don’t have to. C’mon! Let’s tell ourselves the truth. Be honest; we need to remember; the Censor is trying to undermine our creativity. Don’t listen to the negativity, concentrate on the good. We need to listen to the Artist Brain, not the Censor Brain.

And The Artist Date – A very special time, often just yourself, where you spend a couple hours with your artist self. I have some ideas of how to spend/how I have spent what I would consider Artist Dates. The first was with McGuigan Arts Academy, at the presentation of “The Ugly Holiday Sweater Soriee. These young creatives, who wrote their own scripts, and perform them, and do a fantastic job at it.

My ideas for Artist Dates right now are:

Spend some time with the leaders at McGuigan Arts Academy and get their insight on creativity. I’m a great fan of their work, I think the discussion could be really eye-opening.

Spend time with Julia McGuigan, who has her own shop where she sells her works. I’d love to get her input on creativity for her art. She’s very good.

Spend time with Jeffrey Koterba, who was an award-winning cartoonist for our local newspaper. He is fantastic. We met in person at the McGuigan Arts Academy performance of the Ugly Christmas Sweaters he saw over my shoulder. I was watching his video on how he crafted his cartoon on Patreon. I’d like to talk to Jeff about his career as an editorial cartoonist. And so many other things. He’s written a book. He grew up in the same neighborhood I did (close enough) as a kid. There will be much to talk about.

Liz Boutin is an artist from the Bellevue area in Nebraska. Her husband was in the Air Force; she was a Red Cross Volunteer in Germany. It was the hospital where terribly injured soldiers came from Iraq. Liz has PTSD. She uses her art to help ease her PTSD. She’s an incredible woman. I count her as a friend.

Taylor Frye Ullom is a friend and the founder of Guitars for Vets in Nebraska. She leads the organization who offers lessons to Veterans with PTSD. I’ve met many of the students, and am happy to see what good Taylor does with this organization. We could spend a long time talking about a lot of things.

There are many other people, places, and things I want to use as an Artist’s Date. It will be fun. And I should get a lot of ideas on creativity. I haven’t yet explored all the possibilities of an Artist’s Date, but I’m totally open to the possibility of putting myself out there and visit with people who are actual artists. Writers, painters, cartoonists, artists, the Omaha-area is full of them. I’m excited about 2023. Come along with us, we’ll have an adventure in 2023. There are many more folks I know casually who will be great resources for future references. Thank you for your help.

Thank you, loyal followers, and new fans. Let’s all stretch our wings and fly this year. We’ll all have each other to hold ourselves up. Happy 2023. Let’s get out there and create! See you tomorrow. #1023followers!

The Artist’s Way

I purchased this book about a year ago. I also purchased “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again,” and “The Listening Path: The Creative Art of Attention.” Julia Cameron wrote, “The Artist’s Way” and stressed recovering different aspects of a child’s life to help us figure out how to be more creative and produce more.

It’s amazing how we hold ourselves back. Once we discover that, how do we move forward? Self-sabotage is easy to fall into. It’s our lack of time. It’s our kids/parents/children/spouses/etc. Many times, it’s us.

Once we learn to recover these precious aspects of life we’ve set aside, we need to find how to reignite many individual senses; Cameron shows us the way there, too. The conclusions we draw are our own.

I have been struggling with my creativity the past few months. I’ve published the blog 172 days consecutively. I don’t want that to stop or falter. It’s writing, it counts. I don’t want to slow or stop that. I need to accomplish more.

I have the binding to sew on my granddaughter Kayla’s quilt I wanted to send for Christmas. Didn’t make it, being sick for 2 weeks with RSV. I started Cody’s quilt today and it will be an easier finish, no appliqued pieces. It’s also smaller. His birthday is January13. He’ll be 3 years old. Getting to be a big boy.

Back to The Artist’s Way. After resigning as a self-conscious author, Cameron says, “Nothing dies harder than a bad idea.” Her “block” was the drama of a suffering artist. Aren’t we all doomed to be starving artists? Isn’t it true you sell nothing until six months after you die? When it doesn’t matter anymore?

Nothing could be further from the truth. The whole thing about finding your creativity is a spiritual thing. And I get that. It has nothing to do with religion. It is you paying attention, noting the feelings, the reactions of others, and of potting it together. I hope to read some on it today, and explore what I can do to get my mojo back.

Also, I signed up for an online learn at your own pace art classes. I know, super busy already, but if I don’t jump in with both feet, I’ll finish nothing. Let’s keep each other on task and honest. Much more the rest of the week. I love blank slates and calendars. The sky is the limit right about now! Have a great day, and see you tomorrow.

Another Repair Man Visit

Gosh, it’s been rare for us to need repair guys, but two appliances within a week? Holy smokes!

Last week, it was repair #2 for the Samsung Ice Maker on our 7 year old refrigerator.

This week, the Samsung dryer has been making some noises. I figured a belt was slipping or something. Yesterday, it made a horrible noise. I made the appointment for Friday morning. They called at 2 p.m. and told us they could get here today. Bonus! We don’t have to be dressed at 8 a.m.

I requested the same repairman, since they go by area. Luckily, he was qualified to do the repair we needed. He said it was amazing; we got 7 years out of the dryer. Most repairs are required at a couple of years. Another faulty part. Poor designs. Is this what America does now? He seems to know his stuff, and someone I’m not worried about letting in our home, if I’m home alone. That’s an important issue in today’s world. The company he works for is Nebraska Home Appliance. I’ve used them for over 20 years, so it’s a company with standards that are followed.

The Babe and I talked. It’s not great having two breakdowns in a week. What is good about it is we have the money to pay for it. Neither of had spare cash lying around when we were younger.

In the early years after my divorce, my dryer stopped working in January. I asked my brothers for help. They couldn’t promise when they could look at it for me, couldn’t commit to anything. Mom kept telling me to just wait for them. I waited until July, the same year. Six months of drying all of our clothes on lines in the basement. Underwear, socks, towels. It reminded me of when I was a kid, and we didn’t have a dryer.

I got fed up waiting. I went to Sears over 4th of July and bought a dryer. Couldn’t afford payments, but we needed it. I’ll never wait that long again for help. It never came, and I realized I couldn’t rely on anyone but myself. Lesson learned.

We could choose to be upset, blah, blah, blah, or be grateful because we could get it handled without too much disruption to our life. We’re choosing gratitude. How about you? No matter what it is, things could usually be worse. And 9 of 10 times, I’m grateful they aren’t.

Let’s all have a great day today. Only two left in 2022. See you tomorrow!

Christmas Week, 12/23/2022

On this day, I want to wish my lifelong friend Kris Leavitt, Happy Birthday, as well as FESTIVUS FOR THE REST OF US!

Yesterday was the most frigid day since I can’t remember when. I want to say about 1983, maybe. We stayed in Wednesday night because of the icing that was happening, and were going to stay in yesterday. But we needed to deliver some things to the MVF warehouse. The Babe wanted to have lunch and go to the store. My to do list would have to wait.

I thought the store would be crowded. It wasn’t! A Christmas Miracle! The store staff was all very nice. That would be a tough job, along with anything retail this time of year. Those people all deserve a bonus, you know?

As I’ve said before, it is tough to be on this side of Christmas; a grown family and the littlest grandkids live far away, so it’s tougher to get into the spirit. The header photo is of our two great nieces, children of nephew & niece Alex and Megan. Their little girls, Kenna and Knox, are adorable. The header photo is the family Christmas card this year. While I was out at the dentist a couple days ago, I was remembering having kids that small at Christmas. It occurred to me those are the years Christmas is magical and fun. Having some memories? Me, too.

Come to think of it, I’m also remembering some other memories.

The year everyone had terrible colds, were cranky, had red faces and raw lips from being chapped in the cold temps; 1978; I was 8 months pregnant and miserable; the years we couldn’t afford anything, so I made a lot of gifts; the year we hosted dinner for 28 people. I made Swiss Steak and Baked Potatoes and it was perfect. I also cleaned up, did Santa, and all the Christmas Eve duties, while the kids’ dad went to bed. He was too tired to help. He was angry when the kids woke up at 6 a.m. the next morning. That’s what Christmas Day is about! No, I don’t miss the collateral memories that go with the little kids and an uncooperative husband.

Knowing Alex and Megan as I do, they will do things together, and be more excited than their little ones to wake up early. They will be patient and loving all day, too. The girls’ Aunt Ona will certainly do what an aunt does on Christmas, birthdays, Easter, and whenever the opportunity presents itself. Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Brad will enjoy every minute. Enjoy, Shuck Family! Merry Christmas. We love you all, and hope your memories are wonderful.

Of course, since we did the store and lunch yesterday, it was too late to start the tree. So, today is the tree. Photos tomorrow. Nothing like the last minute. When my kids were little, they always knew we had to wait until Grandma Tomasek’s birthday to put the tree up. December 7. It got a little earlier, December 1. Finally, when I divorced, and we had my house, we’d do it the day after Thanksgiving, when the boys would decorate the outside of the house. I miss those Christmases, too.

Take each of these moments during the Christmas present, and enjoy it as much as possible. The good and the bad. I look forward to the meal we’re hosting, and to seeing the family who are available. We are blessed, and grateful.

Have a great day today, stay warm, finish your shopping, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Homecoming!

It was welcome home for the Babe! I picked him up at the airport Monday night, and the three girls sure are glad he’s home. Of course, I had to wait in line. It’s nice to have him home. More bonding took place and the memories will remain forever. So glad it all worked out.

Today, I did a little more work on the quilt for Kayla and cut more pieces for Cody’s. No writing (until I did this) happening today. I need to get it together again, it seems I’m always trying to get it together. Like Yoda says, “No try, DO!” Yes.

I haven’t even read anything the past four or five days. Usually, I get at least a chapter a day in. That’s another thing that needs to be a daily thing. The holiday season is descending on us, and I’m thinking of my Christmas Tree. Time to decorate, I believe. The Babe has offered to help, so it’ll be much easier for me.

While we decide to make our own traditions for our individual families, we can also decide what kind of home we will have. Will we have one based on honesty and love or one of secrets and lies? One will last through time, the other will fall at the slightest breeze. Which will you build?

I love Judge Judy. Brash? Yes she is. She has no patience for people who don’t use their heads. One of the things she says to people who think they’re putting one over on her is:

“If You Tell The Truth, You Don’t Have To Remember What You Say.”

She speaks the truth. We need to preach this and have everyone practice it. If we did, there would be a lot more honesty in the world. Even if just in our families, honesty is important. Secret keeping is never good. It is especially not good to keep secrets about your health from your family, or only let certain members know the truth. It’s not fair to those kept in the dark. Be open and honest. Your family deserves it.

I remember when I had breast cancer. It was hard to tell the Babe, my kids, and my mom. The worst hard of all was to tell my youngest brother Tim. His wife had just passed away from oral cancer two years before. Nothing could be as hard as that was. Prayers, medical miracles, and God’s good grace finds me still cancer free, 13 years later. God willing, it will remain the same. I will always be honest with my family about issues affecting my health. Yes, many things are personal, and honesty is the best policy.

While we work our way towards the holidays, let’s examine how honest we are. Not just when it’s expected, but even when it isn’t. I can’t lie, you’d know if I did. I still can’t lie to my mom. She can tell, too. I will be honest because it’s the only thing I know. Thank you for reading today. I’m over the moon since we hit #1008followers. We are truly grateful! Let’s work our way to #1500. Onward! Truth all the way! See you tomorrow.

Of Mountains and Molehills

(NaNoWriMo Day 10, written on 11/5/2022)

Have you ever known anyone who made a major deal out of everything? Nothing occurs in their life unless it splashed on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all things social media. 

Anyone who writes needs a presence on social media. Our websites need to introduce us to the world in order to gain followers, get yourself out there, and make a name for yourself. It’s hard work. It’s hard to set your audience to Public, knowing full well people you don’t know will know who you are. That makes some folks uneasy. I’m not worried about it, I know if you want people to buy your books; you are public about your life to a certain extent. 

It’s purposeful I mentioned we have two dogs. They’re big dogs, and quite protective of their house and people. The other side of that, is the dogs are a huge part of our lives. They’re part of our family, all our kids are dog lovers, too. Lucky pups live with nearly all of us. 

I want to record my reading some short children’s stories. I plan to upload them to YouTube and pitch Grandma Kathy reading other author’s books. I have several picked out. Then, I’ll introduce the first Grandma Kathy book. That one will have to be purchased. I think it’s a great idea, just need to get it off the ground. 

Soon, a private Podcast group will be available on Facebook. A friend of mine is heading up the group. It will be a free resource for those of us who want to learn how to do it, what to do, what you need, etc. So much to learn besides writing!

I think that explains my presence on social media, my concerns and the things I love about it. I’m using it for a purpose, not to create drama. So, while I’m not using it to make mountains out of the molehills of problems I have, I’m there and hope to gain a following. 

The drama creators make every minor problem that arises a full-blown crisis. There’s codependency in those kinds of crisis. The problem may have nothing to do with your immediate household, yet you adopt the crisis and all that goes with it. It’s for attention. You do it for control. You do it to feel important. 

Others may minimize another’s crisis. You know that type too. “That’s nothing! Thus and such happened to me.” That’s not appropriate to do to someone. We have no right to do that. We need the grace to see circumstances and events in life as they are; no exaggeration or minimizing. 

When we really have a crisis, we need to have a clear head, be ready to decide after gathering all the information, analyzing it, and be confident in our decision. 

I had a good 90 minutes of working on the quilt squares, they’re almost ready to sew together! I’m getting excited. There will be time to layer and quilt it and cut out the next one, for Kayla’s brother Cody. Here’s praying I get finished in time for Christmas!

Tuesday Things

It’s been another day of being mostly sick, and a little regular work on some quilt squares. It hasn’t been without glitches, let me tell you. The header photo? I wound a bobbin on my new machine. I’ve never had one do this in over 50 years of sewing/quilting. Just when I think I’ve seen everything, I realize I don’t. And that’s a good thing. It means I still have things to learn.

Tomorrow is the visitation/prayer service for my sister-in-law Pat Tomasek. You do a lot of thinking while you reminisce about life with those special people. You all were grasping to hold on, and you were stronger in numbers. And here we are, 50 years later, all walking each other home. Everyone feels this loss, it’s a big one. I’m so grateful to have known Pat. She was a big blessing to me.

Not even the worst circumstances could make us into negative, jealous, self-pitying people unless we allow them to. Our experiences cannot be controlled. Our reactions to them can be. No matter what our circumstances, we are responsible for our attitudes about them. Let’s make sure we have good attitudes in all circumstances. Then, and only then, we can say we show gratitude.

I need to read a lot before class on Thursday night. I’m humbled I was asked to participate in the training. I want to use it for good. Intentional Peer Support is vital as a supplement to mental health services for Veterans and families.

Want to help? You can get involved. Contact the VFW in your area, volunteer at Post 2503, Bellevue University in Bellevue, Nebraska, and many places supporting Veterans. I hope you have a great evening and tomorrow. See you then.