Saturday, April 03, 2010

Quarterly Update; and, thoughts on creativity

Well, here we are, already just over a quarter of the way through the year. Taking a cue from corporate culture, here's a quarterly report on yours truly:

House Buying:
Oh, Oakland, you are breaking my heart. As much as we want to stay here, I'm not sure we're going to be able to buy in Oakland.

Our choices are:
* crappy condos in (sometimes) OK (meh) neighborhoods
* falling-down dumps in OK (meh) neighborhoods
* incredibly adorable renovated perfect charmers in extremely dangerous neighborhoods (painful to see these and then look at crime reports)

or sometimes
* incredibly tiny one-bedroom condo jewels in decent neighborhoods

None of these really fit what we're looking for. So, we're looking east. Either we stay where we are (nice retro 1-bedroom apartment in fantastic neighborhood which we adore) and don't buy anything, or we move farther out to various suburbs. Which isn't a bad option, just... far.

So, we are temporarily not really looking. We'll wait until the SSDI hearing to see what we've got to work with. And then start touring.

Art and Such
Who knew I was such a wimp? As previously noted, our house is COLD. There are no heaters in the room I use as art studio, and if I plug in a heater, it's a 50/50 chance that the fuse will blow (yes, fuses. See: retro apartment). So. It's been cold and rainy for a really long time now (which I like in theory, but not when our house is freezing) and so... i haven't been painting. However, I have one in progress. I decided to start playing around with abstracts, just to get creative-juices flowing (aside: does anybody else cringe when people over-use the word juicy? Bleck.) I was doing really good with it... and then I over-did it. So time to backtrack. And maybe turn it upside down. And try some gold leaf. Gold leaf makes everything better, don't you think?

A few more words on creativity: sometimes it just KILLS me that I'm not messing around with art stuff every single day. Wasting time! Wasting talent! Waste! Waste! It breaks my own heart that I do this to myself.

And yet: Cold! Worried! Working really, really hard! Really, really tired! Those things suck up creative energy very quickly.

Still, as soon as it warms up, am totally going to resume at least one night a week of art, plus at least one afternoon per weekend of art. That should help. I may have to move my target of "art show" (meaning: have something up in a public space) back a few months, but that's okay.

My other idea, which was a cookbook, has been put on-hold as my energy is being eaten up by all this other stuff. Not ditching that idea yet, however. Just... rationing out energy.

Other Stuff:
Feeling pretty good about progress in other areas.

* I got both of my websites updated (although I am seriously not happy with the graphic design one and will be redesigning as soon as I figure out my options). Have been wanting to do this for over a year, so Yay Me!

* Despite feeling discouraged, the ball is actually rolling in house-buying arena. Major accomplishment.

* Despite feeling mad at myself, I'm thinking more about art than I have in a long time. I think as soon as I have warmth/energy/can quit worrying, I'll make some real progress.

* Have had better luck with books so far this year. Am enjoying just reading "whatever I want."

* Am feeling like after the SSDI hearing, I'm going to hop right back into that "Make Stuff Happen" mode and start... well, making stuff happen.

* Although lately I have been really very tired and kinda crabby, my optimism remains firmly in place (only falling off the tracks every once in awhile). We have approximately one more week until the hearing, and then we'll know what's what.

A few more thoughts on creativity.

I have been thinking about what sorts of things foster creativity. I look at my own world and I see that although I have a very full, rich reading life, and I am great with cooking creatively, I'm not doing a whole lot visually. I don't go to art shows, I don't go to museums, I don't look at art books, I don't read artist biographies.

There seems to be two schools of thought about this sort of thing. One is: don't look at anybody else's stuff, because you'll either start comparing yourself (and get paralyzed) or become overly influenced (and become unoriginal). The other school says to surround yourself with creative stimuli all the time: books, people, shows, classes, etc.

I've been in a visual vacuum for awhile, so I'm going to try the other way and see how that goes. I got some books on abstract art (more instructional than theory), and I need to make a point of going around to local galleries and just seeing what's there. There is an Art Murmur in Oakland on the first Friday of the month, so maybe I ought to start going to that sometimes as well.

I know part of why I don't do these things is because it breaks my heart to do them without Terri, but maybe I can do them sometimes anyway, just an hour or two here and there.

So, as spring starts to warm things up around here, I'm going to try and step out of my own box.

And I PROMISE to not start "marinating" in my own "juicy" creativity while "honoring" my "authentic self." People! Use regular words!!!

(have I said lately that this tiredness is making me slightly crabby?)


Trapunto said...

Your situation is a lot more complicated, but speaking from my own experience with an impossible market (or an impossible budget in a possible market; take your pick), looking-but-not-looking for a house is a terrible limbo. Such a drain, always having one eye out for what's come up recently, but it won't work for some reason. All those possibilities never converging into something likely.

I think your creativity will spring to new life all on it's own when you know where your home will be! Like a nursery tree finally planted out of its pot, into the ground.

Daphne said...

It's a pain for sure. But, since we're happy in our current apartment, the pressure isn't too terrible.

Thanks for the encouragement!

Stefanie said...

Spring is the time for creative juices to begin to flow! :) You'll be thawing out soon. We all need fallow periods in which to stew (marinate?). Things will start clicking into place soon and if they don't well, grab a baseball bat and start beating the sh*t out of them :)

Tammie said...

im sorry the house looking has been disappointing. i know when we were looking, we found a lot of cute, renovated, vintage-type houses in our budget but the neighborhoods they were in were somewhat unsavory. it was sad.

i have no idea what fosters creativity. whenever i have a creative moment, or i create something im really proud of, i always try to think about what prompted or inspired that. i can't ever really pin it down. although i do think that stress plays a big part in it. i dont know what to make of that though :)

i hate the word "juicy." ick.

Ally said...

Oh girl, I can't stand when people talk about "marinating" in their "juicy" creativity. Ack! That skeeves me out. :/

People say the same thing about photography -- don't look at others work or it will make you lose your unique edge. But I do look to others work for inspiration. I'm not obsessed with it, but I don't see how it hurts to get some different ideas and take what works and make it your own.

Daphne said...

Stefanie: I like your advice. :)

Tammie: it's a little frustrating, but I think things will work out as they are supposed to. Eventually.

Ally: I know, it's gross, right? And I agree: I think taking some new ideas in will only make my own work better.