Today way before dawn, while reading the New York Times brief, my jaw dropped. NOOOOO. Chris Cornell died at age 52. He was such an integral part of my self-identity in the early '90s; I loved grunge music, went to the concerts, and wore flannel with a fabulous zig. :) A part of me fell on a black day. One more time. Right here. Listen up. R.I.P. He joins the other movers among the grunge legends...Nirvana, Temple of the Dog ....
My daughter said, "Wait....You liked this music?"
"Wayyyy before kids, honey," I said.
"Who were you?" she said with a drifty voice. I smiled.
Evolution of the self matters.
Here's an explore piece I wrote about the National Wildlife Refuge system in Washington. Get out and explore, and don't touch the wildlife, peeps. (Keep the respectable distance. Limit the imprinting, please.)
When I commute, I rarely listen to the radio anymore. I use the time to sit in absolute silence and be present. It's something new I've been trying for a few weeks. I use other times of the day to listen to NPR and to read the New York Times and Washington Post. But today, I had this real craving to hear that song, "Kids," by One Republic, for a reason I have no idea. So, I broke tradition, turned on the radio to the FM station, and guess what song had just started? Yes, the synchronicity made me smile. Here is it for you. In case you have the random audio craving, too. Damn, Deepak Chopra would be proud.
People live. People die. Their stuff remains in cases, lofts, boxes, drawers. I think of dead peoples' lives often when looking around strange thrift stores. I see stories in each of these slides (yup, those above), presumably taken from the 1970-1990s, the lifespan of beautiful Kodachrome.
I bring this up as I stumbled upon, read, and enacted the KonMari Method into my life. (My husband and daughter have looked at my "spaces" in the house and exclaimed, "WOW. That looks amazing. Will you do it for me?") It's a Japanese method of sparking joy and tidying up. Here are links to what it entails:
Note: I HAVE found a deep reflection with stuff per this book--I tended to toss things every six months, anyway--but this is a more Zen version. KonMari does clear up the head space for more creative time. Tidying leads to the next blog post: bullet journaling (a life-changing force for all breathing humans with fire in the belly).
I shot this gallery of images on a DSLR, which I thought was broken, but apparently, it is not! Yes!
"Morning Voice" is invaluable to a noisy day of deadlines and schedules. On certain days, not all, my eyes open, and the muse is alive (!) and talking fast across my brain to write it down. It's the best alarm clock a writer could ever ask for.
Before I even grind the beans in the low light, a dreamscape has infused a scene, a line, or title to start another day of writing.
If there is music for a morning, I am not a blast-it-loud-kind-of-gal (until approximately 7:30AM, then loud music is fair game). Until then, I think morning study is more like this: LUCHS "Chasing Cloud Nine." While I love this song, I found a beautiful little movie to the song. I adore indie, creative people doing what they love because they don't know any other way to exist. Credit goes to Nicholas Tessier, a Canadian camera operator.
As part of a vetting process, a prospective client for Pine Ridge Creative requested that I complete a questionnaire to get to know me better. I found its contemplative questions above the curve. Among a brief case study to discuss and defend, it also included:
What inspires you?
Where do you find inspiration?
What do you want to be known for? And, what matters most to you?
As I sat with the questionnaire at a coffee shop in the early evening, I thought, O Dear, do I give these people my full-tilt personality or straight business responses?
My husband called at one point. "I think I'm suppose to write my obituary, here. This is intense," I said.
"Are you being funny?" he asked.
"I'm.Not.Sure," I said.
I had that vulnerability check: I decided to put my heart onto the page. Oh man. Either the hiring panel would think I'm a total nutjob, a funny eccentric, or just not a good fit for its organization. I'm a firm believer the vibe you send attracts your tribe. I put it out there, didn't play it safe but went whole heart.
The panel called me in (I hadn't scared them away!). The company's president popped into the meeting and shook my hand. He said that he loved my responses and that they were fun to read. Weeee....
Go whole heart or don't bother. No one has time for a less-than-enchanted life anymore....
Two years ago about this same time of year, I illustrated and wrote an original comic ("Open Letter to Jenna Lyons") about the demise of J.Crew from a die-hard fan point of view. (You can find it here at The Hairpin.)
What I didn't expect with my little comic was an outpouring of national recognition and how it sparked the discussion about J. Crew in newspapers and the blogosphere.
To my surprise this week, over a morning latte and the NYT, I read "The Jenna Lyons Era at J.Crew Comes to an End."
Not sure where she's going but I have always admired her bold and individualistic style, which was just that...her own style, not a mass style. Endings are new beginnings.
I am excited to hear my cover story, "Pollinator Plight," for September's 1859 Oregon's Magazine has been nominated for a 2017 Maggie Award. The story took us from Grant's Pass to Central Oregon to Portland for the story's coverage.
I emailed a field audio documentarian some weeks ago. I inquired about one specific file I wanted to use for an experimental creative project. The entire thing sort of hinges on it. I put it on hold. And waited for the universe to make the decision...This morning, I got this back from him:
I will give him full props and credit when it all comes together.... Hurrah! Back to work on it and forward for big creative leaps....
I laughed out loud when I read this Dillard quote. It explains so much about my writing habits, my writing drafts, my writing expectations. So, what happens if the entire book just walks out the door? And you're left with misplaced commas and a notebook. True life moment happening.
Every few years I happen across a "creative life" book that puts me in a slight trance, I think, if anything, as a reminder why I do what I do and compelled to do it. It's like ah-ha, author, you feel this way, too? Here's a passage that felt right. Excuse the lack of manicure: hands been living in gloves for months now.
Dana Goodyear, the famed New Yorker writer and SoCal resident, is a fellow journalist and poet, a very distant member of the same prose tribe. When I read her work, I get jazzed with her attention to detail as evidence of her poetess tendencies. Here is a great example, and a close- to-home story, on mountain lions in Los Angeles. I have many fond memories of the "ghost cats" in the Santa Monica Mountains. Enjoy reading this!
Spent the morning in research mode. If the following means anything to you, you may know what I'm up to:
Apple ProRes 422, 1920 x 1080, 48 kHz-bit, .mov wrapper
Here comes the challenge to make it all sing, synch, and continue....
I see the date entry of my last blog, December 13, 2016, and I realize how everything changed two days later. Sudden death, shock/grief/[whatever comes here], then a near death, then more of grief's grip all within a two-week period. Throw in Christmas, a funeral, and contemplating mortality between slow bites of food and fruits from neighbors and family and friends to reframe purpose, compassion, and unexpectedness.
The blizzards became a comforting blanket. I looked out the window for hours to watch the snow build itself into shapes and lines. And as a creative person, I'm working through this with two new projects rumbling in my head and heart.
More to come on what's ahead....very soon.
Six years ago I was asked to create a short film to accompany a short fiction piece of mine called Life Vest. I had never done anything of the digital kind, except back in film school on old analog slicing equipment. My ideas did not lack. My technical ability severely lacked. Awful, horrible cringe worthy. What I saw in my head was not translated onto the moving substrates. This was my first in digital.
The technical aspects of Life Vest make me chuckle. O, I tried with my rudimentary equipment and microphone sitting in an open house with children's toys at my feet. BUT, I put it out there. Not being the best. It's so modern of me to be clunky. The imagery, however, I loved. I took all of the images with my son's childhood plastic microscope from a bee found on my balcony. (The neighbor had been poisoning the bee population. I lived in California: where flowers bloom! And you're killing the bees? Don't get me started on some idiotic human attempts to coexist with nature. My thriving concern continues, even into a different space and state. See the article here.)
While working in the studio today on stories--starts of a graphic artist essay, a nonfiction article--I came across this beautiful piece of work (see below). A small, perfect masterpiece. This inspires me to stretch myself creatively. Six years ago I was on fire. Then my fire dulled. Attention went to other things. And I vow to get back to that deepest impulse of expression and connection through artful moments that shed light on the human condition.
I read somewhere the other day this small piece of advice: Make the next year better than the last.
Hammock's "Mono No More."
Stayed two hours. Drank one large coffee. Ate one piece of gluten-free banana bread. Had one long texting conversation between drawings and writings and researching. Good morning.