Jul. 22nd, 2011

magharabi: (Mugiwaras~ let's go!)
To say the least, life's been kinda rough the last little while. Even with the joy that my little Morphberry brings me on a daily basis (he's getting so BIG omg!) I sometimes wonder what I'm doing, and where my life is going. Husby has been fretting over the same things himself, and in an attempt to find direction asked me flat out the other day where I wanted to be in five years. I didn't have an answer for him, other than "Well, James will be starting kindergarten, and we'll probably have a few more kids by then." Wait, what? When did that happen? I used to turn up my nose at the girls whose life aspirations were to "be a mom". I knew I was headed for bigger, better things, and motherhood would just sort of happen on the way.

I don't remember what those things were, though.

No, really.

It's not that "oh, they just seem so juvenile and unimportant" now. It's that I legitimately can't remember what the heck I thought I was going to do.

Be an artist, I suppose. Ha!

I laugh, because of how incredibly vague that notion is. There are a million ways to "be an artist". How do I know when I've finally achieved "being an artist"? TECHNICALLY I've already been and artist, thank you very much- I have a BA in Art, after all- and all I ended up accomplishing was killing any desire to try and make a living in the field. My creativity? Ha. Haha. Hahahaha. HaHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Dried up like a mud hole in Niger.

I know a lot of this has to do with the way I chose to view the things I've created, and why I chose to create the things I did. I got wrapped up in trying to impress someone who very obviously didn't want to be impressed by me, and somehow I've not been able to let that go. I've known this for a long time, but I didn't really know how to break out of it.

Over the last year or so, Husby and I have been following a number of creative geniuses on twitter, meeting them in person at conventions, and stalking their blogs. Slowly, I am beginning to feel the desire to create art again. I don't think I'm ready, yet. I'm too tired, and my life right now really honestly is not my own- there's a little one who needs to be taught how to live and grow after all and that is 100% full-time work- but the seedling is there, and that gives me hope. No, strike that. By paying attention to these people and listening to them speak, I have learned that creativity is MORE than just making a pretty drawing or writing a compelling story. I have learned that the way I live my life is an act of creativity. The way I raise my son, the way I interact with my husband, the way I someday maybe will find a way to keep the house clean, the way I prepare dinner- all of these things are acts of creativity. And that helps me feel that some day I will return to the creative outlets of my youth- writing and drawing. Some day I will once again wear the paint-encrusted grubby t-shirt of an artist.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a few of the panels, speeches, and articles that have been helping me realize and remember these things.

First off- This video by National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones is what inspired me to make this post. The whole "training video" is there in the "preview". I don't know why it costs the better part of $800, but I can only assume that's because they're gearing this toward big businesses. A similar, live version of the same thing can be found here, for a lot cheaper, and the website has a rundown of the key points from the speech. It's really good. Watch it now.

Howard Taylor is a successful webcomic artist. He's a better storyteller than he is an artist, to be quite honest, but he makes a pretty dang good living by drawing. This YouTube playlist is the recording of a presentation he did at a local University, entitled: Talent? Who Needs Talent? It is immensely inspiring and entertaining. You will not regret sitting through all four parts. Also, the comic is pretty dang hilarious. The main star looks like a pile of crap. With a very big gun. Hilarity ensues.

This next one is the transcript of a talk by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, one of the leaders of my church. It's called Happiness, Your Heritage. If you're one of those people who gets offended at the mention of God, or by middle aged white males telling women how wonderful they are for being women, I warn you now, you will be immensely offended. If not, though, then even if you aren't a member of my church, I think you'll still enjoy this talk. It was given in a conference for women, and was really the first thing that helped me to realize that creativity goes beyond holding a pen or a marker; that it's a way of living. There's a little bit of something for everyone in this talk, honestly, so go read it now and feel awesome.

The last link I'd like to share in this post isn't directly related to creativity, but is useful, inspiring, and entertaining nevertheless. It's a podcast called Writing Excuses, starring Mary Robinette Kowal (author of Shades of Milk and Honey and a puppeteer), Brandon Sanderson (author of the Mistborn Trilogy and Way of Kings, among other novels, and the man who is finishing the Wheel of Time on behalf of Robert Jordan), Howard Taylor (mentioned above), and Dan Wells (author of the I Am Not a Serial Killer series). Each week they tackle a new topic mostly about writing, but a lot of the concepts can be applied to other creative outlets. These people know their stuff, they're funny, and blunt, and each 'cast is in the area of 15 minutes, so they don't waste time with tangents trying to fill an hour block or something. It's a great podcast, and I'd recommend diving through the archives, as well as becoming a dedicated listener.

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