Friday, January 27, 2012

Down the Drain

It was bound to happen – writer’s block - of a sort.  Maybe I should call it “quilter’s block,” or “creative deficiency” instead, because I haven’t been producing anything lately…still have a number of ideas in the whirlpool of my brain, but I just can’t seem to get to my studio, to sit down for a chunk of time and DO – that includes writing.  It’s a vortex of torpitude, sucking me into oblivion – I want to get out, please…get the giant suction cup or something.

It’s not a lack of time – I actually have more time at the moment than I have ever had in my life, working part-time.  I think it’s really a matter of having too many things I want to do or having my fingers in too many pots.  It’s completely amazing how quickly the day goes by. 

 Let’s take today, for example: I started my day working on spirituality -  reading, meditating and/or praying at 5:45.  At 6:15 I made my coffee, gathered my son’s lunch and woke him up and then took him to school.  When I got back I opened my computer intending to write but discovered it had been hacked!  So I spent a couple of hours cleaning it up and changing passwords, etc. (Okay, yes, some time was spent cursing, too.)  After which I have to spend time picking up the house, doing laundry, running errands, etc.  By then it was around 11:00 – time for exercise.  After that, work in the yard.  (Yes I know it is January, but the weather is mild and there are so many weeds coming up in the yard it’s frightening – if I don’t start getting rid of them now by spring the entire fenced area will be a carpet of annoying, prickly invaders!)  Next, I desperately needed to get some financial work done for the chicken farm, so that took a couple of hours…time to pick up the lad from school.  (In my case, this takes at least 50 minutes because we live out in the country). 
When we get home I’m grubby and want to take a bath – yes, a bath because sometimes I like to soak. (But more often than that I shower – much quicker, admittedly.) Time to get dinner going.   I usually spend time with my boys in the evening, which I don’t in any way lament, but after we eat and clean up I’m damned if it isn’t 7:30 or later already.  At this time all I have the energy for is to read, write, surf the net, (yes, I admit, I might just play some Angry Birds on occasion…) but I don’t necessarily have the vigor necessary to create. And I observe a strict bedtime of 10-10:30 because I cannot function without sleep – just the way I’m made, unfortunately.  (Once I saw this Martha Stewart interview where she said she realized at some point that she needed very little sleep and would create deep into the night – I have been jealous of her ever since.)   Anyway, the day is gone and I had no time to make or do anything!  And this actually has been a slow day!  But everything just takes so much...time!!
I’m not complaining – I love my life and feel incredibly lucky.  I just realize that even when one seems to have some time, it gets easily filled up.  There's so much I want to do, and so little time in the day!  I know we all suffer from this enthusiasm, too.
 In my usual “Can do, Problem-Solving" fashion, (or dream-like, fantasy state, some extremely negative people who know me well might say) I’m formulating a PLAN:  The thing to do, I’m thinking, is designate certain days for certain things.   Have a routine that includes time for creativity, family time, exercise, chores, work - notice these are in order of interest - even time with friends - all of it scheduled on a daily, weekly, maybe even monthly basis. 
Okay, it’s hardly an original idea -  remember the old rhyme that went Monday, Washday - Tuesday-(what?)-day,and so forth? (Can’t actually remember any other day except Monday...) The point is, if one is going to create, then one must set aside time to do it. 
So I’m going to write up a little schedule for myself.  I’m going to make a list of things that must be done on a regular basis and then things that should be done at some point soon, and then of course, the things I really want to be doing.  Then I’m going to start, naturally, with the things I want to do and schedule them and try to fit in everything else!
Just kidding – wish I could do that, but I’ll be practical and prioritize.  I’ll force myself to adhere to this schedule rigorously for an entire month and report back on my progress and thoughts.  I can be disciplined, really I can - I just prefer to fly by the seat of my pants.  But that leads to well, refer to the top of the page, so I’ll just shut up and go make a schedule - time is flying, you know. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Back in the Saddle?

            Finally!  I’m jumping back onto the writing and quilting bandwagon.  It’s been a very busy fall, and I just haven’t been able to get to either - too busy working .   (Hate it when being a grown-up interferes with my life.) 
           Naturally, now that things are starting to calm down, I’m looking around at my studio and I’ve realized that at the moment I have little desire to finish my current  work-in-progress, which has been patiently and quietly hanging on the wall, just waiting for me to come and help it fulfill its wall-hanging destiny.  I look at it and yeah, I still like it, and I want to finish it – oh, someday.    But I’d much rather start the new project that came into my head just yesterday.

            So I have this little drama going on inside my head. The practical (I’ll call it German) side of me thinks, “Now Carrie, you need to finish the one you started; you don’t want to have a bunch of unfinished projects, then you aren’t really accomplishing anything.  You can just finish this one and you’ll have something to look forward to starting after.  Just sit down and start working and you’ll get excited about it again…”  

 “Hmm,” I tell myself, “maybe I’m right.”    

            Suddenly in barges the other part of my brain (I’ll call it the ‘Not German’ or NG for short) .   “Oh come on, do what you feel like doing – art isn’t work, it’s art.  Go ahead and start the next project while you’re inspired!   You’ll finish the other one too, you know you will…eventually.   But look, you need something that will get you back into the creative groove, something  right now – this isn’t about being practical, this is about carpe diem!” 

“Hmm,” I think to myself, “I might have a point there, too.” 

            I hate it when that happens.  The battle between art and practical rages inside me all the time.   I’ve never been able to give in fully to either side.  I would actually love to just do what I feel like doing and not worry about it, but there’s that horrible super-ego that has a really large mouth that always has to have its say.  Whom do I listen to?  Who is right?  It’s quite a battle going on in my brain, and it happens often.   

            Suddenly I’ve had it.  “Stuff a cork in it, me!  Stop acting like this is some momentous decision and DO SOMETHING! “  I yell into my head.   Calmer, I make my decision, realizing that it doesn't really matter one way or another what I do, not only in this particular instance, but perhaps ever.  Aaah - that puts it all into perspective, doesn't it?   

            The choice is, of course, obvious to anyone who likes to create.  I’ll start the new one.   (To be honest, I already spent a few hours on the design yesterday, but feeling a little guilty when I glanced at the forlorn and unfinished project on the wall, I didn’t make any cuts yet – does it count if I haven’t actually actually started yet? ) 

            Anyway, to offset my guilt at being so undisciplined,  I will also confess that I also have no real idea how to put this new project together yet.  The sketch is great, but how I’m actually going to get it put together is another story…HA!  My practical side is now laughing in a rather undignified manner at my NG side.  Guess that’s what I exactly what I deserve for constantly talking to and then listening to my - selves.