Y’all. I’ve been putting off writing this update for weeks. WEEKS. Initially, going through the Artist’s Way process and writing morning pages every day was such a shock to my system, it usurped writing for any other reason that wasn’t email or for my own personal and creative growth. I was worried about squeezing MORE writing into the day without compromising life and client work and even if I did, it would read as embarrassing and vulnerable. That and it was so early in the process that I didn’t know if anything was even happening yet. I was blown away that I could make my own creative time *every day* but wasn’t sure I would be able to keep it up either. So, a fair amount of mental gymnastics as you can see.
But 8 weeks into this 12 week program it’s safe to say this has helped be feel more clear on what I’m doing, given me a greater appreciation in doing work for myself, and helped me sort out some creative demons that have been holding me back. I’ve been able to follow through on the main themes and write every single day (with a few exceptions) which is a huge surprise to me. I was really nervous at the beginning that it would be something I dread or that it would totally implode my life. But it’s easily one of my favorite parts of the day and nothing’s caved in. Only small gradual positive changes.
Aside from filling up a notebook and a half and counting of writing – the most I’ve ever written in my life – I’ve done some sketching and taken myself out for “artist dates” as they’re called in the Artist’s Way. So far this is only just scratching the surface though, 8 weeks is enough to start a habit, and I’m cautious to declare any of this a done deal at right now. I’ve still got ideas I want to work out and I’ve given myself until the end of the month to design and print a small piece to commemorate this time. Hopefully it further continues to inspire in the months ahead!
In the meantime, here’s some bits I have gotten to do/see so far this year and I’ve got some more exciting news planned for April but you’ll need to sign up for my newsletter for that reveal (oooh, I know what I did there, ha.)
I’m not the world’s biggest Andy Warhol fan, but this grouping of work is different than anything he’s done and it’s breathtaking. To be in a room surrounded by nearly a hundred of these works was a highlight I’ll remember for some time to come.
Poolside draws and winter walks at dusk. Special edition Billie Holiday record shop score, with metallic printed sleeve and re-issued on luscious white vinyl. And then neon red circle painting meditation, highly relaxing. (I almost typed medication instead of meditation, but well, sometimes they work similarly.)
And finally, last week I was on the Machine.fm’s Dispatch talking about design, commerce, and culture which you can stream here or through iTunes here (no embeddable feed).
That’s all for now folks, newsletter update coming in the next couple days with updates on what I’ve been reading recently too.
Pretty quiet for me on the internet this week, but I do want to tell you about this fundraiser my friend Jen Myers is running to buy Chromebooks for her Code & Cupcakes workshop. This is a mother-daughter website code basics class and right now attendees are required to bring their own laptops which not everyone has. Providing computers means anyone can participate!
Also if you’re seeing old friends during this holiday season, maybe this hilarious post on the types of friendships really gets it.
As for recapping the year here’s some facts:
Travel was big for me in 2014. I went to LA, where I got my first tattoo, and spent a weekend in the desert with some incredible feminist women. I went to the White House to help fight sexual assault. In August I traveled to Cleveland for Weapons of Mass Creation which was a grand time as well. In September I was in NYC to film my newest Skillshare class and more recently was the trip to Guatemala which I’ve written about as well.
Designed and/or built 10 websites.
Designed 11 logos
Designed one book and had work work in two gallery shows
Here’s the books I read this year:
The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers and the Self-Employed by Joseph D’Agnese andDenise Kiernan
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro
Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsk
Homeward Bound: Why Women are Embracing New Domesticity by Emily Matchar
Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
Game of Thrones (finished, started in 2013. Oof.)
Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
Margaret Atwood’s the Handmaid’s Tale
The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers
I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley
Yes Please! by Amy Poehler
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
I Work from Home by my former teacher Michelle Grabner
Annnnd! That’s it for me from the rest of the year. Have the best holiday with your nearest and dearest! Wishing you all the best and more in 2015!
And now, to change the subject entirely, a plan for the first part of 2015:
One of the best, and maybe scariest, ideas to come out of my trip to Guatemala is the bestselling Artist’s Way series but Julia Cameron. It’s a 12 week program that’s helped thousands of people reclaim their work. At it’s core are three components: write three pages of anything every day, a weekly theme with discussion topics, and once a week you take yourself out on some kind of creative adventure independently. The point of all of this is to process the snags that plague our work, and uncover new directions, ideas, projects, plans for where else to go. Seems an easy enough premise, but I know this will be no small task. Here’s the basic themes:
I plan to start this program on Sunday January 4th with completion the week of March 22nd. I will be blogging about my progress but I’m sending this as an open invitation to any of you out there who might be feeling stuck and needing some new juice in your work, or more ways to work through overwhelm. I’ve set up a Slack chat room for us to help with accountability and as discussion place for whatever comes up along the way.
All you have to do to join is email me here. I also recommend you buy the book, or if you’d prefer there’s an online version of the program with weekly videos available for purchase here. I’ll be reading and writing the old fashion way because for me this’ll be about limiting screen time. I also plan to mix illustration in with the morning pages, as I want to work on creating a design and illustration style that’s only for me. I advise getting the book or the videos now so that you have time to read/prepare and are ready to go after NYE. (Nothing I like more than curling up with a book over the holidays!)
And, if you aren’t able to participate, any moral support is much appreciated for sure. You can also follow here and on twitter with: #theartistsway.
Making new years resolutions BEFORE the holidays is a first for me, but this year it feels right. It’s gonna be great Cheers to planning ahead sometimes too!
Going to Guatemala was in some ways one of the best things I’ve done for myself. I left with new yogic configurations, an appreciation for meditation that I never knew I had, 19 more impressively smart friends, and fresh feeling of ease in my heart. It’s still just as hard as it ever was to write and my words still falter and sound foreign, but still I go. Writing parallels any other art-making practice, it feels itchy and hard at the beginning but only through persistent output will this feeling improve. My task is to carry on this practice in as many ways I can think of. The task of doing some writing or non-computer, non-client art every day seems monumental some days, but I’m not judging myself if I can’t make it happen every day. I’ve been getting up early, doing 10-20 minutes of meditation (shout out Headspace app!) and here I am re-capping the week like usual.
To be in a remote place entirely removed from American culture, with limited internet, and even still the news of Mike Brown and the absent indictment punctured through. It was the night we held a Mayan fire ceremony at dusk, an event with thousands of years of history behind it. With a modern day shaman’s incantations, spices and tinctures in the fire surrounded by crystals and talismans, we opened a portal to the ancestors and I whispered Ferguson into the flames. After the coals have been snuffed out, flowers are taken and thrown into the lake, to seal the intentions and offerings, a final plea that the ancestors might hear. I think of this every time I see another story about our country’s injustices, which has been often this week. It seems we are at the base of this mountain still, but I have to believe we are ascending. Listening, sharing, supporting to hasten the process.
+ Imani Amos is a Chicago-based photographer and model, and her project 50 Shots, Humanizing America’s most hunted needs donations. It’s a photo essay showcasing 50 black men in Chicago and what they bring to our community, visual way to show that black men matter. It costs $20 per print and there’s only been enough money raised for 16 prints so far. Please share and donate.
+ My friend Mairead Case, who is a writer and teacher of all peoples, including teacher of poetry at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility has penned words about Ferguson that have left me speechless. This is the only race related piece written by a white person that I have read to completion. Mairead, you are among giants and I’m proud to know you.
+ So many guys out there (looking at you Aziz Ansari) often get being a feminist ally wrong, like head-pats for their efforts or making it about them and not the cause. Worse, they call themselves a feminist while acting out some other decidedly anti-ally, defensive, or dismissive behavior. It’s so nice to see a Terry Crews, who on the outset follows a typical masculine identity, but contributes to feminism and does it well. See his words here. More of this please!
+ More about talking to teenage daughters about sex. I will add to this a mention of how important it is to ask beforehand if it’s okay to hug, tickle, or pick up young kids, especially little girls. This teaches them autonomy over their bodies and that *they* have the power of consent, from the earliest days. And if they aren’t in the mood for a snuggle, or decline any touch for whatever reason, comply happily because they need to know that’s okay and supported too.
+ Researchers have found the difference between men and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math, aka fields that aren’t traditional roles for women) was larger among white students than black students. As a whole, white women are much more likely to associate these professions with white men than anyone else. Which means that black women are less likely to internalize male stereotypes about STEM careers. So interesting! There’s a bunch more information and some hypothesis on why this might be in the full article.
Aaaaaand that’s all for now folks! More updates next week coming at ya!