25 September 2010

Becoming Creative

I'm taking a 12-week class on the book "The Artist's Way" at church. Everyone I tell says "Ooh, The Artist's Way is WONDERFUL."

I have had the book forever and have never gotten through it because that's the kind of person I am. The kind of person who buys self-help books and doesn't get through them.

The Artist's Way is designed to help you get rid of artistic blocks. If your mom was mean to you and told you that your fingerpaintings were awful, then this is the class you should take.

Or if, when you sang "Leaving on a Jet Plane" for the third year in a row at the school talent show and the emcee hit you in the face with a pie (this happened at my high school. Not to me. But I know the pie thrower. And I kind of love that he did it. I mean, THREE YEARS? Same song? Come ON. Bring on the whipped cream.) and you have never sung again, then this is the class for you.

It helps you look at what is keeping you from being more artistic and it challenges you to work through those blocks.

One of the tools the book suggests you use is "the artist date." Once a week, you are supposed to spend at least an hour by yourself doing something inspirational.

The other main tool is "the morning pages," three pages of stream-of-consciousness you write every morning when you first wake up. I find this loathesome. I would rather not do it. Bu tyet I do it. I am good with assignment on deadline. It's like a reflex I learned from newspapering. I think the morning pages may be doing me some good, but I can't pin an ROI on it just yet.

(That's a work joke. At work we are always looking for the ROI - return on investment. My boss said thoughtfully one day "You know, there's really no ROI on having kids").

We have class once a week in the fellowship hall at church, about 20 of us. We do a lot of guided meditations. I hate guided meditations. Always have. I figure that I wanted someone to tell me what to think, I would join the Nazi party.

Instead, I spend the meditation time making lists in my head. "Hmmm...laundry, bathe dog, clean the mold out of the shower, mail the cell phone bill, send a thank-you note to Liz..."

Meanwhile everyone else seems to be meditating intensely and following a sparkly unicorn down a path to CreativeLand or something. I don't know - I just know I can't do it. I belong to the rebel forces. The Mental Rebel forces.

The artist date is no joy for me, either. "Do something by yourself" is supposed to be all revolutionary and Room of Your Own-ish, but for me, it is just standard operating procedure. I do stuff by myself ALL the time.

You know what would be unique and inspirational? If I actually picked up the phone and organized something with a friend. Maybe that will be my Mental Rebel Forces (TOTALLY the name of my new band) way of handling this assignment.

Julia Cameron, the author of "The Artist's Way," seems to think that the reason most people aren't artistic is that they have been oppressed and put-upon by other people. Neither of those things is true for me.

I'm realizing that I may not have a mental block about creativity. No one was mean to me. No one discouraged me. No one cruelly crushed my hopes. Nobody is sucking the time I have to be creative.

So I'm coming to the realization that I may have paid $150 to figure out that I am lazy and undisciplined. Next time I want to pay $150 to be reminded, I will take CC and Ish to a nice dinner and ask them to tell me honestly. They will be able to help.

On my artist date this week, I went to the local museum. Where I spent my time taking pictures of these things to prevent skateboarding. I have a whole Flickr set in case you ever wanted to look at lots of ways to prevent skateboarding. What can I say? Weird brain.

24 September 2010

Adventures in Dogwalking

Goldie and I were exploring the path by the beach for the 500th time.

We kept passing and getting passed by a homeless-looking guy with a red Target shopping cart. Goldie has to stop a lot to inspect bushes and their contents, and Mr. Man was traveling rather slowly, too, his cart half full of mysterious, filthy belongings.

Meanwhile a wedding was going on at the beach. There's a little wooden walkway and the people had set up a tiny, cheesy white wooden garden arch at the end.

The bride and groom had showed up in a black monster truck. He was wearing a black suit and she was wearing a white A-line mini dress with silver sequined shoes. There were about 10 friends waiting for them, including a stout woman in a kilt.

When Goldie and I passed the bathrooms, Mr. Man said "Scuse me, is this your phone?" I was holding my phone.

"No," I said, "Maybe it belongs to somebody at the wedding."

"Oh, shit, you're right," he said, holding the phone, looking at it like it was a lump of plutonium.

Goldie and I kept walking, slowly.

"Hey, hey, man," I heard Mr. Man yell at the woman in the kilt.

22 September 2010

The best religions

Ranked in order from best to worst.
1. Buddhism
2. Neo-paganism
3. Judaism (reform)
4. Hinduism
5. Baha'i
6. Christianity (non-Catholic)
7. Islam
8. Confucianism
9. Animism
10. Catholic Christian

Is anyone NOT offended? I hope not.

Here's what puzzles me, and the point I'm clumsily trying to make - we get most angry and exercised about the BELIEFS we hold. Beliefs that cannot be proven by any empirical method. Does that strike anyone else as odd?

21 September 2010


So the guy who sent the racist email resigned from the club we were in together.

I have seen him around town a few times.

When I was younger, I might have been tempted to make a friendly gesture, to be conciliatory.

Now that I am older and crankier, I don't feel the need to do that. He is out of my life and that is a good thing.

I'm thankful to be rid of someone who doesn't grasp basic concepts like prejudice and privilege, like not forwarding emails full of racially charged language.

I don't know why this incident reminds me of a woman my sister once encountered, who said:
"Money talks and bullshit walks. And I'm walking!"

Keep walking.

19 September 2010

Stretching that birthday thing out about as far as possible

I think my birthday is finally over. I used the LA Galaxy tickets last night that I bought with my birthday money from Mom. I know she was hoping I would get a nice twin set from Ann Taylor, but she may have to adopt someone to see that ever happen. So 2 1/2 months after my real birthday, I used my present.
I love this game!
A few notes on my first professional futbol match:
  • The stadium was so small and cozy. 28,000 seats, and the field is huge, so you are RIGHT there hearing the player's shoes slap against the ball.

  • Soccer fanatics - those real hardcore noisy fans - are fun. They sang and chanted the whole time. They even had a little brass band and a flag the size of a tennis court. At the end of the game, the Galaxy went to the end of the field and saluted the biggest group, who went bananas. It was all very interactive.

  • You give the foul ball BACK. So there is no need to dive for it and take out a stroller - thankfully unoccupied - the way that one guy did. I think that giving the foul ball back is very civilized.

  • When David Beckham came out during the second half, the roar of the crowd was loud enough to peel paint off the walls. People love them some Becks.

  • I kind of love me some Becks, too, even though he runs so painfully it looks like he might have been in trouble with the Mafia at one point..

  • Beckham entering the game was the third most exciting thing, right after Landon Donovan's two goals
    Here's Beckham now!
  • He has perhaps the finest little butt I have ever seen.

  • I don't think he wears undies.

  • I was NOT looking at Beckham's butt the whole time.

  • I was watching Landon Donovan score twice. Which is one more than the whole DC United team.

  • HA! Suck it, DC United.

  • I missed seeing DC United score because I was taking stupid pictures. Like this:

  • While taking this picture, DC United scored and we missed it.
  • I have bad timing. But I had a lot of fun.

I think my birthday is finally, finally over.
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