Lauren McLean Iuppa Ayer

Poet | Artist | Optimist

Tag: quest2015 (page 2 of 4)

Who Is This For?

It’s one of my favorite fantasies to believe that I can stay safe inside my little bubble, creating only what I want to create, when I want to create it, and that people will love all of it and and pay me great wads of money just to have a part of it in their lives, but that’s not how the world works. No artist can live in a vacuum without devolving into self-referential, repetitive work, running out of ideas, or just plain going mad. And the truth is, the act of creation, for many of us, doesn’t have a lot of meaning if it’s just about self gratification. For me, specifically, I want my creations to make a difference in people’s lives–to inspire them, to give them hope, to help them find what they need to then make a difference in the lives of others.

There is a quote by Rumi, that elegantly sums this up:

Be a lamp… Rumi

But that is only the what, not the who. Which brings us to today’s question.

#DareToExcel Challenge – 4:

Who is this for?

The innovators who thrive advance their big, new ideas in part because they love their ideas to make a difference in other people’s lives. Do some research on the people who might benefit from your challenge. Look at the online conversations, on our private forum, or – better – have real-time conversations with customers or potential audience members.

Make notes on what feels broken or not-quite-right or downright frustrating in their worlds.

How does he feel when he’s not feeling so great? What one irritation keeps tripping her up?

Then make notes on this: What does she want – a different feeling, a problem solved, one step toward a yearning – that your project might surprisingly give her?

Go back to your burning question: How will your question invite them in?

Look back at your project brief. Did you define a problem in a way that speaks to their perceived wants?

Don’t over-think it for now. We’re taking notes and keeping momentum.

I have to admit, I balk at the word audience. It reeks to me of performance, as though I am putting on my beliefs like a costume that I can remove at any time and revert to who I really am. For me, and for probably all of us undertaking this challenge (and many more beyond), the whole point of this exercise, of the work that I do, is to fully embrace and share my true self whether it nets me customers or not. I want to focus not on giving people what I think they want, but on helping them find what they truly  need. But semantics aside, Jeffrey is right. Art for art’s sake is not enough. It needs to be shared, and it’s important to know who will be best served and to share it with them.

While I do think that there are people who could be well served by my first question, and it’s associated project Hands in Motion, Mind at Rest–people who want to find ways to work their way through distractions, to make space for the big important work to flourish–I believe it is the book, 3T, that has the most to give:

  • To women who feel like the heroic stories of our past have stolen our deepest symbols and stripped us of our power and agency, and long to rediscover and reclaim them
  • To students and teachers of Medieval, Celtic, Catholic, and most particularly, their intersection in Arthurian literature, legend, and mythology, especially those with feminist-leanings
  • To anyone looking for ways to create new stories to replace those that don’t fit anymore
  • To survivors of bad relationships or trauma, those dealing with grief and loss, those who may struggle with “invisible” health problems, or others, especially women, who feel powerless and want to take their power back (perhaps even preppers)
  • To people of all genders who believe that climate change is real but that the paths we have half-heartedly travelled in our attempts to solve a problem that threatens us all are just not working

Seeing it written it all feels a bit broad, but I believe there is a great deal of overlap, and that these rough notes will begin to coalesce as I work on the book. As for the small sample set of people I’ve talked to about the book–they all said they were excited about the unique combination of history, symbolism, feminism, climate change, and memoir the work will include. What they want is a new path to healing, re-empowerment, and social/environmental change. And that is exactly what I am hoping to build.

Time to rework my #projectbrief.

 

Young Genius

It always surprises me what comes up when asked these kinds of thought-provoking questions. It would have made more sense to write about making my first quilt, about learning new skills, about wanting to do something compassionate for someone, about seeing imagination and work come together to create something wholly new, but that’s not the memory that wanted to be explored. And the one that did… sometimes I forget I ever was that girl. Clearly I need to remember.

#DareToExcel Challenge – 3:

Take a few minutes to remember a time when you were nine, or around that age, when you felt free to be your best.

Feel an exact moment in time and place. Are you outdoors or indoors? How does the air feel? How do you feel in your body? What are you uniquely doing or making? Who are you with and how are you uniquely relating to others?

Looking back with full compassion toward yourself, what 1-3 adjectives would you use to describe your younger self at her or his best?
 
These are your 3 Young Genius Qualities.
 
How can you bring some of those young genius qualities forward to this project?

The first memory that sprang to mind was from a picnic at the lagoon in the town where I grew up. It was summer and a bunch of my friends from school were there. The weather was sunny, warm, with maybe the slightest breeze off the bay. The water was alive, with the sun glinting off its low, lapping waves. The cries of seagulls mixed with our laughter.

My four closest girlfriends and I were on the lawn doing cartwheels, aerials, and back flips. The five of us were in gymnastics together and we were playing around, egging each other on in a sort of friendly competition, daring each other to new heights and new combinations. When one of us missed or messed up we’d shout pep-talks from the sidelines. If it was a really bad miss, we’d laugh it off and try again.

Little GymnastPlaying like this in the sun was so different than training or regular competitions. Free of the focus on perfecting techniques and form, we could just have fun. And because it was just fun, we dared to experiment, we dared to be fully in our strong and flexible bodies, pushing the limits of what they could do, to see how high we could jump, how fast we could run, how far we could fly. And because it wasn’t about trying to be our best, we were free to actually explore what our best could be. And often, we found it.

Three #YoungGeniusQualities

  • Vibrant
  • Resilient
  • Free

It’s strange to look at this list and consider that these are not words that I would use to describe myself now, at least not in the way I mean them here. The strength and flexibility of resilience has become a way to get through the tough times, to weather emotional, financial, and other storms, instead of an expression of the strength, power, flexibility, and adaptability of a trained athlete or of youth. And the freedom I have now, hard won and held through sacrifice and compromise, is not the freedom of what felt then like an endless summer where everything is possible. And vibrancy? Perhaps I just vibrate on a more subdued frequency these days. They are all still in me, just not expressed in the same way or with the same exuberance and joy as they were then. I want to get some of that back.

But that is my life. What about my project, Make, Don’t Mull?

In its conception my project was more about creating calm and space, about clearing away obstacles, about getting to work, which feels the absolute opposite of the me from memory. How do I infuse Vibrancy, Resilience, and Freedom into a project that essentially consists of slogging through a checklist of incomplete tasks that I just want, finally, off my plate…Why was that, again?  So I have the space and freedom to explore a topic that absolutely lights me up.

And there it is. Because my #onesmallproject has two parts: The chop wood, carry water part, and the freedom to experiment with a story that no longer serves me or the world, to play with new combinations, new manifestations, to push its boundaries, to see how far it can stretch without snapping, to give it more power, more strength. To help remake it into a powerful force for freedom, life, action, and hope. I may not be able to do a backflip again, but I bet I can relive the feeling it gave me.

Read more from fellow dare-takers:

 

One Small Project

Our second #daretoexcel prompt arrived yesterday, but, unsurprisingly, given my first burning question, it took me a bit before I could sort an answer.

#DareToExcel Challenge – 2:

What one small project can you define to start creating into your burning question?

Complete the top half of the My Project Brief Sheet – title, problem, feeling, and/or question as well as the wonder & curiosity that can light you up to excel. Share it with your audiences. You’ll be glad you did later in the challenge.

To help you focus, write or draw or design a simple project brief. Don’t make it overly analytical but don’t undervalue this really important process either.

Set limits and constraints. Maybe you limit how long you are going to take to create this small project. Will you limit how many pages, designs, or features the project will have? If it is for an audience or a customer base, what problem do they have that this small project might respond to?

Unlike our first prompt of the challenge which came to me in a flash (actually two back-to-back flashes), prompt number two required a little more thought–partly because I have two questions, which at first, at least in my mind, aren’t really that connected. The very first thing that popped into my head when I read this was Jeffrey’s rephrase of my first question, which he simplified into a short, catchy phrase: What if I make instead of mull? Which is great, but a) how does that translate into a project, and b) how does that project relate to my second question about the book, when the first question was actually about sewing? Which of course sent my brain into full mull-mode. So instead of continuing to let it spin itself into a tizzy, I decided to sleep on it.

As it turns out, “sleeping on it” is the perfect metaphor for how a Make, Don’t Mull project would work.

IMG_2222

It seems counter-intuitive at first, focusing on quilts in order to make space for a book to grow, but the longer I sit with it, the more right it feels. In some ways it’s just like taking up meditation in order to relax and clear the mind, except with the added bonus, of finishing incomplete projects that have been weighing me down. Their completion will not only free the head-space that they’ve been occupying, it will also free up the physical space in my one small room, and may even bring in a few extra dollars to boot.

So while I am stitching away, at the rate of at least one seam per day, I will also be ramping up my book research. But instead of obsessing over every historical and mythological detail, trying to will just the right way to weave it all together, I plan to make basic notes as I go, but otherwise take a laissez-faire attitude, allowing the pieces to mix and mingle naturally, letting the threads and characters make their own connections, letting the story lead the way.

This is not my usual tack. I have always been a plotter not a pantser when it comes to writing books. It is also not my usual way to finish anything beyond a first muddled draft that I find it difficult to untangle. Perhaps by letting the story steer for a change, together we might actually reach our destination.

 

New Story

So here it is, our last prompt of our #livethequest journey, and it’s a doozy.

#LiveTheQuest question 12:
What is the #NewStory you are living and creating into in 2015?
Stand up and own your new Story. It’s unfolding. There’s a lot of uncertainty in owning a new Story. But what is the one you are standing up for and sharing? Yes, part of the Story is deeply personal. How are you being called to think, feel, imagine, create, and act in different ways this year?  How are you engaging and relating if not elevating people differently this year? And what is the greater-than-you Story? Maybe there’s a word or phrase that helps you start to shape and define what that Story is that you are only a part of but starting to shape and lead.

Don’t shy away from that Story’s magnitude and magnificence. When you lead, you cannot hide behind anyone else. Rise and go toward it. As far as I know, this is it, baby–this one brief creative life. Let’s make the most of it. Together.

Last November when I signed up for this Quest, I had no idea what my story might be. Or maybe I had a few, but this one, the one that claimed me, it surprised me.

I still find it hard to believe that the crazy idea that first started to germinate 10 years ago  (quite possibly closer to 15), one that I dismissed time and time again as too frivolous, too morbid, as just another distraction, has revealed itself to be what I have been searching for all along. It’s amazing what can happen when we trade avoiding, second-guessing, rejecting for embracing, cultivating, nurturing. When we stop analyzing and striving, and start experimenting and creating. Which is story enough in itself, especially for those of us just starting out, or who have found themselves armpit-deep in a bog, or who have spent so long sitting in a box following other people’s rules that it has become second nature not to question, so strong, in fact that the idea of escape fills you with fear.

I was once starting out. I have found myself stuck in bogs. I have even from time to time believed I loved those boxes that held me. And I’m pretty sure I will find myself in at least one of those places again. Probably all of them, over and over again. Because that’s how life is. But for this moment, in this place I am standing up for cultivating resilience in our lives and the world. For looking into the scary places and saying “don’t be afraid, because even here there is light.” Or, “Don’t worry,  we all get scared sometimes. Let’s take each other’s hands and face it together.” For believing that story and art–our own, what’s come before, and what’s yet to be created–can change everything for the better. For staring the apocalypse in the eyes and saying “now is not your time. This time, it’s ours, and it is full of wonder.”

This may be the end of this leg of our travels, but the journey itself? It’s only beginning.

Experiment

#LiveTheQuest question number six:

What experiment for revenue or reach can you define? #experiment
What is one specific experiment you can define for growth and change for this month in revenue or reach? This experiment is similar to the one small project you defined before. But this time I ask you to frame the experiment in these terms, If I did X, then would Y result? If I wrote and published relevant content every week, would I feel better and reach # more people? If I reached out to 3 people this month for possible connection or collaboration, would one of them lead to an exciting new venture? If my business focused less on _____ and more on ______, would this lead to more customers? If I wrote poetry with no imagery for a month, would I discover another way to write poems? (Okay, that last one was not related to reach or revenue, but I include its ilk as an option.)

Because I so resist this topic I am going to keep this simple.

  1. Revenue: If I finished the unfinished sewing projects taking up space in my house and posted them for sale on my site and Facebook, would people buy them, and might it open up a more year-round stream of craft income for me?
  2. Reach: If I make and hand out five or more business cards featuring both of my URLs during FOGcon, would it lead to more traffic, engagement, and possibly story submissions or collaborations?

Because FOGcon doesn’t happen until the first full weekend in March, I won’t have results on the second experiment until next month, but since I so rarely socialize with my kind (or anyone for that matter), it’s worth the delay.

Growth

Welcome to week five of continuing to #livethequest. Yesterday’s prompt is a checkpoint for the progress we made during the first month of 2015.

What indicators of growth can you celebrate? #growth
Look back on your first month. What small indicators can you identify that you have changed something positively in Month 1 or that you are moving in the direction you need? For instance, are you acting differently? Are you thinking differently? Are you speaking about yourself as a business artist and your best work differently?

If Jeffrey had asked this question one day earlier I’m not sure I would have known how to answer it, but something shifted for me between the first and second days of February, shedding light on progress made but unseen. Which is only fitting, because February 2, a celebration called Imbolc by the Celts (also known as St. Brigid’s Day and Candlemas) marks the midpoint between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, and with it, the return of the light to the world.

And that’s how it felt. Like a veil was lifted and what had been clouded was now clear. Or at least clearer. Clear enough to see where progress has been made.

  • A clearer space and mind–After a month of struggling with clutter I am finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel, in my space, in my daily life, and in projects I have been struggling with–like my #oneproject which finally has a theme, a Quest vision quilt.
  • Routines that support more than just getting my dishes washed and laundry done–I have begun to integrate small habits that support my larger priorities into my daily routines, things like turning off my computer at 9:30pm so I can get to sleep earlier, and reading poetry every morning to help inspire my own words.
  • Commitments to daily making–On January 18th I started my second 365 project (my first was in 2010/11) and on January 26th I joined a small circle of friends posting one sentence  a day from something we’ve written that same day.
  • New unfurling seeds of bravery–Perhaps it is all my recent exposure to posts and stories and books urging us not to wait until a project is perfect before we deliver, but yesterday morning I thought to myself, “why wait until I have a solid plan for starting my online art and literary journal? Why not just put out a call for submissions and a short guidelines page and see what happens?” I still need to do a little more research, but once I get answers to a couple of important questions, I’m going to get it done. Let’s say, by February 23rd.

Making commitments to something scary on the fly in front of the world? It’s either really stupid or really brave. But either way, for the girl who took six years to start a blog she’d been dreaming of even longer, that’s growth.

Skills

Sometimes answering is hard because you don’t know where to start. Other times, it’s hard because you don’t know where to stop.

#LiveTheQuest – 4:
What skill set do you need and want to develop or to hone? #skill
Between a naive hobbyist amateur and a signature artist is a curious apprentice. If you ever lose the apprentice’s edge, you risk either keeping your head in the sands of fear or in the clouds of arrogance.

To live your question and respond to your challenges differently, what new skill set do you need and want to develop this quarter in order to execute your one project or something else exceptionally well? What existing skill set do you need and want to hone and sharpen? How can you do so more intentionally?

Self-Care

Just because I’ve managed to keep myself alive all these years, doesn’t mean I have a clue about how to treat myself well. Eight times out of ten, I consider food a chore. The ninth time it fills me with dread. And that last one, it fills me with joy (but usually only when it involves things that are bad for me). And sleep? I love the idea, but somehow that love doesn’t translate into action.

I need to learn the difference between taking care of myself and treating myself with care. And once I do, I need to develop the skills that those unfamiliar actions require, like cooking, and turning off the computer before midnight, and learning when to say no. Which brings us to skill set number 2…

Letting Go

Today at work, my boss and I were talking about my work schedule. She told me she has hesitated to ask me about taking on more hours because she knows how busy I am. But when pressed, neither one of us could say what, exactly, I am so busy doing. Working, cleaning, errand-ing, Facebooking, planning, recovering, writing, blogging, sewing, dreaming, seeing… living?

But the fact is, much of what I spend my time on (and sometimes who I spend my time with) has nothing to do with my priorities, or even my interests. A lot of it has to do with digging through piles trying to find things. A lot of it has to do with things that other people want from me. A lot of it has to do with should-ing. A lot of it has to do with distracting myself from all of those things. And a lot of it has to do with trouble prioritizing amid a sea of too many daily decisions.

So how do I fix it?

  • Let it go
  • Just say no
  • And…

Habit Building

One good way to cut down the overwhelm of excess decision making, aside from culling clutter and other distractions, is to automate as much of our routines as we can by turning them into habits. According to dictionary.com, a habit is:

An acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.

Almost involuntary–that’s what I’m talking about. And so is SJ Scott, author of Habit Stacking. Not only does he talk about the best ways to create repeatable, habit-forming routines, he also gives us tons of great suggestions for the kinds of things that work best (spoiler: discreet, simple actions that take less than five minutes to complete). String together a set that can be linked to each other and last no more than 20 minutes, and you have a recipe for success. Identifying these actions and honing their order is a skill that I’m already working on, and once I get my morning and evening routines set, I’ll see what others I can come up with (like writing perhaps).

Writing & Editing

The truth is, I already write every day–in my journal, the contents of which vary widely from story building, to bitch sessions, to To Do lists, to dreams, to whatever else flits through my early morning (and often late night) mind. But working on actual projects–a novel, poetry, blog posts–is something that happens sporadically at best (or in an intense, focused burst usually inspired by a challenge like NaNoWriMo). To be able to work on a project consistently, perhaps even slowly (dare I say mindfully?) over time? That is a skill I would love to build. Because let’s face it, as a crafter, November is insane enough without trying to squeeze in 50,000 words.

And while we’re on the subject of words, I need to add editing to my skills list–not just editing in general. I’ve already been told by many people that I have both talent and skill for that… just not when it comes to my own work. I have full drafts of 5 novels, three of which may even be worth polishing, an assortment of short stories, and enough poems to fill a book (maybe more) which are all currently languishing in some form of filing black hole, because when it comes down to it, the razor-sharp perception and eagle eye for character, story, and prose that I can wield with precision for other people’s work, goes all cloudy when I look at mine. And if I am ever going to make a real go at this writing thing (aside from a few published poems here and there) I need to figure this out.

Sewing Techniques, & Technology

As with writing, I have a ton of ideas for quilts I want to make–many of which I just plain don’t have the skill for. Hand piecing, quilting, appliqué (regular and reverse), and embellishment for example. Structural 3D for another. Also, piecing curves, making my own patterns, dyeing my own fabric, making, mending, and altering clothes and accessories. And I’m still a beginner with free-motion quilting, paper piecing, machine appliqué, working with non-fabric materials, and can always use more work on my rotary cutting (I just never really got the hang of it).

And then there is the world beyond fabric and thread–the world of sewing technology. I have a computerized sewing machine with over 250 decorative stitches, including two alphabets, none of which I have ever used. It also includes a memory feature where you can save stitch settings and combinations for repeated use which I have also never used. Sure I can stitch, and ditch quilt, and even do some limited free-motion, but I want more. Why shell out the money for a hot rod if you’re never going to take it out of first gear? And there are other machines out in the world that I want to learn. I’m pretty good with the sit-down long arm which is basically a mechanical with a speed control and needle up/down, but what about the 26″ long arm on the 10 foot frame that I played with at AQS QuiltWeek? The one with the stitch regulator that it’s almost impossible to outrun and the advanced computer where you can select pre-programmed designs (or upload or create your own) and have the robot stitch them out for you? It’s the kind of machine that could launch 1000 ships (or a serious quilting business) and since we will be hosting one in the store, I plan to learn that thing inside out.

And I can’t forget the EQ7 software (finally out for Mac) that lets you design quilts digitally, even create and print patters (that can even be sold), and the Artistic Edge digital cutter that can whip through appliqué cutting in a flash… and the list goes on.

Sure, I can’t do it all now, but with a little discernment, I should be able to prioritize, starting with two techniques that I want to learn for one more reason than just improving my craft.

Mindfulness Practice

I have known for a long time that I need to find a mindfulness practice that works for me. Sitting never has. Fortunately, I believe I finally have a couple of leads: hand stitching and free-motion quilting. Aside from learning the hows of the techniques themselves, I will also need to build skill in the mindfulness components: remaining present, observing without judgement, letting go of the chatter in my mind. I’m planning to try doodling and coloring in mandalas as well.

Discernment

And lastly, discernment, because the truth is, I want to learn or improve my skills at all the things. Prepping, homesteading, house building, sustainable power, blogging, French, Japanese, Spanish, Scots Gaelic, Celtic history and lore, photography, spec-fic, tarot, experimental poetry, how to build a business, how to decide which business to build, to read all the books, to see all the movies… you get the picture.

Luckily, this year, I have my priorities to help guide me: Health, Creative Work, Relationships, and Learning, in that order. Reading all the books can wait. First comes eating, sleeping, and being kind to myself. Eye on the prize.

Facing Challenges

It’s taken me longer than usual to respond to Monday’s Quest-ion. That’s because my work hours have been longer hours than usual, and it’s taking longer than usual to recover from last week’s inspiring but physically demanding stint working the Artistic booth at AQS QuiltWeek in Albuquerque, during which I worked six days straight, the last four of them between 11.5 and 13 hours each.

But finally, today, I have a clear schedule, so here it is:

How will you respond to challenges differently this year?  #facechallenge

No risk, no challenge, no quest. It’s that simple. What one to three challenges and messiness could you inevitably face this quarter while executing your one project? Define those challenges. Write about them. Then ask yourself, How can you respond to them differently than you did last year? Write, draw, doodle, paint, flow chart, or compose your way into imagining how you can respond to challenges differently in order to execute your one project.

The challenges part of this question is easy. They are the same challenges I have struggled with for years:

  • Energy: Having the physical, mental, emotional, and psychic stamina to do the work–from finding focus and crafting plans, to the actual making and sharing my creations
  • Time: Carving out minutes, hours, days, for the things that matter most instead of squandering them on time sucks, distractions, or other people’s priorities
  • Space: Clearing the physical, mental. and temporal clutter from my living area, mind, and calendar to make room to bring my dreams to life

And though I spent the bulk of last year dedicated to creating a Year of Clear to address just these issues, by the time October rolled around and I found myself once again overwhelmed with pre-holiday and holiday preparations, I found myself right back where I started: exhausted, strapped for time, and overwhelmed by clutter and commitments.

The lists of what needs to change that I created back then still apply:

Energy:

  • Get more sleep (computers off by 10pm)
  • Eat better and more regularly (create and use meal plans)
  • Exercise more
  • Create a daily mindfulness practice
  • Cull projects and people that suck my energy

Time:

  • Create routines and build habits to streamline chores/errands/activities
  • Prioritize projects and activities (review regularly)
  • Schedule and protect time for these priorities
  • Say no to anything that doesn’t support or feed my quest (or me)
  • Minimize screen time

Space:

  • Use up materials that have been gathering dust
  • Purge what I no longer need, want, or love
  • Organize what’s left
  • Keep my space clear and clean
  • Move to a larger place

So. what makes me think that this year will be different? What will be my catalyst/s for change?

For starters, this Quest. The work I have already done and the work I will continue to do thanks to Jeffrey Davis and Tracking Wonder, and the work before that with Maia Duerr and her Liberated Life Project.

But also, these tools:

As well as revisiting these very helpful books:

Preparations to thwart these challenges start today with clearing some space, so that tomorrow I can get to work on prioritization and plans.

What are your challenges and how do you plan to overcome them this year?

Here’s what some of my fellow Quester have to say:

(Funny how so many of us share the same challenges.)

One Project

Yesterday’s Quest-tion was this:

What one small project can you define to start creating into your burning question?

The thing is, that burning question (or rather the spiral of questions) that lead to what is essentially: “What if I existing art could help inspire the art to come, and what if together they could heal our communities, our world, and ourselves?” lead to another important question thread still burning:

What if I just make art and write as inspiration and daily practice move me instead of focusing on how to turn it into a business? What if I follow the path of fun and joy? Read the books I want to read, make the art I want to make, take the classes I want to take? Isn’t it possible, maybe even probable, that the rest will arise from there and my path will become clear?

And then to yet another, as I considered how my Apocalypse Garden project fits in with my path as a Poet | Artist | Optimist:

What if instead of preparing for the worst, I prepared for the best?

And sure, I could easily come up with a project that would fit each one, but what if I combined all three questions into one:

What if focusing on mining and making art instead of building a business gave me the freedom to find my own voice–the one that could eventually support my best work and my best life? And what might that look like?

Experimentation and play. Taking classes. Reading. Going to movies and galleries. Exposing myself to a broader range of thoughts and ideas. Going on Artist Dates, to conferences and lectures. Collaborating with other artists. Getting out of town with a sketchbook and camera. Whatever it takes to keep creativity awake and alive and whatever it takes to set aside daily time and space for creation. To actually create–a little bit every day, and a more than a little bit on some of those days. Which sounds exciting, but it’s not a small project. And then I realized that some of my greatest struggles for direction come from feeling like I have to choose–between writing and quilting and photography, between living life and preparing for the apocalypse, between poetry, novels, memoir, and my deep love of speculative fiction. Which brought me not just to an answer to my small project question, but to my biggest burning question of all:

What if instead of having to choose, I could combine the things I love?

And so, my small project will be to create an object of art that incorporates:

  • Words
  • Pictures
  • Fabric
  • Inspiration from existing works of literature, poetry, and art
  • And dreaming my way through our world’s uncertain future

Because I am beginning to believe that my path lies not in walking a straight or winding road, but in building a home at the place my roads converge.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Burning Question

The Quest, it continues. Not just as DIY, but as its founder says, as DIT (Do It Together). That means a full twelve months of weekly Monday prompts, beginning with this one:

What burning question of possibility will influence what & how you create these first 3 months?

What if acts of creation could counteract pain, and fear, and war, and destruction? What if art could heal communities, the world, ourselves? And what if those powers aren’t just available in the art we are making now, but in the paintings that have already been painted, the songs that have already been sung, the stories that have already been told?

Why wait another minute to dig deep into our own art and the art that already inhabits our world?

Why not use what has already been done to inspire what’s to come? Why not just dive in, then share both mined and minted treasures?

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