“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I see, and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” — Joan Didion
Ah, winter. I putter around waiting for winter’s end, which in New England, feels like against grey chilled days composed around soup and tea making with intermittent bursts of toddler led cookie making. The days are filled with short writing bursts with the hope that a collection of short stories will turn into a book and find the light of day at winter’s end. Yes, there are many things to look forward to this spring. Travel adventures, new photo work, less soup and more picnics. Less theory, more action, including more stories, book projects, and classes to teach and share. To arrive though, through the colds and flus, I’ve been making time to not only nourish our bodies but also fill my mind with words, images, and sounds that have filled the creative well.
I want to share all the inspiration I’ve noted over the past few months. Maybe you need a boost or would like to share your creative antidotes for winter.
Your Inner Critic Is A Big Jerk: And Other Truths About Being Creative by Danielle Krysa
“You must be willing to get in there every day and just try things, while being totally open to imperfection. Not every idea will become a masterpiece, and that’s fine. Your studio is a safe place to play. No one needs to know about projects that don’t go anywhere, and remember, all projects go somewhere. They all lead to the next piece, either by teaching us something good, or something not so good. The top corner of your collage may be brilliant, even if the rest of it sucks; so, tomorrow, start there. Your short story may be rough around the edges, but that third sentence is a real beauty and could be the beginning of your award-winning novel. Create new starting points for yourself every day. Experiments. Make mistakes. Play some more. This is the path to genius!”
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
“If all the Saturdays of 1982 can be thought of as one day, I met Tracey at ten a.m. on that Saturday, walking through the sandy gravel of a churchyard, each holding our mother’s hand. There were many other girls present but for obvious reasons we noticed each other, the similarities and the differences, as girls will. Our shade of brown was exactly the same—as if one piece of tan material had been cut to make us both—and our freckles gathered in the same areas, we were the same height. But my face was ponderous and melancholy, with a long, serious nose, and my eyes turned down, as did my mouth.”
More brilliant writing from Smith in her latest novel, which starts off with rich character descriptions that trace lines, outside in.
On Landscapes, Interiors, and the Nude by Todd Hido
“I don’t analyze my photographs like this while I’m shooting. Making and anazlyzing are completely different processes. You do have to examine things a little bit when you’re making—there is some conscious recognition in wanting to take a picture—but as much as you can you should just make. See, respond, click. And the more you click, probably the better.”
Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin. I listened to the audiobook while washing dishes and folding laundry. Rubin’s practical advice on overcoming failures and creating regular habits based on understanding oneself makes good sense and can be applied to those unfinished creative projects.
My Creative Life podcast with conversations about creatives and makers. My favorite, to date with photographer Michael Ash Smith.
Filmmaking Classes on Skillshare. Everyone is jumping on the video bandwagon so it’s a good time to brush up on your skills or learn a new art form…
Postcard Art by yours truly. Because postcards are cool and timeless, plus they keep us connected and put art into the world. Win win.
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” — Andy Warhol
Your turn. What’s feeding your creative inspiration these days?