Category: art

Souvenir Shopping in Taos, NM

Despite my conflicted feelings on Taos, I bought my most significant souvenirs there.

Proud Lady

The first was this R.C. Gorman print: 

R.C. Gorman's

R.C. Gorman’s “Proud Lady” source: SouthwestArt.com

 

I first saw this in the lobby of the Hotel LaFonda, and wow. To see this towering over you, in a 6’x4′ frame (at least.) “Powerful” doesn’t do it justice.

I wanted the largest one, but I am glad I got one at a solid size, which I could afford.

Finding the Perfect Souvenir

The other was the one souvenir from the outset of my trip I knew I wanted to get .

When I was growing up, my dad’s father wore this turquoise ring that was silver and had two rectangles of turquoise next to a larger square of turquoise. It was pretty big – took up most of his knuckle. He and my grandma traveled a lot, and that ring always stood out to me. It was lost at some point, so since I was going to be in the Southwest, I was looking for something similar.

Unfortunately, the bigger the (real, quality) ring, the more expensive. And, of course, we are still doing “women’s = FLOWERS” and “men’s = huge and clunky.”

After combing through entire jewelry stores, I finally found a large, oval ring made for women. It is as tall as my knuckle and actually fits snugly around my finger. It’s got these kind of “rock and roll” details, too: the band splits into three different ones that end in these silver knobs. They perfectly accent the black marble design on the turquoise. Many people who have seen it have complimented the turquoise, so I know I did good, and I am really happy about that!

RIP Bowie.

I went as Aladdin Sane for Halloween 2015 … Shocked to hear the news today. He was creating until his last. Here’s to the ultimate confident creative. RIP. 

What’s your list?

As I mentioned yesterday, Neil Gaiman‘s 2012 commencement speech at U Arts Philly contains a number of gems for writers.

One of the best was the reveal that his career was driven by a list of things he wanted to do, which he’d made when he was 15: “I didn’t have a career. I just did the next thing on the list.”
 Fifteen is great, it’s when you’re old enough to have seen some of the world and really imagine the possibilities, but young enough to be in tune with your likes and wants, without all that boring stuff that taints it, like bills and whatnot.

I wonder what 15-year-old me would’ve said? Many of the things I’ve already done – be a journalist, live in a big city, travel. Granted, these things look and feel different than what I envisioned, but I still did them.

And, a better exercise: what would your list look like today? Very appropriate, this first week after New Year’s Intentions/Resolutions, and what with Mercury Retrograde just starting.

Today, my list would look like this:

  • Visit lots of natural places, especially National Parks in the Western US
  • Finish my first novel
  • Write more fiction
  • Have an online presence  
  • Spend more time with my family 
  • Meditate on what I love that could earn me money
  • Paint more  
  • Have more time and space 
  • Lower resting heart rate, less neck pain, more strength

How about yours?

Neil Gaiman’s Commencement Speech: On Writing

Neil Gaiman‘s 2012 commencement speech at U Arts Philly contains a number of gems for writers – “everything I wish I’d known starting out”:

  • “[…] the prospect of four more years of enforced learning before I’d become the writer I wanted to be was stifling.”
  • I wrote, and I became a better writer the more I wrote, and I wrote some more, and nobody ever seemed to mind that I was making it up as I went along, they just read what I wrote and they paid for it, or they didn’t, and often they commissioned me to write something else for them.”
  • He made a list “of everything I wanted to do […]. I didn’t have a career. I just did the next thing on the list.”
  • When you start out on a career in the arts you have no idea what you are doing. This is great. People who know what they are doing know the rules, and know what is possible and impossible. You do not. And you should not. The rules on what is possible and impossible in the arts were made by people who had not tested the bounds of the possible by going beyond them. And you can. If you don’t know it’s impossible it’s easier to do.”
  • “If you have an idea of what you want to make, what you were put here to do, then just go and do that. And that’s much harder than it sounds and, sometimes in the end, so much easier than you might imagine.”
  • As a journalist, he “was being paid to learn how to write economically,  crisply, sometimes under adverse conditions, and on time.” 
  • Sometimes the way to do what you hope to do will be clear cut, and sometimes  it will be almost impossible to decide whether or not you are doing the correct thing […]. Something that worked for me was imagining that where I wanted to be […] was a mountain.”
    • “And I knew that as long as I kept walking towards the mountain I would be all right. And when I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain.”
    • “I said no to […] proper jobs that would have paid proper money because I knew that, attractive though they were, for me they would have been walking away from the mountain.”
  • “I learned to write by writing.”
  • “The problems of failure are problems of discouragement, of hopelessness, of hunger. You want everything to happen and you want it now, and things go wrong.
  • “I decided that I would do my best in future not to write books just for the money. If you didn’t get the money, then you didn’t have anything. If I did work I was proud of, and I didn’t get the money, at least I’d have the work.”
    • “Every now and again, I forget that rule, and whenever I do, the universe kicks me hard and reminds me.”
  • “I don’t know that it’s an issue for anybody but me, but it’s true that nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money was ever worth it, except as bitter experience. Usually I didn’t wind up getting the money, either.  The things I did because I was excited, and wanted to see them exist in reality have never let me down, and I’ve never regretted the time I spent on any of them”
  • “The first problem of any kind of even limited success is the unshakable conviction that you are getting away with something, and that any moment now they will discover you. It’s Imposter Syndrome, something my wife Amanda christened the Fraud Police. In my case, I was convinced that there would be a knock on the door, and a man with a clipboard (I don’t know why he carried a clipboard, in my head, but he did) would be there, to tell me it was all over, and they had caught up with me, and now I would have to go and get a real job, one that didn’t consist of making things up and writing them down, and reading books I wanted to read. And then I would go away quietly and get the kind of job where you don’t have to make things up any more.”
  • “[…] now they had to earn a certain amount every month just to keep where they were. They couldn’t go and do the things that mattered, and that they had really wanted to do; and that seemed as a big a tragedy as any problem of failure.”
  • “And the mistakes in themselves can be useful. I once misspelled Caroline, in a letter, transposing the A and the O, and I thought, “Coraline looks like a real name…”
  • “[…]whatever you do you have one thing that’s unique. You have the ability to make art.”
  • “Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art.
  • “I didn’t stop and look around and go, this is really fun. I wish I’d enjoyed it more. It’s been an amazing ride. But there were parts of the ride I missed, because I was too worried about things going wrong, about what came next, to enjoy the bit I was on.That was the hardest lesson for me, I think: to let go and enjoy the ride, because the ride takes you to some remarkable and unexpected places.
  • “Someone asked me recently how to do something she thought was going to be difficult, in this case recording an audio book, and I suggested she pretend that she was someone who could do it. Not pretend to do it, but pretend she was someone who could. She put up a notice to this effect on the studio wall, and she said it helped.”
  • “And now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art.”

-Neil Gaiman

h/t Tim Ferriss

Friday Funday

Book: Unbroken, Laura Hillibrand
I’ve never read any of her books, but the opening is crazy, and I’ve never wanted to run as much as when I was reading the beginning (and I hate running.)

Listening: iTunes Radio Pop. Sometimes you just need some solid pop music, and I like the introductions I got to it last night.

Eating: Blue Apron. (Well, not me, I’m still eating TJ salads, heh.) BA is all the rage with my friends, and Justin cooked us an amazing, healthy casserole with this seasoning that mixed Old Bay AND Cajun seasonings. SO yum.

Reading:
Inspiration: Farnam Street, What book has the most page for page wisdom?
Relationships: Jane Gaparick, A love that keeps you hanging
Life: Google searching ‘Life purpose and financial insecurity’

Writing:
Joined up with NaNoWriMo.
NWW (novel writing workshop) exercises.
HWWF MOOC exercises.
1st session of poetry coaching today at noon!

Thinking:
Positively. Take the positive tack, if the negative one starts to crop up.

Fashion:
Scarves, headbands, colored jeans, fat rings, yoga clothes for class later today.

Hope you are having a great day & have a great week ahead!

1st Draft of Greatness

I LOVE things like this: http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/manuscript-study-robert-lowells-epilogue

It reminds me that not everyone who’s admired just spits out Pulitzers.

The first time this concept gelled for me was when I saw a photo that George Stephanopoulos, Communications Director for President Bill Clinton, put in his own book, “All Too Human.” It illustrates this concept well. The photo doesn’t even show GS, whose job it was to deliver final drafts of speeches. It’s of Clinton, in the back of the limo, the door open, you can feel the tension as they are waiting for him to get out to get in the Capitol to deliver the State of the Union, already!, and he’s holding his script and a pen, poring over the paper, which is rampantly marked up with notes. There was not going to be any time to reload this into the teleprompter or reprint it, not with that many edits.

When I saw that photo, I thought, “Phew. OK.” 

Because 1, this proves speechwriting is hard, and 2, even what you think is a final draft might not be perfect, or might not ever be “done.”

It’s like they say: a piece of art is only “done” when you walk away.

Sometimes, that’s the hardest part.

Three plays

bobrauschenbergamerica – Splashes of lives, like Rauschenberg’s paintings. Random rubber chickens falling from the sky, audience participation like wearing smocks, playing duck-duck-goose in the middle of the show and joining in the dance finale, plus a girl on rollerskates. All in a 40-seat art studio/gallery with the director in the front row. Good fun. The definition of an art ‘experience.’

Romeo & Juliet: A Crime Scene Investigation – A high school production of Romeo & Juliet, with weird inclusion of two Juliets and a narrator who was supposed to be investigating but really just intro’d the scenes they had chopped out of the original. Blech.

Death before Dying – Cool East-West interpretive dance. Didn’t get why there was two East and four West, and the dancing was obviously amateur-ish, since it was not really varied. The live band of 7 to 12 was awesome and I want their CD.

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