If You Build it They Will Come

Diary

Diary (Photo credit: benleto)

Daily Prompt:  Personal Space.  To what extent is your blog a place for your own self-expression and creativity vs. a site designed to attract readers? How do you balance that? If sticking to certain topics and types of posts meant your readership would triple, would you do it?

This blog has always been a hundred percent self-expression (because aren’t all bloggers by definition raging egomaniacs?) with a bit of creativity thrown in.  The only readers I expected to attract were family members and close friends and maybe one or two morbid curiosity seekers after my death.  You know, if anyone happened to be looking for eulogy material.  I have no idea who those people might be and it’s possible they don’t exist.

I have been writing all my life.  Stories, poems, notes on cards, letters, diaries, journals, lists. I have also been reading everything that’s readable for as long as I can remember. The greatest lesson I’ve learned from both of these activities is that a person never ever stops learning.

With a head chock full of information (useless or not) and in danger of exploding, I find writing down my own scrambled version of things helps to relieve the pressure.  So really and truly, the bottom line is,  I do this for myself.  If I sound like a pompous lecturing ass, it’s just me talking to myself, trying to convince myself, whipping myself into shape, trying to become a better person, stay relatively sane, and ultimately not bore myself to tears.

In order to never run out of things to say (like I need help with that) I do things like this daily prompt challenge, trifecta challenges, blogging for peace, prompts for the promptless, even some photography challenges, although my photos would do best in the category of photography for the challenged.  I link my posts to Facebook and Twitter.  Still trying to get attention from my family.  Doing these things means that I am attracting readers, and it would be a giant lie to say I’m not happy with that.  Some days I am deliriously happy because someone I don’t even know has said something nice to me.

SCD

SCD (Photo credit: WarzauWynn)

Having my readership suddenly triple because I stuck to certain topics or post types would probably just shut me up completely for a  bit, it would be that scary.  All I ever wanted was to just blather away happily here about my life and maybe make the odd person laugh or smile or feel sorry for me along the way.

I want some of our family stories to be remembered and the people who were part of them to live on in our hearts.

I love the blogging friends I’ve made and the people I’ve “met” who inspire me every day. This is fun.  I feel like one tiny link in an enormous chain.  I don’t need to stand out or be bigger or more important or have some huge readership fan club cheering me on.  I’ll keep writing until there’s not another coherent thought in my head.  That might have happened yesterday, but what I don’t know can’t hurt me.

I will continue to write, because I don’t know how to stop.  Having people read what I’ve written and sometimes actually get something good out of something I’ve said – that’s a sweet bonus.  An unexpected perk.  You encourage my scribbles, and I am grateful.

I Made This Ashtray One Time…

Meraki [may-rah-kee]  This is a word that modern Greeks often use to describe doing something with soul, creativity, or love — when you put “something of yourself” into what you’re doing, whatever it may be.

Sculpture by Frank Stout

Sculpture by Frank Stout (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I heart Rarasaur and Prompts for the Promptless, and this amazing Greek word meraki to the moon and back.  To me it means being impassioned and intense, happy and enthusiastic, loving and giving, all wrapped up in one beautiful little meraki package.

In art meraki could be the colors you use, in writing perhaps it’s the words you choose.  In photography it’s the subjects you see, and your unique point of view and the composition and what you do with tricks of the light to show us not just the picture, but something about the person who took it.

In cooking I imagine it’s the ingredients and the timing and the methods of putting everything together, and then the presentation and a bunch of other mysterious stuff that eludes me.  But never doubt that I put LOVE in my unidentifiable concoctions.

At a very young age (too young to know any better) I thought I would like to one day become a great sculptor.  Or at least dabble in pottery, because that wheel sure looked like some serious fun.  The idea was born with an art project in school where we were each given a lump of clay and advised to make something of our own choosing.  I painstakingly shaped mine into an ashtray.  And not just any old ashtray – this had to be the best and most beautiful ashtray in the world, a present for my mother.  Something just from me.  Something she could love and cherish for ever and ever.

A lot of creativity went into my work, if you count smashing the stupid thing and reshaping it a million times trying to get everything symmetrically perfect.  I molded my heart and soul into that stubborn little piece of clay.  When I was satisfied at last with the results (and my fingers were about ready to fall off)  I chose a shockingly brilliant electric blue for my glaze.  After it was baked and cooled and admired by all (we were kids, what did we know?) I carefully wrapped my creation in tissue paper and carted it home.

It looked nothing like this, except maybe in my dreams.

It looked nothing like this, except maybe in my dreams.

 

I was so incredibly proud to present the fruits of my labor to my mother, who did not smoke.  No one in our house smoked.  We didn’t even know anyone who was thinking about taking up the habit.  She professed to admire and love the ashtray anyway.  We decided it would make a great conversation piece and she gave it a place of honor on the window sill above the kitchen sink.  After awhile I got really tired of all the conversations about it starting off with “oh my goodness, what in the world is that?” But I never tired of hearing my mom explain how hard I had worked to make my very first piece of pottery.  It was like she knew there was the equivalent of blood sweat and tears in that thing, never mind a little girls heart and soul full of love for her mother.

I don’t know what happened to it.  And frankly I don’t care, it was butt ugly – even the artist herself came around to admitting that fact in time.  But it didn’t stop me from continuing on in life creating things with love and good intentions.  And my mother certainly taught me how important it was to appreciate whatever my own kids did from their hearts for me.

I never knew there was a word for putting yourself and a little piece of your very soul into whatever you create with passion and love, but I’ve certainly seen the evidence of it all around me.  It’s everywhere I look.

The next little miracle I come across I will be able to describe with delight and just one small and perfect word – meraki.

Adventures in Album Cover Creation

as much as i can stand

Hey, wanna buy an album cover? Yeah, just the cover. There’s nothing inside. When I come up with a band and some songs I’ll let you know.

This great idea comes from Edward Hotspur with step by step instructions on how to create just such a thing.  You’ll have to go there to find out how I did this, because I’m way too lazy to repeat it all.  Obviously he is good at doing this and explaining things, because even I got it.

So give it a try!  It’s fun!  Maybe there’s a market for this!  Maybe not!  Whew.  Enough excitement for one morning.

The Little Man Who Wasn’t There

A comment by gooseyanne (The everyday ramblings of Anne and her Goose) sent me on a bit of a wild goose chase to find the poem she quoted, and I’m delighted to share it back in its entirety.  Is this not what friends and google are for – helping us to add to our personal massive piles of random information?  Well, yeah.  So here you go.

Main Street Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

Main Street Antigonish, Nova Scotia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Antigonish, by Huges Mearns, 1899

(Inspired by reports of a ghost of a man roaming the stairs of a haunted house in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.)

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away…

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door… (slam!)

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away

In 1939 the poem was adapted to a song called “The Little Man Who Wasn’t There” and recorded by the Glenn Miller Orchestra.  It was on the Hit Parade for 11 weeks.

This innocent little poem has appeared in variations in literature, film, comics, television and music for over a hundred years.  Amazing!  Imagine some small thing popping out of your head and becoming the stimulus for further creativity, awakening and motivating future generations!  Well, it’s a nice thought, anyway.  We all have our delusions of grandeur.

Hope you all have a happy Tuesday.  Stay away from those staircases.

Creative Expression

My creativity bug has crawled under something and died.

I think it’s temporary – some other inspirational pest will no doubt wander by and bite me within the next few days; I haven’t given up hope. I HAVE missed answering a few prompts though, so I’ll just quickly and very uncreatively get on that right now.

How is technology changing the way families interact? Seriously, families don’t even live together anymore, so it’s a good thing we have all kinds of communication gadgets and social networks to remind us of who we’re related to and why and where the hell they all are. Distance apart can be a great thing, and often little shards of information are all we really want or need to have about some of our more weird and wonderful family members.

How many times have I been in love? Countless times. As many times as there are definitions for the word love. I’ve also been in love with love itself, although I’ve found that’s not really productive in the long run. I got over the passionate sprinting when I was young, and opted instead for an emotional marathon. I guess you could call all these years of marriage an enduring attachment, deep affection, strong predilection, extreme lunacy – take your pick.

If I could work from anywhere, where would I want to live and why? On a beach, in a luxury hotel with room service, somewhere WARM with no damn snow, close to excellent restaurants and great shops. Not actually working at all, come to think of it. I bet you think I’d get tired and bored after a bit of that, hey? Well I could always intensify my search for the bug of creativity if there was nothing else to do.

What are my favourite ways to express my creativity? Besides exactly what I’m messing around doing at this exact moment, I also have noticed myself being rather inventive, resourceful and clever in the following areas:

1. Meal preparation following 15 days of not picking up anything edible while shopping.

2. Backing out of our long narrow driveway between six-foot snow banks and maneuvering my way down our crazily rutted street without getting hung up or stuck or taking out any of the neighbors vehicles.

3, Playing Farmville and annoying the crap out of other Facebook people who do not want to hear about it.

4. Tole painting and rearranging furniture. The furniture thing is just an avoidance technique I use so that I never actually have to sit down and paint something.

5. Answering Plinky Prompts. Or devising reasons and rationalizations and justifications for not doing so.

Tomorrow is another day, with another question, and another chance to be brilliant! Don’t hold your breath or anything, but it could happen.

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