Inspiration

I get my inspiration from trying to understand things that I have not understood.

The unknown inspires me.

Confusion and displacement and new perspectives– new ways of thinking inspire me.

Going to a play  that bewilders me for example, might at first annoy me, but then I go home and think about it and next thing you know I’m looking things up, I’m writing things down. I’m coming up with an understanding of what at first I wanted to dismiss as too difficult.

It’s the same with visual art. I realize I  am not quick to respond or  judge.

I weigh and measure and wait.

I am too busy in the process of trying to grasp what I’m looking at to judge it.

And in that process– I am learning. I mean– unless it clearly sucks. LOL

I am inspired by everything  that demands that I slow down and face all that I don’t know.

Then of course there is the inspiration I get from looking at the works of great painters and writers whose work is so masterful that it allows me to get swept away.

I read a line by a great writer in a book and it inspires me to imagine the scene that is described– and in that imagined place I find another place, a completely different place, where my own stories live.

And when I look at the work of other artists I feel invited into a world where new worlds are born. It becomes like a conversation somehow in the language of imagination, where one artist speaks and I am listening.

Art frames the world for us and opens doors in our minds that ignite cognitive fires.

Glimpse of another world

It all started with a 100 Day blog.

In 2008, I made myself a promise to create something every day for 100 days and post it online. I posted art, poetry, stories, thoughts, and dreams.  It was my 100 day blog. I was really new to the internet. Back then there was a platform called LiveJournal and I posted something every single day except when I couldn’t –and then I would start over at Day One. Eventually my hundred day blog became about 200 days of  posting art and writing and poetry. I got a lot done. I  made friends with a whole lot of like minded souls, all over the world, and we shared our personal journeys and our writing and our paintings.

 

To be honest, I think it might have saved my life.  I had been cycling in and out of clinical depression for years and although I was continually making art none of it was going out into the world. It was liberating to be able to show my art to whoever found me randomly surfing the web. I ended up  up making art friends all over the world. It was a bit of a miracle to be honest.

Junk Journal jpg 2

Anyway this adventure led me to not only connect with painters but also to finish writing a play and performing that play in the Fringe Festival in 2011, as a solo show-despite unbelievable -heart-stopping stage-fright.

Sally LIve Here2

So now it’s ten years later and though the Dogs of Depression continue to nip at my heels, I have consistently found ways to keep going even if my pants are torn in the process.  The goal is always to face my towering fears, come out the darkness and be seen in the light. I have accomplished quite a bit.I have directed a few pick of the Fringe Plays, and this past November 2018, I was in New York where a show I was privileged to direct starring the wonderful Beverley Elliott, won Best Musical in The United Solo Festival.  How great is that?  If you only knew how ten years ago this would have been impossible to imagine. Of course, painting is the key. Painting is the passion. Painting is the north star that leads me home.

Now I don’t even know if blogging is still a thing. With Instagram and Twitter and other social media platforms, people document their every thought and opinion and–meal,  so with everybody expressing themselves that way I am not sure the slow process of an online journal is very popular. Never the less I continue to come here every once in a while and share somethings I have been thinking about.So here’s to art and creativity and the willingness to face self-doubt and fear.

Here’s to a willingness to be seen.

 

If you would like to view more of my art and learn more about my process click here 

Writing and dreaming and stargazing

lunapicmorningstar

Even if we have a reliable method and a process that seems to work  there is still a lot of mystery in writing.

It’s a act of faith sometimes.

Somehow magic is involved and patience.

Sometimes a  story calls you to come and find it, but you can’t quite locate where it’s hiding.

Sometimes an idea appears in your mind for a moment and you are so sure that it will work– but it won’t.

I think a writer has to be a bit of dreamer with a willingness to search imagination the way a stargazer searches the endless sky.

In a way a writer is looking for distant galaxies of meaning and metaphor–trusting that somewhere, beyond the dark matter of a half-baked plot,  there is a story that needs to be told.

Astronomers know that beyond the glimmer of  a of a billion years lies astonishment.  And a writer  must  be like an astronomer and trust  that beyond the dark matter of self doubt that story will appear.

 

lunapic_136700294065435_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leading the Witness. A cautionary tale for my fellow writers and artists.

cropped-scan5.jpeg  

When I ask myself why I never finish anything- my mind will assume that this question is valid and that the statement is true and I will supply all kinds of evidence and end up concluding that I shouldn’t even bother writing. 

I call this particular kind of self-questioning leading the witness.

 It’s like there is this big trial going on inside me and the prosecuting attorney wants me to confess that I am guilty of never finishing anything–and of course I have this very compliant witness inside me that is swayed easily and will provide lots of evidence that I am guilty as charged.

Perry-Mason-Burr-Talman-1958-crop.jpg

But the thing is it’s not true. I’m not guilty. I do finish things all kinds of things.

I have learned that when I feel stuck or confused, I try to ask questions like: What can I do today to get back on track- to keep me excited- to keep me focused on my writing goalsHow can I make better choices to keep going when I get bored or confused by my script— or how can I increase my focus  when I am distracted and in danger of  losing my momentum? These questions are more effective because they have me asking a wiser part of myself how to do what I am trying to do.

A writer asking themselves why they are not writing might miss the implied judgement in the question, and judgement of self is not useful for moving forward in life or in art.

Judgement– to stay with the legal metaphor is a way to  punish yourself and lock yourself up in a prison of self doubt. Or if that’s too dramatic-it’s  a good way to slow you down or even cause you to give up.

Who, what and how questions imply that there is a solution. These questions move us into a part of our brain where we can strategize and plan and problem-solve and analyze. How can I get the support I  need?  How can I organize my time to make room for writing?

If we want to transform something,  change something,  finish something, asking  why is not the best  way to do it.

Of course writers need to ask why their characters do what they do. Asking why can helps justify an action or a decision. But, writers do not need to supply evidence of their lack of discipline, dedication or actual talent around writing itself. That is a waste of your time.

So if you are  wondering why you aren’t writing,  don’t ask why.

If you do–well–I object–the prosecutor is leading the witness.

 

Some work in progress–The beginning of a story

My Scribbled Secret Notebooks

This is the beginning of a story that I scribbled down in the coffee shop today.
I have had this idea in the back of my mind for a while.
It showed up in my notebook today like this.

My grandmother was quiet and mysterious and knew mysterious things.

She was part gypsy, at least that is what I grew up believing.

She could heal wounds, and cure sickness, and she always knew how things would turn out.

She could predict bad news, and see right through untrustworthy people.

She knew what to do about both.

She had secret recipes, and special remedies,

and wise old sayings, to fit every situation.

She believed in good luck and friendly forces.

She also believed in the unfriendly forces,

and she took great pains to protect us from them.

I would watch her fill a little cloth bag with needles,

and nails and…

View original post 503 more words

A New Year Wish for anyone struggling and not able to celebrate

Tall-trees-whisper-1


“Face your life, its pain, its pleasure, leave no path untaken.”
― Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

 It’s December 31st 2017.  I am re-blogging this post from 2013, a very difficult year in my life and I’m sending it out to anyone who has struggled this year.

Life this year has been stamping it’s foot, screaming at the top of it’s lungs–that I should face my life and not look away. Well I have faced my life. I’ve stared it down, and looked directly at jmany harsh truths. I’ve struggled with all my might, mostly against my own self torment. And here is what I have learned.

1. Not to fear my fear.

2. Not to feel bad about feeling bad.

3. Not to be ashamed of my shame.

4. I have everything I need to create change in my life.

5. And sometimes  disappointment and grief and loss are our greatest teachers.

So on this last day of the year when people are celebrating, I am going to take a moment to speak to those who are not.

If it has been a tough year for you–and you think you have nothing to celebrate–let me send you a message of hope. You are brave and amazing and resilient and strong, even if you don’t feel that way right now. And if you are looking into the abyss of your own lonely heart, let me tell you that I know what that is like.

Be kind to yourself. Be loving with yourself. Forgive yourself. Let yourself feel whatever you feel.

And if you have a hole inside you-that you can not fill or if you are angryand afraid, if you have a wound that has never healed–a mark that will not go away–remember you are absolutely beautiful, and your torn and tattered heart, only makes you more so.

I like to think of the Japanese idea of Wabi-sabi- and the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.

So Happy Wabi Sabi New Year to you my kindred family.

I have hope for you even if you don’t right now.

Let me hold your hope for a while.  It will be here when you need it.

You are going to feel happy and  stardust shiny  again.

lunapic_136700294065435_2

Remembering December 6.

westerly winds

Every year I make this post to remember this sad day.

On December 6 in Canada many of us commemorate the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre,at L’École Polytechnique de Montréal. On that terrible day December 6 1989 14 innocent young women were gunned down-in a senseless and horrific act of violence against women. They were young engineering students-most of them-one of them was a clerk in the school office-one of them was 35 years old-and had gone back to school to study nursing. They were all filled with hopes dreams and aspirations. .For 45 minutes on Dec. 6, 1989 the killer, who’s name I will not mention, roamed the corridors of Montreal’s École Polytechnique screaming  “I hate feminists.”  Please take the time to say their names aloud-or read them slowly in your mind, and help me mark this day.

The women’s names were:

Genevieve Bergeron, 21 Helene Colgan, 23 Nathalie Croteau,23 Barbara Daigneault, 22 Anne-Marie Edward, 21, Maud Haviernick, 31, Maryse Leclair, 23, Anne-Marie Lemay, 27 Sonia Pelletier, 28 Michelle Richard, 21 Annie St-Arneault, 23,                                  Annie Turcotte, 21 Barbara Marie Klueznick, 35 Maryse Laganiere, 35

As you go about your daily  life today, please remember that Violence Against Women and Girls continues to be a massive global problem.  I think about the Murdered and Missing Indigenous women and I want everyone to do the same.  We have to make this issue more important. You could go here and donate to this organization.These folks have some good things figured out.

_____________________________________________________________________

Death-Dancing-2LOST GIRLS AND WOMEN

 

Trying to write a poem

0n the death of Seamus Heaney

faint-hope.jpgI am trying to write a poem

because I am sad–

and because

summer is ending-

and because

a poet I love has died.

I am trying to write a poem

because–

as the days grow short

and the nights fall so suddenly-

all my summers-

of innocence and invincibility

are coming to an end again.

As I face the ever expanding sadness

of this moment of my life–

As I face the turning of the season–

I am facing a turning in my soul.

I am longing to mark this moment

with something that will capture

it’s meaning.

I long to write something

to add to the map

of the unknown world.

Something to guide a weary traveller.

Something to put in that corner

where it says

“Here be monsters”

Isn’t that what a poem is?

A map of the soul’s geography?

I am trying to write a poem because

I am not a poet

Not really.

I am just a lost dreamer looking

at summer roll past

and needing to write a poem

to hold my sadness.

So here I sit fingers digging

into the soil of my lost

summers like the poet

who died has taught me to do-

trying to write a poem.

old map engraving

Insider Secrets

Scan

When I was a kid- my grade eight math teacher told our class about a mail-order scam where someone would put an ad in the classifieds–offering an ancient secret to becoming rich and famous. All you had to do was send nine dollars to a box number and the secret of unlimited wealth would be yours.

A few weeks later, a booklet in a plain brown package would arrive. You would tear open the package to discover that the secret was putting your own ad in the paper-and sending out the booklet yourself.  You could buy the booklet in bulk. You could put your ad in multiple newspapers and then before you knew it  you would be raking in the millions, nine bucks at a time.

I don’t think the mail-order scam is still around, but we have plenty of high tech versions of the same thing.

Recently out of curiosity,  I signed up for a free seminar that promised to teach the secrets to becoming a best selling author on Amazon.com

I realized pretty quickly that the the free seminar was just a pitch for the upgrade.

An upgrade would give me instant access to the special secret insider info, which was being shared for the first time by the hottest-most powerful, most successful superstars in the booming billion dollar e-book business. Apparently there were over ten thousand people who had already clicked through to the upgrade according to the ticking counter on the sidebar.  The upgrades were going like hotcakes.

Now I am a little bit overly skeptical by nature,  probably because of the x-ray glasses that I trustingly sent away for when I was eight. My x-ray glasses were a real life lesson.  But apparently there are many people who are willing to  believe that the flow of  wealth is only a secret away.

I clicked over to the upgrade page just to see what the deal was.

I saw–various upgrade packages available. For  two hundred and fifty dollars you would get the seminar but the  five hundred dollar bundle would get you the seminar plus the bonus lessons, and if you wanted to go directly to the sanctum of  insider secrets– well that would be a thousand dollars where you could get the seminar and the bonus lessons and a private coaching session from one of the experts,  plus  they would help you build your own website so that you could sell your ebooks and offer seminars  where you could sell  insider secrets. Well, I clicked myself out of there pretty quickly– but I have to admit a part of me was thinking, “Was I being negative again? Was I being fearful and closed minded? Was I blocking the flow of wealth and money?”  “No!” said the other part of me. What kind of inside track would you be on if ten thousand people were on it with you? That seminar and all those so called secrets were just the mail-order scam 2.0.

It’s kind of a metaphor for our human frailty. We want to believe there’s a short cut, a secret door, an easy way to get rich quick. Even rational intelligent people with college educations  and a lot of success in life will fall for Ponzi schemes.

Here is my secret.  And it’s free.  If you want to get rich writing ebooks, write one. Find out how hard it is to  actually write a book. Find out how difficult it is to shape an original idea and then develop it into something that makes sense. Find out how writing is painful and takes diligence and determination and time. A lot of time. Then when you have done that– you can look into how to sell it and get people to buy it.  It goes for anything in life. Do the work. There’s no shortcut. There’s no secret.

 

B-Boy--2