Indeed! It's the end of DaDaVember, and time to say so long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu.
I have enjoyed this small project immensely, and feel that in all the aspects that I have had control over myself, its been worthwhile. I have put something thoughtful online daily for 30 days, given myself a lot to think about in the hours between posts, and now have a very positive and energising comparison between today and the memory of 5 weeks ago when it seemed rather overwhelming and my imagination momentarily froze at the sight of a blank page. But, hey ho, as I’ve mentioned, the point is to begin, to allow things to unfold, to not need to know what is going to happen before just doing and playing and exploring.
I had imagined there might be a valuable opportunity for other creative minds to become involved to share experiences and wisdom in a supportive community, and no doubt that may still evolve in one format or another. And certainly, that invitation has been made throughout the month, its just that nobody at this time has RSVPd! Should hav put a dress code! Possibly someone with less imagination, but more chutzpah than I, will take the idea and redevelop it into one of those little stocking filler books that make a million! The world is still turning, even if our history has jumped directly from Delta to Omicron, we are still moving and creating.
Personally, the important things I’ve learned from this is that I am actually still passionate about words and writing, maybe even more than visual arts (although in fairness, when the opportunity to work with living humans here in my studio is once again viable, the balance may tip again!). I like the challenge of enhancing the story within an image and within a text, by melding the two together to shape how they are seen. I have accepted that my involuntary tendency to alliteration is out of control and may always be so. It's extremely and eternally endearing, isn’t it?
We will now resume regular, scheduled programming.
The end of a melody is not its goal: but nonetheless, had the melody not reached its end, it would not have reached its goal either.
As we’ve touched on before in these questions, there are lots of ways to generate new ideas and fill out plans and dreams with detail. Often people start off with a desire for change and improvement, but knowing exactly what to change and where the improvement might lead (short of pure, satisfying, perfect happiness) is a bit hazy and poorly defined. Sounds sarcastic, but having a perfect vision of an
outcome is not as silly as it may sound when we use that as comparator with what we presently have.
Obviously this is a long and fascinating discussion, not something for a few words. But as a general exercise, try to depict your current life, creatively or as a whole, as and artwork that you use most often. A poem, a photograph, a painting, a song, a book, a sculpture, a cake? Be as honest and accurate as you dare, no-one else will have access to this extraordinary artwork that is your life.
As a second step, imagine the same art work, but in a perfect state. Every irritating aspect has been refined, all the elements are working perfectly, it is, simply, perfect.
By noting the points of variation between now and then, real and ideal, we can develop a bit of a map as to what to change first - what small, immediate action could you achieve this very day, to move one step closer? With deeper thought, these points of conflict between now and then can be very informative about your broader aspirations and values. There is a lot to listen to inside your own creative mind!
Is there one small change you could actually achieve today?
Today we have the first Sunday of Advent, and others will be celebrating the first day of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. It is a time where lights and candles will feature prominently, which is both beautiful and poignant.
Like many Australians, I am a rather mixed bag of genetic heritage, your archetypal Chinese - Jewish - Italian -Norwegian-Celtic - Swedish nobleman. All four grandparents were born in Australia, but none of their parents were. Somehow, even though I look somewhat like a Confucian Rabbi, “we have been painted with the same brush” as several Chinese and Italian acquaintances have commented, all of the cultural background from these amazing heritage lines have been lost along the way. Very WASPy in recent years, which is such a shame, it must be wonderful to have solid and tangible threads to hold on to and trace backwards.
Regardless, we have what we have and are who we are at this most ‘interesting’ time in history, as the ancient Chinese curse would say. I envy those who have it, and I notice in my creativity, a level of eclectic interest in recognisable cultural symbols from my genetic map and a tendency to merge things together in unexpected yet hopefully beautiful ways.
So, my question to consider today is this: What of your culture or background or personal life story to reference in your work? Is it a constant theme, something to actively ignore, or a background hum that is ever-present but never explicit? It would be so fascinating to know the experience of others.
And if we want to push our two festivals together for a moment, those who are marking the liturgical period of Advent in an active way, let us look forward to what is to come with the joy and celebration expressed in the festivities of Hanukkah. Personally, I am adopting the slogan of the recent Jewish Culture Week in Frankfurt - “More joy, less OY!”. And not only until the Ho Ho Ho’s resound!
We all probably have words in our heads, maybe not always, but at times of uncertainty and stress. I can’t imagine any healthy mind is always confident and certain, some of us perhaps just project these qualities more efficiently than others. As the old adage goes, never meet your heroes, the will have feet of clay (a few old adages there, but nothing like a wisdom montage to kick off the weekend!)
The point is, everyone has imperfections and awarenesses of their own shortcomings, regardless of what we see from outside. Its easy to feel inadequate and to judge ourselves harshly, and at times cruelly, with the words we say to ourselves internally. Sometimes these words are given to us through the negative and stupid feedback with receive from others, and these words are particularly difficult to get rid of now and then.
So, a little strategy I sometimes employ is to make these destructive words quite inert by repeating them in a range of silly voices. Try it for yourself.
Personally, I’m a big fan of HM the Queen (do the wave), Mr Bean, any muppet, and any character from ‘Allo, ‘Allo. My particular cultural background, but what are the powerful voices of fun that you might use to diminish the destructive force of negative self talk that you may be carrying around?
So, a final fling at Friday Funday! Let's make it a special occasion. What makes something a special occasion for you? Is it the place, the purpose, the clothes, the people, the food? It no doubt varies for everyone and changes throughout our lives.
For me, the constant feature of special occasions (and weekly occasions, tragic occasions, cups of tea occasions….) is cake. However, the more special the occasion, the more important that it be homemade. Sort of ironic for many people, but that’s my belief. Birthday cakes are chocolate, Christmas cakes are fruit, all other occasions are up for grabs.
Am I hungry? No, but now and then it's useful to make an ordinary day into a special occasion for its own sake, to take on the energy of some simple, pleasant, but meaningful activity. What can you add to your day today, that would label it as special for you? The more serious side of this question, is that it's a chance to build up a list of possible rewards, acknowledgements and celebrations to use to really make sure we notice when we have finished a project or achieved something we set out to do.