Tag Archives: art

Flight of Fancy

Writing Is for the Birds

A lovely crow cousin

While trying to avoid getting immersed in work when I needed to head out early, I found a cool blog about the family Corvidae (crows and their cousins) because of this post about some of those more flamboyant cousins…  the magpies and how impressively colorful they can get.  The magpie-jays (which weren’t pictured in the post, so I posted one here) are stunning creatures.  I have three crows that spend their time in our back yard these days except when the grackles chase them away.

Crows and their cousins are delightful birds for a couple of reasons.  They are intelligent birds in general, gregarious and attractive too.  They also help us keep our world clean whether we want to or not.  And I learned something else about them today…  actually, about birds in general.  It’s about how chicks are raised.  There are two types or processes involved in chick development while in the egg.  One type we’re pretty familiar with from grade-school science experiments with an incubator and some eggs via a local farm.  The other development type we see in the stereotypical cartoon of a nest with pink featherless creatures raising their gaping beaks in the air for the first worm or bug the parent birds can offer.

The first type (called precocial) results in a mostly capable little down-covered fluff-balls that look so cute on Easter mornings, chicks who can peck away at cracked corn and seeds on their own, cheep cheep and scurry away in a panic.

Feed us… FEED US!

The second type of development results in a baby that desperately needs its parents.  If an altricial chick falls out of the nest, its mostly featherless body could suffer from hypothermia and the chick could die without the warmth of the nest and its siblings.  It can barely move, expending most of its energy to raise its head for eagerly awaited offerings of regurgitated insects, seeds or meat made by its parents.  (Not only birds are considered altricial—many mammals, including humans, are too.  The term is related to parental investment in the raising of young.)

Crows fall into the second category.  Another cool fact about crows?  Their eye color changes.  North American crows have blue eyes when they are young…  I never would have imagined that, but it is very cool.  And pretty, pretty too!

Yep!  I totally fell down the internet rabbit hole this morning.  But it’s O.K.  I have some good news for…

My ROW80 Check-In

ROW80LogocopyMaybe I got tired of the lack of progress in gradually increasing my goals the way I had planned.  Maybe I missed the old crew.  Or maybe I got fed up with all the dancing through hoops I’ve done for others at the expense of a few simple (nearly free) pleasures…

Either way, I just did it!  I not only managed to meet my one added goal of doing something artistic (a fifteen minute tea break at Panera this morning), but I also got up this morning and posted a non-ROW80 post–a WIPpet no less.  Yes, I participated in the WIPpet Wednesday bloghop again.

Asking for Inspiration

Asking for Inspiration

I suspect my participation will be inconsistent as June moves in fully, since JuNoWriMo (50K before the Summer doldrums hit).  I’m going to try for every other week now and see what happens.

I am nearly back on track with all my other goals as well.  I missed my Five Sentences on Monday, but made huge headway on an inspirational post I’ve been asked to write for one of the JuNo pep-talks Sunday and Monday, so hopefully my characters will forgive me that (they seem to have done so with great consideration—today Valichii, Lan and Acarii spent a few hours with me, filling me in on history and social details I’d never guessed at; I really understand their points of view a lot better now).

It’s been a happy morning.  I still have a lot more to get done before the day is over, and I am tired.  But even if I only get a bit more handled, I’ll count it as a win.  And I learned something in trying to draw those hands today…  I had so much trouble seeing them in the lines I drew—the picture only came real once I added the shadows.

Not quite sure what lesson to take from that yet, but I know there is something to ponder there.

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Just Wasting Time

On a scale of 1-10, I’d have to say these last few days have been floating around 5.  I got most things done.  I’ve also been so very easily distract-able that most any effort I’ve made seems small in comparison to the amount of effort I’ve spent in redirecting myself to get the things done.

And…  despite what I thought on Sunday, it wasn’t squirrels.

Some of it has been good-old self-discovery and analysis.  Good things really, and part of why my pittance of accomplishment doesn’t bother me all that much (because I really fell down on my ROW80 goals since Sunday!).

Yesterday while writing my 750 words entry (ended up 2.5K WOOT!), I glanced at the accumulated art supplies around my office and wondered why I never use them; or if I do, it’s for a quick “try this”… which usually ends in disappointment because I’m an obsessive perfectionist.

Which brings me back to the title…  I have a ton of art supplies I never use, I have a ton of stories I don’t show anyone…  I say I don’t like to cook, but the truth is these things flow from a fear of waste.

Art supplies are—I was always told—expensive.  Don’t waste them.  Use scrap paper to practice on.  What’s wrong with a #2 pencil or a ballpoint pen?  You want markers?  Here’s a pack of 36 colors for a dollar.  Never mind that most don’t work…

Apologies to my writing friends who've seen these

Apologies to my writing friends who’ve seen these but this IS that one page

It took me three years before I felt comfortable enough to make my first drawing in a sketchbook I’ve got in my supply bag.  Three years…  I’ve since drawn in it twice in six months, both pictures on the same piece of paper.

I’ve sketched things on a napkin (ruined in my purse two days later) and the backs of a few pieces of junk mail (some where in the house!).  But a dedicated, special for me place to hold my art?  Not really.

Poster paints and craft paper and years of sun-damage

Poster paint, craft paper and years of sun-damage

I have a paint set I opened the box of, looked at all the pieces and then set aside when I have time to take an art class so I can learn how to use the correct brushes and such.  Then there are the stacks of unopened canvases…  Despite this excess, I only allowed myself to use 99 cent bottles of poster paint and a 59 cent set of dried water-colors on craft paper since my son was born.  It’s not that I don’t like painting.  I don’t feel qualified to do it based on my limited grade-school art experiences, and I know I’d be wasting real supplies.

A real indulgence--a (THE) Paint and Sip project I did as part of a fundraiser for my son's school

A real indulgence–a (THE) Paint and Sip project I did as part of a fundraiser for my son’s school

And given the years when I would cook something I knew was past its expiration date or badly freezer burnt because I couldn’t bear to toss it (both my parents are avid volunteers at their local food pantry; my son has asked for a food donation to give to one of our local pantries for every birthday party he’s had since he was four….  I could not throw away food).  I wouldn’t make anyone else eat it; I accepted my punishment for forgetting it in the back of the freezer or the cupboard.

I spent two weeks cooking various apple and crab apple recipes--and ended up tossing jars of work because I was the only one to eat it

I spent two weeks cooking various apple and crabbie recipes–and ended up tossing jars of work because I was the only one to eat it

For a long time, I felt I couldn’t write for the same reason.  But…  unlike painting, which I enjoy but even feels like dabbling, or cooking, which can feel fulfilling as a hobby, a creative game to play when I need to stretch myself, I needed to write stories.   If I didn’t write something, I curled up on the couch hugging my knees and muttered to myself.*

This doesn’t mean I felt my writing was good.  Only that I needed to do it.  And yes, I have noticed some improvement with the years of practice.  I’ve noticed some deterioration though too.  This is one of the reasons I’ve set myself a goal to typing in old notebooks.  I don’t know what happened, and I’d like to understand it.  But for all that crappy writing from the past, my newer stuff feels like it has lost something.

I’m trying to understand it, and a lot of other things about the person I keep becoming.  That’s one of the reasons I keep coming back to the ROW80; it gives me writing and self-study…  and so far it’s a lot cheaper than therapy.

So, my check-in for today is to add another “goal”.  Or maybe a permission…

Yes, I give myself permission to mess up something.** 

I give myself permission to ruin something.  I even give myself permission to toss things.  I accept that I cannot hold onto everything. I accept that not everything I make will be good. I will ruin things, I will make mistakes… I will make beautiful things and I will make absolute shit.

I will just do it.

*Really.  Ask some of my former roommates if you don’t believe me.

**(Yeesh… my whole body shivered as I typed those words, my fingers felt twitchy, almost numb).