Sunday, August 24, 2014

Week #25 - Two of Mentors

A new week, a new Tarot Card.  And so this week the Two of Mentors is addressing  my creativity. Recently, (week 22) the Ace of Mentors called my attention to the need to seek more interaction with other artists and find ways to both solicit critical reaction to my work and reciprocate with others.

The two of Mentors seems to be mindful that this can be both helpful and problematic. This week I'm cautioned to not take such criticism about my work to heart and let it  get to me. Such views are opinions and they may have validity and worthy of consideration  but they are simply one other view than my own and neither is right or wrong. Nor should I have any expectation that suggestions I make to others go any further.

Perhaps the most difficult advice is that of self trust. I feel this is especially meant for me to hear this weekend because in journaling earlier this morning I realized that this weekend I've been in a funk and it has been largely due to not being as trusting of my voice as I need to be.

I am reworking some writing and it is important for me to hear (listen closely) to the sounds of my writing - just putting words on a page is the easy part. finding the right words is more difficult and even better and more of a challenge is to have the best words and sounds!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Week # 24 - The Queen of Letterpresses - Elizabeth I

For this week, I am guided by the Queen of Letterpresses, Elizabeth I.  My first  thought upon drawing this card was WTF?  I did not realize that this 16th century queen was so well educated that she translated many classical works into English and was a quite a patron of the arts. It seems that  much of Shakespeare's success can be attributed to Elizabeth's support for his theater company.

I'm called upon this week to consider what role my writing should have financially on my life now and in the future.

Think about my own patronage of the arts. Do I support others in their artistic efforts?

As for myself... where can I depend upon support. Not just financial but support in the form of encouragement.  I admit I do not think much about this but perhaps it's appropriate to consider what my near and long term goals are.

How might I insert myself more prominently withing the local arts community?

I need to to think about my attitudes towards wealth and arts. I need to learn more about Queen Elizabeth I. She sounds more fascinating then I might have thought.    

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Week #23 Three of Letterpresses - Don't get too comfortable in isolation

Again, I'm behind.  I drew the Three of Letterpresses last Sunday and I'm just now doing my poet. I'm behind maybe three weeks on my Confession Tuesday over at Stickpoet so I'm in much better shape here. Saying that will make me feel ever so slightly better until I do my next Confession Tuesday.

This Tarot card seems to have less urgency to me. This is because it wants me t think about marketing ideas related to my art. Also to consider cross-discipline business models.

I've not spent any extensive amount of time specifically of  marketing because all of my published material thus far has been in journals. So on one hand the urgency seems non-existent.

Perhaps this is narrow minded because I do hope to publish and I suppose it is better to start at the beginning with a game plan as opposed to trying do design a workable path to successful marketing along the journey. Some of the suggestions offered....

  • find a group of artists/writers in your community to meet with  and marketing angles.
  • if you cant find one locally then consider starting one
  • find an online forum with a focus on submitting, branding, and marketing creative work
This is feeling a little overwhelming.  Looking for a meet-up group or trying to start one. Still, I can see the value of beginning sooner then later. 

Just as last week it was about networking with other people to workshop material, this week it's about exchanging ideas and problem solving where marketing our art is involved. Both pf these are urging me to come out of my comfort area.  The fact that these are coming together like this must have some significance.  

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Week #22 Ace of Mentors (posting late this week - sorry)

I suppose in many professions colleagues will talk shop. Exchange ideas, experiences, etc. Drawing the Ace of Mentors sort of brought this to my mind because what the Ace of Mentors is all about is the critical exchanges between artists. By critical I mean in a positive light. Giving constructive feedback.

In taking inventory of myself in light of the emphasis of importance by the Ace of Mentors I have to say that at one time I had a network of several individuals who I could count on to provide critical view - a workshop type approach to my work and I would reciprocate. There was not a formal structure to this but it worked. We had a writing group in common, however it was not the group as such that participated in this but a couple of individuals.

I can be pretty self critical and I don't mind others providing  constructive criticism as well. In fact there are an abundance of people I could share work to and they would tend to  respond with nice flowery responses. Saying, "Oh, I like that" doesn't work for me. If you truly like something  tell me why you like it, but if something isn't working for you  I want to know that  and maybe why or what about it sucks.

I have missed this exchange of work and discussion. The Ace of Mentors is reminding me just how critical this is to artists. We look at our work with a very narrow vision. Others can give us alternative perspectives. I'm not saying that in the past I have always made changes because of another's shared assessment, but if I haven't, the decision has been made with at least the knowledge of other perspectives. To stick with something in a case like this means I have at least chosen to do so after examining more/other possibilities.

My resolve over the next  couple of months is to seek one or more poets that would consider swapping  material to workshop. Either in person or on line.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Conflict and Creativity - Part 2

When I last posted here (on Tuesday 7-29) I did not  know what  kind of week I would have.  But do we ever?  The unexpected death of my dog Berry sent my week into a tailspin and I had intended to do this post on Thursday, but today is the first day I felt that I could tackle it.

It also changed my planned focus a bit. On of the areas that I planned to talk about was creative problem solving. Now I know that I was going to say that I have been experimenting with mind mapping recently and I am seeing it  more and more as a way to maybe focus on initiating new creative projects. Mind mapping is not new, but  I'm not sure how many people are actually utilizing in their lives.

There are a number of programs for you PC and even smart phone that allow you the use of a template to diagram out your ideas. This can also be done on a white board or a plane piece of paper.

I'm working on a new manuscript project now. It's themed, and rather the culling  a variety of poems & poetry drafts together to search for a theme to thread together, I've decided to map out a draft of what this thread of my new manuscript might look like it before I tackle poems for it.  Now I could do the same when pulling together existing work, and you may well have done something like this by taking all you available work and grouping them into individual piles on the floor - then arrange them and look for where you might have holes to feel in. Like everything else about poetry, there is no right or wrong way to approach these things. But mind mapping lets you approach it from overhead. It's like looking at you neighborhood in a satellite view on Google maps, you see how one home or street relates to another. In this case, you can envision how one poem or a number of poems might relate to each other or a particular section of the manuscript.

I'm experimenting with this creative approach and I'm not married to it, I don;t have to do this each time or forever. But then again, I may find that  this is a great way to resolve that internal conflict of what do I do next, and how do I know when I'm finished?

I've also spent time this week thinking about the outside conflicts that encroach on my creativity. I believe it is important that as we live in the world, we not be isolated from our neighborhood, our city, state or nation, or even our neighbors around the world. I'm often looking for harmony and there appears non. The struggle is to be engaged so that you can be an informed person in the political process and yet not feel that you are drug down by what is going on around you. That is a challenge of mammoth proportions.  I will not tell you how you can do it because I have not figured it out - but I can tell you I believe it is important to decide how you want to try to cope with this. How you do it may be something in flux, but I believe we all have to attempt to balance this part of our life. The alternatives are to let the world swallow you or to so totally withdrawn that you become oblivious to the world at large. If we all do that, who will direct this ship we are afloat upon?  I want ti try to .minimize conflict where I can but not ignore it where it matters in our art.