Just in Case You Were Wondering Where I’ve Been

I’ve been soaking up the creative vibes around town, seeking new grist for the mill. Being inspired left, right and smack-bang in the middle by the sights, sounds and deliciousness of the seemingly hidden inner-city haunts of Sydney.

Eternity Playhouse

Eternity Playhouse

But first let me ask you, when was the last time you went to the theatre? If you’ve never been, you should do yourself a favour and get thee to the box office and hand over thy coins. My lovely friend, Krystyna and I traipsed down to the Eternity Playhouse in Darlinghurst on Saturday night to see The Young Tycoons. What a joy it was to return to an old love of ours and reminisce about our days as prop-bitches and wannabe actors. All the while being treated to a thinly veiled stab at the Packers and Murdochs of the world. The smooth sounds of alfresco guitar and cajon drum, the backdrop to deep conversations about the meaning of life, Kevin McCloud and deliberately mismatched shoes. Every night should be a creative inner-city adventure (with the Tom-Tom at the ready).

Perfectly Imperfect

Perfectly Imperfect

Inner-city underground prohibition-era bars are the perfect way to end a Sunday that has been jam-packed full of plotting and planning and panicking about art. With Palmer & Co‘s cool live 1920’s jazz, flapper dresses and black suspenders, you cannot dare to tell me you’re not ensconced in a den of creativity. Or a Woody Allen film. Kicking back with a smooth Argentinian Malbec, Ronan and I managed to exhale after a killer day, finally understanding that spontaneous creativity requires some majorly control-freakish planning!

Palmer & Co

Palmer & Co

How do you deal with your creative deadlines? Do you just throw caution to the wind and hope the muse will guide you through (and just in the nick time)? Do you whip up a spreadsheet and break down your story into cellular components, knowing that by the time you get to cell J45, your main character will be facing their final battle? Do you throw a dart and just see where it lands? Or do you follow your compass to the Nth degree, minute and second?

However you do it, so long as you’re doing it, has got to be alright with me. What are you creating right now? Drop me a line and let me know.

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Go on, Get up, Get out!

Art Gallery of NSW

Art Gallery of NSW

It’s Wednesday night, the full moon has risen, the joggers are hitting the streets, and there’s a great commuter migration. Where are you going? What are you doing? And who are you spending your time with tonight?

Anthony Robbins said:

Who you spend your time with is who you become. Change your life by consciously choosing to surround yourself with people with higher standards.

Tonight I’m becoming a cinefile. The Art Gallery of NSW is open after hours and I’m warming my film critic’s hat for a screening if Rashomon, a film by Akira Kurosawa. I’m going in blind; clueless as to what to expect from a 1950’s Japanese cinema classic, but if Tony Robbins is right I’ll be walking away with much higher standards.

Jokes aside, Tony might just have a point. Who are you when you’re spending time with your workmates? How about when you’re with your family? Your best friend? Your drinking buddies? Your writers group? Are you the same person? Is one version better or worse than another?

Who do you want to become? If you want to be a creator, are you gutsy enough to create your own life first? Are you game to build new habits, new networks, new relationships? Are you willing to leap right out of your comfort zone?

On the Sideline

On the Sideline

Go on, get amongst it! Even if you go to the gallery, the film, the stand-up comedy or that course on your own, you’ll still be surrounded by the people you’re itching to become. I’m doing Tony Robbins proud and going for gold. How about you?

Dream Big!

Trawling the Markets for the Best Arteries

Sunday, a day of rest? No way! Sunday was all about developing the dream, and driving around Sydney in a big arsed truck. Talking to farmers, bakers and garbage purveyors at Marrickville Market, where hippies and hipsters hunt and gather alongside mums, dads, kids and dogs. The aim of the day was to collect materials with which to build a blue whale’s heart.

A blue whale’s heart is almost as tall as me, weighs around 600kg and beats around six times a minute. Impressive, right?! Discovering the materials needed to bring one to life is a delicious adventure in itself. Searching through styrofoam for the perfect artery, climbing over the detritus of last year’s set dressings. Feathers and fabrics and furniture parts, mannequin bits and broken carts. It’s a grown up kid’s wonderland!

To build your own blue whale’s heart, just take one large truck, a hotline to the parking angels, a tape measure and an active imagination. Combine them with a healthy dose of determination to make the dream concrete – it’s handy when you work in construction! Mix in a dash of crazy and you’re on your way.

Note: Do not to dissolve into a puddle of panic when the exhibition date looms. All you need to do is just get it done. And remember, you’re living the dream – it’s bigger than a blue whale’s heart!

 

I’m running away to join the Circus!

What do you do when you get writer’s block? Or painter’s block? Or sculptor’s block? Is there a magic cure-all for the dreaded stagnation that ensues when your muse runs away to join the circus? My muse up and left me several years ago after a particularly harsh review. I wandered the streets calling her name, “Stella!” Only to hear the lonely sound of nothingness in response. All that wandering led to THE CORPORATIONS – my arch nemeses of creativity – and a sense of emptiness that constantly threatened to consume me.

But it’s not all bad, because the corporations did lead to a trip to the circus. Not my trip, mind you. Somebody else’s. And on his way to Cirque du Soleil he told me (and a bunch of other corporate-types) his story. Have you heard of Sebastian Terry and his list of 100 things? If you haven’t, you should! Seb inspired the bejesus out of me when he told his tale at a sales conference I attended last year. A lost soul wandering the world, Seb wrote himself a list of 100 things that he wanted to achieve in his lifetime, and promptly went forth and conquered. He’s living life on his terms, ticking incredible achievements off his list, and helping others to do the same. AND he’s written a book about it!

100 Things Talk

Meeting Seb at his 100 Things Talk – Item #126 on my list – TICK!

If like me, you’ve been suffering from any kind of block, be it writer’s, painter’s or even a life block, take a leaf out of Seb’s book and write yourself a list. Write yourself a dirty big list (or clean little list) and share it with a friend or two. You’ll be surprised at what happens when you write your dreams down on paper and start taking steps towards them. Even if they’re baby steps. Even if they’re micro steps. It’s not long before your muse will hear your footsteps and turn around to meet you. And she’ll often bring her friends. And they’ll bring their friends. And before long you’re writing again, pulling together a creative business and working on an art exhibition!

Joseph Campbell said:

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.

I say:

Stella, get our sequinned leotards ready. I’m gonna join you at the circus!

And so it begins

In the Deep End

Time to start flexing my writing muscles again after going missing in action for an ungodly amount of time. When I say ungodly, yes, I do mean that I was hanging in the underworld with Lucifer himself. But you can only warm your feet by the fire for so long. They soon start to itch and it’s time to get the Hell out of there!

So, what am I going to write about? I don’t know yet! Then why am I writing? For the joy of writing. And to bring a little magic back into life. One. Word. At. A. Time.

Today’s word: Art.

“Why art?” I hear you ask. Why not? It starts with A, just like the Alphabet. AND because I got a phone call recently from my friend Ronan. All aflap, he says “the exhibition’s been moved forward to July! Holy Fuck!” Setting off a chain of events that have led me here. And to setting up another blog over here. And needing an occasional shiraz over here. And here. And here. All in the last few days!

So, to be double-blogging is going to test my mettle. But what’s a mettle if it’s not to be tested? Hey, I’ve faced bigger challenges than this. In fact, I have a list of 150-odd challenges (recently renamed ‘achievements’) to hit. But they’re for another blog post. Today, art. Art and our exhibition, ‘How Big is Your Heart?’ scheduled for an upcoming Shine event. We have 9 weeks to pull our team together and create like there’s no tomorrow! There’s been a mountain of brainstorming amidst the styrofoam and panic attacks, and there’s bound to be plenty of story fodder to chew on. You can check out the menu over at Chiron Creative. At the moment it’s looking a little sparse but by the weekend there should at least be an amuse bouche for you to sample!

In the mean time I’m just enjoying the fact that my creative passion has been reignited. I’m saving the meltdown for after the show!