What a Craptacular Week!

Nothing but a load of trash!

So, was your week as rubbish as mine? My week was not the week from Hell. But it was pretty damn close. So much so that I haven’t been able to write anything here. Since the day when the Malaysian Airline plane was shot down, it seemed to me that there was absolutely nothing worth writing about. Why write anything when all that’s going on around you is one horror after another? People hurting other people. People hurting the planet. People hurting themselves. Rapes. Murders. Wars. Insane Governments. Sun flares. Sink holes. You name it, last week it was getting up in my face.

It got me down because to add to that my day job, my home and my relationship status (or lack-thereof) are all in serious need of an overhaul. But I didn’t want to bitch and moan and dump my misery on you. I don’t want to censor myself, and I want to keep my writing as real as possible. I write this blog for my own pleasure as much as I write it for yours so I made a pact with myself over the weekend to admit to you and myself that yes, last week was utter shite. Sometimes life is bleak. Sometimes you’re powerless to change the ghastly circumstances around you. But just like lightning things can change in a flash. And it can be something really simple that makes that change. For me it was this weekend.

From Drab

From Drab…

 

I awoke on Saturday to another miserable cold, rainy day, and toddled off to see my shrink (see, here’s me not censoring myself – depression and anxiety? Me too!) I had a really great and inspiring talk with her, then toddled further down the road to have brunch with my lovely friend Jini. By 10.30am I was already inspired, I was actually enjoying my cold walk in the drizzling rain, I had money in my wallet for a delicious meal at a nice cafe at the beach with one of my most favourite people in the world. Hello, I was waking up (again) to the fact, that my life is in fact, pretty bloody good.

A few more hours of inspirational creative discussions with Jini, who, dear reader, is an amazing writer – watch this space, I see a thrilling novel on the horizon – and the sun had started to shine as the rainclouds quickly dispersed. How good is mid-winter sunshine?! Seriously, when you feel awful, go stand in it for a few minutes and soak it up. Sunshine is joy in the form of heat and light.

An evening of laughter and bad movies with some other amazing friends – Krystyna and Marc – confirmed the goodness of life. (Snowpiercer is an awesome movie name, don’t you think?!) With more sunshine and coffee and beautiful scenery than you can shake a fist at in Manly today; phone calls with friends and family topped up the weekend, and my joy tank is now refilled. So the simple things – friends, family, sunshine, scenery, and lots of coffee – were all it took to bring me back to joy.

To Fab!

To Fab!

As I went for my evening run tonight, I made the commitment to myself to continue writing this blog as a form of enjoyment for me and for you. I won’t hide the fact that sometimes I feel like my life is crapola. I refuse to wallow in it either. I’ll be focusing on the good bits. Because life is full of them. Sometimes you’ve got to use a magnifying glass, but they’re there. It will give me the greatest pleasure to know that you’ve read my words and smiled, or chuckled, snorted, guffawed, or had one of those really big blasts of air from your nostrils where you freak out that something might have gone flying from it and hit your neighbour in the face. Belly laughs are great, and comments on the post are even better.

Remember, lots of shit makes your garden bloom with vigour. Imagine what a shitty week’s done for your life. Wishing you a SPECTACULAR week!

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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.

Everyday Inspiration

What inspires you to get out of bed every day? Every day? Even on days like the ones we’ve been having in Sydney of late. The ones where  hefty grey clouds dump their loads on a far too frequent basis. The wind whips up and blows the rain in under your umbrella. Sydney’s sideways rain. I’m not a fan! But it can make for interesting attempts at getting out of your comfort zone, getting out of your pyjamas, and getting your creativity on.

Rain & Drain

Rain & Drain

To fire up my creativity I’ve been taking a photo a day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a photographer. I’m all about the point and click! But pointing and clicking has found me 43 days into taking a photo a day, every day for a year – #94 on my list of things to achieve in this lifetime. It’s bulking up my flacid creative neural networks, making me more aware of the inspiration to be found in everyday things, and more alert to creative opportunities that spontaneously appear, like #137 on my list: photograph a double rainbow.

 

Double Rainbow

Double Rainbow

Chantelle over at Fat Mum Slim has some fantastic photo a day challenges to play with. I’d encourage you to check them out. Especially if you’re struggling to drag yourself out of bed today. And if that doesn’t help, maybe this little video will. It’s the ultimate in double rainbows.

 

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!

To Blog or Not to Blog?

Write it Down

That is my question for today. And my B-word. I figured because I wrote about an A-word yesterday, today should really focus on a B-word. Following this logic, tomorrow will therefore feature a C-word.

But B-words and blogging are the be all and end all when it comes to my question. Do you think I should take up the challenge of blogging every day? Will it supercharge my creativity if I do it every day for a year? Every day for a week? How about a month? If I take a leaf out of my ABC logic, I’ll be blogging every day for 26 days. That sounds doable. But 26 isn’t a particularly exciting number. It isn’t lovely and round like 100. And it doesn’t feel all milestoney the way 21 or 40 or a million does.

And what about this B-word:

BORING

Is there something you can take as a preventative measure? What do you think? Boring. Bland. Blah. All a bit scary, right? My inner perfectionist is wagging her finger at me, saying, “Don’t even think about attempting this one, Sunshine.”

Bugger it! Boring be damned, I’m taking up the challenge. Blogging every day… until my birthday.

Bloody hell. Better find something breathtaking to say!