Sunday, October 31, 2004

Amongst the Headphone People or

Paying attention to where we are
A student complained about how awful it was to take the bus to work and not read. How then she ad to listen to the hiss hiss of personal stereos instead of burying herself in a book or a newspaper. (All this was prompted by my encouragement of a week of media deprivation to kickstart creativity as prescribed by Julia Cameron in The Artists Way)

But buried in a book or a newspaper we do not pay attention, we do not see what is around us. Everything is fascinating and what we find fascinating is the building blocks of creativity and art. If we don’t look up to notice what is around us we will miss it.

I suggested that the student thought of herself as an anthropologist amongst the ‘Headphone People’ taking mental notes on their customs and cultural norms. She retorted that I was far too ‘noble’ but it isn’t noble. When we dislike, resent and find dull our lives we cannot connect to our creative part. It withers and dies without stimulation.

When we are out of our ‘normal life’ it is apparently easy to find everything unsusual, fascinating and intriguing. You have seen the odd things that Japansese tourists photograph? Take tourist eyes around the life you lead.

Try This:
Pretend you are doing photo journalism essay on your life. Carry a camera with black & white film for a week and photograph the mundane, the water cooler, washing up in the sink, fire hyrants and work noticeboards.

Pretend you are a tourist – visit tourist sites in your town. Take a bus tour.

Pass time in cafĂ© but don’t read, eavesdrop, write postcards, imagine the lives of the people you observe around you.

Draw your life. Take a sketchbook and a pen around with you. Whenever you have a moment, queuing, communting, a dull lunchtime, start sketching. Danny Gregory can provide some insipiration.

Make a poster of your life. Perhaps using your photographs and your sketches photocopied into a collage. Idea from Learning to Love You More via Keri Smith.

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