Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Remain Frugal

!In 1997, I landed the dream job. High-paid advertising copywriter. Big office. Big apartment in New York. Glamorous parties and glamorous backdrop. All feeding the urban sophisticate narrative etc. All good.

The trouble was, even though I was being paid very well, I was still broke by the end of the month. Life in New York is a costly business, and I was determined to experience it fully. I sure as hell wasn’t saving anything.

Like they say, education is expensive. And I ended up paying top dollar.

Because of course, one day the recession hit, the job dried up and I nearly found myself on the street. Had I lived a bit more modestly I would have been able to weather the storm better.

There are a lot of people out there who, like me back in New York, make a lot of money, but spend it just as quickly. The older you get, the less you envy them. Sure, they get to go to the fancy restaurants five days a week, but they pay heavily for the privelege. They can't afford to tell their bosses to go take a hike. They can't afford to not panic, when business slows down for a month or two. The have to keep tapdancing, whether they like it or not.

Part of being creative is learning how to protect your freedom. That includes freedom from avarice."

Wise words from Hugh at GapingVoid

Monday, May 29, 2006

"Each time you participate in crafting you are making a difference," she writes, "whether it's fighting against useless materialism or making items for charity ... it is possible to go beyond banners, email petitions and chants as ways of fighting for a cause you believe in. You could have a knit-in, papier-mache puppets or teach a crafty class for kids."

Great article on Craftism from the Guardian

Film comp

Turner Classic Shorts 2006 - entry form here.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A whole bunch of links on Wendell Berry here if you want to find out more about this poet.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


a pile of papers needed for my work. I've been wandering dimly through the flat back and forth like an anxious cat, upending things trying to find it. At last it's been unearthed...

Off for Artist Date - scrummy lunch at Glass & Thomson and then a wander.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Talent V Practice

interesting discussion in Kottke - personally the practice element I think is way underestimated in 'success'.

I really hate the hierarchy of one form of creativity over another. Usually one is seen is more 'masculine' and therefore worthy and another 'feminine' and therefore unworthy. The most documented examples are from histories of the struggle of women to obtain entry into institutions of art education where women were prevented from studying life drawing and diverted to the applied arts (embroidery and jewelry). Jude Burkhauser's Glasgow Girls covers most of this material. There is a book also on the Edinburgh Girls (artists) but have failed to find it on Amazon - which is a shame as one of them was my great grand mother.

Last week I was urged to call myself a 'documentary maker' and told to 'go and make cakes' if I wasn't prepared to call myself that. And I thought 'Don't diss the cake makers - its harder than you think' and betrays a condescension which I loathe. I found this groovy cake making page... chocolate meringue... checkerboard cake. Wouldn't you like to turn these out?

Also found via 52 projects a weekly quilt project.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Do Buddists watch telly listen to Cream and compose?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Welcoming Ruben

I went around last week to my neighbour's who have just had a baby boy and gave them a baby blanket. It was knitted mostly by my mother but I'd contributed a sprinking of multicoloured squares to the finished piece. The new dad plied me with wine and after a lovely neighbourly chinwag I wobbled off and as I left saw the new mum and Reuben curled up on the sofa with the blanket draped around them. The magic of hand made and unique items part of the 'Economy of Gift' reminded me of the Craft Manifesto.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work.
And that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.

Wendell Berry The Real Work

Get Lost

On Friday I wanted to get into the centre of Edinburgh quickly so I walked from my work into Dalkeith and waited at a bus stop where I thought I would have a better and more frequent selection of busses. I hopped onto a 3a which said 'Princes St' on the front, sat down, chatted to the woman beside me and it sailed off in a direction I've never been in. It ambled between houses, swooped up and down beside green fields, schools, housing estates, it passed hamlets, Gorebridge, Newbattle, stables and museums (Lady Victoria Colliery) and zipped passed trees laiden with blossom, and small pink snowstorms of petals in the rising wind and came to a stop in the middle of 'no where' at a terminus. At which point I talked to the bus driver and got off the bus and waited for a 29 which he said would get me to where I wanted to be quicker. I dashed off the bus on South Bridge and made it to my new class with about 30 seconds to spare. At some point during the journey after getting more alarmed at being 'lost' I gave up and instead hoped that this was merely a diversion, a small loop in time which would in its own time take me back to were I was going. On the other hand if you think of it as exactly where I was supposed to be going (on a trip around the countryside I'd never been to before) then I was not lost at all and I was infact going exactly where I should be all along.

I was thinking about this again later after teaching. Being creative is often about being 'lost' without a map because you are creating the map itself. Becoming comfortable with being lost is an art. To stumble about thinking 'I've got no bloody idea where this creative bus is going but I'll stick around for the ride' is where the most interesting and productive creative discoveries are made. Creative journeys made with the creation of premade maps and guides which often follow other people's journey's are with out surprise, (the light on the distant hills as the weather got worse, the black cat sitting on the window sill). Getting lost both metaphorically and literally might just help gettting connected to the creative parts of oneself.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Write like your heart speaks

great post on writing and keeping going by Evelyn Rodrigrez of Crossroads Dispatches.

Monday, May 08, 2006

finally summer?

I sat in Dunbar's close a garden off the High St on Saturday. Enjoying almost balmy weather, tulips and wall flowers and a small black cat chasing insects.

I've decided to make Summer Pudding for a friend's 40th Birthday Celidh.

Danny Gregory on the Artist's Way

"I am not, as a rule, a joiner. Nor am I a believer in much. So please take what I say with a healthy dose of salt. Still, whether you begin this program or another or invent one for yourself, I'm fairly certain that you will find that when you give yourself permission to be creative, your life will change. You will either leave or transform your job. You will open yourself up to new people. You will develop new relationships. You will find that serendipity plays a very active role in your life. You will worry less and appreciate the universe more. You may not lose weight but you'll enjoy food more. Your body may not look better but your taste in clothing will improve. You may not become wealthier but money will matter less. You may not improve your health but each day will matter more."

more from Danny here

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Artist's Way Course

I've decided to facilitate a 12 week course based on Julia Cameron's Artist's Way. The introducton/taster session will be on the 12th May at 6pm Buddafield Blackfriars St. Cost £10 - email me on creativevoyage at hotmail if you are interested in attending. AW is a powerful way of creating changes in your life, removing blocks to creativity and generally just having more FUN!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Play Magpie.

If you are in London go to the Embankment NOW and look at the tulips.

Been wandering around Liberty's getting inspiration drinking in colour and design. I tried to have tea as well but arrived too late - next time.

Lying awake in Highgate listening to something that sounded like gunshots. Either a) gang warfare has broken out on Parliament Hill b) they are shooting foxes or c) my hostess muttered darkly about 'ferral neighbours'. Made me appreciate the peace and quiet of Leith.

Going with my friend to see The Squid & The Whale - its a joy to share some thing which is good. Do go and see it (unless your academically minded parents divorced sometime in the 80's in which I would give it a skip).