I went to rural Oregon. My brother lives in a small town, and I missed Christmas with him this year, so this was the next nearest thing. It was beautiful, if an exhausting road trip, with some time to reflect on where I am to go and what I am to do with this artificially shiny new year.
Christmas is, essentially, a celebration of new birth, whether adopting pagan solstice traditions or touting the arrival of a savior.
It’s a good thing to have these divisions of the year. Without seasons and change, we wouldn’t have such visceral cues upon which to hang our expectations and our resolve. Precious few of us are so self-motivated as to be able to begin anew, regardless of the day or month or year.
But anew we shall proceed. Here’s to auld lang syne. and to new days, unknown adventures, too.
It’s completely artificial, the demarcation of the new year. We’ve already passed the actual renewal by the time Christmas Eve hits. But it echoes what I’ve said before here, that every day is a potential chance to start again, so why not?
The newsletter is coming, a weekly publication if I can manage such a thing. I haven’t figured how to treat the subs, but I think it’s only fair to let you have the opt-in if you’re a current subscriber to this blog. Image posts will commence quite soon, and we’ll see where it goes.
Thanks so much for ringing through the past couple years, it’s almost faux new year’s!
Christmas comes but once a year, but it’s a long series of train cars speeding past that start the day after Thanksgiving. We’ve been complaining at one end of our culture about the relentless commercialism of the season, but indulging in it at the other.
One aspect of the turn of the year I’ve always enjoyed is the shift in thinking as we spin around the back side of the sun—also, a cold face while the rest of me is wrapped up in warmth is hard to beat, but its not the main event and can last well into the following months.
Renewal is it’s own relentless feature of life on Earth. We’ve evolved with it and as a result of it. As biological imperatives go, so goes our ache to interpret and make something new in the world.
And it can feel lonely to look backwards on a year gone by, and forward into the unknown. But it’s a quiet time well worth settling into. The sun brightens and beckons soon enough.
I’m still thinking about change and renewal. There’s so often a desire for artists to do more than they’ve done before, to top themselves or shift into more challenging evolutions. The end of a year offers a natural prompt for that kind of thinking, and here I am, taking it on.
I’ll notify everyone through this site, of course, of changes and updates. Things are afoot, it’s mostly a matter of expense and organized time. Happy nearly Christmas!
‘Tis the season for piling on resolutions for the coming new year and eulogizing the outgoing one. Among, you know, other things.
I’m pondering changes for the blog. It’s been helpful to have a daily thing, but I want to do something different for 2020. It might transition into more of a daily art thing with an adjunct newsletter. I’d like to push writing into more long form things and get back to visual art practice as more rigidly daily.
As with everything, we’ll see how it goes.
(NOTE: the title is spoken by Timmy Lupus in The Bad News Bears after the team loses to the rival Yankees. The film is notable for its loose-tongued kid actors and heartfelt sports movie plot.)
It feels good to paint again, even if just digitally. I’ve been buried in black and gray and white for a month, and color is knocking me out, again.
In reality, “real life,” the stuff outside of art—and who wants to deal with that?—the coming winter has put me in a mental whirl. I’m excited to work on projects, but I’m also desiring more time to sit and ponder and be bored. I’m not sure which will overcome the other.
I think the next year will be all about disrupting patterns and habits. I’d like to get more out into the world, and I’m feeling more settled into the city, finally. Prospects abound.
Sidebar—is it really a sidebar when it comes before the main text?—The recent “art” art has all been on my Insta, hence the preponderance of photos on the blog. I hope that’s okay. This is supposed to be mainly an art blog, for drawing and painting and such, at least in my non-dogmatic opinion. (I’m not a photographer of any training or much experience, but I know what I like, so you get photos, art recs, music, musings, and so forth.)
I decided to stop playing Minecraft for therapy/comfort gaming. I’ve been playing early-to-mid game elements for many years, now. It’s still the most effortless and rewarding return on $27 I’ve ever spent. It’s not that I don’t love the game, but I rarely have goals beyond getting the next string of crafting components to get the subsequent items for a particular mod in the pack. These things are singularly occupying and somewhat addicting, so they fill my anxiety-ridden downtime with satisfying play. But I’d rather try some new things and returning to the familiar is stopping me.
We frequently say we’d like to give up a thing that pacifies some troubling emotion, urge, or desire, but it’s rare we follow through. Do we need replacements? If we have a plan, does it include beneficial goals or skill improvement? For artists, I think it’s healthy and important to both refrain from harsh judgment and be unfaltering in questioning if the things we do help our work.
Tough decision, deciding to give up easy comfort. But if we wanted to be comfortable, there are simple paths to get there. We have to work at our thing, struggle sometimes to put form to feelings, and push metaphorical stones up steep symbolic hills. You just have to decide if that’s worth it to get what’s inside, you know, out.
Humans are social creatures. We have advanced knowledge and achievement collectively by being able to interact. Humans don’t do well in solitary confinement, and we need some measure of contact with others to stay healthy and sane. To this end, we have parties.
Long story short: we had a party tonight. Friends came, some were shy, they engaged in the end and made a new experience for everyone by doing so.
Parties exist to lubricate networking and enhance acquaintanceship. They’re the place to let loose and freely express yourself. Hm. Sound familiar?
Well, of course, these metaphors applied to creation are what we expect to find when we work on projects, when we practice our craft. But you can’t force it. The stuff happens or it doesn’t. The piece comes together or you spend the evening in the corner watching the tv. The cool thing is, there’s always another party. And another day to work on a thing. Don’t sweat it if it doesn’t happen the first time.
Corollary to getting out into your town is an equally important duty to keep playing. Adults don’t make specific time to play so much, but it, too, feeds the creative furnace. Shared play is even better.
Every so often, the thing you’re doing loses steam. Sometimes you can work through it: just keep going and hope it’ll turn out okay by the end. It usually does.
But not always. For those times when inspiration is tumbling out of the mouths of friends and colleagues alike, I like to keep tabs on the next thing I’d like to do, future projects, and continually feed that cycle with new work.
It sounds like an oversimplification, I know. But I feel like this simplistic method is pretty solidly apt. Keep a space at the back of your mind as a workshop for poking around with the next project(s), and always have an incoming feed of other works by people you admire.