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Weeklinks – Edition 3

This week’s links on creativity, social media, distractions, tips on writing and drawing, art, Lady Lilith, and Max Ernst. PLUS! Unusual inspiration for unusual times.

Firmly planted in the fertilized layer of my mind is the belief that creating is about celebrating life.

Creation is you tearing strips of newspaper to form a piñata that will never be put together again. When, bam!, the palo splits open the piñata and its yolk of candy spills out. Its destruction tastes of euphoria. You feel a little more alive.

For this week’s links, we’ll get a sugar high from learning more about creating something anything.

Photo by Neemias Seara on Pexels.com

Remove distractions

You’ll need to delete your social media, forget Instagram ever existed, and turn off all phone notifications.

I’m (kinda) kidding.

Social media can be great fun provided that you don’t care about followers, virtue or status signaling, comparing yourself to another person’s curated “moodboard”, and you also find online ranting hilarious rather than infuriating.

Me, I’m on instagram for its shinyness, on reddit for the memes, and on youtube obviously for this video of Top Gear destroying a Toyota.

What was my point here?

Ah, yes…

What’s important here becoming become hyper-vigilant of what you’re thinking, a task which is hard to do when your mind keeps jumping from a creative idea to a Instagram model’s latest post to whether last week’s leftovers are still good for tonight’s dinner.

While you’re feasting on your salmonella-infested meal, try to focus on focusing, says these articles I link to, but not in so many words.

We’re all aware that by now focusing is a superpower and rare is the individual who’s skilled at multi-tasking (hint: it’s probably not you, it’s definitely not me).

If you’re having trouble focusing on focusing, it can be helpful to set boundaries such as: “NOBODY INTERRUPT ME FOR THIS WHOLE HOUR!” “I’m only going to do one thing at a time” “This task I’ll do for 20 minutes without distraction” “Every time my mind wanders I return to the task at hand”.

By setting firm boundaries for yourself and others, you remove the space for negotiation and maybe you can actually get something done. Trust me, it’ll feel good when you do and you’ll reap the benefits from letting each task fill up your world.

What should i create?

  1. Pick anything that makes you feel more alive, like when you finally sip from a mug of good, hot coffee after days without having some.
  2. If that’s too vague, pick anything that you can create in 20 minutes.
  3. Don’t overthink it because most of us are going to die sooner than we hope to.
  4. Don’t pick something that you think makes you seem more impressive. People see right through it and people can see right through you.
  5. Leave your ego at the door. It’ll be there if you need it, next to that winter coat you never wear because it doesn’t snow in San Francisco and besides, the lines of people outside SF venues keep you warm anyway.
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

wRITE

“But I’m not a writer!” I’m hearing you say (or maybe that’s just the voice inside my head).

Ok, I’m not here to mess with how you perceive yourself. Skip this section. Everyone else can keep on reading on about reasons why you should write.

Writers engage with reality like it’s a full-contact sport. It’s a collision between your mind and the world. Writers are professional observers.

The best way to learn faster is to have a stake in the outcome. Risk awakens our learning muscles like a splash of cold water. If you want to learn to cook invite friends over for dinner; if you want to learn about stocks, invest in the stock market; and if you want to learn about an idea, publish an article about it.

Why You Should Write by Dave Perell

Writing helps organize and develop your thoughts. If you find yourself staring at a blank screen for 10 minutes then try writing down random words and rhyming them. This is silly, but the point is to start writing without judging yourself too harshly. You can (and will) always edit afterwards.

Our pal, Charles, has some tips for you.

  • Sometimes you have to write a lot of bad stuff to get to the good stuff.
  • You can’t write poetry with a beard.
  • Don’t worry about grammar.

Draw

Bonjour Satanas by Max Ernst, 1928. Oil on canvas, 92.4 x 73.6 cm.

Ok, maybe you hate alphabets and you prefer to scribble instead.

Take out a pen and draw on your hands, pants, walls, whatever. Bonus points if you do this at a conference. People won’t know what to think or, most likely, they won’t even notice.

If you hate everything you’re drawing (in which case, chill out and stop judging so much, you can always throw stuff away), then start drawing lines, circles, cubes, triangles etc.

I like to draw faces for some reason (loneliness during quarantine?) and experiment with how different I can make each face look. If you prefer to draw from real life then draw a still life.

Through drawing you train yourself to be attentive to what you actually see. That plump pear you see before you may transform into an oblong gourd on your canvas.

And there really are so many ways to see one thing or one place, you’ve only to look at how Monet painted the Seine river.

Drawing, indeed, transforms the secret passageway between the eye and the heart into a two-way street — while we are wired to miss the vast majority of what goes on around us, learning to draw rewires us to see the world differently, to love it more intimately by attending to and coming to cherish its previously invisible details.

Art and the Mind’s Eye: How Drawing Trains You to See the World More Clearly and to Live with a Deeper Sense of Presence

And for those of you who want to read up about art, I recommend the book “Ways of Seeing” by John Berger.

Lady Lilith 1867
Dante Gabriel Rossetti

KEEP YOURSELF INSPIRED

There are three essentials in life as far as I’m concerned.

  1. Shelter.
  2. Food.
  3. Inspiration.

It’s a known fact of life that you don’t require sleep when you’re inspired 😉

Whether you’re feeling depleted from working hard for the money, so so hard for the money, or whether you’re fatigued from watching too many episodes of Netflix, it helps to switch over from consuming popcorn to consuming art.

Oops, sorry, I meant THE ARTS: painting, music, literature, sculpture, dance, drama, etc.

This is what we live for (currently watching the Dead Poet’s Society).

Apart from this and other blogs, you can view galleries online now. What a beautiful world we live in.

It’s been said many times before that inspiration can come from the least likely of places.

Unusual inspiration:

Jaipur’s King painted his city pink

An Italian industrialist had impeccable style

Instagrammable (doesn’t that just mean pretty?) fantasy rooms

How to Parlay an Ocean of Lies into a Partnership with the Largest Auto OEM in America (2 links there)

100 drawings from now (Explore the World of Artists in Quarantine)

Earlier this month, out my window.

Do Good

Be creative with your timey, money, and efforts by supporting volunteer groups that have been distributing masks that protect people from smoke and COVID-19.

I’m sure you’ve already done your own research.

Below are some groups for Bay Area folks.

Masks2all whose first objective is to provide two reusable, durable masks to every unhoused individual in Berkeley and Oakland (then hopefully later Richmond).

Mask Oakland A few years back they were so generous as to give me a box of masks to share with my coworkers.

United Front Against Displacement, or UFAD. This founding statement is worth reading.

Brought to you by me

That’s all, folks! Hasta la proxima.

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