A Year of Creative Habits: Week 9

Brush fire in Kailua-Kona, March 2, 2016.

I've committed to 2016 as being my year of creative habits. Inspired by a year-long course led by Crystal Moody, I intend to fill a sketchbook page every day and share an image of my process or completed page on Instagram. Each Monday, I'll collect my pages and list observations of the past week and my intentions for the following, here on my blog.

In February, I chose to create a daily image inspired by poetry. March began with no particular theme and I'm waiting to see how that affects my work. :D

If you'd care to see what I did in Week 9 (February 28 - March 5), the following links lead to my Instagram stream.


Last Wednesday, I saw smoke in an area below the main highway, just before noon. It was a fairly breezy day and before long, I was able to get a shot of a raging brush fire (above). I posted it to Twitter and within an hour I had more impressions and engagements (whatever they mean) than I've had in an entire year. 

Just like that, I went from diligent creative to unwitting photojournalist, or even a fire lookout. No one cared about the fuzzy quality of my photo or what I had to say about it. They just wanted to see how big the fire was and where it was located.

It had taken me a long time to finish my sketchbook page that morning and I wasn't totally pleased with the result. Yet it took less than a minute to snap a picture of the fire, post it and create interest. What's that about?

I recalled reading something about creativity and fire so I searched through my Kindle highlights and found these lines from Wild Creative, by Tami Lynn Kent:

The best gift we have for ourselves is to give light to our brightest fire; and the best gift we can give to others is to share the warmth it creates, not by dispersing it but by carefully tending the fire within.

My intention in sharing the photo was to tell people what was going on. Maybe someone who lived in the area hadn't heard about the fire yet. My intention in posting my creative habit for the day was just to prove that I did something, that was my commitment. I succeeded in both and the number of shares or likes didn't relate to my intentions at all. It only mattered to me. In only matters to me.

At this point, my brightest fire may just be my commitment to finish a sketchbook page every day and share it. Nothing noble, sexy or newsworthy except that I'm actually doing more than that. I'm learning to draw faces and the human figure, doodling in my planner, and making art for my walls.

My creative habit needs to be tended and stoked, yet it's spreading like wildfire.










I Hope I Never "Know It All"

Approaching Kahului Airport, Maui.

Nawiliwili Harbor, Kauai.

Kiahuna Beach in Poipu, Kauai.

I've been to Kauai several times in my life and whenever someone would ask me about it my standard talking points were:

  • It's beautiful but small, you can drive from one end to the other in a few hours.
  • There's red dirt everywhere.
  • There are no direct flights from Kona so it's a drag to go there.
  • Traffic can be awful.
  • Oh, and they don't have any mongoose on Kauai.

The last point was just a bit of trivia since it may actually be a plus for the island to only have the occasional rogue mongoose scurrying about. Tall Guy though, has been intrigued by the island since he spent a few weeks there several years ago and so we both went back in August.

We spent seven nights there and took a few days to drive around the island and never once got stuck in traffic. I saw more white sand than red dirt and although the flights weren't direct, I'm now in love with the views of other islands from the air. Last week, we flew back again. This time for only two nights and as soon as we were on the road, I felt as though we were driving through a neighborhood on the Big Island.

There still may be some truth to my talking points, but they can no longer serve as negative points or sound as though I know it all. In fact, it scares me to think of other beliefs that I may have. There should be a refresh button in my brain so that I can update information and experience, consistently.  Maybe, I could even keep my mind open as one of my favorite quotes suggests:

I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.
— Gerry Spence

#NaPhoPoMo Day 27: In the Midst of Activity

You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.
— Indira Gandhi

This week has been playing out to a different rhythm and beat. I've had car trouble and a leaking sink to deal with as well as the usual last minute shopping for Thanksgiving dinner. Yet, there's been a noticeable sense of calm running through my veins.

I can think of several things that have me feeling in top shape right now: my dad was strong enough to come to Thanksgiving dinner, Tall Guy will be here in two days, and I've had four, of five scheduled nutritional IV shots. Those things make me want to whistle and skip though, while there's something making me purr. When I came across the quote by Indira Gandhi, I thought of two undercover activities that may be causing calm.

One, when I leave the house and especially when I get behind the wheel, I run through a few lines from a meditation I once learned: May I be safe, may I be happy, may I be at peace. Then I extend it to other people. The other habit is to imagine doing a yogic breathing practice called Nadhi Sodhana or alternate nostril breathing, whenever I find myself standing or sitting still. My blood pressure goes slightly below normal when I do it, as opposed to slightly above normal, when I don't.

At this point, it's all non-scientific evidence (note my whistle-skip-purr descriptions) but I intend to keep at it and say more. Right now, the plumber is on his way.