Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Youthful Fancy

Alright, I know I sounded a little bit silly in that last post, but I'm still convinced I can't be the only person wondering where the line between legitimate risks and craziness lies.

Anyway, I was thinking this morning (as I'm playing hooky from work to create) that everything I'm doing or wanting to do now is stuff I did as a child - so maybe we should pay more attention to those childhood dreams and callings.  When I was younger (maybe 8 to 11) I spent a lot of time with my best friend making jewelry out of thrift store finds (in fact I still have a bunch of tiny, handpainted wooden birds from one of those finds that I want to repurpose), sewing tiny stuffed animals out of felt (we were in heavy corporate competition with Beanie Babies - no joke) and writing classroom newspapers and magazines to sell to our fellow students (crushing the competition in the meantime).  Seriously.  That was my childhood: I was a tiny entrepreneurial craftswoman.  And now I'm thinking that wasn't so far off after all...

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I've finally started crafting....and it turns out I need a lot of practice.  And inspiration.  But hey - I'm doing it!

"I'd rather make mistakes than do nothing."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Accidental Poetry

I was watching a documentary about the tsunami in Japan with my mother, and I commented on the haunting sound of the tsunami - of the waves, of the crushing debris, of the moaning building foundations.  That was when my mom said "It speaks of itself."  She then corrected herself, as she'd meant to say something along the lines of "It sounds like it's speaking," but I thought her first statement was so beautiful and so poetic that I can't stop thinking about it.  The tsunami speaks of itself.  

I marvel at those accidental moments of poetry.  I'm thankful for unexpected beauty.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Own Worst Enemy

I've been feeling inspired lately.  The problem is, I haven't felt like I've had any time to act on those feelings because of other obligations: work, errands, chores and feeling unbelievably tired.  But now I'm wondering: how many of those obligations are real and how many are just me not doing the right thing and making time for the things I love?

I have Post-It notes all over my house reading, "Are you living the life you want?"  And lately, I've been feeling more like I know what that life is and less like I've been actually living it.  I've been stressed by work, I'm not sleeping enough, I haven't acted on my creative impulses and I'm snapping at the one person who treats me far better than I think I deserve.  True, my job is very hard and I have a lot of commitments taking up my time right now, but in the end I have to be the one in control of my life.  So I'm making the following promises to myself:

1. I will practice compassion, patience and kindness to those around me at all times.
2. I will take time every day to create.
3. I will go confidently in the direction of my dreams - beginning a new job, grad school, or starting my own venture.
4. I will say yes to friends more often.
5. I will love myself and not worry about what others think.
6. I will live the life I truly want.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Back to Basics

When I was in art and creative writing classes, I always resented having to follow prompts or obey the teachers' instructions.  I guess I was always a sort of obstinate child - a byproduct of being so precocious, I suppose.  I also never considered the results of these exercises "art," since I place so much value on originality and intention when it comes to the act of creating.  But lately I've been reconsidering my attitude to artistic instruction.  I've been playing around with some of my materials, and I just bought a shiny new set of acrylics, but...I'm feeling a bit lost.  So I decided to get back to basics and check out a book of creative exercises from the library.  Yes, many of the activities are silly and some are just downright dumb (make a car out of a soda can??), but lo and behold I've already gained some inspiration.  The idea, I've come to realize (finally - stubborn me), is to get the mind working in ways it's not used to and start problem-solving; for me, taking scenarios I might not necessarily like and turning them into something I find beautiful or useful.  For the next few days I'll be setting my pride aside and going old-school.

On that note, here's a short poem from one of my college creative writing classes that started as a prompt and turned into something I really enjoyed.  Based on the work of Lisa Jarnot in Some Other Kind of Mission (a really fabulous book, if you haven't read it):

Light memory.  Laughing blindfolds or green sugar spoons.  Risk!  Reckless, shantytown i mean rosemary Italian gin.  Now i'm combining by accident, forgive me.  I cried twice when you left.  dark night, overnight.  flashbulbs break silence and diners open and still bad gin but now no longer frightened of you leaving.  I could tell I'm not accomplishing.  the desired effect.  Forgive me.

Monday, April 4, 2011

It Must Be Love

I am truly in love.  I am so overwhelmingly inspired by the works of both Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans that I find it hard to breathe.  The truth, humility and candidness of their photographs is, to me, what photography is all about - and the beauty and composition are just an incredible bonus to the subject matter.  Words can't describe what I find in them.  These photographers make me want to create, they make me want to participate in the world as I never have before.  I once read that Cartier-Bresson captured the essence of an event, of life, by pointing his camera away from the fanfare and into the crowd.  And that's where we are, after all.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Seeking the Canary

I love birds. I especially love sparrows; I have a tattoo of a sparrow on my hip to remind me not to let anything hold me back in life, particularly my own fears. However, I chose a canary as a title for this blog because, besides being pithy (my name is Kat - I am so clever, right?), canaries are supposed to be symbols of happiness and signs that the path is clear ahead. And that's exactly what I'm looking for in life: my own clear path to happiness. I don't know what it looks like yet, but I'm prepared to search high and low to find it. And who knows - maybe this will be one of those the-beauty-is-in-the-journey type stories.

This probably sounds like a bit of a cliche, a twenty-something blogging about her quest for identity, meaning and joy in life. But I don't want to approach this blog with any of that self-consciousness. I don't care if it's a little trite, this is my journey and I deserve a voice in the zeitgeist as much as anyone. Maybe I'll come up with a real purpose or a plan or an experiment while writing this blog (I smell a book deal!), but for now it's just me...and that's just fine.