Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Whatever Sticks

I have rather a busy week, so of course I'm dawdling around on Blogger, writing and discarding tedious posts. I have rather a lot of steam to let off for a number of reasons and you lovely people are my outlet. It's good steam - creative steam - but sadly, you won't get my best. Sorry.

I just had a couple of things I wanted to share that have set my mind whirring in a few different directions of late. I'll just throw it all out there and you can see whatever sticks.

First, and probably most importantly, I got to hang out in the boiler room of my kids' elementary school yesterday. Under the circumstances, it would have been considered gauche to whip out my phone and snap all the pictures I wanted to, but I may sweet-talk the long-suffering custodian into letting me in again. The school was built in 1957, so there are a lot of oddments of antiquated machinery in there. My favorite was the large brick incinerator, all scarred and tarred with years of use. Brick and ironwork are a pretty much direct conduit to my soul. Do you have certain kinds of architecture or craftsmanship that speak directly to you in a way that you can't quite explain? The very concept of "boiler room" thrills me right down to my toes. It would probably explain my adoration for steampunk literature as well. I tried not to dance and hop up and down too much as I stood there with other parent volunteers, a beleaguered custodian and a first grade teacher and tried to figure out if we could fix the kiln.

I read this post this week about Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense and it made a lot of sense to me. I have reserved the source material at the library and will doubtless regale you all at some point with my conclusions on the matter.  If you are interested in the psychology of creativity, I'd also recommend Touched With Fire by Kay Redfield Jamison. It is on the scholarly side, but it is a fascinating exploration of the artistic temperament and its connections to bipolar disorder. I am endlessly fascinated by the way the human mind makes sense of its stimuli and the variance across people and personalities.

Another endless fascination for me is human interaction, specifically how and why we love. I have been buried in chemistry texts of various sorts, working on a seedling of an idea that I have, but it is nowhere near worth sharing yet. In the meantime, if you have a free afternoon (or if you don't, but you don't mind becoming completely involved in the lives of strangers and blowing some things off), you should check out this website. Forty Days of Dating is the chronology of two friends who decided to date each other for forty days. It is compelling and insightful, perhaps in ways that they didn't mean for it to be.

Tell me what you know about "invasion literature". It's a genre that has taken up residence in my hamster cage and I've been gnawing the ideas around for months now. I was explaining to the Chief Lou last night that this piece I've been writing will either be a lame, half-baked essay or a 40 page term paper. He suggested I write the 40 page term paper and then synthesize it down to a good essay. He is, of course, right. I probably will do just that, but I have other projects afoot at the moment. So. Tell me what you know or think about invasion literature.

A few other projects afoot: Rembrandt drawings with fourth and fifth graders, Matisse "drawing with scissors" with first graders, all things baby for my impending nephew (what child doesn't need a handmade blanket to match every outfit?!), project leopard gecko habitat (I am a somewhat reluctant participant in this with my jBird); editing, revising, rewriting, slashing, burning, revising again of over 50,000 words for piecemeal submission to whomever will have me (thank goodness for Submittable, it's probably saving me tens of dollars in postage!)

But if you want to see someone who is really and truly working it, go check out Corner Blog, written and photographed by the lovely Tiffanie Turner. We met through NaBloPoMo a few years ago and since then, I have watched her various projects and creative endeavors flourish and now they are really taking flight. She is such an inspiration to me always. She's going to be famous.

All right darlings, time to get dressed. Yesterday I put on half of two outfits so that I could decide which one to wear upon seeing the contents of my dryer. (Everyone does this, I'm sure.) It wasn't until about 8:30 last night - AFTER parading around my childrens' school, AFTER running all of my errands and chatting up several service industry employees, AFTER an unaccustomed fit of socialization with various Power PTA moms - that I realized I had forgotten to change and had spent the day looking very much like an idiot. Most days this does not bother me overly much, as I don't think people really pay all that much attention to my sartorial splendor. Today, however, I'll be in my daughter's 4th/5th grade classroom and they pay attention. Nobody wants to be the kid whose mom came to teach art looking like she rolled out of a Goodwill donation bin, wearing whatever stuck to her.

What's inspiring you this week? What is sticking around in your craw? What ridiculous outfits have you worn?


  1. WOW! You have a lot of things going on! And here I am struggling to put 2 words together into a cohesive thought! :)
    I am impressed! As for what's inspiring me this week, well I would have to say reading. It seems that lately I have been captured by words and finding unique insights and inspiration in the oddest places.
    Sticking in my craw? Well that would be the difficulty of juggling family drama. I just get really tired of it.
    And ridulous outfits? Most likely my neighbors would say that it's my comfy yoga pants and oversized sleep shirt that i was wearing while puttering around the front yard. I was comfortable and never gave it a second thought until I started back inside!

    This was an interesting post, I am glad you shared it! :)

    1. Hello Tamara! I'm glad you found some stuff you liked here... I'm seriously running on fumes.
      Reading never gets old, does it? For all of the reasons you state.
      Family drama is never fun, but seems necessary to existence, no?
      And the yoga pants. Yes. I may or may not have delivered a carload of kids to school this morning in my yoga pants. I would like to believe that I look like I may just go work out at any moment. But we all know that really I am just prepared for napping.

  2. I think everybody is creative. Just in different ways. Even people who are what we call 'logical' get creative with facts. Logic IS creativity to me, because it still involves connecting dots in ways that haven't been connected before. I don't know. But this: "Usually this perseverance occurs at the expense of other responsibilities, or other people" highly resonates with me. That is me right there, and it's good to know I'm not alone.

    I know nothing about invasion literature but I looked it up, and "The Battle of Dorking" is the best description of tumblr I've ever heard.

    1. You made me snort coffee with your "Battle of Dorking" reference. I've never read the book, but I'm very bummed that title is already taken. I think it would be a clever title for my autobiography.
      I completely agree with you about creativity. I think it's one of the things that are inherently human. I also think that for whatever reason, a lot of people get it taught out of them at a terribly young age. I think there are also large parts of the population that choose not to be creative, but that's a whole other thing. But yes: logic, math, science, etc. are extremely creative pursuits - and because they are things I'm not terribly good at, they seem even MORE creative than anything I can do.


Thanks for reading and taking the time to say hello!