Posts Tagged ‘creativity’


And so it has been nearly three years since I last shared anything here. It hasn’t been an empty three years, by any means, nor one devoid of writing. I simply lost touch with my desire to be heard. Or to hope to be heard. To want anyone to want to hear.

And as the end of the year draws near, I find myself, like many others, looking back over the past several hundred days and measuring the growths and contemplating the achievements. And my greatest achievement, perhaps, within this past year is my self-identification as an autistic person. It is a realization that has rocked my foundations, and one I still grapple with on a daily basis. I am still in awe of the magnitude of my discovery, and I am grateful that it finally found me.

But while I see my experience of life through much different lenses now, it will not be a topic that I post about any more than others. This isn’t a blog about autism; this is a blog about me. All of the posts from the past twelve years are about my autism. All of my future posts will be, indirectly, about my autism. It is everything I am and everything I ever will be. And that is totally fine by me.

I remember a project I did while studying art in college. I was a senior year photography student, so we were basically allowed to do whatever we wanted and call it art. For this particular project I selected a blank sketchbook and began writing: all of my memories, starting from the first, and proceeding all the way up through my childhood years, trying to be as thorough and meticulous as possible. I believe I got somewhere through my seventh year of life in memories before the project was due and I had to move on to other things. But when it came time for the class critique, I simply sat on a chair in front of my classmates, with the book on my lap. I told them what I had written, and I told them that they were free to read it. But they had to ask me, specifically, to see it, and they had to hand it right back and not pass it off to anyone else. Only those who asked could see it. Surprisingly, there were a few who did ask, and it meant a lot to me. As for the others, they didn’t understand why I would go through so much trouble to create something and not share it more openly. I explained to them that it is because this is how I am. I am a closed book. Inside of me is a world of memories and thoughts and ideas and fascinations and fears, but I never offer any of that to anyone. You have to ask.

I didn’t say this or know it back then, but I would say it now: I don’t know how to share myself if you don’t ask me to.

Back then I would have thought of myself as a very open person: I would answer any question you asked me, no matter how personal. But again, back then, nobody was asking me any questions. I can only remember a few people from my art school years who I would have considered myself to be on friendly terms with. I didn’t know why, back then. Even now, twenty years later, I still struggle with my disconnection from my peers. I can’t tell you why, on a molecular level, I find it hard to put anything of myself out there. Even though I know that I have gotten better – a lot better – at doing it.

And I now know this better than I ever have before: my insides don’t match my outside. I am like a snow globe made with mirrored glass. From my vantage point inside it is all glitter and chaos and beauty and me, self-contained, doing my own thing and thinking this is all so neat and complicated and difficult, and aren’t all these other snow globes around me cool too? But those snow globes are clear, many of them. They are marveled at and appreciated and treasured because their beauty is so apparent. Whereas I, and others like me, are attractive only to those who are curious and willing to press their faces up close to the mirror to see what is going on behind it. And there is a lot going on behind it. And it is a glorious mess, let me tell you. And I am grateful for those who have been able to look past the mirror, because they have made it just a bit easier to want to be seen on the other side.

If you have been around long you may remember that my very first blog post in 2009 mentions my desire to start opening up more: becoming more vulnerable and letting my words be heard. I still lose touch with that sentiment from time to time, but it always comes back to me in one way or another. Writing is the one thing I can do that can give others a tiny glimpse into my inside– why not encourage that to happen more? Who knows: someone might actually see something they can appreciate.

You don’t have to ask, any more. But you are still more than welcome to.

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Project 3652

Every once in a while I get a manic desire to start an ambitious new project. Most of these ambitions never see the light of day, but I’m excited to announce yesterday’s commencement of my latest undertaking: Project 3652.

Project 3652 began as a need to find a daily creative motivation in my life. I love photography, but I’m often too lazy to pick up all two pounds of my SLR and look around for some image to capture. I was inspired by a popular trend in digital photography called Project 365, which involves taking and posting one photo each day for a year.

I think you can see where this is going.

Because I can never settle for what everyone else is doing, I decided to push myself just a little farther, and came up with Project 3652: one photo a day, every day, for 3,652 days. Starting on my 30th birthday, which was yesterday. This project will provide a visual snapshot of my entire 30s. It will force me, every day, to pick up a camera, whatever (digital) camera I have on hand, and summon at least enough creative strength to press the shutter in the general direction of something worth capturing. There is no predetermined subject matter, and no telling where this project will take me or how it might develop over the years.

I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I plan to.

Project 3652.

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I really enjoy the way you tend to meet some really absurd and interesting people at garage sales. Sounds crazy coming from me, I know. But the fact that in most cases you don’t even know the person’s name, and don’t know anything about them except what they choose to reveal, is intriguing. Some people choose to share the most obscure and personal information, as if they had known you their whole life. One lady shopping at our garage sale told me that her doctor advises her to stay away from her own 28 year old daughter, and that she has to take medication to keep her daughter from affecting her health too much. She also seemed to think I was a really great person, but I’m wondering if perhaps this is only relative to how she feels about her daughter.

Yesterday I had a few people, during the course of casual garage sale conversation, ask me if I were still taking photographs and making art. I’m happy to say that I could answer with an emphatic yes. The ability to have the time to design and create has been a really wonderful thing in my life lately. I consider my blog to be my prominent means of creative self-expression this summer, and it has been a motivation to keep producing more in order to keep my readers thoroughly engrossed, as I’m sure they all are. (right?) Creativity is something that takes practice. The more I create and dabble and write about my intentions, the more ideas come flooding into my brain. There simply is not enough time for it all.

I’m currently working on a little project, but it is not yet ready to be shared. Instead, I’d like to show you an inspiration board that I have made which helps me to put together designs and ideas in a way that appeals to me visually. It might be boring to you, but perhaps when I reveal my finished product you will appreciate having seen the building blocks in process…

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I’m far from completing my task to repurpose all the vintage “containers” I’ve found lately, but I have come up with a few good ideas.

I snatched up a few old cage lights, which are all the rage in vintage industrial lighting these days. But I have so many lights around the house already, and I wanted to come up with something different to use them for. In my quest for container gardening ideas, I came across this lovely little blog called augury, and found my solution. I ordered three air plants from the self-described southern lass’s etsy site, and eagerly awaited their arrival. When they came, I gave them a good soaking per the enclosed instructions and set them on the windowsill to dry. They are so pretty!

I salvaged some cords from broken appliances and plan to make a sort of mobile that will hang in a sunny window and display the cage light air plants, something similar to this arrangement:

The front of the cages open on a hinge so I will be able to take the plants out every week or so for a good soaking. I’m pretty excited to see what the finished product will look like!

I found another light fixture to turn to the dark side. I couldn’t resist these cute little musicians sitting at the base of this broken lamp…

So I cut the cord, replaced the ugly light fixture with a pretty little milk glass shade, and came up with a new addition to my vintage container garden!

I chose ivy because I wanted a dark green to complement the tarnishing copper base, and because I think it will look really neat when the ivy drapes down over the sides of the globe.

I didn’t realize I had hit upon such a good thing with the light-fixture-turned-plant-container idea. I also found these flat bottomed glass light covers, flipped them upside down, and viola! Instant vase. These were prettier before the water inside got couldy from the roots of the plants, but I was too lazy to replace the water before taking my photo. 🙂

They will work great for establishing new roots on plant cuttings.

I also have a few enameled washbasin-type containers that I want to use for larger houseplants. This yellow one makes for a happy hosta.

Not all my containers turned into plant containers, however. I brought home some more manly specimens, and Jeff found good uses for them. An old Sawzall toolbox now houses some of his guitar supplies…

And this lidless ammo can is usefully repurposed for those, um, heavy artillery bathroom breaks.

It’s been great fun collecting broken unwanted pieces and trying to find a good home for them. My work here, however, is far from over. I still have a good stockpile of items just waiting for inspiration to strike at any moment…

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Transient Intuitions

“About dreams. It is usually taken for granted that you dream of something that has made a particularly strong impression on you during the day, but it seems to me it’s just the contrary. Often it’s something you paid no attention to at the time–a vague thought that you didn’t bother to think out to the end, words spoken without feeling and which passed unnoticed–these are the things that return at night, clothed in flesh and blood, and they become the subject of dreams, as if to make up for having been ignored during the waking hours.”  ~Boris Pasternak, Dr. Zhivago

Dreams are almost the only time I have of late to exercise my creative senses.

It would seem that I have been neglecting my blog, but I assure you that is not the case. School and work have so overwhelmed my time that I don’t often get the chance to sit and arrange my thoughts into coherent sentences. Throughout a day at work the ideas pour through my mind in a constant stream, faster than I could even think to write them down if I had the chance. My brain is buzzing with the chance to flesh out some of these things that are floating about in my mind, but for now I will have to be content with the thought that I am not the only one who creates and forgets a multitude of good and bad ideas throughout the course of a workday…

“So many new thoughts come into your head when your hands are busy with hard physical work, when your mind has set you a task that can be achieved by physical effort and that brings its reward in joy and success, when for six hours on end you dig or hammer, scorched by the life-giving breath of the sky. And it isn’t a loss but a gain that these transient thoughts, intuitions, analogies are not put down on paper but forgotten. The town recluse whipping up his nerves and his imagination with strong black coffee and tobacco doesn’t know the strongest drug of all–good health and necessity.”  ~Boris Pasternak, Dr. Zhivago.

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