Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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Playtime and Possibilities: AW Check-in Week 5

playtime I’ve been playing around all week rather than working on any serious writing.

Please understand:  I did write every day, mostly my morning pages or entries in other dedicated journals.  And I have continued chipping away on the review of the novella I wrote five years ago.   Oh, yes, and I did several blog posts this week.  However, I have spent a good portion my time outside of the day-job fooling around on social media or playing with my drums and other noisy toys.  My artist’s date this week was an hour on Tuesday night doing a strum stick tutorial.

The theme of this week’s AW chapter is ‘recovering a sense of possibility.”   It is an exploration of what is possible for our lives.   Well, anything is possible, says the author, if we are just open to it.  We just need to get “unstuck” and out of the way.  And maybe for me “getting out of the way” is just taking a little vacation from the work of serious writing and having a bit of playtime.   Most of my creative interests this week centered on rhythm, melody, therapeutic music-making —  all requiring a certain amount of banging around on things.  (Did you know that my car’s steering wheel is about the same size as my frame drum?).  I was like a kid ditching my homework for the playground.

Ah, but here’s how that pays off:  In playing, one engages the imagination, and imagination is essential for one is to envision possibilities.  And where we have vision, we have eventual reality.

In other words, a playful spirit brings possibilities to life.

A task described in this week’s chapter, a task to assist us in envisioning possibilities, is to make a list of things we would do if we had unlimited resources.    Here’s what I imagined:

  • Hire a personal trainer to get myself into shape.
  • Buy a great, big honkin’ djembe and learn to play it.
  • Go back to school and become proficient in a foreign language
  • Become boutique farmer growing organic veggies and fruits
  • Turn that wretched novella into a novel.

One or two of these actually might be do-able under the present circumstances.

I will keep playing and see what happens.

ljg (c) 2017

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The Necessity of Awareness

Recently, I took one of those aptitude tests for my day job to determine my strengths. Surprisingly, one of the strengths I scored highest is my ability to collect and process information. Apparently, I do a great deal of observing, and that apparently is a good trait. It is surprising not because I don’t think I have this trait– in fact know that I do– but it is surprising to me that it would be considered a strength at all. Upon reflection, I see that it is.

Once, while riding in a car, I annoyed a friend when I kept pointing out things I observed along the way: “Look at that huge murder of crows on the telephone lines. I wonder how many there are?” “I wonder where that fire truck is going. I don’t see any smoke,” “Do you smell that? Someone is baking bread.”

My friend thinks it’s strange that I notice such things. I think it is strange that my friend does not. I think it is a bit self-involved never to look beyond oneself. And for an artist or writer or any sort of person involved in creative expression, it is absolutely necessary to observe beyond oneself.

Furthermore, for a creative it is also important to do more than merely observe. That person must also be aware. That is, the creative must do more than look; she must also see. He must do more than hear; he must also listen. The creative must do more then know; that person must also understand.

When there is full awareness, the creative can then internalize that observation and process it, applying his or her own life experiences and wisdom in order to produce and manifest a creative expression in response. Van Gogh looked upward and beheld the night sky. He understood it, took it into himself, and then painted The Starry Night

Van Gogh was aware.

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Ljgloyd 2017

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/aware/


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Photo Challenge: Shadow

This week’s Daily Post photo challenge theme is “Shadow”.     Since my Canon died and I have not gotten a new camera yet, I have been taking pictures with my iPad.   This image is of my hand through the skin of one of my frame drums.  This is far more eerie than I expected.  One can see the fibers in the skin and the blood in my hand.

Shadow Hand through Drum

ljgloyd (c) 2017

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Everyone is a Musical Being

imageUntil recently, I have never thought of myself as a musical person.  Music was never part of my growing-up experience except to listen to 93 KHJ’s Boss Radio on a tinny transistor.   I never had instrument, voice, or dance lessons.  I was always a little envious of my friends who had this, though, at the time, my friends would have thought I was the lucky one.

I joined a congregation as an adult and I discovered that it was okay to sing.   Then one day, when I was about to have a significant birthday, I signed up for a belly dance exercise class and discovered that dancing was okay too.   It was in that dance class that I really discovered rhythm and melody.  It started out with finger cymbals, then I got my first Arabic drum, then an African drum, then two frame drums. I started playing the drum at informal worship meetings.  Then I started attending a community drum circle.  And just last week, I acquired a strum stick, a type of stick dulcimer. I am teaching myself to play it.

I feel like some flood gate has opened and water is irrigating my soul.

I have learned that everyone, by virtue of being human and having a heartbeat and vocal cords, is a musical person.  We are instruments through which God makes music.

Here is what a music therapist has to say about this:

(My apologies for the advertisement on this video….)

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/heard/

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The Crafting of Art

No matter what one’s imagination conjures, there is no artful creative expression of it unless one has mastered the craft of creating it.

A potter may imagine the soft lines and symmetry of a vase, yet if she cannot control the clay on the wheel there will be nothing but a gray mass of sludge. If a writer imagines his story in the deep recesses of his mind, yet does not know grammar and vocabulary, if he cannot master the weaving of words into a coherent and dramatic structure, then there is no novel.

People have told me that I have a nice voice, yet I am untrained and no matter how much I enjoy belting out a song, I know I will never, ever be able stand up before an audience and perform without making a fool of myself.  I have not mastered the craft of song.

Similarly, I have been exploring music through drumming, but I am a novice who can’t even read music. Yet, I move forward through study and practice so that I may, hopefully, someday master my craft and be able to artfully conjure the emotion that drumming can evoke.

Whatever your medium or genre, practice your craft until it becomes art.

Ljg. 2017

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/craft/


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Chopping Onions, Integrity, and the Importance of Practice: AW Check-in Week 4

Whoosh!!  That sound you hear is me blowing away my original plan to write another check-in based on all the ways I fulfilled (or not) the directives of the A.W. author.  Instead, I offer this short and hopefully painless post.

The most basic summary possible of Chapter 4 is this: Deliberate reading deprivation leads to facing a “changing self-definition” which leads to “reclaiming a sense of integrity” which breaks up the creative block.  Good advice.  I get it. Thanks, J.C.

On the contrary, I did read this week.  I read a lot.  I read the work I started five years ago and began developing edits and expansions to it.  I wrote blog posts exploring integrity and the importance of being honest.  I forced myself to write even though some days I didn’t feel like it.  Sometimes my morning pages were less than a page long.  I showed my integrity as a writer by engaging in the practice of writing.  I cannot stress enough the importance of practice.

I’ll let this film clip demonstrate:

You must practice even if it makes you cry.

ljg (c) 2017


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Miss Pelican’s Day Off

imageBetween my day job, personal obligations, and daily chores and administrivia, I do not often get a “day off,” a totally unstructured day where I just  go with the flow and do whatever I want, whenever I want.    I was able to have such a day.

    • I turned off my alarm and woke up naturally this morning.
    • I  enjoyed a slow cup of coffee and did some journal writing.
    • I then spent some time in the library just goofing around the way I used to do as a kid.
    • I  then spent some time in a bookstore just golfing around the way I used to do as a teenager.
    • Not far from the bookstore is an old fashioned stationary store, surprisingly tucked inside a Japanese supermarket.   I played around with their pen selection and bought one specifically for journaling.
    • I stopped  at an Indian takeout restaurant for a couple of samosas. Oh my.
  • imageI decided I needed a bit of exercise so I went to the mall, of all places, and walked from one end to the other and back. Of course I had to stop and  try on hats. No I did not buy any this time.

All of this was just a prelude to what I really wanted to do today: I wanted to join a drum circle. I have been thinking about it for a while but I was a little intimidated. Did I play well enough? How friendly with the members be?   I worried for nothing. I had a blast!

Ljg 2017

 


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When The Going Gets Tough, the Tough Make Pastry

Today’s word from the Daily Post is “Overwhelming”.    The fact that they picked this word tells me that the feeling of being overwhelmed is being experienced by a good many folks these days.

As for me, I am scared snotless over the state of our country and our world.  Is WW3 going to start because some narcissistic orange cheese puff has the nuclear codes?  This week I have been at the point where I just want to go sit on a beach somewhere and sip margaritas till I can’t remember my name,  let alone the state of the world.

But that would be too irresponsible, not to mention destructive.

So what do I do when I am feeling overwhelmed?

I cook.

When it is really a bad, scary week, I bake.

This week I give you the “Apple Tart”

tart

A basic crust recipe is HERE.   Flatten the dough into a tart pan. Then peel and core three or four apples, slice them, and toss them with some flour, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice.  (I find measuring a little stressful so I just eyeball it.)  Spread them over the dough.  You can get all fancy and fan the apple slices into a lovely swirl.  I’m all into just dumping them out and being done with it.   Then dot the top with some more butter and bake the whole thing in a preheated 400f oven until the dough is brown and the apples are tender.  You can give it some gloss by brushing some simple syrup over the apples when you take it out.   Let the tart cool a bit because if you don’t and dig into it right out of the oven, it’s like eating napalm.  (How do you know I haven’t eaten napalm?)

One of my favorite movie scenes perfectly explains the connection with cooking and feelings of apocalyptic doom.

Enjoy your day…..

ljg (c) 2017

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