Creative Every Day

When I take myself too seriously, I think about my visit to the Spam Museum. It's impossible to take yourself seriously when you go there!

I’ve written a bit this year about my project to write a poem every day, something I had always wanted to do but knew I couldn’t. Until this year, that is. One of the perks of retirement is having time to do things one has always wanted to do. I am really excited to announce that I have written 118 poems so far this year, and today, as I write this article, it is the 113th day of the year, so I’m ahead of the game.

I decided early on that I was not going to obsess about this project, and if a day here or there went by with no poem written, then I would write more than one on other days. I also decided to turn off my inner critic. It’s not about writing my very best work every day, which could be terribly time-consuming – it’s about the process. So even when I know I’m writing badly, I’m OK with that. I can always go back and revise. On the other hand, I’ve been thrilled when I have written well; there are quite a few poems that I’m really happy with, and it’s always a good day when that happens.

Today I made a fun discovery that melds nicely with my poem-a-day project. Creative Every Day is a WordPress blog that encourages creativity in whatever form it might take. Its author, Leah Piken Kolidas, also offers two different creative challenges: Creative Every Day, which she started in 2008, and Art Every Day Month, which runs each year in November.

I like a few things about her challenges. Creativity doesn’t have to be only art, or photography, or any one thing; it can be anything, including playing with your kids! She includes monthly themes to help participants “deal with the dry spells” (which I wrote about in my last post!), and she encourages people to break the rules. One’s creativity doesn’t have to take the same form all the time; the suggested themes are only suggestions; to “prove” one’s daily creativity, one might post on a blog, or on Twitter, or on flickr, or even in weekly emails to her. Having fun and being creative are at the heart of the projects, and I think it doesn’t get any better than that when it comes to encouraging one’s originality/imagination/inspiration/art.

Because I’m excited about this, I have embedded the Creative Every Day button in my sidebar, and while it isn’t a link to the blog, I did include a link in the sidebar blogroll. (If you have arrived on this page as a separate link from my home page, the sidebar won’t show. To see it, just click on the Harleywoman Writes header at the top of the page.) Please visit Leah’s blog, and think about joining the challenge! Just for the fun of it!

P.S.  As I write this post, I am realizing that I have been taking myself much too seriously lately, so today’s discovery is already making me smile. Whenever I take myself too seriously I try to remember to think about my 2002 visit to the Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota, with my friends Lorna and Rachael and that ALWAYS makes me smile. Maybe I’ll write a poem about that . . .

Life is good.

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The Hard Part of Traveling

Santa Fe is a wonderful, beautiful city. I could live here.

I want to do it all, and I want to see it all. I am my own worst enemy (to misquote the comic strip Pogo), and my amazing husband wants nothing more than for me to be happy – even though that doesn’t help. I started writing a different (but similar) blog post nearly a week ago, titled “Needed: A Day of Rest,” in which I chronicled our busy-ness. I never finished the essay because we were busy. We have been in Santa Fe for three nights now, and have had time to slow down a bit, but rest? I think not.

I find this to be the hardest part of our Great Adventure – I cannot NOT do stuff. If there is a national park or monument or a museum nearby, I need to see it. Where do we go next? That depends on what the road atlas reveals about the places along the way, and we have so many choices about which roads to drive on, it’s an unlimited menu.

An old friend asked me yesterday, “Why not consider letting busy go?” and I had to admit he had a good point. We’ve seen more national parks/monuments than I can count without looking in my travel journal, and every day there have been new adventures and new memories. Why can’t I just stop?

I thought that when we arrived in Santa Fe that I would be able to still myself and allow a void of some sort to come over me. How luxurious it would be to take an afternoon and paint, or read. Nope. A few hours here and there, and then I’m antsy to start the next activity. We’ve been to the annual Fiesta de Santa Fe, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts so far, with much more still remaining on the “to do” list. I think it might come down to the fear that this is my last chance. I might not ever have this kind of opportunity for travel again, and I want to take advantage of every minute.

Plus I really do want to see it all and do it all. This world is so filled with wonder. How can I not be in it?

Just before we arrived in Santa Fe, I was exhausted. We had been to, I think, three national parks in that many days and I had not had a chance to upload or geo-tag the hundreds of photos I had taken. I felt like just giving up and not posting any more pictures for the rest of the trip. Then I had a good night’s sleep, and it all looked a lot less overwhelming. What did I learn from that? That I need to get enough sleep. We have been getting up later and later as time goes by, and this week it’s been nearly 8:00 when I’ve opened my eyes to the morning. I’ve never been a morning person anyway and we’ve had lazy morning coffee before we get started. (It was a major accomplishment when I got up for sunrise on the Grand Canyon!)

But even that does not instill in me a desire to just stop. Do nothing for awhile. Rest.

Perhaps I’ve been taken over by a demon of some kind – I don’t know. I do know that as I prepared to retire last spring, I kept thinking, I’m not done yet; I still have more to accomplish and see and do in my life.  I wish I wasn’t so driven, but my insides are churning and there is still so much I have not done.

I’ll rest tomorrow, after I  . . .