Creativity Feed

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat (What a Great Musical!)

JcoatMy family and I saw Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat was, well, amazing

I have to say it's now my favorite musical! Main Street Theatre Company did a tremendous job. The choreography, the singing, the humor, the costumes, the set...WOW.

The songs are so darn catchy, they'll be stuck in your head for days...trust me. ("Go, go, go Joseph...")

Our son, Noah, did musical theater with a local academy for two years (Mary Poppins and Shrek) so he really loved the experience.

A quick PSA: if your community has a theater company, support them by seeing their plays, volunteering however you can or donating money. The arts matter (especially in rural areas like mine)!

Without further ado, here's some pics from our adventures. They didn't allow snaps during the performance, so no live shots.

Jcoat2Jcoat4a Jcoat3
What great musicals have you seen? What are your favorites? Do tell in the comment section below!

JB Small

 


You Don't Need Talent to Be Creative

Painted handSome think creativity is the same as talent.

It is not! Creativity is making or envisioning. Talent is mostly a skill that comes with practice (unless you're a prodigy).

You can be a creative cook, knitter, jewelry artisan, problem solver, networker, wood worker, teacher, gardener, event planner, coder... 

Dr. Shelley H. Carson studies the intersection between human creativity, psychopathology and resilience at Harvard University. According to her research, engaging in creative activities activates the brain's reward system, leading to increased motivation and a sense of accomplishment.

If you're feeling bored or directionless, try fueling your motivation through creative expression. 

Let me know what you'd like to try, or are trying, in the comments below!

-- Janet


Reflections from the Dentist's Chair

Dentist chair

Last night, I had to get a broken tooth repaired. The numbing shot was the worst, as it usually is (unless you're getting a root canal...).

I sat in the seat for 20-25 minutes, waiting for my mouth to go numb so my awesome dentist could do his thing.

I became aware of the utter stillness my mind felt. How I felt completely in my body. Present. At peace. Joyful, even.

(Yeah, I know--in the dentist's chair!)

Then it hit me why.

The last time I was at the dentist's office was around two years ago. I was laboring to get Naked Tarot finished--and it was a few months after our successful Coffee Tarot Kickstarter campaign. And I knew that I not only needed to write/publish the companion book to that deck, but also the Snowland Deck companion.

A lot was on my plate, as usual.

Oh, and I was under contract for another Tarot book.

Normally, I thrived under such full-plateness.

But at 110K+ words, writing Naked Tarot was brutal. I wanted to make sure there was nothing out there like it and, as you know if you've followed me for any length of time, I don't do anything half-assed.

I didn't realize at the time just how much psychological stress I was under. And, perhaps, had been for over a decade as I pursued various creative projects. 

I'm a homebody--I love my drafty, old, 12-room house clad in creosote-treated wood in a coal patch nestled in a valley surrounded by tons of trees.

But when you're home a lot, it can sometimes be difficult to spot how much change or growth you've had, internally.

I mean, I knew I was floundering a bit--entering menopause and trying to figure out what "momentous thing" to do next. (Vocation-wise, it has been many years since I had a truly clean plate).

Empty plate

And, hubby kept encouraging me to just relax and enjoy the well-deserved down-time. "You've always wished you could just sit and read for fun--chill out. Well, do it!" In fact, the other day, he said to me "No more mountains to climb. The sherpa station is closed."

Ha!

I grew up in a blue-collar family where my Dad worked three jobs to make ends meet (full-time butcher/meat manager at a grocery store, part-time cop and security guard at sporting/concert events). Mom was stay-at-home, but I was cut more from Dad's cloth. And growing up in the "I can do anything!" 70's--with Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman and Lindsay Wagner's Bionic Woman my sheroes--it never occurred to me to NOT to be out there conquering the world in some way.

I mean, I knew mentally that I had this wondrous, scary empty space before me--time to fill how I please (apart from making dinner, managing our Etsy store, making jewelry for fun and domestic responsibilities, that is)--but...

WOW.

To actually feel it. And revel in it. And appreciate it for the gift it was.

In the dentist's chair, no less.

Jb100


Make Art

Love Banner

MAKE ART © Janet Boyer

When you're angry, make art.
When you're frustrated, make art.
When times seem dark, make art.
When joy overflows, make art.
When words fail, make art.
When words abound, make art.

You. Yes, you.

Grab crayons, pens, paper, scissors, paint, beads, yarn, clay, wood, stone, glass, instruments, camera, dance shoes, fabric, typewriter, microphone.

Make art, for it will make you.

A testimony, a witness, a soulprint
to the Everlasting Now.

-- Janet


Self-Care for Writers and Obsessive Creatives

Pencils Hard to believe, but not all writers love to write.

Me? I usually have a notebook (er, many notebooks) on hand to jot down ideas. I’m not picky: I’ve been known to write down ideas on book jacket covers, bookmarks, grocery lists, receipts, Kleenex…

Some of these ideas turn into full-blown blog posts, reviews, social media postings, portions of eBooks or even parts of a book proposal.

But what if you write (and read and think) so much, you neglect your well-being?

If you love brainstorming and writing and much as I do, you may be swept along in “creator’s high”—a place of exhilarating, tantalizing “what ifs” and the magical birthplace of readable, usable, helpful content.

As I sometimes joke to my husband, “I’m only alive from the neck up”.

And that can present a problem. Or two.

Here’s a recent example: I was experiencing unusual fatigue and sleepiness over the weekend. This lasted two, three days.

My husband said, “You’re dehydrated.”

Glass waterWhaaa? Me? But, but…I drink three cups of coffee a day! And ginger ale! And sweet tea (decaffeinated!), brewed with loving hands with fresh mint from the garden!

“How much water do you drink?”, he asks solemnly.

No sooner than he asks me this, the other half of the Boyer health police comes barreling in from the other room: “She never drinks water! I even filled up a bottle for her!”

Sigh. Just write me a citation and leave me the hell alone.

Then, Ron mentions a health article he had just read on the symptoms of dehydration.

Lethargy? Check.

Fuzzy thinking? Check.

Yikes.

Isn’t it funny how we tend to ignore our loved ones, even with they are the (divine?) messengers of health and well-being?

What’s up with that? Do we not trust their observations and wisdom? After all, they know us better than anyone!

So today, I’m contemplating how I, as a writing-loving writer, can take better care of myself. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Tree Sky 2 Physical:

• Drink more water
• Sit outside, on the grass
• Take deeper, longer breaths
• Cut back on coffee
• Get moving or walking
• Don’t “push through” aches or pains
• Make more food “from scratch”

Mental:

• Take time to just “space out” and daydream
• Read just for fun (no reviewing in mind!)
• Allow thoughts to attach to clouds, then drift by
• Watch old black-and-white movies with Noah
• Any ideas that arise, write them on note cards for later consideration

Emotional:

• Cuddle more with the kitties
• Pursue peace and joy in the moment
• Put on feel-good music of choice
• Take time to “feel” feelings (Aquarius Moon here!)

Spiritual:

• Check in with my values. Am in living in alignment with them?
• Practice loving-kindness meditation
• Talk with The Helpers
• Actively contemplate a Tarot card or sacred object
• Bless others who are brought to mind

Rainbow water In just 24-hours after writing this list, I’ve already referred to it—and used it—twice. It may not stop me from drinking Starbucks (I’m on my second cup of Colombia at this typing) or working marathon hours every time, but at least by mindfully considering this self-care for writers prescription, I can ameliorate some of the drawbacks of being a writing-loving writer and obsessive creative.

What about you, dear reader? What areas of life might you be neglecting? What steps can you take to increase your own well-being? What self-care tips and tricks can you offer to your fellow writers and obsessive creatives? I'd love to hear your insights in the comments section below!

-- Janet


Book Gems #5 Mastering Creative Anxiety

Last year, I took an online course via DailyOm from creativity coach and psychologist Dr. Eric Maisel called Creative Anxiety. Fortunately, the wonderful folks at New World Library have published them all in the handy book Mastering Creative Anxiety. Here's an excerpt below, from the chapter titled The Anxiety of Individuality:

Mastering Creativity is an expression of individuality, an expression of a person’s desire to manifest her potential, to speak in her own voice, to have her opinions, and to do her own work. What distinguishes the creative person from other people is her felt sense of individuality. Many people are born conventional and find it easy to follow the crowd; only some people are born with a strong desire to assert their individuality. All the personality traits that creative manifest, from a risk-taking orientation to a need for solitude—the more than seventy-five traits that have been described in the creativity literature—flow from this single core quality: the need to assert individuality.

A person born individual will, within a few years of her birth, feel that difference as she looks around her and is unable to understand why the people she sees are acting so conventionally. As a result she is likely to feel alienated, out of place, like a stranger in a strange land. Even if she trains herself to hold her tongue and engage in conventional work, and individual of this sort will already know as a young child that she can’t really conform and that she wasn’t built to conform.

To purchase Mastering Creative Anxiety from Amazon, click here. To visit the author's website, click here. To visit the publisher's website, click here.

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013).