Why Create? Art + What.

Hello dear reader,

Today’s blog entry is a video I made for you, sharing my creative process on Days 1 and 2 of my personal 30 Day Creativity Breakthrough, which I’m doing to prepare for Reclaim Your Creative Soul, a program I’m putting together to help gifted but struggling creative people reconnect with their creativity, so they enjoy it any way they desire to.

Continue reading Why Create? Art + What.

Thirty Days of Joy ~ Day 29 ~ My Completion Thing

by Phyllis Capanna © 2012 joyreport

 I have an old thing about completing things. I don’t like to do it. I find ways to back out, forget, and otherwise flake. The worst episode of this was when I was in college the first time. After completing two years, I went ahead and registered for classes for the fall semester of what would have been my junior year, then proceeded to fizzle academically, even forgetting I was enrolled, until I received my grade report, an A an F and two Incompletes. (The A must have been in a class that accepted papers in lieu of attendance. I was a master of the all-nighter-the-night-before paper.)

I skulked out of B. U. with two full years complete and that one semester hanging in the air like a wet flag.

I also have a preemptive ending thing, which goes like this: I think you’re about to dump me, so I beat you to it and dump you. I’ve done this with jobs, relationships, friendships.

There’s also just not showing up. The worst of these was probably reconciling with an old friend over the phone, which led to him inviting me to a small dinner party in celebration of his birthday, followed by my not showing up.

I’m not proud of these, so I’m not boasting. I’m reflecting on how difficult it is for me to take responsibility for what I’ve started and see it through to a conclusion that leaves no loose ends.

Why am I bringing this up in the Joy Report?

First off, this is the next to last essay in the Thirty Days of Joy series. Secondly, I feel it coming up again: I don’t want to complete the Thirty Days! I feel like kind of pretending it never happened. A good way to do that is to leave the end unraveled, like finishing a knitting project by just removing the needle. You can pull on the end of the thread, and the whole thing comes undone.

Don’t finish, and maybe it never happened.

But you know what sucks more than facing an ending and feeling whatever about it?

Standing around at a party and hearing yourself say, “I did this thing that I almost finished but couldn’t because I contracted encephelomuddle disease and had to put it down.” Everybody knows what really happened. Everybody knows you could have stayed up writing despite your fever and boils, if you’d wanted to.

You know what it is, really? It’s being chicken. Not only of endings, but of successes. Part of me recognizes this completion as a success. If it’s not the billboard kind of success, the sidebar in Time Magazine kind of success, or even the feature in the local daily paper kind of success, it’s not a real success. It’s a little success. And little successes are embarrassing.

Please do not, whatever you do, tell people I wrote an essay a day for thirty days and the world went on.

Not to mention the dreaded “What’s next?”

There is a what’s next, but I’m not sure what form that will take. Maybe I have to actually finish to find out.

But I do know this from my Thirty Days of Joy exercise: Writing every day for publication, no matter how humble a publication, feels good. Finishing an essay every day feels good. There is a satisfaction where there used to be a nagging feeling of wasting my life on chores and eating.

I’m reminded of the time management story about putting in the big rocks first, then filling in with the small rocks, and thereby “finding” enough time to do the things that are the most important. The thing that got displaced during this project was my sleep schedule. But in the perfect (and, yes, fearful) symmetry that is life, I concurrently lost most of my hours of work, so that getting up in the morning wasn’t as much of a necessity as it usually would have been. So, I stayed up way too late, writing, no doubt drawing on my all-nighter skills.

Some nights I cursed. Some nights I agonized. Some nights I knew exactly what I wanted to say. Some nights I watched in fascination as something coherent emerged from my tap-tap-tapping and my listening.

My writing muscles are stronger. My editing ear is surer. I’ve delighted myself, surprised myself, and inspired myself. I’ve dipped my big toe into the world of blogging and have started to seriously learn about self publishing. Some very old, very dear dreams are resurfacing, and just like with an old friend, the conversation picks up where it left off as if no time has passed at all.

All content is the sole property of Phyllis Capanna and joyreport. If you are reading this content on another site, it has been reposted without the author’s permission and is in violation of the DMCA. © 2012 joyreport

Thirty Days of Joy ~ Day 20 ~ Aimlessly Headed North

by Phyllis Capanna © 2012 joyreport

Today I am aimless. There are aims I probably should have, but in my innermost compass, there is a void where the pull on the arrow should be. When true north is a void I guess that’s where the compass points, and voila! A direction is found: nowhere.

I don’t mean to be imprecise or facile in my reasoning, but I do make a practice of trusting the Consciousness that drives my actions, inactions, attention, and aims. I trust that when aimlessness occurs, there is wisdom and necessity in it. I also trust that by gazing into myself, I am gazing into the human Soul, not individual Story.

I love stories. Humans seem to be wired to make stories and to live them. Once you believe in time — before, now, and later — you have started to construct a story. I have some stories about myself that I just can’t stop telling. They become a sort of prison that I can’t get out of.

As an exercise, I once had to tell a story about my life over and over again until it lost its power over me, until it started to unravel and sound false and rote. I got to the point of being sick of it, of hating it, of being embarrassed by it, but I didn’t get to the place where it lost its power. Over time, though, it began to lose its hypnotic ability to pull me into emotional places that hurt.

Eventually, I forgave everyone, especially God. Finally, I forgave myself for having a life like that, and, ultimately, for being me. Forgiving myself is a process. It happens more than once. When it comes to life, I tend to hold a grudge. My mind creates an idea of how things will go or should have gone, and it usually involves me being wise, flawless, brave, and clever (and thin); and it has other people going out of their way to help me, to consider my point of view, and to give me things I need. You see how I am often disappointed and need often to forgive.

Where do these ideas come from? Where did I get the idea that I should know things before I know them? Why do I think other people were born to please me? How did I come to define success as something related to fame and money, but not related to being a tolerant person? Where did I go wrong?

Forgiveness says that I did not go wrong, just that I went the only way I could.  Forgiveness says that I can learn and grow, and therefore I’m not doomed to make the same mistakes again. It reminds me, though, that I probably will, because I am not flawless, sometimes not brave, often too clever, and, well, thin won’t help.

I didn’t want to write about forgiveness and God! Sure, I wanted to write about Soul, not my soul. I wanted to be aimless, to follow ants and toddlers to nowhere and then to bed. I wanted to stroll without topic from beginning to end of this essay. But aimlessness didn’t stay put! It lead me into someplace distinct and focused and a little uncomfortable. Damn. Didn’t I write just yesterday and possibly the day before that and the day before that about leaving the comfort zone to find joy?

Writing helps anchor me, for sure, providing a comforting reference for navigating the Void. There is always the tip of the pen, the surface of the paper, my own breathing, and the sitting still that writing requires. It’s as if, by following the impulse of the moment as truly as I am able, I am writing a love letter to Life every time I sit down to do this. It’s not a neat or fancy finished love letter. It’s a perpetual first draft, with ink blotches and crinkled pages. It’s a beginning, each time.

What matters is that I do it. I don’t have a single thing to say about joy tonight. I started out happily aimless and ended up writing letters to the moment, and I’m still clueless about joy. Today I’m no authority, not even an author. Just an aimless, trusting, unskilled human trying to find true north in a story about love.


All content is the sole property of Phyllis Capanna and joyreport. If you are reading this content on another site, it has been reposted without the author’s permission and is in violation of the DMCA. © 2012 joyreport