Activities, Uncategorized

Action #3: Eat Well

Once a week, I will post a suggested activity for creating wonder in your life (mostly to get myself to do it, but I hope you’ll join me). I will include three different participation levels, so lack of time or money will be no excuse. Please share your experiences here to inspire others. Go forth and create wonder!

It may not seem related to creativity and wonder, but eating well is essential to taking care of yourself. You will not be able to create wonderful things if you are not well-fed. And eating something amazing can lead to surprise and awe for your tastebuds. So try it out this week. Eat well and share your experience here.

Ample Time and Money: Eat at that restaurant you have always wanted to go to. Summer Pierre writes in her book The Artist in the Office about putting off going to a certain restaurant until the day she would get the big shot book contract of her dreams. Some friends surprised her by taking her there and she realized “I didn’t have to wait to go there – my life was special occasion enough!” I used to not put a whole lot of value on food, and fancy restaurants in particular, but my husband is a big foodie.  Back when he was just my boyfriend, I saved up and surprised him with a trip to Gary Danko, one of the best restaurants in San Francisco. It was amazing! The service was like nothing I had ever experienced before by staff so professional and smooth they made you feel like royalty no matter who you were. The food was so exquisite it was the first time I realized what an art it is to create an awe-inspiring meal. The whole experience was truly a wonder we will never forget, and have since saved up and went several more times. If you have a place you’ve been dreaming of trying, make it happen now! Life is short, and it will be well worth it.

Limited Resources: Plan a dinner party where everybody makes a different part of the meal. Use fresh, local ingredients. Browse the beautiful produce at your Farmer’s Market to see what’s in season and get ideas. Check out the Slow Food website to see why this is important. Or just trust your tastebuds. Everything tastes better when it’s fresh. And even better when shared with friends. We have been doing this in the city with a group of our friends every couple of months or so. We have a rotating list of course assignments – at each meal, different people are in charge of an appetizer, a main dish, a supporting side dish, a dessert, wine, and pre- and post- dinner drinks – so no one is saddled with cooking too much of the meal and you have a different role every time.  We keep it exciting by challenging each other to make something we’ve never attempted before (no tried and true family recipes, this is all about experimentation and creativity). We just did it last night and it was incredible! Oysters three ways (not usually a big fan, but anything drenched in butter and garlic and baked with cheese on top is a hit with me), handmade pasta with the yummiest homemade pesto and marinara sauces I have ever tasted (sounds simple, but when was the last time you ate noodles that were made just minutes before you consumed them? So good!), an excellent spinach side salad with a sweet homemade vinaigrette topped with hard-boiled egg and bacon bits (mine sans the bacon, but still delish), and a dessert of orange churros in homemade vanilla ice cream served ablaze with rum! Not to mention sangria, an assortment of Spanish wines, and champagne. Decadent! Plus, I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. It is so good for the soul to get together with friends and share a special meal. It doesn’t have to be so extravagant either. Shared grilled cheese and tomato soup is just as nice. Get your friends together this week and mangia!

Busy and Broke: So often we are rushing through our days and our meals become an afterthought. Take a moment next time you are eating to slow down and savor what you are putting in your mouth. Revel in a juicy summer peach. Notice how it feels in your mouth. Imagine how it is going to nourish your body and keep you going. Give thanks for it.

(I was going to end with a video of my son eating  a peach, but found that WordPress no longer allows you to upload videos unless you pay for a video upgrade. This, along with the discovery that I have to pay for an upgrade to be ad-free, means I am just about fed up with WordPress. Any suggestions for free blog sites that allow you to be ad-free and post videos at no cost?)



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Books, People

Summer Pierre: The Artist in the Office

“How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard

I have been thinking a lot about jobs lately – why we work, how we end up doing what we do, what those choices lead to, etc.  I’ve often felt a disconnect between what I do for a living and what I wish I was doing with my time (even more so now with a baby). I’m sure everyone goes through moments like that, but I think creative types often have an idea that making Art (with a capital A) and making a living are incompatible and struggle with not feeling like a legitimate Artist if they have an unrelated day job. As I’ve recently gone back to work full-time, I have been trying to deconstruct that myth and look for ways to incorporate Art into the everyday.

Lo and behold, one of my favorite Artists, blogger/author/illustrator Summer Pierre, has written a book on the subject, and I had the opportunity to see her read from it last night at Books, Inc. It’s called The Artist in the Office: How to Creatively Survive and Thrive Seven Days a Week. I haven’t read it all yet, but just from the excerpts she used to sum it up and the first few pages I perused last night, it is exactly in line with what I’ve been pondering these days. She doesn’t encourage wild fantasies of dropping everything in your life to become who you truly think you’re meant to be. She asks you to look at the life you are in and analyze how you got here and what the job you have is doing for you. For example, though dogwalking has its frustrations, it allows me a lot of time to think, to be outdoors, to be with happy dogs instead of disgruntled co-workers, to be my own boss, and to afford to live in this amazing city where I can actually go see authors speak.  I’ve had a few “dream jobs”, but no matter how good a job is, they get old. I bet even if I was writing and illustrating full-time, I would find things to be frustrated about. In the book, Summer challenges you to shift your perspective and find ways to keep yourself living creatively throughout your days, as opposed to feeling like you can only create while you’re off the clock. Instead of feeling like you are living two lives (your work life, and your “real” life), she reminds you it is only one life, and it is yours. With examples of famous authors and artists who had day jobs alongside their illustrious careers, tips for prioritizing your life and exercises to try to get your creative juices flowing, Summer makes you feel like it’s not only possible, but a realistic and tangible goal to be an Artist (with a capital A) and keep your day job.

I am thrilled to have met her, as I’ve been following her blog for awhile. It’s such an odd thing to feel like you know someone you’ve officially never met, but she is a kindred spirit and it was nice to connect. Her husband and darling son were in the audience. They are on a small California book tour together (see if she’s coming to a town near you). She has another book coming out in November. Hooray for artist mamas making the life of their dreams. I am inspired. Congrats, Summer!

Check out her book and her blog.

And check out another job related podcast that has been fueling my thoughts about our occupational choices lately.

Uncategorized

Awards are nice

kreativ_blogger_award1

Sweet creative blogger Ria Nirwana awarded me this today. Feels good to receive something from someone appreciating what you do, and fun to have an excuse to let more people know I appreciate what they’re doing, too. Here are the Kreativ Blogger receiver rules:

1. Put the logo on their blog;
2. Put a link to the person who sent them the award;
3. Nominate 5 more blogs for the award.
So here are my nominations:
Sarah Ackerley – an up and coming children’s book author/illustrator I met at the Kid Lit Salon
Summer Pierre – writer/illustrator I discovered on the pages of Skirt! magazine
Briana Miller – comics artist/writer and illustrator I met at APE this year
Deborah Mori – graphic designer/illustrator who keeps the blog life without novacaine – love her gratitude!
Raina Telgemeier – comics artist I met at APE a few years ago – did the Babysitters Club graphic novels and now her own story Smile
All of your creativity inspires me. Thanks!!