- clear (rather than cryptic)
- sex positive
- woman positive
April 3, 2013 • 11:00 am Comments Off
April 2, 2013 • 11:58 am Comments Off
March 31, 2013 • 11:41 am Comments Off
A new show to add to the Supplemental Movies (and TV Shows list):
Dance Academy depicts the unforgiving world of ballet as seen through the eyes of a group of teens attending a national school in Sydney, Australia. On the surface, it seems like another semi-fluffy teen drama. But when you look just a bit deeper, it talks honestly about art from an artist’s point of view. You learn with the characters the difference between crazy makers and critics, why foundation skills are perishable and why they matter and how competition can be both helpful and hurtful.
When the characters execute perfect coreography or achieve a dancer’s high, the viewer feels it with them.
It’s all the better if you love dance in multiple forms.
The first two seasons are available on Amazon and on Netflix wireless. So if you’re looking for something that connects you to the creative experience, definitely give it a viewing.
March 30, 2013 • 2:01 pm Comments Off
This has already been well explored. To summarize, there was a marked difference between religion at church and at home. My mother had all sorts of opinions about God as a parent with just about zero faith or trust in his children. My father remained as silent as he could on the subject; when asked he’d tell a mildly disturbing story about a nun slapping everyone in his class or about a buddy of his throwing him out of confession. From what he was willing to say, I don’t think he considered the Catholic church to have much God in it.
I barely remember the Methodist church where I was baptized. I do know my sister had godparents and I didn’t; my mother said that the Methodist church didn’t allow godparents and only made an exception for my father because he was still Catholic at the time. I’m pretty sure she lied to me about that, as I know plenty of Methodist children who still have godparents.
The church I was confirmed in – the UCC – was surface-liberal, welcoming and pretty confrontation avoidant. The only time it got weird was when one of the older women at church started making comments about how my sister and I should hurry up to get married because her granddaughter had “beat us to it.” I never attributed that to the church – I just assumed she was going senile and thought the year was pre-1970. It still had a women’s guild and a few other pieces of oppressive bullshit, but it was bland faced enough not to offend as long as you didn’t look too close. Of course, that was the Indiana-Kentucky conference. I know from living in Minnesota that the western conferences are much more liberal but the eastern ones like their Baby-boomer dogma a bit too much. I’ll never forget the look on my pastor’s and my mother’s face when it came out that a UCC in Washington State was the first Christian church run by a gay couple. My mother had stormed out of the Methodist church when gay people were allowed in the ministry. It was the perfect middle finger from God to my mother and people like her; it stuck with me.
This isn’t the faith I practice now, of course. There were just too many hypocritical pockets even in the more liberal aspects I experienced. While I could feel God in private prayer… all I felt at church was pressure to uphold a culture. God was not part of that culture. The very resistance to change/preservation of values denied the very God I intuitively understood.
My departure had been blamed by others on my feminism, but that’s not even close to what catalyzed my conversion to Wicca. Jesus – not as Paul understood him but as written in the gospels – was a feminist. He had a better appreciation of women than even my ostensibly liberal church did. Ultimately following the path of Jezebel made more sense than did the path of Esther but really neither one was terribly appealing. The insistence of following one path, and only one path, was also suspicious to me.
What caused me to leave was the reality that the values I was taught at church just weren’t working the real world. I also got the sense that my fellow church goers had no intention of actually using those values; they of course would hang little plaques with prayers in their home and send each other semi-competitive cards at Christmas or when someone died. But their religious practice had nothing to do with their daily lives. Yet daily life – how you interact with strangers and friends – is what defines who you are as a person. It’s the very essence of what religion as I grew up knowing it is supposed to address … and didn’t.
I bear no animosity towards my religious upbringing. I see it as something to both cherish and pity – there was so much good, and so much bad. In some ways, I see the humanity in my old church better than I see it in other people.
March 29, 2013 • 1:59 pm Comments Off
One of the odd keys to the Artist’s Way is that it requires an openness to the possibility of God*. It doesn’t need to be one of the bearded male versions out there. It just needs to be some possibility of a force for managed good in the universe. A hard atheist might have a problem… or not. Math could be God. Physics could be God. Both seem like evidence enough of cosmic order to me. Even the natural occurrence to entropy seems pretty godly – like there’s even an intent for chaos out there, somewhere.
So Some People Say that God is No Laughing Matter is, while technically spiritual, really more on creative exercise on a deep level. I need it.
I’ve been feeling a little disconnected lately – lots of things ending and beginning – and getting back in touch with my own sense of the sacred will help me fill that very necessary creative pool.
I like my gods fluid, picturesque, occasionally female or literal in a hard polytheist sort of way. Sometimes, though, I like my god metaphorical. I have even warmed up to the possibility that I am God (and you are, and your uncle is, and your dog is and that blade of grass is.) I’d grin and say a lazy “It’s all good,” but the ex-boyfriend that tweaks out is long gone in a puff of neurosis, so it’s just not as fun to say as it used to be.
However that is, I am definitely not an atheist and only occasionally agnostic.
I am optimistic about this work through. It will take the time it takes – and hopefully give me more ways to engage with other artists and with other Pagans as well. I am going to skip the stuff about parents and family; that territory has been well explored. I know how they attempted to form me and how their failed dogmas just obviously didn’t work; I’m also aware I’m a free-thinker who just hasn’t, for whatever neurochemical reason, landed on atheism.
So on I forge, for who knows how long! I meant it when I said I planned to work through every single one of Julia Cameron’s books. Some aren’t particularly bloggable – the Creative Life, like her prayer books, works best as short snippets for daily meditation.
Maybe I’ll post here daily, or find myself resisting a question. Happens with every passage. As it is, I’m slowly coming to the creative coaching I’d still like to see that Cameron hasn’t written/has yet to write. Meditations on taking criticism and giving feedback, coaching through the revising process – perhaps more crassly commercial, but creativity for those in the land of social media.
Eventually there will be things here from other creativity gurus. Things like War of Art and Writing Down the Bones. Maybe a few Wrecked Journals here and there. Right now I’m still following the Artist’s Way path, book by book, date by date, morning page by morning pages.
Right now it’s leading me to a straight on look at God.
*Perhaps not so odd if you’re aware of the influence of 12-step programs on its creation.
November 6, 2012 • 10:35 am Comments Off
A hard day to write this, as I’ve already heard about a case of local election tampering from a reliable source who is generally not aligned with my political outlook. I need both our votes to count.
But a good day to write this, too.
November 5, 2012 • 10:32 am Comments Off
I would like guidance about …
November 4, 2012 • 11:05 am Comments Off
I really passionately believe that the possibilityof failure (read – not guarantee – oil and water are still oil and water) in no way negates the possibility of success. I’ve come across situations in the past month where I have attempted to start conversations with:
I received mass apathetic expressions. Excuses. Repetitions of points already discussed that furthered nothing. “Change is slow,” one woman patronized me. I’m almost 40. I’ve been involved in some form of political activism or another since I was 16. You think I don’t know that?
Change is slow when you sit back and wait for it. However, tipping the domino takes so little effort – one email with a slightly different proposition. One phone call. One “Hey, have you considered?” or “Wouldn’t it be cool if?”
I’ve done this over and over. None of this has happened right away. But it HAS happened.
In high school, I was told I was completely ridiculous for proposing we start mining garbage dumps for recyclable materials. Landfill mining has actually been happening since 1953 – and is becoming more common now, with research into ways of negating or dealing with the toxic sludge that pools at the bottom of the heap. Perhaps I’m ridiculous, but all visionaries are ridiculous.
I’d rather be silly and ask – because silent and helpless sure isn’t doing anything for these other people. Just because I might NOT get what I want doesn’t mean I shouldn’t ask for what I do. If it doesn’t happen, I can handle it – I’m not a spoiled child, I’m a visionary, imaginative person who will look for a different way to make something good happen.
November 1, 2012 • 9:27 am Comments Off
What I really want to devote myself to is my writing. Wholesale. All of it. Shove everything else aside and just write. Of course, as I know from watching other writers there is no such thing as just writing. Writing involves teaching workshops, doing readings and even sitting on panels at conventions. So when I say writing, I mean devoting myself to the panoply of performance skills, organizational skills and planning skills necessary for any writer who knows that a career involves much more than pushing a book out and waiting as money gets pushed back. Because that last thing just doesn’t really happen anymore. I’m not sure it every really did happen. Even among the famous white authors, it seems like the most famous/successful all benefited from some sort of patron whether it was an unwitting husband or an actual investment by friends and family.
There’s s a founded fear I need to write about elsewhere that comes with this. It’s the fear of becoming too narrow. The Artist’s Way has helped me open myself up in a lot of ways, and I’ve tried more art, made more stuff and become a more committed creative. If I focus I have the benefit of uncluttered simplicity. That focus risks an emotional malnourishment. So striking the balance is the other part of all of this.
October 30, 2012 • 10:41 am Comments Off
There is one area that definitely needs deeper commitment. That is … myself. My own life. I need to commit as thoroughly as possible to my own ever-emergent career as a writer. I have to do something not to “build good karma” as I’ve done plenty of that. I need to start going to open mic nights and showing up at lit events, etc. for myself. My single worst personality trait is my commitment phobia, and it applies to myself most of all.