February is here. Ask me how I know? Because of the blahs. It’s a difficult month for me, especially the first part as I’m waiting for the “day”. Third anniversary of my partner’s passing. And the fallout continues. I go days and weeks without thinking but as soon as February looms closer … the mind plays tricks. I do everything in my power to “not go there” but I find myself there sometimes, no matter what.
So … I do a few things to hold the memories at bay:
First: I give myself a break. I know I am strong. I know I am resilient. I know I am a survivor. I hate being a victim. But I am also human. So first and foremost, I give myself a break and allow myself to fall apart and cry and feel blah. And sad and angry and mad.
Second: I find stuff to do that doesn’t involve a lot of effort or decision-making for those days when the blahs hit hard; I can still do something and stay creative while not expending a lot of energy. Keep reading.
Third: I watch TV. Whatever is there. Some happy some sad. Some interesting, some not so much. It keeps me company and I don’t have to think while I do item no. 2 in the list.
Fourth: I eat cheese and crackers. Good food. Some junk. Chocolate. Olives and tomatoes. Mandarin oranges.
Fifth: refer to the first one. This one is BIG: I cut myself some slack. Allow myself to feel not great. Cry. Scream. Wave my fist at the spirits looking down. I even curse (which is something I try very hard not to do).
But let’s get back to Item no. 2 in the list, which I do while I fulfill item no. 3. I create something. It makes me feel better. Despite it all, I can use the time creatively. Sometimes I clean which is a way of creating clarity from the clutter. But this past week, while “cleaning” I’ve been also recycling and being inspired.
Downstairs, in my storage room, I have 2 shelves full of old magazines that I use for collage. But realistically, how many magazines can one person keep? Especially as I keep getting more. I don’t buy them too often because they are pricey and spending $10-$20 on a magazine just to tear it apart, doesn’t seem like a good idea. So I buy used ones at the used book store. I also pick up the free ones at the supermarket.
I’ve decided to clear up at least one shelf so I can store some other stuff there. To that end, I’ve been creating sketchbooks. The first one I did was on texture; I’ve been researching and creating videos on it; a great way to keep all those pieces of paper and images in one spot. Photos, printed images, and pieces of magazine pages. It started randomly, and then it turned into interesting vignettes. When I do this, I create stories in my mind. I posted a reel of parts of it last week on IG. I invite you to go take a look.
But what happens? When I go through the magazines, especially because I’m going to recycle them, I tear or cut out all images and stuff that appeals to me. I end up with stacks of papers. I decided to fill another sketchbook: this time with images of trees – I do love trees, and there are some amazing images around.
What next? Architecture! I’m into architecture as inspiration. I created a lecture that I shared with a group, and I’m considering adding to it and offering it to the general public. What do you think? Would you be interested in something like that? Leave a comment below and I’ll get working on it. But regardless, another sketchbook now is being filled with architectural images and photos: windows, staircases, buildings, rock walls, more windows …
And a fourth book holds ideas: my idea book. I have one already full of images of stuff that inspires me – not that the other stuff doesn’t inspire me. Some of these images are of my work, some of other people’s work that appeals to me, images from magazines, paintings, colour combinations … you get the idea and yes, also textures and architecture and trees. Notes are added beside some images to capture fleeting thoughts.
Yes, there’s paper everywhere in my living room, and glue sticks, and scissors, and sketchbooks. Old magazines next to me on the couch and on the floor. Piles of “to keep still” and what’s to get rid of goes directly into the recycling bin. Not the tidiest of places. But the sight of this kind of creative mess makes my heart sing. And for a while, I don’t think. And the demons are kept at bay. For a while, while I’m glueing, I’m happy. And that’s all that matters. Until the February blahs go away.
Thanks for reading. I’m off to get a few new sketchbooks so I can keep making more. More magazines to go through. Until I write again, I hope you go create some stories with paper and glue.
PS: There is still time to sign up for February classes. You can check them all out here.