Some Rambling About The Same Old Stuff

I am feeling some benefit from my maxi-minimalizing adventure and my hiatus from self-improvement. Even with getting rid of almost all stuff we don’t use, the place still gets pretty messy during the course of a day. But the process of cleaning up (even though it can look so daunting to my already chaotic mind) is much simpler and might take 25 minutes for the whole house, including vacuuming and sometimes excluding the kitchen (depending on what’s happening in there at the time). I think now I could actually follow a focused day kind of routine like recommended in Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers, which is the only housekeeping/homemaking book that made my cut during The Great Purge of ’15.  When there was worthless stuff in all my rooms (and I’m not talking about stuff that would be considered crappy in general, it’s just superfluous for me and our lives), any focus I put on housekeeping seemed to go towards maintaining and/or organizing the excess so it didn’t put out its tentacles and take over.

Now, post-minimalizing, if I go into a room that’s messy, what I see might be toys and dirty clothes on the floor (which does look super overwhelming at first glance and can really make my heart sink if I’m having a discouraged and/or bad-attitude kind of day)… but really, they just need to be picked up and put in their proper toy homes and the washer or at least laundry area. 10 minutes tops.  I am doing surprisingly well having no or low expectations of the outward impressiveness (or lack thereof) of my life. If I feel like painting, I paint. If I feel like cooking, I cook. If I feel like scrubbing the kitchen sink (which I occasionally do) it gets scrubbed. If I don’t feel like doing much at all I will just putter around all day, getting into this and that.

I finally started writing the mixed-media/memoir book that’s been percolating on my inner stovetop for a few years. I’m not sure if I know enough to write the kind of book I’m envisioning. Not sure if I have enough actual content for actual book length, which looks to be in the 125 -150 page range for this type of book. But making the book is the only thing that’s going to answer those questions. Either I’ll finish it and say, wow, this is pathetic I need more OR (I hope) wow, I can’t believe I had enough stuff to fill a book! I am gonna give myself a deadline and say it will be done by the end of September. I want to positively utilize those long months when we are hermetically sealed into the house. I have been trying to remember that I want to Make Positive Effort For The Good, which can often be a tiny thing.  I bet if I worked steadily for just an hour a day on:

1) book research – doing artwork and doing hands-on planning of the projects and/or

2) actual writing of memoir text portions that will probably lead into the projects

…that I could be way done with the book by the last day of September.

I have chosen my closest personal artist friend to read every section and give me feedback. I am keeping a little journal close by so I can jot down any thoughts about possible content. My oldest daughter is pretty much living in my art studio room temporarily while she does some redecorating in her own room, so if I am going to work with paint and stuff I am going to have to use my 8 feet of living room table for the time being. I’m going to go through my own art journals and see what “techniques” I already use naturally, and probably work my way through my few absolute favorite art books and try some new things to incorporate into my repertoire. I also need to look through my own zines and the book The Zine Scene, because one project will be an actual old-fashioned handmade zine.

The demo zine in the book will be called something like going zen, and one feature I want to have is a list of what I did in a day, rather than things I want to do in the future. So, today I did the day one work of making danish pastries (it’s a two-day affair), I washed sheets, sat outside with my younger kids and worked on this entry, I made nummy baked chicken with a spice rub, buttery white rice and salad. I washed quite a few dishes, vacuumed and enjoyed watching my little one playing with the Daniel Tiger figures I ordered her as a surprise. If I didn’t write all that down, I would think I did the proverbial Nothing. Hopefully I can finalize the list by saying I watched the Americans, but that won’t happen for an hour (God willing).

The End.

 

 

In Which I Write a Book

The writing of a book has always loomed large on my personal horizon. I finally got tired of seeing it there (looming all ominous like) and so last week I started writing the thing to avoid its terrifying gaze.

Even though I love planning as an “activity” or maybe even a “hobby”, it’s really only something I do when I’m looking at the proverbial Big Picture. Once I know I want to do something, the only way I ever actually get it done is if I just jump in and start. If I overthink  how/when/where I will do it or exactly what I want it to be like, I will get sucked into the Misty Land of Well-Laid Plans and never seen again.

Since I am an inveterate self-publisher, what starting means is creating a book format file in Publisher and simultaneously writing and designing the whole book. Since quite a bit of it is art instructional, that includes detailed photographs of me doing various art things (my hands look like lizard hands, though, so for vanity’s sake I won’t take any photos until I use a good lotion for a few days). So as not to get too intimidated, I am just thinking of it as a really long zine in color, plus with only my own stuff for illustrations. I have A LOT of art instructional books to look at for help in designing that kind of book. I usually work in black and white, so I’m not confident with designing in color. But without the margins, I am going to try to use bleeds (where photos go off the edges of the page). When it’s all done I will have it made into an online flip book and I will use that to see if any actual publisher wants to publish it. That would be my ideal, but I will self publish it some way if no one has any interest in it (NOT as an ebook). I’m not assuming any publisher would want it as-is, including my oh so perfect design and everything – but creating it from start to finish, seeing what works and changing what doesn’t, letting it come to be organically –  is what I have to do in order to complete a big project like this.

I am dealing with serious Impostor Syndrome as I work on it. But really, while I know I’m not the world’s greatest artist at this point, I believe I can be called an expert on Creative Chronicling and Everyday Memoir (the tentative book title):

bookblog2I think the uniqueness of this book would come from that angle. The market is pretty much glutted with mixed-media art books right now, so what I want the ultimate theme for the book to be is not artsy projects or “techniques” (which will be there) but rather leaving a creative paper trail of your own inner and outer life and also connecting with other people through art and writing in a non-virtual format. This book will bring together all I have created naturally and developed mostly on my own over the past two decades, with what I have learned through books/courses etc. Tentative contents, though likely to expand, change and/or morph:

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I go back and forth, wondering if I should give myself a deadline to finish it. Having a deadline usually helps me, but only if the deadline is super close. If I give myself six months, I’d probably only work halfheartedly for five months and then cram to get it done. I think I just want this to be a project I work on steadily (which means in between all the family-and-household-stuff which takes up most of my time).

One last peek into the prototype so far (before I get started on the aforemetioned stuff that takes up most of my time) the first two-page spread of the introduction, which I assume will be pretty long:

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