The Chief Curator of Inspiration

Hello my people!  It is your Chief Curator of Inspiration here.  

Meet Todd Henry

Where did that come from? I've been "pre-reading" a new book by Todd Henry, the Accidental Creative, called "Louder Than Words".  And so, earlier today, while finishing up his book, that title came to me as far as one of the things I do.  I curate inspiration. Pulling from this source and that source to encourage people to live their own adventure and trade in boring for brilliant.  I've had the privilege to be part of Todd's book launch team and send him a few questions, so once he answers, I'll be posting those.  The book releases on August 11th.  If you don't know who he is, get to know him.  His prior book, "Die Empty" was a huge part of my quest for my passion and pursuit of adventure.  I did not want to die with my best work inside of me, and so here we are. He remains one of the biggest creative inspirers in my life.

What I Learned

It has been a whirlwind summer.  I've been on so many adventures, learned so many things, been so many places.  In the last year alone the amount of places I've gone is staggering, compared to the four or five years prior.  Here are a few things I've learned so far:

I need trees.  I need to hear the wind in them, I need to see their vivid colors, need to be near them.  And thus, I do not care for the desert.  Too hot and too exposed.  I can appreciate it as a different kind of beauty, but not for me.   

I need space.  I get very stimulated by too much activity around me (a little known quality of introverts). I have to have a place I can retreat to.  Too many people drain me and I have to recharge on my own.  I like to see and hear neighbors, but I don't want them right on top of me.

I need nature. I feel most at rest when I can be outside.  Whether that means sitting on a deck reading or writing, taking a walk, getting in the water, being near water, or any other way to get out into nature, I crave the peacefulness of being outside.  The concrete jungle is not for me, nor can I stand being cooped up inside all day either.  

BestThings

As always, there are a slew of things to be grateful for.  I haven't written a "Best Things" since Friday.  I had a busy weekend, and this is what I appreciated most over the last five days:

Housesitting.  I wrapped up my job housesitting on the houseboat, and now I am out at a Victorian country home.  The wind rustles in the trees, clouds grace the horizon and a train whistle blows in the distance. I can see the edge of the hills in the distance, a darker blue than the sky.  Birds call and twitter, somewhere a lawnmower starts and the breeze carries snippets of the neighbors' conversation.  Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.  My soul feels rested and recharged.  

Birthdays. On Sunday I had the privilege of attending my goddaughter Bailey's birthday party.  She opted for an Optimus Prime Transformers party.  Such a cool, unique girl.  And she's only six!

Karaoke. We haven't been to Chopsticks III for quite a while.  What a fun night!  I got to spend it with some folks from Open Mic that I don't really know and we had a great mix of people.  I think another one will be coming around soon.  Everyone did incredibly well, the singing was awesome!!

Open Mic.  Every Monday, at Corkscrew Wine Bar in Sellwood, my friends host a great open mic.  I read a new poem I wrote (the first one in nearly two years) and listened to some very talented musicians play some great music.  My attendance has been hit or miss for me this summer, mostly miss. The list filled up with 20 attendees and my well of inspiration filled up at the same time.  I suppose it's time for me to ante up and play some of the songs I've written.  Chris and Jen have built a strong, supportive community of the most amazing people.  You should drop by and listen if ever you are in the neighborhood.  

Relationships.  This is a constant because I have such good ones and I'm so blessed by every single one of them.  This summer has also been a lot of re-connecting old relationships, forging new ones and maintaining the ones that have been a constant in my life.  How can I not be grateful for them?

Work.  This comes in many forms for me.  Driving is what I do to pay my bills.  Lyft and Uber, for now, and a few odd jobs.  My true work is writing.  I feel a clarity coming back to me in the last week or so that has been a little lacking.  Fresh ideas for both of my books and a desire to complete them and get them published.  Resistance still tries to keep me safe, keep me from getting them out there, but that is a cheap way to live.  No more.  I am figuring out this new way of being an independent contractor, without a guaranteed salary.  It's the first time in 25 years of working that I have no idea what my salary will be.  It is a little terrifying at times.  And, sometimes I feel guilty because I don't work 40 hours a week. But, my vocation is writing.  So whatever I do in regards to bringing money in has to be in support of that.  40 hours a week of working takes my best energy from me, so for now, I'm not doing it.  Period. On that I will not compromise.  




BestThings: Monday Edition

I messed up yesterday on my title.  Yesterday should have been "BestThings: Sunday Edition".  Kind of like the Sunday paper.  Today is ACTUALLY the Monday edition, because it is all the best things that happened on Monday, yesterday.

I Lyfted! I drove for Lyft yesterday for the first time.  Driving time was 3 hours and 53 minutes, I gave 7 rides and pulled in just over $100.  Not bad for 4 hours of work.  I know without a doubt my decision to go with Lyft as my only job is the right one.  All the pressure from having to be dependent on someone else dictating my time evaporated.  I got up, did morning pages and yoga, tended my money garden.  I drove for a few hours, came home and took a break for a few hours, then went back out in the road.  Making my own schedule is AWESOME.

The House of Reptiles.  And, I learned something really interesting.  There is a place called the "House of Reptiles" out in Tigard.  It includes a "venomous snake" museum.  A couple I gave a ride to that were here from Roseburg specifically went to check that out.  Who knew?  People are definitely keeping this area weird.  The location was in a strip mall.  Go figure.

Lunch.  Oh, you thought this was about lunch yesterday.  Nah.  I made lunch plans to see a very dear friend of mine today (Tuesday) who is in town from Denver.  I am super-excited to see her AND we are going to one of my favorite places in town, Jade Teahouse & Patisserie in Sellwood.  Yum!!! 

Dinner.  I ended up meeting friends for dinner at Cha Cha Cha in Sellwood before going to Open Mic.  I'll get to that in a minute.  I've been spending a lot of time at Cha Cha Cha.  For whatever reason, I love Mexican food in the heat.  And, sitting out on the patio is super-fun.  

Open Mic. Most every Monday night my very good friends host an open mic at Corkscrew Wine Bar in Sellwood.  Yes, I know.  A lot of my time is spent eating and drinking while socializing.  This open mic is an amazing community of gifted artists, mainly poets and musicians, who often come every Monday night to share their talents.  Even I will get up and read poetry sometimes, and have been known to perform a song.  It gives me a shot of inspiration every time I go.  And some great friendships have come out of this. My friends Chris and Jen built an amazing community of performers.

So there you have it.  My BestThings from yesterday.  Oh!  One more thing.  One of my Facebook friends posted this on my wall "

I blame u for this.  you're adventurous spirit consumed me. 

Made me realize I need to live life.. happy.

Adore u n miss u.

If I can inspire even one person to live life happy, on their terms, I feel like my job is done.  

Quit Resisting This Shit.

I did it.  Finally.  It's been almost a month since I have written any words for my book.  Either of them.  Unacceptable.  So, after doing morning pages and working through another week of "Walking In This World", by Julia Cameron, I got out my pen and paper and wrote 600 words in 15 minutes.  For some reason, that timer thing really works for me.  And it keeps the creative juices flowing, keeps me connected with my story.  Steven Pressfield, best-selling author, calls putting off the work Resistance.  Here's a sweet little video that explains what I mean.  

 

Last week was not a good creative week for me.  I only did morning pages four days out of seven, was running here and there and just a little off kilter.  I started working on the sales floor at my job, and so I always get a little constricted when starting new things, so there was that.  Some early mornings, not sleeping well, etc.

I decided to devote this morning to creative work.  First I had to clean my room!  It's amazing how utterly messy a 10x12 space can get, but it happens.  I cannot create in an untidy space.  I took care of a few things I had been putting off, such as paying car insurance.  Probably not a good idea if I'm going to drive for Lyft. 

Lyft!  Yes, it launched in Portland on Friday, April 24th.  I have yet to give my first ride, as I have been a little resistant and nervous because that too is new.  So many new things!  Sometimes I get tired of being in beginner's mind and embracing the suck.  But, there is always growth in learning, and I think that is always valuable.  

I feel so much better having gotten some words on the page.  Some may view creativity as a luxury, but for me, it is a necessity or my soul will wither up and die.  It has to be my first priority.  So, that means if I work at 9am, I need to be up at 6am so I can get my morning pages in and get some words written towards my book.  It's just that simple, but sometimes I make it oh so hard.  

I am heading off for work at 1pm.  I am hopeful I only have a 4-hour shift to pull so I can get to open mic tonight.  No, I am not just hopeful.  I trust that I will be out of there at 5:30 pm so I can attend.  I am manifesting that shit right now.  We have these fun little things at work called "flex shifts" so you never know until 2 hours before if you have to work or not.  So I don't know if I'm working 4 hours today or 8.  Just some extra fun things working in retail brings.  

I need that extra boost of inspiration tonight.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll read some more poetry.  Open mic not only showcases some incredible talent, but feeds my well of inspiration so I can then go out and create more.  Plus, it's in Sellwood, which is where my novel is set.   Always good to visit the setting of your book, if you can.  At least in my opinion. They do say to "write what you know", don't they?  

Today I quit resisting my book, and asked my story what it had to tell me.  Turns out a lot.  600 words in 15 minutes?  Not too bad.  And so I soldier on.  I am at about 7,000 words so far.  Now, if I would have written every day for the last month, that would have been an additional 18,000 words...gulp....25,000 words...gulp... and I would have been a lot further towards my goal of 80,000 words.  See where Resistance has got me?  Nowhere good.  BUT, I am back on track and I kicked Resistance in the ass today.  Happy Monday!!!