Creativity

Five words that I feel capture the essence of creativity most are: spontaneity, catalyst, commitment, expression, and relief. You can contribute your own words here.

The explanation for my choices is….

Spontaneity
Creative ideas can occur to us unexpectedly.

Catalyst
Like a photograph our initial creative thoughts develop quickly.

Commitment
No matter how long it takes, we should pursue our creative idea to completion.

Expression
Creativity has to reflect our individuality.

Relief
Like the painter who draws their best portrait, you can feel fulfilled with your creative output.

With respect to my creativity, my chosen words become most relevant under certain ‘conditions’.  I am at my most creative when I’m; getting positive feedback, in the company of friends and family, when seeing the creative work of others, and when refreshed after a walk.

Motivated by these ‘conditions’, my creativity is channelled in the following ways…

Writing
My creative ‘vice’ is writing. My ideas come from anywhere. I see my body of writing as a continuous record of my emotions. I feel that writing frees me from the ‘responsibility’ for my ideas, for then I can think about new things. I try to use language creatively when writing.

20180502_212342

Media
I creatively express myself, by choosing to absorb media products (like DVDs and books) that are distinctly ‘me’. Some media products profoundly, and positively, alter me. I am amazed when I find other people have given them to charity, because these products (like the book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime) gave me different perspectives.

Clothes
Being able to choose my own style of clothing at college, meant I could express myself through fashion. I often chose to wear layers, a poncho, and odd socks. I like buying clothes. When I wear clothes from charity shops, where items are not donated in bulk, I like feeling “unique”.

20180502_211657.jpg

Tidiness
“A place for everything…”. As a lecturer of mine once said: humans tend to scatter things behind them. Where something ‘lives’ might therefore, kangaroo-like, ‘hop’ about. In my living space, all of my belongings have their ‘place’. I like being organised because I get a cathartic sense of achievement, and I like the space that materialises when I’ve uncluttered.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Social Media
I customise the look of my social media pages, for instance WordPress. My Facebook activity log, and wall, have links to internet articles of personal interest. I get a creative high from compressing a small section, of the internet’s large field of digital content.

Socialmedia-pm

Making others laugh
I enjoy using my verbal skills to make others laugh. I try to emulate the comedians that I admire, such as Jim Carrey and Tommy Cooper. I frequently experiment with word play, and create jokes, as I have done for years. Making people laugh this way is uplifting.

In view of the fact that this article is for a website that discusses well-being, I will now explore the link between my creativity and well-being.

My creative impulses spontaneously compel me to do creative things, like cutting my own hair or colouring in. When I do have an urge to be creative, which is similar to an innate ‘drive’, I just have to follow the impulse before I can do anything else. Doing creative activities makes me feel that I am being positive and constructive.

People seem to like the feeling of being spiritually ‘freed’, as well as feeling productive, when they do something that expresses who they are. I think these are the traits of creativity, that most benefit well-being.

Thank you for reading – I hope you enjoyed it.

By 1Blog3

Sources:

social media image – social media icons: Ibrahim.ID (author): 03/01/06 – found on https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Socialmedia-pm.png (accessed 22/06/2018)(Attribution) By Ibrahim.ID [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

comedy stage image – Empty stage for a stand-up comedy show: Carlos Delgado (author) – found on https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stand-up_comedy_-_Stage.jpg (accessed 22/06/2018) …  (Attribution) Carlos Delgado [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

comedy mask image – A Comedy icon, based on the Drama Icon: Abu badli~commonswiki (user author) – found on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Comedyicon.svg (accessed 22/06/2018)

Advertisements

Springtime in the countryside

Spring lambs, Daffodils, and a cheeky Muscovy Duck

It’s such a beautiful time of year to explore the countryside.  I find spring is good for my soul!  After a long winter it’s finally here (although still cold!)

I went on a beautiful country walk this morning around Ilkley Moor,  and what was most memorable were the beautiful daffodils of differing shades and spring lambs kicking their heels and wagging their tails whilst suckling milk from their mums.    I felt joy at these precious sights, and forgot about other things for a while.  I was in awe at the  delicate beauty of the flower, and captivated by the energy and playfulness of the little lambs, who radiated happiness! 

Nature isn’t  a panacea for all my woes, but I found today very soothing and I feel refreshed.   On  Saturday evening,  I visited Golden Acre Park and fed the ducks.  (Rock and Roll!:))  There is a Muscovy Duck there who is such a confident character,   I read a couple of local birding blogs, and it seems others have had encounters with him,  apparently he’s bitten a couple of people.  I would say he is a cross between a goose and a duck, he has the cheek of a goose.  I enjoyed his company.

#springtimeinleeds #soothingnature

 

 

Friday Sketch Club at the Aubrey and Stanley Gallery in Leeds.

The Friday Sketch Club is a fantastic resource in a beautiful building, the Aubrey and Stanley Gallery at the University – just up the Parkinson Steps.  They provide the paper, pencils and a topic.  I find it cathartic and soothing.  Yet I haven’t been in ages.

I always told myself that I was “crap at art” – I think I’ve said those three words to myself over and over again since school days.  I probably have etched a superhighway in my brain telling me this.    However…

I now often challenge this thinking and understand that our appreciation of art is subjective.  Poetry is written from the heart, no matter how eloquent, or not, the wording may be.  Creativity doesn’t feel so soul enriching when it is restricted to the elite.  I like to think that it is not about the end product but the process – for myself at least.

Allowing myself to be creative can feel very nurturing – and a catharsis at times.

Friday Sketch Club – Aubrey and Stanley Gallery        The secret Lives of Sculptures

The Maquette of the Levitating Woman  (Model of a sculpture – The real one is in the University grounds)  by Quienten Bell – to See if you can capture the fluid lines of the drapery and the dream-like figure in your sketch today.
levitating-lady-scultpure

My Sketch  levitating-lady-sketch

 

A final note:  I actually started writing this blog post eight months ago! I had stopped drawing and other creative activities as I felt I had pressing issues which should take precedence.   However in retrospect I can see that it was especially important for me then,  to keep activities which made me feel happy and in the moment. Keeping my spirit alive really is important for me to stay well.

I found this draft and for me it is a reminder for me of the importance of Joy.

Reading Lives

You meander back after a long bus ride
When something catches your eye
From that charity shop window

And a mat shakes hands with your shoes

1280px-AUT_Wien_Kohlmarkt_Buchhandlung_Berger_9748_MSZ110731

Shelves burst with wallpaper samples
That swallow chunks of intricately shattered porcelain
Showing skillful limbs or perceived skirts

Then you see droplets
Marked with words like “Huckleberry Finn”
Whilst, somewhere,
Clusters of other letters dissolve into a grid

That canvas bucket can carry each drop
But it doesn’t hold the aroma of royal silver

old-books-1237619_960_720

Your feet create the latest dance craze
Born between those display cases
And kindled by the looks of tired assistants
The calcium in your arms turns blue

Finally a plastic bag cradles a clear conscience
Anticipating only the journey
Unobstructed by personal greetings
To the reader who thinned the pages

Once home your new book falls open
To reveal an abyss 
From where Twain returns a ticket
To the city of Yellbormoon

19513950222_9d34dc5a8a_b

You claw for the box
Where an envelope addressed “…”
And a faceless group image
Both specked with red wool
Scrunch the train ticket to Y….moon
With the energy of 4,000 giants
And they will for 40 years

Like stranded boatmen
At times bump a buoy
Familiar strangers
Gently graze your history
Requesting in lieu of your gratitude
A mere time capsule

f7a3e148cc3c75aa1cc645a41688aaca

By A.L. 

This poem is about collecting together the old train tickets, messages, and even photos, which are sometimes found in books that are bought at charity shops. Though I certainly do not keep things that aren’t mine, my poem here aims to hint at the notion that by putting each of these things in a time capsule one could hypothetically preserve the existence of strangers (who have floated into an out of one’s life) for years. I contributed this poem to Leeds Wellbeing Web, because I felt the above notion was an interesting concept.

Writing on the wall

Short on motivation or inspiration for something to write about?  I often am, I start drafts then abandon them.

If that happens I find using a pictorial and/or photographic image that I own might act as a prompt, or alternatively there are many on the internet that inspire me.

Here I’m using a photo of an ‘art work’ I did in the early stages of recovery from ‘breakdown’. Which was long before smart phones, it’s a polaroid…..fading fast.

As one of the last people on admission in the soon to be closed psychiatric hospital, I along with others had been asked to create art ‘on the wall’. Not previously known for my ‘art’ skills, I chose words.

The photograph helps me to remember the sheer determination and slog  it took to recover from the experience of ‘breakdown’, the kindness of some, in this case a male nurse who helped me, and though heavily medicated, the inner voice that helped me be bold enough to write an indictment on the wall of that particular establishment. It felt good, it still does!

I wasn’t making a statement about the staff, for most were kind but was a statement against a society and an institute that uses both invasive and psychoactive medication as the first line of treatment. I think since then there has been some progress in using complimentary and alternative treatment, and much of that change has come from the activism of those with lived experience, often called ‘survivors’. People who continue to tell their truth whether it’s ‘writ’ large or small, in text, verbal or pictorial.

And the writing on the wall? What does it mean? A ‘google’ search might give you an approximate translation but the interpretation of the art is yours and mine.

Sue.

When Mother’s Day is difficult.

Mother’s Day will soon be here, on the 26th March.

For many of us this may trigger difficult feelings.  There is an expectation, less so now I am much older, that on this day we give love and appreciation to our mothers. Mothers are wonderful.  Facebook will, no doubt, be flooded with pictures of mothers alongside glowing tributes.

The media is abound with adverts depicting a harmonious but busy family life.  This sells goods:  Christmas presents, washing powder or gravy powder – you get the picture.

I would never resent anybody who has such a loving relationship, I say embrace it and cherish it.   By all means, show it to the world, dig out those photos and share away. And for those who had a loving (or not so) mother who has passed,  I’m sure the day is both bitter and sweet – a chance to remember and yet a reminder of such a loss.

But what about those of us with more complicated relationships or non-relationships? We may be a daughter, a son, or even the mother?  Should we lay low?  Should we be ashamed? Would a day off social media would be a good choice?

In reality there are many who are estranged or have difficult relationships with family members. Adverts do NOT represent reality for all.  Social Media often reflects the good times, rather than the more difficult times.

What I am trying to say is that if you feel this way that you are not alone.  The charity Stand Alone aims to support people who are estranged from a parent, a child or another family member. The charity works with people of all ages: Students who are without family support to senior citizens who still struggle with the difficult relationship they have/had with a parent. They also support parents who may struggle with relationships with their children.

You are not alone.

Stand Alone runs support groups for adults who are estranged either from their parents or children.  The groups run in Sheffield, Newcastle and London.  (Not in Leeds at the moment)

It’s okay to have a complicated family life, it’s not easy, but you are not alone.

Finding a voice

wp-1479338196150.jpg

A series of upcoming presentations found me feeling somewhat apprehensive, they’re not my ‘thing’. If the topic I have to discuss is something I’m not enthusiastic about, I also find presenting it nerve racking. I strongly dislike feigning enthusiasm for something my ‘heart’ isn’t in, If I’m obliged to do it, I suffer physically with anything from headaches, to an upset stomach.

With the hope of learning a few tips on how to ‘act as if’, the topic was the ‘best thing since sliced bread’ I signed up for a voice workshop.

I didn’t have the expectation that one or two lessons could help me completely overcome my reticence, or that I’d become an actress overnight. The class teacher however was an actress and an experienced voice coach, who gave me just the right amount of complimentary and encouraging feedback. She thought my existing use of voice and body was effective for the task.

.’Have you ever done ballet? she asked, as I performed a particular arm movement, part of the warm up routine for the workshop. It possibly being 50 years since I’d done a demi-seconde or an en avant, and now being more of a sugar plump, than sugar plum fairy! ……..I thought she was just trying to be kind, she told me however, that many people, including herself, found the arm positioning didn’t come naturally. I can’t say her compliment had me thinking……. ‘I’ve possibly a latter day career as a ballerina in the offing’, but the amusing thought did cheer me up.

Whereas I care less these days as to what people might think about my appearance, it is still a morale boost if someone pays a sincere compliment.

Having done the preliminary warm-up stretches, the teacher wanted me read some set pieces aloud. As an aid to finding good breath control while reading, she first asked me to do what she described as breathing ‘movements’. I found the idea of breath work being movements, preferable to some breathing exercises I’ve previously experienced at similar workshops, where having been directed to breath ‘properly’, I’ve held my breath a bit longer than advisable!

One of the readings was a poem, and though the location of the workshops was in a leafy laned, backwater of LS6, the poem transported me via sea-going vessels to more exotic climes, and to returning home again through the choppy waters of the English Channel.

Here it is,,,,,,

Cargoes‘ by John Masefield