Day 8 #NaJoWriMoPrompt: Write About Your Creative History

For today’s prompt, write about your past in relationship to creative expression. What are your earliest memories of being creative? Describe some great opportunities or missed opportunities for creative expression? What do you think helped or hindered you from being creative? Do you have creative people in your family? How have they inspired you? These are general questions. Write about the topic and see where it leads you. Happy journaling.

My creative history. Wow. That feels like a massive assignment. Especially since the Create the impossible-course I took at the beginning of the year, which made me realize that there is (an opportunity for) creativity in everything, even something as mundane as making dinner is a creation.

My earliest memories…. ah, I honestly I have no clue. But, my maternal grandmother taught me to crochet (and later on to knit as well), and I do remember being at kindergarten an crocheting endlessly long threads from a ball of yarn. Rolled it into a skein, and voila, had myself a new ball of yarn, in a manner of speaking, to start all over again. So I crocheted yet another endlessly long, but slightly thicker, long thread, from the initial endlessly long crocheted thread. Think I might even have repeated the same procedure yet once again. Limited use for long crocheted threads most definitely, but I did create. And I might have been around 4 or 5, I’m guessing. There’s remnants of other kindergarten creations still remaining at my mom’s place. Various ornaments for Christmas and Easter for instance.

wrist warmersAs I’ve written about before, I think my creativity has, to a large extent, been expressed using my hands, in handicrafts. When I think about creativity, that is where my mind goes first of all. And perhaps there’s a bit of a need for results and usefulness in my thoughts around creation, for myself. I create something which is needed, or desired, or that which is useful. Like the wrist warmers I’m wearing right this instant. I knitted them a few years ago, when the urge to create something with my hands grew within, until I couldn’t contain it anymore, and dug out needles and yarn from my various hiding places… Having a set end goal in mind, I started to create them, working without a pattern, but knowing what I wanted them to become, once finished.

I wonder if that’s a bit of a hindrance I’ve imposed upon myself: there must be a need, an end-result that can be put to use? Have I ever created just to create? For the sake of making it? Without any hidden agenda, a lack of purpose? Just. To do it. Nothing more. Nothing less. I don’t know.

I mean, even my blogging is to a certain extent purpose-driven. I blog with the intention to get my thoughts and ruminations down on paper, making them come alive outside of my head. So… How do you do it, when you just create, for creation’s sake itself? I honestly don’t know. Do you?

Day 7 #NaJoWriMoPrompt: Who Inspires You?

For today’s prompt, think about and honor the people (personal friends, family members, writers, singers, artists, spiritual leaders, speakers) who inspire you in any way. Write a list of those people, and if you have time, add a few sentences about how each person inspires you. Happy journaling.

I’ve done this before. Or I do this routinely, would be more correct to say. In the blog Christmas advent calendar counting down to Christmas last year for instance, I showcased many people who inspire me. And I regularly write on the blog, about people that inspire me in some way, both people I know and those I just know of. So perhaps, a challenge for me, would be to try to write about people I haven’t written (much) about before? Or, perhaps, I’ll try to stay close to home instead…

My maternal grandmother, my Momo –  So skilled with her hands, in many ways. Her paintings adorn my walls. She passed away many years ago, but thanks to her art, she’s with me in everyday life.

My niece Sara – Another artist. Yeah. There is something about artists that attract me, people able to create beauty with nothing more than a pen, paper and their own hands. But I can also have very deep conversations with Sara. I am inspired by her wisdom, and honored that she opens up to me, for us to have these conversations.

Malin, my bonus daughter – Curious on life, filled with questions, and often with a huge grin on her face. She is like liquid sunshine, able to light up a room with her mere presence.

Birgers dogMy maternal grandfather Birger – never ”too old to learn”. I remember finding this dog during one of my #cleanse4expansion-sessions. He emailed that drawing to me few years before he died, or wait… No, he painted it using Paint on his computer, printed it and sent it via snail mail, that’s why it’s signed by him! Anyway,  80+ and eager to learn to use his new computer. That’s inspirational to me. And what a gifted story-teller he was! When he got started he had us all in raptures, eager to hear just one more story.

Then there’s Me – I inspire me. Huh. Go figure. Didn’t have that one pegged what I started this journaling session. But it’s true though. I do inspire myself, especially when I notice how far I’ve come towards unveiling the one deep within, the self of pure potential that is there, inside, shining through more and more often. When I see how differently I act Today, compared to Yesterday, it makes me very curious about Tomorrow!

Sitting here, listening to some music, hubby cooking dinner in the kitchen, reminiscing about my grandparents who have long since passed away, but also on the younger ones on this list. And then there is me. In the middle. A bit farther on the Journey we call Life than Malin and Sara, but with a long way to go before hitting old age. Aware of the links between us all, how I am connected to the past and the future, while being in the present.

I close my eyes. Exhale. And relax into gratitude. Gratitude for life, for awareness, for the sense of immense connection to all that is. Realize, there’s inspiration all around and within me. It’s abundant. I just have to look for it!

Ellen Langer talks about mindfulness as the act of noticing new things, and suggested looking at your spouse with the intent to find five things about them that you’ve forgotten about, that have faded into oblivion, into everyday ordinariness, in a way that makes you just not see it anymore. She suggested your spouse would come to life again in front of your eyes, rekindling a bit of the wonder you felt towards them once upon a time.

I just saw that inspiration is the same. As I sit here, I become aware that most people are inspiring to me. There’s always something inspirational. Just as I could probably find something really annoying about most people, I can find something about them that inspires me. *haha* Guess which one will make me feel better? I’ll choose the act of noticing things that inspire me any day, rather than going on a quest for annoyance.

What about you? Inspiration? Where? Who? What?
Do you actively look for and notice it in your life?



DAY 1 #NAJOWRIMOPROMPT: Describe your creative side

So. On a whim (why do I do these things on a whim so often?) I signed up for National Journal Writing Month or #NaJoWriMo as the hashtag reads. I do journal as well as blog, but I honestly thought more of blogging these entries than anything else. And I might not respond to them all, but this prompt sounds a bit fun actually:

Describe your creative side. When I refer to creative expression, it can range from doodling in your journal, home decorating, creating a presentation for your job or organization, to singing, painting, or playing a sport.

Write as much as you can about the forms of creative expression that you regularly engage in. Go on to describe the history of your creative expression(s), and how you think your creative side is a part of your personality and outlook on life.

If you absolutely don’t think you have a creative side, write about how you would like to be creative, and what do you think is keeping you from being able to express yourself in creative ways.

So. My creative side. Writing, for one. Doodling. I do love to do knit, embroider, crochet and the likes, but I very seldom do any more. I’ve enjoyed quite a lot of handicrafts over the decades, I’ve made ”sameslöjd” i.e. the leather and tin-thread jewelry traditionally made my the Lapp people of the north, weaved baskets, took over the production of santa’s (knitted and mounted on a frame made by newspaper, they are quite special) from my paternal grandmother, actually made a shawl using needle binding (a technique that really only works rounds and round, not back and forth, but I sort of worked around that minor obstacle).

I sit here with a smile on my face, recollecting everything I’ve done over the years, using my hands. I do love to work with my hands, I must say.

But, lest I forget, I sing! I used to play the piano as well, but that’s something I’ve basically have forgotten. But sing, that I do. And have done, for as long as I can remember almost. Last weekend the choir I sing with went to UK for a small tour, and did our best-ever performance, in my mind. Tomorrow in the church in Husie we’re performing the same concert and I hope we will shine again!

Oh, and the photo books! And taking photos, of course. It would be really hard to make beautiful photo books without the photos to work with. I was just thinking that I would like to get started on the photo book from the summer vacation in France, on the Riviera.

So – what’s the story behind all these creative expressions of mine? 

Well, there’s a lot of heritage here. My father (and brother) is a journalist and a writer. My mother is a great doodler, even though she denies it. Her mother was a skilled painter (and more at that!), and I love to have her paintings of me as a child up on the walls. My paternal grandmother have been prolific at handiwork, weaving, knitting, embroidering and so on. My father used to be quite an avid photographer, and my elder brother as well.

But the music… I really don’t know if there’s any heritage to speak of there. Hm. I cannot remember if anyone of my older relatives have sung in choirs or played an instrument. So whether or not they did, I guess it hasn’t really been a huge part of my upbringing. Except for my bonus father (for most of my childhood) and his mother, come to think of it, both of them playing the piano and singing. With his entry into my life when I was four, along came  a piano for me to clonk on, and I think I started taking piano lessons around the age of 8 or so. I think I started taking solo singing lessons when we moved to Arvika in 8th grade, and I’ve sung in choirs since an even earlier age.

marmeladAnd there is one more thing, which for me is a creative expression even though it might not be what most people think of, and that is the art of preserving fruits and berries. Making jams and marmalades, jelly and saft (a Swedish type of berry/fruit drink, possibly most resembling the English term squash), and generally taking care of the bountiful gifts of nature is an art and a craft I love, and have loved since I was a teenager. And here I have both my grand mother’s as wonderful role models, and also my mother, since she retired.

And how is this a part of my personality and outlook on life?

dancewalkWell. I never really thought about it in those terms. But of course it’s part of making me me. What I come to think of is my love for dance walking (I was one of the initiators of Dance Walk in Malmö in 2012, where we got hundreds of people to dance along the streets of our town. You can find me dancing away for a few seconds starting at 3:48 here and I still take solitary dance walks now and then when the urge overcomes me!). Perhaps that’s a good way to describe how my creativity is a part of me and how it forms my outlook on life?