Travel to the Past

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When I need a holiday but haven’t the funds or enough time for a long trip, I like l to take a journey back to another time when life was slower and people enjoyed simple pleasures.  How to do this without a time machine?  Well I deploy our collection of vintage items and use them to create a fantasy of a long gone period.

As I have mentioned before in this blog, I love going on picnics.  But sitting on the uncomfortable ground fighting off ants is not always pleasant.  Why not go back to the mid 20th century, when you could sit in style anywhere with your folding picnic furniture to enjoy the great outdoors.  Back then a family or group of friends would load up the station wagon with all kinds of goodies and equipment and would go off to spend the day in the country.  It would have been a bit like a mini expedition without the dangers (if you exclude potential bushfires or snakes).

This type of picnic is something that I would like to recreate when the weather is not too hot.  Anyone can do this with a bit of imagination and not too much expense.  I set up our vintage picnic furniture and equipment on our back lawn to illustrate my idea for a mid 20th century picnic.  We have some old deck chairs, a folding stool; a folding wooden table and chair; a vintage linen table-cloth, old thermos and wine cooler; shuttlecock and quoits sets, all of which came from relatives.  The glass jug; aluminum beaker set; picnic basket and small wooden case were found at op shops (thrift or charity stores).  The umbrellas came from an Asian shop.

Just imagine a lovely country landscape with lots of trees (and nearby parking).  You set up your furniture and unpack your picnic basket in the shade.  It is a beautiful day with a slight breeze.  After a delicious lunch of gourmet sandwiches and salads served with cold wine or craft beer and delightful conversation with friends, you can indulge in a short walk or play a novel old-fashioned game of shuttlecock or quoits (or whatever game takes you fancy) or take a nap after reading a good book.  Then you have afternoon tea or coffee and cakes before you pack up for the journey home.

This is how I would like it to be, but it always pays to take the insect repellant, mobile phones and other mod cons just in case.  Resist the temptation to start Googling or checking your emails.  The whole point is to get away from 21st century stress and slow down a bit.

In Australia there are picnic race events in the country and you could attend one of these and have this type of picnic in style.  Appropriate clothing would complete the vintage feel.

There are even some people in Australia who live their whole lives in another era (Pia Anderson).  They dress in vintage clothes and live with objects and furniture from their favored period.  I think that this would take a lot of effort to do all the time and would not seem like a holiday after a while.  But whatever turns you on.

You could probably travel to other past times for a picnic theme.  Think medieval spit roast.  For this you would need a group of hungry people and no total fire bans.  A Roman banquet would be a bit more difficult.  Hard to find folding Roman couches but maybe a banana lounge would make a good substitute and there are always those portable shade cabanas or gazebos for a Roman tent if you have access to one.  These themes could be hilarious with a group of friends.

So next time you plan a picnic try something different.  Forget the modern minimalism of backpack convenience and go for a historical production for a fun way to visit the past.  There is nothing like a bit of escapist fantasy as a restorative.

Kat

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When You Need To Laugh

These days we need to laugh more than ever.  When the state of the world starts to get me down I go out of my way to find something that will make me laugh and feel better.  Then I can get on with creative things in a much better mood.

Yesterday there was a hilarious post on The Age Newspaper website.  It has a game where you can type in your own name or any other and it will be Spicer-ized.  For example, I typed in Mother Teresa and the Spicer version was “Mothershead Tereza”; William Shakespeare became Willibald Shaky; Richard Nixon became Richelieu No-Nose; Alec Baldwin became Aledore Balestrero.  You get the idea. Lot’s of fun at Sean Spicer’s expense.  Have a go.  Here is the link – Spicer-ize My Name

Another fun on-line pursuit is the Oracle of Bacon.  This has been going since 1999 and started as a university study into the concept of “Six Degrees of Separation.”  You type in any actor’s name and it will tell you how they are connected and how many degrees they are from Kevin Bacon, who has been in so many films and TV shows he was chosen as the test subject.  I typed in Alicia Vikander and she is only two degrees from Kevin.  Try and beat the system with obscure actors.  It is very difficult as he has links in film all over the world.  You might even find yourself connected.

Searching You Tube for comedy videos is a good way to get you laughing.  Comedians are great value.  Amongst the many wonderful choices, I love looking at ones with Dame Edna (aka Barry Humphries).  Ellie and I went to one of his farewell shows in Melbourne in 2012. Dame Edna is such an Australian Icon that it is good that we can still laugh at her antics on You Tube.  Those in the know would never sit in the front few rows to prevent becoming a a participant in the show.  Here is a performance she did in Montreal in 2005.  Part of the enjoyment of Dame Edna’s sharp wit was that, while you felt sympathy for a hapless audience victim, you were glad it wasn’t you.

Political satire can certainly turn around a depressing situation.  Australian satirist Huw Parkinson, of the scarily prophetic “Winter is Trumping” Game of Thrones video parody, continues to make us laugh at our political leaders.  His recent Trumpocalypse Now video starring Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and “you know who” is a hoot. Watch out for a young Harrison Ford in a minor role.

Musical comedy performances are also good for stimulating laughter.  The Australian band Axis of Awesome write and perform hilarious songs poking fun at contemporary song writing and modern culture.  One of my favorites is How to Write a Love Song, which deals with all the clichés in love songs, a must to avoid if you write songs.  Yes and one of them does look like Jack Black.

I know that these pursuits are silly time wasters, but when you need a good laugh, a bit of fun web surfing at lunchtime or in the evening can release those endorphins and give you a boost.

Keep laughing,

Kat

The Garden Doll

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Sometimes inspiration can come from some object you have had hanging around your house for ages.  Suddenly you see it in a new way.  That is how I wrote this poem.

The Garden Doll

It was buried in our garden bed

A broken doll, no arms no legs

Ceramic torso, molded head

A cast-off toy, all that’s left

 

Some child’s treasure long ago

Now a relic, sad, alone

A doll’s house prop, without a home

Lost in the past, it’s owner gone

 

Once dressed and posed in make believe

It had a life, it talked, it breathed

Gave form to some girl’s fantasy

Her youthful hopes and joys to feed

 

It cannot speak, it cannot move

Story unknown, mystery imbued

Sits in a jar, a thing to view

The garden doll I never knew

(© The Artist’s Child, 2017)

Kat

Sleepless Zombie Kills Creativity

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No.  I haven’t started writing a horror story but about the dangers of ignoring your bodies natural rhythms.  During the holiday period I was staying up very late every night, writing and working on this blog.  I got away with it for a while because I could sleep in, but then when I had to get up earlier this behaviour started to have a bad impact.  And especially when on top of this my dog had a vomiting attack after midnight and I had to keep letting him outside every 10 minutes.  The next morning I looked and felt like the zombie from hell, walking around in a daze.  Not good for the creative mind.

You can’t cheat on sleep for long as it will catch up with you sooner rather than later.  Sleep study experts say that losing too much sleep can make your IQ drop and it becomes difficult to think clearly and perform physical tasks like driving (Alarming Number of Drowsy Drivers).  I’d have to agree because I’ve not been firing on all levels.  This means that everything takes me longer than it should which leads to more wasted hours and a later bedtime.  It’s a vicious circle.

My quick solution is to indulge myself on a day off and recharge my energy levels.  For relaxation I started reading a new book (The Good People by Australian author, Hannah Kent).   Then I had a nap in my favorite chair and woke up because the washing machine kept beeping.  I have been eating all kinds of treats, like Greek dips, fresh raspberries and dark chocolate.  I don’t usually drink wine so I had a couple of glasses of white wine before dinner then watched a silly movie comedy that I’d recorded.  I am starting to feel more rested.   I would not do this every day but it is good way to break the sleep deprivation cycle before it gets to be the norm.

It’s 10.30 pm and I am going to stop what I am doing and get ready for bed.  I will start this again tomorrow otherwise I will be negating the whole point of this post……

Had a good night’s sleep. It really makes a big difference and I have some more ideas.

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For maintaining long-term healthy sleep patterns, having hobbies different from your usual creative pastimes can be revitalizing.  I have tried various things like aerobics, bushwalking, and belly dancing.  My favorite recreational pursuit is going for a picnic in the hills or countryside around Melbourne and having walks in a forest.  There is nothing like being out in nature to make you feel calm and rested.  Any type of physical activity will take you away from being too sedentary and make you feel refreshed.  You sleep soundly and have more energy during the day.

Doing things with friends will give you a boost.  Having conversation and laughs with like-minded people will stop you from taking yourself too seriously.  Everyone has their own problems and it is good to put them in perspective.  You are not the centre of the universe. Time with friends is what is needed when you are going overboard with your own obsessions and not getting enough rest.

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Dogs and cats have the right idea.  When they are feeling tired they take a nap.  Some places of business have a room where employees can do this when feeling tired.  Kind of like the afternoon siesta still practiced in some countries.  This prevents accumulated fatigue that can hinder work and in some cases is quite dangerous, especially when driving or operating any type of machine.  If you can’t do this during the day have a short nap when you get home.

If you do not want to spend you life in a constant zombie state then sleep is a necessity. This means that you might need to limit the amount of extra work that you do at night.  For your own health and to feed your creative mind, look after yourself and you will find it a lot easier to come up with inspiring new work.  And when you are feeling really tired have a nap and take time out to do something invigorating.  I know that’s what I should be doing.

Kat

The Blogiverse and Synchronicity

 

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Out in the blogiverse there are some very inspiring blogs.  One fantastic blogger I follow, Inkbiotic , has posted a series of questions for other bloggers to answer about their motivation and interests to get to know fellow bloggers.  I had been planning to do a post about blogging and synchronicity, so I thought that it would be fun to combine this with answers to Inkbiotic’s questions. (I haven’t answered each question sequentially but these answers are within my prose)

The main reason I started this blog last October with my sister, Ellie, was for creative motivation and to share things that might help and inspire others in the same boat.  For over a year I have been helping to run and write posts on another website for a small community group that has nothing to do with my private site.  As I enjoy writing I thought I would give personal blogging a go because I was having trouble trying to balance daily life, art, music and songwriting.  At the moment I am doing most of the posts, but that is ok.  Ellie has a lot of things on her plate and finds writing more difficult than I do.  I would have to say that blogging on a personal site is harder than doing one for a special interest group, where you have a ready-made audience and can get your site linked on free subject related directories.

I think that if your main focus is writing, when doing this all the time blogging becomes easier as you get more experience. The only downside for me is that my visual art and guitar/ ukulele practice have been taking second place to writing, so I still need to work on my time management.  Talking to a fellow artist on the weekend, she said that she also has creative bursts then down turns with her visual art so I am not worried.  The most important thing with any type of creative work is stay relaxed because worry makes it harder to produce anything.

But I must say that reading so many fantastic blogs is very inspirational.  I like reading stories, both real life and fictional, poetry, viewing artwork and photos, anything in the creative field.  I don’t want to single out a favorite post or blog because there are so many wonderful ones out there.

For myself, I enjoy writing about my own creative processes, the problems as well as the successes and really relate to others struggles and triumphs.  I like taking photos of my artwork and environment and find this very helpful to organize and illustrate my thoughts.  A picture is definitely worth a thousand words.  This blog is also a safe place to put up some of my poems that I tend to keep hidden away, unlike my songs, which are easier to share in the real world.  My favorite post on my own site is always the one I am working on, as it is good to live in the moment.

I work from home so have the luxury of being able to view others posts on the laptop in breaks of my own choosing.  When viewing other blogs, I try to keep an open mind and respect different opinions from my own, but I have found that a lot of us creative bloggers are on the same wavelength anyway and rarely view anything distasteful.

Now this is where the synchronicity comes in.  Carl Jung coined this term when explaining “meaningful coincidences” with no causal relationship.  The most commonly given examples of such coincidences are when you are thinking about a friend and they ring you on the phone, or a song comes into your head and you turn on the radio and it is playing.  I have found that often when I am thinking about writing or have written a post on a particular subject, then I look at WordPress reader and another blogger has done something similar at the same time.

It is not as if I am reading masses of posts.  These coincidences occur in the small circle of people who I follow or read and on the posts of the subject tags that I like to view.  You could say that this is because creative bloggers are interested in the same things.  You know that great minds think alike and all that.  But “there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy” to quote Shakespeare.

Over the years I have heard some scientists poo poo these types of coincidences by quoting statistical data and claiming that because you are thinking about an idea then this will increase your awareness and anything related will have greater significance.  But there could be a scientific explanation for meaningful coincidences after all.  A recent study in the field of Quantum Physics has offered an explanation of synchronicity with the concept of Quantum Entanglement.  Not being a scientist I will not attempt to explain this myself but here is a link to an article on the subject (quantum physics explains coincidences? ). The authors of the study suggest that coincidence can occur on a collective and global level through the Quantum Entanglement of mind and matter on an atomic level.  (Please read the article for further clarification).  If this theory is correct it could mean that our thoughts are in some way bouncing around out there in the world.  Mind boggling idea.

I think that it is wonderful to imagine the blogiverse as a great font of collective, as well as individual wisdom, that we are all tapping into.  It makes everyone that much more connected.  To quote The Police’s Song Synchronicity, which is where I first heard of this concept:

“A Star Fall,

A Phone Call

It Joins all

Synchronicity”

So fellow bloggers and any other interested readers, although our thoughts might be influenced by the strange laws of Quantum physics, we each have our own individual ways of expressing universal ideas so no blog will ever be the same as another.  I look forward to reading and viewing your posts.

Kat

(And thank you Inkbiotic for starting this dialogue)