Tag Archives: creativity

Memo: Catching up on Creative Projects #meta

Memorandum
Re: creative projects

Making and finishing and doing *so much* so can’t stay up with sharing… limiting screentime and can’t pause to organize… but so much things (along with baby) coming… you can always catch stuff which doesn’t make it to this channel (and/or sequestered by the machines) at “creative life archive” (note: you are here).

Note: This snap is me at Lafcadio Hearn’s writing desk (international writer who came to Japan and settled in deep countryside… Married a Japanese lady and took Japanese name, wrote in Japanese, had bad eyes so made this desk to help).

Dude is remarkably interesting. Ergo: when the most/only foreigners in Japan were missionaries, diplomats, traders all trying to change Japan, he showed and let Japan change him. His home in Matsue (home of the holy Izumo Taisha) is near (relatively) to where i was first at the mushroom farm (same San-in coast). Ryoko and I visited his house and museum summer of 2018 on our first adventure together. 

PS i saw his white linen suit, battered leather suitcase, hat, cane, pipe and glasses and realized that “yes, I might be him reincarnated”

Related, from Trevor: 

Down the hall
Logan house
Mom’s bedroom was on the left
Morning routine sit on bedside and check-in
At the end of the hall was the computer
Window behind
Dave sat keying in his word flow
Friend watched
Inspired

Scrapbooks for all Reasons / Japan Cottage Musings

With a coffee and pyjamas, Dave riffs about types of scrapbooks, ways to make from scratch, reasons for making (memory and flow), a bit about creative process and keeping organized, handy tools and supplies, and other ways to fancy up your books with inky stamps, postage stamps, stickers and up-cycled meta scraps. Plus hey, fun for the family, liberate the items from shoeboxes, put on an album or two and go with the flow.

fondly, dave 

Items: Forgotten / poetry cycles, overview + process thoughts

Items: Forgotten, backgrounder etc

Along the way, I produced a series of visual freeverse poetry called “Items: Forgotten in Drawers“ – part pirate treasure map, part meanderings stashed in a non-secret hiding place, part punk rock handbills.

+ Back Story
The poems started in an Ayurvedic clinic the Himalayas, a ship in Arabia, and ruins around Mediterranean, …then attached to vintage hotel letterhead (much acquired from a tiny Greek Monastery store in a heavily Hasidic neighbourhood Montréal neighbourhood), assembled in off-strip Las Vegas, shared in Utah canyons… and now distributed to points unknown. Further batches were assembled on in a camper truck in Olympic Peninsula, Wa, and later Sanur and Nusa Ceningan, Indonesia with scraps printed here and there.

+ Process
Sometimes, i don’t have a printers, other times no Internet, often no typewriter, so i make do with what i have: scissors, glue, paper… items i can pick up a dusty island shops and forgotten stationery stores.

When i write, (usually) starts as scribbles in notebooks and then gets hastily transcribed into a digital form and printed when opportunity strikes for editing – in this case, the editing leaves errors in typing and structure and instead cuts and pastes (like Burroughs to Bowie would do) and then reassembled in various ways.

+ Form
Each substrate (hotel letterhead, aerogramme, envelope) shown is uniquely augmented with stamps – both postal and ink – and other ephemera, carefully selected and then applied as though it wasn’t.

Sometimes, lettraset letters, fuzzy Lomo photos and bits of typewriter come along.

+ Themes
Overall, the pieces explore themes of wandering lost, losing self and others, scraping beneath the crust of culture and myth, remixing identity, connecting the history to the present in all it’s vagaries, and considering what becomes of our story when we vanish… naturally made with affection.

+ Next
What follows (and brings me here) is another series is queuing up – Vol. 6 “Circumnavigation” spanning cultures, geography, form and accruements.

The first dispatch in the series is a remixing of myself (originally written on 3 postcards and mailed to 3 different people) with insomniac observations about Yangtze River and Shanghai’s absurd skyline as seen from a ship.

“Elf Care” and Arts + Crafts / Japan Cottage Musings

Dave riffs about “Elf Care” in tumultuous times along with personal archeology from a cottage in Japan including life update about baby and wife, plus “doing what you can” – in this case making arts and crafts and sort-ganizing.

Shared examples of projects are: books of postboxes and paintings, scrapbooks of travel ephemera, family photos, and virtual learning with certificates, as well as upcoming Jack Kerouac story making workshop.

Finally offers support for artist who need a like, subscribe, comment and support. Fondly, Dave (plus plenty of sanitary face touching :))

Riff: Creativity in solitude(ish) / from experience

I went from being very social and active to often housebound due to a chronic and complex illness, and spent extended stints sequestered at Ayurvedic clinics & various hospitals …

Finding yourself cooped up due to public health situation? Your solution is: digging into projects which maintain your mental acuity and move your fine motor skills but also, very importantly, produce something in the end.

Like: making scrapbooks of life ephemera, organizing letters and photos, writing down your stories, make a podcast, read war and peace (or similar), write a novel (desert solitaire or similar), make some songs, write some poems, compile your journals and diaries, embark on “personal archaeology” by sort-ganizing your old report cards, certificates and participation ribbons / put them in binders with sheet protectors or make a shadowbox… I can go on and on but I think you get the gist.

Or this is a great time to take an online course about something you dig (I recently did a Japanese book culture course). Many universities have all sorts of free courses (start at open culture or Internet archive) plus you can just learn something new on your own via other folks like you, i.e.: how to make Lo-Fi beats, how to play the ukulele, how to paint with oils… IOW, Get started on something interesting which can be a new hobby and produce some neat artifacts,rather than just trying to level up on a video game.
Verily, choose activities with intentions / of course, chill out but consider watching a specific classic epic movie (ask me if you need some tips) rather than sifting through nonsense to binge (and in general minimize mindless, high-twitch screentime).

Look at this as an opportunity to do all those little projects you’ve *always meant to do*.

Also, letter writing is cheap and cheerful and immensely satisfying, especially for others who are routinely shut in (elders, disabled, remotes etc.)

If you need someone to cheer you along or give you some more ideas are examples, of course I am friendly if a bit slow sometimes.

I will note that it’s totally up to you what do you do and all that, I’m just encouraging expansion of your brain through art and culture and creativity – and im speaking from so much experience.

All the hugs, your possibly-favourite uncle

Photo: Dr. Trevor Erikson (note: before Dr status)

Message to Future Self, re: make for self / don’t cheat audience

Art by DaveO, Photo by Miranda Lievers who says, “Yay! Finally received our Dave Olson mail from around the globe. Thanks for sharing a few pieces with our fam, friend! 11 years on from this Northern Voice talk… I needed this reminder in particular (some days more than others). Fuck stats. Make art. Thank you, Dave!”

Strange as it goes as feels sometimes like i was writing messages to a future self as i reflect back on words i wrote then but need moreso now,

ergo:

Art makes the future, make for yourself first – if you don’t “feel it” don’t waste your time. Channel a mix of joy and anguish and mix with honesty.

Don’t cheat yourself or any potential audience. Don’t pander and don’t “give em what they want” – this process might get lonely, you will see other “enjoy” the buzz of immediate attention but this is a sugar-rush which likely doesn’t last long. Instead, prepare yourself for the long haul of making creations which will inspire the generation behind you.

There are wee doppelgänger of you growing up, struggling with identity and understanding – maybe in school or maybe in retirement – you seek (unwittingly perhaps) exactly what you are capable of creating.

Visualize them if you desire an audience and then share your work, standing behind your creation with integrity, and let the audience breathe life and meaning into your offerings. Your rewards will come in mysterious ways.

But the reward isn’t the point – self-fulfillment and endless giving of creativity is your compass.

Note: Roll slow, be gentle, eat healthy, look out for your vulnerable friends

Roll slow, be gentle, eat healthy, look out for your vulnerable friends and neighbours, minimize TV, start a novel, watch all the foreign films you’ve always meant to, crack open War & Peace like you should’ve years ago / hit me up if you need some podcasts or train videos #hugs

I add: If anyone makes interesting things or needs a bit of encouragement or even maybe advice about their projects, or has just made something they want to share and want someone to click on something and share them along, I got you, Im yer dude #InstantFanClub

Riff: Art vs Stats / Personal expression is the pinnacle…

A solid guide book last centuries

From a response to a discussion somewhere at some time…

“Like the venerable Mr. Christopher Trottier (@atomicpoet) pointed out,… the crazy thing is, if you make awesome art, the stats (i.e. likes, tweets, subscribers, followers, paycheques, accolades, trophies…) automagically come.

It’s when you go chasing stats that you might get the quick sugar-high of cheap satisfaction but no one’s going to give a shit in a week, let alone 100 years from now.

Of course I understand that “business objectives” require performance and things going “up and to the right,” but that is accomplished by being interesting, pushing your envelope, being true to your authentic self, and respecting your audience.

Ergo: Roll your own media. Fuck stats, make art. Create for yourself, let others look over your shoulder. Personal expression is the pinnacle of the assortment of digital creation tools and distribution methods we (albeit awkwardly) call social media. 

Riff: Art makes the future / respect audience

Might Get Lonely so Get Comfortable Whilst you Wait

Make for yourself first – if you don’t “feel it” don’t waste your time, or others attention.

Channel a mix of joy and anguish and mix with honesty.

Don’t cheat yourself or any potential audience.

Don’t pander and don’t “give em what they want” – this process might get lonely, you will see other “enjoy” the buzz of immediate attention but this is a sugar-rush which likely doesn’t last long.

Instead, prepare yourself for the long haul of making creations which will inspire the generation behind you. There are wee doppelgänger of you growing up, struggling with identity and understanding – maybe in school or maybe in retirement – you seek (unwittingly perhaps) exactly what you are capable of creating.

Visualize them if you desire an audience and then share your work, standing behind your creation with integrity, and let the audience breathe life and meaning into your offerings.

Your rewards will come in mysterious way, not unlike the mysterious red envelopes of Chinese New Year tradition.

Riff: Fuzzy difference between craft and art

symmetry is overrated

Can often be a fuzzy difference between craft and art / technique vs idea – I feel that art requires intent, honesty, integrity and emotion, plus the element of considered craft to execute vision.

Sure tis one thing to play an instrument, write words, apply paints to substrate…, it’s a whole other thing to open up your heart and guts to expose to the world.

Dangerous, beautifully so – even when not beautiful – although often not noticed immediately.

Consider doing so daily. If you want your creations to live a legacy of centuries rather than moments.

PS

Indeed, pressure from others implies our creative work is worthy only when validated by a “gatekeepers” (publisher, label, printer, award etc) – this a false assumption and the opposite is exampled by heroes like Vincent van Gogh, Henry David Thoreau, and dozens more who “self-published/distributed” and made what was inside them because that was their yearning desire.

Ignore the Gatekeepers, Don’t get Precious, Publish it all and let the future sort it out.