Living In The Offbeat

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The time you made a mean comment, or tried to make a joke about something that was the worst possible thing to say? The list goes on and on. We all have them, those little awful recollections that seem to strike through you someplace between the back of your eyeballs and the top of your brain, at the worst possible time. All of them. My list covers two pages in a medium sized notebook, and I used a shorthand where two or three words can bring an entire awful memory back.

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I add to the stream of offenses on the page whenever I recall something bad I did or someone did to me. I live in Tacoma, Washington. Ordinarily, that would be enough for a good many things. Not so with solar eclipses. So I committed to the trip, mostly winging it. More updated notes on actual conference below. After a little research on the event, I tossed a small donation her way.

It can be fun. How did I form such a quick and hearty suspicion for the people putting on the conference? Generally, they seem well-meaning, and tone-deaf. In Seattle there are a good many Canada geese in the city. Lake Union can host major conventions of them at one time.


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Geese, however, are migratory waterfowl. And so you see them several times a day, gathering, honking, taking to the sky, circling the lake a few times and then… landing in the same place they were. Humans often go through the same domesticated patterns, as the days and years and lives go by. You hit a certain point in life, you know? There go the geese, bon voyage, have fun in Alaska… what? Why are you still here? Is it already there, or is it invented? Do we make meaning up, to feel significant? Can we serve humanity and also wheel around the lake in a flock in a show of unfulfilled potential?

Is comfort the enemy? Is a planned exit better than Pulling a Chuck? There are no metaphors involved, just a method that can save hours of dithering and frustration when composing a painting or sketch. I carry a plastic shutter-style viewfinder, called a ViewCatcher , with me, for quick composing of drawings and sketches.


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Sometimes I just muse through it, which makes me look a like a freak. This little plastic square has made my work a great deal more efficient and harmonious. So near Tacoma is a lake I used to walk around in high school, nearly every day. Last winter, with a long spell of very steady, very cold weather, the lake froze over. Do what my mother taught me at an early age: Go directly to the bar. The weather is hot and humid and airless. Sometimes making changes in your life seems forced and inorganic but we try these things anyway. Sometimes simple things work well. She found one of these exercises.

This exercise includes two of my very favorite pieces of subconscious brain-work, a brain-dump and hiding the results from your conscious mind so the subconscious can get to work without all the hectoring. Years ago I rowed at a rowing club. I rowed singles, doubles, fours and eights.

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Even when I rowed a single, I usually went out on the water in the company of other rowers. The typical time to go on the lake was AM for the calm water and a choice of boats. I may well have found the secret to getting unstuck. It occurred to me that this is also, for me, at the very heart of every frustrated moment in my current life. When this is in place, everything becomes easier, faster, more streamlined.

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Having something small and portable with which to be artful can be a great thing. For travel this summer I refined my usual watercolor paint kit of loose stuff in a zip-loc. It stays securely shut and is rugged and easy to clean. Tonight I noticed two things about it. I followed a link to a new product page for Fig Newtons thins. Imagine my relief that the fig and honey version contains… wait for it… Natural flavor with other natural flavor. Links to thirty days of divergences in sidebar….

Create something original every day of June! Trust30 is an online initiative and day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself.

Use this as an opportunity to reflect on your now, and to create direction for your future. This is a stellar opportunity to write and create in a community of thinkers and writers without getting too thinky. Links below. Below that, links to my 30 pages. Dumping a job seems like heresy in this day of hard-to-get employment, at first glance. At second glance, it reminds me of all the bad crap that snowballs on your sorry ass when fear rules the day, your decisions, and your life.

One of our first assignments was to design a monogram or logo for ourselves. I really thought that I was going to end up with something disappointing, having never designed a graphic thing that satisfied me in the past. Our design process started with looking at tons of fonts for the letters we wanted to use.


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Here are my typography class files if you want to see my youthful efforts. Be merciful.

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I found a fantastic and ususually elegant font, Wade Sans Light, which I used to write my name. Then I thought about branding and constraining, like, if I put braces or brackets to contain the name, you know, like for coding, or a box, or something boxlike, or a shaded box background, and what if I put the letters on end or rotate them a little? Drop shadow. Everyone loves a drop shadow. I pretty much hated it all, except the letters themselves. There is a handwritten sign stuck to a chainlink fence in front of an empty old building in downtown Tacoma that says:.

There is a woman near the freeway ramp adjusting a large triangular metal street sign on a sidewalk tripod. She does something that makes perfect sense in the breeze: she places the sign broad side down, and steps back to consider her work. There are three very good, comfortably quaint books on prosperity thinking that were written in the early part of the 20th century. They are. It happens. You just need to get started. You need to dig out. I offer you, my beleaguered friend, the quickstart non-method: Organic Triage and the Big Stupid Box.

One of the college girls goes after some small nocturnal animal in the bushes, hoping to catch it. She stops and announces that she stumbled into nettles and has nettle stings all over her legs. Or is there? One day I lamented that my life was lacking old-school artfulness, and I wanted to take up some art form that was compact, inexpensive, and that I could do anywhere. After some experimentation I came up with a nice inexpensive kit that resides in my small handbag ready to use whenever I sit down with coffee to kill an hour.

Watercolor can be easy to learn with the right resources.

This Offbeat Life » Lots of Unorthodox Ways to Get Unstuck

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