creative work, Process, Writing

Light a Candle

What I want to remember about ritual.

The difference between ritual and routine has nothing to do with the task and everything to do with how I approach it.

Rituals help me feel safe and connected. They also remind me that the unknown is everywhere—around me and within me.

Light a candle.

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I may never know why or how rituals work. I don’t need to know. I should do them anyway.

Sometimes I need to act ‘as if.’ As if I am committed. As if I believe in magic. As if I know what I’m doing.

Doing the same practice over and over again leads to limitless creativity and possibility.

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Move my body. Call this a ritual. Worship the movement.

Use magic instruments liberally. If rose water, massage oil, beeswax candles, prayers, crystals, or the Tarot turn routines into rituals then use them. Shrug at the part of me that thinks this is silly

Write everyday. Call this a ritual.

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creative work, Process, unfinished, Writing

Words by Mail

As a part of our Two Create project, Kelly and I send each other postcards. We collage one side and write a few words about collaboration, creativity, or process on the other side. The postcards are a slow motion version of our phone calls and text messages. We’re always talking about these themes but the postcard asks us to slow down, to imagine our thoughts in both images and words, and to be concise.

When I get a postcard from Kelly her words live in the back of my mind. I collect examples of what she’s talking about, relate it to what I’m reading, and imagine what it means for our work together. Then, when I’m ready, I sit down with old books and magazines and arrange images in a way that continues the conversation. I read her postcard again and respond, giving our work this small, silent, sacred space.

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December 2016

Kelly, you’re right. Making is part of the way forward. I like to think of a lineage of creators, that we are part of a tradition of exploring, understanding, and re-making the world in words and images. Sometimes I forget my artist-self, forget to see. But when I remember her, everything is better and I’m powerful again. Love, H

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January 2017

Heidi! Maybe that’s why we get so excited about understanding other people’s processes, too—it’s motivating and inspiring to see what’s possible, to see how something works, and to know we’re not alone. Even if none of us knows what we’re doing, it’s comforting to have that conversation. I think making something is an act of being vulnerable—one payoff of that is richer, deeper relationships. Love, Kelly

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unfinished

Unfinished

I have a folder on my computer titled “Clues.” It’s filled with pieces of writing that might lead somewhere, but are far from finished. In my notebooks, desk drawer, planner, and in the margins of novels I have a similar collection of sentences: ideas, inspirations, a string of words that made sense at the time but are cryptic in retrospect. These clues are full of possibility.

But then there are the other unfinished projects, skeletons abandoned for months or years, pages and pages of half-baked paragraphs and outlines and notes. There’s possibility there too, but also shame and frustration and fear of finishing. Knowing that I have an incomplete story that needs to be written can keep me away from a writing routine for months on end. The bridge between beginning and ending can be a terrifying one.

I’m always interested in projects that allow for a voyeuristic look at a creator’s unfinished work: sketchbooks, unrecorded songs, or manuscripts. This work is inspiring in its possibility and comforting in its very human themes (procrastination, confusion, even death). I’m thinking about all of this because I plan to interview creators about their unfinished projects. I’ll ask just five questions, hoping to discover more about why we struggle to finish work that we’ve begun.

  1. What is your unfinished project?
  2. Why do you think it remains unfinished?
  3. When you think about your unfinished project, how do you feel? What do you think?
  4. Where do you keep it (the physical work and/or the idea)?
  5. If you could look through the unfinished work of another creator, who would it be? Why?

I start a lot of projects and abandon many of them but I never abandon my love for asking people questions. I’m always inspired when I get to talk to people about their lives and creative work and I’m always grateful that people want to share their answers with me. More to come! 

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