Seeking community.

This week I had the chance to go to a rock and gem show with a dear geologist friend, and half the enjoyment was watching her getting excited and talking about all the rocks on display. She met several folks with the same interests and made a few new friends in the few hours we were there. Her passion is gemology and jewelry making (I own a few of her pieces, gifts from various holidays past) and she has a real talent and good artistic eye.

There is tremendous value in community, as I was reminded watching my friend today. It’s soul-enriching to meet people who love the same things you do and want to share in the joy of them. I suppose that should be on my goal list this year—to find communities for my own interests. SCBWI meetups, local music groups and classes… it’s all a bit scary for a shy person like me. But I think complacent isolation makes the fear and self-doubt ghosts seem bigger, and limits my growth.

Also: got my (fixed) harp back! No excuses for not practicing now.

Lessons from Florence Foster Jenkins.

“People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.”

Watched the movie Florence Foster Jenkins starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant this week. More tragic than comedic than I was expecting, given that my familiarity with the real Florence Foster Jenkins was through YouTube uploads of her recordings, but that perhaps made it a better film than I was expecting.

I find confident artists of questionable quality fascinating, perhaps because I can only dream of having so much confidence in my endeavors. There is something admirable in their perseverance.

Pursuing these things for the love of them—that’s what I’m trying to do. Not to be the very best (like no one ever was), not fueled by comparison to others. Florence Foster Jenkins clearly loved what she did, and though her singing is hard not to crack a smile at, isn’t her dedication and sincerity what ultimately draws us in?

Adventures in un-ickying.

Tried un-ickying my goals this week and ended up writing a list of musical instruments I want to eventually learn how to play, ranging from the tin whistle to the $2,000 Array mbira (seen in this video). Retitled the list “How I Will Go Bankrupt.”

My harp’s still in the shop. They say they’ll need to contact the manufacturer and get parts, which means I’ll probably be harpless for a while yet. I should focus on my other, functional instruments.

On the writing side of things, I finally compiled and sent my responses to my friend who critiqued my second draft. Now I need to start looking toward Draft #3, which I’m determined will not take four-and-a-half years like last time.

Taming monkeys and un-ickying items.

Some months ago while looking up completely unrelated things for work, I came upon Tim Urban’s popular blog post Why Procrastinators Procrastinate and its follow-up How to Beat Procrastination. It’s resonated with a lot of people, and with good reason. He might as well have been describing my entire life.

I’ve been finding myself in a familiar rut these past few weeks. It’s the kind of rut where I love taking in other’ creations and reading about the art of creating, but create very little myself. Receiving those revision notes from my friend on my novel draft gave me enough fuel to power through some preliminary revisions and put some vague notes on how to proceed in the margins, but with no real objective in sight I set the whole thing aside and nearly forgot about it.

To put it in Tim Urban’s terms, my goals have gotten icky.

When I finished that second draft in December I had a specific goal and a specific due date, and I think that’s how the thing even got finished at all. This coming week I’m going to work on un-ickying my goals and finding the starting point to achieving them.