Where I Confess I am a Thief

I am a thief. Well, not in the traditional sense – I don’t go around breaking into houses, and I haven’t stolen candy from the grocery store since I was 5 years old.  But, I am doing the things Austin Kleon suggests I should be doing to unlock my creativity and produce some good stuff – I’m stealing like an artist.

In Steal Like an Artist, Austin’s definition of stealing is not unethical, illegal,or plagiarism. It’s about finding ideas out there that are good and stealing them, or “embracing the influence”. It’s the way art is done.

david bowie quote

art is theft

 

 

 

 

copy.

According to Austin, what to copy is tricky. He says,

Don’t just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. You don’t want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes. The reason to copy your heroes and their style is so that you might somehow get a glimpse into their minds.

He continues,

That’s what you really want – to internalize their way of looking at the world. If you just mimic the surface of somebody’s work without understanding where they are coming from, your work will never be anything more than a knockoff.

I love this book because I suck at art, yet I am still an artist.  Aren’t we all artists?  The writer, blogger, dancer, chef, painter, mother, student, gardner, speaker, teacher, preacher, singer, photographer. This book is for all of us.

Whatever you love to do, do it! Appreciate the creative work of the masters or the rest who have mad talent and can serve as your muse. It takes commitment, drive, and persistence of practice to find your own unique artistic voice. Just don’t give up. Instead let’s get busy stealing, and in turn we will find our voice in the process.

Do you want the truth no matter what?

Does this dress make me look fat? How did you like my presentation? Did you enjoy your meal? Are you mad at me?

We all ask questions like these, but do we really want the truth no matter what?

When I was a teen I remember asking my dad if he liked my haircut – it was 1978 and I got the trending cut at that time, “The Dorothy Hamill” wedge. 

It look darling on her, but not so much on me. My dad validated what I already knew when he responded with, “Do you like it? If you like it that’s all that matters”.  No, I didn’t like it, and I was hoping he could convince me that I did. Instead he delivered the truth in the gentlest way he knew how.

Are you familiar with the old testament story of King David and Bathsheba?  David was the boy who slew the giant with a slingshot, and years later was appointed King of Judah. He was rich, beloved, and well, had everything a man could want, but I guess that wasn’t enough. One day he spied Bathsheba bathing across a distant rooftop. He immediately desired her and had her brought to his palace. He slept with her and she got pregnant. He later had her faithful husband Uriah murdered and then Bathsheba became his queen.

David’s advisor Nathan saw the evil in David’s actions and soon made him see it as well by telling David a parable about a rich man who stole from a poor one. David was livid that the rich man could be so heartless! Then Nathan dropped the bomb: you are the rich man.

David knew what he had done was reprehensible. He could have cast Nathan out from his court – but he didn’t.  He needed accountability and although it was painful, he wanted truth.

Sometimes we can be too involved or blind from our own denial that we don’t see things as they really are. Do you want the truth, even if it stings? My fingers are paused on home row. It’s a tough question.  I want to say yes because I know it’s the wise choice.  I can’t grow without truth. Yet it’s in my nature to avoid pain.

I think the best you and I can ask for is to have people in our life who are honest, but not brutal, who speak the truth in love

The more I think about it, truth trumps pain.  I may not like it, but I don’t want sugar coated lies.  Does this dress make me look fat? Obviously or I wouldn’t be asking. However…don’t be too quick to say yes lest I drop three sizes in self-esteem. Tell me it doesn’t accentuate my best features, or it’s a nice dress but I look stunning in the black one.

At the end of the day, I want truth. Not half-truths, not sugar-coated-beat-around-the-bush blah blahs. The truth, and nothing but the truth so help me God!  How about you? Truth, as in a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like? As in that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality?

I may not always like the truth, but it’s only the truth that will set me free.

If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair. C.S. Lewis

8 Zombie Inspired Habits That Lead To Happiness

Zombies are repulsive and terrifying.  They have decaying flesh, disgusting teeth, and no social skills. But they can teach us how to be happy.

Happiness is defined as a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

The zombie has no emotions, so he is neither happy nor unhappy,

he just is.

He takes each day as it comes and doesn’t worry about tomorrow. If I could pick one key to being happy, it would be the zombies way of being fully present in the moment with no worries. If you can make that a habit, you can kiss discontent goodbye.

8 zombie inspired habits that lead to happiness

  • stick together
  • don’t whine, gossip, or say mean things
  • share
  • be patient
  • don’t sweat the small stuff
  • get plenty of exercise
  • adapt to your surroundings
  • don’t be a picky eater

Happiness is always a choice. The only ones who I excuse from not being able to choose happiness are the clinically depressed individuals who are thick in the illness, not yet being treated, not responsive to treatment, or in a state of anhedonia.

Let the little aggravating inconveniences that are bound to happen to you be exactly what they are: small annoyances that are insignificant, not worthy of your time or emotional investment.

You can be unattractive, have rotten teeth, and nothing but the clothes on your back, and still be happy. In pursuit of happiness, look to the zombie.

Just don’t eat anybody.

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What Seth Godin Says About Art: You’ll Be Surprised

saraceni_fall_of_icarus

You remember the story of Icarus, the kid who didn’t listen to his dad and flew to close to the sun?  His waxy wings melted and he plummeted to his death in the sea. Seth Godin uses this greek myth to teach not about marketing, but art.  What does Icarus have to do with art and why does marketing guru Seth Godin write a book on making it?

Icarus Deception imageHe uses Icarus to point out we only know half of this well known story. Icarus’s dad didn’t just tell him to not fly too close to the sun, but also warned him not to fly too low or the sea would wreck the lift of his wings.  Flying is a delicate art, not too high, not too low, or disaster.

Seth says, “It’s far more dangerous to fly too low than too high, because it feels safe to fly low.  We settle for low expectations and small dreams and guarantee ourselves less than we are capable of.  We’re so obsessed about the risk of shining brightly that we’ve traded in everything that matters to avoid it.”

Your work is your art.  Art is about making a connection.  It isn’t limited to paper and palettes of color, it is your contribution to the world.  It is aspiring to do great work for the purpose of making real connections with others.  Do you influence? Are people changed for the better because of you?

P1100016Making art is not easy, it forces us to stretch our wings farther than we’re comfortable with.  Fear of being wrong or rejected keeps us safe, but also keeps us unsatisfied because we haven’t bloomed our potential.

Seth says art might scare you, might bust you, and it isn’t always pretty.  But it is who we are and what we do, and what we need. If you are brave, use insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo, then you are an artist.

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Read my review in it’s entirety at Homeschoolbuzz.

See the Girl With the Phonograph Head

music girlI saw this striking statue at a recent visit to Artisan Works.  I can relate to this girl.  Some days all I want to do is listen to my favorite music and get lost in the melodies. I sing along to the lyrics which capture exactly what I feel.  Joy, peace, love, pain, sadness, redemption and raw emotions.  There are days when I am Saul in need of David’s harp.

 

And whenever the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp. Then Saul would feel better, and the tormenting spirit would go away. 1 Sam 16:23

 

Sometimes I go to bed with a song in my head.  I wake up and it’s still there. I don’t mind the phonograph in my head.  Just as long as the phonograph isn’t my head, that could be a problem.

Dogs in the Hood

I love to take pictures of dogs.  It helps that I have I friendly Labradoodle named Frodo to introduce me to the dogs in the neighborhood as well as others at the dog park.

Frodo and Buddy
Frodo and Buddy
Izzy
Izzy

Izzy is never without her tennis ball. 

At the dog park
At the dog park. This guy liked to hide under benches.
pinky
Paquita. My son is holding this tiny puppy. Precious.
poochie
My son met this cutie in the Dominican.
DR dog
Another dog from the Dominican Republic.
ella
Ella is a yorkie poo. I think Ella and Frodo are married.
Street Performer
Street Performer. We see him regularly at the dog park, ball in tow.
Big Sammy
Frodo’s brother and best friend Sam.

 

 

 

 

Sam
Sam: a watchdog.  He runs down the driveway when we walk by and gives us a good scare, but he stays on his turf.
Kirk and Spock
Kirk and Spock. I saw these two waiting for their owner to return. I couldn’t resist.

I have met some great dogs and made new friends (human and canine) because of my loveable Frodo.  If you are looking to meet people and could use a best friend,  I guarantee a sweet dog will not disappoint…

Amber
Amber a sweet girl, watch out though if you are eating: she will stare you down for a taste.

 

Murphy.  Frodo's first friend.  When Frodo wanders off he is always at Murphy's house.  Vice versa.
Murphy. Frodo’s first friend. When Frodo wanders off he is always at Murphy’s house. Vice versa.

 

Ruby
Ruby.  Shy, busy.  Love that tooth.
Buddy
Buddy is warming up to us humans.  He was skittish when first meeting Frodo.  Now they are buddies.

Spiders, Gargoyles, and Llamas – Oh My!

ohmy

Tarantulas make good pets because they are nice? That’s what the Spider Lady says on her interview with the Corner Correspondent at Meet Me at the Corner, a cool website that features virtual field trips from every corner of the world. Best part: kids are the tour guides.

Want to see the Empire State Building, learn the history of pizza, or meet some popular children’s book authors?  I do! The videos are short (average is less than five minutes), and extremely interesting. I Just watched the interview with Kathleen Krull – I love her book series Giants of Science.

sculpturewill

This is a fun site, I can’t stop watching episodes. I first discovered Meet Me at the Corner back in 2007. Founded by mom/teacher/author Donna Guthrie, this site just keeps getting better. Need a spur of the minute field trip for the kiddos? There is lots to see and do at Meet Me at the Corner.

mappinsChildren are invited to submit videos of their corner of the world, so get your aspiring journalists and documentary film-makers to put together an interview or field trip of some thing special in their area.  Got some ideas? Ready, set, action….

readysetaction

New York: The World’s Best Food and a Surprise

My family and I just got back from a four day getaway in NYC.  We had a phenomenal time, saw Spiderman on broadway, and got soaked from the relentless rain downpour from tropical storm Andrea.  I’ll be blogging about our highlights, which were many. I love Manhattan, the natives were some of the friendliest folks I have met yet.  I may not be from the big city, but New York has always been my home.  Born in Central, live in Western, and can’t wait to get back to the heart of the big apple!

First stop: Mozzarelli’s – my hubby who has celiac disease was lucky to get the last two slices of G/F pizza.  His review: tasted good, crust nothing special.

mozzarelli's

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next meal: Otarian – A haven for vegans and vegetarians and even carnivores will be satisfied with the flavorful and creative wraps and sandwiches.  Big hit with the whole family, and of course, gluten-free items abound.

octarian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, for the surprise:  Korean BBQ. Yikes! Octopus tasted like cold, bland, chicken…blaah for me.  Rest of the food: thumbs up.  You can see my son’s face reacting to the octopus.

bbq3

bbq2

This the food that makes my gang happy:

pizza

The pizza at this restaurant was super, hubby got a delightful salad, and they forgot to put the pepperoni on our pie so they took it off our bill.  We love you Bella Vita!

bellavita

A trip to NYC  is not complete without a stop on Bleeker Street. Here we are at the award winning Risotteria’s.  What?! Gluten-Free breadsticks, happiness!

risotteria

risotta

Ok, so we just finish late lunch at the risotto bar, and thirty minutes later we see John’s. Best pizza in NYC? We had to find out. John’s is a frequent stop for the locals and celebrities.  I wonder if Johnny Depp sat at our booth?

john's pizza

family eating

We love you too John’s and your pizza gets the Davis Pizza Guru’s (Garrison) stamp of approval!

john's

And for the finale, Rocco’s for fine pastries, hand filled cannoli’s, and gluten free cookies.

roccos roccorest

Couldn’t leave without bringing home some coffee and sweets.

I love New York.

coffee NYC cupcakes