Category Archives: Be-League-er

Day Late, Dollar Short

Hello patient readers.

I took a bigger break than I thought.  The thing about depression is it can be sneaky and it can be crippling and it can take a long time to notice that you are there.  I’m not really out of the woods if I’m honest.

But!  I’ve been thinking about Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Outliers” because I’m reading it for the first time and it gives me hope that the strange and diverse situations in my life are preparing me for something particularly.

It’s been hard for me to Make Art lately.  In fact, it’s been hard for me to do anything but play World of Warcraft without intense obsessive compulsive thoughts and behaviors kicking in.  It’s this time of transition where so much is up in the air: the direction of my job, where I’m going to live, the situations of the people around me.

So, you know what?  I can’t do that anymore right now.  I have to care about things, and make things, and sing things and I’m not sure how I’m going to do that yet, but what I do know is I need my fellow Leaguers… so the treehouse is open again! ❤

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The Color of the Wallpaper in my Head

I see a specific shade of blue and I think of a Charles Vess comic.  I see another shade of blue combined with marigold and a Chanel lipstick red and I think of Wes Anderson.  I don’t think of the artist maybe as much as I do the way their art made me feel at a certain time.

It’s almost like when you hear a turn of phrase and think “Oh, that’s so Wodehouse” or that feeling that Chesterton would have phrased it in a similar way.  Or you see something quiet and startling in the spring and know you have wandered unknowing into a Neruda poem.

Color is different though.  There’s something about color that lift your heart and dashes it all at once.  The best writing speaks in color.

I am so much an infant still sometimes because I see something beautiful and I want to put it into my mouth.  Not to eat it, just because I feel like if I could take it in I would understand it better.  I am not sure if anyone else has that impulse, or if I’m just sort of regressed.

Patrick Rothfuss writes in green.  Neil Gaiman and Madeleine L’Engle write in the colors of Moonlight.

Paint is so difficult to shape into colors that make sense.  I am always in awe of painters.

This last weekend I was laid flat with a pressure headache and didn’t make it outside as I wished, nor could I draw or paint.  But as I thought about color and saturation, hue and contrast, Robert Frost just ran through my head over and over… “I have been one acquainted with the night”.  I don’t know what color the poem is, but I feel like I have been one acquainted with color. Perhaps some day we shall be friends. rcw600x600

 

Between meh and blah.

I haven’t even journalled this week.  I have been really tired, fighting some combination of virus and hormones that makes me feel like I’m at war with my own body.  The most creative thing I’ve done all week is place stickers on my new laptop.

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My personal brain takes this as a signal to come up with All The Ideas.  It goes between unreasonable amount of activity for how tired I am and super whiny.  I never know if this is a particular quirk of my manic depression or if that’s just how it goes for creative folk, and I don’t know that it makes a difference.

Have you ever been so relieved to be home and so relieved to be away from your desk at work staring at a screen, but then all you have energy to do is watch TV?  Last night I couldn’t even watch TV properly, I curled up in bed and watched Travel Man on YouTube because Richard Ayoade is one of the most interesting creative people I can think of in Television.

Anyway, it is Friday and I’m looking forward to this weekend, and if you have some great journal pages from this week, why not post them in the comments?  They’d cheer me up mightily!

Bells on Her Fingers… Bells on Her Toes…

It’s Friday and I’m a little fried.  I want to listen to The Cure and read fiction and be in bed, but that is tomorrow’s activity docket. (Okay, so I might listen to The Cure while at work).

I haven’t drawn all week, either.  You ever get the feeling when you don’t draw your hands ache?  When I don’t play music my hands itch sometimes, when I don’t draw; they ache. I sometimes feel like I don’t have much choice in being a creative person, it was decided long before I was born.  I used to think of it as creative compulsion, but now I just think it’s who I am and that’s my lot.  Usually I’m grateful for it.

Sometimes it is hard to go about my normal day.  I’ve gotten over the not doing art for a living thing, I changed my perspective on that and I’m pretty good with working a normie job.  It’s more that my brain comes alive when I solve something at work and starts to compose a song or lay out a painting and it’s super distracting.  Sometimes I’m able to jot it down but often I have to turn it off and just lose the kernel of it.  It’s that trade off that we make sometimes in life, and I haven’t found a balance for it yet.

It’s been a week full of that, so I’m sure I will creatively explode this weekend… and I’ll post the results.

TGIF, y’all.

Social Media Blues

I wanted to write about devotional spaces and art spaces today, but I just don’t have it in me.  I’m working really hard to not care so much about external forces on my thoughts, but once you put them out in the world, it is difficult not to care how they land.

Sometimes I wonder if Social Media has ruined me for sharing art.  The biggest problem with Social Media is that I always seem to find out something sad and dark and disappointing about someone I love. But it leads me to question,  if they can say such vile things, how did I ever trust them with my thoughts or heart or company?

It starts to affect everything I put out there.  I tailor my Facebook statuses to not attract that kind of exchange, and it feels vapid… and still they come. The pedantic, the ignorant, the blindly political, the angry.  How come it’s harder to love someone on Social Media?  Does it bring out our worst, or does it break through our carefully constructed facade?

Yet, there’s all sorts of creative release in Social Media too.  Artists can share directly with their fan-base,  there are good thoughts and discussions to be had.  So it feels as if I would throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater to eschew the platform completely.

And yet it makes me weary.  I start to question if there’s a point to Art and Beauty in such a world, where people who have chosen to befriend each other engage in such rabid egotistical written pummeling.

Sorry guys, I wanted Monday to be cheerful and well researched, but sometimes that is just not something I can work up, even though I spent a lot of time on the groundwork for it.  I probably need to spend more time in my devotional spaces and art spaces to mitigate the social spaces.  I just feel like I do that an awful lot as an introvert already.

 

My First “Leaguer” Blog Post

emotion It has been said people remember not what you do, but how you made them feel.  I’m not a “quick to make you feel at ease” type of person.  I pull no punches and say awkward things at the most inappropriate times.  I also have a habit of saying too much all at once (too often).  I am only aware of these instances  after the moment has passed.  Most of the time I have an objective, or a goal to accomplish because I see right through all the bull, the masks and the lies people tell themselves for their objectives and goals. Nevertheless, I have become more aware of the havoc I create by acting as my own form of “The Justice League” instead of looking within myself.  I think I am helping someone when in reality, I am only serving myself.  It’s a delicate balance to develop a social filter.

I serve at The Rock Church every Sunday either as a camera person or a Producer.  I enjoy serving – A LOT.  I like to observe worship with all the lights, the sounds and multitudes raising their arms in submission.  I get all teary in a way that “allows” me to feel when I see others acknowledge the Spirit moving about the room.  This is only a recent revelation.  Why?

I’m saying “I” a lot here because focusing on myself is something I love to avoid to the point of making all emotion unavailable.  This is an extremely slow process that happens over a very long time of isolation – even in the midst of those who love me or crowds of people.  I cannot confidently say I “feel” anything in between ultimate joy or acute fear unless lazy is counted on an emotion.   This is something I want to change desperately. Specifically for the reason that people I interact with on a regular basis do not know how to read me.  I mean, it’s getting pretty bad when someone approaches me with a puzzled look on their face when they ask “How are things?”.

Emotion is a scary thing.  It creates anarchy in the brain when unchecked and isolation when it’s out of balance.  Emotion when it is in balance allows us to enhance the human experience by sharing life through joy or empathy.  I recently RE-learned that smiling, genuinely smiling, more often – affects everyone around me.  Which brings me to the core of my fear – I don’t like to be responsible for someone else’s unhappiness, rejection or dissatisfaction.  Choosing not to react is an odd choice to make slowly over time.

Serving and spending more time in the Word has gently helped me to face the way God sees me.  Since I stopped reacting to how the world sees me I am feeling mostly peaceful but I admit I am still way out of balance.  I’m far from feeling burnt out because when I serve or study I feel one step closer to the person God created me to be.  empty full

My So-Called Writing Life

Photo by Horia Varlan
Photo by Horia Varlan

Hello and welcome! I’m League-er Erin and I describe myself as an “Author, Blogger and Mom.” Right now that sums me up pretty well and I’m immensely happy about that.

I’ve been writing since I was around twelve years old (I’m now in my thirties) and it has been a part of me of ever since. Writing is my way of expressing myself and also working through a problem. I can’t (or shouldn’t) go too long without writing or I get a bit jumbled in the head. It can be a string of sentences, a completed story, a journal entry, a letter…as long as it’s words on paper, it’s going to help me process life. Writing has been my shining rope dangling down into deep, dark pits of depression. It’s been my BFF that lives a universe away, where we can see each other once every five years and still be on the same wavelength. It’s how I’ve handled death, sadness, happiness, confusion…the list goes on and on. Basically, I am writing and writing is me.

I’m a Christian and I went to many churches where your “God-given talent” was encouraged to be used to benefit the church. Makes sense, I get it.  But anything other than that was…well…not really considered or encouraged. For example: “Oh, you’re a writer? Here’s the church newsletter!” But from a fairly early age, I took my own interpretation of this and expanded upon it. I can recognize my gift for writing is a blessing I’ve been given (sorry, not trying to sound egotistical here. I’ve written plenty of stuff that has sucked, trust me.) but I’m not limited to just using it “for church.” In other words, if I write a story that does not include themes of Christianity – that’s okay and I’m still a Christian. I’m still recognizing and honoring that I believe my ability to write is a gift from God.

I tend to write very descriptively (whether that’s good or bad, it’s your preference) in my stories. I can get right down to the very last detail of an image in my mind. I want my reader to see, smell, hear and taste what I’m writing. Sometimes my stories have an adult theme. Sometimes they are in the Children’s or Middle Grade genre. Sometimes they are Fantasy or Sci-fi. I want to let my characters speak for themselves, and yes, sometimes there is profanity. But no matter what, I believe I must be truthful. We live in a really beautiful world created for us and if I can portray that (the good and the bad) and connect with just one person, then I’ve done my job.

Well, that’s me. It’s taken me awhile to get to this point and understanding. It hasn’t always been easy and at times, it still isn’t. And I’m still learning. But I do know I’ll never limit myself or my art because that would make me feel like a fraud. It’s been encouraging and inspiring to meet other artists of faith who have similar outlooks on artistic expression and exploring how it is (and isn’t?) connected to our religious beliefs.

Preamble To A Beginning

See, we officially launch in January.  But it seems so sad to have a blank page in front of me online.  Which is such a change from when I get a new journal.  I love the possibility of maybe in a blank page, when I can smell the paper and an ink mark seems a dangerous thing.

That is not the case at all with a website. I’m so excited to build on the conversations and topics that The League has been mulling over in secret for years.  I’m excited to have a virtual tree house to throw pillows on the floor of and discuss beautiful silly sacred rough edged things over giant mugs of tea.  It’s a ridiculous image, maybe even a little too fusty for us.  But I can’t help that it is what I see.

Welcome.