Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cello, Blogs and Dogs

I have three things to talk about here, two of which are linked, and one of which is a complete non sequitur, but funny.

First - Thank you to everyone who posted links to my Cello Project vlog. If I had strings enough to make you each bracelets, I would. Alas, I have two, so my randomly chosen winners are:
apocalypticbob & Bea

Please email me via LJ with your snail mail address.  :)

Second - It's January, which means people are kicking off the new year with resolutions and goals and intentions up the yin and down the yang. I'm extremely interested in projects that, like the Cello Vlog, are creative and structured and totally attainable. There are many such projects going on this year. I have a few that you might like to check out and here they are:

Adam Posadas - The Proving Ground, where he will post short fiction and essays once per week. He's my brother, so I'll admit bias, but he's a talented writer with stories to tell. He's off to a strong start with one short and one essay to his name, both of which are pretty fantastic. Check him out!

Another LJ native, the_themiscyran has set a 52 challenge for herself - 52 creations in 52 weeks. I think this is a fantastic idea. There's no limit on what craft she picks from week to week. She might sew a skirt or write a haiku or perform death defying feats of ikebana (um, maybe not that last one). The sky's the limit and I know for a fact she has more than a few crafty skills to employ. 

2011 debut author Karen Mahoney (THE IRON WITCH...check it out) has resolved to write 250 words each day. That's roughly one page a day, or as Kaz says, "One. Stinkin. Page." This is one you can play along with so if you're a writer or working at becoming a writer, this is a great way to get yourself MOVING by staying STILL. Join Kaz's gang and put some words on paper! 

jenniferkos  - The Chrysalis Experiment, where three writers (Trisha, Jennifer, and Winter) will be posting one short story per week in 2011 using common prompts. They invite other writers looking for an opportunity to practice the craft and interested in finding beta readers and crit partners to participate. You can find details on how to join on their site. It's an excellent opportunity for writing in community, so check them out!

And third -
My dog on a vlog.
In the snow, don't ya know.
Because he won't
play the cello.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Reminders marching two by two

"To draw, you must close your eyes and sing." - Pablo Picasso

Just a quick reminder that the final edition of The Cello Project is up (here!) and comes with a small contest to mark the occasion. In addition to announcing the winners tomorrow, I'm also pulling together a blogroll of year long creative projects going on in 2011. If you've got one and you'd like to be creative in community, drop a link here or in the contest post and I'll include it.

"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." - Maya Angelou

We're posting like mad on Tangled Fiction. We kicked off the year with a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood called Lady of the Ax, and I've started a new piece this week called Strange Tongue. It's here, if you missed it, with more to come later today from Valerie.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Cello Project - December Edition

Finally, finally, finally! Ta-da!


As I said, I'm having a little contest with the dual goals of encouraging everyone kicking off the new year by activating creative powers, and doing something uniquely significant to the cello project. Though the Hairy Coo did a fabulous job of modeling one of the prizes, I'm posting pics of the two bracelets I'll be giving away for sure. 

Enter the Disclaimer!
I am not, nor have I ever been, a jeweler. I am a tinker and an optimistic one at that, so last night I chopped up two of my cello strings and made two bracelets.  I'm naming them after the strings they once were.

Bracelet in the Key of A...made first with nothing but the steal of the string.  This one is very flexible.

And Bracelet in the Key of C....made using the very end of the string to change things up a bit.  This one is less flexible due to girth of the string.

Leave a link to your qualifying post in a comment below.  Also, if you are embarking on a year long creative project of your own, leave me a link in the comments.  I'll be putting together a collection for a post at the end of January because blog projects are more fun in company.  Help me pimp your project!

And it occurs to me that I should have a deadline for this contest, so lets say one week - end of the day on Wednesday, January 19th.  Winners will be announced on Thursday.

And again, thank you, everyone, for making this such a fun project!  <3

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

197 Days

This is a post about resolutions (sort of) and motivation (mostly).

This year, I found a name for a condition that has irritated me for something like fifteen long years. I'm not talking about my inability to be calm in a dirty room, or my fear of jellyfish. I'm talking about cholinergic urticaria.

In short, I'm allergic to my own sweat.

My. Own. Sweat. O_O

Here's how it goes: I go on vacation or traveling for whatever reason and stop my daily exercise routine, stripping my body of all the natural steroids and antihistamines it builds up when I do things like run. I come back and am painfully aware that these things are missing. I eye my running shoes for a few days and so does Grendel and when I finally convince myself there's no way around it, I go running for the short ten minutes it takes for my body to become a bee hive of itchy pain and despair. Rinse. Repeat x 3, or until the itching subsides.

It's horrible. I'm not gonna lie. It's like jumping into a hot tub of pink insulation or giving yourself chicken pocks and trying not to scratch. And it's a great reason not to bother with anything that looks even remotely like calisthenics.

But it's a horrible excuse

I love running and I love being in shape. Zombie apocalypse aside, I love feeling comfortable in my own skin and knowing that I can run a few miles without getting winded or injured. It's important to me, but sometimes it's the hardest thing in the world. I've just come home from a very long trip to visit the family in Mississippi and while I was there, I got sick. Not a little sick. A lot sick, and even though I had all sorts of fitness-related intentions, the exercise didn't happen. In this case, the reason was a good excuse, but it lead to the same hurdle and the same process of getting psyched for the inevitable.

Now, I'm home and I'm on day 4 of the ITCH! PAIN! and SUFFERING! routine and I got to thinking about all of the conversations I've seen about resolutions and the new year.

To resolve or not to resolve? That is the question!

I think it's great that we have a time, a cultural pause point for people to stop and take stock of what's in the pantry. It's a good time to get rid of the canned goods that expired in 2007 and figure out if you like what you've been eating or if it's time to add more legumes to the mix. It also seems to be a time when people open up their garages and basements and attics and rediscover all the things they said they were going to do last year and never did for one reasonor another. It's disheartening and I see a lot of door slamming on the whole idea of resolutions happening because of precedent.

So here's the thing: resolutions aren't magic.

And here's the other thing: we change when we want to.

In 2010, one of my resolutions was to play my cello once a week. Over the course of this year, I ran up against twenty-six thousand reasons not to practice. For starters, having a full-time job, writing two novels, and traveling 44 days that year. Which left me with 321 days in which to practice, most of them work days. But all of my reasons felt like really shitty excuses and I found ways to make room for my cello even when it was easier not to.

The results! Of the 321 viable cello days in 2010, I practiced on 197 of them. I'm going to say it again because the number is pleasing to mine eye: 197 days for an average practice time of 30 minutes. That's 98.5 hours! My final video is in progress and forthcoming.

None of it happened because it was in a list of resolutions I posted last year. It happened because I wanted it to.

If you're making resolutions, I wish you wild and unabashed success pursuing the changes you want. And if you don't do resolutions, I wish you the same.

For myself, I want to keep doing more of the same in 2011 with a few changes that I'm not ready to speak aloud. 

Cheers, Everyone. And Happy 2011!

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