Thursday, May 28, 2015

~ creativity ~

I've written on the subject of creative constipation once before, but like many subjects, simply writing about it did not cure it for good (dammit).  So yet again I find myself suffering from those pesky feelings of inadequacy and can feel the creative sections of my brain drying up and crumbling away as every un-creative minute slowly passes by.

Now.  What's to do about it?  Judging from the multitude of articles titled "12 Ways to Unleash Your Creativity," "How to Be Creative," and (my personal favorite) "5 Things I Did To Get Out of a Creative Dry Spell," this is a common problem, and although those articles can theoretically help someone, I found myself rolling my eyes until I got dizzy.  So to remedy my dizziness and actually help myself (and help you, too), here is my list of ways to get through a creative dry spell/rut/mud puddle/area of quick sand/etc.

1. Acknowledge that it exists and absolutely SUCKS.  Say it to yourself out loud in a mirror three times.  This sucks, this sucks, this sucks.  Gone yet?  If so, congratulate yourself on a job well done and go celebrate with a glass of your preferred beverage while I silently judge you.
If step 1 did not solve all of your problems, then join the club and move on to step 2.

2.  Ignore the advice of many self-help articles and take your mind completely off of your creativity (or lack thereof).  This can be through yoga, meditation, or possibly knife throwing (if you're not the type who can visualize your creative blockage quietly melting away).  Whatever takes your mind off your troubles and keeps you fully occupied.

3.  Get OUT of your studio.  And if you don't have a studio, get your supplies out of sight.  Move the jar of paint brushes that is permanently stored on your bathroom counter.  Shove the stack of blank canvases out into the hallway so they can no longer torment you with their emptiness.  For the time being, unfollow all of the incredible artists on instagram that you cannot help but be slightly envious of.  Wallow in your self-pity alone and without your camera perched on your bed-side table, cruelly reminding you that you haven't picked it up in three weeks.

4.  Allow yourself to freak out and fully suspect that the Art Gods are mad at you and have punished you with an eternity empty of creativity.  Repeat step 1 and then move on to step 5.

5. Know that no matter how distant your creativity may seem, it will eventually get tired of tormenting you and return home.  Creativity, like the motivation to work out, ebbs and flows (though in the case of motivation to work out, mine has been on a constant ebb for several months now).  One week it will be there, comfortably relaxing in your brain, and the next week it will be far, far away, sipping a piƱa colada on the beach and not concerned in the least with your well-being.

So, the lesson to be learned here?

Freaking out when your creativity packs up and leaves is a totally normal reaction.  But don't freak out too much.  It will be back eventually, unaware that you were every concerned about its location, and your life will return to normal.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

~ emancipation day ~

Today, throughout Florida, people celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation being read, and it was beautiful.  I attended a ceremony and reenactment of the reading downtown at the Knott House, the exact location where it was read 150 years ago.  On every face in the crowd of people was a look of true understanding and appreciation - something that I'm glad to have seen first-hand.

It was so wonderful to run into old friends and make new acquaintances, all under a canopy of oak trees and a mellow blue sky.

I wore my favorite hat (although, as one might point out, I call every hat my favorite), partially because I love it to death, but mostly to keep the sun out of my face, since the afternoon sun turns me into a tomato.

And it's now officially the time of year where jeans are just out of the question (unless you like to have sweaty thighs), so a skirt was my only option.

I spoke to many people today, which not only restored my often-dwindling hope for the human race, but reinforced my strong belief that vintage clothing and vintage accessories can truly start conversations.  It was so heart-warming to have half a dozen people come up to me to ask about my hat and talk about their experiences with (and love for) clothing.  I met people whose kind words will follow me for years and lift me up when I have a bad case of the Blahs.

What a beautiful day.


Friday, May 15, 2015

~ chicka chicka boom boom ~

If you're one of the poor souls who didn't grow up on Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers movies and think that music from the 40s is boring and outdated, then let me catch you up on a bit of history and introduce you to the coolest lady who ever walked this earth in platform shoes and a headdress made out of fruit.

Meet Carmen Miranda.  Now go to google images and drool over all of her amazing costumes.

Carmen Miranda (Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha) was born in 1909 in Portugal and moved to Rio de Jeneiro when she was only a baby.  Her father was abusive towards her mother and highly disapproved of Carmen's love for performing, but her mother supported her passionately.  When her sister got sick and was sent away, Carmen started working in a hat shop to help pay for her medical bills - she later opened her own hat shop, which continued until she was discovered in 1929 and by the next year she was the most popular singer in Brazil.  She is widely considered to be the first Brazilian pop star and recorded nearly 300 songs in her career.

If you know her at all, you probably recognize her for her iconic style (fruit headdress, platform shoes, colorful beads, etc.) but she did not adopt this style until 1939.  If you haven't seen her first American film, Down Argentina Way, go watch it now.  Seriously.

She was in 14 American films in total, but also stared in many Brazilian films, however towards the end of her career, many Brazilians felt she was becoming too "Americanized."  But being the strong woman she was, she responded by recording a song called "Disseram que Voltei Americanizada" (or "They Say I've Come Back Americanized").  After WWII, her career began to dim, as the American peoples' tastes slowly changed.

Her personal life was wrought was sadness - from an abusive marriage, to a miscarriage, to years of depression and drug use.  When she died after suffering from a heart attack, the Brazilian government declared a national period of mourning. 

My deep love for Carmen Miranda has been festering since I was 8.  I have a clear memory of cleaning my room (which from the years 2000-2006 was a lost cause) and singing to her music at the top of my lungs.  That was the same year I discovered high heels and Revlon lipstick, and all three (as you can clearly see) had a huge impact on my life.

Though I may be quite a bit older and several inches taller (but every bit obsessed with platforms as I was then), I still occasionally pull out my handmade headdress (which took a lot of hot glue and a lot of fake fruit), slap on her greatest hits, and shimmy around my room with a vacuum cleaner in tow.

Oh Carmen, how I love you.  Thank you for being such a big part of my life.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

~ honor flight ~

Last weekend I had the honor (get it?) of attending the welcome home reception for nearly 80 WWII, Vietnam, and Korea veterans after their visit to Washington D.C. with Honor Flight (more information here).

{vintage dress, Miss L Fire shoes}

My grandfather was never able to go on the flight - something that I think he would have loved, despite complaining the whole way there - so attending the welcome home party was a way to honor him, along with the other veterans.

As their plane taxied in, the Tallahassee Swing Band played them the top hits from the 40s.  

What a beautiful night!