Revisit ~ VOL2 ISSUE7 PROMPT40 #WKWAB

Greetings Creatives,

Why do we revisit?

fear + Reflection + presence

riverbank near my home

Jen Apgar asked if I ever listened to past episodes of Chasing Squirrels Podcast.

I was caught off balance by the question mostly because I had not really considered going back to revisit any of the conversations. It was enough for me to know that they happened and that I was there for them.

Whenever I scanned through the podcast guest list I could recall the broad scope of each conversation, but few specific details. That felt okay though, somehow knowing that I had been in the room was enough.

This got me thinking about how I learn. It also raised some fear about the act of remembering.

Nostalgia has always seemed dangerous to me. The ingredients are fickle; a loose composite of memory, fantasy, emotion, interpretation, stabilized by inertia, subject to change, and labelled with a ‘do not shake’ label.

My default comfort zone is a constant state of motion. Looking backward while moving forward poses some risk.

This constant stirring has side effects. I detach easily. I wander endlessly. I lose time regularly. And I travel lightly.

On one hand I am polymathic and on the other I have some pretty deep commitment issues.

When we talk about reflective practice, why is it that we approach it in chronological terms?

Is it for safety? Is it for efficiency? Is it honest?

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while…” STeve Jobs

https://www.wired.com/1996/02/jobs-2/

growth + conscience + criticism

I do not take criticism well.

This has been noticed by several key people in both my professional and personal life.

Having trust in the individual helps the medicine go down, but does not always assure that I make space to grow from it.

Growing up I was hyperaware and sensitive to people giving me feedback on my creative work.

People that I trusted with my creative side were cruel and offered critical observations, not functional advice.

I have come to realize that my relationship to my work is fragile.

trust + mistrust + dissonance

every year
i believe.
every year
i forget.
every year
i expect that
flowers will grow.

Garden work is a perfect metaphor.

shame + joy + forgiveness

This poem scares me.

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools: …

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46473/if—

‘Ifs’ play a large role in how I navigate the world.

As a kid, considering the ‘if’ of a moment or a decision meant that I was prepared to suffer a loss.

I have lived a very confident zero-sum existence.

This past year has been hyper-focused on zero-sum, thinking, just less confident.

What scares me in this poem is the reminder that both logic and intuition are at play in my life.

Also, in this poem is the jaw dropper that agency is neutral and in itself is not an assurance of success.

It is more of a fork in the road kind of moment. The kind of moment that pops up in Frost’s poem too.

And I have come to appreciate the difference between ‘if’ there is a fork in the road and ‘if’ I go into the forest, knowing that I will be presented with forks in the road.

All I can claim is a mastery in the act of choosing, not actually choosing the best option.

My choices during this last year need to be questionable.

But walking back into that forest in order to recheck my path?

We’ll see.

If you are interested in attending a monthly Words Keep Wolves At Bay meet-up let me know.

Please drop a comment below and we can make arrangements for you to share your email with me. 

The link for monthly digital meetups will be shared on the day of meeting.  Meetups are on the 3rd Friday of each month at 8:00 PM. 

UPCOMING MEETING DATES AND SUGGESTED TOPICS 
July 16 -  Loved and Lost. Pieces that broke, burned, or bothered you. 
August 20 - Supporting people who don't support your Creative. 
September 17 - Can I have more ham? Eff you it's called Prosciutto. And other misunderstandings. 
October 15 - Ozymandias 
November 19 - Baring bones. The structure of a Creative. 
December 17 - Polymath 

Post your work wherever you feel most safe and tag it with #wkwab. 

Feel free to let other peeps know about our circle. This circle is not just for words, please explore any element of your creativity. 

Consider the 'Words' in #wkwab to be our ongoing conversation and fellowship in this space. 

Be well,
Cluff

Begin ~ VOL2 ISSUE6 PROMPT38 #WKWAB

Greetings Creatives,

How to begin?

comfort + confusion + connection

This challenge constantly sits in front of me and begs for attention.

My usual response is to grab a paintbrush or a pencil or a marker and start scribbling.

To ‘make’ is a very comfortable response.

I have journals filled with pieces of beginnings.

I have more beginnings than tidy endings.

Often, I will give far too much to the starting of things without getting to the discipline of delivering. This cycle of creation has lead to many rabbit holes. And like many rabbit holes, there aren’t always rabbits to be found.

Sometimes though, other things have taken refuge in the safety of the space.

Melanie White lit up my rabbit hole chasing cycle with this post Loose Ends. About her journals, she writes –

“I grab them nearly unconscious as I intend to transfer these notes to the agenda, or the journal, or well, one of the four or five colour coded journals that I now have begun, nearly finished, tried to label and keep separate for the many different roles that I play. But, it hasn’t worked. The journals aren’t separated by my role or the club or the plan. My thoughts are not organized in these journals. Instead, notes spread from one journal to the next like salad dressing staining each task with some taste of a thought from another time or place. It’s all blown apart now, each club coming to a close, each class nearing an end.

https://reflectingonrecreation.wordpress.com/2021/06/01/loose-ends-sol2021/

Blown apart, stained, and still spreading pretty much sums up my creative process.

Ambiguous and aimless could also be added to the descriptor list.

ambiguity + rhythms + compartments

Our school year has routed down into my creative consciousness and conscience in really messy ways. Systems that break down sometimes do not give any notification. No status reports. No analytics. No rationale.

The stories from the families and students that I support are like this. So many beginnings, no tidy endings. No safe harbour.

May 29th is my dad’s birthday. He would have celebrated his 76th. Each year FB asks me if I want to wish him a Happy Birthday. I don’t, but others still do.

I was mentioning to my Spoken Word crew that Pete keeps popping up in my poetry lately; without invitation and seemingly without reason.

The rhythms of the monthly tides must be pulling him into me. Like the gusts and waves that Melanie mentions in her piece and I have been trying to go with their flow.

It was important to mention to my poetry crew that sometimes I have to push my dad out of the room for a bit. I spend quite a bit of time with him while I meditate or while I walk in the forest. For my mental health, I sometimes have to book time with him.

He is a rabbit hole. A very engaging and bottomless rabbit hole.

truth + attention + devotion

This past week the number 215 was made real as I worked in my garden. The news from Kamloops was grim.

I fell into the camp of white privileged thinkers of being stunned and saddened. The understanding that flags at half mast would follow as would the wearing of orange t-shirts served up a heaping reminder of systems at work. And systems broken.

Some folx posted on socials that tributes are performative. Others needed a sea of orange to float on.

As I sat in my yard with my hands in the dirt, mulling whether to top up or just to turn it over this year, I examined my impulses to react. I wondered what would be a safe response. Wondered what the right response would be. I wondered where to start.

Attention is the beginning of Devotion.” ~Mary Oliver

https://www.theexaminedlife.org/library/upstream-selected-essays/

Devotion for me often has a slowing affect. Like the moments of kneeling in my garden and pausing a moment longer before I pushed the spade in, to lift fallow corners anew. Sunday I spent time just sitting, holding rocks and twigs. I imagined me reaching out to the families, friends, descendants.

I tried to imagine history as an active emotional state.

I imagined.

Rolland Chidiac and I often talk about fictional products that could be associated with our podcast. We talk about ’empathy engines’ and how a wearable piece of tech could help people share emotional truth. And in sharing it directly while it is happening, empathy could be created in real time, simultaneously between people.

The profundity of accepting and knowing that these children still live in memory is essential to whatever next steps we take.

Someone posted- ‘I have long accepted that today is everyday.’

How do we begin to understand that the beginning we notice for ourselves, is not the beginning for others?

One possible path popped up in my Twitter feed.

https://twitter.com/ArnallLabrador/status/1399146640901091344?s=20

Be well,

Cluff

If you are interested in attending a monthly Words Keep Wolves At Bay meet-up, please drop a comment below and we can make arrangements for you to share your email with me.

The link for monthly digital meetups will be shared on the day of meeting. 

Meetups are on the 3rd Friday of each month at 8:00 PM.

UPCOMING MEETING DATES AND SUGGESTED TOPICS

June 18 - Light and Dark. Creating balance.
July 16 -  Loved and Lost. Pieces that broke, burned, or bothered you.
August 20 - Supporting people who don't support your Creative.
September 17 - Can I have more ham? Eff you it's called Prosciutto. And other misunderstandings.
October 15 - Ozymandias
November 19 - Baring bones. The structure of a Creative.
December 17 - Polymath

Post your work wherever you feel most safe and tag it with #wkwab.

Feel free to let other peeps know about our circle.

This circle is not just for words, please explore any element of your creativity. Consider the 'Words' in #wkwab to be our ongoing conversation and fellowship in this space.

NOISE ~ WKWAB VOL2 ISSUE5 PROMPT37

Greetings Creatives,

What is noise?

VOICE+ECHOLOCATION+IDENTITY

I remember working in a classroom where adaptive technology was used. The students would speak using the voice assistive software on their iPads.

If the students spoke to me while my back was turned, I could not readily distinguish the ‘who’ behind the voice or where the voice came from. Mentally mapping the room helped me to locate the speaker sometimes.

We hadn’t adjusted the synth voice in any customized way. All students sounded the same, all the time.

I have often thought about the missed opportunity to explore the identities of our students.

MEMORY+JOY+GRIEF

Over the course of the last year my auditory memory has been wiped.

I have difficulty bringing to mind some of the sensual indicators of being in a school.

Yesterday I went into the school to gather my last bits of office miscellanea. I figured it would be a quick in and out since most of my gear had already come home before the April break.

It wasn’t quick though.

The smells and sounds and absence of sounds slowed me. I noticed a deep difference between what I knew about school and what I now understand.

COMMUNITY+SYMPHONY+MOVEMENT

A friend was telling me about her garden. She was recounting how spotty her success had been in actually growing plants.

She attributed her results to lack of watering and bad soil.

I asked her which plants do you spend more time with? Which do you listen to more? Which plants are planted close together? Which are further apart?

She laughed and said that she rarely spends time in and around her entire garden. But noted that the plants closest to the deck seemed to be more healthy.

CREATIVITY+COORDINATION+CONNECTION

I am not a great listener.

I tend to do it way too fast. My monkey brain is constantly chattering and prompting me to jump in instead of waiting my turn.

This has an impact on my memory. Most times because I am not actively taking in and beholding what is said to me, I miss the point and I lose important parts of what was shared.

Being in time, in tempo, in the moment is constant work for me. But when I get it right the sense of wholeness in the moment can sometimes be breathtaking.

Be well,

Cluff

If you are interested in attending a monthly Words Keep Wolves At Bay meet-up, please drop a comment below and we can make arrangements for you to share your email with me.

The link for monthly digital meetups will be shared on the day of meeting. 

Meetups are on the 3rd Friday of each month at 8:00 PM.

UPCOMING MEETING DATES AND TOPICS

May 21 - Secret stories. Private pieces in public.
June 18 - Light and Dark. Creating balance.
July 16 -  Loved and Lost. Pieces that broke, burned, or bothered you.
August 20 - Supporting people who don't support your Creative.
September 17 - Can I have more ham? Eff you it's called Prosciutto. And other misunderstandings.
October 15 - Ozymandias
November 19 - Baring bones. The structure of a Creative.
December 17 - Polymath

All past prompts are posted here. 

Post your work wherever you feel most safe and tag it with #wkwab.

Feel free to let other peeps know about our circle.

This circle is not just for words, feel free to explore any element of your creativity. Consider the 'Words' in #wkwab to be our ongoing conversation and fellowship in this space.