For weeks and weeks and weeks, I’ve been hounding myself to go back through my notebooks and copy out everything significant. I finally got around to doing it today but only managed to plough through three of five. I’m going to make an attempt (so no promises!) to try and do a ‘Things From The Pages Of My Notebook’ post once a week, else they’ll end up being ridiculously vast posts. Like this one. Congratulations to those who make it to the end!
*Note: You may notice some of the quotes have been left without a name attached. Almost all of the time, I link an author’s name to a quote, but sometimes, it happens that I forget. If you know the author of a quote with ‘unknown’ next to it, please do let me know!
Creative Things To Do And Reflect On
Write a song in homage to Pet Sematary / The King’s book is, hands down, the most petrifying books I’ve ever read. And the original from 1989 is a masterpiece, and nobody, not nobody, can tell me otherwise.
Look into the systems other writers use to file their research notes / I like to think I’m organised, though I’m so far from it that it’s really quite tragic.
I want to achieve an absurd rate of creative productivity / And I’ll do anything I need to in order to accomplish this.
I need long periods of uninterrupted thinking / If I don’t get my quiet time to think, I’m the world’s biggest bitch to be around.
I don’t want my attention span to be fragmented / Talked about this in length before. It’s still something I need to check in with regularly.
Producing outstanding creative work is the source of my greatest fulfilment, generates the most value for me and needs to be my top priority / Word.
Questions To Ask Myself
What is wildly important to me?
My schedule is busy, but how much actual value am I producing?
(Most of these tips came from Sorelle Amore’s new book Take Your Selfie Seriously. While I learned a couple of things, it was, sadly, a disappointment overall. I was expecting much more.)
Do a photo series with a single prop.
Study what makes images stand out for me. Take note of what kind of images make me stop in my tracks.
Spend time thinking about how you can be different from everything else out there.
Keep a strong pose but relax your face.
Pull your shoulders back and down.
Angle your chin down.
Have a maximum of three elements in an image to keep the clutter down.
When editing a monochrome image, make it punchier by boosting the blacks and decreasing the greys.
Take a picture you haven’t seen before.
The Jealous Curator / I’m intrigued to the max by Danielle Krysa and her blog The Jealous Curator (and her podcast…and books) where she turns ‘jealously into get-your-ass-back-in-the-studio inspiration.’ Though I’m pissed, mightily so, that I didn’t think of the idea first.
Chanie Wenjack / I can’t remember in which book I read about the tragic story of Wenjack, but I feel a pull towards him and need to know more about his life. He was an Ojibwe First Nations boy who ran away from his residential school and tried to make his way home. But home was 370 miles away, and he died of exposure and starvation.
Tremella Mesenterica AKA Witches Butter / This jelly fungus was called ‘witches butter’ because it was allegedly used to put hexes on people. Go and put Tremella Mesenterica into Google and swoon over how weirdly beautiful it is. Don’t worry. I’ll still be here.
Guising / I’m itching to look into the history of the term ‘guising.’ In old times, people would be guising, i.e. dressing up, to keep themselves safe from wandering spirits.
Witch Bottles / My knowledge of witch bottles is shamefully meagre. I want to change that.
The Life And Drum Of Anders Poulsen / Anders Poulsen (died 1692) was a Sami shaman and a victim of the Vardø witch trials. During the Christianization of the Sami people, his drum was taken from him by force, and he was put on trial for following the Pagan Sami shamanism religion. However, before he was sentenced he was murdered by a fellow prisoner suffering from insanity. I believe Poulsen’s drum is in a museum. I just need to find out which one.
Eat More Brain Foods
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dark chocolate
- Fox by Martin Wallen
- Whale by Joe Roman
- Bear by Robert E Bieder
- Crow by Boria Sax
- Deer by John Fletcher
- Hare by Simon Carnell
- Moose by Kevin Jackson
- Wolf by Garry Marvin
- Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier
- Creatix by Lucy H Pearce
- The Shallows by Nicholas Carr
- Rapt by Winifred Gallagher
- The Food Almanac by Miranda York
- Essays In Love by Alain De Botton.
- The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp.
“The long run is over, but your footsteps echo still.” Mark Rowlands
“The polar bear is almost paranormally quiet.” – Kieran Mulvaney
“A glimpse is all we have in this life.” – Unknown.
“In the hours past midnight, all honest people are in bed.” – Roger Ekirich
“For I belong to the forests and solitude.” – Knut Hamsun
“My heart is not a home for cowards.” – D. Antoinette Foy
“My centre of gravity has moved North.” – Unknown.
“A witch is the shadow cast by every woman you’ve ever known.” – Pam Grossman.
“I serve the devil and I do so gladly.” – Isobel Gowdie.
“We ARE the magic.” – Unknown.
“My plan for the rest of my life is to set myself on fire with enthusiasum so people will come for miles to watch me burn. I. Will. Roar. For. Nature. – Unknown.
“The smooth skull of winter.” – Gretel Ehrlich
“You must suffer for metal. It demands it.” – Erik, Nifelheim.
“The Great Nature is embarrassed by the white men who have come to live with us.” – Sorqaq (Shaman)
“Listening in wild places, we are audiences in conversations not our own.” Robin Wall Kimmerer
“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver.
Creatives, The Creative Process & Focus
“When I can’t make progress, it is often because I am mentally scattered. This happens when I am overcommitted or have a schedule without any breathing space in it.” – Jessica Bell.
“The morning is the best time, there are no people around. My pleasant disposition likes the world with nobody in it.” Georgia O’Keeffe.
“A writer must be hard to live with. When no working he is miserable, and when he is working he is obsessed.” – Edward Abbey.
“Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, in order to be violent and original in your work.” – Gustave Flaubert.
“I’ll live the focused life, because it’s the best kind there is.” Winifred Gallagher
“I do what gnaws at me.” – Diane Arbus.
“The more you try to do, the less you actually accomplish.” –
“I write for my own astonishment.” –
From the Book Deep Work by Cal Newport
“What the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation.” – Nicholas Carr.
…network tools are distracting us from work that requires unbroken concentration, while simultaneously degrading our capacity to remain focused.
To succeed you have to produce the absolute best stuff you’re capable of producing – a task that requires depth.
Deepwork is the superpower of the 21st Century.
Create things that matter.
Invest in sound-blocking headphones.
Sometimes to go deep, you must first go big.
3-4 hours a day, 5 days a week, of uninterrupted and carefully directed concentration can produce and lot of valuable output.
Ruthlessly cull the shallow.
A deep life is a good life.
Depth will become increasingly rare and therefore increasingly valuable.
The idea that I can ever reach a point where all my obligations are handled is a fantasy.
When you work, work hard. When you’re done, be done.
Efforts to deepen your focus will struggle if you don’t simultaneously wean your mind from a dependence on distraction.
Take back control of your time and attention from the many diversions that attempt to steal them.
You have limited time and attention. Make it count.
Be stingy with your time; don’t waste it on things that just don’t matter.
Be very cautious about the use of the dangerous word ‘yes.’
Become ruthless at turning down time-consuming commitments.
Keep. On. Task.
Leave to distracted masses and join the focused few.
From The Book Perennial Seller By Ryan Holiday
Audiences often need to hear about things multiple times and be exposed to them from multiple angles before they’re willing to give something a chance.
The best marketing you can do for your book is to start writing the next one.
More great work is the best way to market yourself.
Have your customer anticipation grow bigger.
Create bodies of work that allow you to reach new fans as well as continue to serve and bring joy to your existing audiences.
You must create, create, create.
Only engage with ideas that have the opportunity to be perennial.
Collaborate to swap audiences.
Don’t be afraid to try crazy things.
Some people are not your fans and never will be.
The more you do, the harder you work, the luckier you seem to get.
From A Spell In The Wild by Alice Tarbuck
“Magic is difficult to talk about.”
“There are things in the woods that can cure you, there are things in the woods that can kill you.”
“Magic is in us always.”
And like the seasons, you bud and blossom, fruit and die back.
June appears, bright and strange, out of May’s gentleness.
Midsummer is the time of the looking glass, of things not being quite as they appear.
Keep going, our cards, runes, I Ching tell us, keep going, as the world turns, and be brave. All things will change. All things will come. Nothing will be as it was before. And we’ll be here.
Things To Weave Into My Writing (These sparks were just randomly floating in my notebook.)
I think of you alone in your cold hole.
The night season.
Empty the pockets of night.
We don’t live long, do we?
Why are you so haunted?
They’re coming out of the woods in their hundreds.
This time of long nights.
It’s because you’re a witch.
You can’t outrun a wolf.
I’ve gone out without my skin on,
Candle made from the fingers of a still-born child.
There are bats in my hair, entangled, hanging there.
In the blackthorn thicket.
Of the dead, you are not.
Talk turns to ghosts and dreadful things.
All the hollow trees.
Far into the woods where the light fails.
Climb my family tree.
Get home before candle lighting.
It’s not enough to keep the wolf away.
I’m on the edge of things.
Undertaken in the devil’s name.
Leaving the rest of the bear to rot on the ice.
So you’re really lost in the woods.
The woods can remember the wolves.
Go not near her. She is of witching way.
Another dead witch.
Things I Learned
Mosquitoes can kill an unprotected newborn caribou calf within hours.
When the moon was full, women were thought at particular risk to become lunatics.
The word bonfire comes from Ireland, where the bones of livestock would be burned and the fires called ‘bone fires.’
We do not know the origin of the word troll.
Nyctophobia – Feeling of dread caused by darkness.