7 Parameters that Enhance a Daily Creative Practice

Here are a few parameters that help in creative tasks and that occured to me as a result of my current project of filming one song a day, for 26 days, with each song corresponding to a letter of the alphabet, and filmed in a particular outfit.

  1. Have some elements of your project pre-ordained so you don’t have a chance to second guess yourself. (In my case, the song, the letter, the costume.)
  2. Make the ritual of setting up the shot and grooming the self be part of your process.
  3. Have a time limit for the product so you don’t have to deliver a perfect take. (Instagram has 1 minute limit for video.)
  4. Play with visual elements. (The visual realm is highly gratifying to me.)
  5. Be able to put the work out into the world at the moment of its completion. (Instantaneousness is gratifying.)
  6. Design your project to span an arc of time. This way you can gain mastery over a period of days or weeks, which builds confidence.
  7. Set up your daily creative assignment so that it is a healthy stretch. In other words, set yourself up for success.
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The Passage of Time through Apparel

The dresses on the left represent the past. The dresses on the right, the future. It’s a way to mark the passage of time, 26 days, 26 dresses. I’m making a song video for each dress, marked with a pin and a tag, A-Z.  26 songs total.

It’s not that I had trouble marking the passage of Time. I wanted to plot an orderly arc through a unruly and vibrant landscape.

The Appeal of the Teal Dress

It was Victoria Page in The Red Shoes whom I most dreamed of becoming as an adult.

The trouble with Vicki Page and the troubling aspect of assuming her persona was that she killed herself by jumping off a balcony onto a speeding train. ..

Yet, still, I went on buying dresses as close as possible to the teal shade of blue of the dress that Vicki Page wore the evening she climbed the steps to Lermontov’s villa and he told her he would create a dance for her. . .

(Years later I would wear an evening dress of the same color to the opening night of my first produced play.)

Adrienne Kennedy – people who led to my plays

I

Two Forms of Memoir Part 2 : the Tactile as Vessels of Transformation

On seeing photographs of Picasso sitting and walking amid large canvases and eating from plates decorated wth his drawings of fish, I realized imagery in my work could take up a larger space. . . More and more I tacked up on the wall cards, prints, and photographs, even carried them with me. Finally I took to Scotch-taping my typewritten pages on the wall. It began to make a difference in my work.

Adrienne Kennedy – people who led to my plays

scotchtape

Make sure you gather every piece of clothing and be sure to handle each one.

Marie Konde – The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

clothes

Isn’t it strange how in this digital, sensorily-amplified, modern landscape, actually touching objects, and interacting with letters, patterns, fabrics, textures, words, is a transformative, even radical, act?

 

Two Forms of Memoir

Today I’m inspired by Adrienne Kennedy’s book people who led to my plays.  Her headings: Chekhov and my brother; Marlon Brando; Bette Davis in NOW, VOYAGER show that any person (or event or object) can be a place marker for one’s interior revelations. I think up my own place markers: Seattle rain; A Trip to Russia; Ibsen’s A Woman From the Sea. This selection process allows the writer to spin a vast personal mythology.AdrienneK.JPG

 

At the same time, I’m following Marie Konde’s transformative approach to the magic of tidying-up, starting, as she suggests, with clothing and gathering everything into collections: tops, pants, skirts, sweaters, coats, etc,. I had to fetch myriad coats from the basement to ensure that they were all accounted for. Each piece of clothing is held so that I can hear its story – past, present and future – and then release it to fulfill its unique destiny.

Coats.JPG

 

Conversation about a pivotal summer

Do you remember your summer of 18? 18 years, I mean, not 2018. That hasn’t happened yet.

That was the most jacked up summer.

In what sense?

Emotionally. Revved up like a Camaro spinning whirlies on a slick street under a full moon. Flying on an airplane to a beach town when I craved being someplace else, a photographic mountain town with a boy I knew well but had never gone all the way with so he pegged me a virgin. All that latent longing and dizzying depression and unspent ambition and thwarted intimacy and fraught connection pummeling my heart with a whack ack ack!

Ouch!

Yeah, and the feeling that whatever was mine to grab would be gone by the next time round the sun,  And the dread of knowing that I was too chickenshit to go for it, that I’d have no one to blame but myself for my pathetic spiraling out.

Have you experienced such self-loathing since?

Fortunately, no, but I suppose it’s there, if I dig for it.

The Magic of First Takes

The putting together of this project/ feels so analogue and piecemeal/ not at all peaceful/ her friend says to record it when the feeling hits

It’s strange to listen back.

It’s 1995, I’m living at the Parkside, 19th & Aloha. I’ve taken to writing poems on tiny white pads of paper. In my mind, they’re just frenzied mental notes, slated for the scrap-pile. One day I press record on my Sony Walkman and speak the bits into the room. Later, I listen back. The thing that hit my ears is astounding – polished and confident! I’m ashamed that I had thought so lowly of my scribbles. They’ve morphed into something real, something worthy of existing! Now I have something I have an obligation towards, something to preserve and protect. I stash the cassette in a box and later find the tape has tangled with another tape and must be cut. I keep the damaged tape for some time, but eventually throw it out,  tired of seeing it un-mended.

Flash forward to March 27, 2018. I soak in the tub and listen back to a recording on my phone. It’s rough. I’m playing a few coarse chords on the piano and singing words from my journal about the impossibility of capturing the essence of the moment. Body submerged, the sounds coalesce. The content strikes me as raw, yet perfect. Once it’s in my ears, I know it has become a thing that will hold up for me, that I’ll expect. That I’ll defend. If I hadn’t recorded it, I wouldn’t give it the time of day. The recording makes a claim on my memory, fixes it in my brain as something worth saving. What is behind my fascination with first takes? Is it blind obedience, or something higher, something approaching grace?

Tour Journal Entry #1

Today during rehearsal I useIMG_4321 (3).jpg the cards as props to play the game I’ve come up with for my tour. I see how the ritual I invented mirrors my process. The songs tell a story. The story goes from left to right, like a storyboard or a keyboard. And the songs reel in time to weave a tale which unfolds before the audience. Which is then summarized so that everyone can go home and have a good night’s sleep. The End

Margo Lauritzen’s T A T Tour 2018

Margo Lauritzen’s Transportation as Transformation Tour 2018

March 2 – Seattle, Gallery 1412 with Origami Ghosts

March 9 – Port Townsend, Rosewind Common House with Gary Lilley and Jean Mann

March 14, Austin, TX, OG Friends Fest @ SXSW

March 17, Austin, TX, Carousel Lounge with Origami Ghosts

March 22, Berkeley, CA, The Monkey House with Ariel Wang

April 13, Portland, OR, Artichoke Music – Friday Night Coffeehouse