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 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