The Mundane Monday challenge for this week hasn’t been published yet, but it’s still Monday, and I have a picture that fits the spirit of the challenge: to find beauty in the mundane and take a picture of it.
I took this photo while I was out finding a geocache and some Pokemon with my husband this afternoon. It’s the wall of a building near the Hillview Community Center and Park in Los Altos, CA. I was attracted by the simplicity of the pattern and color of the leaves: the few red leaves standing out against the cream colored wall. The composition seems almost Japanese, like a Haiku. I haven’t tried adding a Prisma filter yet, and my phone with the Prisma app is downstairs and I don’t feel like getting up and going down to get it. My iPhone and I, while we love each other, need a little time apart.
I’ve been scrolling through all the New Year’s posts from the blogs that I read–blog reviews, “best of” lists, resolutions, goals, summaries, humorous memes, daily challenges–and not feeling motivated to write anything in that vein. I actually do have some goals for the year: to grow my blog, to finish my novel, to practice my violin and viola, to incorporate some core strengthening exercises into my exercise routine. But my main goal is to find a way of living that is sustainable rather than all-consuming. I need some way of approaching life that is simple, orderly, and creamy, like the photo, that will allow my mind to be creative and not frantic, to be not always looking ahead to the future but rather, living in the present, in the here and now.
One truism that was affirmed for me in 2016 was something that I suspected about myself already: I do not like having to do anything every day. This year I stopped doing pushups and leg strengtheners every day. I punted on not just one but two violin practice challenges that involved recording myself every day and posting the recordings to Facebook. I quit NaNoWriMo on November 9th. I stopped doing Morning Pages every morning and reading aloud to my husband every night. I don’t blog every day. I did not manage a picture or a posting of any sort during every day of UU Lent. I do not do a daily bike ride, or a walk. I don’t get to 10,000 steps on my Fitbit every day either.
I did do a geocaching “streak” by finding at least one geocache on every day of 2016. I finished it! All 366 days! (And still going, in fact, since we found a cache today at the community center). But in order to make that work, I had to rely on my husband for some of them and tag along with him when he was finding his cache of the day. Left to my own devices, I would have only lasted about a month every day and then just continued on finding an occasional cache here and there when I went to an interesting place, which is my natural inclination.
I’m all for schedules, goals, and doing things on a regular basis, but for whatever reason, as soon as I start having to do whatever it is *every day* I balk. I punt. I find an excuse to get out of whatever it is altogether, and end up hiding somewhere with the door closed under a pile of blankets eating too many chocolate chip cookies.
A blogging friend of mine, Lady Calen from Impromptu Promptlings, has started participating in a journaling challenge called NaJoWriMo. I’m just ignoring the part that says you’re supposed to do it every day. But I still think the first writing prompt is interesting:
For this your first prompt, describe your creative side. When I refer to creative expression, it can range from doodling in your journal, home decorating, creating a presentation for your job or organization, to singing, painting, or playing a sport. Write as much as you can about the forms of creative expression that you regularly engage in. Go on to describe the history of your creative expression(s), and how you think your creative side is a part of your personality and outlook on life.
Okay, here goes: When I am being creative, I feel like I am in a state of “flow” and I don’t notice time passing. Sometimes it passes more quickly, sometimes more slowly, for me than clock time does. But the introduction of clock time, whether in the form of deadlines or every-day requirements, into the process tends to make me anxious and shut the creativity right down. I have to approach a creative project with some mystery attached to it; I can’t know exactly when and how it will end, what it will look like, and how long it will take when I start. If I know all that already, it doesn’t end up being very creative!
I’m creative especially in writing and in music, but I also like visual arts. I doodled all the time in school. I like to photograph things in nature. I like landscapes. My aunt, Sharon Weaver, is a plein air landscape painter based in Southern California, and if I could paint, I would want to paint like she does. But since I can’t paint I settle for an iPhone camera. In general, I like patterns: I like to see them, and to make my own. I used to sew and would like someday to get back to it. I would like to learn to play the piano well. I am also reasonably handy with tools and I’m creative in using household items and scraps to build things. For example, I jury-rigged my music stand to hang my mother’s antique Moravian Star up in the front window of the house for Christmas.
In general, I think that “Mundane Monday” is not a bad description of my creativity. I like to use mundane things–whether they be words or objects–in creative ways to make new things.
(Courtesy of Prisma the morning after)