creativity, variety, serenity

Spring… It’s almost here. Sort of. There are still a few mounds of snow and ice in front of the house, but at least when I come home now, it’s starting to feel a bit less like I’m entering the Bat Cave, North Pole edition.

The weather has stabilized, which has been extremely good for my nerves.

Lately, my levels of creativity have reached all-time highs. Which has also been extremely good for me overall.

One of my macramé wall-hangings has become part of the fabulous décor at one of the best record stores in town, The Record Centre (photos soon). It’ll be displayed next to a rad vintage painting.

This is the macramé in question:

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And the macramé art piece below is now for sale at The Record Centre. If you live in the Capital Region, add some serenity to your home with a lovingly crafted, hand-made macramé, and grab a few excellent records while you’re at it:

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Knots are also symbolic of protection. A home with macramé is a happy home.

In addition, The Record Centre has its own label and produces records you’ll find nowhere else. I’ve been playing the atmospheric, trippy record Water Sine by Nick Schofield non-stop since I acquired it last week.

This week, I experimented with painting my clay figurines and I’ve worked out the best way to do it. Stay tuned for a lot more clay art; my Patreon members will have first dibs on these pieces.

Here’s my first petit lapin bonheur, a good fortune bunny, with its strawberry. I’m keeping this one.

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Petit lapin bonheur quite at home with my vintage toys:

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Each petit lapin will come with a tiny treat.

Here’s another prototype eg; this one I’m keeping as well. It’s so relaxing to look at, and I love its tranquil presence on my desk. I only added glaze to this one. The next batch will feature small rosy cheeks, and the image on the back will add another touch of color.

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Working with cord and clay has infused my life with a great deal of joy. It’s extremely fulfilling. It’s no longer all about writing for me. It’s not the end all be all. The variety of my endeavors has increased my creativity and well-being. I’m not always “in my head” anymore. I do a lot of journal writing of course, but that’s different; my own pleasure is the sole objective. I’ve slowed down as far as publishing books goes. My current goal is to publish a new book every year or every other year. I’m no longer slave-driving myself to produce books, or promote my books (oh how that sucks)…

My existence has many more layers to it now. It’s much better.

Another immensely important level of creativity has been the violin.

Last week, my teacher surprised me by informing me that the show he’d told me about a few months ago was going to happen at the end of April. I kind of thought (hoped, haha) that he’d been too busy to have a show this spring, that it would take place at some hazy, indistinct point in the future… But not only is it happening, he asked me to do the animation (hand out programs and look adorable) as Charlie. I played “Smile” for him again, and he said, “Yes, that’s definitely what you’ll play. We’ll have one white spotlight on you and it’s going to be fantastic.”

That evening, while I was practicing, I began playing a piece from Chaplin’s Sunnyside by ear, from memory. A couple of days later, I searched for the Sunnyside soundtrack online, and discovered that this piece is called “Forgotten” and I’d been playing it exactly note for note. It was a profoundly emotional moment for me.

Then, yesterday, I upgraded my violin, trading in my beginner’s instrument, which I’d had for over twenty years, for a glorious replacement. My old violin was made of plywood (as I learned while chatting with the owner of the music school where I take my lessons); the new one is made of real wood, and it has an exquisite, deep, rich, creamy sound. It has a gorgeous matte finish, and came with a stupendous case. While I waited for Gilles to return with said case, I tuned the violin by ear. Once the instrument was secure in its velvet nest, I embraced the case as it lay on the counter. I was overwhelmed by bliss.

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I ran into my teacher before I made my way back home. I exclaimed, “Come look!!” with grand, excited gestures. He was very impressed when he saw the violin, and his eyebrows shot up when I told him about the Chaplin piece I’d learned to play by ear.

I recently had a lovely meeting with a local artist (DoReMiBraceletsEtc) who fashions unique jewelry from guitar and violin strings. I had a few unused strings (they were in my now old violin case), and she created a beautiful rainbow bracelet for me as we had beverages at Café Mulligan.

She took a photo of it while I held my old violin:

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How neat it that! It’s so well-made, custom-made to fit my little narrow wrist, and I adore the happy rainbow beads.

In other news, I recently gave a tarot reading; it was wonderful. I’ll be giving another one at the end of the month. Reading the tarot is most enjoyable to me, and I look forward to increasing the frequency of my readings.

So, life has been good. Better than ever. More joyfulness soon.

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Patreon post excerpt

These days, I’m very selective about how I bestow my time, and I’m protective of what fosters my well-being.

For instance, the other day I was puttering and organizing things in the living room, and I played a CD I hadn’t listened to in a very long time, an Enigma album, Le Roi Est Mort, Vive le Roi! As the music began to play, an incredible feeling of serenity flowed from my innermost being. I could remember, in my bones, a time when I did this every day, and it was simple. Satisfying. Quiet. I felt whole in my own space and time.

The Internet is useful, a good thing in many ways, but it can also be incredibly invasive. I fiercely guard myself against invasiveness in all forms at this point in my life. You never even hear the sound of the phone ringing in this house now. I completely agree with the editor of the excellent magazine The Idler, who calls for a restrained use of technology and social media; some things he says should be discarded entirely. Tom Hodgkinson’s How to Be Idle: A Loafer’s Manifesto is a personal bible of mine, along with the Satanic Bible.

All of this is another reason I love Patreon. It’s a sane platform. The notion of giving everything until I’m empty, yeah, that doesn’t fly with me nowadays.

For more, become one of my Patreon members.

It’s cold as fuck here right now. I’ll be adding more notes to my Big Book of Tarot today, and hiding from the elements.

The imagery and symbolism of tarot is incredibly appealing to me. Tarot study relaxes me (you never stop studying tarot). I’m looking forward to my first live reading in a while this month.

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70s Festive Holiday Extravaganza, tarot, life improvement

Although the past couple of weeks have been a bit tough (many appointments, severe shoulder pain and the anxiety attack that went with it, furnace problem and the PTSD spike that went with it, early snow), my 70s Holiday Bubble has been even more glorious this year than it was last year.

I began right at the start of November. And I’m so glad I did. One month wouldn’t suffice to enjoy the bliss of the Festive 70s environment I created in my cozy home.

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I’ve filled the house with delicious scents and sparkling joy. I’ve gotten boxes of Pot of Gold chocolates, Black Magic, After Eights.

Classic holiday albums have been playing on my turntable, my 1975 Eaton’s Holiday catalogue is on the coffee table. Total Environment delights. Presents are wrapped in cheerful paper and displayed beneath the tree. One of these gifts from me to me (“It’s just what I wanted!”) is something I hadn’t had since I was a kid: a Barbie doll. But not any old Barbie: a stunning, 70s-tastic 2018 Holiday Barbie.

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It’s the perfect touch to my 70s imbued Festive Season.

I love sitting in the living room, with the fireplace station on the television, while gazing at the happiest tree I’ve ever had. The beautiful, glittering, colorful but much smaller tree I had there last year is now in my lair, because this year, one tree simply wasn’t enough.

All of this has been so sweet to me… It’s sumptuous.

In other news, because I’ll be focused on Masterful for the next two or three months, my Stay Home Vagabond zine has been temporarily put on hold (producing it is more time consuming than I’d anticipated, especially since I expanded it); during this book writing and publishing period, my second and third tier Patreon members will receive Quiet Times newsletters and Mini Poster Prints.

As part of my most recent life improvement strategies, one thing I’ll be doing much less effective immediately is social media, specifically Twitter and Instagram. Twitter has become a maelstrom of negativity and downright lunacy, and whatever one shares there is almost immediately swallowed up by the tsunami of input that is Twitter (of course, that’s the idea: it’s so you keep tweeting and trying to stay on top of the endless barrage of tweets, a virtually impossible “task”). I’m exhausted by this. Utterly. I’m sick to death of it. And Instagram is… meh. It’s very app oriented, and I dislike using my smart phone. On top of that, Instagram actively limits the number of followers who actually see one’s posts (unsurprising: the loathsome FB platform acquired IG).

I’m just… I’m so fed up with it all. It’s life draining. It sucks your energy dry. And for what? I’m rather over this internet Sisyphus deal. I’m not interested in trying other platforms (I’ve already done that ad nauseam).

The world of Twitter and the real world, the material world, are two vastly different things, and I much prefer the latter.

Yesterday and the day before, I was in full recuperation mode due to the stress of the last two weeks. I jotted down notes, enjoyed delicious food, watched movies, relaxed. I barely touched social media, and I felt, well, happier in general. I’ve been ambivalent about social media, social networks, for so long, and increasingly so these past few years… From now on, I’ll be using Twitter mostly to share links to my latest Patreon and WordPress (logospilgrim.com) posts. When I do photo sessions with my phone, I’ll share the results on Instagram.

My online activity will center around Patreon and this website. If you like what I do, if you’re interested in my books and art and photography, please follow this website (via WordPress or email) and/or my Patreon account (some of my Patreon posts are accessible to non-members).

When I want to let my thoughts wander and look at happy things online, I’ll be on Pinterest.

My preferred way of staying in touch with friends is by subscribing to their blogs (via email), or becoming a member of or following their Patreon accounts. Note: I don’t do the YouTube thing much.

So, there it is. I’m going to focus on what works for me.

I’ve been getting back to tarot, to reading it professionally (which I did many years ago). This has been a source of immense pleasure to me. Once I picked up the tarot again, I realized how much I’d missed it.

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I created a tarot page here on my website (still under construction), but I will be giving precedence to live readings. I’ll have a limited number of reading appointments per week.

More Masterful news soon. And eventually more Mozart story news as well.

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