Thursday, June 25, 2015

On encouraging creativity in your husband (or wife)

A Mother's Day treat to myself: new art supplies!

I have been feeling the pull (the very need, it seems) towards creative outlets for over a year now. I am creeping slowly towards more actual writing, reading encouraging books and blogs about creativity, and dreaming a little bigger.

I've always been creative.  I loved dramatic play and the arty extracurriculars as a kid.  I really loved the old, light blue typewriter I had as an older elementary student.  It was delightful hearing the click-clack of the keys as I typed.  Naming my characters was very nearly the best part of writing.

I lost sight of some of that creativity as I got older, figuring things out, being angsty in my twenties. (Wink.) Motherhood in my thirties, with all its beautiful, messy glory, has helped zero back in on what energizes me.

My husband is an artist.  He is trained in fine art and graphic design but seems to enjoy digital art and making costumes the most lately.  (Did you know people sculpt amazing costume pieces out of EVA foam?) He also sings really well.

We met at a community theater.  He was the main Nazi in Cabaret.  I was a Cabaret Patron, a fancy title for extra.  It has been easier for him to stay involved in theater as our children were born, and I have been okay with that thus far.

Nowadays, I'm at home, facilitating our homeschool and volunteering at church, and my husband works in design.

Lately, we've been having an ongoing discussion about how to encourage each other creatively.  We ask questions like this:

  • Could I get away to write once a week?
  • Should I blog more?
  • Shouldn't our next house have an art studio for you and an office for me?
  • What are our long-term creative goals?
  • What could we be doing every day to reach those?
  • How can we make sure we talk about this regularly?  (I think this might involve an early Friday evening happy hour and a snack.)
  • How can we make more time for you to work on costume pieces?
  • How can we meet our family's growing needs (and some wants) while leaving room for creative outlets?  
  • How can we observe and gently encourage our kids' emerging talents?
  • How can we discern for and allow the Holy Spirit to breathe life into our pursuits?  
  • Could we work on something together?

Considering these possibilities has been invigorating and exciting.  I am curious what other couples do to encourage each other creatively, in a large and everyday sense.  Big dreams and practicalities.  Share in the comments, if you'd like!

Monday, June 15, 2015

What I've been reading (June 2015)

I've been reading a lot this month, but it's been pretty light reading with small, quick doses of one fine literature selection.

You might remember this huge stack on my dresser from last month.  I've been working my way through it.  First up was:

Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella.  I've giggled, chuckled, and been thoroughly amused by her other books, and I was excited to read this latest installment of Becky Bloomwood's adventures in shopping. (But why? I don't even like shopping that much.)  Except there wasn't a whole lot of shopping in this one.  I like to read what Becky puts together.  The focus was mostly on Tarquin and Suze (Suz-ee or Sooz, you think?) and Becky working a celebrity angle.  I finished it but didn't enjoy it as much as the others.  I was surprised by the ending, too.  It seemed like a ploy or trick. Next, I tried to read:

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon, but I abandoned it a little ways in.  I abandoned it in a "I'll likely come back to this but am just not in the mood for it right now" kind of way.  Not being able to pronounce words, places, and names drives me a little batty.  (Why didn't I look up how to pronounce Sassenach sooner?)  All of the French names were getting to me.  I enjoyed the beginning of the book (wow, a complete turnaround from the end of the first in this series!), but then, I decided that it was too much for right now.  I also abandoned the new Brooke Shields memoir about her mom a few pages in.  Then, I moved onto the fun...

Pies and Prejudice (The Mother-Daughter Book Club, #4) by Heather Vogel Frederick.  These books are too fun to read.  The author went all out for the ending of this one.  I guess you have to when your book is inspired by Pride and Prejudice!  There's a big dose of all things English, if that's your cup of tea.

I also read another Liane Moriarty book this month.  The Husband's Secret had a secret I just couldn't buy into, but I kept reading it because I wanted to see what happened with another plot in the story.  Moriarty can pull her reader in with a great narrative voice, but so much of this book wasn't believable.  The epilogue plain ticked me off.  Too much cheese.  To date, Big Little Lies is my favorite of this author's books.

Instead of grabbing another book off of my precarious stack, I found myself floating over to the Mother-Daughter Book Club books at my next fairly unnecessary library trip.  Home for the Holidays (book #5) made its way home with me and was quickly finished.  For being Becca's story, there wasn't much focus on her and her family's situation.  Still, I'm glad I read it, for now I want to read the Betsy-Tacy series, which Nancy at Reading Catholic often mentions!  They sound like books that I would love but never discovered as a kid.

Next to last this month was Austin Kleon's new Show Your Work!: 10 Ten Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered.  A very nice follow up to Steal Like an Artist (one of my top 5 favorites I read last year), this book is another shot in the arm for creatives.  I bought new art supplies and a Moleskin because of him.

Finally, I read Rainbow Rowell's Landline, which showcases her talent of writing dialogue.  She's like Moriarty in that her narrative voice is very strong.  The magical plot device almost made me ditch the book, but I really like her novels and wanted to see it through.  The main character's husband, Neal, seemed underdeveloped.  What was I supposed to learn about him?  I felt like he was supposed to gain some insight by the end, but it never really happened.  And why did Georgie love him so much?  What was their connection?  Much of this book didn't feel fully realized, but I'm glad I read it.  My favorite Rowell book is still Eleanor & Park, followed by Fangirl, and this is a distant third.

I also reached a milestone in my classic literature selection this month.  I hit 200 (out of 600+) digital pages on my Kindle app.  Whoo-hoo!  I think I can, I think I can......if I finish, I'll let myself watch the movie (again)!  I should be done by now, but I kept (keep!) picking up other books and sabotaging myself.

Tell me what you're reading in the comments.  Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy's Quick Lit, as usual.  Click over there for more what-have-you-been-reading fun.