Life in a Photograph – Fast-forward & Rewind

I’ve long believed that the universe gives a bit of a push when it is needed. Fate, destiny, the ever so grand pedestal on which things that are meant to happen happen, all set up to change things because of some sort of event, a certain person or persons, or in this case, just what seemed to be a simple photo.

Yes, a photograph.

I was recently reminded of that photograph as part of a social media “remember when” that usually reminds me about things like that I talk about music, pets, and knitting quite often which isn’t really groundbreaking. Having that photo version of me starting back, however, was different. I don’t call it a tipping point since I know now that things had started changing a short time prior but it was part of that. It was part of the slow shift, a grain of sand that wouldn’t have registered if I had stepped on it alone. I saw the tired eyes, though happy to be among friends, that had started in frustration at my closet just a short time before, just one of the many frustrations that I was holding on to and had held for too long. Too long, I had decided, it had been too long.

I try to keep some sense of positivity in my life even if it is just making sure that the music surrounding me makes me happy but I am only human. There are times that range from feeling bothersome to overwhelming, be it warranted or not, and I know that focusing isn’t good for me nor the people dealing with the grumpy cloud I’m dragging around. At least, my heavier than normal heavy footfall gives warning.

Now the heavier footfall is one that I try to pace to keep up with all that I surround myself with, pausing when needed for extra breath, grinding my heels in an attempt to crush what is against me, and running forward as much as possible and away as little. When I look at that photo, I see it differently now, rather thinking of the year that followed it than the night it was taken. There were many photographs of me with tired eyes that could have been taken during that time but it would have been because of good things. It could have been due to a late night filled with great people or fantastic music or trying to get one more row knitted or one more chapter read. It could have been because I was catching up having a good day after a bad one.

The timing of this all works with this being a week when people are expressing a concentrated gratitude for things. Think of the use of the word “concentrated” like coffee, being generally thankful for things is your daily coffee, or tea or juice if you prefer, and this week is like doing shots of espresso.

BING!

ZIP!

BWAHAHA….er ha?

BAHAHAHAHA. There, that is a bit less comic book villain style but that is how I will look at that photo if it appears from the shadows again. If it appears again and if I notice it. I’d rather focus on the things that I am thankful for in my life like the opportunities ahead of me, the people who part of my life who are there for me when I’m in good moods and bad, surrounded by a flurry of crazy creative ideas, shared laughter and shared words, and the art and music that adds beauty to it all.

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Creativity + Inspiration

Of course, I talk about the end of gaps being back and then the universe starts mocking me. In the past there were too many times I’d throw something out there and then it would stutter or fail. This time it is more so the opposite since on top of my prior list new things have been heaped on as well. More ideas, more scribbles and sketches, and whatnot are fueled by a random day that I now know was the catalyst for this all being kicked up a notch.

I have always considered myself a creative type, be it art, writing, or music. That is the default, the norm, that cozy comfortable cocoon-like feeling. With it though, there are always ebbs and flows. Though it never goes away, it does end up not quite dormant and settles on the regulars – music and knitting until I end up at some sort of live show.

A concert is one of my happy places. Be it dancing on the lawn or pavement of an outdoor venue or standing just beyond the stage lights of a concert hall, if there is music that I love, or possible could end up loving, it puts me in a good place. It is just plain re-energizing. I always catch myself talking faster, and often slightly (hopefully just slightly) scaring people, after shows and wanting to do more of creatively myself.

Though I frequently go to shows and have been since I was in high school, the last year or so has seemed to have had more on the calendar. I know it is a mix of overall bands I enjoy touring more and me actually being able to make that particular date. That goes along with local music as well. It was a mix of the two that first started this uptick – Meg Myers (major label/touring artist) and Mighty Fox (a then new to me Chicago based band) – that led to even more Mighty Fox shows until I became one of those in their crowd singing along to songs I now love, and after a quick hello or a short chat, adding yet another great night to the concert books.

The Chicago local scene is something of which I’ve always remember fondly. Many of the bands are just a memory with lineups changing, disbanding to start new projects or just deciding they were done. Others pop up in venue listings at varying frequencies. As I have mentioned before, the nostalgia factor pulls hard but it doesn’t need to be stuck in the past. I’ve made it a point to get to Lucky Boys Confusion shows as much as we can after I had so much fun last July. It wasn’t that we hadn’t gone before then since Darth Husband once surprised me with LBC tickets as part of a road trip to Champaign to visit a friend who had gone back to school. It was just that timing wasn’t working for one reason or another.

Timing. This brings it all back around to where I began and where the most recent kick in the creative pants (metaphorically of course but if they were real they’d be covered in paint, pencil  and ink, bits of yarn fuzz, and band patches) that has put me in one of the best creative mindsets I’ve been in a long time. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I knit. The name of this blog refers to it, as does my online handle, but I don’t just knit but that is what I’d been doing the most. I’d pull my sketchbooks out now and then. One of my guitars or my flute might be freed from their case. Darth Husband’s bass might be taken off the stand in the living room. (Yes, it resides in our living room but we do have concert posters, album covers, and misc music stuff throughout our home. Think of music things as our version of that “Live, Laugh, Love” or whatever other three line word art that is all over.) It just all went back to knitting and the other ideas staying as part of that “ok, later I will do xyz” list.

Well now that that list has had the word “later” removed from it after chatting with someone I first met back when we were kids, and I’m not talking high school kids, though I would end up knowing him then and seeing his bands play from high school and onward. I hadn’t had a chance to be on that same kind of creative wavelength for some time and didn’t realize it until afterward. It was like figuring out which way to tug the yarn to make it untangle and the knitting needles start flying even faster or the headphone cable turning the right way and the volume shoots up making me jump in my seat.

My creative idea list is on hyperdrive and I love it and hate it at the same time. Since there isn’t an extra day when being creative is only allowed and I have to balance it with everything else in my normal life, I’ve been trying to get as much as I can down ideas wise using more of the notebook stockpile I have for that exact purpose. Lines and lines have been written, scrawled, scratched out and redone. I’ve been making it a point to at least sketch every night (though I am hesitant to post things online since I know people’s art gets stolen. Instead I’ve just decided send it to those who I trust would actually ask if they wanted to use something.) Redoing the header of this blog finally clicked and not surprisingly the image it features is me standing on the floor of the House of Blues in Chicago.

I ended up a few lines of some recent writing to Nikabee since she was one that I would share with years ago, and even still has a small notebook of poems/lyrics that I gave her over a dozen years ago. (Seeing it, as well as my old handwriting, was quite amusing.) She liked the new stuff and responded about how it must feel good to connect to that creative part of me again. She’s right. That part. It feels absolutely fantastic. It is like the creative energy from concerts piled up back to back to back to back to…

I’m not wasting this or taking it for granted either because I do believe in signs. Things work out for a reason when they haven’t been before especially in terms of timing. I’ve had to miss out on things as we all do. This time it is two-fold. I have tickets for the next State and Madison show after not being able to see them play for way too long and I can tell Nick “thank you” again but this time in person.

Throughout my life, I’ve spent many hours, if not days or even months in total probably by now, surrounded by creative people – ones with minds buzzing with ideas or paint and ink stained hands, ones with fingertips drumming or feet tapping to the rhythm in their heads. The artists, the musicians, the writers. With social media and the overall digital world we live in now,  I might not share the same air space but I can still share the same creative thought space and learn, grow, and continuously be inspired.

To all of those who have inspired, thank you.