I’ve had a book that I bought from amazon, and was disappointed in it when I first opened it. It’s called “Inner Excavation” and sat in my kindle library probably over a year now. It just seemed like a second rate book with second rate exercises. The same exercises applied several ways in several applications. I was bored one night and came across it yet again. I bet if you could look at my kindle’s download history that this book has been downloaded and removed from my device several times. I have been working through this book a little bit at a time. You know what they say’ “never judge a book by its cover”. While I’m not sure that the examples and narrative are great writing. I’ve found the exercises to be very enlightening. They offer a clear opportunity to reflect on who I am and what I’m doing. I think it was Aristotle that said, “we are what we repeatedly do”.
So with all that said, I took the interview that she used over and over and answered the questions myself. I thought that this would be a good exercise and insight to where I’m at, and what I do. Below is the result. Probably not the most exciting read, but you might want to take the questions and answer them yourself and see what you are like.
Q: Who am I?
A: I am a creative. A chef. A people person. I find satisfaction in sharing these things with people. These things come together at work. I’m surrounded by energetic college students who are full of life and see the world as a vision of possibilities. I think I try to connect to that. I spend my day offering hellos and smiles to everyone that passes by. I do my best to offer a quality product and make the customers that I serve feel appreciated and valued.
I think there is a part of me that needs that because I am so tired. I’m an aging body who still thinks he should be able to do the things that he’s always done. I’m physically tired. I’m tired of not finding a career that will support me in even a modest lifestyle. I’m tired of always feeling like I’ve let my family down. I’m tired of always hoping the answer is just around the corner, or that this new effort will make things ok.
I’m an ego who allows his appetites get the best of him
I’m a soul who has weaved in and out of this life, just squeezing by. Caring and loving for others but never really feeling like I’ve been found, accepted or understood. Dancing from one end of the seesaw to the other. Rising and falling, as I move from the balance of the middle to the outer edges.
I’m in need of finding balance and security. I’m a seeker, who has never really found the answers he’s looking for.
Q: Who or what inspires me?
A: I find inspiration all around me. I find it in people, music, art and photography, what I read and in my surrounding environment. I often find it in empty places. Buildings and abandoned complexes, I’ve adopted the term urban explorer. I find inspiration in nature and on the side of the road, museums and historical locales. I think that inspiration comes more as a frame of mind rather than the muse that artists seem to find so evasive.
As to specifics…
Artist – I find the surrealists really an amazing art form. Rodin in sculpture, Monet, Van Gogh are a couple of classic painters. Brooke Shaden and folks in my photoshop artistry class for photography.
Music – Blues, classic rock, Motown, Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, Cream, Eric Clapton, BB King, Buddy Guy, The Temptations. This list can go on and on…
Authors – Of recent David DuChemin, Steven Pressfield, Twyla Thwarp. More from the fiction side of things, George RR Martin, Caleb Carr, Andrew Levkoff. Just to name a few.
Q: How do I nurture myself?
A: It depends, I find I have several ways to foster nourishment. Generally, twice a week I go out and write. One night at the bar and have dinner and a couple of beers and I sit there and write for my website, or just for myself. Then usually do the same thing at a café on either Sat or Sun. I’ll have a cup of coffee and some breakfast and spend my day writing.
I have two groups that I organize. One is a photography club. In which we meet every other week. Working through a book or video series, assignments and projects, and critiquing each other’s work. Which brings me to the second group. It’s online and I call it Project 52. This is a group of photographers that have committed to take on a project a week for the entire year. I’m nurtured with these groups in that I am constantly learning and organizing information for and from them. Thus, keeping me refreshed and on my toes.
I also have been able to start to create a small but strong social circle. A group of friends that have similar interests and an appreciation of the creative life. We tend to get together once a month for the first Friday of the month where we go to the gallery openings and look at art. It’s not quite the artists date that Julia Cameron talks about in her book “The Artist’s Way” but I find it serves the same purpose in a group dynamic.
Oh and last but not least I take several classes online, for photography, Photoshop and a mixed media class. This last is an effort to expand my vision and abilities.
Q: How did I find my creative voice?
A: In a way, I found it early and in another way, I’m just finding it now.
It was very clear to me early on in my life that I was drawn to photography and creativity. I didn’t have any natural talent that enabled me to draw or paint. But photography was a good balance of interests. Science, chemistry, technology and creativity they all seemed to work for me.