Thank you so much for the discussion of inspiration under my previous post. It inspired me even more 🙂 To be precise – to think about the places (and some other things) that bring a spark of inspiration in me (I just stopped to think of the word “spark”. While in English it means a small fiery particle, the same word means a “kick” in Norwegian. Which brings me to the words of Manja, in the same comment section, calling it a “kick-yourself-in-the-butt” attitude. Well, yes. While in other countries you can catch a perfect light, as an artist, in the North it is all about kicking yourself up to some action during these dark months :))
While we were talking in the comments about things and places that inspire us, I came to think of a practice from the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron (aka my favorite book on creativity). She called it the dates with your Inner Artist (also your Inner child). The book is made as a course of 12 weeks, with exercises for each week. But the dates should be done regularly, once a week. This may be anything that your inner artist would love, no other meaning to it. A stationary store, a museum, a walk in the nature – anything that brings you joy and playfulness.
the spring spirit
in the Nordic garden
To be honest, I forgot this practice a while ago. I was not so fantastic good at it while reading the book, and after the book was finished, I was no more reminded of it. But, luckily, I developed a habit of going to places that I like to feel that spark.
Here I want to share the list of places that make me feel inspired:
The bookstores. Especially, the big ones. There was this one in Oslo, which got its building from the cinema. There were comfy chairs and a free coffee machine (doing only black coffee, so I never tried it). There were rooms and rooms filled with books, and you could pick one, sit in the chair and look through its pages. I especially loved their books on arts. It felt almost like a library.
a public library. I particularly am fond of the main library of Oslo, great and old, with its murals and high shelves. It puts me into a special good mood to see people reading, studying, browsing through the books there. Maybe, since books were my best friends in childhood, I like this air of respect and seriousness 🙂
the concept stores. Those who sell clothes, some interior pieces, maybe, also skin care products and candles. It is kinda hip now – and I cannot stop myself from falling for it. Every time 🙂
the parks and even more – the botanical gardens. There is so many positive effects on my mind and soul, when I am there. The everchanging nature makes me keep my breath – and breathe deeper. It is my place of strength – the botanical garden.
Oslo botanical garden
Barcelona botanical garden
you may laugh, but I will go and name this one – Ikea. Yes, the Swedish furniture store makes me inspired. And I will tell you why. Because Ikea is not just about decoration and furniture – it is about ideas. It seems like some smart heads work there, and when they find some smart solutions – I cannot help but get excited. I love how they think of small things (of which others don’t seem to think), I love how they set up the rooms and decorate – I even love how they promote Sweden, writing “Hej!” at the entrance, names in Swedish in the food store, and in other small ways (I mean, as Norwegian I should not feel so enthusiastic about it, there is a bittersweet relationship with this neighbor – but, sorry, I do feel inspired in Ikea :))
And here are some other things that make me inspired:
the interior magazines. After looking through one closely, I cannot believe how many small pretty details I start seeing around me (and grabbing my camera to photograph them).
coffee. Yepp, this one is always a winner. Maybe, it is a caffeine high – but ooh, it lifts me up. A morning coffee and writing has been one of my favorite habits. And sometimes I would get out, grab a coffee to go or sip a cappuccino in my favorite hipster bar – and after that I feel more for life and creativity. So much more :))
some music. For example, the music of 90s when I was a teen. Makes me wanna sing and dance – and when I do neither, the creative energy needs to be channeled elsewhere (but sometimes I choose just to sing and dance :))
Movies about creative minds. The past two weeks I was lucky: I went to see “Colette” about the French writer and “Bohemian Rhapsody” (well, you know, about Queen). The stories of the artists in their making is such an inspiration. It makes me wanna shake myself up and say: “Get up and go. Walk your walk”.
Do you have your special places or activities that make you feel this spark? Let’s make this list even longer 🙂
At times I find it difficult to come in touch with my motivation and inspiration. Maybe, it’s the apathetic vibe of autumn, or maybe, I think too much. When I’d hear “you think too much”, I’d always smile (superiorly, of course) – but now I ask myself if this is not always such an advantage as I used to see it.
Sometimes I find myself in this philosophical mood when everything seems just a fuss, with no meaning. For example, when I say it would be good to do more blogging again, there is this voice in me that says: “And what is the meaning of it? Why do you want to do it? To get popular once? We have discarded this idea long time ago. To build a community? And what will it give you? Just to communicate? But there are other options to do it in real life – and you know, you would prefer it in real life”. And then the apathy crawls in, and I think: “Ah, whatever. Really, why bother?” Do you know this feeling?
I am so grateful for the conversation on the blog! Sometimes I read the blog posts that say: “thank you for 1000 views!”. There are people celebrating the number of new followers and the number of views. Sometimes I find myself also caught up in the numbers game. This is the world we are living in. But I really enjoy when I don’t care about the numbers (I also found that less time on Instagram helped to beat that habit :)). I would not mind 1000 views too, but I’d better exclaim: “thank you for those 2 comments you left under my post!” They are more meaningful to me than numbers. Because they sparkle a conversation, they help me think and change and grow, and that is so precious (which maybe great number of views provides too, I just lack the experience of it :))
November is not an easy month for blogging. It is getting darker, the days are so grey and so short. My inspiration gave me a lot of ideas some weeks ago – and disappeared for a while. Then again, I got caught up in writing about interesting subject on my blog in Russian. And what makes me come back to this blog, in the times of low statistics and poor light conditions, is those meaningful conversations. Thank you for them, dears!
In the previous post I started to write about the movie “Julie and Julia” and was swept away by the inspiration to share the story that has influenced my life in a profound way. But there is one more theme in the movie that is worth writing about. The theme of the work that saved their lives.
Julia Child, played by Meryl Streep, falls in love with France and exclaims: “I feel I AM French!” And, oh, I exclaim it together with her. I too love France, and France in the movie is so pretty and lovable. Julia discovers her taste for the French food, and she plunges with enthusiasm into cooking courses, though she has never been fond of cooking before. With this newfound passion she keeps herself busy in the landscape where it is easy to become a boring expat wife with no meaningful occupation. On her way her interest for this work gives her new meaning, new friends, and later it gives her a professional call and even fame. As Julie Powell says it: “She saved herself by cooking”.
Julie Powell is also saved by the love for cooking. And blogging about it. It fills her grey days with colors and tastes, with meaning and enthusiasm. And that saves her also. Giving her a chance to be a writer as she had always dreamt of, giving her new opportunities.
Once I was talking to a friend about my blog and noticed: “Everyone says that the blog must give something, and I don’t know what my blog can give to the reader”. Her answer was: “Your blog can show your search for meaning. And it has value. You are searching for meaning, for beauty in your everyday life – you don’t create those glamorous Instagram accounts, but collect your doors and things you like. Because not everyone knows what he likes. And you can show your way”.
The backyards of Oslo are charming and mysterious. They are hidden behind wooden doors or iron gates. Some are simple, with geometric shapes of facades. Some are full of life, with fountains, gardens, romantic benches under the trees. When I walk through my favorite neighborhood of Gruneløkka and pass by the gates, I always slow down and peek into the backyard, wandering at its secret life, imagining how people use it. Do children play there? Do they make backyard parties there?
Once when I was on a photo walk, I’ve seen an open gate – and after a moment of hesitation I sneaked inside and stood there. Just a backyard, just a girl with a camera. But that joy of explorer was reaching to the stars, as I stood there, happy as a child. After that I wondered if I should sneak into more backyards, waiting by the gate until someone was passing through 🙂 That would guarantee me a status of a local weirdo, I guess. I decided to wait on that one, and just make photos through the gates and doors. That day became an adventure for my explorer spirit.
After I have caught an explorer excitement about the city where I live here, I was inspired to share the collections of things that catch my attention. Like my collection of backyards, or balconies, or details of Oslo. In my first years in this city I was sharing my collections of doors, old cars and lights of Oslo on Facebook. Then when Instagram came, and I have seen shots of the beautiful doors, I was again running around the city looking for the pretty doors and facades. My friend even mentioned that I should post more photos of myself than of doors (but I disagree :)).
I also want to introduce the idea of micro exploring. That concept came to my mind yesterday, but I would not be surprised if it already exists (as it often happens with some ideas occurring to me :)). A quick search of blogs here on WordPress led to the Ted talk by Alastair Humphreys who introduces the notion of micro adventure. A further research is to be done. But here I am not to claim the originality of the idea, but to speak my heart about it. I feel that this is what the world needs right now. Or maybe, this is what I need right now :)) A shift of focus. The discovery of beauty in my immediate surroundings.