Creative Blocks Happen

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Lately, I have been having a major case of the blocks.

My head feels like a block, I feel like there are walls made of fog blocking my way. The road to creative fervor is paved with side roads, low roads and just plain BLOCKS.

This time around, among other things, I have been pushing too much outward. Trying to help everyone else is very fulfilling to me, but it can definitely take its toll if I don’t pull back and work on the “positive selfishness” that I need.


Illustration by Claire Dain, from the Rookie article: “Suburbia’s Not So Bad Sometimes,” which states that “Anyone can transform the mundane into something magical.”

It is incredibly comforting that many of the people I admire for their creative output also have problems and blocks just as high and solid as mine. I read these two the other day and some of the fog seemed to evaporated as I let them settle into my brain.

♠ Warren Ellis always has genius ideas, least of which is this gem:

 “Invite your most brilliant friend over, kill them, find and eat their adrenal glands and then wear their skin as a shamanic cloak until the next full moon.”


♠ The Jealous Curator now has a whole book and tag on her site devoted to unblocking, through ideas and artistic tasks that I can say from experience, have helped me chip away at some of that blockage.

This too shall pass.


Let me be your Succor

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nvendng storysuccor
[ ˈsəkər ]
assistance and support in times of hardship and distress.
I found this word the other day and had no idea what it meant. I was taken with it, as I don’t see all that many completely unknown-to-me words. So I race to the dictionary (merriam webster of course) and find a wonderful and unexpectedly lovely definition.
While I admit I take on a lot of things, too many things in fact, I do enjoy being someone’s support, and using the inner strength I have many reserves of, to prop someone else up and help in any way that I can.
Nothing else, just that.

Quote of the Week

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“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
– Albert Einstein

A New Year

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from-north-mountain-phxFrom a hike up North Mountain, December 2014

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountain rise into and above the clouds.” -Edward Abbey

I have been racking my brain to write something out of all the retrospectives I have read at the end of the year, to start a new one. To write something that will sort of rally the troops as we all delve into this year together.

I came up short of anything thought-provoking, but thinking about it did make me write about some other stuff.

Most years start off easy, take everything at a relaxing pace, and most years end the same way. I have decided that for this year, I’m going to go hard into the paint, so to speak.

(Also, “hard into the paint” is my favorite, and only correctly used, sports metaphor, so please let me have it and don’t judge me for using it too often.)

Sure, I might burn myself out. But I haven’t felt that great burned out from being creative burn in a while. Having that feeling under my belt might open me up to even more adventures.

I love the idea of thinking about projects and experiments, rather than resolutions. I can resolve to send out inspirational postcards to pen pals once a month, if I think of it more as a happiness project. I can also experiment with a new habit if I think of it in terms of just one month, like Art of Manliness’ 31-Day Journal prompts. I also might possibly need a little help in re-learning how to pay attention.

A little late, but some things to think about for the coming year in these New Year’s Asks.

Jason H2O

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Editing photos this morning, and I liked the TV shot background of these two pics. Plus, I kind of wanted to show off my terrific new water bottle that does not match my “Free Spirit” vintage bike, but I love it just the same.


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Do you know about self-care? I’m sure you have; you can also figure out by context clues what I’m talking about, but what does it really mean to work on and do self-care? To be honest, I’m still learning myself. It can get overwhelming, thinking about things to add to the list of what self-care can mean. I mean, learning and living good values can be construed as self-care, if you deem it so. Educating yourself, giving yourself presents, checking in with your inside people, treating your body like you want to keep it around for several decades to come…it’s all self-care. And much, much more. I have been compiling all these great articles and websites and warm fuzzies regarding self-care, and I feel like it’s totally keeping my light under a bushel if I don’t spread them out and share them with you, like a stack of baseball cards. Wait, that’s so old…Pokemon cards!

Want to know what got me thinking so much about it?


At the beginning of the year, the overall tarot card I pulled for 2014 was The Hermit. (And before you roll your eyes – hey man, I need as much guidance as I can get. If a tarot card can help me focus on a singular thing, it works for me.)

Initially, when I pulled it I was thinking: yes-to-staying-in-moreBut it really is a lot more than that. Although I have stayed in a lot this year, that part really makes me feel stagnant and unfulfilled, when I am not actively working on something.

Being a hermit in the sense that the tarot means is being more into, you guessed it, self-care. Checking in on yourself, learning about the path you’re on, if you are happy about it, and how you can make it feel more like how your instincts tell you it should be. “The power of The Hermit card is that through the ritual of isolation, the lantern’s light can find a deeper truth about one’s own situation.” best-you-can-quotevia posibodyimg


Okay, yes, nice story Jess, but how do you practice self-care? Well, funny that you ask, because it feels like it has become a constant thing to read up on, if you want to dive all up in the self-care.

♠ Louise Androlia have a list of personal non-negotiables – what are yours?

Babe Vibes is a whole website related to self-care.

♠ Greatist’s ways to practice self-care

♠ Looking for an even more beginner’s start, like me? How to be yourself, ways to get to know yourself better, ways to be more independent.

Links for the Weekend

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arnold-6-tipsHello and happy weekend before turkey day. No special reason for this Arnold banner image, just that I like a good list.

♠ Mike Rowe says don’t follow your passion. Okay I’ll bite.

Dan Brooks is becoming a regular link-to, with all his great essays. This one about punk rock decay is no exception.

The Disease of Being Busy. I love that the author breaks apart the word, because it really is coming to the point of dis-ease.

♠ Isn’t it a treat when inexpensive things work just as well as the most expensive? My favorite is cocoa butter and now, Trader Joe’s Spaghetti.

♠ The world needs more glow-in-the-dark bike paths.

♠ ‘The most efficient way to spend money on the homeless might be to give it to them.’

♠ Do you have a favorite photo? How long could you look at, and be mindful of, a photo? Erin Mystkowski is a multimedia editor at the Chicago Tribune. She really loves vintage crime photos — and one in particular from 1924. Listen to the story, and you can also write in and share about a photo YOU love.

♠ Felt kind of random reading this on Business Insider , but that doesn’t make it a less interesting read. Two traits that a relationship needs most of all.

♠ Andrew WK not only has the best PARTY TIPS ( “shove a cupcake into your body.”), but the answers he offers every week at the Village Voice are insightful and just plain great.

It’s natural for us to encounter moments which challenge us. Having the capacity to question our most deeply held opinions is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. Especially when we have the composure to resist our immediate emotional reactions and let our common sense lead us toward a more dignified type of contemplation. Keeping an open mind and an open heart requires an incredible amount of determined effort…”