Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Reading this article by the pianist James Rhodes yesterday made my day. The guy is funny, real, brilliant, inspiring. I'm not a huge music buff, but I love his playing. I sent the link to my 14 year old of him playing the left handed piece and she adored it. 

Reading about him and listening to him play reminded me of this photo I took ages ago.  

I also came across this slideshow of photographs about office life. They're kind of beautiful, kind of sad, kind of startling. But it got me thinking again about the article by James Rhodes. 

I think creative people get this all the time - how do you find the time? Partly it's this weird crazy drive you have to make something, and then it becomes habit. Obsession, maybe. Compulsion. I've never not had this compulsion to write, or draw or paint, and now photograph stuff. 

We don't watch much TV in this house. Doctor Who, yes. Downton Abbey, yes. Elementary and Sherlock (an interview Benedict Cumberbatch and James Rhodes here). The CBC news with Peter Mansbridge. That's about it. I guess we're 'lucky' that a lot of our good friends moved away from this cold, mad town - we don't go out all that often. We're quite decent hermits, actually.

So I'm probably not going to learn the piano, though once I wanted to. I'll stick to the typing then. That music. I'll stick to listening to the music of others. 

You might remember though that not long ago, I took the plunge and bought PS Lightroom. I thought it would take me forever to learn it. (I mean, I still have a lot to learn, but I've got the hang of a lot of it). And I think what he says is true, that you have to consider spending a bit of time each week on that thing you can pour "I love you" into. 

I think that's the essential question of our lives, one that we must answer - what do you love to do? Joseph Campbell has a lot of good stuff to say surrounding this question. He says, put achievement and whatever you think people will think of you out of your mind. "Just think, "Where do I feel good? What is giving me joy?"" He talks about a seventy five dollar book of his that's coming out and how some people will find that expensive. But how those same people "will spend one-hundred-and-fifty dollars to have dinner in a restaurant with another couple. So, is the money going up here in your mind or is it going down here in your stomach? Up here, you can't replace the book I would have given you: but down here, you could have bought cheaper food that would have been just as nourishing." It's about making those choices that will bring you to where you feel good.

Rob has a show in Edmonton on June 8th and so he's been in his basement studio from 6am until 5pm, minimum. His discipline obviously helps me out with mine and I'm grateful for that. I'm getting very close to the 200 page mark of my latest unpublishable manuscript, speaking of the glamourous life of the writer. Some days I find the fact of my leaning tour of Pisa stack of unpublished work more amusing than others. Today I'm resilient, like this bird, weathering whatever comes its way. Today, the stack is hilarious, inevitable, good, misunderstood, genius.

Meanwhile the weather goes on being rubbish. And yet somehow rather beautiful in spite of it. I took the umbrella, dog on the leash, camera wrapped in a plastic bag, for a walk yesterday morning and this is what I saw:


  1. Thank you for the beautiful images of dogwood branches.

  2. Such loveliness! The music, the photos... and what you say about that mad compulsion. Love love love the office photos too! If only I could get so creative at my desk ;) xxn

  3. so much of interest here Shawna. I wish I could make this stop more frequently but I'm always, always gifted with lovely words, food for thought, and delightful images. It has been far too long since I've gone out with my camera wrapped in a plastic bag -- bless your creative heart for jogging mine. That final image is priceless and says it all.


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