Being Creative Outside the Box

Several years back, I was given a book called the Artist’s Way. I was having a mental and emotional crisis in that I was just plain exhausted. Working full time, being a full time mom to two boys, a wife, a daughter, a sister, etc. had taken its toll. And I was spent.

I started working through the workbook, only doing those things I could without adding more stress to my life. And slowly as I took myself out on dates, bought little presents for myself and began to explore creative outlets of which I was so not talented, my mental fatigue began to lift. My life hadn’t changed, but my brain was being recharged anyway. It was an eye-opening experience.

There wasn’t a better way for me to learn the lesson that I MUST take care of myself first BEFORE I can take care of others. Those small little things that I did for myself made me happy and taught me I was just as deserving of my time and attention as everyone else. Take care of yourself first and everything else will follow.

I took myself on lunch dates, movie dates and to museums and art galleries and anywhere that struck my fancy. I bought myself little stickers and colored pencils and postcards. The things I did for myself weren’t expensive. They didn’t
take a lot of time. I didn’t search out exotic and unique stuff. I just picked shit that made me smile. And then I took my happy ass to those places. Sometimes, I’d go with others, but most times I went by myself.

I’m a shitty artist. I drew and colored anyway.

I’m a shitty poet. I wrote the worst poetry EVAR!

I found out I’m pretty shitty at a lot of things. I also found out that I have an assload of fun being shitty at a lot of things.

Today, I decided to teach myself French cooking. I have purchased Julia Child’s 2 volumes cookbook set (yes, that’s how I spent part of my Amazon settlement monies) and I aim to work myself through French technique over the next few months. I might even take a class if I can find one by a classically trained French chef. The chef doesn’t have to be French, just her cuisine. 😉 This is the creative endeavor I’ve chosen for right now. Who knows, I might take up pottery next (and if you have a creative suggestion, please tell!!). Because even though I’m not doing the 9-5 that I was before when I first fell exhausted and spent, writing does take a lot out of you. And to fill the creative well, I stay vigilant to ensure my creative barrel is topped off.

I will probably not pick writing related creative outlets for my self “dates.” It’s one of the reason I choose cooking this time around. Going to concerts and galleries and exposing myself to the creative endeavors of my fellow artists can’t help but spool up ideas in my own mind. Besides without real life experiences, fiction just rings hollow if written by someone who hasn’t experienced some of what the writer is writing about. I think discovering new art fields, finds and niches is a brilliant way to make my mind stay fresh and bright and charged.

I can’t wait to taste all my goody French cuisine. I’m no Iron Chef, but I think I can get damn close.

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3 Responses to Being Creative Outside the Box

  1. Zoe X. Rider says:

    Some of my favorite recipes are from Julia Child’s 1st volume. I have the second too, but I don’t use it nearly as much. (And now that I’m salivating just thinking about it, I need to get a chuck roast out of the freezer and make boeuf à la mode this weekend.)

    • D.R. Slaten says:

      I’m hoping this becomes one of my favorite cookbooks as well. I have too many! My interest in different cuisines is insatiable. I got sparked on Julia for a couple of reasons. One, the movie. Two, I read somewhere she got started as a chef somewhat later in life and I thought that was interesting. Three, I’ve always wanted to learn French cooking. Four, I don’t have another good French cookbook. And I think that’ll do it for now. lol

      And since I’m starting with sauces, I’m not sure when I get to the Boeuf a la mode, but when I do… I’ll be sure to let you know and tell you what I think as well. 😉

      • Zoe X. Rider says:

        I bought volume #1 after seeing Julie & Julia. I also read her autobiography, My Life In France, which was a lot of fun. She had a great spirit, and she and her husband were a great match.

        I love her recipe for pork roast as well. I adapted it for ribs even. They may not have the same flavor you get with smoking them, but they’re always fall-off-the-bone tender and nice and moist.