use the voice

Calling the authentic Creator out of hiding

Month: August, 2012

Peach Pie epiphany

Pies cooling. August 2012

I admit, I’ve never been someone who is domestically inclined. Even my now-desceased Grandmother, who was a distinct culinary artist herself, told me once “I just don’t see you in the kitchen”. Not that I don’t cook, in fact I’ve always been very passionate about health, so have cooked whole-foods style for years. I know ingredients, I know flavours, I know what  feels good in the body…It just has simply been a part of my practical life that has stayed, for the most part, in the “you feel better when you do it” category. Along with laundry, working out and writing thank-you cards (though I admit I’m still terrible about the latter).

Until this last week. I think I have been caught for the first time in my life, by the muse of the culinary arts. The particular sweet-voiced, topped with ice-cream muse who specializes in baking. With a grain-free diet, baked goods are basically off the radar. Until I found Elana’s Pantry. 

With almond flour goodies galore, I’ve become obsessed. Along with my own enjoyment, its been the unadulterated delight emanating off of those who taste the bounty that has created the true inspiration. I become that magical person who knows how to make things sweet and good, just cause.

Just cause. That’s what 2 hours on peach pie brought me to today. The Voice was singing as loud and clear through me as it has through any stint of writing, filmmaking or photography. In the heat of the Quest of my delicious vision, covered in flour and oil, doubting myself while riding the high of the possibility of it actually working, I realized it’s all the same. It’s all the same, no matter what you are doing. The fundamental notion behind the idea that art can be everywhere.

I know this as a concept, but today it landed in a new way. Even though some of us might have our professional priorities, in the world of the muses and of the Voice, all outlets were created equal. As long as the song is being sung – or in this case, tasted, it is good. Glory be to all the million of outlets on this planet…we will never have an excuse not to be creative again.


9 steps to starting

Still beside torrent. Spring 2012

After a beautiful week holidaying by a lake, getting back into action has felt awkward. Finding motivation to get back to my various projects, it occurred to me to look at how I do that, how I get back to it without being to harsh or violent or heavy. I don’t know about you, but for me cracking the whip only creates rebellion and fatigue. Passion is required, but how do we get it back when it feels like it’s on the other side of a barrier? Observing myself I’ve broken it down to a simple step-by-step process:

Step 1 – Have the idea or acknowledge the need to get the work done.

Step 2 – Think about doing it

Step 3 – Think more, feel like it’s going to be hard, distract yourself

Step 4 – Come back to the thought, try not to feel pain

Step 5 – Try to find desire, distract self

Step 6 – Trick self by placing self in front of work, distract self

Step 7-  Start, promise no expectations

Step 8 – The second you get engaged, push yourself over the barrier

Step 9 – You’re in. Now try and pull yourself away!

Each step might include a  few more or less distractions, depending on the day and your dynamic. It’s just that simple!

(proof: I just wrote this blog post!!)

When did it get so serious?

Summer 23. Tyson Howard, 2005

Do you ever feel like you have forgotten to have fun?

You know, when you are working on something so hard that time is gone, your head down, focus on, mission driven, fierce like fire, only to look up to see that you are alone, balled up like a pretzel, sweating, spilling your life-force over something you thought was really important? I often have those moments and ask myself, “when did it get so serious?” Kind of like when you are out for dinner with your long-term significant other, feigning good company but really without words to say, perhaps only lost in the mechanics.

Now don’t get me wrong, art is serious, very serious.

But if it’s too serious, it get’s boring, don’t you think?

For me, if I’m over the “serious” threshold, I know I’ve veered away the original spark, because it’s starts to feel only like work. Not that creating isn’t work – any long-term artist knows it’s the hardest work there is, often with little external reward. But the reason we do it is because it fuels something deep within us, a passion, love, a sense of deeper purpose, a higher order – whatever it is for you. All I know is that if I get too serious, too wrapped up in the importance of my “mission”, I can lose the magic.

That’s when the vast detours are called for. Something totally different, to play, muse, be silly, be frivolous. Today I got up and danced like a banshee, whatever does the trick.

How have you been this week? Do you deserve to do something senseless? I bet it will fill you more full then you can imagine.

What does control have to do with it?

Mel in flight.
Ucluelet, B.C. June 2011


When you are being creative, do you feel in control?

Do you want to?

Is it a battle, an exchange or a standoff?

Is there a healthy balance?

These are the things I’ve been asking myself lately. As someone who definitely has my share of “control issues”, I have vacillated in my creative work, searching for sanctuary from where I feel I have no control or where I need to desperately let go of it. It’s the place where I get to be the boss and free from outside limits and yet, it’s full of limitations. Whether it’s time, materials, technology or even the frustrating attempt to properly interpret the genius that is going on in your head, there are always elements that demand control. I often imagine the creative process like putting a giant funnel over the limitless sentience that inspires us, with the attempt to filter it down into the limits of this reality. My creative-buddy, storyteller extraordinaire Shauna Born brilliantly cites the artists role as he/she who “makes order out of chaos.”

So what is it that we are fighting when the blocks and frustration comes up? The painful fact is that we can never make perfection and yet, the desire for perfection is what keeps many of us going. Can we control the Voice that presses us to speak, sing, write, paint….? Or is it the Voice that drives us, gnaws in our belly until we drop our tight grip of  “order” and surrender to the chaos to then create something of a new order?

I think we are the drivers in the vehicle of our creativity, but we might not be the gas, or even the road or the landscape. Sound precarious? Perhaps it is. Maybe that’s why we like it or crave it in this over-orderly world. The great road trip to meeting the realization of the impulse, trusting it has its own perfection, beyond what we might be able to conceptualize.

The adventure continues. How is it for you?