Generosity and Generosity of Spirit

epistolary_generosity

Christmas Eve is a time when most people have giving on their minds. Whether it’s unfinished shopping or what tomorrow’s giving will look like. 

We are told generosity is the most important virtue to derive from the holiday season. Are we speaking in volume of gifts given though, or in terms of a generous nature? Though of course not mutually exclusive, the more important thing is Generosity of Spirit - having a preclusion towards generosity always. 

This season marked my first as an adult giving gifts for the holidays. Suddenly I was very conscious of the fact that I was making money- by way of having a full time job- instead of living off of student loans. While I had been knitting Christmas gifts since October, I realized that those people I couldn’t knit for, I could buy things for. Nice things, instead of the limited options at $10 and under.  

Bizarre. Wouldn’t the bought gifts just seem slim next to the handmade ones, I wondered, no matter the increased cost? I was almost embarrassed to add them to the spread of presents I had yet to wrap. Such little effort was expended on those bought gifts. I just found them, and got them. No sizing, no searching for materials, no working on it on my commute. Just ordered, delivered, wrapped, labeled, done. Most people buy all of their gifts. Unimaginable that they could be so distanced from the experience of giving by not having their hand in the gifts given. 

Appearances, of course, are not where truth ends. No matter if the gift is made or bought, it’s the sentiment behind it that matters more. In true epistolary form, I’ve come to the conclusion that the holiday card is truly the most generous of gifts to give. Especially in volume, writing holiday cards is an exercise in generosity. Words can mean so much more than things. Words are feelings, love, understanding, forgiveness. Words can show true care much more readily than a physical gift with all of its histories and allusions. 

No matter what the gifts you are giving or receiving, let’s all pay attention the messages behind them. The little ways in which we are generous with each other. And if you’d care to join me, let’s plan to write more cards for every holiday in 2016. 

Alone in Public- The Creative Tea Break

transcribed from the back of my tea-receipt, since my journal was foolishly absent:

the network neuron drawing is ready for Halloween

the network neuron drawing is ready for Halloween

ecosystems of place-time-people

→ glances and eyes caught in nets making webs of intraspecies connection

-the by-catch that changes life paths

  •  The Tea Mind-

We must trust in the poetry of the body- leaving value to be distributed safely into its jurisdiction. All we do now is punish it for its tendencies towards lust, but would it even be so if in other/most instances it were listened to? Plus, the intellect will always somewhere fail. If we put all our self worth int under that one heading, we would feel forever threatened, and would behave as small as our assumed margins of error:

-distillations of opinion

revisitings

annotations on experience

The Conscious Exhale

-starting sentence/feeling

(end transcription)

I had the Tea Mind concept- that I know almost nothing about- in my head from reading something about it on the side of a Tea Republic canister in my kitchen. One of their Tea Mind quotes from their blog for you here: “The Leaves take the water, the first sip emanating wisdom’s light. Where Tea Mind is polished, it shines, pervading the universe, is more than it seems. And so are we.” –The Ministers of Travel

 

To Break or Not to Break? Segmentation of Creative Outlets

It’s time for a new journal. I’m getting to the last few pages in my last one and I’m writing less because I know I have less space and no replacement yet- no good! So it’s time to bind another book. Or multiple books?

Like I do when starting a project for someone else, I started by assessing what the end goal is. Aaaaand got very confused. The broad goal is to express myself- ahh how cliché and seemingly easy! The trouble is that I want too many things from one product (again, clichéd but real). My new journal is for writing. And visually brainstorming. And also for *hopefully* doing adorable watercolors while on my upcoming trip to the UK. And I would really like it if it had a little folder in the back, and if the covers were made with that green cloth I made into bookcloth…

journal_brainstorm

 So here’s what the beginning of my brainstorm for the new journal/travel journal looks like, plus ideas for the teeny tiny altoids tin travel watercolor kit I’m working on (more on that later)

Building a new book- or any new artwork, happens in stages for me. The first is all small arrows and notes- brainstorming visually by hand, on paper. Then I take out materials, and I hem and I haw. Digging around through saved bits of paper and treasures helps a lot. Tonight I was briefly entering into this stage of the process for the new journal, but I kept running up against deciding on whether to break things up or not. Will this be the one journal to rule them all, that I use every day until my trip, use as my travel journal and continue to use after, or should I make smaller books of different types of paper- some watercolor, some drawing, some toned, and use them each for different drawing or watercoloring purposes while writing in a purely text journal?

Would it be possible for me at all to do a text-only journal?

Part of the package with this journal is designing how it will function in its completed state. I’m shying away from the scrapbooking aesthetic of assembling everything once I get back from the trip. I’d really like to be able to do pages that incorporate multiple elements, especially writing and watercolor- but I want different paper for those things. And what if I run out of room if I only bring little snippet journals of specific paper? I would be hosed! Do I feel like bringing an every-day writing journal, a watercolor sketchbook, and a drawing or travel-specific journal too though? No. Definitely no.

So with notes from bookmaking classes and How to Make Books by Esther K. Smith out on my desk, I’m searching for a livable answer. The travel journal example in that book, based on a concertina spine that signatures are sewn into, could be a great structure for me to use, but how to structure-or segment- the signatures?

Is this just what happens when working in multiple mediums? Or can there be a pleasing way to unite all of them? Any suggestions super appreciated!

Recall- Personal Archives and Building a Story of Self

It’s so easy to be blinded by present circumstances. In the post-grad struggle to find balance, and a career, things often feel too catastrophic to handle. What I realized I needed was a check-in with my own archive up to now, my own story. Just in my head, it’s difficult to cast back the net and pull up mid-August 2013, but with my journal archive, where I’ve collected my ideas for four-ish years now, I could find that in fact I was working on a 30-page paper about my experiences working with the First Nations Health Authority in Vancouver. That was a great internship at an even better organization, but wow- I’m so glad I’m not writing that paper right now. Another journal says that in 2012 I was in Vancouver, but struggling with body-image issues. Another says that last year (definitely better than this one on paper) I was on a boat up desolation sound eating apple pie I had baked with my mother from windfall apples. This took some time, and it would have been easy to just fall into old emotions and not take anything but nostalgia away from the exercise, but instead I found that I could see my growth when I looked back. I could see that over this past year, even if I don’t have an apple pie in my fridge at the moment, I have so many new experiences that have shaped me as a person. I can feel that I’m in a good trend- which makes it easier to keep going.

It strikes me that stories of self can be built in many ways. Mine up to now has been primarily through hand-written journals, but moving forward will fold this blog into it as well, and ideally more photos and drawings. How do you build a story of self? Tweets? The Facebook machine? Maybe your own blog or archived text message conversations- I’d love to know

Writing Across Mediums

Which writing counts? This has been a difficult question for me lately. Last year, I wrote in my journal nearly every day- I think I missed a total of 5 days when I was sick and such. Journal though- a hard copy, hand bound book I made for myself to write in. I still keep a journal, and I still write by hand in it, but more and more since I've graduated I've been turning to the screen for written expression.

This shift was highly motivated by reading the Huffington Post's Guide to Blogging. As a fledgling publisher, the itch to get ideas out quickly has been with me for a while now- this book gave me the mental tools to start setting a blog up for myself in earnest. Of course, this also meant re-doing my website. But writing a blog means typing a blog! I (literally) almost wrote my thesis on writing letters by hand- so how do I balance my need for hand written writing and on-screen writing? 

So far, my hypothesis is more of both, except that's really hard when working, starting up a start-up, and looking for a big girl job to pay those post-graduation bills. Any ideas for me?