November 27, 2011

Peggy's Progress
        (Not to be confused with John Bunyan’s tale of agony and doom!)

You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky?
—Inspector Harry Callahan, from the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie Dirty Harry

So do you feel lucky? People say they are lucky in love—or not—and the same applies to creativity. Do you feel lucky to have been born with natural talent and creativity? Does the feeling that you’re not lucky creatively hold you back as it has me? I don’t think of myself as particularly lucky in talent. Lucky in love maybe, but not in talent. Others seem to have been blessed with luck or talent or both. In our interview with Kenny Endo he said he considers himself lucky for having been able to lead the kind of creative life he has for decades.

Well folks, it turns out luck has nothing to do with it, or not very much anyway. Sir Ken Robinson, in his book The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything says, “People who love what they do often describe themselves as lucky. People who think they’re not successful in their lives often say they’ve been unlucky.”

While Outside the Lines is all about introducing you to people who are living or trying to live the creative life, Robinson provides these words of caution:

“There is a risk of giving examples of people who have found their Element. Their stories can be inspiring, of course, but they can also be depressing. After all, these people seem blessed in some way; they’ve had the good fortune to do what they love to do and to be very good at doing it. One could easily ascribe their good fortune to luck, and certainly many people who love what they do say that they’ve been lucky (just as people who don’t like what they’re doing with their lives often say they’ve been unlucky). Of course, some 'lucky' people have been fortunate to find their passions and to have the opportunities to pursue them. Some 'unlucky' people have had bad things happen to them. But good and bad things happen to all of us. It’s not what happens to us that makes the difference in our lives. What makes the difference is our attitude toward what happens.”
So how do you get and keep a “Lucky Attitude?” Okay, remember all those advice to the lovelorn and self help bits you’ve read. It's the same deal here really, but in the context of pursuing creativity, not pursuing a mate.

Take advantage of chance opportunities—and make opportunities. Take a class, attend a gallery opening, join a local artists’ or other interest group. Get out there and meet people who do the kinds of things that intrigue you. Then pay attention. They know things and people you don’t and that can lead to unexpected opportunities for you. Michael and I started attending gallery and art exhibit openings a few years ago after we moved to San Luis Obispo County. He joined the Central Coast Sculptors Group and is now its president. Not only have we met some wonderful new friends but so many of them have provided connections that lead to opportunities for Michael to create and show his work.

Listen to your intuition. Write a journal, doodle in a sketchbook, meditate. Whatever it is, devote some time to listen to yourself even if you have no time during your hectic day. While you’re waiting in your car to pick up your kids (or your parents) don’t get on the phone to call someone. Call yourself. Pick up that sketchbook and jot down your thoughts, inspirations, ideas for a project, any kinds of steps to take you where you want to go creatively.

Think positively and expect to be lucky! Create your own self-fulfilling prophecies. Whole books have been written on this subject, but the point is, when you embrace and project a positive attitude it often comes back to you. And certainly not much good comes out of being a sourpuss all the time.

Cut your losses: Turn bad luck to good. Don’t get stuck dwelling on something that didn’t work out or isn’t going anywhere. Know when to move on and try something else. Just pay attention to the lessons the bad experience may have been trying to teach you.

So, get out there, get creative and Good Luck! No, strike that, make that Good Attitude!

Stuff We Like

One of the interesting and useful tools in Google+ is saved searches. The way this works is that you search for something in Google+ and then save your search. We saved a search for "life drawing". You can see it here.

If you go to this particular search, you will find Google+ users, public Google+ posts, and web sites, all of which are identified in some way with life drawing. Each time you look, the display will be updated to the most current hits on the search topic. This is good for finding current information, such as announcements of life drawing opportunities. And if you want to get the word out about your own life drawing sessions, you can submit a public post and it will be seen by anyone who has saved a search for "life drawing" among the 40 million or more Google+ users. There are some false positives, where the word "life" and the word "drawing" show up coincidentally in a post having nothing to do with life drawing, but for the most part, it really does work.

The potential for targeting your story to the people who are actually interested in it is remarkable. We will be talking about strategies for using this in future issues.

Next Month's Interview…

Next month we will feature an interview with silversmith Randy Stromsoe. Randy trained under and worked for the legendary silversmith, Porter Blanchard, and began working on his own in 1979.

Randy's work includes international presidential gifts, and is represented in the American Craft Museum's White House collection, the Smithsonian and other prominent museums.

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Peggy Sonoda

Michael Reddell
PO Box 160
Cambria, CA 93428

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