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Category Archives: creative personality

Of Self-Esteem and Phone Addiction

Of Self-Esteem and Phone Addiction

I am addicted to phone notifications. I crave those sounds and lights like drags from a cigarette, or worse. My Facebook Messenger notifies with a service bell, then beckons with a slow green blink. The text alert consists of two notes, then slow white flashes. For emails, the flashes are faster.

These rings and blinks and notes and flashes are my validation drugs. Like drugs, these shout outs from cyberspace momentarily satisfy my cravings for approval and a sense of well-being.  I estimate my value as a person based on phone alerts. A lot of bells and blinks means that I am engaging and in demand. No notifications means I am off my game. When my phone goes cold for too long, half a day or more, I get physical withdrawal symptoms. I frown. My chest tightens. I get anxious and start looking over to the phone every 15-20 seconds.

If there is a silver lining to the dark cloud of addiction, it is the chance to kick a habit and grow stronger in the process. For me, a silent phone is an opportunity to connect elsewhere – and mainly with me. It is quiet time to reflect on feelings, on what I need in this physical world, not the world of cyberspace. It is a time to count blessings and be grateful for them. It is a time to be more focused on creative work, on production, on discovering the resources inside me and drawing them out into music or writing or friendship. All of this good work during phone down time builds self-esteem and self-satisfaction.

Funny thing about the universe – once we truly let go of something, that something tends to come around to us in a fresh, positive way. So on top of all the benefits that come from getting a handle on phone addiction, the phone itself may return to deliver fresh, happy news!

Spark on!

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Posted by on April 27, 2017 in creative personality

 

Lolita’s Inner Victorian

a headshot of Victorian fashioned vampiress

Lolita has been connecting lately with her Victorian roots

Lolita was born about 130 years ago, very much in the thick of the Victorian era.  For women, it was an era of modesty and reserve.  But it was also an era where women were coming into their own with respect to education and civil equality. Lolita’s parents, in retrospect, did a nice job of helping daughters juggle the new rights of the age with traditional values.  One way traditional values were transmitted was through Mother’s rules of dress.

A place for everything, and yes, everything in it’s place – that was the way for Mother’s home.  And that was the way for dressing daughters (vampire or not!).  The proper place for a daughter was inside a form fitting bodice or stays.  Mother for one laced herself up daily in a corset, despite the already known health risks.  And the goal of both corset and bodice was without question to shape the figure in whatever way was perceived to be most desirable to the men.  The fact of a lacing up was in itself a metaphor for social restraint.  As Dad was fond of saying, “Stays were a literal symbol of a woman’s uprightness and virtue.”

Lolita understood that the underlying themes of her clothing as a girl and young woman – modesty, reserve, the approval of men, were the fodder for her teenage rebellion.  That rebellion led to rather too casual dating and ultimately to the date which made her want blood for eternity.  Never mind all that now, though.  Lolita was wont to reminisce fondly these days about her Mother’s dress requirements in the context of over-arching concern for all things family.

And anyway, once past the issue of undergarments, the dresses of the day were simply gorgeous.  Lolita loved the flowing or expanding hemlines.  She loved form-fitting sleeves that relaxed into mutton chops at the elbows.  She loved the lace which often decorated shoulder wings. And the hats! Oh, the hats!  They were wild affairs, sometimes with entire birds fitted on them.  Certainly, as often as not, they were rich in plumage, ostrich or osprey feathers being particularly popular.

The feathered hats actually continued to evolve well into the Edwardian era.  We are presenting at the site a stunning colorization of an Edwardian fashion plate in a flowing red dress, head crowned with peacock feathers.  This was in fact one of Lolita’s high school girlfriends who went on to a modeling career.  You can actually purchase prints of this gorgeous vintage shot on the website. (and we hope you will!)

View “Red Dress and Plumes” at AudioSparks Art Sales.

Purchase a stunning 8″ X 10″ lustre print for $24.60 at AudioSparks Art Shop

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2015 in creative personality

 

Demon Ego

Ego satisfaction is powerfully addictive. It blinds us ultimately to everything other than our own immediate cravings and desires. One might understand organized religion (possibly excluding Satanism and others of the darker variety) as largely about moderating the natural human tendency towards self-gratification, be it physical or psychological.  The emphasis on monogamous family life in most religious traditions, for example, is largely about enforcing in folks a daily dose of concern and involvement in the affairs of others.

The lesson is poignant for artists, who must spend a great deal of time working alone at creative projects.  Demon Ego crouches in the corner or the room.  He argues forcibly that, as an artist, your imperative to create trumps all – from breaking to walk the dog, to call mother, attend a worship service, or volunteer for an hour on a Sunday.  Isolation breeds isolation, not for more and better creative output, but for brooding and fading in loneliness.  Wanting the most basic social graces, a six-pack is now the permanent replacement for human companionship.

lizard man with forked tongue

Lizard King warming up that fancy forked tongue for some fly action


There is a line in the sand beyond which the creative return on investment from self-imposed exile rapidly diminishes.  And the line is not fixed – rather it draws in closer and closer – boxes in the artist, suffocates.  Happily, the converse is true.  Some regular engagement with friends (you will have to make some), family (you will have to apologize), the needs and concerns of community (you will have to remember where you live) – all this will push that line in the sand out and out.  We will find some refreshment, some breath.  We will be re-charged for our solitary pursuit. Our thinking will be clearer, more dynamic.

Lolita’s unpredictable lover, Lizard King, will tell you in a heartbeat that this is all a lot of hogwash (as he snaps another fly into his mouth). Lizard of course has made a career out of doing what he wants, and when. And it seems to work for him – but then again Lizard is not an artist. That is probably at least part of why Lolita likes him. He represents permission to cast off the creative yoke now and then, and to value some social contact. Lizard is all about social contact. In this regard, at least, we can learn something from the forked tongue dude.

Spark on!

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2015 in creative personality

 

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Artistic Personality: Demon Addiction

young woman passing a blunt

Lolita offers Lizard King a hit

Addiction. A tugging in the chest. An ache in the stomach. A dull throb in the head. There is some sort of tension in our limbs, as if they are trying to reach out for something that isn’t there. And perhaps they are. We draw a deep breath and try once more for that “mind over matter” moment. We try to reason with our craving. “Remember” we begin, “how good it felt this morning, for the third day in a row, to wake up without a hangover, with a reasonably good night’s sleep under our belt?” “Ok,” our demon companion, our constant buddy, replies, “you’ve done well. Time for a little reward. Time to kick back.”

And the cycle begins again. Binge and purge. Binge and purge.

It is no secret that many great creative personalities throughout history have struggled with physical addiction. Obviously our demon is not exclusively targeting the artist, but the creative type sure does seem to make a good target!

“What’s going on with that?” pondered Lizard King as Lolita passed the blunt. Blind Monk smiled from the corner of the room. Although not inclined to suck in a lot of smoke directly, our Thai pal is not so prissy that he can’t handle a little second-hand waft. But we are not all Buddhist masters of course. Most of us need to establish firmer boundaries over stuff we need to avoid.

“I see you working so hard, Lol,” Lizard continued. Your nights are well ordered, working the bridge crew, tending to your townhouse, all to support your days in darkened studio.”

“But you also see,” Lolita anticipated, “how my well-deserved reward, my downtime at the end of a long project cycle, always seems to deteriorate into a mini-cycle of self-destructive behavior from which I must likewise recover.”

A gentle tone from Blind Monk’s gopichant drifted from the corner, through the haze. Lol and Lizard quieted, blunt smoldered in the Mexican seashell ashtray.

Lolita made slow love to Lizard that night, and slept deeply. She only ate half a pizza the next day, and the next day finished it with good appetite for breakfast. She took a few baby steps in new work.

spark on!

midisparks

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2013 in creative personality

 

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creative personality: Demons or G-d’s angel?

one cruel eye draws us back into the purple, hellish morass

Rachel Christine Nowicki’s “The Deceiver” at Audio Sparks for Art

Driven. Driven. Is it demons or G-d’s angel? The artist wakes at 3:00 p.m. Heart pounding, head throbbing, like an electric kick drum. BUM-bum-bum. BUM-bum-bum. “I should go back to sleep,” our man reasons. “A few minutes of wide-awake clarity will push me forward more than an hour in blurriness.”

Driven. DRIVEN. BUM-bum-bum. BUM-bum-bum. “You have to work now! You have projects to move forward! Your day job starts at 8:00 a.m. Get up and go!,” chants the pressing low voice, raspy like a grunge guitar. No nurturing here.

It is the voice of the Deceiver. It draws the weary artist from his bed into tortured work even as our painting’s single cruel eye draws us back into a purple hell, a Satanic morass.

What is the source of this demanding energy that compels the artist, even against his will, to conceive and then struggle to birth new work? Is it insidious? Destructive? Nurturing? Illuminating?

Perhaps the creative drive which saturates the artistic personality is all of these things. If this Drive, this Energy, calls the shots, then we are tortured, suffering, martyrs for our art. We have accepted the yoke of the Destroyer, the Deceiver.  But perhaps we can harness and manage this Wild Horse, through awareness, self-discipline, Faith. Attach saddle and wings to this willful Stead, and soar in the heavens as upon Pegasus! Celebrate, be joyful, even ecstatic, for now you are partnering with the Artist, the Creator!

spark on!

midisparks

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2013 in creative personality

 

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creative personality: Pay to Play

young victorian vampiress

Lolita has benefited recently from Blind Monk’s insights

Sometimes artists abandon conventional wisdom in the mundane aspects of their lives. Lolita and Blind Monk, in their recent collaborative dialogue, were exploring this phenomena.

“Why is it, Lolita asked, “that in our creative lives, where the risk taking has so much upside, so little downside, we chase the accepted and acceptable? In our mundane walk, where so much conventional wisdom is available to sustain us best for those precious creative hours, we defiantly step outside the line, make our bold statements of individuality.”

blind monk on his prayer mat

Blind Monk listens and offers insight

Blind Monk listened, even as he continued arranging his prayer mat and shrine icons (which he brought stateside with him). Lolita continued, “Take the old school American jazz artists. Their personal lives were rife with self-destructive behaviors – drug and alcohol use, abusive relationships. Even with my beauty, Monk, it is so much easier just to hypnotize the man when I want some company, rather than work at building true rapport, let alone anything resembling love. What is this tendency about, Monk”

Monk’s smile was gentle, expressed empathy. This was no theoretical issue for our Thai acolyte. After all, he was a musician as well as a monk. He grew up on backstreets in bad Bangkok. He knew about self-destructive behaviors. “The reality for many of us,” Monk began, is that the creative project takes some time to bloom. My gopichant technique comes from years of practice in solitude. Your longer compositions, Lolita, can take months to complete. The much desired gratification from finished work, and from sharing that work, is infrequent. But we need an ego shot today. Perhaps non-conformance in our mundane walk offers the opportunity for a little daily recognition, a little id stroking,” Monk speculated. “Who can blame the artist for compensating with short cuts in other aspects of life. Impulsive behavior. Junk food. A chaotic environment. Paid companionship. Quick fixes and avoidance in the “non-creative” areas of our life feels justified somehow by the extreme commitment, in time and intensity, necessary for our creative work, on the one hand, and the infrequent recognition for that work on the other.”

Lolita could listen to her new Thai friend for hours. She felt no judgement from Blind Monk. She knew of his own struggle, his own success in growing out of egocentric and self-destructive behaviors. She heard in his rich gopichant music the profound, positive impact of self-mastery. Of course Lolita tends to minimize, if not forget altogether, her own achievements in the area of self-control. It is no small thing to wrestle with the cravings of her Race. The passion she manages so well is deeply invested in her music.

Of course there is always room to grow, to explore aspects of our lives which could nurture more.

Blind Monk counsels, “Gentle baby steps.”

spark on!

midisparks

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2013 in creative personality

 

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creative personality: Patience Pays

Patience is not inherently Lolita’s strong suit. Our Girl feels the world’s richness deeply, life’s potential passionately, and she really wants to take it all in at once! There is so much to feel, and do, and share, and create. Her mom would laugh, even as she worried, to see her baby racing excitedly from one activity to the next, bursting with joy, but unfocused as hell.

a little girl running in a field

lolita tearing it up as a little girl

Fortunately, with the acquired experience and wisdom of her centuries, our beloved vampiress has come to appreciate that life’s yield, including the product of creative efforts, is fully realized over time. Even projects that begin with profound flashes of inspiration typically require time to evolve, to gestate. Creative issues are revealed, and best resolved, in the fullness of time.

Deuce, Lolita’s indefatigable Spaniel Muse, is fond of pointing out a happy fringe benefit of the “slow and steady” approach. Surprisingly, we find ourselves more productive, in fact painting life with a much broader brush, when we take small bites, over time, on a number of projects, rather than going for the max on one project. Deuce refers to “projects” in the broadest sense here – creative projects, household projects, day job projects, relationship projects, self-improvement projects.

We marvel at some of the great figures in history – how much they accomplished and in many cases how diversified was their genius. Leonardo de Vinci developed expertise in no fewer disciplines than painting, sculpture, engineering, mathematics and architecture. There was a great Jewish commentator of 11th century France named Rabbi Shlomo Yitchak. Not only did this towering figure produce an essential learning narrative on the entire Jewish bible and legal literature, but he presided over a Jewish academy and maintained vineyards! Rabbi Shlomo’s explanations display an impressive depth of technical understanding over a wide range of subjects. Perhaps the religious life, with it’s daily obligations of prayer and service, helped our rabbi appreciate that small bites each day, in a variety of disciplines, was the surest path to steady progress and growth.

There is great satisfaction in watching work unfold, evolve, be revealed. We learn that each day offers its solutions. Those solution may not be presenting, however, in the work you thought to focus on that day. But when we can let go in one area, especially when we seem stuck, and especially before we reach burn-out, we find ourselves ready for progress elsewhere. The slow and steady way, combined with some courageous sharing of the unfinished work, allows for valuable feedback. The slow and steady way enables us to apply feedback, to adjust course or even change course, in a gentler, more organic way. Because our stew is a slow cook, there is still time to rebalance ingredients – a few more veggies? a little less meat?

Lolita is grateful for evolved creative personalities, such as yourself, who have served as such good role models for the patient, slow and steady approach. Of course her dear muse, Deuce, who will gladly sniff one patch of dirt for 15 minutes – is definitely with the program as well.

spark on!

midisparks

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in creative personality

 

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