Saturday, June 26, 2010

Art + Yoga + Writing + Dog + Sunshine = A real challenge

By Susan Gallacher-Turner

Last week, I joined the 21 5 800 challenge. For 21 days, I do 5 days of yoga and write 800 words a day. Sounded wonderful to me at the time. But, where do I fit in sculpting, painting, delivering work, filling out show applications, facebook, email and walking my dog? See sad picture of her...on the rug...waiting.

Ok, so nobody said it would be easy. Right.

Last week's progress:
5 days of yoga - check.
800 words a day - check almost. Ok, some days it was only 600 words but are the others also working artists, too?
studio work - check.
wanting to go on a long, long holiday --double check.

So, today, this blog writing, writing artist emails, statements/forms for show applications and some personal journal writing make up my 800 words. I'm going to yoga class tonight. I'm done with the challenge for today, right?

Now, back into the studio to work on a lamp, more lilies and check my clay pieces.'s sunny outside today! For the first time in weeks, months, years, there's sun shining on my garden, my clematis, lilies and poor rain soaked peonies. And my sweet Jilly dog wants to go outside and lay in the sunshine.

Ok, now guess what won...back into the studio or outside with Jilly?

Of course, you're right.

If you'd like to read more about my art journey or see my artwork, check out my blog Sculpting A Life and my website Susan Gallacher-Turner Sculpture. Read more!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Television Musings - Rants and Raves of a Romance Writer

By Kathy Carpenter

It’s so hard to be creative these days. You may not even think there is any creativity in my blog. But whatever it is, I can’t even think of what to write. I know a lot of people call this writer’s block, but I didn’t think there was such a thing,Anyway, when I was young like many writers I used to like to make up stories. These were mostly verbal. Although I did write a book of Fairy Tales when I was in elementary school. Those stories were all about make believe. In the stuff you write today or I should say most people write, sure you make up the basic story but you are staying within reality or basically what people can wrap their minds around. Is that really being creative.

With Television shows, even reality shows, the try to switch things up, put a fresh spin on the show to keep it fresh. One or two little things so it’s familiar but different. Sometimes theses are for the better and sometimes they kill a show. Is what it is.

Let me know what you think.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

'Listless' week produces surprising results.

By Susan Gallacher-Turner

Last week, I gave myself a challenge: a week without 'To Do' lists. After a lifetime of making lists, I wondered if I'd get any studio or writing work done, forget to walk the dog, answer my email, and go to yoga class. Would I forget what I needed at the grocery store? Or would a week of 'listlessness' make me a happier camper?

Here's what I learned.

I still worked in the studio. I worked on three clay faces, painted mesh bird masks and bought needed supplies. I remembered to go to the enameling class I signed up for months ago. I experimented with additional paint glazes on the clay busts and the new cement bases I'd cast. I wrote on the blog just as I always do. I started writing a new series of essays. I remembered to check and answer my email, post on facebook and read other blogs, news and sites on the web. Yes, I walked the dog(I don't think she'd let me forget), went to yoga, made my appointments.

Somethings didn't change, but some things did.

I found myself spontaneously doing things and taking on projects that I really wanted done, but had put off. Shopping at Target, I picked up a new comforter set for my room that was over 1/2 off and a tablecloth purchased on impulse led to a whole range of home decor projects. I love to do home decor projects, but due to life changes and the economy, I haven't done anything in 3 years. I made new valances for the nook, took down curtains in the living room, put up different ones and sewed three new pillows for the couch from the rest of the Target tablecloth. The downstairs has needed painting for a few years. Suddenly, last week I was picking out paint colors, buying the paint and, yup, painting those dingy walls.

In the past, all projects had 'To Do' lists with all the details outlined. I always thought that making detailed outlines and supply lists was necessary to get the projects done. That I couldn't go shopping successfully without making a list.

What I learned this week: I don't need the lists to get the projects done. And, perhaps, being a little 'listless' actually helped me jump into projects with more energy and enthusiasm. I also found myself making good shopping decisions on the spot.

Will I go 'listless' forever? I don't know.

I do know, although it was scary at first, I felt lighter, more energetic and spontaneous. I even got my hair cut in a new short cut, on the spur of the moment. (In the past, I would have researched cuts and had a 'list' of looks to give my stylist.) Ok, I still made a list for grocery shopping, after forgetting the ketchup and shampoo. And I still love post-it notes, I think it's the colors.

But I'm thinking that a 'listlessness' might be a very good thing. What do you think would change for you if you tried a week of 'listlessness'? If you're game, try it and let me know how it works, or not, for you.

If you'd like to see some of my artwork, visit my website at Susan Gallacher-Turner Sculpture. And if you'd like to read more about my creative journey, visit my other blog Sculpting A Life. Read more!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Creative Circle Recovery Minnesota USA

10,000 lakes, 12 steps, 2 worlds

The Art and Grace of Summer
by Pamela Yates

There are many challenges in the world, my head is spinning despite the photograph of my smiling face. What are we to do in the face of these challenges? I think we must do what we always do, try to keep reaching for our enduring "can do" attitude while we are ever so gentle and patient with those around us. Perhaps my husband, my friend, my sister or my neighbor is feeling deep emotional trauma at this moment because of the troubling events in our nation and in the world -- the gravity of the oil spill, nations in conflict and at war. So, what can we ordinary Jane's and Joe's do? Here's my naive simple plan. For a start, we can try to give everyone a break; we can try to be extraordinarily patient with each other. We can try to keep critical and judgmental ideas to ourselves for a change. We can simply pray for the health and happiness of all people. We can try to listen more and talk less. We can look for ways to shed some kindness on those around us. We can aim for a dozen small acts or words of kindness a day. This is a perfect time to "pay it forward."

There I go again, being naive. Let's do just that! Let's be naive in our forgiveness and patience. Let's be resilient warriors for peace. Recovery in any sense of the word requires an enduring sense of acceptance that change takes time. Time is organic (that's my sense and belief) and as such it is ever-renewing and -recovering. If we maintain our focus in a good way, time will compost that good energy into health and happiness for the people. In my lifetime I may not see the outcomes I pray for and dream of for all our children but my recovery and healing as a woman and as a human being ensure that I am more likely to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. I'm grateful for that role and, just for today, it's enough.

Nurture your dreams.



Pamela Yates is a transplanted Australian painter and personal coach in the areas of creativity and meaning-making. She writes about the adventures of a creative person in recovery living in Minnesota USA. Her insights about creativity and life in recovery come from indigenous and western perspectives on healing our creative spirits: recovery and creativity seamlessly nurtured by tribal values. Her journey of healing includes 20-plus years as a sober contemporary artist and recovery from alcoholism, PTSD, anxiety and sexual trauma. Her storytelling has roots in the 12-step program, the Red Road and teachings from the indigenous Circle process and the support of multi-cultural extended family, elders and friends. Her coaching clients and her paintings can be found in communities in the USA and abroad. To learn more about meaning-making, recovery and creativity visit Pamela's web site at and her online portfolio at or contact her via email at

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

'To Do' or 'Not to Do' - Answers

By Susan Gallacher-Turner

Last time, I wrote about my habit of list making and whether 'To Do' or 'Not to Do' helps or hinders my creativity. I wondered how other people manage their lives and creative projects. Did they have long lists, too? Or no lists at all?

I worried that a life without lists, might become too listless, that I would dabble here and there never getting anything done ever again. But was having so many lists about everything becoming a burden rather than giving me freedom from fear? I wondered if there was a better way to manage all the projects I need to get done without hyper-managing myself with lists.

So I asked for help. And thank you all for sharing your thoughts on lists and your own list making strategies. Here are your comments and ideas.

Kim Switzer said:
I do make lists, but they don't help me get everything done. I've stopped making highly detailed lists, though. I make a list for a period of 2-3 days rather than a daily list, and I only put on it the big things that need my time and attention. That way, I don't get caught up in the small busy-nesses of life and forget to focus on what really needs me. I've been doing this since the end of last year, and it seems to help me get things done without leaving me overwhelmed by a too huge "to do" list.

Stacy(aka goldenbird) comments:
I have slowly stopped making lists almost without realizing it. I used to make them on the weekends because I felt overwhelmed with stuff I needed to do, but then I would get bummed out because I didn't want to spend the weekend checking off a to-do list. At my day job I have a to do list of my big projects, but I don't make lists of the little tasks anymore. Everything somehow gets done.

Caelista said:
Like goldenbird, I used to start the weekend with a big list but it was depressing to have so many tasks ahead of me, and then the lists kept getting longer as I remembered more things I needed to do. I never seemed to get through them.

Lois J. de Vries writes:
I keep a Master List by category that I add to whenever something occurs to me. From that list, I choose three to four priorities (in various categories) for each month.
On Mondays, I make a weekly list of everything I would like to get done that week and have gotten over the idea that the list is way too long. That isn't its purpose.
Whatever doesn't get done on Monday is carried to Tuesday. What's left on Tuesday's list gets carried to Wednesday, etc. Yes, sometimes things come up that have to be added. On the weekends, the list may change completely, to address just weekend things. On Monday, I carry forward whatever is left over from the previous Friday and add more things.Over time, the irritation of seeing the same item on the list every day for two months or more acts as an incentive to finally get it off the list. I either decide not to do it, or do it. I view lists as organizational tools that free up brain cells that would otherwise be used for repetitive tasks of remembering. Past a certain age, it's the only way you can remember anything.
These days I try to focus on one main thing I need to get done each day, or at least no more than three main things. That seems to work a lot better because I can actually finish them!

Thanks to you all again!

I can see that there are many ways to look at lists and the more creative you are, the more creative you can be with your lists. Using them as an organizational tool and a memory jogger, a way to get big projects and goals done, or keeping them small and doable. Hearing that things can get done without lists made me curious. What would happen if I tried going listless for a week? Would I become a non-productive drone or would I still get work done?

I've decided to take your advice to heart this week and try a week without a list. So, I threw out my lists, took down my post-it notes and closed my notebook next to my computer. Will I get work done? Or will I wind up in front of the TV staring into space? I'll keep you I could make a list about that...but :)

If you want to see some of my sculpture, check out my website at Susan Gallacher-Turner Sculpture and you can read more about my creative journey on my blog Sculpting A Life
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