Days of the Dead

It occurs to me that my recent blog posts have been rather focused on death. I hasten to advise that this is not because I have become a goth, but rather because I have been relying too heavily on using this blog as a personal diary and not doing enough to try and flex my creative muscles.

I started the blog with the aim of doing some writing everyday, but allowing myself a good deal of flexibility within that. While I was pleased that I did end up writing a load of fiction pieces that would otherwise not have been created, I do wonder if I had made the task fiction only, whether I would have written more or given up.

So recently I have been thinking about increasing the level of fiction, especially now that the one post a day for a year is well and truly complete. I still find myself in the evening thinking that I must write my blog and still feel odd on days when I do not.

So I made an effort to put up less non fiction recently but nothing coherent as project, more grabbing ideas off the scratch pad I have and working them up to at least a first draft. I have an assignment due in pretty much exactly a week, which I have not yet started and so naturally instead of sitting down to do it this weekend, I pratted about writing poetry.

Today,  I was listening to a podcast about working creatively, called The Creative Life Show with Joanna Pieters. I was not sure about it when I started, but she does have interesting conversations with creatives, offers sound, practical suggestions and covers topics such as, ‘getting stuck.’

The interview I listened to today was with an artist called Noah Scalin who may be world famous but I had not heard of him. He was bored and unfulfilled in his job as a graphic artist and so set himself an unusual challenge.  The results can be seen on his blog A Skull A Day where he posted his creative outputs. Everyday he made a skull, somehow. Sometimes it was through painting using traditional materials, sometimes using found objects.

What was interesting was that he thought he would start off by having some great ideas which would slowly peter out until he was scraping himself over the finish line on day 365. What actually happened was the opposite and he found that he began to get more and more ideas as the project developed. As he posted the project online, he found a community of followers who would then suggest materials or ideas for new skulls. He made templates he had used for his artwork available and other people created skulls and sent them in.

I have so far gone through 160 images that he posted and the results are amazing. Some skulls are outlines created in foodstuff: sugar on a table, dried pasta, fashion vegetables or even painted in Vegemite (best use of Vegemite IMHO). Others are sculpted from a variety of materials. In the end, he said, he had way more ideas than he could fit into the year and the project also enabled him to sell his abilities as an artist that merely responding to client briefs never could.

With this in mind, and aware of the assignment deadline, I signed up for a creative challenge, created by Joanna Pieters which will send me a task every day. Tomorrow is the first day.  I shall see where it takes me. It may well be that nothing is the result, or that shorter posts are the result (the crowd goes wild!) as fiction is a lot slower than non-fiction, but hopefully something will be different, for a couple of weeks while I do it at least.


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