Archive for October, 2010
photo by Simon Pais
Somehow I never get around to spring cleaning. Once the leaves appear I have the same itch to burst out and be free. Who wants to spend quality time with a toilet brush when the air outside is so delicious?
Fall is a different story.
I get that Neanderthalian urge to roast some meat, cozy up in the cave and pull out the sweaters — some of which inevitably look strange after a year in hiding. They’re pilly or stretched out or just plain weird. Hence my need to do some serious fall cleaning, which is exactly how I spent this last rainy weekend.
Grade school first trains us in the rhythms of the seasons. Fall is busy, productive and often highly focused. It can be tricky just to keep up. But that’s why it’s an important time to keep the cobwebs at bay, in every sense of the word. Creative pursuits need heavy scrubbing, too. Ask yourself:
– Where do I feel the most heat in my work?
– What gets me out of bed in the morning?
– What activities, contracts, tasks, or ideas have lost their shine?
– What should I spend more time doing?
– What should I stop doing?
Clearing out the clutter sounds cheery and virtuous, but it can also be hard work. It’s tedious and it’s not always easy to release a dead-end project — or a threadbare sweater. With cleaning, though, comes clarity. Suddenly, it’s so much easier to appreciate what you’ve already got while moving steadily toward what you really want.
Anyone out there suffering from information overload? Yeah? Me, too.
It’s a constant challenge. Carving out quite time and space is one piece of the creative equation. The other part requires what my friend Lisa calls “drinking from the fire hydrant.” You’ve got to fill yourself with all manner of inspiring stuff — words, music, eye candy and real-life experiences. And regardless of what you create, it’s critical to know what’s happening in your field and beyond.
One of the best ways to stay current is to find your filters. Monocle magazine has become one of mine.
The magazine was launched in 2007 by good Winnipeg boy* Tyler Brûlé, who also created Wallpaper and writes a column for the Financial Times. The print mag is crammed with smart writing about global culture, politics, design and business. Most of the website content is subscriber-only, but steer over to the “sections” tab and settle in to watch short videos on everything from Turkish soap opera tourists to an interview with the CEO of Lego.
It’s a quick way to expand the world beyond your Firefox window.
*For my lovely American visitors, other prominent Winnipeggers include Neil Young, the Weakerthans, Brett Hull, Carol Shields, Miriam Toews, Burton Cummings, Randy Bachman, Nia Vardalos and Monty Hall (okay, maybe the word “prominent” is a stretch in some cases…)