Wedding Blinders On!

Everyday Adventures

Which means blog posts around here are probably going to get spottier and spottier. We’re now within 7 weeks of the wedding and I would dearly love to have all projects completed one week ahead so, really, the clock is ticking with less than 6 weeks to get a LOT of thing knocked off the to-do list.

But all of this mania has made me think of some potentially pithy remarks on

Delegating Creativity

A couple of folks–including my mother, most recently–have offered to help with some of the wedding crafts. While I do appreciate the offer, it’s more than the usual amount of difficulty in accepting the help.

Yes, part of it is my long-standing need to do everything on my own. Call it stubbornness or the never-ending quest for bragging rights, but it seems to be ingrained over the last 37 years and it’s a tough habit to break. But putting those habits aside, that’s not the only reason I’m having trouble asking for or accepting help. And it boils down to this:

It’s a little hard to tell you what to do when I’m making it up as I go along.

It’s not like I don’t know what I want to achieve or how I want things to look. I’ve thought about pretty much every facet of the look of the day and thought through how I think I’ll be able to go about getting there. More times than not, though, little things go awry and if I’ve sent someone home with a project I won’t be there to troubleshoot or creatively solve the problem.

And yes, I definitely need to be involved with each step.

Also, by the time I’ve tested and trouble-shot an idea, chances are I’m far enough in that it’s just as easy for me to finish the project than put it aside so I can show someone else how to do it the next day.

Looking at it like this, my wedding is starting to sound like a giant piece of DIY performance art. I swear that’s not the focus, I just want the details to enhance our experience, not detract or distract. Minutia-level involvement is my way of assuring myself that that will be the case.

But the point I’m getting at is… Is it possible to delegate creativity? Can our art become a truly collaborative project?

Sure, you can collaborate on a concept or idea, and everyone’s been part of a group project in some form or fashion, but delegation is a hand-off, less of a hands-on. Can we still claim it as ours?

Which brings up the whole question of ownership in general. Can art really belong to any one person?

Now I’m not talking about copyrights and trademarks, I’m talking about that intangible thread between the artist and her creation.

The Great Master painters had apprentices. You hear tell of the Rembrandt “school,” for instance, but it’s in-the-style-of the teacher, even if the project may have been begun by the big cheese himself. Who knows? But art historians can tell by studying the brush strokes and other infinite details who actually painted it. I finished reading The House Girl the other night, a fictional story about (among other things and themes) antebellum paintings attributed to the mistress of the plantation but that were actually completed by one of her slaves and who has rights to those works. Whose name goes on the back of the canvas. Who gets the proceeds, be they money or bragging rights.

In this day of Pinterest and rapid-fire inspiration sharing, where does the inspiration stop and the appropriation begin? Where does imitation cross the line into impersonation?

And does it even matter?

I think it does. Matter that is. It matters where our ideas come from. It matters what came before us. It also matters how we put our own spin on things. Some people aren’t interested in personalization but focus on replication, and I suppose that’s okay for them, but I want my thumbprint on what I lay claim to. I don’t mind sharing the spotlight if I was inspired by someone else, but I could never take credit for someone else’s work, either, even if it was my instruction that served as the catalyst for the finished object.

Hah! I brought it back around to delegation. (I wasn’t sure how I was going to get there, to be honest.)

So, what do you think? Can we delegate creativity or does trying to place us in the position of muse or catalyst, but no longer artist? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Always Something on the Horizon

Everyday Adventures

Otherwise known as 100 irons in the fire, half a dozen projects on the table…

So.

Mainstream comics fans were sent reeling this weekend at the news that Gail Simone–a major player when we’re talking women and comics–was taken off the very popular Batgirl comic in favor of another writer. Shows of support for Simone and protest to DC over the move have been making their way through my feed-reader and I sympathize.

But what I know about Simone tells me she’s one smart cookie and will bounce back from this set-back quickly. I’d be willing to bet she has a project waiting in the wings, just like most of us with more ideas than time to fulfill them.

And as I was thinking along that topic Monday afternoon, I was reminded of a scene in one of my favorite books growing up: Golden Slippers.

I went through a ballerina phase (I think a lot of girls do) but, unfortunately, after I’d already passed up dance classes as a tot (long story there) and well after my parents could afford them anyway. So, as a preteen and a voracious reader, I devoured YA books about dancers (among other subjects). I still have a soft spot for dance movies. But Golden Slippers was a book that I read and re-read until it was (is) falling apart.

It’s the story of a young dancer–not necessarily the best dancer, or the dancer with the ideal dance body, but she had a certain spark (and an aunt cum fairy godmother who helped her along as best she could)–who gets a part in a major motion picture and has dreams of Hollywood. She’s young, impetuous, but her friends and teachers keep her in line. Her dance partner in the movie teases her in that I-like-you-so-I’m-giving-you-a-hard-time way, but she only has eyes for the female lead’s partner–the usual schtick.

Anyway, to get to the point, as the movie finishes up she has the moment where she realizes she has nothing planned. After all, she’s only a teenager, not even out of high school, and everyone else is already talking about their next project, the next big idea, next. Next.

She’s adrift.

And I can’t think of anything worse than that feeling, can you? Un-tethered, at loose ends, no prospects.

Things turn out all right (no surprise there, but the whys and hows I’ll leave  you to discover if you can get your hands on a copy and are so inclined) but young me learned a real lesson somewhere between the first read and the fiftieth:

Always have something else to move on to.

Of course, as a boy-crazy teen the somethings were actually more like someones, but it was the same idea.

And now, as a so-called adult, I always have a lot of things going on and more ideas than I have time to execute–at least all at once.

Usually when I get the wide-eyed, do-you-sleep, why-do-you-work-so-hard, etc. responses I answer with, “I like to stay busy.”

If pressed, I’ll explain that concentrating on only one project or interest is a fast-track to burnout for me. And both of those are true representations of the situation.

But there’s a third that I don’t think I realized, except for maybe deep in the cluttered filing cabinet of my subconscious, and that is that I don’t ever want to feel at loose ends.

I worked full-time as a bookkeeper while I was also going to culinary school full time. I had a social life that I’d keep up with on the weekends. My roommates barely saw me. When I left the day job to start the internship necessary for getting my degree I remember it feeling a little odd to only have 1 focus, but it was still a pretty demanding routine, so life went on almost as usual.

But when that job ended, when I went back to bookkeeping and had nothing ready-set to fill my off hours, that’s when it set in.

I was adrift.

So I started watching television (for 2 years I’d been too busy to even think about such a thing), but that wasn’t active enough for me (plus we didn’t have cable–no one watched much television in that house, it wasn’t just me). And while I was still ass-over-teakettle as far as debt was concerned, I had a little bit of disposable income I could put towards the hobbies I picked up–some old, some new. And I started to get ideas.

Even though Husband #2 told me, once, that I was not allowed to pick up any more hobbies or bring any more “crap” into the house, I’ve yet to stop.

He’s an ex for a reason.

I will continue to welcome the ideas and interests as they come. I will continue to have half a dozen (or more) irons in the fire. And I will continue to learn new things and share them with others whenever I get the chance.

They are my anchor. They are me.

Inspiration Everywhere

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

My re-introduction to the “modern” online-inspired wedding came several months before Todd and I got engaged.

Hell, I hadn’t even decided that I wanted to get married again, yet!

But I was looking for diy outdoor lighting options that wouldn’t break the bank when I search brought up the concept of LED throwies on a site called Weddingbee. I ended up not going the way of the throwies, but I did remember the ‘bee and would check back from time to time as I started to think more and more about the prospect of having another wedding, myself.

It was a bit of an eye-opener, all the things that were popping up in wedding-world compared to what I knew of weddings in the pre-Internet planning era (aka the Dark Ages).

And, of course, as soon as we’d talked it over and decided that marriage was back on the table, I started picking up all and sundry bridal magazines I could find. I also added a wedding folder to Google Reader and subscribed to some of the major wedding blogs around.

Easily obsessed? A bit. But I think it’s okay to go through that you-mean-I-get-another-shot-at-this-party phase, especially when it’s not your first time down the aisle and you might have some tiny detail-oriented regrets about the first (or second) walk.

But it doesn’t take long, really, to start noticing patterns. Like certain sites have a penchant for the “vintage-rustic” vibe, others love the washed out photography and Anthropology-inspired compositions. Others corner the market on non-traditional with pride. And each have their place, but they pretty much cover the same bases just in different ways.

Overload sets in, and you think you’ve “seen it all.”

At this point it’s good to do two things:

  1. Step away from the wedding media
  2. Look for your inspiration elsewhere

The first one is simple: set the magazines aside, don’t open the blogs or reader folders, and don’t watch those DVR’d episodes of Say Yes to the Dress.

The second? Well, where else do you look for wedding inspiration if not in the wedding-centric magazines, blogs and shows?!

This is where having a theme can really help. If your theme is circus or carnival, rent movies on those subject, do some research into circus history, or visit one if you have the opportunity. Soak in the details and let that guide some of your decisions. Find a hobbyist-level blog or magazine to subscribe to on your theme.

If you’re working with a color scheme but no other theme, do some mind-mapping or free association of items and ideas that those colors inspire, and find the threads that you want to tug and add to the event.

For Todd and I, with wine as our theme, a subscription to Food & Wine might be a smidgen more useful than one to Brides. I picked up a wine course book when Borders was liquidating (a moment of silence, please…) and have gotten a lot of design inspiration for our invitations from the scads of wine labels throughout the book.

And, then, once you’ve had time to take a tulle-free breath, you can wade back into the wedding industry buzz, feeling a little more in control, a little less frantic, and more sure of what does and doesn’t fit your idea for your wedding.

Pretty Book and Flower Icon

 

Do you ever feel the need to step away from the wedding magazines?