Three Stages of a Big Important Project

Just Doing It

There does seem to be a certain amount of disconnect between living a creative life and writing a blog about it. I’m not managing to do both — you may have noticed — but that’s because I’m choosing the “living” part, and the “blogging” has had to wait.

Lately I’m obsessed with the idea of “just doing it.”

You know what I think about feeling pressured to do things just so we can say we did, but I feel equally strongly about actually DOING the ideas that keep nagging at us — especially the ones we push away because they seem too difficult or outrageous or contrary or even a little embarrassing.

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Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting you go flying off on every crazy idea that pops into your head like some sniggly baboon drunk on fermented Marula fruit. You need to have a plan, be willing to work your ass off, and see it through. Unfortunately it’s not like those movie montages where they show 6 hours or 6 days or even 6 months worth of work completed in 6 minutes — it’ll really take you those hours, days or months to complete. I just believe it will be worth it.

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I am NOT now going to list all the work that I have been “just doing” which has prevented me from keeping up with this blog, though I will say that things look very different around here — literally — and though deadlines and pressure in general may actually have increased, at least I’m the one in charge.

I’ll be more specific about what’s going on soon, but for now I’m just doing it!

Tarpe Diem

At least I warned you my blog presence would be spotty, and now I’ve got pictures to prove I’m really not just sitting around watching Netflix and eating bon bons — though I’ve had my fair share of that as well. (If I don’t give myself little treats now and then I pitch fits and stomp out of the room and quit, so it’s just easier to let me watch Netflix and have a bon bon.)

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I have been working on my public art project for Treefort, which as you know is going to be giant tarps cut out to look like papel picado. Only I can only find the tarps in blue, brown, white and silver so I have had to paint 10 of them to get some fun colors.

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It took 17 cans of Fusion (for plastic) spray paint in red, pink, yellow, purple, and orange to paint 10 tarps with Mike’s able assistance. My hand could barely grip my toothbrush this morning. (This could be a problem considering the number of bon bons I earned with that little paint job!)

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Luckily we had a relatively warm sunny day and the tarps dried spread out on the lawn. They are now stacked in the loft in the garage awaiting the next steps.

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I have 8 million, OK, 8 rolls of carpet tape to adhere the cut tops to the painted bottoms, and my crack team of assistants is lined up to help.

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Honestly I wish I had a videographer to chronicle the process ahead and set the whole catastrophe to music. The plan is to take the tops which I have already cut out and ever so deftly adhere them to the colorful bottoms.

Here are the tarps I’ve already cut out, stacked in my sewing studio:

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I’ll let your imagination run with that plan I just mentioned for a moment.

There is hope, however. The cut out parts look really cool, and IF we can actually get them to become one with the other colorful tarps then I think this will end up being one of my favorite projects ever.

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I’ll keep you posted, and until then…I think I just heard a bon bon calling!

Hey the Sun Came Out!

Hey the Sun came out! But I’m still fighting my way out of the inversion — at least the one going on inside my brain.

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I’ve been working on the See Spot Walk design for IHS and I’m going through the second stage of the three stages of a big important project — you remember, the IMPOSTER stage. Only this time, I really AM an imposter.

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I hate to tell you, but I can’t paint. I’m not actually an artist. I just pretend to be one for the sake of this blog.

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So for the past few days I’ve been f-ing around and f-ing around and going home crying (not really, that’s just the punchline to a much longer story) and all I have to show for it is this impasto.

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Luckily there’s Instagram. This almost looks like I meant to do that.

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But things may actually be turning around this afternoon because suddenly here comes the SUNSHINE after what feels like an impossibly long inversion. And I got a really great haircut — thank you Ingrid at Arroyo Salon in Boise. And tomorrow is the Lunar New Year — let’s hear it for MOONSHINE too! You know what I mean.

And there’s always Lula to remind me that it doesn’t matter how silly you look while you do it, just put one foot in front of the other and keep walking…. You’ll get there!

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Closing in on “Whew!”

This “big important” project I’ve been talking about, and working on, and talking about some more, and working on sort of — has been rougher going than most — and I know exactly who to blame.

Yep. That would be… me.

I have just been thinking too much. Overthinking. And worrying about it WAY too much. My favorite new Wise Words are “Worrying is like Praying for what you Don’t Want.”

Yes, it’s just as easy to manifest the negative. But no more.

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So here’s the project: I am designing a public art piece for the Tree Fort Music Fest in March. I need to finish the design and get it approved in January, fabricate it in February, and install it the beginning of March so it will be up for the entire month including the Fest itself which is March 20 – 23.

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As Don Draper would say it needs to be “Simple but significant.” For it to be identifiably by “Sasi” it needs to be colorful, playful, patterned and have content which ties it to the event.

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Well, I think I’ve finally got it! I’m going to do giant “papel picado” — you know, the cut paper banners no fiesta — or Fest — is complete without:

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Of course they won’t actually be made of paper, and I have to get official approval first, but it just feels right. Finally!

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With apologies to Martha and the Vandellas…

We’ll be dancin’
We’re dancin’ in the trees (dancin’ in the trees)
This is an invitation across the nation
A chance for folks to meet
There’ll be laughin’, singin’ and music swingin’
We’re dancin’ in the trees!

What Would Lula Do?

“If at first you don’t succeed give up immediately. Move on to some other task until that becomes unbearable, then move on again circling back around to the first problem. By now, your subconscious will have worked on it. Sort of like sleep. Only cheaper.” — Jon Sachs 9-24-11

I took Jon’s advice to heart yesterday and had a great time. I gave absolutely zero thought to the project which I’ve been torturing myself with and instead I met with the folks at the Idaho Humane Society to discuss See Spot Walk which is the next “big important” project I’ll be taking on this month. I did not work on it until it became unbearable however.

Instead I got to meet Lula…

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Lula and I like winter coats lined with fleece, and not having to walk on cold, snowy, icy, slushy days. We have a lot in common!

Now it’s time to either work on the new project until it wears me out or “circle back around” to the first project. I’m not sure about this procrastination solution — it seems like a lot of work when I could just take a nap….

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Hmmmmmm?

Slipping Glimpses

I was supposed to be working on my upcoming big important project. I’d gotten my chores done, there were no appointments on my calendar, the coffee was made — nothing was in the way of knuckling down and having a really productive day. Maybe even a breakthrough to the next stage sort of day.

Then — I remembered my friend Tracy Deaton’s Kindle book “Guaranteed Great Music!” — which I’d only just finally downloaded last night. Since it’s a memoir about his time working at Musicworks in Boise in the early 80’s, and my big important project relates to music in Boise, I thought I’d just have a cup of coffee, read a little, and then get to work.

Well, there went the day.

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You see for Christmas I received a little turntable so I can listen to my records, which I have continued to haul around in 37 years of moves, and Tracy mentioned so many of them — basically the soundtrack of my life from 1977 to 1981 — Providence “Ever Sense the Dawn”, Fleetwood Mac “Tusk,” and the Beach Boys to name a very few. I had to listen to them all.

He didn’t mention Patty Smith, but she was often my refuge during that time. I don’t remember making a lot of friends at Driscoll Hall listening to “Horses” (“it was as if someone had spread butter on all the fine points of the stars cuz when he looked up they started to slip”) and “Radio Ethiopia.” I do remember not really caring.

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Tracy’s book is very personal and talks about a lot of people I know (Hey, A.!), knew and haven’t thought about in years (Lee!), as well as a few I will never forget and often wonder about (if you have any idea what ever became of Thom W. and his viola Panache I’d love to know).

Thanks Tracy! I feel a little wrung out from my day slipping in and out of 36 – 37 year old memories, and I didn’t actually do anything productive, but we’ll see what percolates up through.

Sometimes looking back makes it easier to see where we’re headed, to say nothing of where we are. Boise is not the same place it was back then — now it’s a Great City Guaranteed!

The Sun’ll Come Up?

I actually woke up this morning with that stupid Annie song “The Sun’ll Come Up Tomorrow” playing in my head. Annoying orphan chorus and all. “Bet your bottom dollar that tomorroooow there’ll be suuuun!”

At 6:30 in Boise in January I have my doubts,

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but it’s the metaphorical sun I’m still waiting for anyway so I decided to go ahead and get out of bed.

Yep. I’m still stuck on “Imposter.” But while I keep hacking away at the underbrush trying to clear the path for the “Great Big” idea which will get me to “Whew!” I’m paying more attention to the finer details of this process. That’s right, I’m witnessing my own agony so I can share it with you. Aren’t you glad?!

Here’s my first observation. I totally underrated how much work the first stage is when you have the “good little” idea and you have to just do it because you might have five or seven ideas that all require the time it takes to get out of your head and onto the paper — otherwise they don’t count.

Talk is crap. You have to do the work.

What? You wanted more insight than that? Well I want my lazy-ass muse to stop rolling her eyes at me and help me take down the Christmas decorations so I can go to my studio and start playing with my “good little” ideas so they can grow into a “Great Big” idea and I can finally get to “Whew!”

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Now somebody bring me some coffee!

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Here’s my second observation: it’s time to stop talking, go get my own cup of coffee and get to work!

Stuck on “Imposter”

I’m realizing that for every new art project of a certain size — i.e. big and important — there are three stages which apparently we MUST to go through in order for the project to ultimately be a real success. You can’t go around them, you can’t go over them, you can’t go under them…you MUST go through them.

The first stage is what I think of as the “good little idea” stage. You know essentially what you want to achieve with your finished artwork and you have an idea. It’s a “good little” idea. Not a great idea. Not a big idea. But it’s a place to start and — this is important — you MUST START. That’s really the hardest part of this stage, just getting started. If you can get past all the busy work you’re putting in the way of beginning this project and just do it you’ll get through this stage with flying colors.

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So you start with your good little idea. You do the work. You get the idea out of your head and onto the paper, or the canvas, or expressed in whatever medium you have chosen. At this point you might even really like what you see. You might want to kiss yourself and that’s fine, enjoy the moment, but then get ready for the next stage. It’s coming in fast and it’s coming in mean. It’s going to be HELL.

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The second stage is what I think of as the “you are an IMPOSTER” stage. If you are an artist who has completed big important art projects you know exactly what I’m talking about…”Who do you think you’re kidding? You’re not an artist! You have definitely bitten off more than you can chew this time Missy! In fact this time you’re the one who’s going to get eaten — Alive! Buahahahahaha!”

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I hate the second stage. The second stage SUCKS. Big time. In fact, I am currently sitting in the middle of a second stage moment right now as I write this post. The only reason I haven’t packed away my paint brushes forever, invested in full body ink, and joined a wandering circus with only a newly adopted pitbull as my traveling companion is because I know, as day follows night, there WILL be a stage three.

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The third stage is what I think of as simply “Whew!” It’s when it all comes together and you actually have a Great, Big Idea, and you ARE an artist, you’re NOT an imposter and your muse isn’t a barren bitch with a sadistic sense of humor after all. All is well. All is well. And all will be well. Until next time.

Wish me luck. It’s lonely in the second stage.