I’m still plugging away on my January “Someday”: running and walking 1200 miles this calendar year. My routine has changed throughout the year with the changing seasons and circumstances. In the early months I did quite a few miles on the treadmill as I waited for dawn to arrive so I could finish my daily miles outside with my dogs. I live in a resort town, so during the summer months I’ve tried to be out the door no later than 6:00 in order to avoid the crowds of vacationers running, walking, and biking on our trails.
Whether I’m on the treadmill or outside, one of the pieces of my routine that doesn’t change is my running. I consider myself a runner, but I do enjoy walking, as well. However, when I run, I do not run continuously. As the well known running coach Jeff Galloway recommends, I run with walk breaks – a form of interval training. A problem has arisen for me, though, in how I refer to my workouts. I am an extremely honest person and I feel uncomfortable saying, “I went for a 3-mile run this morning,” when I actually took walk breaks in that run. Lately, I’ve been using the cumbersome term, “run-walk” as in, “I ran-walked 3-miles this morning.” As I was motoring along during my 3-mile run-walk this morning, I was pondering this issue when a lightening idea struck. From now on, I will combine the two words and I will RALK! When you say the word “ralk” it sounds like “rock”. I’m feeling pretty good saying this out loud: I ralked 3 miles this morning!”
As I work toward stepping up my card-making a notch, I’ve thought a lot about what creative process happens as I come up with a card idea. I have to admit, first, that I had a hard time typing in the word “creative” in that last sentence. I had always thought of creative people as those who “make art” – painting, drawing, sculpting, etc. I cannot replicate an image, in any medium – I can barely draw stick figures. Several years ago, sitting with my family, I said something about not seeing myself as a creative person. My oldest son, who I consider to be a creative person, piped up and said, “You’re creative, Mom. Creativity isn’t just painting or drawing.” Since then, I’ve struggled to remind myself I am creative. My writing is creative, my cards are creative, and I know I have other creative outlets just waiting to be discovered.
So, what’s the process of creating a meaningful card? Just as with my writing, sometimes the ideas just come to me as I’m walking. I see something or think of something and suddenly and idea has sparked in my brain. A couple days ago, as I walked in the morning, I passed over an area where somebody had used chalk to write a word on the path. The word was “ROAR”. I looked at it and suddenly an idea for a card popped into my mind. I’ve been playing with options for completing the idea ever since.
A week ago I sat down to make a card for a special occasion and wondered where to go with the card. I paged through my paper scraps and came upon a piece of paper with a calendar image in one corner. I found a quote to go with the image, pulled out some coordinating paper and, quite literally, the pieces came together.
So is this creativity? Just being open to ideas that form from all the stimuli around me? Maybe, for me, the key to continuing to be creative is to continue to be “out there” embracing my world and keeping my mind open for those little stimuli that can turn in to words, or cards, or maybe even stick figure drawings!
After lamenting last week about the card I’d found in the garbage can, I’ve received an outpouring of support and encouragement. Last night I received one of the nicest forms of support yet. I went to a friend’s house for an event and, sometime during the evening, she said to me, “By the way, I love your cards! I even keep one you made me on the buffet,” and she motioned to the adjoining dining room. Sure enough, there amidst her other décor and trinkets was a card I’d made her. Heartwarming!
Email. Snapchat. Skype. Instagram. Twitter. Vine. Facebook. Text messages. FaceTime. Google Hangout.
In a world with instant communication, where using the telephone to make an actual call is a bit outdated, is there a place for a piece of paper conveying a sentimental feeling or thought? Is the message in a greeting card actually read? Is the care and effort put into a handmade card acknowledged and appreciated?
As I began working on my August Someday of advancing my card-making abilities and exploring avenues for possibly marketing my handmade cards, I had these questions slammed into my head when I emptied a garbage can and saw a card I’d made for someone had been tossed in the can. My feelings were a bit hurt, of course, but seeing my little piece of creativity thrown into the refuse, also makes me wonder where we are headed. Is our world moving so fast that we’re losing the ability to cherish a small gesture? Is handmade obsolete? I don’t know the answers, but being an optimistic person, I’m going to forge ahead with my August Someday and do my part to revitalize what I believe to be a lovely form of communication.
If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard.
–Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz
I didn’t even have to go as far as my backyard, I simply walked down the hall to my office/studio and saw my heart’s desire in my workspace and supply closet.
I’ve always had a thing for paper. I love a pretty piece of paper. I’ve also always had a thing for cards and letters. Email is great at getting information conveyed quickly, but it’s transient. I love a written letter or a handmade card. I love the feel in my hands as I read the words. I love that I can put a letter or card away and reread it later – maybe in a month, maybe in ten years. It will still be there.
Having been a letter writer and card sender since I was a child, I realized several years ago that I love to make cards. I’ve gone through several different styles, making cards for my own use in a totally casual manner. I love the cards I make, but I know there are processes I’m not aware of and ways to improve the quality of my cards. Two years ago, for my birthday, I bought myself a machine for cutting shapes for my cards. I’ve only recently unboxed it and I haven’t yet figured out how to use it. I also wonder if there’s a market for my cards. Perhaps others would like to purchase a personalized, handmade card.
Given my love of making cards and knowing there’s more to learn about the process as well as potentially marketing the cards, I’m dedicating my August Someday to improving my card-making skills and to researching possible markets for them.
My two-month hiatus is done; now it’s time to get back on track with my Somedays. I have five months left of my 366 Somedays – 153 days and I’m struggling to decide which Somedays are worth my time, which call to my heart. Over the last two months, as I’ve eased back on my Somedays, I’ve thought about what I’ve done so far and what I still want to do. I have a list I made when I began this project, but already I’m questioning how many of these Somedays really warrant my time. I’m torn between activities I’ve always thought I wanted to do and the reality of a limited number of hours in the day. I’m finding this process both beneficial and discouraging: beneficial because I’m really working to identify my heart’s desires (Oh, my, I sound like Dorothy. Perhaps a pair of ruby slippers would help the process.) and discouraging because I’m having to admit some activities I thought were salient, don’t actually make the cut.
I haven’t yet decided what my August Someday will be. Check back tomorrow and, hopefully, I’ll have a worthy plan ready to hatch.