I’ve been contemplating, as I’m wont to do, creative expression. More accurately, I’ve been ruminating on the idea of the results of creative expression. I recently came back from a mini and must needed vacation in New Orleans, LA. It’s a very cool place, as I’m sure anyone who has been there will tell you. From the brightly colored houses to the lack of open container laws (you can carry your cup of wine with you as you walk down the street — whaaaaaa?) to the incredibly friendly nature of every person you meet, to, of course, the music. It’s hard to understand how ubiquitous the presence of music is without experiencing it for yourself, but I’ll try to explain it this way: by the end of my five day visit, I had the sense that everyone in New Orleans — from my cab driver to the girl behind the bar — was secretly somehow an amazingly talented musician. The music (loud, jazzy, brassy, bluesy) comes over the airwaves, plays in the street, spills out of the open doors of bars. It is constant, loud, unapologetic, and amazing. I have never before seen so many people expressing their art in such a don’t-give-a-fuck manner. There was no need to calculate the result, no sense in worrying whether or not the audience would enjoy what was being presented, there was just the clear, in-your-face artistic expression. It was the one thing that impacted me the most of the experience.
Which has led to the meditation: is it possible, then, for us as artists, to create freely, without the fear or hope of results? For so very long, I’ve been transfixed on the idea of being a novelist. After completing the novel I’d been working on for a few years, I worried when I’d be able to produce anything else. I’d put everything I felt I had into this one thing, and because of this, my sole focus for the last month has been on achieving what I thought were my desired results, in the form of some sort of literary success. But you know what I’ve discovered? I have ideas for other things. I can’t stop creating in order to focus on obtaining some decided upon result. I can’t, because it’s not within me to stop. Results will come when they come. Only now am I beginning to understand how important this is: people inclined to create must continue to create. What else are they going to do?
I can’t go anywhere without seeking out a good used book store. This one we stumbled upon in the French Quarter, and the owner and Mike spent several minutes bonding over music while I strolled through the fiction section.
The music began the moment we landed and didn’t leave until we left. This shot is from our first night in the French Quarter, on, yes, Bourbon Street. Brassy and bold. I fell in love right there.
There are places in New Orleans that remind you of the city’s reality. There are areas with houses still boarded up, whole stretches of streets left still uninhabited since the flood. The devastation was and is real. But then there are moments that remind you that through destruction, there are still glimmers of beauty, of love.
Had to sneak in one food post: I’m feeling the seasons change, and experimenting with some pretty little acorn squash, ripe pears, and yellow carrots. I’m thinking there will be some form of curried soup and some type of Alfredo sauce for pasta, all vegan o’course. I’ll post results later on my Instagram, but if you’re interested, I’m playing around with some recipes found here and here. Playing around being the operative words; I don’t have all of the ingredients that either of these recipes call for… yay for creative experimentation, right?!
Speaking of fall, it’s scarf season! This one I found in Old City at a co-op working space / boutique, handmade by LeLe. This is only one of several ways to wear this thing (seriously, I think she showed me at least eight). Yay for supporting local designers! Yay for versatile clothing! Yay for scarf weather!
It’s everywhere; even on the cracked sidewalks.
While I’ve been ruminating on all of the above, an intuitive best friend (also a writer) has been feeding me some much needed words from Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, Big Magic, which I have not yet read but from the small bits I’ve seen (like the gem above), I certainly plan on reading. But what I’m getting: have confidence in yourself, and just create. Thanks to Ms. Gilbert, and also to Samantha Clarke. xo.