Graffiti Alley

 

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Graffiti was one of the first art forms I was interested in as a kid despite at the time it was considered nothing but vandalism. As a child in the 80s I poured over books and articles of 70s and 80s NY subway art, incorporating the influence into some of my own art work now and then, intrigued by stories of gangs of artists risking arrest and possibly even life to express their art form but judged by society as nothing but vandals and degenerates!

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Wherever you go, which ever city you set foot in there will be graffiti or street art as it sometimes now referred to. Some of it crude and slap dash, a territorial marking and some of it intricate and well planned out but these days these days graffiti is a little more respected as an art form.

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On our last day in Toronto when we have to find something to do between checking out of our hotel and checking in to our flight, we headed down to graffiti alley in The Fashion District and I noticed a real nostalgic theme when wandering down the alley, there was a real 80s influence to some of the work.. Here is a little of what I caught my eye.

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Stuck In a Rut!

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You know when you’ve been stuck in a rut for so long it actually becomes comfortable? For no one reason in particular I have not been making things, no sewing of own clothes, no making things for my new shop, I’ve been procrastinating like a boss though!

For a workaholic I don’t actually get much done, I appear to be stuck on a merry-go-round of routine and same old, same old and whilst everything is the same, I don’t feel very defined in myself or dedicated for that matter. I seem to float on a weird air of whimsiness that everything will all fall in place at some point and I will find my place in this business. I am probably fooling myself on this front, in fact I know I am.

I flit between projects, never able to fully concentrate or focus, I have too many ideas and forever want to move onto the next thing before the last thing is finished. Last count 25 unfinished sewing projects for my wardrobe. Most of them no longer fit, that is another story, for another time.

What was a well-intentioned break, turned into a creative block, whether it was intentional or not I froze when it came getting back into creating. The block turned into a rut that I just ignored until it got comfortable but I’m not very good with comfort when it comes to work I like challenge. What caused the block? Turns out fear of mediocrity! No one wants to be just good at something or be okay with being average, we are not conditioned to be okay with being average and not be average is a hard order to fulfill.

As always I talk to my husband, he is a good listener, sometimes you don’t need advice you just need someone to listen. I have found over the years people are not very good listeners but they love to give advice, especially in areas where they have no knowledge. I could go either way when it comes to work, be über on trend or take a risk and be über niche. He says always be yourself, that is the only advice anyone needs to hear, unless you’re an arsehole then don’t be yourself but being yourself is kind of hard especially when everyone else is telling you how to be and you’re doing it wrong, the voices are loud because everyone is an expert.

So I’m filtering out the voices, internal and external, I’m slowly erasing the doubt embedded in my psyche, I’m going to step out of my comfortable rut and just create. It’s easier said than done and even though it’s been said many times before, it doesn’t hurt to say it again but don’t be afraid to step off the beaten track to find your inspiration, don’t be afraid to believe in yourself.

Photo: taken in grafitti alley in Toronto, ON.

Nemophilist

Is someone who likes being in the woods.

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Ever since I was a child I have had a fascination with the woods, not in a fairy tale kind of way, I feel instantly connected with nature, way more than I do with humans.

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Humans assume too much, they go against the grain, they require too much energy to deal with. Nature is the opposite, it is restorative, it offers no opinions or criticism, it just lets you be.

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I like being in the woods, I like the solitude, I like the peace it gives you.

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Psithurism is the sound of leaves rustling as the wind blows through the trees, it is the one of the most comforting of sounds to me.

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Sunlight glimmering through the leaves, the Japanese have a word for that – Komorebi.

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In German the word for the feeling of being alone in the woods and connected to nature is Waldeinsamkeit

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Shinrinyoku is the Japanese word for having been forest bathing, ie taking a relaxing trip to the forest to improve health and well-being.

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Location: Mount Royal park in Montreal (not technically a forest but close enough especially for city dwellers like me!)

Photos: By me.

The Broken Angels of Highgate

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Abandoned but not quite forgotten

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These guardians stand over their wards watching

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Whilst they sleep the eternal sleep.

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And slowly overtime, they decay and crumble as

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Mother nature slowly devours us bit by bit,

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Subtly reminding us

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That even though we look to the heavens for comfort

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The ones below just remind us

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That we’re all just food that hasn’t died!

(Location: Highgate Cemetery)

Word By Word

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I like writing, it is one of the reasons I started blogging oh so many moons ago, actually it was 2009 but in blogging years that like forever! I started writing short stories when I was in young, followed by angry teen punk poetry years, followed by a half-hearted attempt to start writing seriously by attending creative writing evening classes and since then it’s been sporadic with the odd attempt at NanoWriMo thrown in.

I’ve been wise never to throw away any of my notebooks or half-finished stories. Diaries may have been shredded or burned to destroy the incriminating evidence that I really do lead a pretty dull and mundane life at times. Plus now we have micro blogging, twitter and instagram to share our daily thoughts, doings and ramblings to share with complete strangers in the attempt to make someone else feel a little less ordinary. Although now twitter has become a weird mash-up of political discourse and funny videos.

Social media is weirdly addictive especially when there is a sense of impending doom because some game show host managed to become President and our own country has decided re-enact Thelma and Louise’s driving off a cliff scene with Brexit. We all kinda want to be there and not alone if Twitler decides to nuke us all because someone didn’t give a standing ovation at breakfast! But I’m trying to find the balance between caring enough to stay informed but not caring enough so that it doesn’t take over my life. So I’m finding distractions.

I haven’t done Nanowrimo for since I became self-employed because usually this the busiest time of year and even though I’ve tried, work has taken over. For those not in the know, NaNoWriMo stands for national novel-writing month, it’s challenge to kickstart you into writing that novel you say you will always do but in 30 days. 30 days to write a 50,000 word novel I hear you cry, this is where you push all your fears and doubts out of the window! The one thing that probably holds people back from writing their novel is will be any good? There are no good first drafts out there and all published books have been through the editing process several times before they hot the shelves and at the end of the day it’s not about writing a killer bestseller, it’s about getting the words on paper, it’s about getting into a daily writing habit.

People do NaNoWriMo for other reasons of course, some to get the practice, some to write the dream novel, some because they like competitiveness, some people were like I’m starting 12am Fiji time! Uh no! to be honest writing 1667 is a lot harder than it sounds, you have good days and bad days. I decide to go for it this year and not fly by the seat of pants like I usually do with an idea than just popped into my head the night before. This year I picked up a story I have been working on and off for quite a few years now. It’s been at the off stage for a really long time but I had added chapters and notes here and there. It was intended to be a short story, I decided to try to make it novel, I’m just not sure of the actual specific genre just yet. I made one major tweak with a main character that gave me so much more scope to work with that I think I might just be able to pull this off. I started off yesterday with 3287 words, the trick is to write as much as you can, hit your target and go over if you can, that way when you find a day you’re unable to write for whatever reason, you feel the desperate need to catch up as the deadline looms. According to the stats if I write like this everyday I’ll be finished by Nov 16th, in reality I know that’s not going to happen. You will have days when writing is the last thing you want to do.

But you can and if you don’t hit the 50,000 word target by November 30th just keep on writing anyway.