In week five of An Artist in Lockdown, I look at why it's so important now to be conscious of what we're consuming mentally.
Plus my recommendations for some nutritious reading material.
Take a listen or read the (slightly-edited) transcript.
Transcript: Week 5 of An Artist in Lockdown
I hope you're all doing well and keeping your spirits up!
A number of my clients hit an all-time low this week. So before talking about anything else, I want to remind you that we're all at a different stage in the journey...Depending on our circumstances, depending on what's going on in our particular household, the restrictions we're under...According to where we live, and our general mood and well-being, things that are going on in terms of work.
There's so many factors so please don't feel that if I'm having a good week, you should be having a good week. Or if I'm having a bad week, you're wondering "What's wrong with her?"
Know that, right now, wherever you are in the journey that's where you need to be. And be forgiving with yourself.
Consuming world-class nutrients
This week's subject is an extension of that idea...Of who we're looking at, where we're looking and what we're taking in in terms of sustenance right now.
I'm not talking about food - although that's important - but I'm talking about soul food.
Where are we getting our information? Where are we looking to fill the well? What are we taking in on a daily basis in terms of news and social media?
All of this has an important effect on our well-being.
A lesson from Twyla Tharpe
If you've been following me for a while, you know I'm a big fan of the book The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. One of the things that stuck with me from that book - which you've probably heard me mention multiple times - is the concept of 'Scratch with the Masters'.
What Twyla Tharpe meant by that phrase was that, when we're looking for sources of inspiration, we should always look at the very best sources that we can possibly find.
So we don't want to be in the bargain basement of inspiration! We want to be in the top-end, luxury market.
Because, let's face it, everyone's competing for our attention.
Information is cheap. Information is available everywhere. So we owe it to ourselves to be looking for the very best sources.
One of the things that is happening at the moment is that we are being bombarded constantly. Even more than before. We were being bombarded on social media before, but now it's incessant.
I can't believe how many newsletters I'm getting on a daily basis. (I know I'm subscribed to rather a lot, and I need to unsubscribe.)
It seems like everybody is producing so much content. They're maybe desperate to make contact, but also desperate to make sure that they don't lose their clients.
I've talked before about the idea of a social media diet. That's not necessarily a social media fast. (Although I have talked about that as well.) But the idea that we're very selective about what we take in and where we go for our inspiration.
One of the things I've been doing... especially if I'm getting up early that day... is to start the day not looking at the news, but looking for something inspiring to read or to watch, that will start my day on a good note.
Book Recommendations for Shelter in Place
I'm going to give you a few recommendations for books. These have come back into my mind because of other people recommending them.
I've been reading A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit.
Everyone has been recommending this book to me for so long. I've seen it mentioned in places like the Brain Pickings website...and other podcasts and blogs that I respect.
Eventually I decided I was going to buy this book. I got up one morning and I downloaded a sample version onto the Kindle app on my phone - because my iPad died a few months ago.
I thought I would take a look at the book and decide if I definitely wanted it and come back to downloading it later.
Then, about four hours later, I got a notification from my library in the UK saying "Your digital book is available to download."
Apparently I'd ordered the book from the library about 6 or 8 months ago and it came on that day! So I was definitely meant to read it.
It's a lovely book because it's one of those books that just meanders. It's very much a stream-of-consciousness kind of writing but with a definite theme.
It talks about why we need to get lost sometimes in life, in order to discover the things that we need to discover... Different ways of getting lost - physically, mentally and psychologically. And what it is to wander.
So I thoroughly recommend that book if you want to give yourself a mental breather.
Another book I recommend is Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton - which I read in my twenties. This book came back to my attention because Austin Kleon (of Steal My Art fame) whose newsletter I'm subscribed to, is reading it at the moment.
It's a journal of a writer who spends a lot of time on her own struggling with her craft. I'm not very good at remembering titles, but that's one of those titles that's always stuck in my mind. Which means it was a book that was formative in my thinking. So I thoroughly recommend that one.
And then if you're looking for novels... again, 'Scratching with the Masters'... a couple of classics from one of my favorite authors: Gabriel García Marquéz.
(It was the anniversary of his death recently.)
Two books of his:
1. Love in the Time of Cholera. (You can also watch the film.)
2. One Hundred Years of Solitude. (Sorry, I was confused! There isn't a film of that. I was thinking of House of the Spirits!)
Both of those books are, on the one hand typical of the genre of magic realism. They have an escapist aspect. But they're also very appropriate for this time, very earthy in another way.
Where do you find quality input?
I'd love to hear about where you've been getting your inspiration from.
Where do you look for sources of quality input? Ways to fill the well? Ways to keep your psychological well-being healthy and nourished?
Please leave a comment and let me know!
Wear your mask, wash your hands, stay at home.