“our contemporary obsession with creativity” – And how I try to avoid that obsession entirely.

Calling one’s self ‘A Creative’ is a big part of our modern obsession with individuality and uniqueness and our quest for our fifteen minutes of fame too. We all want to be autonomous to the nth degree even as we are, ironically, being herded into more and more sameness and oneness by the spiritual realm which seeks to resurrect the tower of babel and man’s ultimate rebellion against God…

And so those who refer to themselves, or others, as ‘A Creative’ or ‘Creatives’, raise my suspicions. Creative is best used as it was meant to be used: as an adjective to flesh out a noun; not a noun to flesh out a better-than label we seek to put upon ourselves and others. But that’s not the only word that raises my inner word-nerd flags.

Others have pigeonholed me as an artist. As my life, and the (sometimes dumb) things I do with it, is kinda, well, colorful at best and downright weird and self destructive at worst. Stereotypical artist’s way there. But, honestly, I’m good with just being known in my real world life: as a writer. Since writing is my favorite thing to do with my fingers. To me, being labeled as an artist seems like I should be tossing pottery from a wheel or setting up a fresh blank canvas on an easel in my living room.

Nevertheless, a professional woman in my town once caught me off guard when she said to me, ‘I wish I could get away with dressing like you do’. I looked down and realized my hot pink skirt had a dirt stain from tending the vegetable garden. My hands went to my head where I remembered that I hadn’t combed my hair since showering, and could only imagine how bad all that was looking mid-day.

Well, you know, you’re an artist. She explained. It suits you.

Therefore I guess I can get away with uncombed hair and stains on my skirt.

And so, that is exactly why I put the words ‘A Creative’ in air quotes in the opening sentence. Because I think we crossed some threshold now, where the word artist, and all the other labels that have sprung from it, are overused. To the point of it now being a cliche. Just like artists getting away with dressing a certain way is well on its way to being a cliche as well. One that I, as a writer, now use intentionally in order to bring forth certain traits in a fictional or real character. That way the reader can see just how much that character enjoys her place in that artist world. In short: someone who is entirely too proud of being a creative, and/or wearing the artist label.

Just as the modern art world doesn’t exactly jive with Biblical Christianity: pride doesn’t jive so good with following Jesus, either.

Yes, I know, the word well would have been proper grammar, but I used good intentionally to make a point. Because a part of me can still hear my high school English teacher correcting someone in class who asked to leave school early, with an, ‘I don’t feel good’ declaration. To which we all received another grammar lesson: I think you meant to say, ‘I don’t feel well’-so go to the office and call home then.

Sometimes, to make a greater point, a writer needs to dim the voice of old English teachers who are married to grammar. As those types are not always so aware of the overall effect which too much high-brow, perfected language can do to a piece. Therefore, I break some rules. I suggest other writers do as well.

I also view many of the popular habits of writing and writers themselves, with hesitation. Writer’s groups can easily make it too much about the writer instead of the work. Creating all these categories to explain ourselves which have become so overused now as to become cliches of their own. And so I throw in some bad grammar on purpose and I don’t always clean up these blog posts all the best either. In order to keep myself off the writer’s high horse.

Because most horses scare me. Especially tall ones. And because God’s gift to me isn’t so much about me as it is bringing glory to Him. I could convince myself that me doing my very best is what brings Him glory. But the educated Apostle Paul intentionally made himself common and lowly, trembling and hesitant. And all throughout the Old Testament the soldiers were being told to go into battle on foot, with sticks and stones and other things: against those enemy riders yielding swords on horses and chariots. Therein is how God works miracles through His people.

Artists who don’t get their insecurities met in Jesus will end up trying to write or create their way there instead; and that is futile.

When I first started this blog, I would sometimes include posts ‘about writing’. I can still see the ‘writing and publishing’ ‘blogging’ categories I once created, in my categories tab on the back end of things. A lot of those posts are now set to private.

When I began feeling like I had crossed a major threshold of healing, I revamped this blog, sometime in late 2019. And I’m still deciding what to do with it all, if anything. But lately I am drawn again to the writing and publishing side of being a writer. I ducked out of most of that when I got sick, as it was too overwhelming and because my abusers were frequent readers of the content I was publishing, too. As I heal further, I’m feeling more ready to put content into the world in those old fashioned ways again: even, perhaps, with my real name attached to it. All of which has me revisiting the very craft and art form of writing itself.

Pre-healing, I viewed that world of writing one way; and somehow God protected me supernaturally from a lot of its pitfalls. Post-healing, I am taking a critical look at that creative world which so much of the greater world wants to label me right into. I am also realizing just how much God once protected me when I was in the thick of it. And how much no part of me wants to identify with some of it, again.

It’s important to note that while a lot of bloggers, and writers in general, seem to share pretty freely about their lives: we only ever see but a fraction of an author’s complexity. So it is with me and what I share on this anonymous blog. In my real life, things are far more complex than this anonymous peek into it can show.

For instance, I have published some things both the old fashioned way (where I got paid for it) as well as the modern way of self-publishing where I assumed the cost of putting content into the world, myself, for various reasons (having a blog is self-publishing and most anyone can do that easily enough, and pretty cheaply, these days).

And, back when I first did all that, and began to be known as a writer, it garnered a lot of response from the people I knew in my real life. As well as some letters and emails and feedback from total strangers.

One thing I heard a lot, when I first started trying to ‘be a serious writer’, was a reference to a certain book. And had I read it, yet? Had it changed my whole life, yet? And what was I waiting for, because it’s a must read! Most of the people telling me about this book, were Christians. On the conservative bent, too. I heard so much about this one book that every writer just had to read, that over a decade after I first felt the pressure to read it… I can still remember the title as if I’m hearing people urging me toward it all over again.

And therein is the uncommon grace of God. Because no part of me felt compelled to pay that book any real attention years ago. Even though so many people suggested it, Christian people I admired and trusted too, that it’s shocking to me that I was never even curious enough to look into it, let alone that I didn’t rush out and buy it and read it immediately. All I remember is feeling a turning in my gut and a turn off in my mind every time another well meaning person labeled me an artist and wanted me to read the famous book that had gone around all the church and social circles like a bad head cold.

The book I am referring to is ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron. There is absolutely nothing Christian about this book, that I can tell, based on this interview with it’s author. It seems incredibly new age and self-interested. However, I am suddenly curious about this. As I love to study religion and the ramifications which happen when we pass something around the Christian church which was chock full of falsehoods.

I think I am healed enough now and ready to read this book. Which is why I have a used copy coming and will share my thoughts after I dive into it. But I’m not delving to learn what to do, it will be more as a what not to do lesson and I am assuming it will give me a revealing look into what the church in my lifetime has been more than willing to tolerate; as well. Because it sure seems to me that ‘our contemporary obsession with creativity’ as outlined in this interview with the author of The Artist’s Way is a big part of why we are so thoroughly given over to that which was first put forth in 2 Timothy 3:2.

And, honestly, it likely won’t even make a dent or a ruffle or even raise a single eyebrow. Because I’m an artist. We get away with such things.

When You are Little, You Notice the Little Things.

girl lying on road in front of cart
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I have a little blog with little traffic. Some times, I can tell when someone has liked a post but hasn’t actually read it; or made a decision to follow me based on actual content. (Since they clearly didn’t read any.)

I know, I know, some existing subscribers like to read posts directly in their emails and when they do that; it won’t generate any traffic…

But when the blogger who just liked several posts, without seeming to have read them, is not a follower and is also the owner of a ‘marketing’ blog… or happens to have just posted about a (fee-based) guest blogger opportunity…I call it click bait. And I presume that little blogs with few likes and few followers are more likely to become targeted by the big blogs who naturally think us little blogs can’t wait to grow up and be big blogs; just like them! And so we will be indebted to their ‘like’ or their ‘follow’ and thereby like and follow them right back, increasing their own following and likes…or maybe we might even buy what they are selling.

This actually doesn’t happen all that much anymore, although a few recent likes did give me some pause…but back when I was very little, my earliest ‘fans’ all had very large blog followings of their own, and most of them dropped off liking my posts after it was clear I had become a regular follower of theirs. Coincidence? Or am I just jaded?

Well, jade is a favorite color; so there’s that. Sometimes I wish that WordPress was a tiny bit more like twitter wherein you could clearly see the follower/following ratios. That would make it all far more interesting. All of which has me pondering what exactly Jesus meant by His comment that in order to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven we must change and become as little children. Are we jaded; and need to return to being trusting children? Do we need to regain our innocence? What is truly meant by this comment  that Jesus made anyway?

Little children are still sinful- innocent as we might like to make them out to be- they aren’t. Little children are not exactly trusting by nature either–babies reach a certain age and are often scared to go into the arms of strangers. But, little children are aware of the little things, far more so than grown ups. They are more honest too. They know that darkness is inherently creepy and light is much better. Little children take in the little things in ways that grown ups tend to brush off or rationalize. They haven’t learned to posture themselves and be fake. They are real. They like what they like and ignore what they do not.

And so it is the little things, when you are little… Like comments! That is where it is at; for me. Show me you actually read my stuff with a thoughtful comment, and then I will be intrigued about you, will inevitably read YOURS and probably will comment back. Though I completely understand why someone would be content with a blog with a little OR large following; without feeling the need to comment back or follow back or ‘like’ back. I’m good with it ALL, really. Except, well, being click bait. It’s fake, for one. Plus, it’s kind of voyeuristic when you think about it. To view a mere title on a new post and then click like or follow simply in order to use something you know nothing about for your own purposes…

YUK.

When I was a child, I definitely noticed the little things. It frequently terrified me, being so hyper-aware. Sometimes that hyper awareness saved me from further abuse, other times I was made to feel even smaller and was abused because of having those natural intuitions and fears. Regardless, the way some men would stare at me when I was wearing a swimsuit was never lost on me. I noticed the way adults in my family talked or laughed like a villain from a movie I shouldn’t have been allowed to watch. And I still shudder at how certain grown ups, and one dentist, carefully gauged my mom’s reactions while winking at me right in front of her.

I decided who was trustworthy, and who was not, by the little things. I didn’t figure out how to guard my time and talents from those who would drain it, though, until I was older. Other than that, though: Not much has changed.

I hope to stay little in as many ways as I can; including blogging.

 

 

 

 

“Whoa! That’s a lot of Salt!”

person holding pen and planner
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It’s been a year since I began making regular-ish posts. On the one hand, not much has changed. I still approach this space with a mixture of a strong desire to write and share; combined with a fear of doing just that. On the other hand, there have been many changes.

*Last august I still presumed many of my physical illness symptoms were psychosomatic–as doctors and therapists had been *insisting*. Then I came to believe that there is also a very real physical component at play, to what is thrown around as ‘anxiety’. This belief first began to change for me as I read other blogs. That exposure to other’s vulnerability, combined with things God kept showing me in ‘real’ life, eventually led me to take a look at what was going on physically with me–and realizing it was/is a manifestation of physiological responses which many doctors remain clueless about and which would descend me into a deep rabbit hole; trying to figure out for myself…

SOOO: a huge thank you to those bloggers who have shared their own health journeys! I believe there is POWER in sharing our story!

*I have been sporadic, but kept at it in my own way. I can now say, looking back at my archives: That’s a LOT of salt!! While many blogs have stuck to one day a week to post; or daily posts; or typical word lengths; I took a butterfly approach. I would show up and land on something repeatedly and then not be seen for a while again. A few posts are short; many are so long I don’t ever want to re-read them myself! Definitely too much salt for some. But, one thing has remained: I am still here *mostly* for me and my own healing. Therefore I don’t need (or necessarily *want*) a big readership. Yet I do want to be heard…by someone. There is power in just one set of listening ears or reading eyes. I have felt the healing power of simply being *heard* by several people who have come and gone and a few who stayed–Thank you for hearing me!!

*I began this blog with the idea that Christians are the salt of the earth–and of getting back to the basics/not trying so hard. The reference to salt was mostly figurative. Even though I’ve always loved salting my foods — when I started this blog I also used an abundance of other spices….but, a year later, the ‘just salt’ has become literal! It’s how I ask for my steak at a restaurant… so the ‘just salt’ in my blog title very much relates with the literal healing I am finding in a pared back diet with no black pepper, turmeric, cinnamon….and using even more salt than prior to ward off my frequent electrolyte imbalances.

And that’s a lot of salt as I’ve always heavily salted my food…Perfect strangers have shouted at me from nearby tables in public establishments, “Whoa! That’s a LOT of salt.” One woman, who clearly meant well, even added, “Don’t you know that salt is not good for you!?” And then she turned to her husband and shared with him just how much salt I’d shaken onto my eggs…the funny thing was she was wearing a Jesus t-shirt while eschewing the (dangers?) of too much salt…hmm…I had to giggle at the irony of that one.

I decided to leave Jesus’ insistence that we are to be salt, out of that conversation, sensing she wouldn’t find that humorous! Instead, I shared that I have very low blood pressure and need extra salt. She wasn’t convinced though. She still looked really shook up over my salt consumption throughout the entire breakfast. That was one time where I could have sworn someone else got high blood pressure just from watching me salt my food.

And so I can admit that a lot of salt may not be *good* for everyone. It can even be downright scary to some…But a year into this salt blog of mine and I can say with certainty that too much salt is very good. For me. 

side view of a bottle with salt
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The thing is, as I have changed — the world has also changed, a LOT, in the past year. As has the internet…We had mass shootings a year ago. That isn’t exactly a new thing. What is new, (or what I am now noticing?) is all the stories on my newsfeed of people fleeing the country in fear, to raise their children elsewhere before ‘its too late’, and other stories about how to ‘live through a mass shooting’ that are also now showing up in my news feeds. Meanwhile, my ‘groups’ on FaceBook are being scoured through, getting graded over their ‘fake news’ content. A few friends have already abandoned traditional social media for ‘safer’ avenues with less censorship. Is there even a future in blogging at this point?

Who gets to decide on the difference between true and false? Some dot.com guy in sneakers?

And so the title ‘just salt’ takes on even deeper meaning as the darkness before us continues to unfold and we all face the very real possibility of censorship and being told what we can and can not say or write about.

Will I even be here in a year?

Who knows. It’s in God’s hands. The important thing is that today— I got up and I showed up. (With a shaker of salt). Praise God for that!