These are a few of my favorite things

I love the rain – soft and gentle, hard and pounding, monkeys wedding, or day’s long on-again off-again rains. I even enjoy the thunder crashing, lightning lashing, cloud roiling, sky-darkening downpours. . The movement, the sound, the smell, the sight – everything about it makes my soul sing. I feel an inner connectedness, a sense of renewal and, at the core of being, the nourishment of my creativity. When I was a child I used to run outside without shoes on and splash through the puddles, enjoying the rain on my bare head and arms.

Rainy Day June 2013

Wind turbines in the north of England.

In high school I rushed home before the usual 2 p.m. thunderstorms broke open the sky so that I could sit and stare at them through my open window. Although I prefer to be indoors now and can’t remember the last time I went barefoot in the rain, I still feel my pulse quickening when the skies darken. I have a pair of leopard-print rain boots that I bought years ago. I’ve never worn them. I’m going to look for them and put them at my back door, so next time it rains I’m outside – even if it’s not in my bare feet.

I love color – I used to think my favorite color was purple, but on reflection I believe this is incorrect. When I buy gemstones for my jewelry making, I tend to opt for green or blue. When I choose paint colors for my walls I stay in the ocean palette – greens, blues, tans. My wardrobe is an explosion of color – although pants tends to be denim (blue not the new colored denims), black or brown; the tops range in color from bright yellow to deep fuchsia, teal, lime green, candy apple red and everything in between. I even wear pink a lot of the time – but not pale pastel pink, more a deep rose pink.

Sea-themed necklace

The focal bead was the inspiration for this sea themed necklace.

When I design websites or business cards I choose the colors first. Colors have a personality, a meaning, a direct impact on the viewer. Color is powerful and can be soothing or disrupting. When I think about the setting of a scene I think about what emotion I want to evoke and then focus on the colors that the characters connects with in the scene – the bright yellow daffodils bordering the flower beds at their friends house, the misty blue of the lake in the morning or even the dark red splatters of blood against the white tiled floor. Of course, stories can be too colorful and could leave the reader thinking that the writer has a secret desire to be a painter or interior decorator, but using color sparingly to convey nuances of emotion can provide depth and breadth to the story.

I love to travel. Two weeks trekking around the north of England soaking up the scenery, a weekend spent exploring a new locale, a day trip into the city to explore one of the Smithsonian – travel inspires me. The latest trip we took was to England and because of other commitments I did not have the time to plan this trip beyond the first few nights. I usually have a list of places to visit and stay and things to do, see and experience but do not go as far as booking everything beforehand. Planning the next few days and securing the accommodations was a little nerve-wracking especially with a dodgy internet connection, but we did it – and enjoyed our trip tremendously.

Lamb-on-ewe, Cumberland, UK

No idea why this lamb is standing on top of the ewe – a local I asked didn’t know either.

Every time I return from a trip I am inspired but I am usually not inspired while on the trip, I’m too busy checking the plan. This time inspiration found me mid-trip – overheard snippets of conversation led to imagined plots and characters, dried asparagus hanging from the roof of a pub had me wondering about the people who frequented the place and their stories, gnarled wood beams had me wondering what they would say if they could talk. It was wonderful.

It reminded me that the fun-loving, just-do-it side of my personality needs equal priority in my life. The analytical, detail-orientated, planning side has enough to deal with running my business and going to school. It also made me realize that this lack of equality is the reason why I have never been able to fully commit to Julia Cameron’s Artist Date (as defined in her seminal book on creativity – The Artists Way). I need to revel more in the small, everyday kind of exploration – going to the craft store just to browse the colors of wool, visiting the local bakery to inhale the aromas or sifting through the pebbles on a local beach for one that looks just like a duck, a monkey or a frowning-face.

I’m making the commitment to do more of what I love, starting today. My word for the rest of this year is JOY.

What do you love? What brings you JOY?

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