Saturday, 3 November 2012

A Social Junky

A photo from my balcony -I have a balcony, yippee!!

I raise my glass to you guys.
How does one start when it’s been so long? Casually, as if it was yesterday the last time you wrote. You say your hellos and whistle seemingly relaxed. So hi everyone!! It’s been quite a time and I’m so happy to see so many newcomers. Thank you for joining me!
Before I say anything else, let me get out of my chest something that has been there for some time now. If you are a blogger and you want to write about artistic blocking, DON’T. I tell you, it’s a curse. It’s like vampires, if you invite them in then you’re screwed. The latest post I wrote was about writer’s bl-k (I shall never write that word again) and it took me 5 months to write a new one. See… cCuuUrsed.
On the other hand, it’s not as if I have been doing nothing all this time and just couldn’t find the inspiration to write. Oh no, I had my hands quite full with life itself. I won’t go into details, but I think it would be enough of an explanation if I said that I’ve moved back home. A renovation happened and of course, people are ‘happening’ all the time. You see I’m facing the same problems now that I’m in Athens, only in reverse. I had people’s problems in Liverpool because our friends were so few and social life was lousy. Now days, there are so many people around and they all come and go, almost every day. Even my mum’s pet, Armada, visits me every day; she’s an adorable and very well-behaved chiwawa with really big ears.
 At first I didn’t mind, still don’t to be honest, because I missed them all so very much and I know we will go away again, so I’m trying to fill the gaps. BUT, less and less time is left for painting, writing, taking a bubble bath, meditating over why the sky is blue or how come it is still warm and sunny, facebook, blogging, having a manicure or just biting my nails… getting the picture? At Liverpool, it was all so quiet. In Athens, is all so fussy. I think I’m going to suffer from an overdose…   nah, no one died from socializing too much, at least I don’t think so… (Have to check it out)
Cheers everyone!
Be well, be safe, be social maniacs; brings big smiles!

Monday, 4 June 2012

7 Do's & 3 Don'ts to Detour Writer's (or Artist's) Blocking

10 Ways to… is a hundreds of millions results title in the Internet. Every question has an answer and every situation has at least 10 ways to avoid it, or to prop it up.
I’m not an experienced blogger, in fact I’ve just started. As for the drawing thing, I’m self-taught. Naturally, the net has become my best friend and adviser. Before I started my blogs, I spend countless hours on searching and haven’t stopped since. Except information, one can find inspiration too. In writing short stories, for example, the web is an over flooded source of inspiration. The same when it comes to drawing. Nonetheless, there will come a day (or, if the case is more serious, several days) when nothing around you, the net including, can sparkle an idea for a story or for, at least, a pre-sketch. Therefore, before you lose your mind and damage your self-esteem by believing that you lost your talent or, even worse, you never had one, get up from your desk and do something. Anything will do!
The Do’s

1.     Get far away from your desk and your working place. Stop staring at the screen of your computer, or the blank paper of your sketchbook. For starters, staring is not polite. Second, trust me nothing will magically pop-up. On the other hand, if something do pop-up inside your head, then pc and blank papers would be exactly where you left them, awaiting to be used.

2.    If you can’t just turn your back to your work and walk away, then let’s take it one step at the time. You still need to get up, but you don’t have go away. Grab your cleansers, some cloths and put your kind of music, loud. Clean and organise your working ground meticulously. Get creative with biscuit cases or cans to organise your craft, write in calligraphy sections for your notes, garnish your notebooks, or sketchbooks. Don’t look at the time, spend it with grace.

3.    When I was searching for tips on writing I came across with list’s of 10’s from several writers. Roddy Doyle, Irish novelist, dramatist and screenwriter, wrote, “Do, occasionally, give in to temptation. Wash the kitchen floor, hang out the washing. It’s research.” Need to say no more!

4.    Make love with your partner and not in everyday’s way. Stay in bed, chat, share a cigarette if you smoke, wine if you don’t and make love again. You will be fresh as new afterwards.

5.    Organise a night out, preferably with people that don’t share profession. Make sure you won’t have to drive and that you’ll have a magnificent hangover the next day. But, before you leave the house bring forth your sparkling self.

6.    Exercise or go for a walk with music in your ears. Don’t take your work with you. Just a small notebook will do, but carry it in a manner that you will forget its existence. If inspiration knocks you on the head with a hammer, leaving you no choice then, and only then, take it out.  

7.    Take a long bath. You’ll need bath salts, if you don’t have any now is the time to buy some. You’ll also need candles, wine and, most important of all, music. Even more importantly, don’t think about your work. Turn off the lights and relax.
The Don’ts
1.     For goodness sake, don’t deal with your finances. If you’re not, yet, a success a blocking period is the most unsuitable time to do the calculations of your earnings. Even succeeded artists or writers don’t earn enough to boost their self-esteem on bad days by doing the maths.
2.    Don’t go to the movies, if you are a writer. You won’t be able to enjoy the film. You’ll be constantly trying to find inspiration in every single scene and line, even subconsciously. The same goes for artists and galleries.
3.    Whatever work you managed to do at the beginning and during the blocking period, do not throw it away. At least, wait for the blocking to go away and then you decide. Personally, I never throw away any kind of work, even the bad ones. After all, it’s still my work. Besides, everything we do has a part of us and you never know when you’ll need it, even for the plainest walk down the memory lane.       

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Safety, Stability and ... a Burnt Dinner

Image from
The Advertising Archives
   Do you know when most accidents or wrong doings and mistakes happen? When routine enters the door. Think about it. A young driver is more likely to have his/hers first scratch after feeling more confident behind the wheel. Up to that time, he/she is too cautious to cause anything, apart from annoyance, if perhaps the driving is painfully slow. Or if every time when about to park, he/she first takes out the notes from the driving-lessons days while cars are queuing behind. The same happens when one goes to a new job. Up to the point that the job becomes a routine, one is too cautious and alert to make a mistake.
   Nonetheless, we are creatures of habit. Without routine there’s no stability and furthermore, no safety. Safety and stability, two words in everyone’s lips. Ask a sociologist, a psychologist, or even a politician (the last you may find out that even he/she doesn’t know the definitions of the words, or any other for that matter, was trained to use them in every other sentence). However, one (me) may argue that in routine’s barn there’s no adventure. Maybe accidents happen specifically so to brake a routine's chain.
   Oh dear, let me explain why I’ve being mumbling for the past two paragraphs. I have plenty of time now, since I don’t work, so I practise my cooking skills. I love cooking and my husband loves eating my food. Perfectly balanced little family. One can assume we have achieved stability, therefore safety. After safety, comes routine and after routine comes a… burnt dinner. There, I said it. I’ve burned our dinner because I was so sure of myself that I didn’t bother to check the hob at least once every 20 minutes, let alone to stand over it during the whole cooking, as I did in my early days.
Ps. If you read the whole post down to the end, you are a patient human being. I told the same to my husband and before the middle of my speech, he left me for his afternoon nap. Yet, before going to the bedroom, he stated that, although everything happens for a reason, sometimes accidents do happen for no reason. “I’ll take you on a date tonight, just so to break the chain…”           

Monday, 28 May 2012

Families... Not Again!

The Addams Family, 1964
   How do you turn a perfectly good day into a blue one? There are several ways. Here’s one, you decide to do the maths of your bank account. Here’s another, you pay a call-visit to your family. I did both today. I haven’t yet made up my mind whether I should name me brave or self-destructive. Then again, bravery includes many self-destructive acts along the way. Enough philosophy, let’s go back to the wreckages of a day.
   The sun is still shining here and the weather is still warm. I should have been walking around all day free and easy. Instead, by teatime I was already so tensed that I’ll need a hummer to straighten up my back muscles. It’s nobody’s fault, actually. Sometimes I tend to take things more seriously than I should. I mean, most families are difficult to handle anyway (the rest are just impossible) and many people faces small droughts in their pockets now and then. Everyday’s matters, same all, same all, just routine, right? Wrong.
  There are these days bright as possibly can be, but all you see are clouds, even if there aren’t any. This is the effect of families and particularly families miles away.
   You see, one of the advantages of moving away from the family nest, the neighborhood, the country is that you don’t have to set dinners for the in-laws, arrange meetings and attend to all these obligations that everyone is expecting you to, especially after getting married. That’s the good aspect. The bad one (beside that you miss them, after all is your family for heaven’s sake) is that everything gets over-magnified or oversimplified, specifically because you are not there.  You either going to get a full version, with all the drama and colors of every little detail, the exhausting analysis of an incident with all the ifs and buts that can possibly exist in a human brain. Or you are going to get the ‘nothing important really’ version. When you hear that expression make no mistake, is damn serious, they just don’t want to frighten you up. Then the struggle starts, slowly and painfully you’ll have to guess what’s behind the lines, what’s the right question, what the frickin is going on. Then the sun is gone and the day is lost.
   Alas, families will always find their way in.                    

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Here Comes the Sun

August Renoir, Luncheon of the Boat Party
   Two years of nagging are finally showing their fruits! The sun and summer decided to pay a visit. Now, I can get outside wearing nothing but a t-shirt and still be warm… bliss! Should I clarify that when I say nothing but a t-shirt, I don’t literally mean it? I also wear my jeans of course and shoes, but the root of my happiness is that I don’t need a jacket. You know what they say; little things are the ones that matter in life. Well, thumbs up to that one.
    It never crossed my mind how much the sun is essential to me. I was born and raised in the land of sun. It’s always there, on summers, springs, autumns, winters, always. The few days throughout a year, when the sun is hiding, constitute the exception that proves the rule. So, there was no reason to bother about the necessity of that orange source of warmth. The little things, you can appreciate them only when you miss them.           
   There’s another saying coming up (don’t worry, it would be the last, for this post at least), you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well, my loved ones, that’s true. Although I’m not that old (yet) and most definitely am not a dog, I have already established habits and ways which define me. For instance, when I’m about to greet someone I know and fancy it will come natural to me to hug him or her. That is a habit I had to quit when I came to UK. Another example, I never realised the way I speak and laugh it sounds loud. I’m Greek, we speak loudly, we use our hands, we get passionate about almost everything and we show our feelings about almost anything. Nonetheless, after a while I saw people staring at my husband and me whilst we were talking, most of them concerned we were having a fight. Whereas, in fact, we were having a pleasant discussion.
   However, as I said, it’s too late and too hard to quit my habits. So please, keep in mind that when you meet me you’re going to have your hug even if it puts you on the spot. I can’t help it.