Tag: janet whitehead

Crock of Shirt – why creative folks need other creative folks!

Crock of Shirt – why creative folks need other creative folks!

For years, nearly a decade, it had been suggested that Kurt of Crock of Shirts and I meet. Finally this series of events happened. His words say it all. You’ll be affirmed. And perhaps, you’ll look for the people who ‘get’ you. Amazing what happens when we find them.

Part 1 
Jekyll and Hyde-ish

Kurt of the innovative and creative business, Crock of Shirts, bravely posted about the hell of being a right brainer in a left brain world.

Read here

I commented. It was time for us to meet, and then this happened:

Part 2   
Short and Sweet  

What happened when we met?  Read here!

From Frustration to Magic – A Timely Reminder

From Frustration to Magic – A Timely Reminder

“Shit,” she barked, as the props securing the old fence gave way, causing it to fall awkwardly into the alley.  Walking inside, she acknowledged the grinding metal on metal drone of her furnace with a “Shut up. Just shut up.” The endless cycle of broken things, dust, and dog hair surrounding her were sucking the life right out of her. Aimlessly she paced the house, landing smack into her collection of paint.

        And so she immersed herself in senseless paint blotches and strokes and tantrums on paper.  She watched the paint flow, tilting and messing, and scowling at mud colours forming but mumbling, ”let it go” for, of course, the transition from pouty cranky fences, to bills that refused to fly to the neighbours, to dishes that have never been nor will ever be all clean at the same time…  and into the space where passion, and colours transport her to where she becomes an observer… admiring what her hands are producing but certain they are not her hands, in awe of the concepts and theories and wisdom that flow through her mind…


2012 ~ Came across this as I work on my book during nanowrimo. It was written a few years ago. A good reminder now to ‘just go paint’ sometimes~

2017 I came across this post AGAIN on my Musing Along blog today. (Thanks, Fb memories) Though specifically fences haven’t fallen down, for similar reasons, I have found myself mucking about experimenting in paint mediums a lot! Some good enough art and some not so good but very funny art happening…

Befriend what’s going on inside…

Befriend what’s going on inside…

 “Neuroscience research shows that the only way we can change the way we feel is by becoming aware of our inner experience and learning to befriend what is going on inside ourselves.”
– Bessel van der Kolk –

And that, dear reader, is what we get to do in the upcoming Novel Minds course. Creatively, intuitively, PLAYFULLY, and powerfully.  Oh, yeah!  Kind of like the movie Inside Out but with the characters that reside in your mind.

Beginner’s Mind, Creative MInd = Braver, More Fun Mind

Beginner’s Mind, Creative MInd = Braver, More Fun Mind

I’ve just posted a number of alcohol ink items I’ve recently made, to the photo gallery on my new Musings and Mud site.  This is funnier than hell. Who posts beginner pieces of art on their art website?  Me, apparently.

Maybe this can inspire you, and keep reminding me, to be okay with being a ‘janet of all trades.’ To be okay with experimenting in new mediums that may never make you money, that may never make you famous, that may never ever ever get posted on the Alcohol Ink community on Facebook. (Have you seen the extraordinary work of those people? Oh. My.)

There was no plan. Just pour and move inks. But, wait! There’s a ship! There’s legs!

(I know some of the pieces look decent in the photos. The pendants. But, trust me, they aren’t that great. This was one of those rare occasions where the artwork photographs better than in real life.)

But, oh my, the joys of beginner’s mind!  
“Have ink. Have paper. Have brass.
Oh, look how that colour mixes.
Oh my god, stop! Stop flowing that way!
Oh look at how beautiful areas are when they dry. So unexpected.
A little more gold. Oops.
Thank goodness nobody is ever going to see this.
This is fun!

No, no, don’t use your fingers.
No, don’t wipe them on your once favourite hoodie. (now officially ruined.)  
Oh, wait, this is beautiful.
I could pour a little alcohol here… cool!  It makes distinct lines… “

Okay, you know the routine. You’ve been there, right? I got to escape into colour and flow and creative thinking. Just a break from the day. Wrong. This process does SO MUCH MORE than give you a break!
This process keeps the door open for our whole mind to function better.

First it lifts our spirits.
Often it lets in humour.
Then the naysayer part of our mind steps aside, thinking: ‘Whatever – she’s just playing.”
Next the rest of our mind starts firing with all kinds of new connections and ideas.
All of that doesn’t stop when you stop creating.

Our logical mind is, well, logical. It is busy helping us make decisions that it thinks keeps us safe. It runs on what it knows from the past and will purr along repeating the same old shi.. stuff as we go through our day.

It needs reminders that we can think differently. That we can make new connections and find new ways. If it’s hard for you to justify creating, and especially justifying making stuff in new mediums, or writing for no reason except that some strange idea popped into your head,  you could remind yourself that you are retraining your brain. Giving it a good ol’ workout. Building a stronger, braver, more fun brain. The logical brain likes that kind of talk and will be more supportive.

And for me,it keeps me open to the magic that exists in our world.
(That’s a longer story, I had to write a memoir to share it! Beyond All Imaginings )

Empathy on a Sidewalk, and You?

Empathy on a Sidewalk, and You?

I still remember walking along the sidewalk in Kerrisdale as a young child – the cracked and worn sidewalk along Maple Street. I was with a friend, and ‘someone’ (oddly, I don’t even remember who!) explained the difference between empathy and sympathy. It stuck with me my whole life. Given how often that little memory pops into my head, I can’t help now but wonder how much it played a role in who I’ve become and what matters to me.

Ah, those brief childhood moments. Fleeting, seemingly inconsequential, yet having life time impacts.

So, of course, I must share this short video by Brene Brown. Perhaps somehow, someone will share this with just the right person and change their lives forever.

And besides, this concept is a rather nice fit for us here at Novel Minds. Sometimes we complex creative creatures need a little empathy. And sometimes it feels good to the core to have empathy for another.

And now that’s all well and good… but here’s a bigger more important question:

What moment/s in your childhood keep repeating themselves in your memory? Looking back, any particular lifetime impact from that moment?

If you don’t recall right now, keep the question in mind for a few days.  Our minds will always search for an answer, and find one. Even if it has to make stuff up. ~snicker~   (I snicker, but in fact, that made up stuff can be even more awesomely revealing than the real thing.)

John Steinbeck’s Tips for Aspiring Writers

John Steinbeck’s Tips for Aspiring Writers

Novel Minds certainly isn’t just about writing.  It is about that unique, novel mind of yours. Of course, ‘unique and novel minds’ is a rather good fit for writers. So, for the writers here, I’m sharing this link to John Steinbeck’s writing tips. Very worthy of the ‘click!’


Eek! I put the damper on genius…

Eek! I put the damper on genius…

I feel like a big corporate entity.. the difference is that I do care, but still, I put the damper on genius because I’m bigger and I could, and the safety of my home and the cost of running my home mattered more.

Brilliant little Swallow once again decided that my clothes dryer vent would be the best place for her nest. Really.. it is brilliant:  Safe from anything that can climb or leap or otherwise harm her eggs.  And warm. Imagine.. so cozy and warm when the dryer is running that she probably can go out and play, knowing her little eggs are incubating, while other moms-to-be just squat for hours on end.

Even more brilliant.. the fuller she fills the vent with twigs and string and nesty things.. the longer my dryer runs to dry my clothes and warm her babies.

Yup. And I wired it off. Chased her right out of there and attached a wire screen. We’ve been through this before. .. If I don’t realize she’s there until the nest is built, and the eggs are laid,  I leave it.  My clothes take forever to dry.  I stop running the dryer if I’m not home, just in case I’ve created some sort of fire hazard.

But this year, I heard her as she began the nest.  And big mean me told her ‘Go build a nest like a normal bird.”  That was the moment I realized I was playing the role of the ‘systems’.. corporate, government, religious, etc… that stomps on the genius of those who think differently because  1. they aren’t doing things ‘normally’ and 2. they are interefering with what matters to the organizations.

So, little bird, I am sorry. I hope you don’t get discouraged, and shut down that innovative thinking of yours. I hope you find another way to be a mommy AND get to play more often. I hope you don’t run into more people like me in the process.

Oh jeez… now I’ve written this, am I going to go take the screen off?


There’s genius in everyone.
Find your way.
And don’t let the likes of ‘me’ (today’s me, not my everyday me!) stop you.