Since dropping my two challenges, I’ve gotten my house mostly clean, started up a new project at a fandom wiki, and done two pieces of art, so overall, I do feel like I made the right call.
In the past I’ve used monthly challenges to force myself to do creative work, and while he challenge would push me to create stuff for a month, I would then go into creative hibernation for basically the rest of the year. The last several months, I have been actively creative. The challenges were great fun in getting me to conceptualize ideas and open up my mind to what could be art fodder (song lyrics! What a fucking treasure trove of inspiration! But also, simple things! Women lounging in bed! People gathered at a funeral! It doesn’t have to be a sweeping and grandiose landscape, there is beauty in the mundane!)
While visual art has been sort of booming (or at least, not stagnating), I do have a lot of work to do to kickstart my writing habit outside the confines of poetry challenges. I’m going to have to set aside some time everyday to just, I don’t know, free write? Try to construct/compose a poem? Put pen to paper, at the very least. I’ll let you know how that goes.
But none of that is happening today, because today is the one-day, stay-at-home, mini-GISH! I’ve talked about GISH in other iterations of this blog (which really isn’t helpful for a large number of people currently here, but long-time readers may recognize the name). GISH is normally a week-long multi-media international scavenger hunt combining bizarre challenges, acts of creativity, radical kindness, and general weirdness, run by Supernatural’s Misha Collins. It’s one of the highlights of my year, and I’ve headed up my own team since 2014. This year our regular hunt will be in August — whether or not the quarantine is still in effect, with items being modified for those of us still under quarantine — but this one is designed as a fully at-home hunt, with proceeds directly benefiting COVID-19 relief efforts and feeding low-income kids. Kick-off is at 3 pm EST, and it runs for a full 24 hours; I’ll be able to share what we’ve completed by 3:30 pm tomorrow, so I hope to have some fun stuff to share with you all by then.
Until then, these are the last two pieces I completed. I have severely mixed feelings about the drawing; I love, love, love the monstrous mouth. I think the shading and coloration on it are wonderful. I am upset by her head and face; I messed up on the mouth, and the lines for her hair were faint and I definitely outlined too “wide,” i.e., her head is bigger than I would have wanted it. The biggest issue I have, though, is my cheap pencils don’t blend and don’t give the coverage I want, I need to invest in wax-based pencils like Prismacolor.
The painting is not 100% complete, but I like the concept and am moderately happy with how it’s turning out. Acrylic will probably never be “my” medium, but I feel like I’m getting incrementally better.
I just want to end by saying, I know I talk about feeling the need to make “good use” of this time, and I want to clarify: we are experiencing trauma. I know that, and I need other people to know that. Everyone copes with trauma differently. Keeping busy and doing projects make me feel better; they help me manage my anxiety, they make me feel proud and accomplished.
That being said, I will gently suggest that if you are mentally and emotionally capable of doing so, finding a hobby or a past-time to fill the time, simply because in my experience it makes time pass more smoothly and gives my mind something else to focus on. But it’s not a competition. You don’t owe other people “productivity” during this time, and maybe your new “hobby” is finally binging every show you always swore you’d “get around” to, or developing a five-star island in Animal Crossing. That’s fine. If that’s helping you cope, that’s wonderful. But try to find something to keep you afloat; you don’t have to defend what that is to anyone.
Stay safe, stay sane, stay inside.