Friday, May 14, 2010

Feeling the Crazy

So yesterday wasn't a good computer crashed and is currently out of commission, a friend finally called quits on our friendship, and my brother Bleu decided that my needing system disks overnighted to me wasn't a high priority and waited until a quarter to five to post the much needed disks.  Yesterday, I was calm and really took all issues in stride. 

Today, I'm feeling the crazy.  My teeth are on edge because I'm thinking the worst case scenario regarding my computer (despite reassurances from Tony) and I'm kicking myself for NOT having backed up my computer in  three weeks.  I won't receive the disks until Saturday so I have another day to worry that I've lost three weeks worth of written work...not to mention that my whole life is in that MacBook.  I know, I know I'm being melodramatic but like I wrote earlier I am feeling the crazy.  The rational part of me knows that I at least have a back up that if this computer is fried I have at least some semblance of work stored.  It's scary to think of needing another computer right now and shelling out a grand to buy another Mac.  And yes I'm a die hard Mac user...a PC will not suffice.  (That just made me giggle, I sound like a Mac commercial.)  I have an old titanium powerbook that I could brush the cobwebs off of at home but that system overheats so much to the point of being almost useless.  * sigh *  Do you see what I mean? Watch as head spirals into the bad dark place.

Today I didn't want to get out of bed to face my day.  I really didn't.  It's cold and raining again as it has been for the past three days or so and it's supposed to rain the rest of the weekend.  I forced myself to get up.  Took a shower, ate some oatmeal, had two mugs of earl grey tea and I forced myself to go out and take a walk.  I walked a couple of steps out into the world and the earth is soaked and muddy.  My inner whiner wailed at the prospect of going any farther but I forged ahead.  I walked down the path and left some apple pieces on a flat rock for the very many squirrels and rabbits.  That did make me feel a little better.  I kept walking but I was so focused on watching where I was going (muddy, slippery path) that I startled a large animal. I didn't even get to see what it was grey I think and it made a weird sound as it ran/flew (?) away.  All I saw was a dash a fur or feathers (?) and the wake of branches moving down the path where it to took off.  I was so busy trying not to fall on my ass...I might have missed a sighting of Big Foot.  LOL!  But I'll never know now.

I meant to take food scraps down to the compost heap and realized at the bottom of the hill that I forgot the pail.  I told myself I'd do it tomorrow.  I knew that if I went back to the studio...I'd just go back to bed.  Hehehe.  It's TRUE!!  So it's still raining but I stop and say hi to the made this weird coughing cows cough? do they get colds?  Trust me I've seen the runny noses, ick but is that a sign of cold or just normal body function for them?  It's strange the kinds of questions that pop up in my head whenever I encounter an animal. 

I digress, so I went to the dream studio, my jeans completely soaked from my knees all the way down to my boots are no longer waterproof apparently and my socks were soaked.  I sat on the floor, lit a stick on incense,and  hoped the smell of sandlewood would calm my damn nerves.  I pulled out Carol Lloyd's book, Creating a Life Worth Living: A practical course in career design for artist, innovators, and others aspiring to a creative life. I've been working through the exercises trying to figure out creative goals and practical plans for the future.

Today's chapter centers around the Daily Creative Process. It helps me self-assess my daily routine, what motivates me, what attitudes I have about the creative process.  Right! so she has this little checklist of unhealthy processes and I came across something she calls the Ambition Virus.  OMG!! She may have written this portion directly to me.  She talks about my trouble with procrastination, check; feeling like I'm playing catch-up with time, check; feeling like I've wasted years and now I have to make up for it by working like mad, check; I have lots of regrets, Hello! Big Double Check; booming judgmental voice in the background whenever I've made a "bad" move, Holy Hell! Big Ole Check...and it goes on and on and I can see how sometimes my relentlessness takes the joy out of the creative process for me.  So a suggestion to counteract this little virus was: "Actively reign ambition in....your new motto must be 'in search of mediocrity'".  WHAT?!!! I actually laughed.. Seriously?! I laughed out loud and thought to myself there is NO WAY I'm in search of mediocrity...sorry nope, can't seriously wrap my head around that AT ALL!  And of course, as soon as I felt the resistance in my body, the observer in me thought, "huh, interesting, what's up with all this resistance."  Good god...all this introspection is making me mad (crazy-not angry).

Anyway, the Lloyd chapter helped divert my mind from the tension earlier.  I can't really write about letting go of a's a fresh cut so I'll leave it there.  But the rest, I can manage.  So now I'm off to go figure out some healthy creative processes to take back to NY with me.  How can I take what I've learned out here at OAC back out into the "real world"?  This place has felt like a sanctuary and I want to continue finding healthy ways to "focus on the enjoyment of the act" of creating.  Sweet!!

All artwork, photos, and text © Copyright 2008-2010 Liliana Almendarez unless indicated otherwise. All Rights Reserved. Any downloading, copying or use of images on this website is strictly prohibited without express written consent by Liliana Almendarez.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Scorched Page

Dear Friends,

As you may know, I’ve been working on rebuilding my life to revolve around my creative writing and art.  Hopefully establishing myself as a full-fledged working writer/artist.

For the past two and a half months, I’ve been at an artist residency at Osage Arts Community in Belle, MO working on several projects.  I am really excited about self-publishing my very first book of poetry entitled A Scorched Page.  It’s exciting to finally see these pieces unified and in print. 

This project feels like a turning point where my energies and focus are on what I love to do best which is to create.  Yes, I could have gone the regular route of waiting for an indie publishing house to accept my manuscript BUT taking the project into my own hands to see it come to fruition really gives me a sense of pride and satisfaction.  My years of working in the publishing industry finally paid off. 

Of course, this project does have its costs and in these hard economic times, I could really use your help in making it happen.  Having just finished graduate school, I can’t do this alone.  Your support would mean a great deal to me and would help this endeavor get off the ground. 

I’ve recently been approved to become a fiscally sponsored project of Fracture Atlas, which means your donations would be completely tax-deductible.  If you would like to make a contribution online please go to  my project name is: CREATIVE WRITING AND ART CAREER.

If you would like to send a check, please make it payable to Fractured Atlas and send contributions to:

Liliana Almendarez
444 Prospect Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Thank you for your generous support.


Liliana Almendarez

All artwork, photos, and text © Copyright 2008-2010 Liliana Almendarez unless indicated otherwise. All Rights Reserved. Any downloading, copying or use of images on this website is strictly prohibited without express written consent by Liliana Almendarez.

Friday, May 7, 2010


For the past week I've been turning over in my head a way of organizing my goals (creative work + life). In a way that is realistic, elegant, and workable.  In the past, I've jumped from one project to another without every noting the process. So every time I started yet another project that involved an audience I felt like I was reinventing the wheel.  Plus somehow I was unable to link them up so that the projects had real momentum.  Instead, they felt like separate entities...little baby birds that were left out there on their own to fend for themselves.  Don't get me wrong some of my experiences have been very good and have taught me plenty.  I just need to move to the next phase of organizing my creative goals so that I have a clearer vision when I pursue these particular projects.  Having a clear vision is helping me feel more hopeful and motivated.  I've got the spark back in my eye, that singular drive that I get whenever things have clicked in my head.  When all of a sudden life does not feel so hard. 

For the past two months, I have been hemming and hawing in front of my computer and in front of my canvas feeling the weight of the "work" to get myself "out there" to a larger audience.  And of course, that would effect the pieces that were being worked on because I couldn't be present to the experience of writing or painting...since I was worrying about the future.  And that worrying about the future felt like too much work because it became this amorphous blob of, "shit that I don't know how to do".  But as I sat down and started to look at some of what I'm trying to accomplish and what kind of ambitions I currently have, I realized that there is a lot more things that I do know how to do than unknown.  I was worrying for nothing...or letting fear cloud my vision of possibilities.  I'm discovering that even if there are some holes in my knowledge, I'll get to those elements as soon as I've worked through some of the other tasks first.  Who knows perhaps someone with a little more expertise will show up to help or maybe I brainstorm some wild child ideas until the unknown doesn't quite feel so unmanageable.  Either way today I feel positive about my aspirations.  I can manage this creative life and I'm feeling good.   Now if I can just figure out how to get these dishes washed without having to actually do it, I would be golden.  Rock on people...rock on!! 

All artwork, photos, and text © Copyright 2008-2010 Liliana Almendarez unless indicated otherwise. All Rights Reserved. Any downloading, copying or use of images on this website is strictly prohibited without express written consent by Liliana Almendarez.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dancing with the Devil

I've been here two months and four days now.  I have 27 days left here at OAC.  I've had some really good moments and I've had some of my inner demons make an appearance.  Being so isolated out here in Belle, MO has allowed for all those old insecurities to creep out in order to be addressed and it hasn't always been easy.  Tony encouraged me to write about it but I always feel a bit self-conscious of putting out there how I struggle with my creative work.

Most of my life, I've looked for external validation to put worth and value to myself and my work.  Some may argue that self and work are two separate entities but I have it fixed in my mind that I had to produce work to be of value.  In my family, what you accomplish is so much more important than who you are as a person.  Having the time now to seriously take a look at this core belief has rattled me down to my very toes.  It's been uncomfortable and disconcerting and I know I have pressed friends for words of encouragement to get me through some of my darker days.  The problem is I was playing into my old way of being, looking outside of myself to see me through the eyes of my friends and family.  I know this is an oddball thing to write but...I'm not really sure how else to put it. 

I shy away from criticism.  I've been told that I need thicker skin, perhaps that's true.  It still doesn't discount the fact that painting and writing leaves me feeling terribly exposed and vulnerable.  Especially, when the work is freshly painted or at its inception stage of becoming something.  Whatever that might be.  My Cancer crab ways makes me want to retreat into my hard shell to prevent feeling so exposed.  Hmmm. 

Having written out all of that...I now have to say that (for the record) this residency has been pretty amazing.  I would never have been able to face some of those demons at home.  I have so many distractions that I could bury my head in the sand and ignore the bad feelings until they went away.  Instead, I am able to feel bad, as bad as I have to feel and still write and paint.  No distractions. 

I especially love it when it's a bright day outside and a warm wind is wafting into the studio space.  I start to paint or write and the world falls away.  I look up and 5 hours have slipped away and I'm exhausted but satisfied with myself.  Those are the moments when I don't question who I am and what I'm worth.  Now how do I do that on a more consistent basis?  I know, I takes practice.  Yes, I've rolled my eyes...I am impatient.

I feel time racing away from me.  This months will go by very quickly and I want to get as much work done before its time to leave.  That's the New York neurotic in me.  However, the sun is out today, the sky is bright blue, and Cat and Vick brought by a hummingbird feeder....too sweet!!  I'm going to finish my second cup of tea,  take a book to the chaise lounge on the porch to take in some sun and to read for a little while.

All artwork, photos, and text © Copyright 2008-2010 Liliana Almendarez unless indicated otherwise. All Rights Reserved. Any downloading, copying or use of images on this website is strictly prohibited without express written consent by Liliana Almendarez.