... a blog to make sense of the world through writing and acts of creativity, to reflect on and respond to the crazy world in which we live. Can beauty, creativity, compassion, and activism emerge from this tension?
Gosh, What a year that was! It's hard to believe I haven't added a post to this blog since my last review of the year a year ago. I did add to my travel section, but not to this page. I recently did some reflection on whether or not to keep this website going, and wrote about it on my Medium page. The conclusion was - I will keep up the website and put more effort into it this year. But regarding my review of 2019: Here goes, in mostly chronological order:
Inspired by Austin Kleon, I thought I would do my list too, but don't think I can get to 100. I am thankful to my iphone and the times that I remember to take photos, which act as memory cues.
My "art" that I have spent decades doing, is playwriting. When I expressed to friends that I was struggling with a new play that I was writing, a question from one made me think. She asked something like, "If it doesn't flow, maybe it's not meant to be. Isn't it about the flow?" I guess there is this romanticized view of creativity and art, that those lucky enough to be gifted with it, can just go with the flow, and there you go.
I recently watched an interview with Deepak Chopra. The interviewer asked him for an exercise, and I don't even remember what the exercise was for specifically, but I wrote down the exercise. Since the exercise is the form of questions, this could be like Jeopardy. I'll figure out what the objective was, based on the questions.
He said ask these questions of yourself:
So because of what I know about Deepak Chopra (mind-body harmony, new age philosopher), I think this must be an exercise in grounding yourself so that you can be lifted up, empowered to live a rich, purposeful life. The questions are very compelling and easy enough.
Though I am many things, I affirm that I am a writer. I think that is my gift. My purpose is to use my gift to make the world a better place. The core example for me is my play Pulani and how that created experiences of collaboration, camaraderie, inspiration, and empowerment. I also know that when I wrote letters to the editor about education, people were always grateful for my ability to communicate the issues.
When I think about the things I "think" I want and don't have, I realize the the Universe's (God's) will is stronger than mine, that I need to see and appreciate what I have been given. I am not compelled to be goal-oriented. I am more inclined to let my passions and the circumstances of my life in the here and now, speak to me.
Tapping into that, drinking it like water, I live my days, and that takes me to the next, and the next. This is a lot, this is a blessing. This is what I am grateful for, that I have a life in which I can do this.
I was going to write something philosophical about creativity today, but got hit hard by the sadness of yet another mass school shooting, in Florida this time. I read the news stories, watched the videos, saw the memes, shared a lot. And it is hard not to be cynical, not to feel like there's nothing we can do about it. Because we've been here before. I thought that Sandy Hook would be a definite turning point. And it wasn't. Could this be? Do I dare hope that at the very least some good will come of it? That the consciences of the powers-that-be will be provoked and they will finally do something? That at least they will put laws in place to prevent mentally ill persons from getting guns? Ban AR-15s?
When I started this website, I was newly retired, wondering what I was going to do with the rest of my life. It had to do with "creating," purposely trying to live a creative life. Again, I got busy. It wasn't a bad busy, but I neglected this blog. I did other things, mostly they have been passion projects. I try to only do passion projects. I find myself in this "space" again - a space where I don't have a lot of commitments or projects. So now what?
I just read Austin Kleon's list of 100 things that made his year and thought that I could do that, but on a smaller scale. Let's see, using my photos to jog my memory, and without much explanation:
1. The Women's March.
4. Books: 1984, Handmaid's Tale, and many more. Not many newly published ones.
5. Teaching my playwriting class for the first time.
6. Making Almond Joy cookies several times to great acclaim.
New Year's Eve here is pretty quiet. Since we are all getting older, our family has, over the years, eased our way out of hosting big family gatherings. It's okay. It was always a good time when we had the energy, but it's okay to move on, to create different kinds of experiences, like making nishime.
Today was the day the North Korean dictator said he would send out a missile to Guam, where I live. I really do not think it is probable that we will be hit by a nuclear missile. I refuse to take that in. When a friend tried to describe to me what it would be like if it were to happen, I had to tell her, I don't want to hear it.
This was written as a way to understand and respond to the great divide in our country between Trump supporters and resisters. I don't really think this friend will read this, and I don't intend to send it to her. I just wanted to get my thoughts out there.
I have not seen you since high school. I did not know you very well back then, but I do remember being jealous of you because you "got" the gorgeous new boy in high school whom you eventually married, and later divorced. I am really getting to know you now on Facebook, in the Trump era, as we are on opposite sides of this ballgame. While others may un-friend those who are so adamantly opposed to their own views, I have not done that. You are one of a few friends I have who provide me with a window into the world of a Trump supporter. I wouldn't really consider you a true friend because we only are connected through FB, but I am worried about you.
Diane Aoki is a writer who explores other modes of creativity as her intuition leads her.