2023 Creative Output

Here’s to more creativity in 2024!!


ETSY - I created two shops on Etsy in 2023!


EPS Typographics (Artful graphics & creative designs for home & gifting.)

https://epstypographics.etsy.com 


AquariusUS (Creative designs for imaginative cats.)

https://aquariusus.etsy.com 



YOUTUBE - I started these Youtube channels in 2023!


‘Turn Up the Tranquility’ - philosophical shorts and prompts for journaling & contemplation.

www.youtube.com/@turnupthetranquility 


‘The Short Composer’ - featuring original, unique videos scored by me.

www.youtube.com/@shortcomposer2024 



AMAZON - I publish as EPS Typographics & Victoria Denyx - working on a book about creativity now!


MY PHOTOBOOKS:

Shy Bird (the Silent Voice): A Philosophical Photobook

https://amzn.to/3tAdWIY 


She is Amazing: A gorgeously illustrated affirmation of the beautiful elder woman.

https://amzn.to/48CqGxG 


Determine: Persevere Art: Overcoming resistance to manifest the changes you desire

https://amzn.to/3H3Sr6y 


TRAVEL JOURNAL:

Our Amazing Journeys

https://amzn.to/47hzJTE


MONEY MANAGEMENT:

Monthly Income & Expenses Logbook

https://amzn.to/3tAjoeW


Your Good Health - Monthly Budget Planner

https://amzn.to/3vps5ck 


FOR KIDS:

1-2-3 Write

https://amzn.to/47j3TWx 


The Animal’s Parade

https://amzn.to/3TJYJQb


Music was and is my path...

There is no magic formula to free the voice, no matter the circumstances. There's no one answer, either. Although we all have the same infrastructure - lungs, throat, vocal chords, mouth, the answers are complex and highly personal. It has to be a progressive journey.

What do I mean by progressive? I mean that as you walk the path towards the goal of 'more fully actualized' the steps are small. They are varied in size and shape. They may take you past places you never thought to see, or bring up memories from the past that still affect you today.

In my work I have come to see that being introverted is not a bad thing. I experience the world differently. I am sensitive to energies, to vocal timbre. For me it's less about what someone says, and more about how they say it. Like many other people, I intuitively divine a meaning beyond spoken language when I am receiving the words of someone else. 

When I was wholly shy I heard such things with an anxious uncomfortableness, eager to know what I should do to please the speaker. The idea of listening to my own inner voice and transmitting my own perspective or preference was alien to me.

If expected to answer, my throat would literally close up with tension, for fear that whatever I was about to say was wrong. Feeling safe was a primary goal. But it was more than that. I really disliked the terrible awkwardness that came over me when having to converse with someone else - no matter how nice they were. I would skip into shops or turn and go the other way rather than be forced to say hello and make small talk with someone I knew. They could be the kindest, most generous person in the city, and I still ran scared.

I had no map to lead me out of this place of fear and self-loathing. Yet I somehow clung to music as something that at least allowed me to vibrate in a more positive fashion, if I were alone and singing songs with my guitar.

Ever the one to challenge myself with impossible dreams, I decided I wished to study opera. How was I to go from someone who could barely speak without fear, and someone who trembled so badly she could not stand up to sing or speak in front of an audience, to someone with the confidence to release a full voice and share it with others... ah... you may well ask.

All I know is, if I could do it, you can do it. I think most of us know what needs to be done. What we should do, and do consistently, if we want to feel more wholly who we want to be. Maybe you don't know at the start which way to go or what's going to lead you there, or even, where 'there' is. The key is to start, and keep starting.

Autumn: a time of renewal?

Have you recently found yourself wandering aimlessly in the tangled forest of lost creative habits, like a squirrel searching for its hidden acorns? Fear not! Now is the perfect season to reignite your artistic spirit. Or so I tell myself each morning as I rise to cooler air and Earl Grey, hot.

Autumn is a season of breathtaking transformations, where trees shed their old leaves to make way for new growth. Similarly, it's time for us to shed any creative ruts and let go of past artistic challenges. Maybe get something off the to-do list to open us to the flow. What about an art date? Start by leafing through art books, visiting galleries, or simply taking a walk in nature to soak in the vibrant colors and textures.

Why not spice things up by picking up a new art form, embarking on an ambitious project, or collaborating with fellow artists? Sign up for that class you've been considering taking since last year. Get that new software, start something new. Dive into it with the enthusiasm of someone eagerly sipping on a pumpkin spice latte on the first day of fall.

Playfulness helps us embrace the joy of creativity by letting go of old issues. Experiment, make mistakes, and don't take yourself too seriously. Creative play is where the magic often happens. Just start, and let the pen, the brush, the muse, lead you to someplace you have never been.

The autumn equinox arrives very soon. Let your creative spirit dance in the balance of light and dark. Rediscover your artistic mojo. Remember that the magic of fall lies not only in its colors but in its promise of transformation. Let your creativity flourish like the colorful foliage of autumn.

Connectedness

Today I contemplate the value of connection. Vision ourselves to be trees, rooted to the earth and entwined in the ground to keep balance and security in our lives. Our branches reach out and up towards the sun and the sky. We bend in the wind. We nourish the air with oxygen. We nourish the people who pass by with our shade and our scent and our presence.

As a shy person I always shut down in company. I disconnected myself, too fearful of what might be transmitted from me that would show me to be of questionable value. Too scared of what I might receive if I was open to others. 

It makes logical sense that someone would seek to protect themselves from the sharp edges of messages from others. Strangely, though, in that very disconnection, I felt myself alone and misunderstood.

It is not all external, either. Our own denial of self or morphing the self to please others is disconnectedness too. One cannot be rooted if constantly changing form in order to accepted by others.

I imagine myself an arbutus tree, twisting and changing direction, yet always beautiful.

Cultivating excitement

I sit, looking at the blank page. To my right, on the table, is a pad of paper with multiple scribbled notes on a variety of things. The chord progression I am working on for a new composition. In the margin, a reminder of a meeting today. On the back, notes about a Fed-Ex tracking number for my missing delivery. Another page, notes on composing in the style known as fantasy. Then ideas for organizing to-dos in relation to my personal health and household.

I contemplate. What will today's commentary say? I remember YouTube videos I've watched this week. (I make a study of several topics.) I see, in my mind, the face of the presenters who engaged me the most. I ask myself why.

They were sharing something that meant something to them. They offered it freely, enthusiastically explaining how I could do what they do. Their message was urgent. Supportive. Encouraging.

They said, 'Yes you can.'

It makes me wonder, as I look around my untidy flat, why I don't get excited about putting things back where they belong. I will spend hours fussing with an image or a design until I am satisfied. I will revisit a composition and create multiple mixes until something inside says 'yes.'

My younger self would dress carefully for any date or gathering. Clothing, shoes, jewelry, hair, makeup... I was tremendously shy, knowing I looked as good as possible helped bolster my courage. Now I think, rather wryly, that I might have accomplished the goal of being 'well turned out' but I could seldom carry on a conversation in anything but a stilted and awkward manner. I wish I could go back and hug that me. I'd like to tell her, 'you are good enough.'

It occurs to me I am more excited about my life this year. The shadow of COVID is still there, yet we are out, going to festivals, taking trips, visiting friends, meeting for dinner, going to movies. The losses were incalculable. Many of us were deprived of income, jobs, savings; many of us had to let go of dreams and hunker down. And many of us sadly lost loved ones. Friends, family, acquaintances, forever missed.

Do we walk in the sunshine these days, thankful that we have made it through? Are we picking up the threads of those dreams we had, which needed to be put aside in 2020. Are we taking the steps needed to find our way, when the storms of change still rock the boat? Housing costs through the roof, food costs soaring (while record profits recorded), deep concern for those facing war and famine, puzzling over the future and where developing technology will take us. It's all too overwhelming.

We have the capacity to slow down our lives. Experience each moment as it happens. We have the ability to gift ourselves with time for walks, journaling, meditating, long baths, a lazy afternoon on the lawn with a good book. The key is to make that a priority.

I believe these acts of self-love will bring not only some peace to our personal world, but help us find the energy to be excited about the projects we work on and the simple successes we have on the way to achieving something that matters to us.

Art isn't an external 'thing' that we put in a cupboard or a frame and dust once in a while. As Julia Cameron says, 'as we are creative beings, our lives become our works of art.'

--

THIS WEEK'S VIDEO

Scattering scatteredness...

Somehow it's Sunday night and I tell myself I need to write a blog. It's not a chore. It's something I like doing. In the whirlwind of life, though, it has, in the past, been left undone. I have determined this will change. 

I had a glimmer of an idea for this blog. The word that comes to mind is serenity. A word that is easy to say, but much much harder, sometimes, to embrace.

While I can be very energetic and devoted to things I love to do, at the same time, I can be very scattered with my energy, and end up going in circles, not achieving much at all. I can make long to-do lists and even cross a few things off while the time for the other things is eaten up with focusing on the less important. Or procrastinating. 

As a creative person, I rebel against schedules and organization yet I know it would help me to better use my time if I kept to them. I have many calls on my time, and at least three calendars I am following on any given day. If I am honest, without my schedules, I am lost. I remember that Bob's at 2pm on Monday but if I actually look at my calendar I will see it's Joe, not Bob, at 1:30pm.

Nothing's more embarrassing than opening your studio door to see that there are two people waiting to see you at the same time. Uh oh.

So, in spite of my resistance, I have my lists and my calendar that is planned weeks in advance, and try not to feel overwhelmed looking at all the things written in for this month and next month and even the month after.

One practice I began a few years back was to put a big 'X' through one day each week and promise to myself that *nothing* would be planned for that day. I don't do that anymore, there's something every day, like it or not. 

So it comes down to dealing with managing your time while at the same time being okay with managing your time, and, most importantly, not getting stressed about it.

Some walk, some do yoga, some jog, some swim, some meditate.. I'm a firm believer in power naps. 

I feel it crucial that we find time for ourselves alone each day. We can't keep giving if we're not replenishing the well. We can't be creative in the time allowed if we're all over the place about what needs to happen next.

Rise early, welcome the sun, breathe the morning air, embrace the peace of the morning for as long as we can. Write our morning pages. Do tai chi. Jog in the park. Sit and drink tea in the garden. 

Dreams...

Today, I am reminded of dreams. I had dreams of being a champion figure skater, of starring in musicals. I took lessons in dance, sang in choirs, belonged to theatre companies. 

I struggled to ace the dance part of the auditions in particular. I took a great adult ballet class that always began with the same routine workout but included a new set of steps we had to learn each week. Through this I became more proficient in picking up and repeating steps, so important for a dance audition. 

I suffered a lot of stage fright as a singer so I took acting classes thinking it would help me feel better on stage. It's funny I didn't even think of taking singing lessons even though, all of it, everything I did, was so I could be part of a musical presentation. 

I wonder now if I 'didn't think of it' because I couldn't even go there. On a very fundamental level I didn't want to study the thing I wanted most to do, for fear I would be told - that it would be confirmed - that I was not good enough to do it. Rather than face that possibility, I avoided it completely. 

Life moved on, I gave up doing theatre, dance, choirs. I got busy working, doing overtime and living the kind of life where you never wear the same thing to the office, where gossip at the water cooler was the predominant force affecting your self-esteem, where I overate lunch at the company canteen watching soap operas. I was desperately unhappy but so sure being married and working at a big international firm's head office, spending my money on clothes for work, and being in every way as perfect as possible was what was required in order for me to be considered a 'good person'.

None of those things are inherently wrong, but they were wrong for me. I was denying everything I wanted to be and do in order to fit someone else's dream. It was a patched together vision of impressions and expectations of me integrated from others over my formative years. It was created as a path for me to walk so that I would be acceptable. Because I couldn't possibly make those choices for myself. I was flawed and needed to follow the scripts set down for me by others who knew better and whose opinion was so important to me I was willing to sacrifice my own heart and soul to be 'good enough' in their eyes.

I gave up so much of myself. I had been taught I had no value, was a loser, would never amount to anything, wasted space. At home, at school, at work. No matter how competent I was, how many promotions I got, how much I was lauded for being organized, it was never enough for me to feel whole. To be less panicked. To feel safe.

One long sleepless night I finally came to a place where I realized how lost I was. I didn't know what the future would hold, but I felt, if I took one more step down the 'be the good person in everyone else's eyes' road, I would lose myself forever.

I did a lot of soul searching after that. Who am I? Me, not someone else's version of me. Me. Who do I want to be?

Through all of it, over time, I began to know two things: I want to live a creative life. I want to live a musical life. 

As Tolkein says, 'the road goes ever on and on.' From then til now, and for the future, I continue to live creatively and musically, with fits and starts, ups and downs, detours and lostness. Yet this feels more authentic and more me than anything that went before. 

In many ways the dreams I had when I was young live with me every day as I write, compose, design. It's a simple thing, to do the thing you love to do, one would think, yet it can be the hardest thing of all. I am grateful for the support and encouragement of those who accept me as I am. And I continue to dream. I will always dream.