Chapter 2, Create

Andy Warhol said to do art and put it out into the world and let them decide if it’s art or not, and while they are deciding, make more art.

And so, what did he do? He painted Campbell Soup cans. Every day for 20 years he ate the same lunch—Campbell soup. He liked Campbell soup, and then he tweaked with our brains by painting soup cans.  First, he painted one can, Cream of Chicken soup, then all 32 flavors, all the cans painted on a single canvas.

Was this art? Certainly, his renderings were technologically excellent. But was it art?

The public decided to make him one of the highest paid artists of his time.

Perhaps his art caused people to think. It’s a statement, although sometimes the observer paints more into the canvas that the painter intended, then, again, that’s art, sometimes to entertain, sometimes to jar one’s senses.

We all know that the easiest, cheapest lunch would be to walk into a grocery store and buy a can of soup.

Warhol’s silk-screens are selling to this day.

“Create because you have to, not to be famous, but because you are a living, breathing soul who must create or die a slow and boring death.”—Don Hahn

Sometimes we hold back on producing because we fear our creation will be junk.

Look at the junk that is out there, it appears in my inbox every day. And the mailbox. Heavens, we get an envelope with a window that has a check inside, well, it looks like a check, even the words,”Pay to the order of,” is clearly seen through the envelope window. And with our name no less.  It ought to be made out “pay to the order of  “The Stupid and Gullible.”

Well, I can get a check for $35,000 dollars, if I apply for a loan with interest that will keep the company’s CEO in Alexis’s.

It gives marketing a bad name, makes us mistrust solicitors.

Yet look at marketing: It is about advertising your wares.

You market yourself at parties, when trying to convince your family to go on that vacation you believe would serve them all.

If you love your dream, why not marry it? In sickness and health, till death do us part.

Yeah, Joyce, all’s well and good about creating, but I need to earn a living.

Well, aren’t we getting ahead of ourselves? The idea is to do the work we love and find a way to get paid while doing it.

We, like the animals, seek food, shelter and a mate. Homo sapiens go a step further— they need to create. Perhaps some animals do as well, for without input they can become bored and despondent—as has happened with gorillas in a Zoo.

There is one fatal flaw in being too goal oriented. As we focus on the endgame, we miss a lot of life along the way.

Your creation is a work in process.

Remember Thomas Edison said he didn’t fail 1,000 times in his effort to make a light bulb, he found 1,000 ways NOT to make a light bulb.

Here’s where the grace comes into play. I said it would lubricate your process. When I think of grace, I think of being in a state of acceptance, a state of being.

There is strength in boldness. There is genius and magic in determination and perseverance.

Perhaps Van Gogh and Mozart didn’t expect to win. I don’t know. However, they were driven to create.

Van Gogh painted through an undistinguished life before dying in obscurity. Mozart, a musical genius, was buried in a pauper’s grave. People hated Moby Dick when it was first published. The early episodes of the television show Seinfeld garnered some of the most dismal ratings in television history, yet, what do Vincent, Wolfgang, Herman, and Seinfeld have in common?

The desire to create.

You have to feel sorry for Salvator Rosa whose paintings hang to the right and left of the illustrious Mona Lisa. His paintings are great, but they have no pedigree and no mystery. But maybe he knew to throw a lariat around a star, and look, he gets as many views as the Mona Lisa.

Now think of the Mona Lisa. Well painted by Leonardo di Vinci, of course. She isn’t beautiful, rather mysterious really. Some wonder if di Vinci painted himself in drag.

The painting is over five hundred years old. It was stolen in 1911, her face was plastered across the papers of the world, and people came to see where she had hung before the theft.

Over the years she had acid poured on her, cups hurled at her, red paint sprayed on her, now she sits in a massive room protected by bulletproof glass and surrounded by admirers. About six million people view her each year, and according to an article in the Guardian newspaper, the average time viewing her is fifteen seconds.

Is this a check off of things to do while on vacation? Visit the Mona Lisa, check. She’s a rock star.

She has a history and a story.

You might wonder about inventive minds such as inventor Cornelius Drebbel. In the 17th century, this man created the first working prototype of a submarine.

Three hundred years ago this man built a wooden craft. Scholars think it was probably covered with greased leather and had oarsmen to propel it. In around 1120 he demonstrated his submarine to King James and thousands of astonished Londoners by diving 15 feet into the Thames River.

He went on to build three more submarines and they all worked. Later on, he created a series of mirrors to harness the sun’s energy in a manner such as solar cells have today.

It took three hundred years for the public to catch up.

The point is you do what you need to do because your creative soul needs it. Monetary rewards are needed. Yes, we want money! Notoriety is nice, and handy for Drebbel that he was under the employ of King James. I trust that his inventions fed his soul.

That’s the reason so many hate their jobs. Their jobs don’t provide for creativity, and they don’t feed the soul.

Three women worked for some government agency, I don’t remember where, but I know they hated their jobs. It was boring, repetitive, and non-creative. They met for coffee one day after work (maybe they had something stronger than coffee) and made a pack. They would go to work one day and walk out, no explanation, no notice given, just leave.

They were giddy just thinking about it.

Over the next few days, they decided which day they would leave. They agreed that they would dress in their best clothes, go into work, then walk out.

When the day arrived, they excitedly dressed in their finest, went into work, put on the coffee pot, and in their excited state they welcomed their fellow co-workers. On being greeted enthusiastically the co-workers responded in kind. They chatted. They drank their coffee and went to work uplifted. When the next batch of workers came in the women again greeted them, served them coffee, chatted, and so it went.

“Okay,” said one, “now when do we leave?”

“What?” said another, “Leave the best job I have ever had?’ They stayed.

What changed?

As I was reading Zig Zigler’s book Over The Top, and going through his list of success qualities like being enthusiastic, having faith, vision, empathy, hardworking, sincere, I had no trouble, zipping through these qualities, disciplined, motivated, punctual…Screech.

How many times have I been late? How many times have people waited for me? That’s selfish and inconsiderate.

I always think I have more time than I do. My daughter says I have no concept of time. I misjudge it. Why in God’s name do I think I must shingle the roof before I leave the house, then race like a bat out of hell to get to my appointment on time?

I noticed this morning that while I was focused on my work, and I was itching to sit down at to the computer. Did I go right to it? No. First, I washed the dishes and threw clothes into the washer. I delayed what I really wanted to do. I really do want to meet my friends for lunch, or get to that meeting on time. I must have the attitude that I musts do the dirty work before I can have fun

One advice is to eat a frog every morning then nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.

When I told my daughter about eating a frog, she said, “But then you will have frog breath for the rest of the day.”

I ought to re-think my priorities.

Not long ago I drove from Eugene to Roseburg to have lunch with a friend. It’s about an hour and a half drive, and I left in plenty of time. However, I was so worried about being late to my friend whom I love and who is always on time, even ahead of time. But, what did I do? I totally screwed it up.

Here is a great demonstration on how sometimes we focus on the negative so much that we get what we have focused on. We get WHAT WE DON’T WANT.

What we don’t want is so strong it blots out what we intended in the first place. I wanted to be on time.

I wasn’t.

Why was that?

She said to meet her at her office. Go to the side parking lot. I got there, I went to the side parking lot, and checked the door. Being Saturday, the building was locked up tight. I rattled the doors thinking she was inside. I went to the front doors as well. No answer. I tried to call, no answer.

I did go to the side, and I did go to the front, but not getting her, I punched so many buttons on my phone that it completely froze up and remained that way until a day later when I went to Costco and had them defrost it.

Bottom line. We did connect. I walked across the street to a deli and borrowed a wonderfully helpful person’s phone. I got my friend. She was waiting for me at the side of the building—where she said to go, but she got there after me, and then I lost my phone connection.

I was late.

She was cool with it.

I was miserable.

What if, we decide to live in a beautiful state no matter what.

As I write this, I am sitting in a toasty Hotel room overlooking the Columbia River that is flowing steadily toward the ocean, all gray and forlorn this morning, but doing its forever song.

I have a ground floor room with a sliding glass door leading out to a grassy strip that has a skim of snow on it, and beyond is the River. My view is because of Sweetpea my little dog. People with dogs get a ground floor and an exit outside to the grass. A nice dog- friendly hotel.

My daughter at home took four days off work so we could make this trip, as I am normally at home with my grandson. But today, I am here.

I have this room because we thought we were going to a memorial on Saturday in The Dalles, about 25 miles away. I wanted a couple of days as a writing retreat, so I booked a room for Thursday and Friday and then for Saturday when my husband and eldest daughter would join me.

Severe weather warnings frightened people off for many were driving from a distance away, and so my brother postponed the memorial.

My daughter opted out. My husband decided to reschedule our time in The Dalles—with his family. So, here I am. Perfect. Now I get four days instead of two.

I’ve been asking for this—time to myself to write and read. Time alone with only my dog and myself to care for. I feel like the scene from the movie Mary Poppins where she interviewed with Mr. Banks for their job as a nanny while outside a North wind came and blew away the competition.

Remember nannies sailing through the air, skirts billowing, feet in the air, umbrellas turned inside out?

As I watch the river, I see a little duck, tiny in that immense stream, paddling upstream. At first, I thought he/she (I can’t tell which), was staying in the same spot as the current flowed steadily past her little body.  Now, that’s a strong current and a big river while that duck is but a teeny little-feathered creature with only her internal insulation to protect her against the bracing cold. Soon she had moved across my view of her. I don’t know how she is managing, but clearly, something she or he, wants is upstream, and that little duck is determined to get there.

While I don’t want to be foolhardy in staying here instead of going home before bad weather breaks, this, however, is too good to pass up.

If you hear that I was lost in a snow bank, know that I went out happy.

The following morning.

I found my truck.

Assignment number three: Ask for what you want.

You know the drill, write it down.

Write as many wants as you can dream. There is no judgment, little or big it doesn’t matter, only you will see it. This is your special heart wish. You are entitled to dream you know.

Dream Big!

  • I want answers to a sibling dilemma.
  • I want to lose five pounds by the end of next week. (Be specific.)
  • I want to become a best selling author.
  • I want a little farm in the country.
  • I want to live long and in perfect health.
  • I want to live where I choose, with whom I choose, and in the house of my dreams.  And make $100,000 a year doing it.
  • I see and want a little house among swaying palms.
  • I want a solution to a problem that has until now escaped me.
  • I want to live in peace and harmony.
  • I want to feel a strong connection with the divine and to know that I am an eternal being.

We all know that instead of saying, “I want,” it is far better to put your desires in present tense, as though you already have it.

I live in peace and harmony.

Go to chapter 3

Run with it.