Tag Archives: art

Measuring Up

I’ve been doing this blogging thing for a few years now, which means I occasionally give people the impression that I might know what I’m doing.

Once in awhile I’ll receive an email asking me for blogging tips or tricks to be successful, at which point I spit out my tea in surprise and make sure that the email was actually intended for me.

The fact of the matter is, I don’t really have any clue, mostly because I don’t know what “successful” really means.

measuringup

Whenever I see things that other people are doing—publishing books, appearing on the Huffington Post, getting a lot of comments, etc.—I admit that I get jealous and then sometimes a bit insecure, which is stupid considering that I’ve published books and have appeared on the Huffington Post.

But when I do something, I often dismiss it as “no big deal” in comparison to what everyone else is doing. It’s easy to fall into this trap because we keep coming up with new things to measure—Twitter followers, Facebook fans, Pinterest pins, etc.—even though those really don’t have a lot to do with how much impact you actually have or if what you do is actually decent.

After all, you can’t tell if a book is any good by the number of words it contains, even though that’s easily measured.

The fact is that now that everyone can write, publish, etc. there is a lot of noise and poorly written stuff cluttering up the Internet. Some of it “goes viral” and leaves you staring at the computer and wondering, “Why not me? Weren’t those last couple status updates or tweets funny or clever enough? Why aren’t there more comments on my last post?”

The deafening silence can cause you to doubt yourself and wonder where you went wrong.

This, my flustered friends, is where it can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon and do what seems to be working for everyone else. That’s why it often seems like there aren’t many new ideas — simply new people regurgitating the same things people have said in the past and being praised for reinventing a wheel that’s been rolling for years.

But this just in: If you’re doing what you want to do—not what you think you should do—you’re doing everything right.

It’s unrealistic to assume that whatever you’ve made—art, writing, cooking—is something that everyone everywhere should embrace. And even though it’s hard to stop measuring things that are measurable, the best things don’t measure well by conventional means.

The most popular isn’t necessarily the “best,” and personally I don’t want to mirror what’s around me, especially if it’s mediocre.

So even though I still stress over the silence that I often hear, I’ve come to learn that everyone is different. I write because I love it (most days) and while I’m willing to work hard, I’m not willing to change who I am just to please the masses.

I would like to think that walking away from those that don’t get it unlocks my ability to do different things, to create whatever it is without worrying what somebody thinks.

I guess that’s what I call success.

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Arts & Crap

Not that she’s worried about it, but just like Heloise, Martha Stewart can sleep well at night knowing I am in no way going to wrestle her to the ground for her crafty crown.

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I did make these, but we’ll get back to them in a minute.

Let me back up and say that I’m actually kind of artistic. When I was little I was always drawing, painting, changing the interior decorating in my Barbie house or doing something creative with my Tupperware containers full of art supplies.

But as I got older, I traded in my blue box of Mr. Sketch scented markers for sports equipment and foam balls to put in my shirt for impromptu Mariah Carey concerts given on the front lawn. It’s not that I ever lost that creative spark; I just put it on the shelf for a while and replaced it with other forms of artistic expression…like painting my living room and coloring my hair.

With that said, the past couple of years I’ve tried to be crafty in an attempt to also be charitable.

Our senior friends love anything you make for them, so I’ve taken to going to Michael’s and investing a few bucks in “simple” crafts that can be given to the old people.

Before you get too impressed, let me be clear that we’re not talking about intricate needlepoint—I can’t be trusted with sharp objects—but rather a variety of foam decorations that can be displayed or attached to my super simple pretzel treats, also known as geriatric crack.

There have been pumpkins, turkeys, wreaths, hearts—you name it, I’ve foamed it, farmed it out and have the glitter still stuck in my dining room rug to prove it. But the latest project—mini Easter baskets—once again cemented the fact that I am no Martha Stewart.

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Check that. It “super glued” the fact that I am no Martha Stewart.

I artfully placed my supplies on a towel on my dining room table and began crafting, creating little foam Easter baskets from the 132 pieces that were supplied to me, secure in the knowledge printed on the box that no glue was required and anyone over the age of 4 could easily complete the craft.

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Long story short, I completed the craft only to find out the next night that all the crap that DIDN’T NEED TO BE GLUED had peeled off the baskets and basically fallen off.

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This did not please me. I went to the Dollar Store and got super glue, maniacally gluing each and every piece of foam back to the carefully constructed baskets, holding down each piece for the 15 seconds the tube recommended.

The good news? I only glued my fingers together twice.

The bad news? It took me entirely too long to do a simple craft that some lunatic in the foam factory thinks a 4-year-old could do with NO GLUE and I found a leftover sticky foam flower stuck to the ass of my yoga pants a couple hours later.

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Plus, things still kind of peeled off.

But when you add in pretzel treats stuffed into Easter bags from the Dollar Store, you have an inexpensive, festive, chocolaty treat for a bunch of old people who probably won’t notice a slightly detached flower petal due to cataracts and a “go-for-the-chocolate” crazed look in their eyes.

So to summarize, I’m artistically somewhere between Martha Stewart and a 4-year-old and I deal out geriatric crack (pretzel treats) in super glued foam Easter baskets.

I do believe Martha is safe. 

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I Basically Invented Pinterest

I’m not one who thinks everything I don’t understand or like is stupid (with the exception of “Jersey Shore” and low-fat peanut butter. No reason for these things, people.)

However, I’m so sick of hearing about Pinterest that the only thing I want to do with pins is poke them in my eyes so I don’t have to read about how much everyone loves Pinterest.

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There are a couple reasons as to why this is, but the most important one is that I was the ORIGINAL creator of “pinning” things. Have I received any of the credit?

The answer to that would be, “no.”

First, a little background.

If you’re unfamiliar, Pinterest is the latest social media craze that “lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.”

Apparently the mission is to connect everyone in the world through the “things” they find interesting, seeing as Facebook, Twitter, email and actual social interaction with other human beings was insufficient to fill that need.

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Everywhere you go on the Internet someone is talking about Pinterest, mostly in reference to how much time they’re spending/wasting on Pinterest. These same people talk about how busy they are, but yet spend hours “pinning” things they won’t have the time to create because they’re too busy “pinning” things.

But to be fair, I suppose that I understand the appeal.

You virtually rip pictures out and put them on your boards for “inspiration” without actually having to talk to anyone else in the process. In theory, the fact that you don’t have to interact with or “friend” people sounds perfect for me, except I’m not into lifestyle things, crafting, home decorating, inspiration or spending any more time on the computer looking for things I don’t need.

Considering a falling paper clip distracts my attention, the last thing I need is another diversion.

Primitive Pinterest

But as I mentioned, the real reason I’m over Pinterest is that I was the ORIGINAL “pinner” when I was younger and haven’t received a cut of the profits now that this craze has caught on.

Back in the day when computers were as large as an industrial refrigerator, I had a huge bulletin board in my room that I took pride in filling with things that reflected whoever I was on that day—a little bit athlete, a little bit artist, a lot more weirdo—or what I thought would look cool to my friends.

So I would scour magazines for pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio and Mariah Carey, inspirational quotes and just weird things I could pin next to personal photos that perfectly captured my awkwardness and ribbons and medals from horse shows and swim meets.

I understood these to be the most creative collages ever.

It was my own primitive Pinterest.

Now there are no glue or color-coordinated push pins required, no danger of paper cuts and no need to piece together random letters to create quotes that end up looking more like white trash ransom notes. Just a click of the mouse and your “pinning” power is revealed.

Sigh.

Just like I was ahead of my time when it came to wearing workout pants and no makeup in public—the kids call it “casual chic” now, right?—it appears this is the case once again. I was pinning sayings I wasn’t clever enough to think of and photos I wish I had taken decades before this “Pinterest” thing.

But do I get the credit?

No, because someone else went ahead and actually beat me to it (which I admit wasn’t hard to do seeing as I wasn’t actually trying.) But still…hrmph.

Pin me, “Bitter. Party of one.”

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