Friday, September 26, 2008


"Simplicity is the hardest thing of all" was the title of an art show I did in 2001. All of the works were sumi paintings which use just a few expressive lines to capture the essence rather than the literal appearance of the subject.

Simplicity is hard with words, too. I work for an internal corporate design agency and we're always trying to get our marketing department to trim their words down. More is not better. But it's hard and they often resist.

But rather than trying to explain, I'll give you this post. Leon Ho says it much better than I could.
Limit Your Word Count When Making a Point

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Color Combinations

Are you someone that likes nature and natural things? Do you tend to get stuck in your decorating ambitions because you're not sure how to choose or combine colors?

Go out into your garden and pick things up that you like. Then raid your herbs and spices and start making a mess.

1. Take apart any flowers you picked. The reason for this is that it becomes easier for you to see the color of each part.

2. Make little piles of the herbs and spices on white paper.

3. Start laying the stuff you brought in from the garden next to the piles and see what wonderful combinations you can come up with.

The herbs and spices are fairly neutral and can represent your wood and paint. The garden items can be more layers of color and accent items.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Writing My Life

I'm writing my autobiography.

It all started with a mid-life crisis. A friend of mine suggested I try it since Write a Novel Month is coming up. Then my sister talked about a retreat she went to that had them writing their life story for 4 hours every morning. She's continued adding to it and suggested that I try it.

So I started writing. I started just writing whatever came to mind that was part of a specific 4 year time span. I was doing it in my pocket sized Moleskine that I carry with me everywhere and quickly realized I needed a notebook exclusively for this project. I picked up one of the new extra-large softcover Moleskines, transferred what I had already written and kept going.

I took a look at the Write a Novel Month website and decided that my memory doesn't work on a novel timeline, so I'm just going at my own pace. I've numbered as many pages as will hold the number of words they recommend (50,000) and I'm about 1/6th of the way there. Not that I'm going to make that a hard and fast rule. It's simply for goal purposes.

It's been an amazingly positive experience. I just write what comes to me and when I'm not writing and remember something, I jot it down on a small piece of paper and stick it in the Moleskine for later. I've been reading through some old family letters in order to spark memories as well. I think that in the final rendition, it would be good to include exerpts from the letters with my part of the story. I think it could also be interesting to combine my efforts with my sister's while retaining our individual voices. Then we'll have to comb the family photos for the appropriate images to illustrate our story.

I know that I'll get to parts that hurt, but I'm going to persevere. I think it will have it's own healing from the honesty of writing it down. The mind often supresses the parts that hurt and sugar coat them over time, which really isn't good.

I'm not doing this necessarily for publication, but for me and my family. So much of a family memory is lost because it is no longer passed from generation to generation. In this way, my neices and nephews will have the best heirloom of all.