A Scattershot Approach to Creativity

I haven’t been very active here since this summer, but I have been keeping busy. Fatherhood and a full time job will do that for you, regardless of your creative efforts.

Thankfully, I haven’t been idle on the creative front, either.

LadySea.net Updates

My wife is a potter, photographer, and knitter. She is selling her work over at LadySea Creations. Since I’m already conversant in HTML and CSS, and have a decent idea of design, I’m the webmaster and site author over there. It’s a pretty good creative outlet. I have always enjoyed programming for that reason. (I’m writing server side scripting in PHP.) Creative problem solving, followed up by translating those ideas into a structured language. It’s a fun challenge, and not entirely dissimilar to writing structured poetry.

Writing

I have worked a bit more onĀ The Apprentice, and also a couple of short stories. It’s not as much progress as I’d like to make, but fatherhood and work continue to be very intense. My hope to write on the laptop or paper while being Parent on Deck hasn’t really worked out. The littlest munchkin is just too active, too curious, and too smart. She requires more attention now, not less. I’ll likely be hosting a story or two here in the near future.

Soaping

I’m still really enjoying soap making. The last soap I made didn’t work for the house because I had forgotten that my wife’s tree allergies involved cedar.

The next thing I made (that worked) was a soft shave soap with shea butter. It really came out great. The lather is very effective, and the shea butter leaves the skin feeling marvelous afterward. I was trying for a lemon-lime scent with a touch of peppermint, but the peppermint oil was much stronger than I realized. I ended up with basically a pure peppermint scent.

Currently I am curing a stiffer version of this soap. I also plan to try a hard version. Whichever I like best will become the basis for my shave soap line. That’s right, I’ve decided to try selling soaps. I will call the brand Dapper Dragon soap, and sell it alongside Sonya’s pottery at Ladysea Creations.

I intend to make bath and facial bars as well. Hopefully I can include some in the products on display when Sonya does local craft sales.

Visual Arts

This is one realm where I haven’t kept my hand in this year at all. I’m not really happy about it, either. But there are just too many things to do, and not enough time. However, I have checked out the newest Krita for Windows. I really like the way it works. It is similar in many ways to MyPaint, but since it uses the KDE libraries, it’s not affected by the Gnome/GTK issues that killed tablet functionality in MyPaint for Windows and GIMP. And it’s open source!

 

That’s the state of my creative life these days. Look for more, and more frequent updates as I get these projects rolling.

Literature and the Single Dad

I was a single dad this weekend. My wife and daughters had gone on a mini-vacation with some friends to a cabin up north by the Canadian border, leaving me and my eight year old son home together. He didn’t want to go, and I just didn’t feel like making a 12 hour round trip in a car to hang out with people I hang out with at home.

As father-son time goes, we had a pretty good weekend. It was cold and gray for much of the time, so we didn’t do much outside. We went to the movies, had some good food, watched TV and played games.

I had thought I might get a decent amount of writing done this weekend as well, when Sean and I weren’t actively doing something together. It didn’t work that way. It seemed like every time I would get my concentration focused, I was needed. I was on the hook to answer questions, give advice, help out with tough spots on games, and generally be the dad. My concentration would be broken, I’d be out of “the zone,” and the process would have to start again. My writing output for the weekend was a big fat zero.

There are other writers with whom I interact who are full or part time single parents. There are others who are part of a parenting pair, but who are the primary caregivers. I really have to respect what they accomplish. At eight, my son is in a pretty good age for this sort of thing. He’s no longer young enough that he needs constant watching and hands-on attention. He’s young enough that he’s not yet a social butterfly, or engaged in half a dozen extracurricular activities. But even so, it was difficult to arrange writing around him. With a toddler, or a fifteen year old, it would have been insane.

So for all you single moms and dads out there, trying to write your book and be a good parent at the same time, I salute you. You have a tough row to hoe.

To my darling wife, who goes out of her way to make sure I get time to write: Thank you, sweetheart. I always knew I wouldn’t be able to do it without you. Now I know it even better.

Normally I’d have tried to get writing done after he was in bed, but I had to work a lot of off hours support this weekend. Nothing unexpected, but it made my late night availability spotty.

The Apprentice Progress: 41,983