more food for thought

Friday, August 27, 2010

a few of my current inspirations and imaginations

A page from a very old book called The Sentiment of Flowers and a page of scrap booking paper recently purchased at Michael's are a few of my current inspirations and imaginations. My desk (and office) is a wreck this early morning - that's the thing about working with collage, your work area can very quickly look like a bomb went off (although a very beautiful bomb of colour and pattern, texture and ephemera). So often I have to ask Miss D who's almost always snoozing in her well padded den at my feet Did you see that tiny piece of ocean map that I just cut out ? Sigh.

We drank our coffee in darkness this early morning, tucked in under the covers, a favourite past time. A nearly full moon shining in on us (and Oliver - who have I mentioned lately is the absolute best ! cat ! ever !). We listen to the sounds of crows, seagulls, a loon* far off in the distance, a few boats leaving the harbour beginning their day and that August steady humming chorus of crickets - constant and beautiful, the air wafting in our wide open windows feeling fresh and just a bit cooler this morning. September is indeed on it's way.

Well my comments remain open this morning and thank you all for your opinions, commiserations and thoughts. It's funny I'd never thought of simply deleting a comment that felt not helpful, hurtful or just plain boorish. I can be so black & white about things - comments off or comments on. I am still questioning the idea of comments on this blog. I don't have them on my portfolio blog and as I grow more confident with this medium I wonder if they can do me more harm then good. Yes it's very true, I have built and continue to grow and nurture an amazing community of friends and kindred spirits and I do email back and forth with almost all of those women - some more often than others. I'm not really worried about losing that community.

A reminder to all of us and in all areas of our lives is simply Be nice, or Be quiet. Take a moment before you speak to consider how your words might land and ask are they adding anything?

I received an email yesterday from a fellow creative blogger, her thoughts on the topic

As much as I love comments, they are a double edged sword, I feel hurt if there are none and then sometimes I just don't "get" the comments that are left and then other times I feel bad for not responding to comments, feel like I should. It would sure lighten the load to not have comments to worry about and people would not feel obligated to leave them.

I think that yes, if someone is moved enough, has something to say and wants to contact me they will send an email.

and Kelly Rae Roberts has this to say about closing the comments on her own blog

It’s a personal choice I made when I began to feel like I was writing less and less for my creative + personal expression and more and more for an audience. For me, keeping the comments closed is the only way I know how to keep my writing personal, vulnerable, and purposeful to my creative journey.

I, like many of us who blog, am deeply affected by that darn comment section - by the things said (even more by the things not said), and very often crushed, a little, by the absence of comments. If you've been hanging out here at 29 Black Street awhile you'll know I manage to find plenty to worry about without adding Why are there no comments today ? or I wonder what she meant by that ? to my ever growing pile of frets. By not having comments - all those niggling questions disappear and my blog might grow into something else. Still pondering ... out loud.

* the darn loon called out to me Hey ! watch out all Susan's hopes, dreams and wishes ;-)


  1. Did you see my blog post on August 12th? I put up a recording of the call of the loon, and I talked about what the loon says to me. Kindred spirits!

  2. I did Judy ! aren't animal totems and animal messages the best. I felt this morning as I lie awake in the darkness with my coffee that the loon was speaking directly to me. xo les Gang

  3. Don't turn your comments, off, missis! They lead us on to each other's blogs, often with very pleasing results. Why not put moderating back on instead? Then you can delete the ones that you don't want to publish.

    Anyway, wouldn't you just get all knotted up about not knowing if you get new and delicious readers?

  4. Susan,
    I read your blog every day, the first thing I look at before email, news and work. I have only left a few comments in the past, I will be sure to leave more in the future if you decide to leave them open. I love reading others' comments and do pop over to their blog as well.
    What you write often times strikes a cord or makes me think of something similar. Occassionally I have drafted a comment but thought better of it, as it is your blog, not mine.
    I truly enjoy your blog, it really is my favorite (underline/bold letters). Love the pets, the photos, your deep thoughts, your ability to put it out there, your love story, your self-employment discussion (I too am self-employed or rather call myself a 'consultant') in a non-art field.
    I will continue to visit every day and will leave notes more often.
    All my best and take care,
    Kitty (washington state) (I believe there is another Kitty that has also posted comments).

  5. thank you Kitty ! I'll look forward to future comments - that handsome cowboy is originally from Washington and we do dream and chat about making a big road trip there one day avec les chiens, of course (I see at least 1 more dog in our very near future, a pal or two for Missy D).

    and merci also sweet Amy !!

  6. So glad the comments are still open! Hope you have a wonderful weekend.:)

  7. Susan

    I am so glad you decided to keep your comments open! I always get great enjoyment reading your blog!

  8. Hi Susan,
    I think I have only commented once here ever, but I am an avid reader and like Kitty (anonymous) from Washington, I, too, read every morning before I start my daily work. What impels me to comment today, is your struggle with 'comments.' I don't often read the comments but after yesterday's blog, I went back to see what it was that had been hurtful to you. I think I found it. And it's the kind of comment that hurts the most when you are putting yourself out there and attempting to produce every day. It's basically saying, lots of people are doing what you do, so why bother? It's almost an inner voice that questions, and in my case, often paralyzes from being able to produce at all. I just want you to know that I, and apparently 99% of all of your followers, applaud you for overcoming these sorts of comments or inner thoughts! You are fabulous, and it truly doesn't matter if others do what you do, because you do it much better than most, just remember that! And that is what really counts!
    Tess, A Designer on the Westcoast who doesn't really do much creative at all except meet her clients needs, because I am paralyzed by the fear that my creative is not all that special! but someday I will overcome that fear as you have done...

  9. Yeah, finally we're getting the lurkers....come play with us. We don't bite....too hard.


  10. Hi Susan, jwtlyk i am still around, reading your blog first every day.
    I love your flower pics and your pets and have commented on them on occasion, but not alot, as it seems i am late in the day reading (4pm already on the west coast)and by then somebody else has already said exactly what i would have.

    I have a beginners Photoshop art blog and i post a new art piece every day; 115 pics as of today and i think i've had just 1 or 2 comments in all this time total!

    I know not everyone's into my style of art; even my hubby dosn't like it - he says it's all the same which i don't understand so i try hard to make each piece different. I don't promote it as i don't know how and anyway i'm not selling it. I don't even hope for comments anymore but oh mygosh it must be nice to get the support that you do even if it means getting boo'ed a little.

    Even comments that seem to be about something entirely different would be better than nothing at all(i get a little of that on my other blog)

    But i wonder if my art is so bad people would rather be silent than to say so? It is worrisome and a daily blow to the soul to not know, but i'll keep practicing and uploading my art, never knowing if i've connected with someone in some way. Even my occasional call out for help with a PhotoShop question or a blogger problem never gets answered.
    I too am open to constructive criticism and in fact would love some!

    As artists we recognise that everyones different and i'd never criticize that which i know not of. I just like to read of your life and thoughts as you are an animal lover, a darn good writer, a great photographer and a good person.
    Your art is you and i wish you all the best in the future. Keep up the blogging and yes, i vote for you to keep your comments open. You've attracted a lovely bunch of commenters and i enjoy reading their words too.
    I'll retreat back into lurkdom now.

  11. Hi Susan~

    Like many others have said already, I too love your blog and read it every single day. I love your stories of struggle - they inspire me greatly to keep going in my own. And I love your stories about your darling cowboy and (maybe esprecially) your sweet animals. I don't often feel I have anything to say that would amount to much so I keep quiet but just read happily and gaze and muse at your stunning photos.
    So even if I am not saying anything, please know that I am SO enjoying your blog and pondering on it all day long.
    Annette (also from Washington state)

  12. "We listen to the sounds of crows, seagulls, a loon* far off in the distance, a few boats leaving the harbour beginning their day and that August steady humming chorus of crickets "
    --Oh that sounds so nonintoxicating delightful and cozy. I am happy for you both.

    Mmm, good pondering on comments vs. none. I have to say I love love comments, even if few. It helps me feel I am not writing out to a void. I want that interaction. IF others commentand then respond to comments too that make it even more a public convo--love that. But, up to you, I will follow either way.

  13. Ha. I jsut read all the comments above mine adn msut say, I am very much like your other readers--althogut I don;t read every day. But as you know, dear Susan, i go in fits and spells but always try to go back through everything back to where I last read so I don;t miss anything. Just works better for me buy I do so love your early mornings, not being a morn person myself, your angst creativity, your music choices, your little mini celebrations, and all those description of time outdoors or snug indoors with all the animals. LOve, love, love it.

  14. Thank you, all of you and Tess as some one who struggles as well with your creativity I sense you understand exactly that I'm trying so hard to focus on the process, trying new things, new techniques, mediums that are still quite foreign to me and for once in my life have it not be all about the end product. For it to be my evolution.

    I've taken the time to go back and look at the beginning posts of all my creative mentors (Kelly Rae, Gennine, The Black Apple for examples) and the difference between their early (learning, struggling, just puttin' it out there) work and the work that they do today is quite remarkable. They have all grown in leaps and bounds and along the way they posted it all. I say to my best friend (and designer gal) MLou all the time I'm just gonna keep posting stuff ... all imperfect stuff, 'cause really perfect what is perfect anyway ? I'm going to keep trying as hard as I can to not judge the work, to consider it process and ya know it feels really good and I can feel myself becoming better and much more confident at what I do because of it.

    Honestly this last week I have to pull myself away from the beloved TTD - which is absolutely the best feeling.

    I've been a designer for over 20 years and believe me my skin is thick and tough when it comes to critiques of my ideas and my work. You hit the nail on the head Tess I am wanting to be creatively brave and when I post a new piece constructive criticism is always very welcome. Negative nattering however, I will delete - promise.

    I'm so happy that some of you lurkers have come out - it must have been that line this morning about me being a little crushed when there are no comments. I must whine more often ;-)

    Thanks again !! xo S & les Gang


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