Category Archives: Photography

Get Creative & Take A Seat In The Dirt

The creative mind belongs to you and it is yours to celebrate and share as you wish. In these hunker down, hibernate months, I like to think there is room for creativity to flow if you arm yourself with the best tools and take a seat in the dirt. I listed links the other day on Facebook to some sites that act as fuel for the creative brain and I’m hoping that this post (and repost of links) encourages any of you craving creativity to just go ahead and take a big bite. Adventure is in the eye of the beholder and keeping yours front and center can be doable in the winter when you follow nature’s lead and go – not only into the wild – but perhaps also into the stillness or even into the dirt.

Take a seat in the dirt

I am headed to Yosemite to hopefully take on some snow hiking and/or snowshoeing but what makes my heart skip a beat, is the idea of singular moments of supreme calm waiting to be claimed. Now, I know that Yosemite offers up a multitude of heavenly opportunities for stunning scenery but what I hope to convey today is that beauty is all around and you need not strike out for hours on some arduous hike to find it. A simple walk in your neighborhood could pony up some gorgeousness if you just slow way down, breathe deep, and hit your pause button.

A recent hike into a wintery, dry, dead-looking zone surprised me when I literally plopped down on the dirt trail and just scanned the landscape. At first glance, I saw endless dead sticks and branches, brown dirt, and a bit of dry grass – but upon closer inspection, I realized there was a whole new life-force that was vibrant and tenacious. It was some sort of teeny-tiny yellowish fungi with dots of orange and this fungi had made its home along a great number of the dead branches. As I began photographing the little plant life, I was struck by the fact that it was truly miniature trail art and that I would never have noticed it if I would’ve continued hurriedly on my way.

This experience seemed to slow my frenetic brain to a more measured pace. All of a sudden, I was no longer a nervous wreck about the release of my first collection of essays, I was not going over my finances, thinking about an oil change, what I would do if there was no five dollar camping in Yosemite, how I would react if I bumped into my Hollywood crush (Kevin James, I swear), calculating how much my rent will equal in one year…well, you get the point. The yellow-orange moment pulled me in and focused (stilled) my brain and reminded me that this is a big part of a really good adventure.

When I arrived home, it was supremely difficult to not share the photos immediately but I knew I wanted to pass them along in the spirit of adventure and possibility, but not just my own, I wanted to pass them to anyone out there hunkered down in the winter months, aching for their own slice of creativity and beauty. It’s there, go get it!

I have been so fortunate to connect with other On A Dimers in the past year and learn from their creativity in times of life rearrangement. It is my hope that if you feel a little flicker of creativity burning, that you jump off of your cliff and get busy. Whether you scare yourself (like I did) by releasing your creativity out into the world or you choose to open up and flow for your own benefit or perhaps your family’s, I look forward to hearing that you are fanning your flame and celebrating your life of adventure.

The fantabulous fungi collection was all captured with an I-Phone 5, no filter, no special app., just a simple point and shoot from a misfit sitting in the dirt. The top (featured) image lost some clarity due to formatting and enlarging it for the site but the examples of the fungi below show the beauty of just grabbing simple shots while on the trail.

Check out the following links for inspiration/guidance and grab a free photo-journal gift from Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens through Dec. 23rd.

Rowdy Kittens – Tammy Strobel worked through the grief of losing her beloved stepfather by creating a photo-journal project that ended up evolving into an ongoing passion. She shares with others how to begin a creative endeavor through writing and photography.

Paul Jarvis – Paul offers a free (yes, FREE), step by step email tutorial on how to write and market a book. If you are not looking to market your book, just utilize the writing advice.

Teri Clifton (me!) – If you’d like an example of someone who took the plunge, I’m putting myself on the chopping block. What I am still learning about writing and marketing my book, The Things I Cannot Do could fill a book (cheesy, I know). Here are a few of the things I do know about going public with your writing/art/photography/poetry.  You will be nervous. You will fear typos/grammatical errors and they will not dissapooint you. 😉 You will worry that you might lose readers (and you will). You will alternate between feeling relief that you took the plunge and terror that it was an awful mistake. And finally…hopefully, you will seek out support and seize it so I leave you with LA columnist/writer/teacher Meghan Daum’s quote/advice to her writing students “nobody will love you unless somebody hates you”.

Feel free to like/share to Facebook and/or Tweet/reddit/Google and whatever other crazy social media strikes your fancy. Always grateful.