Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sometimes I write things... in the past.

So this is a trip down memory lane, an "article" (I use that term very loosely here) that I wrote  several years ago in the winter of 2011. A simpler time... or at least definitely a colder time. At the time it was published on a website, but now that website is dead and this article no longer lives anywhere on the internet. It's homeless!! Today my friend at work, commonly called a 'co-worker', Veronica Jones was reminding me of this article.  And with another bout of 'free time' lurking in our future, now seemed like a good time to revisit this nonsense.
Boredom is the Root of all Creativity, ...Or Something Like That.

Normally, I have a job. A real job. Like the kind where you wake up, leave your apartment, take a form of transportation, stop and get a cup of coffee while waiting in line with other gainfully employed people and then waltz in, a bit late but still, to a completely different location that is not your apartment. Once there, you have a desk and a computer and a chair and people, good lord real people, who sit around you at their desks and computers and chairs. And you all work together, you and all these people, on some bigger creative project and you call each other by name and laugh together and some days you want to strangle all of them and can't wait to get out of there,...oh a real job.

Nowadays, I wake up and shuffle over to the couch to see who the guests are this morning on Regis and Kelly. I find myself getting legitimately upset when it's a celebrity I could care less about. My whole day actually ruined! Thanks a lot, forgettable girl from a TV show I have no intention of ever watching. On the flip side, I  get crazy excited and almost spill my coffee on my sweatshirt when I realize it's somebody I could handle listening talk for 7 whole minutes. Oh wow, it's that actor with the beard from a film I have seen before! Today is going to be a great! Sadly, or not so sadly, there are a lot of coffee stains on my poor sweatshirt these days.

I know what you are thinking; all this excitement and it's not even 10 am yet? Welcome to the world of working at home. Or more honestly, the world of unemployment with occasional bouts of freelance work.  I work, normally, as a designer for animated kid's TV shows. It's a great job, I love doing it and feel so lucky to make a living doing something I enjoy, but it's slightly unsteady. Meaning, right now the show I was working on is on hiatus between seasons and I'm at home holding out my hand to the world like poor little orphan Oliver asking for work to tie me over. Please Sir! I need to feed my pet rabbit!  He's quite old you see, has a bit of the arthritis. Just a small project perhaps? Just enough to buy him some hay...  Alright, I'm being slightly melodramatic and before you start getting genuinely concerned for my pet rabbit, I should tell you that we are fine and fed and watered. But perhaps we spend too much time together these days.

I was telling my friend the other day that having this time at home has been a double edged sword. While on one pathetic hand, I have essentially become a shut in who speaks mostly to an elderly rabbit during the day. I have also, on the other less pathetic hand, suddenly become quite productive in the 'personal work' department. Normally, working full time the last thing you want to do is go home and try to be creative. The creativity has already been squeezed from you during the day, and maybe you can poop out a doodle on the random rainy Saturday afternoon, but mostly you want to lay around watching Real Housewives and let your brain be stupid, dull and unoriginal for awhile. Now, while the freelance work I've gotten can maybe keep me busy for a few days a week, I'm left with considerable free time. Okay, technically it's called unemployment, but I prefer free time. And surprisingly, with all this 'free time', I've been hemorrhaging out artwork at an alarming rate. Well at least for a few days, then I have to (Yes, have to) take a brief three day break to dedicate myself to a Pushing Daisies marathon. Really, has anyone else noticed how amazing television is? It really is very good, I've noticed recently.

Anyways, where was I? Oh right, being productive. There is a saying; boredom is the root of all evil. No wait,..that's not it.  Um, boredom is the mother of invention? Okay, I know it's necessity is the mother of invention, but boredom works just as well in this case. Because with the recent thousand snow storms we had in New York, I didn't want to leave the apartment and I didn't have to, so I didn't. With nothing else to do and all episodes of Doctor Who already watched, I started writing, drawing, making and spewing out artwork. The result has been great, I love the work I've made and the direction my personal style has taken. That children's book project I always said I was going to work on, has actually been coming together and it looks better then I imagined it would. It's like something clicked, something I've been waiting for a long time to click, finally clicked and the work just happened effortlessly. And, you know how a lot of people have that great novel that they always say they are going to write, but never do? I actually started to write mine! Well okay, it's a small paragraph I wrote out in a google document and then instantly ignored, but it's there! 

And yes, I did jump out of my chair with excitement when I got an email from my producer saying when the next season of the job was starting up again. And yes, I long for human companionship during the working hours of the day. And also, yes, I have become concerned for my sanity. But, I think there is something to that theory about isolation encouraging creativity. We live in a very big world, with lots of outside stimulates that can be beautiful, fascinating and inspiring. But unfortunately, if we're not careful, they can overwhelm us. It can be so easy to get lost in the world outside of ourselves, that we just lose touch with the deliriously rich world of wonderment right inside our own heads. We're always so desperately running around looking for inspiration, that we can often forget to look in the most obviously location. So, maybe sometimes we need to just shut that door, have a long overdue imaginary conversation with ourselves and start spewing out some artwork. Just remember to call your mom, she's worried about you.

-- Amy Marie Stadelmann,  February 2011