Monday, April 20, 2015

the 100 day project: like basting a turkey, and other creative thoughts


A few of you might have heard about the 100 day project. For those who haven't, the rules are simple: pick a way to be creative every day for 100 consecutive days, then document it on social media for accountability/community. Remembering how fun and useful and focusing other streaks I've done have been (my blog every day in May streak, and then my #rwrunstreak, documented on Instagram), I knew I wanted to join in. A day or two later I used Instagram to post part of a poem that had become meaningful to me and used a photo I thought had the feel of the poem and that's where I found my 100 day task: caption an original photo (by me) with a poem I choose (not by me).

(Yes, this blog post is in part a plug for my Instagram feed. Follow me! My nieces and nephews keep asking how many likes they get when I post their photos, and they are clearly un-impressed by my following. I promise photos of cute kids, scenic runs and, now, poetry.)

But more than a scheme to get more followers, this project is about fostering creativity. The image of basting just came to mind when I thought of the term "creative juices." I'm not a huge meat eater, so the image isn't the most appealing to me, but it's a true one. This creative streak is about keeping things juicy with the hopes of serving up something good real soon.

It's been two weeks since the 100 day project started. Time to reflect:

  • Choosing a poem a day requires me to read lots of poetry. And poems require slow, sometimes repeated, reading. Some days I'm not so discerning, and may just skim a few before I find one I want to post. Other days, I've sat with a poetry book and read deeply and slowly.
  • Being quick and dirty about creative work is useful. It helps me to let go of perfection, and sometimes even understand a hunch or gut response that led me to match a photo with a poem, or take a photo from a certain angle, etc. (Or sometimes it's the opposite, like, there is nothing of value in that - which is ok!)
  • Choosing two mediums that are not my own craft (not a photographer, not a poet - though I love both images and words) helps me to disconnect myself from the product. Both also refine the way I see, hear and think, which has been fun.
  • I like that I'm promoting the reading of poetry. Posting poetry on Instagram makes me feel slightly subversive because it's all about scrolling, quick looks, a tap for a like. I don't know if everyone who likes the poetry-captioned photos are reading the poems (or just liking the photo itself) but if I can help one person to discover something or slow down while reading a poem they wouldn't have normally read, that's a win.
  • Reading more poetry has helped me get more words in me. I think of it as eating, swallowing. I have more heft as a writer. My mind sings more. I have been thinking in story and image. This is a very good thing for me.
I may have more to say as the project goes on. But for now - see all of my poetry-captioned photos here! And if you have a favorite poem, I'll consider requests.

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