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    The Artist's Way: Week 1

    Week 1: Heroes of Our Past

    Good, Malukah. I successfully completed the first week of The Artist’s Way and can confirm, it’s awesome so far.

    The amount of thoughts I have in my head in the morning is unbelievable. It’s no wonder I struggle to focus during the day.

    Wonderlukah Morning Pages

    Between things I have to do for the house, life, work, projects, worries, family, friends, insecurities… My mind scrambles like a busy hostess making sure all her party guests are entertained.

    Taking a moment to acknowledge these thoughts and write them down instructs them to calm down and wait to be addressed. It’s like hitting the snooze button on a hundred little alerts swirling in the back of my mind.

    I might be starting to feel a difference. Will continuing this exercise help me improve my focus longterm?

    I hope so!

    Morning Pages with Thor

    Thor still doesn’t get morning pages. He’s like, “Whatcha doin?”

    I loved one of the assignments this week which involved breaking down your life in 5-year blocks and listing your biggest heroes or influences for each.

    I thought it’d be quick and easy… I actually kept going back day after day adding more people that I suddenly remembered.

    It’s been awesome to think back and see how this list on paper maps the path my life has taken. These people helped shape me. And there are more. I’ll keep adding.

    Please, please, if you have a moment, do this exercise. It’s a mental workout! And if you do, let me know how it went.

    Did you struggle to remember? Was it easy? How long did it take you?

    Here’s my list so far.

    Wonderlukah's Heroes

    Thanks for reading!
    Malu

    PS: Next week, I plan to repeat this exercise, but listing musicians that influenced me.

    The Artist's Way

    The Artist’s Way

    I first heard of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron somewhere around 2007. Several musician friends said this book was a profound, life-changing experience.

    They weren’t kidding. My life profoundly changed… for about two and a half chapters, and then I got distracted.

    I’ve tried reading it many times since then. Same thing happens. It’s not the book, it’s me. I can tell the book has many great lessons, so why can’t I get through it?

    “Just remember, in choosing, that we often resist what we most need.”

    Ok, Julia. I get it.

    Julia makes you sign a contract. I avoided that at first, but eventually gave in and signed it to see if it would work…

    ArtistsWay_signed

    Nope. Then I thought… “Maybe if I add cupcake sticky flags to each chapter, I will be motivated to read on!”

    ArtistsWay_cupcake

    Nope. hehe! This week I decided to try one last time. From the beginning. I opened the book and was greeted by an old casualty…

    ArtistsWay_casualty

    I started reading words that by now feel familiar, and I remembered just how much this book (at times a bit new agey) has to teach.

    One of my favorite quotes–that I’ve outlined 4 times during separate readthroughs– is the following:

    ArtistsWay_audacity

    “Very often audacity, not talent, makes one person an artist and another a shadow artist–hiding in the shadows, afraid to step out and expose the dream to the light…”

    I relate to this completely. I see songwriters around me write, write, and write album, after album, after album… Because they are not afraid. They have the courage to continuously create while some of us sit and think about creating.

    Julia’s first step to “recovery” is to write Morning Pages every day immediately after you wake up. Before checking the news or phone, write three pages of longhand. A stream of consciousness.

    I don’t know what it is this time around, but the amount of things that have surfaced in these morning pages over the last 3 days have been eye-opening. The process feels like letting your brain take a soothing shower. It scrubs away all the muck and gives you a fresh start for the day.

    “Morning Pages map our own interior. […] It is very difficult to complain about a situation morning after morning, without being moved to constructive action. The pages lead us out of despair and into undreamed of solutions.”

    I’m hoping that by posting about the book on the blog, I will remain committed to finishing it once and for all.

    If not for me, for the tiny fly that gave it’s life!

    Haha!
    Thanks for reading,
    Malu

    Germany Trip

    Germany: Revelation #1

    We got home from a trip to Germany on Thursday. My mind is a whirlwind because there’s so much I’d love to share, but don’t know where to start.

    I learned a lot on this trip, both personally and professionally. I want to go through these things one by one, to make sure that I’ll remember them and actually grow from them.

    Malukah Germany Duck

    I met a duck. Or possibly goose?

    Revelation #1 from this trip had to do with a meet-up.

    I’ve worked online for the last 7 years. I sit in front of a screen every day, talking to people on social media that I’ve never met in person.

    For all I know, they could be bots. Or maybe my mom made multiple accounts to boost my morale?

    When I joined Twitch, I noticed how much more personal the live chat felt in comparison to static comments. You can respond and ask questions right back. It’s a conversation.

    Names become familiar when you see them week after week, and soon, it feels like you know each other.

    But, the reality still was… all I knew were names.

    On this trip, I got to meet so many of the “names” I’ve seen online over the last few years.

    It was pure, whole-hearted happiness. To see you as people. Real people. Huggable people. To be able to talk, laugh, and sing together. We made time for each other. Traveled to be there for each other.

    It made me realize I’m not as alone as I sometimes feel sitting in front of a screen. Those names, even those who weren’t able to be there, are people. Beautiful people.

    You are there. You exist. I confirmed it. Look.

    Reverb Empire Boat Trip

    Thank you for being such a highlight of 2018.

    Love,
    Malu

    PS: More pics soon!

    P: Thanks, Tommy, for all the mistakes you spotted. hehe! Oops. I can has write.

    Malukah Learns to Draw

    Finally

    I finally used my drawing pencils. It’s a great feeling!

    I need to buy a sharpener.

    After watching a tutorial, I sketched my Saja eraser.

    Malukah Draws

    And then I sketched Omi while looking at a photograph for reference. hehe.

    I don’t think Omi was very impressed. hahahaha!

    Yay! I’m excited about this new hobby.

    Thanks for reading,
    Malu

    Creating a Font

    Create Your Own Font… or Secret Code

    There’s an app called iFont Maker for iOS. I bought it years ago and played around with it, never quite knowing what to use it for.

    Until now.

    The app interface is simple with letter guides that you can write over to create your own unique font. On my first attempt, I created a font with my normal handwriting. It actually turned out alright!

     

    After getting the idea to write about my 5th grade secret code, I realized that I could use the app to create a font for it

     

    It worked! I can type a message normally, then switch the font and voilá. I have to send screencaps to people, of course, since this is not a universal font… Unless I share it…? hahaha! Download the Wonderlukah Secret Code Font.

    WonderlukitahFor a moment, I thought… it’s a shame I didn’t have this technology when I was a kid. I would have gone crazy…

    And then I realized, the great thing about NOT having the tech then, is I was forced to think of other solutions. Like, creating portable, durable laminated code cards.

    The benefit of having the tech NOW, is that I got to revisit this memory and “update” it. Finding a way to bring it into the future made me feel like a kid again.

    I love it.

    Thanks for reading, and thanks for the responses in the previous post.

    Special thanks to Sardai, who created an online converter of this code with symbols that most of us have on our computers.
    Check it out here: https://sardai.com/malucode

    I’ll have more info about the encrypted giveaway in the next few days!

    Hugs,
    Malu

    Planner Fail

    Tracking My Days

    For years, I’ve searched for a way to track how I spend my time. I have a wandering mind and as an independent, freelance musician that works from home, days can disappear if I’m not careful.

    Maloofus Planners

    I tried using a hourly planner, coloring blocks of time per activity. Promptly forgotten. I tried using an invoicing app, and while the project timer was handy, it still didn’t display the tracked info in a useful way.

    Early in the week, I stumbled upon a time tracking app for Mac/iOS called Timelime.

    Timelime

    You can add tasks, each with it’s own timer. You control the timers via a quick access menu on the top bar. The tracked info can be displayed as a list, calendar, pie chart, and more.

    What I love about the calendar display is that you can see color coded dots that show you what you worked on, and on what days.

    This is a great way to honestly gage how much time and energy I actually devote to an activity. I suspect I spend more time thinking about doing things, than it actually takes me to get them done.

    I’m super excited about this. I’ll check back with you in a month or two to let you know how it goes!

    Do you have a favorite productivity tool? Let me know!

    Thanks for reading,
    Malu

    Still Life Louise Penny

    Book Review: Still Life

    Still Life - Louise Penny

    Still Life – Louise Penny

    My sister recommended I read this book. I loved it! It was wonderful to discover this new genre of “Cozy Mysteries.”

    And what is a cozy mystery, you ask?

    Well… Wikikpedia defines it as books where “the crimes and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.” Also violence and sexy times are downplayed. (Remember Murder, She Wrote?)

    The story takes place in a rural village south of Montreal called Three Pines. I want to go there. It sadly doesn’t exist. I checked.

    Heart = broken.

    I’m not sure how to write a useful book review, so I will just tell you that reading this book made me feel happy, intrigued but not too nervous or unsettled. A very pleasant read. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series!

    Some of the character names are in French. After finishing the book, I watched the made-for-tv movie on Amazon. I realized I was so wrong. hahaha! Beauvoir is not pronounced Beu-boar. It’s Boo-Bwah. Jean Guy is not literally Jean Guy, it’s Shogh-Gee.

    Ay, French. Why u so tricky?

    While reading, I highlight sentences I like. Cool similes and metaphors, or observations that make me reflect. Here are some of my highlights for Louise Penny’s Still Life:

    “Rummaging through the cupboard like a wartime surgeon frantically searching for the right bandage […]”

    “This village was old and you don’t get to be old without knowing grief. And loss.”

    “I have no talent for choosing my battles. Life seems, strangely, like a battle to me. The whole thing.”

    “‘What was his name?’ She consulted the yellowing Rolodex in her head.”

    “He spoke calmly, but firmly. Without hostility but with an expectation.”

    “Gamache knew that while fear came in many forms, so did courage.”

    Reading these again makes me want to start the next book naaaaooooo.

    Thanks for reading this book review attempt.
    Malu

    PS: Go for the book first, not the movie. <- My recommendation. 🙂