Friday, February 14, 2014

Ways for Artists, Writers, and Other Creative Types to Celebrate Valentine's Day

Sure we could make Valentines out of construction paper and lacy doilies.  We could bake cupcakes.  We could write a sonnet. 

But we've been doing those things for years.  Let's think about some different ways to use this holiday for inspiration:

--Make a list of everyone you've ever loved.  Reflect on which of those people would make good characters for a narrative.  What conflicts could they generate?  Write that scene, short story, novel, or script/play.

--Use a traditional Valentine's Day image (the heart, the rose, the box of candy) and make a piece of art that subverts it.

--What would a modern Saint Valentine look like?

--It's becoming clear that we need to ask the question:  do we love our IT devices as much (more?) than we love our families or pets?  What might this love look like in the future?  Are we really helping silicon based forms become the dominant life forms on the planet?  Daniel Dennett thinks so.  Make a piece of art that translates these philosophical questions into art.  Or write a philosophical treatise for the silicon age.

--We're also in the middle of the Holocene Extinction, the 6th great die-off (the 5th one killed the dinosaurs).  Write a love letter to the species you will miss the most.  Create a piece of art to honor it.

--I heard a scientist say that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs; this time, we're the asteroid.  What does it mean to be the asteroid?

--When I was in elementary school, we took shoe boxes and turned them into boxes so we'd have a place to receive Valentines.  I've thought that could be a powerful inspiration.  What Valentines do you want the world to send you?  What kind of recepticle do you need?  Create it now.

--Create a Valentine for yourself.  There are plenty of reasons that you are loved.  Make sure the Valentine mentions them.

--You've got the art forms that you love already.  Today, try a different creative medium, technique, or tool.  If you always quilt in small patterns, make a crazy quilt.  If you write short poems, write a poem that's at least 200 lines.  If you write in one genre, try something else.  If you paint, try sculpting something.  On and on I could go.

--Today is a good day to try a luscious desert.   If you can't have something sumptuous on Valentine's Day, then when can you?  But maybe you've had the kind of week that I've had, a week that's left you limp with weariness.  On my way home last night, I heard this piece on NPR about a simple chocolate mousse recipe.  All you need are eggs, salt, sugar, and chocolate.  I'm willing to bet that chocolate chips whirred in the blender or food processor would work just fine.  And sure the eggs are raw, but my friend with advanced degrees in microbiology says that as long as the shells aren't cracked, there's no risk of salmonella.

--If you don't make something special to eat, do something special for yourself today.  Maybe a nice lotion for your chapped hands--what a winter many of us have been having!  Maybe some flowers when you're at the grocery store.  Buy yourself some music or play something already in your collection that you haven't heard in awhile.  Go to bed early or sleep in.  Congratulate yourself for recent good news, whatever it may be.

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