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Day 284: What to Do When Your “Self-Actualized” Friend Says You Need an “Artistic Outlet”

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Day 284:  What to Do When Your “Self-Actualized” Friend Says You Need an “Artistic Outlet”


# of pages written: 10

# of literary mags submitted to: 1

The other day my friend Melissa told me she was annoyed because a friend of hers, who claims to be enlightened and trying to spread his wisdom, told her she needs an artistic outlet. “Artistic outlet…what is this, a commune?” she asked. She says she doesn’t have time for an artistic outlet.

But I disagree. Melissa is freaking hilarious, and I think she should start a humorous blog. Just yesterday she wrote me the following in an email:

I got my new phone and its nice. Its the iphone 4S. The 4S comes
with Siri, which is like a personal assistant type thing. You hit a
button and ask her what the weather is like in Hong Kong and she tells
you. Stuff like that. Anyway you can make Siri call you whatever you
want. So Siri calls me Douche Bag. It cracks me up. I ask Siri ” What’s
my name?” and she says “You’re asking me, Douche Bag?” Cracks me the
fuck UP.

I understand that Melissa is busy working six 12-hour shifts a week at the hospital as well as planning her wedding and taking care of her two crazy dogs, but still… I agree with her crackpot enlightened friend: creative outlets are important.

So what can you do to bring creativity into your life without sacrificing too much time? Here are a few ideas…

 -Start a Twitter feed. Normally I think Twitter is ridiculous and wouldn’t endorse it, but if you’re short on time, Twitter might be the way to go. You could tweet quick haikus or funny observations. Melissa’s tweet for the day could be “Siri calls me Douche Bag. It cracks me up. I ask Siri ” What’s my name?” and she says “You’re asking me, Douche Bag?””

-Make collage cards for people’s birthdays. Most greeting cards are way lame, but if you make them yourself by cutting and pasting, people will think you really do care about them. Not only is it a way to make art without having to know how to draw, it gives you an excuse to read all those US Weekly magazines you stole from the dentist’s office.

-Cook or bake creatively.  Hey, you have to eat anyway, right? Why not make it your artistic outlet? You can make up your own recipes, or maybe get really fancy while decorating cupcakes for your daughter’s birthday party, like my friend Cari did. (See below.)

Cupcakes made by my artistic friend, Cari.

Cupcakes made by my artistic friend, Cari.

-Get out that old instrument from middle school. You know how you work on the computer all day and your eyes get sort of dry and bloodshot, and then you get home and you don’t want to do anything that involves your eyes? Reading – no. Watching TV – no. Blogging – no. So how’s about playing that old saxophone/guitar/piano/harmonica? Practice songs you used to know and make up new ones. Annoy your husband/housemate/cat. It’ll be great!

-Do calligraphy. Yes, I know this is dorky, but again, it’s a great way to make cards for your loved ones, and all it takes is some paper, some calligraphy pens, and a little patience.

-Take a photo a day.  An artistic photo, ideally. Then you can post it to flickr, Instagram, facebook, whatevs. Or, if artistic photos aren’t up your alley, make photo collages for your wall with pictures of friends and family.

-Redecorate your house.  Apparently they have a thing called wall tattoos now. So why not consider getting a tat for your kitchen? Decorating is definitely an artistic outlet. And you could strengthen your spacial awareness along with your creativity by rearranging your furniture. In my last apartment, I spent a weekend putting up curtains and putting down throw rugs and rearranging the furniture, and when I was done I couldn’t have been prouder than if I had painted the Mona Lisa.

-Find old crap and see if you can make it useful. You need to clean out your basement anyway, right? Get ideas from Pinterest or Etsy, then DIY it up the wazoo.  My friend Angelyn turned some old drawers from the thrift store into planters in her back yard. And I’m definitely going to turn an old coat hanger into a jewelry holder, as seen below. Creativity, huzzah!

pretty nifty, huh?

pretty nifty, huh?

-Go to one of those paint-and-drink places. If you want to try something artistic but don’t want to give up social time, go somewhere like Uncorked Art in DC where you can paint with friends whilst drinking a bottle of wine. Maybe the booze will get the creative juices flowing.

-Watch old Bob Ross episodes. It’s recently come to my attention that the reason why so many people love Bob Ross is because his soothing voice and gentle brush strokes give them brain orgasms — a phenomenon known as ASMR. So watch some Bob Ross on youtube. You’ll either get an awesome tingle in your brain, or you’ll learn how to paint a forest landscape populated with happy little trees.

-Practice a burlesque routine then perform it for your boyfriend/husband. Instead of going to the gym, prance around your house in titty tassels and a thong. You’ll get exercise, and the choreographing/costume planning will be your artistic outlet. The great thing is, you don’t actually have to be a good dancer because all your man will notice is the fact that you’re taking off your clothes.

-Write book reviews, movie reviews, restaurant reviews, video game reviews, etc. Maybe you can even get them published. The Review Review is always looking for people to review literary magazines, and Self will pay $50 a review for books they assign you. Or, you can just post your reviews onto a personal blog. The nice thing about this artistic outlet is it gives you an excuse to go to the movies, eat at restaurants, read trashy books, or play hours of video games.

Of course, there are tons of other creative outlets. Drawing, writing, sculpture, ceramics, sewing, flower arranging, cutting hair, macrame… I could go on and on. I think the most important thing to realize is that even if you don’t think of yourself as a artsy person, you CAN have an artistic outlet. Commit to doing something creative, whether it’s every day or just once a month. Make being artistic a part of your life. I don’t think you’ll regret it….(MELISSA, I’m talking to you!)

P.S.  Don’t you guys think Melissa is funny?  Wouldn’t you like to see her start a blog, or at least a Twitter account?



About evalangston

Eva Langston is a writer, among other things.

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