create

The will and skill to create

The will and skill to create

October 24, 2020
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The bottom line:
How will and skill combine to emergent creation, and how my awareness of this makes me embody the experience.

”Because the tools of production have entirely democratized, the population of producers is expanding exponentially, and now there’s little stopping those with the will and skill to create from doing just that.”

This is a quote from The Long Tail by Chris Anderson, and as I was writing the accompanying book reflection, I started to dive into the concept of the will and skill to create, as I find it an interesting concept.

Perhaps because this year has been such an opportunity for me to dive deep into the concept of creation, first as a participant in the premiere cohort of the AKIMBO-workshop The Creative’s Workshop, and second because I and many from that cohort have continued to create, and relate, staying in touch both in the forum available for all participants of AKIMBO-workshops, and in a separate forum created as a spin-off from TCW, but also subscribing to each other’s blogs and newsletters, setting up regular or one-off Zoom-calls, and many other ways.

The will and skill to create.
I have it. Have had it for many years.
Most prominently with my writings, I’d say, but there are so many other things I create as well, precisely because I possess the combination of will and skill. Last night I finished an intervention on a knitted sweater I bought in a flee-market years ago, a garment I like, but only wore a few times as the arms are simply off. Way too long, making it all-but-impossible to actually wear. I unraveled the sleeves, picked up the stitches where it was suitably long, and knitted a new cuff. Rinse and repeat, I now have a garment that’s useable again. Will. Skill. Creation. Given the long time it’s been tucked in the projects-basket, will have been a long time coming, even though I’ve been inhabiting the skill to be able to do this, for decades. But all of a sudden, will stepped in, and shit gets done.

That process, where shit actually gets done, is an interesting one. For me.
So when D started to talk about embodiment, something clicked. So I told him, about this intervention of sleeves and he nodded, acknowledging me in my understanding of this as an embodied process or practice.

Being a w a r e of what I was doing, a witness to the process, to the sudden consummation of the possible marriage between will and skill, resulting in creativity. Embodying it all, the will, the skill, the awareness. All levels of human beingness playing, together.

The very physical aspect of it, fingers dexterous enough to unravel the machine-knitted sleeves, picking up stitches onto the knitting needle. Binding off and sewing the cuff on the inside, doubling it, to mimic the look of the other cuffs.

The mental and logical aspect of it, my brain working out, as I went along, where to put scissors to sleeve, how to get the arm just right lengthwise, what to knit to bring the girth of the sleeve in by half or so, to ensure the new cuff would actually work as a cuff.

The visual aspect to it, my eyes carefully examining the other edges of the garment, wanting to make it look similar, because I didn’t want the new cuff to stick out, but rather blend in.

The emotional aspect of it, the pleased sensations coursing through me, not just at the finish line when I was done, but throughout the journey. The trepidation at actually cutting into the first sleeve (Will I totally destroy it? Will I succeed in making the necessary changes to it, or will it be ruined forever?), the happiness at being able to catch all the stitches without too much trouble, the sense of exploration and curiosity as I pulled it on now and again, to make sure that I didn’t unravel the sleeve too far, that the newly made cuff was not too long nor too short, but just right.

The meta-aspect of it all, me observing me, putting hand to scissor, scissor to sleeve, knitting needles to yarn, present to my mental calculations and gambles that paid off as I now have a garment that I can use. Want to use.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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The Long Tail (book 10 of 12)

October 23, 2020
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in Tip
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I picked up The Long Tail by Chris Anderson from a please-take-a-book-for-free-shelf somewhere or other. Might even have been at Malmö city library at the end of TEDxSlottsparken, come to think about it.

”We have been trained […] to see the world through a hit-colored lens.”

It’s one of those books where the concept has been well-known to be, the term long tail one I’ve likely used many times, never actually having read the book, a bit like Simon Sinek’s Start with why.

”One person’s noise is another’s signal. If a producer intends something to be absolutely right for one audience, it will, by definition, be wrong for another.”

Written in 2006, me reading it in 2020, it’s a bit of a funny throwback to the time when life was just starting to get so digital that it is today. There are references to MySpace but not Facebook, to Netflix and BlockBuster, but these were the days when Netflix was more or less solely a DVD-rental-by-snail mail-company. Twitter, iPhone, Instagram… nonexistent. That in and of itself is both a bit fun, and all the same, makes the book a bit dated, very clearly written when it was written.

”Niche products are, by definition, not for everyone.”

The concept itself though, the long tail, is still highly relevant, even though I would venture a guess to say that many probably still don’t really think about it actively, but rather unconsciously.

”Because the tools of production have entirely democratized, the population of producers is expanding exponentially, and now there’s little stopping those with the will and skill to create from doing just that.”

This is not a book where I’ve made many a marginalia-entries, quite the opposite. A dozen, perhaps. One dog-ear, but one which didn’t even make it into this post. It’s not a book you should spend time reading, honestly. I probably shouldn’t either, but… alas, I have, I did, and here I am.

I do find the will and skill to create interesting though. But I will save that for another piece.

”Fundamentally, a society that asks questions and has the power to answer them is a healthier society than one that simply accepts what it’s told from a narrow range of experts and institutions. If professional affiliation is no longer a proxy for authority, we need to develop our own gauges of quality. This encourages us to think for ourselves. Wikipedia is a starting point for exploring a topic, not the last word.”

The long tail does enable us –you, me, everyone– to find the little niche markets suited specifically for our personal needs, wants and wishes. And yes, that’s a place where I can be encouraged to think for myself, it makes it easier for me to find more perspectives than I could before. Perhaps.

However, it also makes it harder. Look at the bubbles of confirmation bias that we all live in nowadays, or at least I do, bubbles where ”someone else has thought for me”, making it very easy to stay within the boundaries of said bubble. That is not helpful, and not, I think, a sign of a healthy society. Wanting that, a healthy society that is, is something that requires more from me. It means I have to be very active and deliberate in what questions I seek to answer, and whose answers I choose to listen to. That’s necessary discernment for me while developing my own gauge of quality, and it’s an ongoing, evergreen process. It requires continuous work, never finished. Because those gauges need to be calibrated and re-calibrated over and over again as the world (and I) shift around me. Around us.

And that’s an insight I am happy to have gotten, an insight which makes it worth my time to have read The Long Tail. So. Perhaps. You should read it too, because you just might be answering a different question than the one I’ve just answered, or you’ll provide another answer to the same question, once you’ve finished reading it. Only way to know is to find out, by doing it. By reading it. Or at least reading up on the concept. If you do, please share any question and/or answer that shows up in you.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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Women Who Run With the Wolves (book 5 of 12)

June 13, 2020
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Women Who Run With the Wolves.
By Clarissa Pinkola Estés.

In a sense. That’s enough.
You should simply get a hold of this book and read it. Regardless if you’ve read it before or not. Read it.

”Creativity is a shapechanger.”

550 pages of gold. Pure gold.
I would estimate that less than 20% of those pages have escaped my pen, my marginalia is on most every page. And there’s probably at least 100 dog-ears as well, pointing to the absolute gems of the book. The pieces I simply cannot imagine not being able to easily find again.

”As we create, this wild and mysterious being is creating us in return, filling us with love. We are evoked in the way creatures are evoked by sun and water. we are made so alive that we in turn give life out; we burst, we bloom, we divide and multiply, we impregnate, incubate, impart, give forth.”

The quotes I’ve chosen are from the chapter named Clear Water: Nourishing the Creative Life, and this book will forever be intimately linked within me, with The Creative’s Workshop, which I started about the same time I picked up the book. Even more so the weekly Reading Retreats I’ve shared with a few of my fellow workshoppers, which is where I’ve gotten a lot of hours into this book.

”If you are scared, scared to fail, I say begin already, fail if you must, pick yourself up, start again. If you fail again, you fail. So what? Begin again. It is not the failure that holds us back but the reluctance to begin over again that causes us to stagnate. If you’re scared, so what? If you’re afraid something’s going to leap out and bite you, then for heaven’s sake, get it over with already. Let your fear leap out and bite you so you can get it over with and go on. You will get over it. The fear will pass. In this case, it is better if you meet it head-on, feel it, and get it over with, than to keep using it to avoid cleaning up the river.”

As this is one of the twelve English books I’ve chosen to do book reflections on upon finishing them, the simple fact that I’ve written not just one, but two blog posts referring to Women Who Run With the Wolves before the official blog post on it, says a lot.

The fact that I’ve brought it up in threads in The Creative’s Workshop more than ten times, adds even more weight.

And then there’s the realization that this is The Book I would bring with me to a deserted island if ever asked that somewhat cheesy question What book would you bring with you to a deserted island? I imagine I will be rereading it over and over again. Or simply use this book as my daily companion (replacing The Book of Awakening, perchance?), picking it up, flicking to a random page, and reading a stanza or two.

”A powerful way to renew or strengthen one’s intention or action that has become fatigued is to throw some ideas away, and focus.
Take three hairs out of your endeavor and throw them to the ground. There they become like a wake-up call. Throwing them down makes a psychic noise, a chime, a resonance in the woman’s spirit that causes activity to occur again. The sound of some of one’s many ideas falling away becomes like an announcement of a new era or a new opportunity.”

Now you’ve gotten even more, and yet, only from one chapter. And there’s. So. Much. More.
So. If you weren’t convinced when I wrote this to start with, I write it again:
Get a hold of this book and read it. Regardless if you’ve read it before or not. Read it.


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2020, to read and blog monthly about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, books that I already own.

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I see how others…

March 2, 2020
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I see how others write, and I go Oh, I’d like to be able to write like that.
But then I realize, I write the way I write. And I’ve found a flow in my language that I enjoy and like. So… it’s more a matter of enjoying the writing of others, and possibly be inspired by it.

Doodle from a session on Innovation and ontological design by Karl McFaul and Michael Sillion, at Studio in Malmö, 2018.

I see how others draw, and I go Oh, I’d like to be able to draw like that.
But then I realize, I draw the way I draw. And I’ve found a flow in my doodling (more than anything) that I enjoy and like. So… it’s more a matter of enjoying the drawings of others, and possibly be inspired by it.

I see how others take photographs, and I go Oh, I’d like to be able to take photographs like that.
But then I realize, I take photographs the way I take photographs. And I’ve found a flow in my photography that I enjoy and like. So… it’s more a matter of enjoying the photography of others, and possibly be inspired by it.

I see how others make music, and I go Oh, I’d like to be able to make music like that.
But then I realize, I don’t necessarily make music if by making music I mean to compose. But I make music, in the way that I sing, play the guitar, and dance (isn’t that a way of making music as well?). And I’ve found a flow in how I sing and play and dance that I enjoy and like. So… it’s more a matter of enjoying the music-making of others, and possibly be inspired by it.

I see how others respond to being tagged, or how generously they comment on the posts of others when stumbling upon them, and I go Oh. Why haven’t I thought of that? That’s something I could easily do, myself.
And then I realize, that’s the beauty of a community such as The Creative’s Workshop. I can be inspired by all these wonderful creators, in any way, shape or form that I like, without ever having to belittle myself or beat myself up for not having thought of something first. I can simply bear witness and try things on, see if it’s a fit, see how I can comment more generously, connect more graciously, create more humbly.

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Surround yourself with people who…

June 18, 2019
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My life. And your life. We create them, our lives. We create them all by ourselves. (But not alone!) Make sure you make a life as rich and beautiful as this absolutely adorable summer bouquet my sweetest friend A arranged for me. A bouquet with a variety of flowers, colors, fragrances, shapes – as abundant and beautiful as life can (should!) be.

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Relevance and value?

March 14, 2019
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FB Live #134 🇬🇧🇱🇷 – Courage to dare?

FB Live #134 🇬🇧🇱🇷 – Courage to dare?

Publicerat av Helena Roth Torsdag 14 mars 2019

Filming myself while reflecting, actually transmitting it live as I speak – can that really have any value?
Is it relevant at all, and if so, for whom?

Questions that popped into my question, as I was in the midst of my Live. Perhaps because this was the first live in a long time where I actually just spoke, without really knowing what I would be speaking about. I had written the title of the live Courage to dare? but didn’t have any definitive thoughts on it. Until I pressed Start livevideo. Then I found myself following the energy of the moment. Courage to dare took me for a seven-minute journey, taking twists and turns that I had not envisioned at the get-go. 

Perhaps that in itself shows some courage? Or it might just be plain dumb. 🙂
I can not speak for anyone else, so I do not claim it to be neither relevant nor having value for you. But for me it does. This type of Live is sort of like my favorite type of writing. When I put my hands to the keyboard… and all of a sudden, there are words amassing on the digital page, revealing something to me, which I didn’t know was there. And I love that! So having found yet another medium which can give me the same type of sensation as writing does, has me thinking I’ll be continuing with my Lives.

But they are very me-centered, I admit. Just like my blogging.
I blog. (For me.)
I vlog. (For me.)

Perhaps that’s why I enjoy them so much?
Because these forms of expression are a way for me to create value for myself?

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#blogg100 – On creation and criticism.

May 15, 2017
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“Works of art are of an infinite solitariness, and nothing is less likely to bring us near to them than criticism. Only love can apprehend and hold them, and can be just towards them. Decide each time according to yourself and your feelings in the face of every such declaration, discussion or introduction; if you should still be wrong, the natural growth of your inner life will lead you slowly in the course of time to other perceptions. Let your judgments have their own quiet, undisturbed development, which must, like all progress, come from deep within, and cannot in any way be pressed or hurried. It means everything to carry for the full time and then to bring forth. To allow every impression and every germ of a feeling to grow to completion wholly in yourself, in the darkness, in the unutterable, unconscious, inaccessible to your own understanding, and to await with deep humility and patience the hour of birth of a new clarity: that is alone what living as an artist means: in understanding as in creation.”

gerilla artOh.
How that rings true within me.

…nothing is less likely to bring us near to them than criticism. 

For sure, good can and might come out of criticism, but just imagine the amount of ”works of art” not born to this world, due to the fear of being criticized alone. And not but from others. I believe many have the most strident critic within them; stopping works of art from being born, out of fear of what inner or outer critics might (or might not!) say.

…the natural growth of your inner life will lead you slowly in the course of time to other perceptions.

So please. Create.
Knowing there’s no hurry. No rush.
Let it take its time and be whatever it wants to be.
But do not withhold that within you that which is to be, that which wants to be… perhaps even, that which must be?

It means everything to carry for the full time and then to bring forth.

Once born, it might not be, what you wanted it to. But the next creation, might. Or the one after.
In time, I believe it will. To get there, one has to let go, and let come, that which wants to happen.

#Blogg100 challenge in 2017 – post number 76 of 100.
The book “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke.
English posts here, Swedish at
herothecoach.com.

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My Gerbera!

August 16, 2016
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I’ve had the most wonderful summer project, which had me join a knit-along, the Organic Summer KAL16 organized by Organic Knitters. You can find beautiful photos of the shawl, Gerbera, a pattern created by Linnea Ornstein, under the hashtag #OrganicSummerKAL16, on Instagram.

Gerbera 1
Gerbera 2
Gerbera 3
Gerbera 4

Gerbera done

I bought two skeins each of the yarn Cheeky Merino Joy from Rosy Green Wool, in the colors Wild mallow and Arctic sea (the chosen yarn) and here you can see the progress of this project, as I started, unravelled, started again, got a bit further, unravelled again and so on… until finally I bought some knitting markers, and was able to get my bearings in the pattern, which was more complicated than I’ve ever knitted before. And given that I have hardly knitted at all in two decades or so, I am very proud and happy about the process and end result!

Quite amazing, isn’t it, that a piece of yarn, knitting needles and two hands can create something as beautiful as this?

 

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