Year-Long Creative Projects

A few weeks ago I finished a year long phenology wheel project. I drew a circle and divided it into twelve sections. Then each month I painted them the predominant color of the month. It’s surprising how a color and a word or two can call up the entire season for me! I drew my wheel in my weekly planner. This was the first time that I stayed with a project like this all year long. Even though the paper is quite thin, keeping it in the yearly calendar was key.

The blessing of this simple project is that I didn’t have to spend any of my time deciding what to do. I knew what the assignment was, and every time I picked up my paints, I could start to work.

I happened into a new research project after Terri Windling mentioned Jane Yolen’s book of poems called Sister Fox’s Field Guide to the Writing Life. Well, if that’s not the most evocative title! The book is a little hard to find, but it started me down a path that I am excited to follow. I learned that for the last 20 years, Jane Yolen has written a poem every day. She turns 83 this month! She says if you can walk to the end of the driveway and not find ten story ideas, then you’re not paying attention. She is living the writing life that I want. Here’s all that I have planned to read:

  • Take Joy: A Book for Writers
  • Writing Books for Children
  • Sister Fox’s Field Guide to the Writing Life
  • Kaddish: Before the Holocaust and After
  • Things to Say to a Dead Man: Poems at the End of a Marriage and After
  • Averno by Louise Glück
  • River Inside the River by Gregory Orr
  • Writing Women’s Lives by Carolyn Heilbrun
  • Women’s Ways of Knowing
  • The Heroine with 1,001 Faces by Maria Tatar
  • God in the House: Poets Talk about Faith

I am contemplating making an annotated bibliography–all Homeschool MFA style. My daughter is working on one as a part of her self-directed high school natural building project. For now I have a great big stack of books to dive into!

In other project news, The 100 Day Project begins on February 13th. Do something for 100 days! I love this daily tracker from Creativebug (click Download PDF to grob the tracker). The colors grow in intensity as the project progresses. I am toying with the idea of simple collages a la Katie Licht and maybe working in an altered book. I took Katie’s art journaling class last year and it was so good! I won’t be making something everyday…I tend to batch a week or so at a time. And it will almost certainly take me longer than 100 days to finish because I won’t make it to the desk every day. I love that the timing takes us all the way through Lent and into the 50 Days of Easter.

I would love to know what you are reading or working on!