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I did a public talk last night at Ottawa Studio Works ( And after talking about my own creative unfolding I chatted with a number of people who are powerfully drawn to living a creative life. They are overflowing with ideas, they own supplies, they yearn passionately to bring them to fruition. Brimming with emotion and frustrated with themselves, it is as if the hub of their wheel has gone missing. They are operating okay, but they have a sneaking suspicion that creativity is what they need to ground themselves. Action sadly eludes them.

I wonder if I have anything useful to say, and think about ways in which I feel stumped. Painting isn’t one of them, and heading into the studio is a reflexive habit. On the other hand, it is absolutely incomprehensible to me how people (with lives and children and jobs) have clean homes.

I believe we can change; I came from a family that disdained exercise, I don’t particularly love it myself. But for a decade now I exercise three times a week. I still don’t love it, but the alternatives feel a good deal worse.

One audience member lamented that her self-portrait at the end of a course was worse than the one she had done at the beginning. I didn’t blink. Of course that happens. But for this woman, this was an appalling state of affairs, as if admitting that she had done something very embarrassing.

This morning I was having breakfast with Patrick Arbour, lamenting that really I can’t even properly do a detox...and he said with great warmth, “Well you just aim for generally better. 2% is better. That is how you get somewhere.”.

I think the warmth is the key.

Disclaimer: I don’t wish to promote self-improvement. However objectives like 2% seem restful and sane to me. And that seems much kinder to my spirit than paralysis.

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