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An announcement of sorts

I had a dream last night that I was trying to get into a PhD Arts program, and I'd taken my test and made my random object (ah, dreams), and was waiting in my office to get the packet saying whether I had made it, had failed, or needed to do basically an additional test to get in.

(Um, Yeah.  My brain.  I'm getting somewhere with this.)

A big mucking envelope arrived, and my boss (!) opened it, and it had Procion dye, patterns, and a note that said my object had failed, and if I didn't get a minimum 335 on the written test, I would have to knit something and dye it, and make a coat with pleather pockets to pass.  Of course, I got a 225 on the test, and now I had to make the choice about whether to make the stuff, or give up on the PhD.

What did I do (keeping in mind, that in real life, neither of those projects would offer any obstacles)?  I threw a temper tantrum, because I didn't want to make the stupid stuff (though now I'm thinking about it, stripey knitted mittens with big huge cuffs would actually be rather cool).  The machinations of my fevered dream states aside (I have always had very vivid dreams), I know why the outcome of that dream pissed me off so much - I resist being told what to do when it comes to my creativity.

The word "maverick" has been somewhat overused in conversation recently, so let's stick with "non-conformist", or maybe "stubborn little girl".  The one absolute way to put me off something is to tell me I should do it.  This might stem from the other side of this phenomenon that I experienced as a kid - if someone said I wasn't able to do something, I had a tendency to dig my heels in and not only show them that I could, but that I could do it better than them.  But the reverse happens as soon as someone tries to push my creativity in the direction that they think it should be going, and I suddenly want to flee from outside expectations.

(I also know that no-one does this to me on purpose, so no apologizing for something that is my fault, guys!  I'm the neurotic here, and don't you forget it.)

This is not always an asset - in fact, it rarely is - though I have managed to channel it in fairly positive ways, looking at things people haven't done before and working out how to make them reality, or just allowing my brain to run free over possibilities without any restrictions (believe me, even as I'm writing this, my brain is planning an absolutely useless pair of mittens with awesomely huge cuffs).  If I never say "I can't do that", then I'm never going to block myself from trying something new. However, I have to consciously hold back the desire to run in the opposite direction as soon as someone tells me "you should do ____!"  It's weird, but it's a deeply ingrained response, probably related to my issues with control and powerlessness.

But, I have also learned to trust my instincts when it comes to my creativity - sometimes, a thing works best in the moment, or in a specific format, and the life in it dies when it's moved to a more formalized place.  This, I am afraid, is all working towards telling you guys that there will be no offical Attack Laurel party at Pennsic this year.  I'll happily come to your parties (assuming you want to invite me after reading this), but the AL party captured something so energetic and perfect, that I really don't want to kill the memory of it by making that party just another annual party at Pennsic. 

The reason I'm telling you guys this now is that I'm starting to see people mention the party for next Pennsic, and I just wanted to let you know that I'm taking a pass this year.

Plus, I really don't think the glowstick thing would work again; it was so organic, so perfect.  Trying to re-create something like that is actually terribly difficult, like trying to create a gecko from assorted dead lizard parts - you can sew something together that looks like a gecko, but it won't catch flies for you (or sell insurance).

(Attack of the zombie insurance selling geckos!  "Raaaaaaaaatessss... raaaaaaaaatesssss...")

(Anyway.  Stupid joke.  Never mind.)

I know a lot (okay, some) (all right, maybe a few?) of you will be disappointed, but I'm not saying I'm never going to have another Attack Laurel party; I'm just saying it's not going to be a regular thing, because that will kill it.  I want it to stay special for everyone.

One of the things I've realized over the years about creativity is that you can't force it - one year, you hand everyone a glowstick, and suddenly everything gels, and you have an awesome party and a bunch of people all over Pennsic going "what's with the glowsticks?! and you will know, and be smug that you were there.  The next year, if you do the same thing, it won't work - people will try, but it just won't have the same kind of fun.  By the third year, it's just another party on the list of parties you have to put in an appearance at that night, if only to pick up your free glowstick.  By the fifth year, it's boring, and most people won't even bother to go (and everyone at Pennsic will be so over the damn glowsticks).  Understandably, I'd prefer to avoid this.

Trouble is, you can't re-create a moment like Glowstickgate - it was the combination of newness, excitement, and humour that created something completely spontaneous, and it was that spontaneity that made people enjoy it.  Spontaneity cannot be scheduled, not even if you hand everyone shots of tequila.

(Spontaneous vomiting does not count, though you get points for growling in the grass in an especially amusing manner.)

I loved the party, and I enjoy thinking up new things for the Academy, but I want to keep it funny and fresh (it's one of the reasons I try to control Attack Laurel doings).  For this reason, I want to keep the party as a special occasional thing.  I hope you guys understand - and also understand, I'm not averse to a meet and greet, I just don't want to do a whole performance thing, and I don't want to put the Attack Laurel name on it.  Anyway, the Attack Laurel Dean is a shifty creature who spends a large amount of time in an undisclosed location, so you never know when she's going to turn up (usually about the time I think up something really new and interesting to do).

If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that humour and creativity can't be forced.  (Besides, I need more time to think up something really awesomely funny and cool to make the party totally memorable.  That stuff is hard.)


 

Comments

( 42 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
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kass_rants
Jan. 29th, 2009 12:39 pm (UTC)
But but but but... You said I could be Visiting Faculty! You PROMISED!!!

Just kidding. Really. I'm bummed that Bob got to go to The Party of the Year[tm] and I only got to watch it on YouTube, but I know it could never be as awesome as it was last year. And I totally get where you're coming from. Many times I have backed away from a project because I knew I couldn't "beat my own score" with it and would rather not have it just be "eh".

(Not that your parties could ever be "eh"...)

attack_laurel
Jan. 29th, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)
You can still be visiting faculty - I have an idea for something else that I'll tell you about later. *evil grin*

I'd like to strive for party of the year status every time it happens, but that means it actually can't happen every year. I want to keep it special and anticipated for people. :)

(no subject) - kass_rants - Jan. 29th, 2009 01:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alphafemale1 - Jan. 29th, 2009 02:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kass_rants - Jan. 29th, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - maricelt - Jan. 29th, 2009 03:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Jan. 29th, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kass_rants - Jan. 29th, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sewloud - Jan. 29th, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kass_rants - Jan. 29th, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - pinkleader - Jan. 29th, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - kass_rants - Jan. 29th, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
spanish_peacock
Jan. 29th, 2009 12:48 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure if you ever had another it could rival the first. Like everything about the Attack Laurel Acad.......the stories of the party seem to have taken on a life of their own. It's funny the number of things I've heard about, second and third hand that "happened" at the party......heck, some of them I was supposedly involved with.......darned if I can remember any of it.....and I was stone cold sober
maricelt
Jan. 29th, 2009 01:13 pm (UTC)
Damn, DAMN Gopher HOLE!
I missed the Party of the YEAR, BECAUSE of A DAMN GOPHER HOLE.

(Yes, I am pitching a wobbly. Grump.)

BUT, I fully understand that it just ain't going to be the same thing if it happens every year. Keeping it special will help make them all the more memorable. *sigh, I'll just have to wait for the next one.

Damn, Gopher Hole.
femkederoas
Jan. 29th, 2009 01:28 pm (UTC)
The one absolute way to put me off something is to tell me I should do it. This might stem from the other side of this phenomenon that I experienced as a kid - if someone said I wasn't able to do something, I had a tendency to dig my heels in and not only show them that I could, but that I could do it better than them.

And this is how I ended up in Vet School. Though I hear the term "loose cannon." *g*

I'm extra whine-y that I missed last year's party. But in a childish way, I can at least be glad that I won't miss this year's, since there won't be one.
stringmonkey
Jan. 29th, 2009 01:46 pm (UTC)
There's a reason I don't wear my hurricane suit more often.
attack_laurel
Jan. 29th, 2009 02:47 pm (UTC)
Keep the awesome! :)
hugh_mannity
Jan. 29th, 2009 02:05 pm (UTC)
*iz sad to have missed The Attack Laurel party*

*Feels better about missing Pennsic this year if there is no party*

attack_laurel
Jan. 29th, 2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
*pets* No worries - the party will happen again, just not this year (I make no promises about next year - it depends on whether I come up with something funny or not).
alphafemale1
Jan. 29th, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC)
I just posted something about stubborness- my absolute first gut instinct is to do the opposite, as soon as I hear "you should..." or "you can't..."

It's actually work to overcome it. I think it also stems from control issues in childhood. And I will cut of my nose to spite my face, so I also have to work to channel it into creative outlets instead. :)
kass_rants
Jan. 29th, 2009 02:42 pm (UTC)
Ah darlin'. Now that's what you get for being Irish, Polish and Italian. =)

In other words, "Ditto."
(no subject) - isabeau_lark - Jan. 31st, 2009 12:02 am (UTC) - Expand
raventhourne
Jan. 29th, 2009 02:20 pm (UTC)
Coolio either way! Party or no party...we are all still amused.

It is hard to top a very cool thing and if we skip a few years and you decide to do it again..all good.

Plus, I won't make pennsic this year unless something crazy happens.
(Deleted comment)
attack_laurel
Jan. 29th, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC)
A lot of groups make the mistake of assuming events just happen, but every really amazing event I've ever been a part of requires a huge amount of work beforehand and on the day to pull it off. Something like that really can't keep happening year after year - it becomes old hat, and people are no longer interested.

The other thing is that you have to keep switching up ideas to keep events fresh, and not every group has the brain trust to make that happen - so you get the same event year after year. If the event has something to drive it, like Crown or Coronation, it works, but if it's an event just because the group has always held that event, it's boring after a while - for the group, and the attendees.

In our Kingdom, we try to mix up the formats of tourneys (when we're allowed to - Crown has certain rules about the tournament format that must be followed) to keep epople fresh, but again, it requires work befrehand to pull it off.

It's really a problem for all groups, especially when a particular number of events per year are required, so a certain amount of leeway can be given to larger groups - how do you make three or four events per year special?
gwacie
Jan. 29th, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC)
Plus if you do the party two years in a row it will be a Time Honored Tradition and folks will say "But we always do it this way!"
attack_laurel
Jan. 29th, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
This is what I'm afraid of. :) I can't be funny like that every year - it's work! I figure if I do it every now and then, it'll be much more fun when it does happen.
Love the ICON! - fitchwitch - Jan. 29th, 2009 03:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Love the ICON! - attack_laurel - Jan. 29th, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Love the ICON! - fitchwitch - Jan. 29th, 2009 03:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
pinkleader
Jan. 29th, 2009 04:23 pm (UTC)
Makes perfect sense to me. It's why we stopped having the scotch tasting parties, too much work, and got too darn big.
theodorad
Jan. 29th, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC)
Ah, you can skip the party, but can you stop me from inflicting creative sno-ball food art on you? Oh, the squishy and toothpicky goodness...

Perhaps I'll resurrect the Scotch party with a creative new menu. Been too damn hot for that party the last few years...

(Anonymous)
Jan. 29th, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC)
OT: comment on rising bar
Just read your article on the "rising" bar for laurels.

Explains it well, however, doesn't address one problem I've seen/heard.

People (with various levels of A&S awards) say they "don't want to spoon-feed" the new people, and are willing to allow the new artisan to learn everything by themselves.

I say "spoon-feed" them all they can handle. It's only fair to give them a step up to the level of knowledge which is now considered average. Even with the knowledge poured into their brains, they still have to develop their workmanship and skills, before they can even dream of "pushing the envelope."

It's very discouraging to new people to be given no aid, or a minimum of guidance, so they make an outfit just like that which we all made, "back in the day", and then they eventually realize that their hard work and best attempts still don't meet the accepted average.
eleanor_deyeson
Jan. 29th, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)
Re: OT: comment on rising bar
Oops, that was me. LJ logged me out for some stupid reason.
Re: OT: comment on rising bar - attack_laurel - Jan. 29th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: OT: comment on rising bar - kass_rants - Jan. 29th, 2009 07:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: OT: comment on rising bar - perilousknits - Jan. 29th, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
helblonde
Jan. 29th, 2009 07:23 pm (UTC)
I totally understand about not wanting to take direction in your creative outlets. I'm that way, too. The last thing I want as a project is something I *have* to do. It's worse if I'm making something for someone with strong opinions about what they want. (Suuuure take all the creativity away for me... that'll be fun.)

This is why I don't make art for money.
perilousknits
Jan. 29th, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
Appreciate my Expertise OR ELSE!
I have had so many negative experiences with "people with strong opinions about what they want" in my professional life (landscaping) that I refuse to hobby-craft for other people who have opinions. If they are well-informed enough about the craft to care about the fine details, then they obviously know how it is done and they can darn well sit there and do it themselves.

However, I have happily spent hours and hours of time making clothes for newbies who said, "I like Blue. And if Blue's no good, I could live with Red. I don't want to be a bother. Can I make you some tea? Would you like a sandwich?"

Edited at 2009-01-29 08:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Appreciate my Expertise OR ELSE! - hlwoods - Mar. 26th, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
nusbacher
Jan. 29th, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
All I've got to say is I'm jealous of stripey mitten dreams. If you're going to have anxiety dreams that's definitely the way to go.
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