Crisis Mode, Creative Block and Tango

by noelyovovich on April 26, 2016

Last night was one of those nights that surprised me, but shouldn’t have.

The last 4 days I’ve been busting my butt to finish a webinar presentation that needed to be submitted to the producers yesterday, to go live in a week. You might ask why I was playing catch-up ball on this, because I knew about the deadline f22 done frontor a month or more.

Well, I could say I’m a procrastinator, but I’m really not, or that I thrive on last-minute pressure, but I really don’t. But sometimes when something is difficult, I give it as long as possible to work itself out internally before I knuckle down and confront it. This webinar was a challenge because I proposed to do a course on techniques to get past creative block, and my editor said, “Fine, do anything you want, as long as it involves Argentium silver”.

Now, this is not really a natural combination. On the other hand, even way back when I was a graduate student, I put an ad in the local free paper (the Chicago Reader) saying “Freelance Artwork $10 an hour” and whatever people asked me to do, I’d say “Yeah, I can do that”– then figure it out. (Well, except for the guy who wanted me to paint his body. But that’s another story.) And mostly they never knew I was scrambling. So I have a lot of faith in my ability to come up with something. So I said “Yeah, I can do that”.

Also, during the last couple weeks, my house went under contract, a good thing but distracting. Oh, and I’ve been trying, without notable success, to move my divorce process forward, and two days ago I gave up and told my lawyer we have to go to litigation. So, that was grim.

And because the house is on the market, most of my tools, along with most of my everything else, are stored away and inaccessible. So I was, once again, scrambling.

In the end, I did, in fact, come up with something that included the stuff I originally wanted to talk about, and alsRed shoes smo uses the suggestion that exploring a new-to-you technique or material (Argentium silver, for example) is a great way to blast yourself out of the lack-of-inspiration doldrums.

I’m very pleased with the presentation and I’m actually looking forward to sitting alone in a room for an hour, talking non-stop into the ether, trying to imagine a rapt audience that I can’t see, can’t hear, and who may not really even be there (but of COURSE they will!)

Which brings me back to last night.

After I finished the Power Point and submitted it, on deadline no less, I felt great. Really good. But as the day went on, my mood dribbled downward. When you are on deadline, you know exactly what you need to be doing and there are no doubts or uncertainties. I call it “crisis mode” and it is a simpler mindset, a relief, really, in a complicated life.

But after I sent off my presentation, all the complications crowded back in. By 8pm when my boyfriend finished work and called to say he was ready to head over to the Grecian Taverna where we were supposed to meet for their Wednesday night milonga, going out at 9:30 to dance tango seemed an exhausting prospect. Still, I pulled myself together and went, despite my misgivings.

It might have been the most fun I’ve ever had dancing, and I love to dance. And I should have remembered what my friend Shirley says: “When something is bugging you, dance it off!”

I’ve wanted to dance ever since I was a little kid in rural Florida and I saw the older kids dancing the jitterbug. That looked like the best thing in the world to me.

Over the years, I tried to get boyfriends and then my husband to learn to dance with me but none of them would do it. In 40 years of marriage, even though my husband went to a set of dance lessons with me, we never ever once went dancing, or tango creven danced together at a wedding.

So when, after 5 years of separation, I started dating, I told my new boyfriend early on, “If you want to tie me to you, your best bet is to dance with me”. Happily, he took that to heart. After some general lessons, he suggested we take a tango series. I still wanted to jitterbug (I think it is now called swing) but, hey, it was dancing, so I said OK.

I am now deeply in love with tango. After something like a year and a half of somewhat on-and-off lessons, we are good enough to be able to dance in a milonga without embarrassing ourselves. I love the music, the clothes, the shoes—and the beautiful, sensuous, intimate collaboration with your dance partner . I finally get to dance. I have little interest now in the jitterbug. Tango is heaven.

So I should not be surprised at all that my grumpiness and fatigue fell away as soon as I heard the music, put on my shoes, and stepped out on the dance floor with my every-dance partner. So now I’m wondering whether my answer to the question “How do you bust out of creative block?” should have been, “Dance it off!”tango cr 2


POST SCRIPT: It has been a year since my last post. A YEAR!!! Things get bogged down, don’t go as they should or as you thought they would. But I think I’m finally about to be on the move. It is exhilarating and terrifying. But as I like to say, “You can’t get THROUGH it til you get TO it”. More to come…





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The Winged Pig Eats the Elephant

by noelyovovich on May 28, 2015

It’s been a while since I felt I had anything worth writing here, but it seems like time now.rash sm

I’ve taken a decisive step—I have left my job. Yay! And, YIKES. One of the results of my current situation is I have an itchy, red rash that waxes and wanes with my degree of anxiety (and, yes, I’ve seen the doc, and tried the usual approaches. I even tried floating in an isolation tank). But it was clear I was never going to manage to get the house emptied of 30-years-worth of stuff and ready to sell while working. And I wasn’t happy in my job, so no regrets there, except for the obvious—no income.

So emptying the house is “eating the elephant”. It’s a really big elephant and each bite is so small I don’t know how I’m going to manage, but bite by bite, I WILL deal with it, and as fast as I possibly can. Giving away a lot of stuff on Freecycle, offering stuff for sale on Craig’s List, and when the garage is clear enough, I’ll have a garage sale (mIMG_20150528_115018228oney!!) Much of what is here is stuff I value, so it is very hard. But I know it is ultimately liberating. I’ve reached the point of contemplating selling my beautiful one-of-a-kind turn-of-the-last-cantury solid oak German sideboard, which I really love, but it is bulky and unbelievably heavy, not the kind of thing you keep carting from one place to another.

This change of heart also feels like a milestone. Or maybe a millstone. If I can part with that, what can I not?

Well, my tools and materials, of course. All those “I’m going to make something out of this someday” things. After all, I am an artist, so it’s legit… right? Like I’m the only one! All the things I’ve made already (a LOT of pottery)… The impedimenta of 64 years of life, half of it in this house.

I haven’t bought my RV yet (no money, probably until the house is sold. Anybody want to lend me $15000 for 4-6 months?) I would really like to buy one, both so I can outfit it for jewelry-making as well as living, and as a retreat from the house. You see, my soon-to-be-ex is, are you ready? Moving back in. To save money until the house is sold. My lawyer tells me I cannot legally refuse, as he is half-owner and we’re still legally married (cue the rash).

Naturally, I’m fantB&B smasizing about that b&b I entered to win (if you missed that installment, it is here: That would sure make things easier! As expected, the deadline has been extended, so I will keep officially hoping for another couple weeks, unless they extend again. I do realize there’s about a snowball’s chance in hell, so I’m not sitting and waiting.

It has been literally years since I’ve been able to do my own creative work, my jewelry and painting, and I still can’t until all this is done and I’m in my very own mobile tiny house, otherwise known as a motorhome. So you can believe I am antsy. Oh, man, I can taste it! Sit down at my tiny bench in my tiny home whenever—and wherever—I choose!!! I also plan to paint the places I pass through, and those paintings and/or prints of them will be for sale—like, to YOU, gentle reader. You, too, can share in this adventure and help keep me afloat. As soon as time and mental bandwidth permit, I plan to come up with a subscription plan where people who like my painting style and my adventure can buy an option on the weekly paintings I will be offering. Stay tuned!

You can see one of my little tinted sketches (watercolor and ink) two blog popalene pig, smostings back. And I’m going to put one of my full-fledged pastels at the bottom of this post, to whet your appetite. If you fall in love with either of those, prints are available, let me know.

Meanwhile, time to go—Dusk-- Lighthouse Beach smmuch much more elephant to chew.

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