Storytelling Adventures

The last year has been full of new events, odd things and opportunities that would take to much time to explain on today’s blog, but lets start with a story…

Once upon a time this dyslexic creative decided
she needed to get her act together…

I have spent the last 12 plus months paying attention to my goals and using different techniques to keep my personal and family objectives on track. I have been lost in the story of career and daily living in the past and as we all know, time just gets away on you. But over the last year it has been different, I have achieved many goals I set out to do.

1477848587991Original and historical scary stories at a historical village for Halloween

This has been a catalysis in my life which has created many changes.
I have always aspired to write and illustrate my own children’s stories, which with dyslexia, no formal illustration training and a full-time career teaching, I haven’t manged to achieve. In fact in the past I had begun to think it may be an unrealistic goal altogether.

This year I made the choice to re-energise my writing and story skills in other ways,  to pursue my stories in whatever way I could, to not feel defeated by the difficulty to get published.  I decided not to go down the normal path and I changed my inner script from,
I must get published, to I must share my stories.
I went back to basics and fell in-love with traditional oral storytelling.

scots 1 025Storytelling at the Auckland Highland Games.

Wow what a difference it has made for me and my stories. I started telling traditional  and my own original stories to children of varied ages.
At events, libraries, and schools wherever I could, large and small crowds even quiet one on one tellings. They were all uniquely special and I learnt a great deal.
It reminded me what is important in a story and what is not and just how creative children’s and adults imaginations can be.

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I have a passion for historical early settler stories and Celtic heritage stories, my love of Aesop fables creeps in every-time and  I love the amazement on peoples faces when they sit down and I don’t have a book to tell from, then we can flit from story to story as fast as their minds can take them.

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The stories come from my head and heart.
After all isn’t that where all stories start?
In either our head or our hearts
It has been a wonderful telling year and I look forward to telling many many many more…

Storytellers-We-Are-Just-Getting-Started

My Summery
Part of my teaching role is to teach career planning and goal setting.
Over the past year I have reformed some key points.
Points that I would forget (ignore) for myself,
but would encourage my students to always do.
So what is good for the student is good for the teacher.

If you are not achieving what you want on your life journey, PAUSE FOR A MOMENT, don’t just keep trudging on, you can never reverse time, so do not waste it on the wrong path or project. Take time to analyse and adjust on a regular basis.

look at the vehicle you are trying to use?
Is it the right tool for the job?
Could you do it a different way?
Look at your inner script, what are you saying to yourself, about YOURSELF and your SITUATION?
Is it true, or incorrect self-doubt?
If it is true, change it and you can’t change it, how can you approach your challenge to minimise the impact?
If it’s not true or true for you anymore, think outside the normal box?
What could you do to achieve it from a different point of view?
Listen to all the feedback the world offers, find the silver lining it will be there.
What are your goals and dreams, Could you look at them from a different angle?

Find your story  xxx Allie

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Where to from here?

2015-06-15 05.45.59Where have I been and where am I going? Two questions that can consume my thoughts, especially around ‘New Years’ and my ‘Birthday’.
I don’t get sullen and dark about it, I just take stock and check my life is tracking along as I want it. I am sure I am not the only one who does or thinks of doing this, especially around the New Year.
My birthday is mid-way through the year so it is my 6 monthly check up without the thermometer.
In the past I have faltered at the midway check up. I always got caught up in my daily work schedules and winters hurrying here and there and I tended to neglect my own creative career and life plans. Some of the passions that actually make me who I am.
I have a very fulfilling career and enjoy teaching a great deal, however my personal projects and creative goals are often neglected and left unfinished.
So no time like the present!
Yesterday was my birthday and today I have embarked on a creative year-long journey to continually learn and develop my artistic skills and techniques.
To explore more of my creative writing ideas and to complete and exhibit/publish/show … my work.
As a self-taught artist and writer with dyslexia I have a list of insecurities, this is where I am squaring my attention first.
I refuse to let these unproductive and often off-mark emotions hinder my progress. I started this in May with my daily sketches which I posted finished or not ( this was often done with a nervous temperament, but I did it all the same) and I will continue this month with offering my artwork and creative writhing ideas. I will also share in my more commercial projects as I design characters and finish the look and layout for my stories. I have a long list of books to read and experiences to have over the next 12 months. I will also be with working through the book ‘A year of creativity’ I will have monthly tasks to do and I will endevour to share it all.
The Good, The Bad and the (only a mother could love) Ugly moments.
Any tips ideas and constructive criticism is always welcome.
I hope you find some use or ideas for yourself in my journey.
xx Allie

Status

Day 28 Was about reflection.

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I didnt draw today, I spent time writing instead. I normally do morning pages and free writting and due to my before breakfast drawings I haven’t been doing any writting this month. So today I spent some time with my fountain pen and reflected on my work so far. Interesting result which you will see before the end of the month. There have been other mornings when all I wanted to do was write but I pushed on with my drawings… no regrets… funny side effect though, I have found my dyslexia has been more evident in my daily work. Not a scientific study mind you, but I have struggled more than normal and I wonder if the lack of writing has had an impact on my thought and speach patterns? Most of the time you wouldn’t notice my challenge but the last couple of weeks have been more obvious.  Never mind I have never let it get in my way before, and now I have another incentive to do my daily creative pages. I look foward to writing more in June.
I will just have to juggle both art and the pen. Xx Allie

The invasion begins…

Have I planned enough for the invasion?
I am determined to do things differently this year…

It is Sunday night and I sit to write my post.
But all I can think of is how tomorrow my school year begins. I have been at school for weeks getting ready, but tomorrow the students arrive and that makes me nervous.
Not about them, I am excited to meet them.
I’m not nervous about teaching, I love teaching.
What has me nervous and concerned is whether or not I will stick to my new-found time and work management systems.
Sounds boring, but these systems have finally put me in control of my creative time and energy. I now have ways of controlling
the copious amounts of work and projects on my proverbial plate, and that’s amazing.

Or will I just cave and give everything I have to my teaching position and students, leaving my projects neglected, again?

Well of course my goal is not to let that happen and part of this will be to stick to the work flow plans. I have definitely put the foundation work in and am very proud of the new systems for my staff and myself. One of the most important changes was to clear all clutter created by my work, old paperwork has been thrown out or archived out of the way. Projects that are not going to be developed now have been sorted into a tickler file to remind me when the time is right.
Anything not of use to me has gone, which has cleared my mind to start thinking again to create and be productive.
I left my office on Friday, tidy and with no work in my trays or on my desk or dear I say it in my briefcase.
Yes I still have work to do, but it is filed in a system that doesn’t make me feel consumed with work and always behind.
I still have a lot of clearing and sorting to do with the home office and archives at work but I am starting to feel under control and clear-headed. It is a totally different feeling as a creative and team leader when you do not have piles of work and unfinished projects and a backlog of work, screaming at you to handle it and get everything done.
It is simple I will keep my work sorted and in categories everyday. The principles and suggested working system in David Allen’s book ‘Getting things done’ has had a profound impact on how I plan and execute my day, I highly suggest if you are struggling with work and personal project balance, take a look. Now I just have to stick to it when the invasion of eager and creative student and my own productions all need my creative energy and attention every day.
Don’t forget if you have any suggestions or questions please add them in the comments, have a great year everybody.
xx Allie

DSC00581   Very proud of my end of week in-tray. 🙂

Grow

I have decided to start posting some personal poetry I have written for myself or others. I find poetry a wonderful catalyst for thoughts and feelings, with my dyslexia I find grammar and structure hard to deal with. So I use poetry to challenge myself a little, but often I write what feels natural for me to say. I hope you enjoy.

‘Fall down seven times, get up eight times.’- Japanese Proverb

This poem was written for a friend who was struggling with life’s troubles. I gave it to them as a gift I hope you enjoy and please share to anyone you think may find comfort in the words. Allie xx

The Nature of Things

By Allie Simpson

Life mirrors Nature,
At times storms brew.
Winds ‘a’ blow.
Lightning flashes.
Thunder crashes.
Snow covers all.
But as with nature,
Once fallen & fellow,
will mellow.
The sun will shine.
Buds will bloom.
Birds will sing.
Constant is the mighty tree.
He weathers all.
Continuing to grow,

Tall.

tui-hillweb-Web
My painting ‘Tui Hill’ painted to remind me of my family and where I come from.
Also where I stand (in my mind) to gather strength when unsure or uncertain.

Clearing blockages and moving forward

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Making Decisions especially creative ones…aaahhhh!

I never had trouble with the small innocent choices in life.

However as soon a choice obtains decision worthy status, I begin the self-doubt soundtrack. Maybe you have a similar song library, such songs as:

Don’t do that, they will laugh.

Who do you think you are?

That’s not good enough.

Or the No# 1 best selling song.

Everyone will be embarrassed and leave you! (Actually that may be a country song somewhere).

What changes a choice into a decision?

The consequences of said decision.

If it is a personal decision (feels more like a choice) = no one but family and friends will know.

Or a public often career centred one, where every man, woman, child and their dogs will know see… and judge!

Why don’t we make the decisions required to meet our goals?

Is it fear of being embarrassed that holds you back or fear of your decisions being judged?

For example, if you fall over in the street, you may be a little embarrassed, depending on your execution and recovery technique.

But if you made the decision to wear ridiculously high (Lady Gaga) shoes and a skirt, then it was your decision that caused your fall. The soundtrack will be blearing and everyone will be watching and judging, or so you think.

I am fully aware that my decision blockage (much nicer word than I originally typed) is largely down to my own insecurities and concerns. Creating my own SELF- doubt.

As a teacher I watch my students sufferer from similar insecurities. The same students teaching me, 90% of the time no one is paying attention to anyone but themselves and their own problems. The big bad ‘Everybody Will See Monster’, of my imagination is actually often looking the other way. Ha! Who knew?

I though everyone paid attention to only me?

Even as I type that, I feel self-conscious, I don’t have an exaggerated ego and think everyone puts me at the centre of their world. But why do I criticise and block myself as if they have? If most of the time, most of the people are looking the other way, why should I worry if they agree or like my decisions in the first place?

As a self taught artist making a decision about my art, can be excruciating and as a writer with dyslexia my self doubt, if I let it, can become more debilitating than the original learning condition.

Returning to my example of decision and judgement equals fear.

I was born with dyslexia, it’s a bit like the accidental fall, little embarrassing but not too bad. But my decision to became a writer with dyslexia, which at times results in public mishaps with grammar and spelling can cause me greater embarrassment and spin the soundtrack out of control.

Am I right to lean on my crutches of self-taught and dyslexia?

Is this a decision or a choice? In truth it is both. I can choose to simply say, I can’t because I have dyslexia or shy from the question of where I trained in illustration or art.

Or I can choose to make both of these challenges, blessings. Dyslexia has made me look at different ways of doing things, and I am a better teacher for it. And life is the best art college around, driving me to find the techniques and knowledge I need for myself, it doesn’t come with a manual.

Avoid creative decision blockages….

To-do list:

  • Do remember who and what you are.
  • Do focus on where you are going.
  • Remember a decision made is better than one sitting in a dark hidden draw.
  • Not everyone will like what you do, and that’s o.k.
  • Be true to you, did you like it?
  • Not everyone is paying attention, or even care; so don’t think about them when making decisions.
  • Be happy and grateful for the people who are paying attention and do care, they will give you all the feedback you need.
  • Get another soundtrack to listen to.

Most importantly, remember life is abundant and full of exciting choices:

Be true, loving and grateful which will make everything work out just fine.

And probably avoid Lady gaga shoes….

In my next blog I will cover how finally making some long avoided decisions is freeing me up. Please share tips for any decision problems you may have fixed yourselves. Have you ever found it difficult deciding what to do next? Or lent on a challenge too long?