Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Artistic Ideas and Learning to Let Go

I've been gone from here quite a while. In my absence, something happened to me that rocked my already mixed-up world.

On top of my regimented adventures with NutriSystems, an extremely (arthritis) painful autumn, my dad moving back here sooner than I'd planned, and my house in utter chaos due to a total craft room makeover that's turned into a whole house re-do, my trusty XP desktop computer decided to spring a melted motherboard on me.

I thought it was just another graphics card death, but it was worse because the computer's just old enough not to be able to find another board. So, I told the local computer shop okay, just please back up my data on a portable hard drive and hard-case my existing hard drive to make it a portable drive, and I'll be on my way.

Well, got that home and the nightmare began. Slowly at first, because I just didn't quite grasp it. Oh, my photos and documents saved as files were backed up and safe. I backed up ALL my files, but there was a problem with my Outlook Express files.

Turns out that Microsoft decided to completely change the file structure of their email files, even changing the file extension. So, my 64-bit Windows Vista notebook cannot read my XP emails and address book files. The only way to read them is on an old 32-bit XP machine, which I no longer have and Hubs won't agree to buy an old one just to read some emails for a couple of weeks. And there are none around to rent. And none of our friends are still on XP. Even my mother-in-law is on Windows 7 now.

Great way to find this out, eh?

Yup, all my addresses and phone numbers...all my 6 years of online shopping invoices, by year, by vendor...the photos a friend emailed Hubs of another friend's 60th birthday that I was gonna make a mini book for and forgot to save in my photos...all my bill receipts...and lots of other records that I'd prefer to still have. Like all my Technique Junkies techniques that I saved in emails to myself, along with the emails of cards that other Junkies shared with our group.

Well, it has thrown me into a funk and haze that I am now only coming out of, and this happened around the time of my last post. I am trying hard to find hidden blessings in it, and one day I just might succeed. But right now I'm still a bit raw about it. It's taken me all this time to even post about it. My confusion has lessened, though. I had been walking around in a daze the first week, as it seemed like whatever I needed to do, whatever anyone asked me, was all in those emails. The first few days afterward I even literally walked around the house looking for the desktop before catching myself.

I know I never want to experience that again, so I've finally devised a multi-pronged approach to future record-keeping. A manual old-fashioned address book will now be one of my bibles. Also, I am no longer using Microsoft's software for emailing. I am using web mail only and saving what I need to there, then saving archival info to pdf files once a week. Since I use both Earthlink and GMail, I am keeping all my future contacts in both places. This way, if one prong melts, the others are there for me.

I'm probably a little depressed over it. If I had more energy, I might hustle around and try to get all those addies again, but it just seems like too much work. And that makes me sad, because no Christmas cards to my cyber-buds. If you are reading this and usually get a card from me, then you will know why you don't get one this year and why, and that it isn't personal. I think this makes me the most depressed, because I do look forward to doing it. I am afraid to hope that folks will send me cards anyway and then I can get their addresses again and send them a card back. But I'm not getting excited over it in case no one does. Times are tough and people cut back where they have to.

This unpleasant experience really taught me a lesson. Just because you have files backed up doesn't mean that some freak of nature circumstance can't pop up and prevent you from actually being able to retrieve them. Every day I've told myself that thank God it wasn't my photos, and for that I am always grateful.

I think another reason why I feel so stange is that my house is entirely uprooted. Every room. I'd gotten a lot done and then with this it began to overwhelm me. You know, when it becomes too tedious to even deal with it? I've lost precious time not being able to work through those tedious parts. Here's hoping I can put together some super productive days soon. Anything to help me finish, to help me let go of all this negative weight. I'm ready to be done with all this crap!  winkwink

A quote from the  Assemblog of Michael deMeng: The Artistic Timeline:

"I have always held the FIRM belief that artistic ideas belong to no one single person."

Wow. Such powerful, unselfish, true words. Once upon a time, that was what art was all about. deMeng is a working artist (he is very very good at what he does, check out the link). He's not some homemaker mom with an etsy and an ebay. He needs to make breadwinner bucks with his art. So, to think this way AND also shout it from the blogtops, too! He's been a hero for me lately. I seem to have read more than my share of artists complaining how so-and-so stole their idea for this and that. Outright copying of art, I agree, is agregious, but it seems like there are a lot of crafters who have a really low threshhold in their minds for plaguerism. Like, as in, if someone else's art looks anything like theirs at all. Even little parts of it. I just want to tell them, get over it. You did not invent what you made, so don't expect to be able to patent and bottle it.

You know that if there were no money involved, this would probably not be an issue, but commercial art corrupts. Just like that. Plus deMeng knows that the very spirit of art requires inspiration and how most of us get that these days is to look at art online in all the places that artists eagerly upload it. So he says relax and trust in your own artistic ability to make your art special and unique...and unstealable. And don't expect more. We only own what we ourselves create...in that moment, that one creation. When we are generous with the spirit of our art, it creates all kinds of good karma and positivity and comes back to us four-fold.

Totally what I believe, too. Just thought I'd share.