Category “Passion”

What Is Writing?

Monday, 21 January, 2013

Typewriter - copyright Geraldine EliotSomething I struggle with a lot is creating the time to spend on my own writing; on the creative writing that fuels me or on the journalling that keeps me sane. I find myself making excuses for not setting a per diem writing word count or for not just sitting down and doing it. And I beat myself up if I’m not blogging regularly, and yet I always  say to myself “I’m a writer”.

That got me thinking.

What does that mean? Yes, it’s what I do for a living (both teaching web/business writing and my Meerkat copywriting), but what does that really mean? Sometimes I feel that it’s not an accurate reflection of me, because I’m not really doing enough writing other than for clients (don’t get me wrong, I LOVE doing that), but does that make me a writer? What is writing? What is writing to me?

For some, writing is a confessional. For some, writing is a secret hobby (teenage diaries being scrawled in the half dark; bad angsty poetry written by moonlight). For some, writing is what keeps them feeling alive – it is meditation, inspiration, and income. Or it is simply a mundane task that has to be completed every day at work.

And for me, I think it’s all of the above sometimes – or has been in different stages of my life. But one thing that will never change is my love of words. And how good I feel when I am writing – whether for myself or a client.

So I guess I can call myself a writer and I just have to not doubt that that is what I am. Who I am.

Geraldine

The Hundred Years Cafe Series

Thursday, 8 March, 2012

I  have the good fortune of working on a fantastic project at the moment, for The Hundred Years Cafe. The concept is a musical collective – a gathering of diverse aboriginal artists (both local and international, established and emerging) for an intense session of collaboration, practice, and then performance – in front of a live studio audience.

The series of concerts, as well as ‘behind the scenes’ rehearsals and interviews, is being recorded for a TV series coming out in September, to be screened on APTN. The performances are free and taking place twice a week (roughly) for the month of March. You can get a full schedule on the Hundred Years website.

The studio space itself (located at the Ironworks studios at 235 Alexander Street) houses a collection of incredible native artwork, from tapestries to masks and paintings and the cafe atmosphere provides a perfect forum for the musical talent being showcased. It’s well worth stopping by to get the full experience; you just have to be prepared to be on camera. The name of the project comes from a prophecy by famed Metis leader Louis Riel who, in 1885, stated,  “My people will sleep for a hundred years, and when they awake it will be the artists who give them their spirit back.”

If you’re a music lover in Vancouver, I highly recommend checking out The Hundred Years Cafe. You can like the project on Facebook or follow it on Twitter for more updates.

Geraldine

A Lesson in Passion

Wednesday, 2 March, 2011

I was  chatting to one of my students this evening after class. He asked me if he could ask me a personal question, and I thought, here we go… boundaries! (ah, the skeptic). It turned out that he wanted my opinion on a dilemma he is having about the next step in his education. His question related to whether he should pursue a degree or a diploma; swap from a more training-based approach to a learning approach.

I almost wish he’d asked me something about me!

This is such a hard question to answer, for so many reasons. The student is not from Canada and is planning to go home at some point, to a different culture, with different expectations and different needs. We chatted for a long time about how when you lack a degree, you often hit a ceiling in your career, and the advantages and disadvantages of his quite varying career options, and then I realised that I wasn’t really telling him what I really wanted to tell him: that it doesn`t matter what you do or where you go if you are not passionate about it.

And so I told him.

I told him how unhappy I had been when I was working full-time at teaching and felt that it wasn`t what I really wanted. I told him how I feel that passion is so important, because if you love what you do, you will be successful no matter what. I also told him that it makes me sad when I talk to students and they tell me they have chosen their studies based on what their parents have told them they must do. And I told him that it also makes me sad when people do things out of fear – a fear of failure, or of a lack of money, or of letting others down. And I also told him that some people work to live, and others live to work, and that he needs to decide what he loves to do, what he is passionate about, and worry about the rest later.

What was interesting was how easy it was to give him advice and talk to him about his path, and speak of fear and passion and risks, when these same things have been plaguing me lately. Funny how it is always easy to dispense advice, but not to hear it oneself. I am following my passion, most definitely, but at the same time, there have been some fearful voices popping up and a lot of stalling and procrastinating. And I have been listening to the fearful chirpings a little too much. I think it is so important to take stock, and to make changes if something is not serving you well, but at the same time, you can`t let fear take hold and cause paralysis, blocking you from achieving what you want to achieve.

Tonight was a great lesson for me, but funnily enough, it was not in the classroom, but rather afterwards where I was able to teach something valuable not only to my student, but to myself as well.

Geraldine