• Francine Cunningham

Coming up for air

For those of you who create you may find that this happens to you, getting completely caught up in your created universes. You know it has happened when you look up from what you're doing and hours upon hours have whizzed by and your head is all fuzzy and you're seeing double and you feel the need to fully be in thisworld. And maybe you have to interact with other humans, like if you live with someone and they want to, I dunno, talk to you about their day.


Usually when I get up and leave my writing for the day, or my painting or something immersive like that I end up walking around all spacy, not really seeing anything or anyone at all. I call it my double spirited time. I'm terrible to talk to when I'm like this. I get all my words mixed up and I don't really remember those conversations I have in that time. I'm not present.


Actually when I was in Banff I found that lots of my time spent outside my studio was me like this. Which sucked for people trying to have conversations with me that made any sense in the dinning room. So for that I am sorry fellow Banff artists and friends.


So, back to these double spirited moments. I have tried to develop ways to bring me back to the present. Like a magical rainbow bridge that you walk to get from one realm to another (was that a Thor reference? I think so?). I'm sharing because, I don't really know, maybe you need some ideas and maybe you could leave me some more ideas on how to do this. I find that often times, as writers, we can be in our heads a lot and alone creating a lot. So in the spirit of opening up that creative space with my fellow writers and artists out there I give you my top five ways for walking the rainbow bridge (you know maybe I am thinking of Mario Kart, there's a rainbow bridge in that right?)


Number one: Meandering walks with no express purpose.

When you're walking you can usually find tons of stuff that will make really great Instagram photo's so bonus! I am a huge fan of the long afternoon walk with no purpose other than walking. I often leave my house with no destination and just follow plants that I think are nice. I always end up having a great time and my mind rests.

Or.

My mind spins ideas for my projects, solving problems in my manuscripts, which is also great! I do a lot of thinking during walks. When my feet are moving my mind moves in different ways. So give it a try if you're stuck too.


Two: Swimming

In Kitsilano I have the option of swimming in the ocean or the pool or I could even do both in one day. Sorry, that was a straight up brag. I love swimming. When I swim my mind goes into this free floating (nudge nudge wink wink—I'm so witty) state. Diving under the water, splashing around, somersaults— all good fun. I have this great pool (pictured) only a twenty min walk from house. It's completely different than walking for me. Even though I'm moving about I find that I don't think about much when I'm swimming. I always come out refreshed. Basically, I've never regretted going for a swim to come back to this world.


Three: Music (specifically dance music, or music that makes you flail your body about)

Playlists! You should have playlists that fit different moods. I have some called Rainy days (which is kinda a must in Vancouver), Good Funky Times, Get up and Dance, Fun!!! (with THREE exclamation marks). Basically these playlists are the kind where you can't do anything but dance when you hear them. I have a whole other set that I use for when I'm actually writing. Thats slower music, lots of classical stuff and film scores, music without lyrics etc. But for shaking off being double spirited, there's nothing like a good ten to fifteen minutes of wild dancing. (I take that adage dance like no one's watching to heart, because, in my room with the blinds drawn, no one is.)


Four: Cooking.

I like to bake a lot too. The measuring of things is nice. Smells. The wonderful smells of cooking with fresh herbs. Using my hands to knead dough. Knowing that I am making something that didn't exist before. Being able to leave plates of cookies on the counter for my roomies or bringing someone an unexpected surprise. I love it all. I enjoy making jam, canning tomato sauce, if you ask my roommates I also enjoy forgetting about the fact that I am cooking and setting off the fire alarm. But I will have to say that burning usually only happens when I'm writing and decide to make something for breakfast or lunch. When I'm all in that fuzzy state. But cooking and baking is fun. And good for the rainbow walk.


Five: Crafting (usually while listening to a book on tape or authors in conversation or something else slightly literarily nerdy)


I like to work in my outdoor writing space. I love working with my hands. This could actually also be classified under meditation because for me I am in a super chill zone when I'm beading , knitting or doing my embroidery. I usually have multiple projects on the go, whether its something like making a purse or a neck tube (kinda like a scarf) to my summer project of creating fairy gardens. I have things in various stages of development that I can do for ten mins to an hour or more, all I have to do is pick them up.


You may notice I didn't say hang out with friends. Why? Because for me I have to do something in order to make me able to hang out with humans. So these are some of my ways. My question for you artist types is how do you come up for air when you're deep in your creative universes? Write me your suggestions on my Facebook page and see what other people are saying.


Breathing free and clear,

FRancine

FC

ILLUSTRATIONS AND WRITING BY

FRANCINE CUNNINGHAM

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