Call Out

         

“Oh babe, you look beautiful”

      “Is there any chance that the John Deere tractor is a 2000 model or older?”
      The man on the other line shuffles about his Arkansas home most likely in denim overalls with grass stained knees to ask his wife something. He has reached the ten minute mark, the length of time Natasha had told him the research survey would take. She also promised him a $25 cheque in the mail on completion. It all hinged on the last question.
         “No ma’m I can’t say it is. When’am I gonna get this cheque?”  More shuffling and forks clanging. The man was eating a family meal on the phone with some random woman living a country away.
      “I’m sorry sir, but I cannot continue the survey at this time. The model tractor–”     
           “Well fuck you very much.” Click.
             Natasha took off her headset, now at the half way point of her ten hour shift. She had to cover three time zones this evening with calls out to the maritimes regarding fishing nets and a radio survey in Ottawa. She was two thirty-something -males-who-own-2000-model-John- Deere-tractors away from finishing the survey quota ahead of time. Thats why she is almost supervisor. Thats why she gained twenty pounds.
        Sitting, dialing, ringing, (no) answer, repeat. She never had imagined that after three years of working toward a history degree, time and space would invert to start her career at a call center. After six months she is the third longest remaining employee at J&S market research: “we search so you don’t have to.” She chose to ignore all the grammar and dignity errors with the job, staring at a screen script where an empty mind is a requirement. Like a Disney channel actress, she did as the script said and became successful. The average expected quota for completed surveys is one per hour. Natasha could churn out a rate of ten on a bad day; thus landing her a prime computer chair and a head set.  The only decoration in the office was a plastic Shakespeare bobble head that danced in the corner of her cubicle.
            “Hey Tash, before you go on break please come see me.”
            Mariel Simons, the second half of J&S and also the distinguished longest remaining employee, stood in kakhi’s and crocs fanning herself with old surveys. The air conditioning had broken and the office was just an open planned space on the highest floor of an old strip mall. Natasha often found herself buying bulk candy a floor below just for the ventiliation. Mariel’s office was unpleasent and putrid today, the goldfish in the fish-tank-come- bubble-gum dispenser looking worse than usual.
            “Okay Tash. Now ya’ know I love ya but head office needs us to send in some people for promotions.”
            Even though J&S ran their own operation, a third party controlled a larger number of market research firms and supplied the small companies with more jobs. The last time they needed to do in-house promotions – more like stealth market spying – they went through the rows of cubicles and selected Kristine, Allie and Bridgit. Such ASSests to the company they were. Needless to say, the quota wasn’t filled. But it didn’t matter; like the others before, they stayed the summer then headed back to school to continue the rest of their lives.
            “And as much as I need you here kicking time zone ass, I’m sending you. If only ’cause the place has air conditioning.”
            Natasha started to smile at the thought but then realised that promotions meant surveying in person. Looking down at her B.U.M. equipment sweat shorts and generic pink tee, there was no question head office needed the numbers more than appearance. She could get people to talk on the phone alright, but what about when they see the one who’s digging? When they reject her, like every 19 out of 20 do, face to face without remorse? Mariel slipped out a gum ball.
            “Listen Tash, they’re paying double and you got that cute… smile and way about you.”
            Mariel chewed loudly on the stale gum and absent mindedly pushed another out the machine. The movement in the tank ceased and the goldfish lay floating like a fat man on vacation.
            “Thanks Mariel, I’ll do it.”

            If Kirk didn’t return a call it meant that his band, Damned Souls, were finally back to rehearsing. After every small gig, the Damned would pound back too much Jack Daniel’s and confess their frustrations with the group. Marty always complained about the broken guitar strings that couldn’t be paid for with the band account. Geoff would politely remind Marty there was no band account because Brandon didn’t understand when to use his personal one. Kirk would just listen and vent it all later to his girlfriend. He was fed up with the band and Natasha believed, with her as well.
            She examined herself in the mirror glued to the closest she shared with Kirk. Just a one bedroom apartment close to The University of Winnipeg. Not that its a point of interest for her, J&S was a decent forty minute commute. Kirk couldn’t play his drums but they chose it so she could finish school. She had saved only one outfit from her days as a professor’s aid, but the blazor would have to stay unbuttoned. She always got along well with her professors, being praised for her mature manner and intense passion for history.  Natasha loved knowing how things would end and today did not suit the feeling. Holed up in a near by MacDonald’s, she would have to survey customers on drink choice. The company wanted to switch beverage suppliers but not without a guarantee of success.
            She could appreciate that, she should have tested the outfit on Kirk first.

            Most of the people eating dinner were accessorized with small children and tired eyes. The quater pounders had reached their arms and the fries had settled in the thighs. The smell made Natasha hungry and sick all at once.
            “Good evening sir, I’m here from J&S – ”
            “I’m not interested.”
            “Sir, it’s only five quick questions regarding beverage selection and you receive a coupon for a 2 litre Pepsi product.”
            That’s the game. Everyone wants something for free.
            When she was younger, Natasha’s parents would complain about the condition of their neighbours home, filthy and cheap they would say. But whenever furniture was put out for garbage pick up, the stray coffee table,filing cabinet, or wine rack would make an appearance in their basement.
            She only needed to complete 75 surveys for the night but she was already up to 120. It was a two day gig so she needed to nail it, more is more in the survey business. The customers were friendly, the coupons helped with that, and she was on a high. 120 surveys – that would land her a nice supervising spot come Monday. It wasn’t only the promise of a seperate office but the pay raise would help with the rent. Kirk was on again off again as a sales associate in the trendy boutique YellWhisper. When he was on, he would kill the sales and bring home 20% commission. He used to pay for the rent himself and take Natasha out for dinner.  But when he was off, he would show up to work dressed in pajama bottoms and scream at the store “you’re nothing without me!” 
            His pseudo stardom with Damned Souls spurred these incidents but when the band was on the outs, the comission came rolling back. Retail is so desperate for male staff.
          The eight hour shift came to a close at midnight, when the teenagers in the back were just settling in for the night. Natasha considered a late night Big Mac but decided against it. Hopefully Kirk would be up for some late night … cuddling.
            That’s all they had been doing lately.

          “Hey babe, the band is heading to the King’s Head tonight and Marty wants us to crash at his place for an early practise tomorrow. If Rob calls, tell him I left my pajamas at home.”

            A deserted apartment greeted Natasha along with the message she replayed on her cellphone. It seemed strange that he wouldn’t call her twice or even ask where she was. Natasha had forgotten to tell Kirk about the promotion job because when he called it was only to check if Rob, his boss, had. If he was home, he was asleep or reading 2012: What Could Happen.           

           “Marrr…ielll”
            Natasha’s hoarse voice carried over the phone. Her throat burned like a tongue shinged by hot coffee and the ache that started in her stomache now tensed her neck.
            “No, Tash you’re not screwing me like this, head office needs those surveys.”
            With no voice, Natasha couldn’t mention that she could barely move let alone get dressed, be polite, and speak to the sixty people necessary to finish the job. After a few muffled whines, Mariel accepted the pleas, leaving Natasha’s head pounding with the familar rejection of the dial tone.

            “Tash, baby! Hey, are you home?”
            Kirk staggered into the apartment just after one in the afternoon. He wasn’t there with soup or a sympathetic ear but rather with the hope that the place was his for a few hours. Tash had been so busy lately that he grown used to the freedom of a solely occupied space. As he started to strip off his stained wife beater,  he stopped at the foot of the bed. 
            “Oh babe, you look beautiful”
            It wasn’t bad enough that he had left a terrible message with no “I love you” attached but now he was picking on her, Natasha thought. She tried to say shut up and instead vomitted off the edge of the bed.
           “Shit.”
             Kirk helped her back on the bed, positioned sideways, slumped in defeat. Gently stroking Natasha’s hair away from her mouth, he noticed her pale skin and decided it couldn’t be now. She was helpless and a little bit of puke remained on her lower lip.
          It was strangely cute, the vulnerability.

*

See Cereal page at top for more.

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A Dedication

I wasn’t sure if I was going to post this but I feel as though every person, regardless of being an artist or creator, needs to express themselves in difficult times. Every year during fall I start to miss all my family back home in South Africa. I just want to be able to hang out with my cousins, who are my best friends, or discuss books with my aunt. It’s not impossible to do it over long distances but it’s not the same. The worst part is that when someone gets sick, the only way to find out is by a phone call.

Needless to say, because I’m here in Canada doing what I love – being creative – and working hard in a course so that I may make it my living, I will not be able to say good bye to a special woman in my family. I thought about writing and could not find anything. So I turned to movement improv.

This is an aerial dance for my aunty Patsy. It’s all I can say.

Horoscope Poetry

Most complaints I hear about the process of writing, and in particular, writing poetry is finding the right words. Well then you may or may not jump right out of your pants when you hear this. There is such a thing called found poetry. Essentially the poet can take words, phrases and sometimes whole chunks of text –  like the New York Times – and just play around
with how
the words.
are bro
              ken.
and f o r m a t t e d on a page.
Basically,  find the words and play. I got into found poetry last year when I took a few Globe and Mail editorials and broke them up. just destroy! the strong minded one facet opinion and made the words take on a whole other meanings. It can be a simple visual trick that allows the reader to view the work with multiple layers – as in a classic example by e.e.cummings. Or it can, in practise, simply remind a writer that words are there to be messed with.

Recently I decided to have another round of found poetry fun with the Globe and Mail horoscopes. No words were added or subtracted.
 Enjoy!

LONESOME, LOVEABLE, LOATHESOME LEO
A collection of found poems by Daniella Ponticelli 

1.  

You won’t be able
to come and go as you please

today
.

And your options are
likely to be

limited
.

All the way up to the sun’s
change of signs on

Thursday
.
 
After that though, you can do as you please.

2.

The sun opposes Uranus!

That planet of upheavals!

Something in your life will be disrupted …

maybe in a small way…
MAYbe in a big way!

But CERTAINLY in a way that demands you take action!

 But think first; it makes all the difference.

3.

You will feel
….more confident ?
 
about your position
… and your prospects ?

both at work
… and in your private life ?

 when the sun
… changes signs tomorrow ?

 Everyone has doubts and worries, but yours are about to go out the window.

4.

You will need to take extra care
when doing

deals
with people.

who are not your people              ( – that is people you don’t know.)

how to relate on a one-
                                      to-one level?

Above all, don’t let your heart rule your head. Put practicalities first.

5.

Don’t be too eager!
to get
(rid of something)

                        that no longer plays a
                                   CENTRAL
                             role in your life.

 If it’s not doing any harm, just leave it alone!

According to “The Planets,”
you may have need of it again
              
(sometime early next week.)

*
Photograph by Daniella Ponticelli

Flash Flood

Photographer Katy Winterflood discusses her remarkable creative journey from across the pond to the Peg.  

It’s downpouring on a fall night in Winnipeg. I look spectacularly haggard while the always fair Miss Katy Winterflood sits cozy in her chair at Starbucks. It most certainly did not look as though she had just moved into her first business space that same day; a shared office at 70 Arthur Street acting as headquarters for Katy Winterflood Photography.   

It has been awhile since I connected with twenty-two year old Katy. We first met in the summer of 2009, both working as photographers at the Wal-Mart Portrait Studio. It is safe to say that my talent came straight out of the training manual while Katy’s, is a little more ingrained.   

Born and raised near London, England, Katy was exposed to creativity and various art forms from a young age. At seven years old, she started playing the violin, piano, drums, and guitar. She tried her hand with pencil, brush, and clay. A few years later, Katy started singing and acting; deciding to focus more on musical theatre.     

“Once you do one, you want to do it all.” It is no surprise that photography became a limb of her creative monster.  

“I always had a camera in hand,” says Katy, “there’s even a picture of me at three years old taking a photo of a duck.” Katy’s father is into photography; however, it is her grandmother who shared the arts with the young Brit. “She is very artistic, as a hobby,” says Katy, recalling the times they painted with watercolour and oil, or played with pottery. “We were always doing creative things.”  

 But while some let their macaroni art fester in the bottom of shoe boxes, Katy knew that creative arts was her calling. In 2006, right after completing high school, Katy attended Liverpool Hope University.  She went to live in Liverpool to get a degree in Theatre and Media studies, which incorporates a lot of what Creative Communications offers.   

“We did a lot of practical,” says Katy, furthering describing how students would go out and do photography projects, an aspect Katy thoroughly enjoyed. They also worked hands on with radio and other media equipment. But in April 2007, after eight months, Katy stopped enjoying the program.   

“We did the practical before the theoretical – everything just slowed down.”   

Katy started doing projects on the side, auditioning and starring in a commercial for the drink brand Iron Brew. She acted in local music videos, playing a “goth kid in a classroom,” and a nerdy girl in a “geek scene.” She was driven and on the go; something the course started to lack.  After becoming intensely introverted, Katy realised that she needed to leave university.   

“I don’t need a degree to perform.”   

The ambitious student didn’t want to  “leave university to do nothing,” so she started searching for photography schools in the States, Canada, and the UK. After reviewing hundreds of schools, Katy applied – and was accepted into – the Hallmark Institute of Photography in Massachusetts, USA. It was perfect : ten months (so no long-term home-sickness), the best facilities and equipment, and heralded as one of the top photography schools. Out of 3000-4000 annual applicants, Hallmark only accepts 300.   

“We got right down to looking for accommodations,” says Katy. It was exciting, but at $50,000 US tuition — before living expenses — what isn’t exciting? Not to mention, the UK citizen wouldn’t be allowed to work in the states.“I had a year’s period to find fifty grand.”   

Katy Winterflood Photography

 The Plan was to save money in Pounds. But instead, her parents wanted a change and her father managed to secure a job in Winnipeg. Katy stayed behind, working a call centre job she hated, but could pay the bills, and moved in with her boyfriend, Liam Harris. Then The Plan took another hit.  

“We both lost our jobs in the same month,” says Katy about the aftermath of the recession.  The two lived off their savings, going on Job Seeker’s Allowance while struggling to find work — “Maybe I needed to look for another school.”  The search began once more, and that’s when Winnipeg came into focus.  

Katy first found Winnipeg based Prairieview School of Photography  slumped into a search of schools in Vancouver and Ontario.  “It was on a much smaller scale, 36 students,” says Katy, who at the time could not fathom such a small intake when compared to the measly 300 of Hallmark. Prairieview, located on Hargrave Street, was only two blocks up from her mother’s workplace. It was affordable, a full-time ten month program,  and Katy could live with her parents.  

“It all just kind of pieced itself together.”  

Having visited Winnipeg earlier in 2008 for three months, Katy knew she could not leave Liam behind again. When she was accepted into Prairieview, the two came to Winnipeg; Katy was able to work legally while Liam could not. He did, however, help out where he could.“He gardened, cleaned with my mum, did laundry,anything and everything.”  

Katy Winterflood for SANDBOX Magazine

In the Fall of 2009, Katy started at Prairieview as a full-time Photography student. Her creative avenues opened up due to her ability to network. After being in the country for only 14 months, she accomplished more than most city dwellers. Katy graduated from the program as class valedictorian and winner of the Industry Studies Award. During her time at the school, she volunteered and had the opportunity to photograph a Nygard fashion show. She has done “creatives” (collaborations) with Swish Model Management, who signed Canada’s Next Top Model winner Meaghan Waller, and CreComm’s favourite SANDBOX magazine – whom she adores working with.  

“I do genuinely love it, everyone brings something to the table,” says Katy. It also caters to her interests in fashion photography and allows her to meet other artists in make-up, hair, and styling.      

Even though the new professional just opened her own studio, Katy Winterflood Photography — no small feat in the highly competitive industry — she attributes her success to the intense vocational training at Prairieview.      

“You need to be hand on – leaving University is the best thing I’ve ever done.”      

Our coffees now long finished, the rain just dying down, Katy takes out her phone to show me pictures of her sparsely decorated office. I take out my phone and challenge Katy to take a photo with only natural lighting and my unpolished face.      

 “Oh gosh, I’ll try!”      

My fair lady, after all that, I think you’ll be just fine.      

– Daniella Ponticelli    

Katy Winterflood Photography

Katy Winterflood Photography – http://katywinterflood.com
Special Thanks to Katy for the pictures.  

To see how my BlackBerry picture turned out, click here.

Diva à la Carte

For our creative writing class, we were given an exercise to format a story like a recipe — then feed it to the Graphic Designers. It had to be short and sweet, and the writer had to think about what ingredients really made the meal. How fitting for Cre.ature Feed.

Bon Appétit!

Diva à la Carte
by Daniella Ponticelli

Ingredients

1 bathroom
1 hour to get prepped
1 fussy head of hair
20 pink hair curlers that don’t work
¼ can of old hair spray
1 nearby hallway closet
1 Smartphone with camera
1 premeditated witty caption
A boy, a girl, a quick temper, and a dash of Facebook

Preparation

Take the girl and put her in the bathroom with a set of 20 pink hair curlers that don’t work. For the richest taste, make sure the girl’s hair is fussy: a ride in a convertible is best. Give her 1 hour, and 1 hour exactly, to prep for an important dance show. After she realises that the curlers are faulty, hand her a can of old hairspray with exactly ¼ contents left. Her temper will ripen quickly at the half hour mark. Now as she walks toward you in a fit of fury, take out the Smartphone and snap the embarrassing picture. Run to a nearby hallway closet. Upload image to Facebook with your premeditated witty caption that will herald you a man amongst boys. Want to keep your girlfriend? Save this dish for after the engagement.

Poet, On the Side

It’s a Sunday evening and I’m feeling quite creative. I’ve spent the weekend writing bios, articles, and stories from pictures for CreComm. There is nothing quite like digging into old files though, finding previous work in the bowels of My Documents. Recently I was asked to provide some writing to show my ability – but it could not be poetry. I understand that poetry is a different genre, the type wrought with angst and superimposed emotion, but I find that it allows my personality to flourish like fire. And the only damage poetry can do is that toward the poet’s ego.

I decided to look back when I came across an aphorism (one of my favourites) from Glimpse by George Murray :

“All writing is a bit like wearing a toupée — those who can get away with it do, but those who can’t look like fools. Poetry, in turn, is like jogging in a toupée…”

There is risk and reward. One of the biggest issues I come across when I mention that I like to indulge in the art of poetry is that some expect profoundness. A philosophical conundrum that astounds and leaves everyone in awe. Poems that try to do that, come off kitsch. It is the poet who leaves the meaning up to the reader, who is capable of limitless — and timeless — work.

But sometimes poetry merely feeds the creative monster. So here is a sample of my poetry. It is what it is and I receive inspiration from the quirky work of Tim Burton, who makes me giggle with glee at his dark humour. This is all fictional despite the names of real people.

LAMÉ PERFECTION 
from the collection of poems CORRESPONDENCES OF THE LOVELORN TRAVELLER by Daniella Ponticelli

  1.  

Chad Rutter is a flaming
perfectionist.
“You’re doing it so wrong!”
He’d love to insist.
Upon chance one time
he saw a lady –
slender, though augmented,
“You have to have my baby!”
The woman looked.
Blinked once, then twice.
“I’m sorry sir, you’re gross”
and she was being awfully nice.
With crisp Lacoste collar popped,
he strutted to his abode.
“I know she’s wrong!”
 Handsome he’d been told.
There were no mirrors
in this perfectionist’s grotto.
It’s amazing without glance
his terribly flawed motto.
Genuflection by the toilet,
a reflection rippled through.
He screamed, he squealed,
he flushed what he knew.
His hair out of place,
a nose of Gollum character,
his tear duct levees broke —
an inevitable disaster.

2.

He moped around
from city to town.
Everyone stared
at his malignant frown.
He sat at O’Connor’s
round one, round ten.
“Hey good Looking”
to a table of men.
A lady walked in
She was at least, Okay.
“Hi there, I’m Daniella.”
Here for a week long stay.
Nose hidden, eyes avert
the foreplay of shame,
he paused for a moment
“Chad’s the name.”
Together they walked
near Clifton beach waves,
yeah, she’s not perfect –
she needed to shave.
Monday, Tuesday
the Friday before,
they went out and laughed
but love? was just folklore.
Daniella wasn’t pretty –
a Meryl Streep at best.
Wearing eccentric fashions
like a lamé golden vest.
Bland sheets in a hotel suite,
their bodies clung on tight
like imperfect tetris pieces,
they shape shifted all night.
While packing her suitcase,
Chad snuck inside.
To fit in quite nicely
though uncomfortable to hide.  

*

Photo by Daniella Ponticelli

                                                                 

Let’s Sweeten the Deal

Business student leaves serious study for the day to indulge in a hobby of rich taste.

Rafa is sweating on the court while his future wife, ChrisMarie Pretorius, pours bright purple icing into a plastic tube. I’m helping by holding the tube open, barely managing to do that with success.“Yeah, sorry if it gets all over your hands,” CM says and I laugh. Who really minds cleaning up a little of the sweet stuff?

“I’ve always wanted to make fun cupcakes” says CM, while swirling on a third layer of lime green icing. During a trip to Michaels, CM spotted an ad for in-store Wilton cake decorating classes. Within a week, the amateur baker was making, baking, and levelling cakes. No pre-made ten-minute mix for this ballsy Betty Crocker.

I make an indented smiley face with my finger, and CM swirls on icing flowers with precision and ease. Most of her inspiration comes from the large course book Wilton offers with a variety of cake projects. CM also searches the web, browsing different sites and personal pages for crafty ideas. I was lucky enough to be the recipient of her first cake: a self made creation in bright neon yellow icing with loud pink and purple fondant daises.

Note: please read “fondant” as the Cake Boss says, “Fon-don.”

Everyone in the class learns how to mix up a basic cake batter and butter cream icing – the best kind for decorating.“It looks easy, but you have to make sure it’s not too thin, not too thick.” She dabs a small dollop of icing that smears the counter. “And there is no way to not make a mess, I’ve tried.”

Even though the Winnipeg cake boss keeps things modest, CM has a rich history of baking. Her family has always been big into the activity and there’s even a long standing Pretorius tradition. “In my family, you always get cake for breakfast on your birthday.”

The sweet chick is also known for her oh-so-healthy granola bars. It all started with a passed-on recipe and soon CM’s bars were a hit with all her friends; even making personally commissioned batches. The decadent dainties are mixed with various nuts, oats, and seeds; chocolate chips and Skor pieces are added for specialty.

A couple of bars and Big Bang Theory — you’ve got yourself a Friday Night.

Even though CM has no professional baking aspirations, she graduated from first level basics and is currently taking level two: Flowers and Cake Design. The classes run once a week on a Thursday evening, allowing the student to keep up her studies. “I do it with the idea that other people are going to come and enjoy.”

We cap the night with a “ChrisMarie is a cupcake” inspired shoot; giggling as we try poofing her grad dress with pillows and sticking globs of delicious icing on her nose. I help clean the messy kitchen after, with counters now stained neon pink.

The inspiring part is that CM tried something new, challenging, and  completely unrelated to work or school.  She decorates for fun and in turn, constantly rewards and feeds her creativity.

CM recently got accepted into the Vancouver Art Institute to study Fashion.
Strawberry Shortcake dresses anyone?

– Daniella Ponticelli

Tweet it Up

Hi my name is Daniella. And I am on Twitter.

Yes my fellow cre.atures, you may indulge in a little bit more of my thoughts — http://www.twitter.com/dponticelli. Also, on the right side of this blog is a live tweeting stream. You’re going to get more than your daily intake.

Twitter gets a pretty bad rap amongst those who fear social media. They condemn it because  “no one needs to know what you are doing every minute of everyday.” Sometimes the person behind the account gets critiqued. At a meeting recently, I announced bravely that I’d taken the plunge. Before I could get a word in explaining the benefits, out came the generic (often one-sided) complaints.

“I don’t even have Facebook!”
“Yeah, I barely have time to check the mail. Who needs Twitter?”
“So what? are you going to like twit all the time?”

It was a little ridiculous to say the least. But initially I also had doubts, feeling as though Twitter had no purpose in my life.  I let out a defeated whimper on the first day of CreComm because there was no say in the matter. Then came the nightmares of following Justin Bieber.While I tried delaying my sentence, I started thinking about what really is so dark side about tweeting. We’re connecting, engaging, and following each other. And don’t think stalkers, think more like our forefathers — expanding our own worlds with new ideas and communicating them on the fly. It all depends on how you decide to best fill your Twitterverse.

And seriously, tweeting just sounds like the most delightful thing on earth.

The purpose of this convenient tool is rather self-evident for businesses wanting to promote. Just tweet it out to the world, and the people will come. These  “people” are already interested, so what better way to communicate your business, product, idea, you name it! with a few words from the palm of your hand. Twitter is easily accessible, free, and surprisingly easy to use.

Well aside from having to spend two hours decoding the secret language of the Tweet.  Just try to remember that Friday is the day to post follower recommendations. NOT any day of your choosing. (See Twitter page for my blooper of the day)

So where do I fit in at the water hole? I blog about creativity and for one, Twitter is an amazing global community of thinkers all connected in less than 140 characters. Note: not all thinkers are of the same caliber, so watch what you eat. While my blog lets me explore topics further, on Twitter I can share any inspiring moment I have, any mind-blowing creation I see, and any feeling of spontaneous creativity, to the whole world at any given time. Whether you digest it or not is your call.

TwitterTip : You wouldn’t feed yourself rat droppings. Make your Twitterverse a pleasing dish.

Mini Monster for a Day

This evening was the first night of instructing aerial for the 2010-11 season. I absolutely love first classes because there is an obvious, albeit irrational, anxiety in the eyes of my new little dancers.  Some have a friend from school or a past gymnastics club, while others fly solo like the cool little girl from Switzerland.
None of them are worried about how they look or whether their hair is pulled perfectly back. Their little black bodysuits stretching across their small bellies; simply excited that they all match. No matter if they’ve just met, the group draws together over the same collective nervousness… what are we getting ourselves into?

They meet each other for the first time and forget that I haven’t met any of them. I ask them to talk about highlights from their summer and past dance experience. They giggle when I mention how I tripped over my feet today.

Which I most certainly did. Ask Joel.

At the end of my beginner class (ages 8-10) one little girl comes running up to me and says, “I can’t wait for next Monday!” 
I smile, thinking back just three weeks ago when a group of 75 strangers huddled together.
What are we getting ourselves into? …
The next class I taught were all returning dancers who chatted wildly; excited to see each other after a summer break that seemed too long. Stories were swapped and they were eager to start improving skills they touched upon last year. Much too similar to the bustling crowd of second years on the first day…

So while I attempt to make Monday the new Friday, these girls will begin to impact my creative choices. I am challenged to teach them a routine that includes floor work, aerial acrobatics and theatrical performance. Each girl already brought her own little creature to the table today, and she didn’t even know it. I asked for some movement improv and they danced with abandon. A task many adults find difficult, if not impossible.
Each group has a life of its own, and the girls became little pockets of creativity when allowed the freedom to play.

Let us not forgot to move, feel, and play.
Keep Feeding the Cre.ature.

“We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.”
 – Benjamin Franklin

Food Rations Unlimited, Sources Say

Nothing to Eat say first-time Cre.atures.

It can be a small thought on the bus ride home. The smell that triggers a memory, leading you to write an award winning short story. But while some have a taste for fame, most first time Cre.atures such as myself, are hungry for good, old fashioned, creative food. For the nutrients of a creator’s inspiration, or the heartburn of an artist’s advice. Sometimes we have the ingredients, but no kitchen.

Cre.ature Feed is a blog about creativity and what feeds our ideas. The content is up to me, The Cre.ator, until certain assignments for the Creative Communications Program (CreComm) need posting. The Feed is a creative, and interactive, space where I will post regular fodder for thought. Engaging comments are encouraged.

Just this past week we were given a blog assignment. Some knew right away what they wanted to discuss. Interestingly, last week I was training with two incredible aerialists from Femmes Du Feu, a Toronto company, who created the smash hit Fringe show, The Plank. After a training session on apparatuses they invented – a hanging mobile consisting of a hoop, fabric, and anchor – I asked them where the idea for their pieces and full length shows came from.

Dreams. They spent weeks waking up and recording their dreams. While The Plank was based on a pirate theme with a more conscious plotline, other shows Feu have created and produced are cooked up in the quirkiness of the dream state.

Now I am not suggesting that us cre.atures look for food while we sleep, but we should acknowledge that creativity is not a twenty dollar bill found on the ground. Sometimes we will have those moments, such as when I left the dream discussion thinking “I am going to blog on how creators… feed,” but most times we have to dig in the crevices of our mind’s sofa just to find a dusty thought.  

My first tip for finding good food : surround yourself with supportive and creative people.  CreComm students have this fairly easy and there is so much we can learn from each other. Two week ago I was out with my friend, Chrismarie Pretorius, when we bumped into girls having a pin-up party. They were dressed in retro fashion with beautifully styled hair – I loved the idea. A few days after having the idea for my blog, I decided to call Chrismarie and arrange a retro theme photo shoot for Cre.ature Feed. She helped raid my closet and took all the pictures posted on the blog (edited by myself). It was fun and different.

They say the heathiest diet is one with most variety.

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