Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I come from the water.* And an old sagging couch

I get asked all the time: Madame, how do you do the voodoo that you do?  *chuckles*  Honey, pull up a tufted wingback chair and I'll tell you some not-so-secret secrets.

You too can create voodoo!  I'm of the opinion that everyone has some of that creative sauce within them - a wellspring that’s tapped into the primordial soup of awesomeness where ideas are infinite.  Some people seem to have ideas on draught (not me) but it could also take the shape of a shallow puddle, sometimes a gushing fire hydrant of tigerblood or perhaps a giant lake full of gross things and sharktopussies.  Everyone's is different.  Mine feels like an above ground pool because I'm classy.  Maybe there's some rainbow-colored spongey noodles floating around in there too...

Usually I get inspired by other manifestations of saucy creativity including but not limited to art, music, words, YOUR blog - yes you reading this, talking to children, talking to scientists and especially talking to children scientists, really good tv like reruns of The Golden Girls, all manner of designy things and wearing sparkly jewelry.  Whatever sorts of ideas that manage to get stirred up in my head then drag themselves out of my brain's primordial soup and onto the sunny shore (or splintery deck in this case...) for distribution.  Then it's filtered through a fine sieve of my personal collection of pop culture references and tragic childhood memories, dusted with glitter, spanked and then thrown out into the world.  Only then can it evolve into a majestic unicorn of gorgeous mood board awesomeness or a badass kitchen or other general amazingness.  More times than not it's a jackalope in the form of a lame dick joke that goes nowhere.  A dickalope.  It's really anybody's guess as to what these little drops of sauce will grow to be.  I just set them free from my brain and hope for the best.  They're yearning to be free!  Spread your wings and fly to your possibly successful destiny, dickalope!!  

And freedom is the key.  Giving yourself freedom is the way you break down all the walls and baby gates in your brain that surround your above ground pool of awesomeness to let your own ideas evolve.  

As a young Madame I had the good fortune of being in one of those special programs for Smarty McNerdypants where we were embarrassingly pulled away from regular class by an eccentric teacher with frizzy hair to attend a different class full of other Smarty McNerdypants kids.  It looked like a classroom on Hoarders with piles of yellowed newspapers and puzzles everywhere, old couches rather than desks and laminated reproduction Renaissance art taped on the cinderblock walls.  

We talked about big ideas not just nouns and verbs and spent our time solving problems using lateral thinking instead of addition and subtraction.  We weren't taught how to be creative, we were taught how to navigate through the roadblocks to get to the space where creativity just happened.  We made trails to our creative juice and then paved them with practice.  We were given the freedom to throw out some possible dickalopes and a safe place for them to fall when they failed.  At least for an hour or two each week.  

Everybody has ideas - some more than others - but creativity isn't gifted upon a fortunate few, it's a skill that can be developed and refined if you allow yourself the freedom to do so.**  People might ask where your ideas come from but they’re really asking how to find their own source of sauce.  Maybe they never did logic puzzles sitting on a sagging couch next to a boy who had a weird blinking problem and smelled like peanut butter so they don't know that they have the sauce too. 

all images are Barbara & Michael Leisgen via Little Lamb
So get free, y'all!  Climb a mountain or let your mind wander while you're brushing your teeth or read a blog and then nurture whatever frivolity comes from that and then set it free upon the world!  And then do that shit every day.

And if you can’t find any freedom a menacing deadline usually works wonders for pulling something creative out of your ass.  Turns out, that’s a pretty direct route to where your ideas are too.

*If you can name that song I'll give you twelve cool points and possibly a tongue kiss.

**You can't change what your pool looks like, only how you use your noodle.  And THAT, my friends, is the lamest pun in the history of the world.  A dickalope for sure.***

***Excessive footnoting is in homage to The Monster Apathy who footnotes like a muthafucka and has a blog full of freedom and inspiration.  And dick jokes. 

Today's post was part of Let's Blog Off - a twice monthly blogging extravaganza where all kinds of bloggers mouth off about a single topic.  This week we're exploring where we get our inspiration and ideas from.  Make sure to check out the other participants at the website.


  1. I love that song, and just about everything that comes out of your pool. I'm going to make a wild guess before I go google it: is it Toad the Wet Sprocket? Now I'll go google it and see what a dickalope I am.

  2. Oh!! I was so close. I won't spoil it for the next mcnerdypants. :-)

  3. You always manage to find the best and most saucy blogs around!

    *****The Monster Apathy

  4. Tammy - So close!!! You're so considerate of others. ; ) Thanks and glad you like my pool of dickalopes!!

    Anulfo - nice use of footnoting there!!!!!! That dude will crack your shit up!

  5. You are a Smarty McNerdypants. And none your jokes are ever dickalopes.

  6. Ha! Maybe you should see what I write before I hit publish... ; ) Smarty McNerdypants unite!

  7. I know who's song that is. To preserve the challenge for others, I'll answer it thusly, a band* sings it.

    *almost a wet sprocket, but not.

  8. Your tongue kiss is in the mail! My 14 yr old self appreciates your knowledge of '90s bands. Ok, my 30 yr old self does too... ; )

  9. It was everything I hoped it would be!

    I'm going to use the word dickalope all day!

  10. Thank you James! I've set the word "dickalope" free upon the world so use it whenever you like. My contribution to artistic expression for the day. ; )

  11. Well, I come from the land of the ice and snow, where the midnight sun from the hot springs blow. That is definitely not a 90s song. Actually, MY song comes from my favorite group and it was written when you were not even a spankalope in your parents' eves! As to those Smarty McNerdypants classes, you mean you didn't get to do the hieroglyphics class in 7th grade?

  12. That is actually one of my all time favorite bands (isn't it everyone's?) and they were DEFINITELY in heavy rotation during the 90s with the other band!! I don't know what kind of school has hieroglyphics classics but that sounds awesome!!!

    And my parents NEVER spankaloped because gross!!

  13. Madame, I am speechless at all your fabulosity... I will get back to you... I am currently having a struggle between all things electric and electronic today starting with the fricking coffee pot this morning, which is probably the root of all of my problems...lack of caffeine...

    Brenda Lynn

  14. So glad to have found your blog today. Must face menacing deadline, but am inspired and certain I can now pull something out of my a**s.

  15. Ah yes, the ass-pulled inspiration. Nothing says creativity-mind-f*ck like a critical essay on Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" due in 12 hours.

  16. Brenda - well you managed to comment just fine! Thanks!

    Ann - welcome to the Sauce! Glad you were able to come by today too! Now go make that deadline your bitch.

    Chamois - I don't know what that is but tap into your pool and go for gold, girl! Try to avoid dickalopes in your essay...

  17. When I was in design school, we called a successful "ass-pulled" project a "bunschaft manoeuver" (yes, it's still hilarious).

    It was affectionately named after a real-life, modernist architect by the name of Gordon Bunschaft.

    I'm sick, I know :)

  18. ahahahaha! That is perfect beyond words! I'm going to go google a bunschaft right now... *snicker*

  19. I've been hearing far too much rattling lately and it has been bugging me to no end. You've solved my mcnerdymystery: it's coming from the baby gates in my brain. Someone forgot to take them down and they rattle around when I'm trying to break through to new ways of thinking. Why, Madame, you've just solved a dickalope of a problem and I am eternally grateful. I'm going to go crash through all the noodlefucked partitions right now so I can see what fabulosity might be hidden behind these stumbling blocks!

  20. going off to bunscaft some dinner while repeating the word dickalope...

  21. What a great post! Even without the deep meaning and great advice, it'd be a great post just because I got to learn about sharktopussies and dickalopes. How nice your Smarty McNerdypants class must've been. (Mine was horrible.) And then there are those photos. Perfect!

  22. So true: "People might ask where your ideas come from but they’re really asking how to find their own source of sauce." Next time I can't find mine, I'm going to look for a boy with a weird blinking problem that smells like peanut butter.

    LOVE the photos. Great post!

  23. Saxon - the sauce just wants to be freeeeee! Set a grenade or two loose on those partitions and get ready for the waterfall. Maybe there's a mermaid in there - you never know!

    Hollie - you just described what I do every night.

    Allison - Damn. I was really aiming for inspirational Oprah-type vibe rather than deep meaning with good advice. Yet ANOTHER dickalope failure of a post!!

    What did you do in your classes? We also made buttons for our backpacks! Yeah, I guess our classes were pretty good...

    Denese - I've been obsessed with this series of photos for awhile - I want to go hug some clouds! Thanks Denese - good luck finding your peanut butter boy should you ever need it!

  24. I'm here just to type dickalope.

    There, I did it!

    Great post, Saucy.

  25. Thanks, honey! Dickalope is even more fun to say, by the way. ; )