Friday, November 23, 2012

influences, pastiche, fusion: thoughts on the creative process

i'm reading nicole krauss' great house. she's a marvelous writer that i only discovered this past summer when a friend lent me her novel the history of love. she's a writer of the holocaust, but at the same time very contemporary. back in the mid nineties at arizona state, i took a class called the holocaust in american literature. we didn't read anything nearly as marvelous as krauss back then (of course she hadn't written these books yet at that point as she was probably still in high school). i hope they've added her books to the syllabus, as they get at holocaust issues in a much deeper and more profound way than anything we read then (painted bird, sophie's choice, etc.). but perhaps that's a natural progression of things, as we gain more distance from the horror, it can be better and more artistically processed.

but i didn't mean to write about holocaust lit. what i meant to write about is her style - a pastiche of seemingly separate stories that intertwine at the end. because it got me thinking about how things connect. and how nearly everything is a sort of amalgamation of influences that start out separate and come together.

i think i see this fusion of influences most often in my cooking - it often contains elements from my upbringing, my travels and my surroundings. last evening, it being thanksgiving which is not (shock!) a holiday here and thus you don't have the whole day to devote to cooking like you do in the US, i found myself wanting to make a turkey anyway. since it was just an ordinary weekday dinner and with all of our ordinary obligations, i didn't have hours and hours to cook, so i bought a turkey breast. i slathered it with a purchased garlic cream cheese and topped it with a protective layer of bacon to keep it from drying out. then i asked husband and sabin to dig me some potatoes (it hasn't frozen yet, so the best storage place for them is in the ground), which we peeled and sliced and put in the oven with leeks and cream and butter for a batch of traditional danish flødekartofler (tho' not that traditional, since they don't usually contain leeks). i didn't have any sweet potato, so i baked up a butternut squash, which i served simply with butter, salt and pepper, foregoing any cloyingly sweet marshmallows or brown sugar. so in the end, it was a thanksgiving of sorts, but using both the time constraints and the ingredients i had at hand. thanksgiving enough to make me feel less sorrowful that i was far from my family on the day and yet simple enough to be made on an ordinary weeknight.

but i've been thinking about influences as well where creating is concerned. trying out stitching on felted stones ala lisa or using the photo transfer techniques i learned of from artist anne brodersen. we try out someone else's style or technique in order to get a feel for it. copying something is a way of learning, as well as a sort of homage to someone whose work you admire. such copies, i look upon as experiments and not by any means something i would put in my sadly neglected big cartel shop. they are but a step on the road towards something else, something my own, but i sense they are an essential step of sorts, even tho' i don't yet know where they're taking me.

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here's the deal, people, swatch watches from the 90s are not vintage. 
i don't give a rat's ass what etsy says.

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the d boards on pinterest: down by the lakedown on the farmdrinkie poo.


celkalee said...

Some time ago, when I started reading blogs, (several years behind the populace I might add) I discovered this interesting, thought provoking and creative expat who called herself Julochka. More introspective than most, she fed my personal need for broader vision, an international perspective and a sense of finding oneself in our own world while exploring the boundaries of the same. I always looked forward to her posts. Now, I sense a personal turning point in her work that rather seems to be going full circle, returning to the basis of her spirit. Nice to meet you.

Molly said...

It's my book of the year and I'm not seeing anything on the horizon to rival it in the next 6 weeks.
Lovely thoughts as always J!