Reading deprivation week went something like this:
I cheated. A lot.
It was fairly easy to avoid the newspaper and magazines. The computer was harder; I snuck a couple of peeks at email, and I uploaded two photos to my flickr account. One day, I decided that if I had to read to be able to accomplish something creative, then it was okay. I wanted to take a sketch that I'd done of Chaplin two years ago and get it printed on fabric by Spoonflower. But that involved all kinds of knowledge I didn't have, from how to take black & white photos on my Canon, to Photoshop details, to the actual file uploading to Spoonflower. Reading was required, and I didn't hesitate to jump in. I honestly don't consider that cheating.
The most cheating involved television. I normally don't watch a lot of tv, but I quickly devolved into watching mediocre-to-awful kids' stuff with my son, and hockey games with my husband. (The one bright spot was watching the movie "Be Kind, Rewind," which has a lot to say about creativity.) My excuse would be, "I'm tired; I'll just sit on the couch for a few minutes." Some nights flew by while I was in front of the tube. I wasn't conscious of what I was doing until it was time to herd my son to bed, and only then would I realize what I'd done. And then my well-practiced guilt would kick in.
I am extraordinary at beating myself up, but I went easier on myself than I used to. I realized that this was an experiment, and perfection was (as usual) unattainable. In addition, I was disappointed that I didn't get as much creative work done as I had hoped, and I went into self-blame for a while. Once again, I had set myself up for failure and self-loathing. When I could be kind with myself, I could see that I'd done some good stuff. I hung up some family photos and art in the house. I took a lot of photos. I walked. I laughed. I worked on a couple of new projects:
(embroidery on a reverse applique t-shirt)
(a new plushie in progress)
I have nothing finished, but that wasn't the point of the week. The point was to be more conscious of the time- and soul-sucking habits in my life. And I think part of the experience was to become more accepting of myself. I want to watch hockey sometimes. If I can do that consciously, without going on to watch another 3 hours of tv afterwards, then I'm being true to myself. It's the unconscious stuff that's the death of me.
P.S. Thanks for all your comments this week, and thanks for cheering me on.