If First You Don’t Succeed, Renovate!

Why is it that we expect excellence right out of the gate with our creative hobbies? We seem to give ourselves one chance at a given event or story and that's it. Sure, we may update the albums storing our collections of pages, but how often do we give individual moments another go? How often do we give ourselves a chance to experiment, fail, and try something else when telling our stories? It's as if there is some unwritten, but clearly understood rule that you're supposed to embrace, accept, and let go of the story once the vignette (e.g., layout, slide, video) has been created.

Sure, the point that you can't dwell on a thing forever is something I get. Dwelling isn't healthy (at 14:30). However, I think we need a chance to find and develop our creativity, our ability to innovate, our style, and our voice. Which is why I've created a project for myself to revisit old vignettes.

I call the project Renovate and I've taken it on for a few reasons. Mostly, I want to:

  1. Replace my 12x12 albums with 8x10 photo books (for ease of use and more efficient storage)
  2. Honor the practice pieces (some that I love and others that I don't) through reflection and letting go
  3. Have another go (or two) at the stories
  4. Create and use my own artwork in my vignettes
  5. Innovate where I can (I've been thinking of alternate display ideas, too, not just the 8x10 photo books)

For example, there was a lot I appreciated about the following layout:

However, I wanted to make it a new size (8x10) and create my own digital "papers" as accents...

Creating my own digital paper gave me the opportunity to combine physical painting techniques with digital art—something that sends me right into flow. So, of course, I had a blast revisiting this story.

But here's the big surprise: Through this creative project I didn't just reflect on storytelling techniques, but on our lives and the journey so far. It's been 14 years since the chicken suit and so much has changed. As I consider this along with what's worked well for us and what hasn't over the past 14 years, I feel like I have this chance to make adjustments and calibrate. And, I can't help but wonder if the creative do-over—or memory keeping, in general—is one of the many paths we can take towards living a good life and living it well.

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