Monday #7: Flipping You The Bird

So, I know that the 52 Mondays Blog is usually a place to find positive, uplifting, inspirational stuff. I know that, when you come here, I’m usually peddling peace, love and happiness. And, I know that many of my most recent posts have been about the negative physical effects of frustration and anger. But, WOW! Last week’s post–which included a tutorial for my Cranky Birds–really got you guys going! Lots of good-hearted angst and crankiness came to my inbox all week as people cranked out their own cranky birds. It was awesome!

Here are just a few of the cranky contributions from you guys…

I especially love this one because S T U P I D is such a great word!! But, it’s a banned word, you know, and I have been told by many a school child that it is the “S-word.”

Cranky birds let us say the things we wish we could say out loud but don’t because it wouldn’t be nice or appropriate.

And, I’d have to agree…crankiness can be a great low-level constant, I think.

Did you miss the tooth fairy money drop? Feel like a crappy parent because of it? Been there. Just make up some crappy story or, better yet, get over it!

I even gave the Cranky Birds their very own Flickr Group where you can see more of the flock and post your own if you are so inclined. The Cranky Bird Tutorial will remain at the Cranky Bird blog site so that cranky sorts can get their cranky on whenever they feel the urge.

Then, because I’m sure that the Universe knows how much I believe in synchronicity, a newsletter that I subscribe to by Jill Badonsky appeared in my inbox this morning and guess what it was about? Darkness! Taking advantage of this month’s spooky vibe, Jill urges us to connect with our inner dark-side and, as the mother of the modern-day muses, reminds us of our dark-side muse, Shadow. I read her newsletter and felt almost like she was speaking to me and my flock of creative pals from this past week:

Do you have a secret world where you allow yourself to judge, complain, even growl for the benefit of developing characters, dimension, refreshed perspective, or writing that is honest? Or because you accept that we have a dark side because we are human thus freeing up the creative energy that might get used up trying to suppress what is considered undesirable?
Can you give life to images filled with the energy of the human drama?

Yeah, we can give life to the energy of human drama, can’t we? Squawk!

Yesterday afternoon, I got a surprise phone call from my friend, Carla Sonheim, the creative soul who really inspired me to invent the birds. It was nice because, even though we interact quite a bit online, we hadn’t spoken in kind of a long time and both of us have had a lot going on. I was in the kitchen rushing to get a potroast ready for last night’s company and throwing together a batch of lentil soup to simmer for the afternoon. I’d accomplished scant little of what I’d planned to and I was feeling sort of frazzled. I don’t know about you but I often feel rushed and overwhelmed by just about everything. Carla and I commiserated about all of the frantic, angsty stuff we have in our lives, chatted about future projects, shared some personal stories and, at the end of our hour-long convo, we made up a funny one-liner about people who are just too cheerful: How can you be so f*!#ing happy? Aren’t you in a state of crisis like the rest of us?!?!

And you know what? It was nice to grouse and complain with a good friend. That’s what the Cranky Birds are all about anyway. When I first started drawing them, I was worried that they might hurt my image as a children’s book creator and as a positive blog columnist. I avoided putting my name on them and kind of separated them from the rest of my work. I was concerned about how cranky they should be and whether they would offend some people. I’m still not sure about the answers to those concerns but I do feel certain that embracing the inner crank, the inner ugly bird, the dark-side Ms. Hyde, and all those nasty things that are swirling around in our psyches, all of this can be fodder for some of the most inspirational creativity there is.

Thank you, everyone, for playing along with me last week. Your cranky dark side was very uplifting. 🙂

TRY THIS WEEK: Be nice to your dark side.

About Dar Hosta James

I am an artist living in New Jersey. I write and illustrate children's books, paint, draw, blog, coach, teach and speak about creativity.
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