Discover more from Chronicles from afar
Finding my thing (again)
How to create and build in the liminal space?
Hello, my dearest readers,
Thank you so much for all the good words that you said to me about us getting a residency permit. I appreciate it a lot.
Being able to feel excitement about things is such a magical feeling. I missed it, I won’t lie. Despite the fact that we still are in the liminal space in-between, I am a bit more stable now. So I have some mental energy to think about what I am and what I want (and able) to do to develop my skills, perform and eventually get back to earning money.
Before moving here to the village I had very fulfilling and a bit draining full time job as a book art director at the publishing house. I would very much love to talk about it more to be honest. I learnt a ton while working as an art manager communicating with many artists. So if you have any questions about this type of job - roll them into the comment section. I already have at least 3 videos on my mind about book covers, tips for artists, etc. We made a decision that for us as a team and as a family (and for my sanity) it would be better if I take a long sabbatical. Because here we don’t have a luxury of daycare and because we don’t know how much hustle we will have to endure with bureaucracy. Also living in a village means no food delivery, no grocery delivery, no cleaning services and very dirty floor, because we live at earth level and always bring in some dust and earth in. Thinking about it, life in a big city was kinda more neat and efficient. But I am glad that I love living this new way as well.
Building every action around this little gentleman definitely makes me very inventive.
So what am I up to now?
I carefully started going “goal setting”, I kid you not.
So the goals are.
get back to YouTube
get back to sketching/drawing regularly
get back to reading a book on a daily basis
Let’s talk a bit more about each part of these mighty goals, shall we?
I am jumping straight into the YouTubing mode. I even signed myself up to a course.
Right after a sketchbook tour, I quickly uploaded my sketchbooking plans video follow up. And today I released a village vlog. This YouTube thing is growing on me. I realized how I missed it during the last year when first I was numb because of war horrors and then diving into the work process to escape from news.
I have a good lengthy list of 30 video ideas that sit on my Notion. I feel like I have a plan, a perspective and very careful desire to look into the future and build plans. I am very hesitant even talking about it. With videos I try to be as laid back as I can, I know that I cannot master a perfect video now, because I film, edit and upload while I mother a very active human being. And if I only do it when he sleeps, I just wont be able to produce any video. Also I follow my gut and my own watching experience, of what I love to watch and do.
The video below is the newest one and it is about how my life looks right now in the village. I will appreciate if you give it some love and likes, so my YouTubing endevor will be fruitious.
As you have seen in my sketchbook tour maybe, I did draw so little during last year. Now I feel that my life really is more dull when I don’t draw. I still want to develop my skills so I have more tools for my creative expression. I also want to draw letters more, as for the intense time of constant work on book covers, I thinned out my creative options. If a well was full, now it barely has a bit at the bottom.
Unfortunately, I have to accept a certain rustiness that appeared over the last year. But well, I accept it with humility. I worked with stunning artists over 2022 and now I sky full of bright stars to learn. A lot of them do fun-art from different fandoms, and it broke a stigma of fun art for me to be honest. Of course, there is a gray area of selling art based on other people IP (intellectual property), but I strongly believe now that the love for characters and imagined worlds becomes a driving passion for many artists to learn anatomy and color theory in a non-boring way. So I awkwardly think of trying out my own fanarts. Like flying anime heads level of vulnerability. Also I thought of… oh well, no, I better show it when I do it.
Spread from a sketchbook I recently finished.
Confession time here. I am one of those who were voracious reader before smartphones. End of confession. Also I used to commute to the office for one hour 5 days a week. I left office for the freelance path in 2012 and stopped using metro so often. And also it was a booming time of smartphones, when they actually were exciting and not scary.
I didn’t have a habit of reading at home and never built it. Needless to say, I almost stopped reading. Back at home in Moscow I had books on my shelves which I bought in 2014 and still they are sadly unread. It makes me very sad, because I know that reading is what grounds me, brings me joy or knowledge. But further and further on, it was harder to concentrate on reading. And again 2022 was pivotal, as I spent a good chunk of time doom scrolling instead of reading, or just being numb, and then I forced myself to work with books, hoping I can actually start reading more. It was my fantasy, alas I mostly had time for synopsis and important quotes from editors. But in my defenсe I will state that in 2022 I read the Choice and the Gift by Edith Eger which were absolutely beautiful but also scary books about Holocaust surviving and how to live after a shattering events (proud of the covers that I art directed for these two).
Sooo… back to the goal. I really want to read on a daily basis for at least 30 minutes or 1 hour. I don’t know how ambitious is that, but I will try. And I plan to do so, by keeping a book nearby me as often as possible and try developing a habit to change smartphone for a book when I catch this feeling of a void which I feel when I spend too much time on my phone. Do you often feel that you spend too much time on your smartphone? I definitely doo, close to addictive behavior maybe. I will try to reflect on that in one of future letters for sure.
It is time to say goodbye for now, as usualt below you fill find a small list of stuff I enjoyed the most lately.
thank you for reading me, take care and be safe,
What am I enjoying?
Somehow I did not know that there was a new instalment of The Secret Garden (2020). It got lost in-between weird pandemic times, I suppose. But it has Colin Firth in it, and also Julia Walters (Missis Weasley!). So it was a selling point, and I loved the visual style - very rich, saturated and full of ornament and pattern. I am not sure that I loved what changes were made in the fabric of a story. I didn’t really feel that it made it more rather then less. Book shows beautifully how a person changes and learns empathy. And this movie talks more about trauma of parents, showing too much of “vision” and “flashbacks”. It steals screentime from Mary herself and the Garden. Figure of the gardener was omitted completely and changed by a dog. Well… I know that the book feels very colonial and classist at some point, because it was published in 1911. But I do believe it could be reworked more elegantly. Which leads me to the next point.
I decided to re-read The Secret Garden, in English this time. I remember that I loved this story when I was a child, it felt haunted and sad and beautiful. I did not think that much about rich and poor, Britain and India politics, etc. I enjoyed reading about gardens, moors, robins, being a lonely girl. Back then I read it in Russian, of course, and I realised that I never did read an original version. This is what I am doing now before I go to sleep.
I finished Free by Lea Ypi yesterday, and I want to tell that this book spoke to me. I plan a letter on how I feel my identity now and I will try to weave review of this book there.
A friend of mine sent me this song, saying that she thought about me while listening. I decided that I would love to share it with you, as I quite liked the song myself.
I found this channel quite some time ago, it is mostly about rocks, from a geologist. I have very little knowledge in geology, but I am eager to know more.
Elegant essay on We by Evgeny Zamyatin from Jared Henderson, who does a YouTube channel about philosophy and fiction books that brings me a lot of joy and peace of mind.
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