Category Archives: Biography

How to avoid suicide this week (Repeat)

Sunday – The Christian day of worship, not a good choice for deserting this plane of existence. Since time immemorial many believe suicides are consigned to hell. The consensus on that is it is a place of infernal fire and cruel everlasting punishment. It is also purportedly populated by Satan, devils, demons and other vile characters. Should you need some help imagining what those tormentors are like, catch a few episodes of Supernatural and see the trouble they cause Sam and Dean. Maybe if you weigh it out, you will find you sooner not leave an unpleasant life only to go somewhere worse.

Monday – Always a fun day when all the crap you left in the hope of enjoying a good weekend announces itself by punching you in the face and crunching allover your toes. It may appear a prime day for an exit, but fortunately, or no, you are so busy trying to catch up, doing damage control, and attempting to get ahead, that there is no time to escape. After the struggle, kick back, laugh at the battle, take advantage of the peace, and let the day slip into history.

Tuesday – Not a standout day as the week goes, but it has a few highlights. It is when the packages you ordered before the weekend usually arrive, and the day new book releases hit the stores, so you probably ought to choose a different day. You would not want to miss that book that taught you how to do more than merely exist nor the newest, latest, greatest thing you wanted because it can change your whole world. So take your tome and gadget, find a place you can forget the rest, and lose yourself in possibilities.

Wednesday – You have reached midweek, hump day, the weekend is in sight. Why leave when you anticipate relaxation ahead? Did I hear you release a deep sighing, “yeah, right?” I know, but there are cultural myths we all have to buy to lubricate the machine of society, so just go with it. Order a pizza or grill a steak or if you are on subsistence, cook up a pot of Ramen. Have a drink, not saying it has to be alcoholic though you might gather it is implied. Stream a comedy, or play your favorite album or three, find a someone and consider something momentous together. Wednesday is not a good day to desert the followers who will forget you in a week. You have to be here to fuel the engine.

Thursday – Nothing outstanding usually happens on Thursday, (except Thanksgiving, and if you can dredge up some gratitude, it might help you find some sliver of meaning to get you through, but I would not bet on it if you are buried in the barrel of monkeys on your back). Why would you want such an ignominious death day, we all want to go out in blazing glory, uh, yeah, please do not burn the house down, fire hurts. Go for a drive, or a bike ride, or walk the dog, put the cat in a box, call someone who may be as lonely as you, well, maybe not, but try to cheer both of you up. Belay, this is not the day to die.

Friday – Congratulations, you have gained the eve of the weekend. Time to party! Take yourself out to a restaurant where the screeching is limited and let someone else prepare, serve, and clean up after your meal; after your appetite is appeased go somewhere and watch people. Observe that there are others who are making their way through life, facing some of the same obstacles as yours, and each one is still in the game. Go home and do something creative. Bring a vision of your own into the world by writing, with photos, doing art, singing, laying out your outfit for tomorrow, or anything that comes to mind to entertain you. While you are at it, you might even forget you wish to die, after all, it is a sad scene.

Saturday – Wow! Day seven, you have survived! Give yourself a gold star, okay, silver if you prefer. Forget about the bottle of pills you fantasize about, that cold metal loaded gun, quit gauging whether the extension cord will hold your weight long enough to strangle you, or if you can stand the pain of carving yourself up, and all the other myriad ways you have devised to rob posterity of your presence. It is Saturday! There are sports on television, I guess, I watch such little tv, that I am not positive, but I think so. Someone put up a new video on YouTube which is must see. There are articles everyone will discuss Monday, in the paper, or maybe nowadays you have to watch the news to get the scoop, take CNN or Fox, matters not to me; watch the latest movie at the box office. Lose yourself in media and let the notion of self-destruction fade out of your moments. After all, tomorrow is another day.

Postscript – I wrote this in my “dump notebook,” which is where I put things I never intend to use. I thought about how this might help someone or open someone’s perspective. I solicited opinions with a teaser posting on Facebook, and some few responded that I should post. There were no adverse reactions, so you found this here.

I struggle with suicide, daily. Most times I am safe, it is just a thought. Others, I plan. Talking to someone, even though they have no idea they are pushing the possibility away, often helps reframe the situation and leads to choosing life. Life is a treasure, if we end it prematurely by our hand, we have deserted all the possibilities we have to excel and succeed. We have lost confidence in ourselves, others, love, and we have laid aside our courage and chosen to quit. We are winners, every one of us is precious. We would not be alive without we have a purpose, and it is not to kill ourselves.

If you are struggling with suicidal ideation, talk to someone, let someone know, give yourself and the universe the gift of getting help, you are not hopeless, and you are not alone. People love you, even people you have no idea care. Do not leave a void on the planet because you went without reason. If you die, you will cause such a magnitude of suffering you cannot imagine. Your family, your friends, every person you know will feel guilt, sadness, grief because you are gone. They will be unable to forgive themselves for not knowing your pain, not stopping the ending of your life.

Please, I know it hurts, I see the futility, the profound hopelessness, and uselessness, all those negative feelings that can assail a heart that no longer knows a reason to go on. The truth is you belong; you are loved, you have so much to share with the world. You are needed here. You can survive. You may have to change; change can be useful. You fell many times before you walked and you could call that failure, but you got up and tried again. One day you took off walking, and you never looked back. There are future successes ahead of you. The truth is no day is a good day to die. Keep going, you can achieve greatness, and it is your responsibility to do all you can. You got this. Never Give Up.

Should you need to talk anonymously, call the hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Do what you must to make yourself safe and keep doing it until you are free.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

Everything adds Creativity

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These things may date me, but I am not ashamed to have survived to the age of 54. There were times it was doubtful I would make it, and now there are days when the scythe comes very near.

Some early influences in my life were Crayola Crayons, the Sears Catalog, Instamatic Cameras, and writing by hand. You may wonder how these relate to creativity. I shall explain.

Becoming adept enough with my coloring and creative skills that I graduated to the 64 Box of Crayolas was a significant accomplishment. Money was tight, and the magic box was an expense my parents did not consider lightly. When I opened that box, it was as if the whole world opened up for me. I had names for colors beyond red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, black, and white. This has impacted my sense of color ever since. Of course, I am aware there are billions of colors and am blessed with the ability to see color beyond the normal range, but I still group them based on those 64 which I learned early, I think about age four or five. I classify all colors in families. This helps tremendously when I edit photographs, and on those rare occasions, I attempt to create art. My edgy sense of fashion color blending is often based on the crayon colors as well.

Liquid assets were scarce in my household growing up. At the time department store catalogs were sent out freely to those the stores hoped to beguile into purchasing their wares. My mother sometimes ordered my clothing from the Sears Catalog. Mom was never one who understood buying things in various places and putting them together as outfits. She would guide me through the catalog, and we would choose five to seven pieces grouped on a page which worked in a mix and match. I might, if the weather held for Dad to work, have two such ensembles per season along with a few jeans and shirts I picked independently. This enforced wardrobe gave me a background on combining separates. The crayons and catalogs gave me a basis by which to become adept at creating my own fashion statement. I rarely purchase all the pieces I use to create a look in one place. I pull things together according to my fickle mood. The lines, the color choices can be traced to childhood.

For those who are photographers, and are we not all these days, the art has changed dramatically since I began with a tiny Instamatic Film Camera. It almost seems I have been taking pictures forever, but I must have started around age five or six. The Polaroid with the sticky black and white film that you had to count exposure time, yeah, I remember that. Early on I learned to set and choose my shot with extreme care because the film was a luxury. Every picture had to count. I could not instantly see my capture. Getting the envelope back with the prints was always a highly anticipated occasion. It was fascinating because there might be fantastic shots or I might wish I had not wasted hard earned money on the photos. Even now, I typically take fewer pictures than most photographers with whom I am acquainted. I also rely on editing less than many. Somehow I am stuck in the mentality that it is essential to capture the photo the first time and best to do it nearly flawlessly. I fall short, but I try.

Writing by hand is something many of us are moving away from these days. I still enjoy putting pen to paper and doing my lines in near calligraphic cursive. I made my first books by hand, with writing and drawing of my own creation. Sadly these are lost. I have practiced writing obsessively almost all my life. I do not think I could long survive without getting my thoughts in a semi-permanent form. Ink on the page is a miraculous marvel to me. I collect pens, paper, notebooks, journals, was I not surrounded by these things I would fade into oblivion. I love technology. I have ridden its waves since 1991. However, something about print seems less ethereal and more concrete. I have tablets and e-readers, but books, they still hold my heart in a way a file cannot. I shall continue to write. Much of this and the previous entry were done in a cheap composition notebook with a rollerball pen. I call this particular book, my dump notebook. I am intimidated by my expensive journals, maybe one day I will be good enough to use them. Somehow, I doubt that occurrence.

Our lives, our roots, our experiences are a part of every creation we bring forth. Live your life thoroughly, so your creative repertoire continually evolves. As a prompt, take some time to examine early influences you are still using in your work and your life. These might be things, people, quotes, places, anything really. Honor these with a creative work.

Gratitude can lift the spirit on a cold Winter day. I am grateful that I spent this day mostly in joy. I do not invite the trouble of events of which I have no control into my life and am thankful for my peace and contentment. Try to find something for which you are grateful each day. It will help you deal with the disappointments which inevitably come.

Thank you for visiting Haphazard Creative. I hope something enlightened or entertained you while you were here. You may click the follow button, or come back soon.

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Be safe, be true, share whatever you can, and live life like it means the world because it does.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

Memory and creativity

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Here is a memory, exemplary of how the mind turns things over the years.

It is summer because Six Flags Over Georgia is a summer place when you are young. The great rides of later years are not in evidence, but the Great American Scream Machine is there and gives a startled thrill as it descends on what even now seems a rickety track. I have come here every year since the park’s opening, usually with parents, but now am old enough to have a Season Pass and come alone.

The draw today is not the rides, it is a concert, in the evening, one I have been anticipating for weeks. I wear a short nylon set of pale sky blue I put together from different stores, or maybe the same store at different times. I have a tank top with a circular collar and shorts that border on too short with a vinyl and material belt that came together. Mom lets me out of the house, so I must be decent. My hair is still blonde, but I could have already begun coloring it.

I get to the pavilion early, while the show is being set up, I want to be in a place where I can see. The star is a teenager like me, I follow him in Tiger Beat, with its bright arresting covers that I cannot pass up in the grocery store check out line. He comes out on stage to do a sound check, and I am enthralled seeing him alive. Our eyes meet across the distance, which is not far.

Somehow I move away from the stage, and then I feel a tap on my shoulder. He followed me, and I turn to face him. He asks if I would like to go for an ice cream after the show, and oh yes, I would. My father would be furious though because he says all rock stars are ruffians. He does not look bad, he seems like someone who could be my friend. My heart breaks a little, and I tell him no, my parents would not allow me to stay late.

Years pass that short set stays in a drawer long after I have outgrown that slim frame. I always wonder what might have been had I stepped out of my fear, my inhibition, that evening. If I had gone with that gorgeous blonde boy, who wanted to spend time with me. Maybe somehow, somewhere it happened, and both our paths were changed for the better. Could be.

 

When working with memories creatively, all the pieces do not have to be there. A little space where the color fades, fog descends, leaves room for imagination to fill in the spaces and make what is vague, transcend and come into focus with a clarity that to a reader, viewer, listener, seems more than real, even magic. Always play the magic, because that is where the story happens and the story is everything.

As a prompt, use a memory creatively to tell a story in whatever way you like. If it leads you off somewhere, chase it. Chasing the tale is magic.

Thank you for visiting, please come again and be safe out there.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

A little background

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I have been creating so much of my life that it is as basic to my survival as breath. It may sound precocious, but I began working creatively with art and writing at age three. As soon as my mother taught me to read, I begged to write. I am not sure I realized it then but know I soon knew that creative expression gave the power to communicate. I hope my skills have improved significantly over the 51 additional years I have spent working the crafts.

My first publishing credits were in elementary school newspapers on pink mimeographed pages with purple ink which I loved to smell. Part of an early effort that for some reason has stuck in my brain (which rarely contains anything I write after it is written) these many years, is:

Lonely Shadows

Lonely shadows
In the dark.

Lonely shadows
Do they stay?

Lonely shadows
Do they play,

In the mid
Midnight dark?

The whole thing was longer, but I guess it a blessing I forgot the most of it.

I wrote books by hand and illustrated them with pictures I created, drawing on paper, cutting out the image and pasting it on the page with my words. My first efforts were made with crayons and colored pencils. I was often scolded for wasting paper because if I made mistakes, I would start over on new pages. I have always had a sense of perfectionism. It is a hard thing to overcome.

I graduated to graphite and then ink pen. I still do a lot of writing by hand. When you practice penmanship as much as I have you feel obligated to use it at times. I am a pen collector extraordinaire. I have friends who are enamored of fountain pens, but somehow they always make a mess for me, so I use ballpoints, roller balls, and gel pens. I like the feel of ink moving across pages due to my hand. I sometimes use my scanner to import handwritten pages to the computer. When I can, I leave screens for a bit and get back to that primary sense of control.

I inherited the old typewriters that had come from my father’s years at seminary and my brother’s years in school. These clunky machines gave me output in print, but they were no joy to work with, and correction tape was at best an iffy thing. The innards would become tangled and cause frustration, and the keys required much finger strength to manipulate.

After begging for a computer for years, I bought my first one in 1991 while managing a convenience store. Since then, at times when I owned computers, writing has been a dream of ease. Much writing and almost every final draft are done with a keyboard on a screen.

Art was compelling to me in younger years, but periodically I drift away from it. To me, it seems to require much time-consuming commitment and effort to perfect. Writing is less demanding on me. I am attempting to rediscover my artistic skill, but it is likely to take a while.

I think I was six when I got my first camera. It was an Instamatic knock off, quite likely bought at Grants. In 1991, see a pattern here, aye, I got my first semi-professional camera. I tried a Cannon, and that did not work right. I had bought it at K-Mart. I took it back, and made a trip to Wolf Camera and bought a Nikon SLR. Let me tell you life was never quite the same from 1991 forward. I have taken beaucoups photographs since.

I have joined those elements in many ways over the years. In the nineties I desktop published a gray-scale magazine of art, photography, poetry, writing that was digest sized and went out to contributors the world over. I joined in on the blog craze at the beginning on MSN Spaces and have migrated that around. It can be found at Chronicles. I suppose it could be said that my creative focus, the heart of it all, is writing and publishing. I have designed works combining writing, art, and photography so often, I cannot quit. For the last year, my poetry and writing have been appearing in local magazines at times, and I have worked as a copy editor for those publications.

This is a new website but does not signify I am in any way new to the work. I wanted to start something new with the reasoning that it would be meant to encourage creativity. There have been many times had I not used the creative drive I might have given up, and we can as people can never give up. Creativity gives hope and ways to express the pain that lift us beyond it and bring us out of the darkness of despair into the light of love. Every day of our lives holds the opportunity to express our creative impulse and improve the world.

I hope you will be a part of the ongoing adventure. You may follow the website by clicking the button or just return often if it suits you better. I would not have posted my story, but I guessed some of you might want to know why I feel I can encourage and inspire you creatively. I do a great deal of reading on the subjects of creativity, genius, inspiration, writing, poetry, art, and photography and put much of the knowledge I gain to work. So rather than having to do all that yourself, you might pick up a few timely tips here and there.

Write something about your own creative journey and share it somehow. If you like leave it in a comment or on the contact page. You never know, what you share might help someone realize they can make their dreams reality.

Thank you for visiting Haphazard Creative, please come back when you are able. Keep a smile on your face, and you will find the world is a much happier place. Take care.

© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan