I recently have taken part in a project for people with ME/CFS. For details look at www.creativeforasecond.com. This site has information on the original project and also if you click on the link to the blog the details of the new project are there, called: Creative for a second… or TWO! If you want to join in i think there is still time.

The project is a journal-based project, and there are 5 journals circling the globe! Each has a list of participants and each person has two weeks to do something in their journal, then they send it on to the next person. Simple!

Here is what i did:

I was so happy to be part of the project and it gave me a huge sense of satisfaction that i was able to do this art work. The week the journal arrived i was not feeling too bad and i managed to work on it for a couple of days, maybe an hour or two each day, then i was not able to do more for a couple more days, then i finished it later in the week. The week after i felt really much more unwell and i was so grateful that the timing was right and i created two pages i was happy with. It really made my hands and arms ache from tracing the tree (i had to practice how i was going to paint in as i did it directly into the journal, so i had to do a few copies) and just sitting at the desk had a negative affect on my back pain, but i could not take the smile from my face while i was planning it and working on it. It is the first work-like thing i have done for years (not really like work, but something with a deadline and being part of a project is kind of like work – certainly work i would like to do!) and it felt like a big achievement. The pages will be exhibited at the end of the project for ME Awareness Day in 2011 in Australia, so i wanted to do my best!

The other way that is was good timing it that i was able to work on the journal in my “Creative Room”. There is a small room in our house where i have kept all my creative/office stuff and it had never been properly decorated since we moved in many years ago. There was nasty woodchip wallpaper that was literally hanging off the walls. When the paper was removed we realised it needed replastering and the whole process has taken a long time and a lot of effort, but it was finished just before the journal arrived. The room is transformed and i have managed to organise the storage much better so it feels bigger despite having a lot of stuff in there with me. I love it so much and hope that this is just the start of many more hours in there where i am able to be creative. It means to much to me and gives me such pleasure but it is hard to find the time/energy and last year was particularly unproductive. I think the Creative for a Second project has shown me that i can make space for art/creativity if i organise myself, prioritize it more and seize the opportunities when i am feeling well enough. I hope i can make things happen in this lovely room.

I am so lucky to have this space, away from other distractions where i can shut myself off and concentrate. I hope to find ways in my life/routines to use it more. I am so lucky that i am constantly having ideas and being inspired by things but i rarely actually DO anything or develop those ideas. I need to work on that. Apparently (according to Virginia Woolf) all a girl needs is “A Room of One’s Own”, so no excuse now is there?!