Kim McMechan is a poet, singer-songwriter and freelance writer from Kelowna, BC, Canada. She is the mother of two girls, ages 6 and 3, and her creative work reflects the landscape of her life, which means she writes a lot about the grocery store and being tired. No, really. Check out her fantastic voice and excellent songs at www.myspace.com/kimmcmechan and www.kimmcmechan.com/sblog. And! I have her CD, Little Grey House, to give away to one lucky person who leaves a comment (or Tweets it, or emails it) telling me your all-time favorite song lyric. (Winner will be chosen at random--I'm just nosy, okay?)
1. In the context of your work, which bits of minutiae matter most?
In my creative work as a songwriter and writer, it's the daily few hours of showing up to get something down that matter most. There's a part of me that is always trying to make everything HUGE and BIG, and when I do this, I lose sight of the small steps and get really disoriented. It's been starting to sink in the past few years that if I show up to write or work on music today, I'll do it tomorrow and the next and the next. But if I spend today procrastinating, it could turn into a lifetime. So I try to stay very shortsighted about my work, and trust that it will add up to the bigger things that I want to achieve.
2. Which bits matter least?
I think the projecting about the future matters least. Maybe I just feel this way because I've spent the past year trying to plot a path, and every day something changed--my vision, my desire, or my opportunities. It drove me crazy! I did this because others were always asking me to describe my goals and my business plan and I doubted my own process. Now that I've done that for awhile and have seen that it's not a very nourishing way for me, I'm reverting to what works. And that is spending a little time planning, and the bulk of the time getting songs and writing done and trusting the momentum of my own creativity.
3. In the context of your life, what types of minutiae once seemed important, but have since fallen by the wayside? Why?
I once spent a lot of energy trying to ensure I was being impressive. I've stopped caring about that and now just want to give birth to whatever is in my heart. I'm not so attached to outcome anymore, and Lordy, is it a relief. Also: organization. I wish I'd known earlier about how there's different personality types in regards to organization. I'm the type that has to SEE everything or it doesn't exist. But I used to try to put it all into different folders and binders and boxes. Then I'd forget what I was working on. A few years ago I just said "screw it!" and started taping things to my walls. Now I have 3 bulletin boards above my workspace and about 30 pages of things laid out across my desk. I don't care if someone else would consider it chaos. To me, it is perfect order. When I have my few hours of creative time in a day, I can scan my stuff, and start working on whatever pulls at me. I work best in creative bursts, so this system has been a lifesaver, because it supports those bursts.
4. What types of minutiae, if any, have you had to train yourself to pay closer attention to?
Money has been a big one for me. I like doing the creative part of work, but getting it into the world - promotion, sales, writing press releases - has always been a little more draining for me. I'm learning to love that part and honor it as necessary. That's still a work in progress. Also, I'm prone to being overwhelmed, and I've had to train myself to focus, fully, on one thing at a time. Lately, I set the timer and tell myself: you only have to work on this for half an hour and then you can switch gears. I have so many things I want to do sometimes, that when I am working on something, I'm only half there, the other part of me worrying that I should be over there working on the other thing. It's really annoying. So I'm trying to rewire my brain on that one.
5. Just for kicks -- what are your favorite bits of minutiae (personal, from a book, a piece of music, moment in a movie, etc.)?
I bawl my head off at the end of Once, when he gives her the piano, and the camera pans out and you see her, in her appartment, playing her piano with her little girl beside her. It's so achingly real, especially since I sometimes fall into the trap of feeling confined in my creativity because I have 2 children. Also, I LOVE The Secret Life of Bees, and think about this one part almost every day: The beekeeper ladies tell the girl that if you "send the bees love", you won't get stung. I've been trying to do this in my life - send the hard parts love, and maybe it's coincidence, but I find that things turn out much better when I do this.
Thank you, Kim!