What do you do to take care of yourself and your creativity?

It’s a crazy time. I want to focus on cartooning, art, and the creative process in this blog, but “the job” and other things in life interfere so much, that maybe I’ll loosen up my own rule. It’s finals time, so I’ve got piles and piles of essays to read. The way I get through them and other tasks that I’d prefer not to do is to set a goal (ten essays, let’s say) and then a reward (work on the blog, for example). The situation at City College is so tragic and stressful, and it IS related to creativity because up until this year, City College has been a place where creativity has been allowed and encouraged—not just in the classroom—but beyond. For one thing, I’ve had the privilege and the freedom to write whatever I want (within reason) in Union Action (and before that The ESLetter). What an amazing thing to be able to do “on the side” at work. With our wonderful publication City Currents under threat, it makes me wonder about the future of my cartoon. In the Bush era, I did not sign my anti-Bush cartoons. I didn’t want the government to have my name. But the paranoia I felt then is nothing compared to the paranoia I feel under the current administration at City College.

On a positive note, creativity and art seem not only to survive, but to thrive in times of oppression and duress. Art is a life force that cannot be contained or controlled. Yesterday, I sold my “stuff” at the East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest. What a wild and crazy cauldron of creativity that event was. It was packed. Anyone can self-publish and sell or give away their creative work at an event like that. And these events are growing in number and popularity.

Also, a friend told me to ask other people at City College (or in any stressful job, I suppose, which would cover pretty much everyone) what they do to take care of themselves in the midst of this crisis. So I’ll put that question out there. What do you do to take care of yourself and your creativity?