Category Archives: Creativity

Making Art and Obsessing Over Red Pandas

April 17, 2022

Creativity / Culture and Society

The other night, I told my partner MaxZine that his spirit animal was a red panda. Not knowing what one looked like, he said I was being ridiculous, and then I showed him a picture of one.

He did not disagree.

Of course, HOW COULD HE? They might be THE CUTEST furry animals on the planet, like ever. Ugh. SO. DAMN. CUTE.

My lock screen on my phone currently uses this image:

Apparently, this is how red pandas often sleep—slumped on their stomachs on a tree branch with their legs dangling away. CUTENESS OVERLOAD. I just can’t.

On a more sobering note, these adorable creatures are actually high up on the global endangered species list with less than 10,000 of them existing in the wild. A loss of natural habitat due to deforestation, an increase in human population, and various extenuating circumstances appear to be the cause of these diminishing returns. A concerted effort carried out by numerous zoos and wildlife agencies around the world to breed them in captivity is currently in motion.

When I am not fighting the urge to watch red panda videos on YouTube, I’ve been making art.

  1. Piano

Daily work continues on the piano. I am learning a Beethoven piece in addition to tweaking (and practicing) several of my own original songs. I am also working on my own interpretation of another classic Beethoven piece that I want to film for my channel.

2. Drawing

Over on “The Facebook” (aka the Zuckerberg evil empire), I have been posting weekly thankfulness posts. I draw something for which I am thankful, and then I post the drawing on my FB feed. Here are some behind-the-scenes photos of the proceedings from this last week’s drawing.

A pencil draft of the seahorse.

Brush pens for the win.

The finished drawing.

3. Photography

Since spring is now firmly upon us, I took my camera along on my walk the other day. There was no shortage of splendor to behold. Here are some photos from that lovely excursion:

A red dead nettle which is neither dead nor fully red.

I love the textures and patterns on tiny leaves.

The darling buds of spring

4. Video and Film

I spent a lot of time over the last week editing video for an event that I filmed recently. It will probably be released some time in late May or June, but I loved how it turned out. (More on that later.)

Lastly, I present to you a side-by-side comparison of my partner and a red panda. Of course, one does not need to look like a particular animal for it to be one’s spirit animal, but in this case, why the heck not?

Thanks for stopping by!

Roqué’s Sunday Book Review: Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch

July 4, 2021

Creativity / Reading Books / Roque Recommends

Director and auteur David Lynch is known for his iconic films and television shows such as Mulholland Drive and Twin Peaks. Imagine my surprise when a wonderful friend of mine gifted me with a book written by him. Catching the Big Fish is a collection of thoughts and extended musings about Lynch’s personal philosophies that guide his life. The book’s subtitle “Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity” pretty much sums up the cornerstones of these writings, but the picture he lays out is much broader.

Broken up into small one to two-page sections, the book maps out a primer on how to live a life that includes an expansive awareness of self and the world and an attunement toward persistent ideation. Lynch wants his readers to think about how meditation can be a gateway into a landscape of creative ideas, and he makes a compelling, albeit gently conveyed, case for this. He does so by using his own life as an example from his early days as a painter in the fine arts and through experiences developing ideas for films like Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, and others. 

For filmmakers like myself, gaining insight into his creative life is one of the best parts of this book. His body of work stands tall among the best in the business.  For everyone else looking to nurture a contemplative life rich with artistic fulfillment, Lynch offers plenty to ponder.

Here are the polka dot pros:

  • Easy to read. The short sections of this book make it much more accessible in terms of digesting Lynch’s ideas in smaller chunks. Even at a length of 180 pages, I could easily imagine finishing this in one long and luxurious sitting.  Nonetheless, this book is best enjoyed without the pressure of rushing through it. I took my time over three days, and I’m glad I did. I was able to let his ideas sink in as I read along.
  • Gentle writing style. There is a casual ease to the tone of this book. You won’t find any moral grandstanding or ultimatums here. Reading this felt like a conversation a person would have while sitting around at a pond and fishing. It is idyllic and sweet.
  • Insightful about Lynch’s work. If you are attracted to this book because you are a fan of Lynch’s films, this book does not disappoint. While it is far from an exhaustive exposé on his creative output, the kernels of what he does provide are quirky and amusing, and he links everything to how his meditation practice plays a foundational role in all of it. 

Perhaps this book would be more interesting to people who have seen Lynch’s movies, but as a case study of the effects of meditation on creative work, this book hits that mark easily. 

It is also such a delightful and thoughtfully conceived little book and is certainly worth the leisurely time it takes to read it. 


Staying Home Update #4

August 10, 2020

Creativity / Culture and Society / Reading Books

It’s been a minute since I’ve written about how I am actually doing as the Coronavirus continues to ravage the US. The obvious setbacks that we are all experiencing are ever-present in my life. I stay at home over 95% of my time, with the exception of getting groceries from the supermarket and the farmer’s market once a week as well as dropping off our household trash and recycling. This means that visiting friends and family, working on a film project with other people, or something as mundane as going to a movie theater to see a big-budget film are simply out of the question.

To delve deeper, I released a short film on my Youtube channel last month that conveys my emotional state since the lockdown began last March.

Here is “The Summer Inside”:

Yes, I am feeling all of what this film communicates, but beyond this low-grade, ongoing depression (and anxiety), my world has opened up in different ways:

  • I have had more time to devote to learning how to play a new musical instrument. Every day, I’ve been learning something new on my ukulele. I never thought that I would enjoy this so much!
  • I have had more time to make my films. As of today, I have filmed, edited, and released 18 short films on my Youtube channel since Easter back in April. I’ve lost count of how many hours of filming and editing this has taken up! I’ve learned so much, and I’ve become a more capable filmmaker in the process.
  • I have been working toward building a personal system of daily actions in my life that addresses self-care and what I need to cultivate for my creative work to keep growing. Specifically, I’ve been reframing my workflow and optimizing each step of the work that I do in the interest feeling healthier, stronger, and more fulfilled.
  • I have been exercising consistently every day. This reaps so many benefits.
  • I have been reading very good books.

As limiting as sheltering in place has been, I have carved out these small ways to keep developing my life. None of this is easy, by the way. All of the above has involved lots of trial and error, research, and fighting doubt, which is one of my longstanding foes.

Like the rest of the world, I have no idea when everything will return to being like it once was. Maybe the world has changed permanently, for better or worse, because of all this. I know that I will continue to nurture the small amount of good that is growing out of this experience. I want to figure out how I can sustain all of this even when Covid-19 someday settles down and the world starts to open back up again.

Until then, I will read my books, write for this blog, create my short films, meander daily on our long driveway in the woods at a slow but purposeful pace, play my piano, strum my ukulele, sing, enjoy fresh veggies from our garden, and keep myself and my loved ones as safe as I can.

Life, in whatever form, pushes forward. In my own way, I am doing the same.

Incidentally, my newest film release, which describes colonialism, is out right now. Have a look at it right here: