Kicking and Screaming

Chalk it up to lessons learned –

-As an aside, I learn many lessons. This is because I am a forgetful person: you know, the annoying type that you have to remind over and over of things, or that in the midst of a conversation are suddenly staring off into space? Here I stand. –

Today I discovered, yet again, that old truth about inspiration – about the act of creation, really.

It does not always come easily.

I know this. But I’m one of what seems to be the lucky few – the ones for whom creating is usually a joyous outpouring. Most of the time, I can’t type fast enough to keep up with the words. Do I type a great deal of truly horrific things?

Yes. And no, I have no shame.

However, sometimes I feel empty.

I’ve learned in the past that at times, silence is required. I’ll tell you about it sometime.

But I’ve learned, too, that sometimes silence requires some poking and prodding – it can be uninspired laziness in disguise. And the best way to divest yourself of it?

Well, that changes from time to time, but it almost always has to do with an open computer, or a paint-laden brush, or tied-on pointe shoes. It has to do with perusing old work and fixing small errors, typing up handwritten things that didn’t make it to the computer, gazing at pictures.

Preparing for rain, as they say.

My words were bruised, a bit worse for the wear – but they’re still there. Your gift is still there, too. Make sure you’re ready when it comes again.

 

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The Eyes of the World are Watching

And it’s on with the show that never ends,

Instead of living they’ll be entertained.

It’s the fame and fortune, the next big thing,

Because the eyes of the world are watching.

 

They’re full of joy and holiday cheer,

But the beast in him demands release.

A trip to the mall, “be back in a bit”.

And the eyes of the world were watching.

 

In quiet peace she had spent her days,

But they had to have their fun.

A moment’s folly, a final choice,

Because the eyes of the world were watching.

 

In the morning rush they said goodbye,

Never dreaming it might be their last.

The thunder of death, innocence lost,

And the eyes of the world were watching.

 

But now it’s on with the song and dance,

Many words but more empty hearts.

The world spins swiftly, they scramble to please,

Because the eyes of the world are watching.

And We’re Drowning in the Deep

Remember how I said that Wednesday and Thursday were hard to be inspired? Ditto. Can you ditto yourself? I’m going with yes.

It’s been a rough week around here – I feel distinctly uncreative. To my left is a mound of unread articles for a memo I need to write, and to my right is pill bottles and a table shoved to the side to make room for my spasms, which have been of epic intensity this week.

And yet. I think I just need to remember, sometimes, that life itself is a creative process. We are more than what happens to, or around, or even within us. We can trust. We can hope. We can believe. And whether in pain or in joy, we create.

With that in mind, this week’s creativity roundup:

Image

Both you, and your characters, or whatever your art is, can begin again – and again, if necessary.

Next: 

I’m on my iPad and can’t figure out how to make that a link ( this is what’s commonly known as mad skill, folks) however, it is Casting Crowns O Come, O Come Emmanuel, and it is absolutely stunning.

And finally, if you just want wings to fly away:

 

 

Image

 

 

Live inspired. You just have your “one wild and precious life” – live, and create.

 

 

Growing Things

Time, I believe, is much more relative than we think.

Moments can stretch, cling, expand until that one Moment looms in our memory, inescapably so.

Sometimes days are like rushing water, each one flowing into the other until they are inseparably bound and the past, your past, is a series of indistinct impressions and intermingled sound.

I believe that art – that music, dance, drawing, sculpting, painting, writing, all these things – is the only way to mark the passage of time – time in the world, and time in our lives. I looked through my old files today, and came across a piece I wrote on 12/10/2011. It’s a tiny piece of a story I was writing at the time, a little tiny memoir story, of the night my father and I watched the eclipse.

“Sure is amazing though.” I say, following him in and locking the door behind me.  I take off my load of outside clothes and pause at the window.  The moon looks at me, half hidden in the veil of something darker than night.  Saturn appears to wink at me as it flickers through the branches of the winter-skeletal maple tree.  I notice I am not hiccupping anymore, and I know that sliver of time with nothing but years and space between me and the moon was enough.  The taste of universe was sufficient to calm my cold familiarity with earthly things.  I crunch a handful of popcorn and look absently at the way the flickering lights of the fireplace dance against the walls, and I wonder what happens to the light that goes out through the windows and does not hit anything but goes on forever.  I stand near the wall and see my shadow, I stand in front of the window and I am gone.  For a moment I feel myself flicker, not entirely here or gone; like the moon I exist in two worlds, here and so far away as to be make believe.  Voices rise from the kitchen in dispute.  The breath of the incomprehensible has vanished, now I am of the earth and the moon is of the mystery that is heaven.  I glance once more at the veiled glow of the winter-white moon. The face of the man in the moon is covered in deep darkness, but his silvery heart glimmers through.  I turn and go into the rest of the house, the last of the salty popcorn tingling on my tongue.

I don’t think it’s horrendous – personal bias poking it’s indecent little face out. It almost comes close to what I meant to say, it’s sort of there – but it’s also so far from perfect that I hesitated showing it to you.

I then pulled up my Nano novel from this year, finished 11/30/2012.

 

Dimly she was aware of her fingers and her bow arm, but they alone remained, all else was washed in an unbearable light like nothing Penny had ever known. Her own sins, her own shame were utterly removed, and somehow the music became everything – life, breath, being. She felt the melody change, no longer a song of passing but of something new.

A high, thin ribbon through it like sun on tree leaves, the essence of sap and air running through the bark and veins deep in the wood. The notes were a thread of otherworldly power, weaving in and out through the sprightly line above and weaving together a tapestry of new beginnings, the sense of something becoming.

Below the high notes something deep and firm rang out, something that beckoned. The harmony called out, told Penny all was well, all would be well, no mourning, no sorrow. The notes built, faster, melody and harmony becoming a single wondrous unity of song and summoning. Even her fingers and the violin itself had disappeared, the music was everything and it was something far, far beyond Penny.

As swiftly as it had begun it passed, departed from her with a leap of the bow and a flourish of her fingers. Penny’s eyes flew open as she stumbled back against the wall, overcome. She felt whole in a way she had not – ever. She would have never known such a completeness, a sense of being washed clean, was possible, wouldn’t have even known she felt unclean or broken, if she had not been feeling something entirely different now.

Then she became aware of the scene before her. The Lady Rivah was not dead.

Lady Rivah’s wide eyes were fixed on her as her hand pressed firmly above her chest. There was no wound. There was no blood.

It was as though nothing had ever happened.

It’s strange, indeed, how the same theme, in essence, is running through both pieces – that of something larger, something beyond – but the ideas are expressed so differently. I still think my writing needs massive amounts of work (please, please remember this is my Nano – not one whit of editing involved!) but there’s also growth there, an ability to express ideas and a manner of expressing them that wasn’t present a year ago.

Mark the passage of time. You’ll be amazed by what you find.

What We’re Searching For

I seem to find Wednesday and Thursday the hardest in finding inspiration. I can’t say why really – maybe it’s because they’re just the middle. Monday means new

things, good things…Friday means the start of the weekend. The weekend is blessed in itself. The other three days…they just feel like filler sometimes.

Nevermore.

I’ve decided that Wednesday-ish will be my day to post bits of things I’ve found

around that have inspired me in some way, in hopes that they will help you as well.

It may interest you to know that the start of this brilliant idea was me trying to

mesh Wednesday and Thursday together into a neat name – and realizing all that would do is give me Thursday or Wednesday.

Hopefully the words and images themselves are a bit more useful than the

thoughts that started the idea.

Here’s to being not the observers, but the creators – of

seaskystars

Other worlds,

veil

Veiled strangers,

crimson tide

Places with blood red tides,

shoes

and fairy shoes containing tiny gifts,

villain quotes

And villains – who might be lurking in the best of us.

Best of luck with your creating today.

 

The Muse in the Crochet Hook

Where does your muse lurk?

Mine pops out in the most unexpected of places – in my vacuum as I run it, not in lines like real adults do, but in circles that could make someone believe in aliens.

Sometimes it slides out of my piano when I run my fingers over the keys in a clumsy rendition of Chopin. Other times it brightens my eyes in peppermint creamer in my coffee, or shyly blinks out at me in a misty sunrise.

It is, at times, even found in the winding of the yarn around my crochet hook – even if all it results in is a massive knot a child would be ashamed to wear.

My muse has been fleeting lately, texting rather than stopping by for tea and a chat. I’ve been having the most random thoughts and sparks of imagination, from fairy tales to interwoven time and space to, dare I say it…vampires.

Please don’t be offended if you write paranormal things, I’ve just read a few truly terrible ones that turned me off the genre entirely, and yet, for whatever reason Dear Muse left a plot on my doorstep that I can’t seem to flee. She’s also dropped fairies, prophecies, and a plot about a boy on track to shoot up his school – and the DD boy he befriends.

What in heavens name am I supposed to do with these things?

Haven’t the foggiest. I guess I’ll see what the crochet hook has to say.

With Deepest Satisfaction

And with that, ladies and gentlemen, we find that Nano is over!

Did you participate – if you did, did you win?

My Nano story began with a name.

It was midnight Nov. 1. I came to a sudden realization – I didn’t want to write according to the plan. I had an outline, very generalized. I had character names, a few drops of back story – certainly enough to go on.

But it had been a horrible day, horrendous week really…and all of the sudden, sitting on my couch that late night, I realized I wanted to escape it all. I wanted to do something entirely out of the ordinary, beyond everything I’d ever done.

So I logged onto the internet. I clicked on one of the ideas boards on the Nano website – and the first name I found was Padgett.

So, at 12:07 am Nov. 1, I opened a word document and typed the following sentence – “Padgett McClane was taking out the trash on the day the sky fell.”

And that, friends, was the beginning of a wild, one month, 51,365 word journey. I have now written my first fantasy novel, and I’m even just the slightest bit proud of it – and on top of that, I have found it is only the beginning of what will potentially be a three book series.

It was glorious. It was terrifying. I had nothing – just a name, no plot, no words, nothing but the gumption to try and fail miserably.

But I’m not entirely sorry it’s over either. Christmas is here – a time for hope, for relaxing, for knitting and coffee and talking for hours with far-away friends. I feel  a time of silence coming on, a time to refill the rich wells of words within me. It’s awfully hard, you see, to write without doing much living.

I don’t know where you may be in a creative endeavor, whether it be drawing, photography, dance, writing, design, decorating, cooking, teaching, or finding the beauty in your life. If you’ve only just begun, persevere.

If, though, you’ve been trying, battling to make it come, and it has not, remember – sometimes the harder you try, the more you remain still. Perhaps, then, it is best to enjoy the stillness. And rest, in satisfaction