Fostering Creativity – Part 6

Setting Boundaries

Something my husband and I have often discussed is how hard it was to have personal boundaries when growing up in a household with a lot of kids (he is one of twelve so he should know). As one of four kids I may not have had it so bad, but I still struggled with trying to establish an independent identity within a tight, at times dysfunctional, but mostly loving family dynamic.

When I was a little kid I was (like most American children at the time) a huge fan of the Monkees. I only got to experience the tail end of the Beatles just when they were breaking up—I went to see “Let it Be” in the movie theater when I was too little to really dig it. The older kids may have had who’s your favorite Beatle? , but we had a similar who’s your favorite Monkee? Not as cool, perhaps, but still….

While my sisters and my friends were swooning over Davy Jones, my favorite Monkee was Peter Tork. Like George Harrison, Peter Tork was the “spiritual” one, the sweet simpleton perhaps, but I could relate to him, plus he wore psychedelic banded collar jackets, and had his own personal guru.

1-luTI1FGmfGr6lDTzNB8oDQ.jpeg
Gosh, he was cute.

One clip I watched from the late 60’s (maybe in the film Head?  ) where Peter Tork said that he like to escape from the cheering crowds of adoring fans by wandering in the woods alone. I remember as a kid thinking to myself that Peter Tork really understood where I was coming from. It validated my own practice of escape.

Continue reading “Fostering Creativity – Part 6”
Advertisements

Fostering Creativity – Part 5

Finding Your Own Voice

I wrote a previous blog post (a bit tongue in cheek) a while back about my writing gurus. Since then, I read one of Derek Murphy’s books, the YA paranormal romance Shearwater. I left a pretty harsh review that may have inspired the author to record this video.

 

I have since taken down the review after watching this because I felt rather bad about it. I don’t like to throw negativity out in the world. If readers enjoy Mr. Murphy’s work that’s fine. Continue reading “Fostering Creativity – Part 5”

The Tao of Writing Gurus

The art and craft of writing seems to reside in different parts of the brain: the art for art’s sake side and the practical side. Now, I realize there is an enormous branch of philosophy dedicated to the deconstruction of binaries oppositions, but for the sake of simplicity I’m going with the  model I know. The devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other, the yin and yang, the two voices inside my head when I write. One, a wandering sensualist; the other, a strict disciplinarian with an eye on the bottom line. Both are essential to the creative process, at least if you want to achieve a certain level of success and I do. And although I certainly enjoy hanging out more with the former, I’ve grown to respect the latter. But it’s important to put both of them in their proper place.

I’m guessing that most of us writers spend our time in front of a computer working a little, playing a little (sometimes a little too much). Even the great George R.R. Martin admitted to Stephen King he was guilty of internet distractions, which is probably while we’re all still waiting for that damn book! When I need a break, I have my go-to guys, BookTubers usually (Peter Likes Books whom I loved even before he loved my book, Grumpy Andrew, and the Bald Book Geek)  and, of course, the “writing gurus” I stream for advice and inspiration. I’ve noticed that lately I’ve been gravitating toward two very different content creators: both offering opinions on the creative process from two diametrically opposed points of view. Continue reading “The Tao of Writing Gurus”

Fostering Creativity – Part 3

18620007_1503904546340409_7561042614485488183_n
Just play.

Nurture your sandbox

As much as I appreciate quiet, contemplative reflection for stoking the creative fires, there’s nothing like playing in the sandbox with a group of talented friends. This morning I read an article, that made me smile. The idea of free-range kids may be novel today, but it’s how this country girl was raised, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than romping in nature with my artsy pals.

In the above photo we are shooting a promo video for an upcoming, annual arts festival I’m hosting in June: Salon du Soleil. For a few hours some of the most creative people I know donned crazy costumes and ran around the park for a few hours. After such a fun experience I am reminded that I need to play more (I ain’t talking sports) and fret less. A quick google search reveals that “adult play” is a thing: oh Christ,  some kind of hipster, colored plastic ball-pit embarrassment.

Self-Judgments be damned!

Continue reading “Fostering Creativity – Part 3”

Fostering Creativity – Part 2

edwardgoreyparty
You don’t say…

Listen.

That’s a declarative, not an imperative sentence. At some point when I reached, ehem, maturity, I made a conscious decision to become a good listener. I’m not that much of a talker to begin with (well, maybe after a few glasses of wine…) and some people can certainly rattle on and on which can be extremely vexing as you try to ease them into a soft landing and make your escape, but I’ve found that being a good listener has had incredible benefits for me as a writer.

Everyone has a story.

In the current novel I’m writing, one of my main characters talks a lot. He talks a lot of bullshit in fact being something of a prevaricator, but he also reveals a lot: about the characters, about the overarching story, and in the midst of all the b.s. the clues to solving the mystery.  Agatha Christie often buried the solutions to her puzzles in the dialogue of her chattiest (and silliest) characters, and woe to the reader who skipped over those parts.  Continue reading “Fostering Creativity – Part 2”

Fostering Creativity – Part 1

I’ve had many careers (is it okay to use that word if you’ve made zero money at any of them?) Perhaps avocation is a more accurate description. In any event, I’ve done a lot of artsy stuff from acting, directing, and costume design in theatre to many levels of filmmaking and, most recently, to novel writing. I’m hoping that before I die I will dabble in abstract expressionist painting in my old age–that’s assuming I can still hold up a brush, but then I’ve always been an optimist. One constant in my life is creativity. I suppose I could say it’s my drug (drugs can kill, I’ve learned to temper my addiction). Over the years I’ve made some personal observations on the nature of creativity and what the best ways to foster it are. I’m happy to share them here…

A Walk in the Woods

Nothing cures my internet overload more than a quiet walk in nature. This isn’t news, but it helps to be reminded of how important it is to unplug, turn off the noise, and connect to a higher power. Like many Romantics before me, I find that in nature. Although walking with a friend is fun and that certainly has its place (nothing like the therapeutic walk n’ talk),  for fostering creativity the daily perambulation in quiet contemplation is essential and is best a solo endeavor. For those with limited mobility, even meditating outdoors for twenty minutes is invaluable. Try not to check your phone, or better yet leave it at home.

Of course, Stephen King’s daily walk got him nearly killed by a van, so do be careful. That being expressed, my favorite walks are the rambling, aimless ones.

Two roads diverged?

Here are a few highlights from my mid-day walk yesterday (yes, I brought my phone because I took a break from work and I had to time my return). I found this lovely little path. The weather was perfect. I turned off the noise in my brain and checked in to the happy sounds of chirping birds and branches swaying in the gentle breeze. After a long, wet winter, the sun felt so good on my skin I was instantly filled with quiet gladness. I felt a Buddha smile forming in the corners of my lips which remained throughout the day. My spiritual battery was charged. The following morning I still feel it.

IMG_1245

Continue reading “Fostering Creativity – Part 1”

The Storm

thetempestpreraphaelite.jpg
The Storm

by R. Saint Claire

Sheets of ocean pierced by Titans
Channeled on Leviathan's back,
Swells and lolls, crests and heightens,
Mounting Sky’s sulphuric crack.

In black, the mad widow divining
From the shore, among the wrack,
A golden sphere from her hand is shining,
Sparkling remnants of the heart she gave.
Tonight--at last her stars aligning--
She’ll lie within his watery grave.

Traci

traci.jpg

by R. Saint Claire

When Dudley Frank (Dud to everyone), a man thrice her age and the first friend she made when she moved to the city, offered Yvonne the keys to his summer home with a sympathetic pat on her hand, she accepted. They both agreed she needed a rest after what happened. Although she tried to keep it light when she told him over dinner that her broken engagement with Brent Harrington was a mutual decision (a bold-faced lie), she could tell by the way Dud’s eyes narrowed at the news that he was concerned, but also disappointed. He had come to regard them as a couple and was looking forward to helping Yvonne (parentless and without many friends) plan her wedding. As he signaled the waiter for the check, Dud reflected on how this remarkable creature sitting before him let slip through her manicured fingers the best catch in the city. He didn’t voice it, but the older man suspected he knew why. For all her stunning blond beauty, classic style, and good manners, there was something about the girl that was just off. Continue reading “Traci”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑