Seven Waves of Cascading Creativity

Today marks my completion of Week 3 of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. When I first began the book, the end of twelve weeks seemed as distant as the top of Cannon Mountain from the base of the Flume Gorge.

Yet, with a hop, skip, and a slowly flowing pen, three weeks briskly washed over me and then buoyed me forward with multiple waves of creativity.

Wave 1

Sprang forth from my decision to blog every day so that I could get in the habit of writing daily. On most days, I discovered that I had at least one interesting story I wanted to share, typically about something I learned, or my writing goals.

Wave 2

Bubbled up  a renewed urge to create cards. I have made home-made greeting cards in the past, but not in a long time. I used Gimp to create images with photographs and phrases that I invented and then made the products available through Zazzle. I made a card and a mousepad. I ordered both and the production was excellent.

For my Artist Date this week, I visited a Paper Source store and bought card making supplies. I completed a birthday card for a friend’s birthday.

Wave 3

Sparkled a desire to make unique jewelry. Before we moved to NY, I purchased a lot of supplies from a bead store where I used to work part-time. After the move, I was low on energy and preoccupied with my father’s failing health.

Since January, I have made two pairs of threaded, beaded earrings, a pendant, a necklace with the pendant, and a matching pair of earrings.

Wave 4

Rapidly heaved up a memory of an old love: reading and writing poetry. I borrowed and read some poems by Audre Lorde that inspired me to write a poem that I shared on my blog. I returned the book, but I plan to read some of the poetry I have in my possession and to get more.

Wave 5

Floated up a desire to add the timed, sense-focused writing exercises from the Pat Pattison book called Songwriting Without Boundaries. A few days ago, I rescued the book from my bookcase and have included it in my writing warmups for the day immediately after my morning pages. The segue works well, and I am enjoyed the feel of mastering the artful pull of quickly recalling numerous descriptive, sense-bound qualities within a set period of time.

Wave 6

Cracked open a new idea rivulet: a Pinspiration board. Yesterday, I purchased a large cork board to replace the tempered glass shelf above the creativity area of my L-shaped desk. I plan to hang up my 2014 Life Goals list, a list of bodily senses to remind myself to stay focused when I am writing, pictures of family and friends, cards I have received, beloved poems, and uniquely outlined or framed (made by me) inspirational quotes.

Wave 7

Overcame by a wave of realization that, when I look back to all the ways creativity has sprang up in my life since January 5, 2014, I feel inspired and happy from the crest of my own accomplishments.

Having the perspective of (at least) three weeks helped me identify all the creative grooves that have been reawakened in me simply by going with the flow of what I desire, i.e. writing and making art, and a determination to make that happen.

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Schedule Fits and Starts

Yesterday, I made lists of tasks I need to work on during the day and fun things I can do in the evenings. Today I got up, meditated, ate a light breakfast, wrote my morning pages, and did three timed writing exercises, all by 10am. Hurrah!

I learned about timed writing in my lyric and creative writing courses at Berklee Music Online. I am working through the book Songwriting Without Boundaries by Pat Pattison that I bought for a lyric writing course. Even if you do not write songs, you can still use most of this book to explore timed writing exercises. I highly recommend it.

I was so proud of myself. I got dressed to go to the gym, packed my bag, said good-bye to my mom, came back to my apartment to get something and saw a huge pile of kitty poop on the floor. Greaaaaat. After I cleaned up the mess, I drove to the gym, did my exercises, washed up quickly, and then came home. Lunch and a shower followed. More poop cleanup. Locked kitty in small room with litter box, water, and food that does not upset her digestive system. 2pm.

Enter panic attack. It’s 2 o’clock! I’m wasting time! I need to sit down and write! I need to job hunt! Luckily, my honey was working at home today so I talked to him about my feelings. I went from panic to sadness to wanting to cry. Panicking around deadlines has been a life-long challenge. At least, I am making the effort to break down the mental tape and take some deep breaths. Mark reminded me to think of my 6pm cut-off of work vs. play as guidelines, not strict deadlines. That cheered me up.

We ran errands and went to Starbucks. I searched online for part-time technical writing/editing jobs. The greater NYC market for technical writing is much different than the greater Boston area market for technical writing. New England has much better opportunities. Even Tarrytown, NY has a greater variety of technical writing jobs than NYC, which I find very strange. I had no idea Tarrytown, NY was such a technical writing haven.

Next week, I think I am going to schedule my gym time at the end of my work day on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Instead of stopping writing to go to the gym at 10am like I did today, I will write and job hunt straight through from 9am until 3:30pm. Then I will go to the gym, swim, come home, shower, and be ready for dinner by the time Mark gets home.

By going to the gym in the early evening, I will have at least 6 straight hours to write and/or job hunt. I find one larger working block to be much more satisfying than two smaller working blocks. I have enough activities to keep me busy and developing my writing for that whole time. I look forward to figuring out a solid schedule that works for me and my writing.

Week 7-Day 2-Expressed Identity

I have a confession: I have not enjoyed most of the first six weeks of my creative writing course. Until now.

I watched this week’s Introductory video in which Pat Pattison explains expressed identity. When you have two nouns and you compare/contrast them in the ways below, it’s important to choose two nouns that don’t make literal sense when compared; otherwise, what you have is a description. (Paraphrase from course materials). In short, you compare the two nouns in one of these three forms, otherwise known as ‘express identity’:

x = y
the x of y
y‘s x

In today’s writing, we were given ten pairs of nouns. I read each pair in each of the three forms and decided which one I would write.  I took these pairs, created two columns, and wrote the first five attributes that I associated with that noun. Beginning with the expressed identity I chose, I wrote a paragraph. I could only get through my first five pairs this evening. The second set of five noun pairs where the same words but reordered.  I will try to catch up tomorrow. At the very least, I will do five noun pairs from tomorrow’s given selection instead.

Week 7 – Day 2 – Expressed Identity or Noun on Noun Collisions

accountant/storm cloud

an accountant is a storm cloud

CPA

darkness

boring

threatening

April 15th

thunder

numbers

lightning

The IRS

gusts

An accountant is a boring storm cloud, full of cold air and heavy rains sheeting down in needle-thin lines on your tax return of easy living. Steadily pouring over each line item, an accountant blows financials gently forward via your W-2 and 1099. The accumulation drowns your hopes for recovery from your budgeting darkness. No lessening of your April 15th forecast, gloomy for the foreseeable future.

football coach/violin

a football coach is a violin

sport

strings

helmet

symphony

rushing

instrument

Graceful loser

Stradivarius

encouragement

music

A football coach is a violin, conducting his sporty orchestra in swelling crescendos to their first-string victories. The sweet sounds of fans clapping, parents singing out to their children, and the musical stress of a spiking football. The best football coaches are instruments of practice, play the leading grace notes in loss, and provide symphonic encouragement to all team members.

kite/ballet dancer

the ballet dancer of kites

Swan Lake

kites

Prima ballerina

flying

Tchaikovsky

March

Tiptoes, on pointe

Twigs + paper bag

Pirouette

caught

The ballet dancer of kites is dressed in rainbow silk, golden rods, and tightened with a belt of ecru twine that stretches down to your fingers. Gaily flying through the air, your Prima Ballerina sways back and forth in skillful arcs, aided by a gusty toss from March winds.  Bourgeois twigs and roughly hewn paper bags spectate in awe, their Swan Lake audition as wispy and far away as the clouds born high above the earth.

love letter/moon

moon’s love letter

Crescent, full, half, sliver

handwriting

Tides

Hand-made paper

Ebb, neap

Pen, ink

Glow

Swoops

Night

Ink drops

The moon’s love letter whispers silver words in a bold spotlight of hope onto the inky landscape of your heart. Black trails of longing that mark the corners of your soul ebb away as you read each glowing desire on the handmade paper. Perfume tides wash upwards into your nose as you drink the floral aromas that rush into your lungs and bury your worries at sea.

shame/quilt

quilt’s shame

embarrassment

Knitting

Fear

Wool, thread

punishment

covers

humiliated

heavy

fearful

decorative

The quilt’s shame unraveled itself embarrassingly, caught on the punishing edge of your 1850’s antique wooden chest, after you yanked it mightily out into service for your winter cover. Decorative blushes of reds and pinks fearfully crisscross with retiring spring flowers, a complex humiliation of the quilt’s psychology.

Week 6 – Metaphor Collisions – Nouns + Verbs

The introductory video from Pat Pattison for Week 6 of my BerkleeMusic.com course entitled, “Creative Writing: Finding Your Voice” introduced us to the concept of pairing nouns + verbs in interesting combinations. Some of that has already expressed itself in my writing; however, we haven’t been focusing on that. Now, we are. For example, pairing ‘funeral’ with ‘exhaled’:

‘The funeral exhaled the stench of greedy family…’ ~Andrea Stolpe

or

‘The tsnunami exhaled the funeral onto the beach….’  ~Chanelle Davis

Tomorrow we start with various noun + verb combinations. I’ll try my hand at the funeral/exhaled noun/verb pairing.

The funeral exhaled its mourners out in a wispy line like a trail of smoke that snaked its way to the burial mound.

Metaphor Collisions-Adjectives/Nouns-Pt1

First, I’d like to state that, except for my exercises, the material presented here is copyrighted by BerkleeMusic and Pat Pattison.

This week, we’re exploring metaphor; this is one thing represents another and, in doing so, creates new imagery. Our exercise is to creates a sentence or short paragraph given five adjective-noun combinations.

Tangled/Heart
Susan left me. Alone. My lips trembled. Our tangled hearts resonated in the air far after the last string was plucked. Sweet leg-buckling kisses gave way to silence.
Bumpy/Wallet
The bumpy wallet opens and tumbles its contents onto the granite countertop. Bills and coins spill out like intestines out of a stomach. Silver rounds clink and jump like an erratic heartbeat. Scrambled eggs steam.
Dusty/Hope
In the ghost town of your love, my dusty hope stirs up sand. Everything covered in tan specks. I gasp and choke on it. Wind blows away what’s left of me.
Bewildered/Sleep
Your bags are packed. Paperwork flutters by, then disappears. My bewildered sleep leaves me wet and in a twist of sheets. Your scent on cotton flowers. Your voice rouses me. I reach. Emptiness.
Jealous/Stars
The jealous stars will not let me sleep. Their blaze burns into my mind. I ache with fever. I taste metal. They mock me with light. I rotate like they do.

Get ready for metaphor!

Today is the beginning of Week 5 of my creative writing course through BerkleeMusic called ‘Creative Writing: Finding Your Voice’. The course is co-created by Pat Pattison and Caroline Harvey. Ms. Harvey teaches the class, as well.

The first four weeks focused on different prompts for writing: what, who, when, and where. Through 5 days of writing prompts, we honed our writing skills, gave feedback to the other students, and received feedback from both students and teacher.

This week begins four weeks of working with metaphors. I love starting new activities! Ironically, I have not gotten into the material yet. Tomorrow, I will dive in, like a human arrow that dives into a crisp, clean pool. Okay, technically, that’s an analogy. See? I do need help.

Need an idea for object writing? Visit http://www.objectwriting.com/

Daily Object Writing

I’m taking a online writing course at Berkleemusic.com called ‘Creative Writing: Finding Your Voice’. The class is a first-of-its-kind course developed by Pat Pattison, codeveloped and taught by Caroline Harvey.

Five days a week, we are given three timed writing exercises (5 minutes, 10 minutes, 90 seconds), each with its own theme and requirements. These exercises are called ‘object writing’, similar to the types of exercises that Natalie Goldberg writes about in ‘Writing Down the Bones’, because you pick something, anything, and write about it.

Your goal is to write and write every day. The more you do it, the better and easier it gets. Three weeks into the course, I’m gaining confidence. The point is not to have a polished writing, but just to write and write from the senses, as much as possible.

Today’s writing goals: Include sense-bound writing (sight, sound, touch, taste, feel, body (how it feels inside), and kinesthetic (motion, dizziness, etc); include past, present, & future tense; from the point of view (POV) of direct address (You see a ship, etc.)

Object Writing: First Kiss (5 minutes)

So your first kiss was in the basement of a Allston, MA house who residents were Alpha Kappa members, throwing a party for their Providence, RI members?  The smell of beer and vomit mingled like a wasted college-kid’s parfum & a sour smell forced your mouth downward in displeasure. Your head was spinning, music blaring in your ears, your heart beating in your chest. Light is on the lowest setting that your eyes can make out. What do you see? Your man grabs you, throws you up against the chimney, grinds himself into you. You are hot sweaty and a thought threw itself in your face like a bucket of cold water.  Barely getting your mouth away in time, you fly upstairs, claiming illness. Will you burst through the front door, take in a huge, gasping gulp of air as if for the first time? How will you walk home? By yourself? Take a taxi. Imagine that you are flying through the air on a broom, eyes closed, flying straight into bed. Safe. Alone. Goodnight.

Object Writing: Spring Break (10 minutes)

Your plan for spring break was to go to the beach, maybe lay on your towel, smooth in coconut 4SPF suntan lotion on your solo bikini-clad body, and read the trashy vampire novel series ‘Twilight’ before the week was out. But that wasn’t how things went, did they? Instead of being by yourself, you were followed by a small group of strange men. They didn’t come too close to you, did they? No. Well, thank goodness. I know you like to pretend there is no danger at the beach but I tell you – there is! Anyway, I am glad they left you alone after you gave them one good, hard stare right back at them, the best you could manage, to let them know that you knew they were there. The backed away, the trio, shoulders huddled together, hands in front of their faces, whispering, all the while looking at you for as long as they could while trying to walk in the order direction. I know you tried not to laugh at how quickly their interest turned to catcalls and rude hand gestures. After that, you were sitting in the sun, soaking it in, like a sponge that grew for that one purpose. Your skin looks radiant and glowing. I see sand in your hair and a spot on your circus T-shirt that says, “Ice cream was here.” Now, after a shower, you will sit on your deck as the evening star comes out to play, a cool breeze blowing behind your ears and tickling them with hair wisps. The moon will reflect in your lime and tonic soda. The buzzing of crickets will ring in your ears. If you’re lucky, maybe even the peepers will come out. The smell of slightly wet night air will cool your nostrils, open them up to the aromas of evening: charcoal briquettes burning in the chiminea on your red slate patio, the scent of cooling grass still wet from a late evening watering, inhale the beauty of the outdoors for it will be yours if …. What? You have to go, you say? I’m sorry to hear it. When can we meet again? When the half-moon rises in the sky? Why, yes, that’s Saturday night. You’re busy? Washing your hair? Oh. Well, I. Oh. Well, should you decide that walking along Walden Pond’s perimeter, adequately sprayed with anti-mosquito spray, tickles your fancy, then.. Oh. Well, here’s my … No? Well, in that case, let me seduce you with this: cherry kisses, lime caresses, hazelnut songs of love. We will be each other’s desserts. Yumm….

Object Writing: Midnight (90 sec)

Blue black darkness spreads over your face, my love. The moon reflected its whiteness back into your eyes, glowing white orbs reminded me of eggs. The foul stench of eggs consumes you and you can think of nothing else, getting dizzy now. You blink and see the edge of your smile taunting us, like children taunting each other with names on a playground. I feel the cold. Wht