Posts Tagged ‘creative’

Writeolax is a non-toxic, all natural formula, guaranteed to break up writer’s block within 24 to 48 hours or your money back. Tell you doctor if you are allergic to new ideas or if you have taken another blockage relief product within the past 72 hours.

– Drive or operate a word processor until you know how Writeolax affects you. Writeolax can make you sleepy, dizzy or light headed.
– Drink whiskey or use products that contain alcohol. Using products containing alcohol during treatment with Writeolax may cause seizures that could cast you upon the shoals of uncontrollable and mostly incoherent ideas.

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Been out of circulation for awhile because I ended up in the hospital again. Turned out to be another bout with MERSA pneumonia. Was in for a week until they figured out what was wrong then they sent me home to a safer environment for someone who is immunocompromised like I am. Eight days on Zyvox (probably the most powerful and expensive antibiotic out there). I finished the course with this morning’s dose. Yeah!

Let’s not dwell on sick. How about a delicious smoothie recipe I’ve been working on. I drink two of these a day now, Mid day and evening (about 8 o’clock or so). The late smoothie keeps my hands out of the candy dish.

Super Protein Smoothie

– 8 oz. bottle chocolate Ensure or Boost (vanilla works too but I love choc.)
– 4 oz. plain organic yogurt
– 1 scoop Swanson goat milk whey protein
– 1 t. organic peanut butter
– 1/2 t. (approx.) organic coconut oil
– pinch nutmeg
– splash vanilla extract (the real thing)
– 1/3 to 1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries
– (opt) Barley Grass juice powder (try it, you won’t taste it)

Put all the ingredients into your nutra-bullet or other blender and buzz for about 45 seconds or so. Experiment. The yield is about 16 oz. and will give you about 26 grams of high quality protein and all the good stuff in blueberries. The green drink powder can be a nice bonus but it’s optional. Enjoy.

I’m back and hope to get some writing done and published. The twins were six years old Tuesday and we’re having a birthday party today. I’m taking my camera so wish me luck.

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466px-Yin_yang.svgWriting is difficult? Writing is easy? Yes it is.

“Easy gives rise to difficult … resonance harmonizes sound, after follows before.” — Lau Tzu

When the vessel is empty, fill it to overflowing. When the vessel is overflowing, distill the essence. — McD

Western thought is either/or, an artificial duality that, when focused on one aspect of some thing, excludes the other. When we write, Western thinking pits the right brain against the left in a war of control. Imagine right-brain and left-brain at opposite ends of a stick. Pick up that stick from either end and you hold both left and right in your hands. You can’t have one without the other.

The Tao embraces the interplay and dynamic unification of opposites. In the words of Carl Jung, “Our Western mind…has never yet devised a concept, not even a name for the union of opposites through the middle path, that most fundamental item of inward experience which could respectably be set against the Chinese concept of Tao.”

The Tao of writing then is the ebb and flow of right and left brain,
the interplay of intuition and rational thinking. Right brain feels and inspires but doesn’t know how to manipulate words, left brain calculates and arranges but is devoid of emotion.

The Tao of writing is a dance of partners, each taking the lead in turn, but always moving as one. Right brain (our dragon) pours forth inspiration and ideas whole while left brain (our inner critic) cooperates and guides our hand to fill the empty vessel. Later, our inner critic takes the lead to distill and arrange our ideas while our dragon helps us preserve the essence and the feeling of our words.

Writing is difficult. Writing is easy. Writing is both; and neither. Writing is a whirling dance and quiet contemplation. Writing is and — not or.

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If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The squirrel is alert, frozen and waiting. He (or she) is single minded and focused on the moment. Is this Zen? Maybe, but I came across this photo while browsing my collection and decided to “sneak” it in because I like it.

Yard scene IVSo what is the Zen of good enough and what does it have to do with creativity? Creativity is internal. The latest and greatest computer loaded with an all the bells and whistles word processor might make your writing easier (or it might get in your way instead). Tools are ancillary to the creative process. The most important tool is your vision. The technical tools you have are good enough as long as they support your vision.

A $3,000 digital camera (body only) might be capable of producing amazing photographs but only when filtered through the eye of the photographer. The photographer’s eye (and vision) are the real producers of great pictures, not the camera.

A writer’s creativity, not the tools they use, produces great writing.

Good enough can mean using the right tools at the right time. I started this article with the squirrel photo in mind. Instead of firing up my word processor, I sat here with a pad and my fountain pen scribbling ideas as they occurred to me. When the Aha moment hit me, I opened PyRoom, the minimalist text editor, and started writing. PyRoom is not only good enough, it’s better because it allows me to write without distractions.

Good enough can mean using the tools you have instead of stuff you covet but don’t have for one reason or another. I do all of my film scanning on my old windows computer because my scanner and photo editing tools are windows only. The film scanner manufacturer went out of the photography business a few years ago and the scanner is obsolete, but it’s good enough.

Believe it or not, I use an old CRT monitor I bought in 1995 for my photo editing after I scan. The screen is a bit small, but it still works. And the whole setup is good enough because it gives me all that matters — quality scans and good digital images from my film.

The Zen of good enough puts creativity first. Good enough doesn’t mean second best, it means using the best tool for the job. Many times that means using the simple solution, one that’s good enough. If you wait for the perfect tool, you end up frozen and waiting like the squirrel in the photo. Why wait when what you have is probably good enough.

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402px-Madeline_BreckinridgeI don’t know what I’m thinking until I write. I can’t remember who said that or if my remembering is even accurate. Writing has nothing to do with word processing, the eternal quest for the perfect editor or the latest megaflop — do everything faster — super computer. Technology is the enemy of writing, a simple quill pen is much better.

All writing begins in our minds. Writing is exploring and releasing our ideas onto the page. Writing (the real kind) is discovery. I’m not kidding about the quill pen either. When you write longhand, there’s a direct connection between your mind and your hand moving across the page. Barriers dissolve when I write with my fountain pen.

When you sit staring at a blank computer screen wondering what to write
and little or nothing going through your mind ends up on the screen, your thoughts and ideas can slip away forever. When you just write what’s on your mind and edit later, you will have too much and much of what you’ve written will be crap. But you will never lose any of your thoughts and the gems will be there for harvesting.

“But I might make mistakes” you say. I sure hope so. Your inner critic, that pain in the butt editor delights in pointing his or her finger and telling you what’s wrong even as you write (or try to). Your inner critic wants to play it safe.

Creativity isn’t safe, it’s risky. Your creative self, your dragon doesn’t understand the concept of mistake, only discovery and play. So called mistakes are how we learn and how we grow.

How will you know what you’re thinking
or how your ideas will pan out until you write uninhibited? Word processing is the enemy of writing because it stands in the way. Word processing is packaging, the antithesis of writing.

Do I want to write everything out longhand? Of course not. Longhand writing helps shake out the cobwebs and fuel the creative engine. Longhand is a beginning.

Writing is also rewriting,
the stage when you need the cooperation of both sides of your brain and the technology of a good editor or word processor. But only after you’ve given birth to your ideas.

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Trying to get the words out by brute force is like pounding on a bottle of cold ketchup. It never works. Warm up with some fun and the words will pour out faster than you can type. Follow Julia’s example and be silly. Bet you can’t look at this picture without smiling. Go ahead, poke yourself (gently) between the eyes, go cross-eyed and laugh at yourself. I promise you that your dragon will join in the fun.

Cross eye julia

We get so caught up in our adult logic that we forget to be silly. We forget the source of our words, choke them off and leave our dragon draggin’. You can’t write from the heart with passion when your dragon is lying there, wings covering his eyes because he can’t bear to watch you suffer the insults of your inner critic, when he wants to help and you won’t let him.

When we choose to be silly, our inner critic is likely to roll his eyes with an “Oh please, act your age. Let’s get busy here.” Wow, now we’re on to something. If we’re silly enough, if we’re having fun, maybe our inner critic will go away and leave us alone so we can be creative.

Kids are endlessly creative. Kids are silly. Kids have fun. Adults are supposed to take themselves seriously. Horse hockey! Every one of us is a creative being. We all know how to be creative, but too often we lose sight and forget. We forget that all of our passion comes from our feelings. Trust your feelings because they are trying to tell you something.

Push yourself away from your computer,
get out of your chair and stare out the window. Hop on your bike and go for a ride. Play with your kids. Laugh at yourself and relish the world around you. Feel life. Pay attention.

When you come back and sit down to write, listen to your dragon
as he or she whispers in your ear. Let your words spill out across the screen. Hurry, before your inner critic wakes up and spoils your fun.

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I’m not even going to try to express the image of Megan in words. I really like this photo. It’s a high key image that captures the moment and peeks into Megan’s world. What is she doing that has her so enthralled? I know but I won’t tell you. You might have an idea, but you’ll always wonder.

Megan's World

Wonder engages the imagination. Wonder involves the viewer. Maybe the image brings back a memory, maybe we’re simply drawn into Megan’s world for a moment. I’m at a loss for words to describe the moment but I don’t need words because I have this image instead.

Last week I wondered how you measure a baby’s smile. You can’t of course. Here goes. I’m going to use that Gestalt word again. A powerful photo grabs your emotions in the instant and sticks like velcro. No two people will see this photo in the same way. Each person will come away with a different emotional experience.

As writers, if our words don’t invite people to stick their fingers in the emotional pudding for a taste then we’ve not done our jobs.
When someone reads our words they build an emotional picture in their minds. If the words are powerful, they can’t help it. Our job is to help them see our passion, but their way and their passion — not ours.

Enjoy the moment with Megan. I know why she’s wearing the hat but I’m not telling you. Wonder — it’s part of the magic.

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arcade_wmWhy do people wait? Why is the person in the photo waiting? Maybe he waits for a friend or the next bus? We’ll never know because I never asked. I captured the moment with a photo instead.

The perfect moment is now. Vibrant life is like a swift mountain stream, sparkling in the sunlight, always changing, forever new, forever now. Becoming is the joy of life — moving, discovering, creating, and stretching.

But only if you ask. We can savor the deliciousness of life, the thrill of the creative journey, but only by acting. Will it be perfect? Not likely and you might even (shudder) fail. No — wait. Failure is impossible because failure is a state of mind.

Take an action and no matter what you do, you’ll move closer to your goal. You’ll either find a solution or you’ll discover new information that you didn’t have and never would have gotten by waiting. Each action propels us forward and upward one step at a time.

Do something today. Always wanted to write a book? Start writing. Don’t know what to write about? Write anyway. Write about why you always wanted to write a book.

Write the word book in the middle of a page, circle it and cluster thoughts as they occur to you. Keep going. You just might be surprised at what you discover. But you won’t discover anything if you don’t ask.

Want to start your own blog? Do something about it today. Research blogs. Read other blogs. Make a list of why you want a blog. Just do it — now — today.

Inaction and waiting short circuit our creative being, remove all options for progress and guarantee failure. All life strives toward perfection, but perfection is elusive and always out of reach. Each time we create something better, we raise the bar. We reach higher and higher and that reaching is the real joy of life.

Fear of success? Fear of failure? Fear of not good enough? Fear of the unknown? Does it matter? Without action, if we wait, we’ll never know.

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Clustering will lead you on journeys of discovery, surprise and delight. It may seem a bit scary to set off on a journey when you don’t know the destination, but this is the magic of clustering. Let go, don’t censor, follow your feelings and enjoy the ride. First I’ll show you the final destination for my “Hands” cluster, a Haiku, then take you with me on my journey.

Hand security_wm

Haiku: Hands

Tears fall in silence.
A whisper touch drinks the pain.
Hands. How wonderful.

I wrote the word “hands” in the middle of a blank sheet, then as each thought occurred to me, I wrote it down and circled it. One thought led to another and another until I “knew” what to write.


Digital reproduction of my original hand drawn cluster

The vignette is reproduced below. I didn’t worry about punctuation, formatting or any other left-brain, inner critic stuff. I wrote until I felt I should stop.

hands see in the dark
eyes that touch
other hands
eyes and tears
wipe them away
and touch
another hand
a shoulder
a breast
a soul
electric flow
touch together
wring apart
hands — how sad
hands — how wonderful
they breathe
and talk
and see
in the dark
turn on the light

This first vignette is pregnant with ideas. I worked with it, each version shrinking until I had the idea for a Haiku. Haikus are fun. They force you into a compression where each word must carry so much meaning.

It all begins with a single word or phrase. A cluster, an outpouring of ideas and feelings, a vignette and a creative journey that you can repeat time after time. Clustering is magic, a license to listen to your dragon. Your dragon isn’t as bashful as you might think. He’s just waiting for your invitation to the dance.

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