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Posts Tagged ‘Dragon’

birth_red_dragon

The Red Dragon was back.
“I knew he was a dangerous one when he first cracked his egg.”
“He likes Sir Jon and lets him ride.”
“That’s what scares me the most…the world’s most dangerous man aboard the world’s most dangerous dragon.”

– The End –

The Hot Flash word is “cracked” and the upper limit is 50 words. My offering is 43 words.

Flash fiction is fun. Hop on over to The M3 Blog where you can join in the M3 Flash Fiction Challenge.

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yin_yang_treeWhen your inner critic nags you to get busy writing too early it ruins the experience. It’s premature — like thinking of sexual foreplay as procrastination.

Jumping in the sack with your text editor too soon ignores your need for rumination and inspiration. Just as the anticipation of foreplay enriches sex, ruminating, playing and teasing ideas can take your writing to exhilarating heights instead of “is that all there is?”

Shoe was always one of my favorite comic strips. In one episode, Skyler sees his uncle, Professor Cosmos Fishawk sitting and gazing out the window. Skyler says: “You’re staring out the window again. A writer should be pounding the keyboard…” The Professor replies: “Wrong. Typists pound keyboards… Writers stare out windows.”

Cosmos was ruminating. You’re allowed. When you give your inspirations and ideas permission to spill out without concern for logic and order your writing will be so much richer. Ruminating isn’t procrastination, it’s necessary.

I was thinking about balance and whole brain writing this morning so I dug out my copy of “Writing on Both Sides of the Brain” by Henriette Anne Klauser. This book was written in 1987, but the message is fresh and the book still in print. I recommend it highly. In Ms. Klauser’s words: “To be whole-brained, you need only quiet down the noisy static side of you and listen to your own imagination.”

Our right-brain, our dragon, always sends us messages but the constant know-it-all interference from our left-brain inner critic drowns out our best ideas all too often. We need the co-operation of both sides of our brains. We all have the inherent skills to be whole-brained creative. Unfortunately, we’ve never been taught how because our western culture emphasizes logical left-brain thinking at the expense of our creative selves.

Giving yourself permission to ruminate is the first step in restoring our true heritage. When I was sitting here this morning, I fired up BrainStorm and just started taking notes and recording fragments as they occurred to me. And yes, I was looking out the window much of the time. The idea of sexual foreplay and rumination kind of popped into my head.

Be sure to have pen and paper or a program like BrainStorm running in the background while you ponder and your thoughts wander. Capture your fleeting thoughts when you can. Worry about how and if you’ll use them later. Have fun — you’re allowed.

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Make-believe is “Imaginative intellectual play” (WordNet database — Princeton University). Invite your dragon to play, to help rediscover your childhood imagination, and watch your writing come alive.

Emily_birthday_princess

Take a peek into Emily’s imaginative world.
She was a real princess that day. Emily and her friends weren’t simply pretending, they were princesses. Logical? Not for these six year old girls playing at Emily’s princess birthday party. Make-believe and childhood imagination defy logic. These princesses were/are comfortable with their dragons.

To logical beings, dragons seem terrifying. Could this be how the evil image of dragons came about? Because we were/are afraid of our inner thoughts? Logic dislikes the chaos of imagination because it doesn’t understand. Logic slays the dragon. The trouble with logic is that it wants to organize our ideas before they exist, an oxymoron.

Dragons aren’t logical. They aren’t judgmental. Their play is free flowing make-believe, what if and somewhat chaotic. Ideas and impressions come all at once as gestalts when we are relaxed with our dragons.

Stare out the window musing. Lose focus and allow your thoughts to flow freely. When an idea pops into your head simply record it without judging and go back to musing. Imagine waves crashing onto the beach during a storm — a brainstorm.

Walk along the beach collecting all the interesting things that wash up. After the storm is over invite your logical inner critic to make sense of what you’ve discovered.

The notion that we are either left-brained logical or right-brained whimsical is misguided.
We are always both, subject to the ebb and flow of the tides of thought. When we lose our balance we trip and falter.

Logic without ideas sterilizes. Ideas without logic confuses. When you recapture your childhood imagination, when you make-believe with imaginative intellectual play, your writing will come alive. But only when you suspend judgment and allow your ideas free reign in the beginning. You’ll have a rich pool to draw from and organize. Next time, I’ll show you how I use BrainStorm to capture my musings, then order them when it’s time for logic.

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cat dressedThey sit down to write, but they might open a can of cat food first. Complaining about writer’s block is like looking at the cat food dish and complaining that it’s empty. Of course it’s empty — you have to fill it. When you have deadlines and commitments, not writing isn’t an option. You don’t have the luxury of being blocked.

Don’t have a cat? We all have dragons. Dragons and cats have a lot in common. They’re independent, dislike being ordered about and respond in kind when treated with respect. And they like to be fed.

When you think you have nothing to write about, think again. Simply entice your dragon to come out and play. What? You can’t find him? Get your can opener and open a can of dragon food. He (or she) will come running.

Dragons, like cats, are highly sensitive to the smell of a freshly opened can of food. All you need is a can opener. You’re not likely to get at the food inside by staring at the can and wishing it would open. Grab that can opener, open your text editor and just start sniffing around to see what’s inside.

You may not find a scent worth following at first but you will. Keep writing and sniffing. If you can’t think of anything to write, put your hands on your keyboard and write “I can’t think of a thing I want to write about, I’m stuck, just like I was stuck in traffic the other day. That was…”

It makes no difference what you write at first. Just start.
Writer’s block is simply your inner critic getting in your face. Ignore him (or her). When you write freely, not worried about what you’re saying. When you allow the ideas to flow uncensored, your inner critic will grow bored and leave you (and your dragon alone).

You can’t “force” your writing but you can create the conditions that allow ideas to pour out. The door isn’t locked. Quit pushing. Turn the knob gently and the door will open.

Writer’s block is expecting perfection before you even begin. Not likely is it? So what if your first draft is mostly junk that you’ll throw out. You’re interested in finding the gems — and you will — just keep writing whatever comes to mind. When you find a good idea, latch on and see where it leads. You’ll be surprised and delighted.

Writer’s block? Nah. Just keep that can opener handy.

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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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The twins were 9 months old the other day. We all went to the diner for dinner on Monday night so naturally I brought my camera. My daughter calls me pop-poparazzi. I love B&W available light photography and who could resist subjects like these. My granddaughters have always been my favorite subjects and now we have an even half-dozen.

Maddy

Say hello to Maddy (above) and Liv (below). Babies are special. Of course I’m prejudiced.

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I finished the roll of film in my camera and got seven decent shots out of 36. Yeah, I still use film and process it myself. Then I scan the negatives. Gives me the best of both worlds.

Did you know that properly processed and stored B&W negatives will last for 50 to 100 years or more? No matter what happens to the digital files, my family will always have the negatives.

My dragon loves photography. Me too. I operate on pure instinct with images. Photography comes easier than writing. I suppose it’s because my inner critic is stronger when I’m writing. He’s forever pestering me. Then again, maybe my inner critic leaves me alone when I’m editing my photos because I let him play with all the controls while my dragon tells me what looks best.

Maybe the next time I write a first draft I’ll tell my inner critic that I’m not really writing, I’m only taking notes and if he’s a good boy I’ll let him play with all the buttons on my word processor. Sooner or later we’ll learn balance. It’s not that I don’t want my inner critic around. I need him, but not all the time.

I’m taking a break between books (for a few days anyway) and I though I’d share a few pictures of the girls. Not that I need excuses.

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Judging ideas as they form kills them. The constant interplay of ideas is the wellspring of creativity. When you are attuned to the play of your dragon, writing flows freely, never still, like bees flitting from flower to flower, tasting and sampling the nectar of many ideas.

bees knees

Bees, like the ideas in our minds, are constantly on the move, too busy to stop and pose for you. Listen to your dragon and allow the ideas to flow from your pen or your fingers on the keyboard. Worry about outcomes later.

Dragon flower

Creativity never waits. Tapping the inner flow of our ideas doesn’t always come easy, but it can when we recognize creativity as play. I love to sit thinking quietly, playing with ideas, watching them bounce and skitter about. I’ve come to realize that even though I don’t have pen in hand or my fingers on a keyboard I am writing. The trick then is to grab a pen or keyboard and capture your thoughts without judging. Simply let your mind run free and record what comes naturally.

When we freeze at the keyboard wondering what to write next, our inner critic, the eternal judge has gotten the upper hand, afraid we might make a mistake.

The difference between a professional photographer and an amateur
is the size of their wastebasket. The pro’s basket is bigger. A pro follows his or her ideas and takes lots of photos. Ideas that didn’t work out end up in the wastebasket, but the ones that make the cut will be good ones.

Our wastebasket is for later. There are no mistakes when the ideas are flowing, all are worth remembering. True creativity demands that we suspend judgment and play. Creativity is a journey where the destination, the outcome is rarely clear and isn’t important while our ideas unfold taking first one fork in the road, then another, circling back.

Ernest Hemingway said that “All first drafts are sh*t.” He was right. He had a huge wastebasket and wasn’t afraid to use it.

When you’re writing, all ideas are worthy. You can’t capture the gems unless you take the risk of writing junk. You will. Lot’s of it, but that’s how you discover the gems. Save everything — the wastebasket is for later.

PS I included the black and white image because it reminds me of a dragon.

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