Sunday, January 30, 2011

Writing the Odyssey

Dorianne Laux writes, "I am still hard at work on this project of the self. The solitary self, as well as the self in relation to the world and the unknown universe we swirl around in, uncertain of our purpose or future. Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? What is beauty? Why is there suffering? Where is truth? I tried to arrange them in a shape, find a path for them to travel to make clearer those questions. I write to know the questions."

Do you pursue experiences as an odyssey into words? Are you able to leave the comfort of understanding to delve into ways to discover a wisdom of well-being?   This happens by thrashing about in the wilderness and forests of the unknown.

What vehicle will you take today?  If you go on foot, by car, boat or train, amusements spring on every sensory level.

Each time you decide on the destination, you will become surpised and distracted by attractions along the way.  Should you stop for a carnival?  Sticky your face with cotton candy and a candy apple?  Where will the merry-go-round take your mind if you change to a different lion, tiger or horse to ride?

Taste a notion like a lozenge. It dissolves and words arise.  They flutter and flicker at the lips and beg for release.  Taste the flavor of their feathers and sigh.  They baffle, energize, and frighten.  Some hide as ink soaks into a finger.

Tomorrow, ride the train with your face pressed against the window ready to hop off at the first astonishment.  Write into the mysteries.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pondering the Meaning of Loss

During childhood we lose our primary teeth and receive rewards from the tooth fairy. Our parents complain of our hearing loss when we make our own choices.  We lose eye lashes and grow new ones along with toe and finger nails.  The body sheds skin and rebuilds.  

Nature's cycles focus on loss and renewal. Why does loss feel negative rather than natural? What's found as a result?  We find pennies on the street. Sea birds drop feathers for our safekeeping. We misplace keys and jackets then find them.  Our socks get lost in the wash.  Some return, some don't.  We discover them later hiding in a pillow case. Reciprocity surrounds us.

Other loses challenge us.  We lose athletic events or card games.  A pet gets lost and never returns or it dies.  We deal with inklings of impermanence when puppy love ends.  Friends may get lost or don't write and call. Our relationships alter and we reinvent them. Often we think we've lost our minds or marbles but usually it's just a metaphor for human nature.

Parents and family members age and pass away; words that indicate a "floating" to soften the blow. We think about what they've left behind and dwell in memories.  People tell us they're sorry for our loss and use more euphemisms. When calamties strike others, we feel grateful for our well-bring.

At these times of  frustration, it helps to become lost in writing or reading. Pushing the keys or pen helps us lose our fears or shunt them away for awhile.  Our imaginations permit us to let loose and  re-arrange words to bring up a better way to think about lost - Turn it into lots.  Re-arranged letters of lose create sole. Our soul requires nurture.

How do we move into those areas of wildness and live at the edges of the mysterious? How do we extend the boundaries of the self? Creativity and the resulting writing require the permission to be lost. 

In A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Rebecca Solnit writes, "One does not get lost but loses oneself, with the implication that it is a conscious choice, chosen surrender, a psychic state achievable through geography." She continues, "That thing the nature of which is totally unknown is usually what you need to find, and finding it is a matter of getting lost." 

If we let our inner rhythm take over and feel the flow of nature's way, we will sustain ourselves and discover survival skills to turn loss into the next stage for renewal.  We need to collect coins and bird feathers.  

Mysteries remain when we happen upon the loss of one shoe. Did these single soles find a connection?

Creative Write: Ponder the many meanings of loss in your life.  Do a freewrite and see where the word takes you.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Dragons of Delight

Imagine shapes that flap and flow. They appear quirky.  Is it a type of sea creature or seaweed?  Both sway and shed their coloring to the observer with flashes and glints

Artificial light creates a challenge. The photographer moves beyond and plays with the blur.
Two types of Sea Dragons exist in Australian coastal waters.  The Weedy Sea Dragon has a cartoonish shape. Both the Weedy and the Leafy Sea Dragon have protrusions that serve as camouflage.  The pectoral fin on the ridge of its neck and dorsal fin on its back near the tail move it forward.  They undulate to move it with the illusion of floating seaweed which provides its protection.

The Leafy Sea Dragon maintains its illusion when swimming, appearing to move through the water like a piece of floating seaweed. It can also change color to blend in.

It uses a pipe-like snout to feed, eating crustaceans, plankton, shrimp and small fish. Leafy sea dragons do not have teeth, which is rare amongst animals that eat small fish and shrimp.

Both are related to the pipefish and belong to the family Syngnathidae, along with the seahorse. They differ from the seahorse in appearance, form of locomotion, and inability to coil or grasp things with its tail.

Creative Write:  What story would you create?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Responsibility: Our Nature

“Where is the meaning in life?" asks Carl Safina, President and Co-founder of the Blue Ocean Institute. He feels we must go beyond asking, "What is the meaning of life?" Asking only this question will cause us to look in the wrong places.

In his book, The View from Lazy Point:  A Natural Year in an Unnatural World, Safina details the environmental issues facing us.  Human actions have affected all places and creatures on earth.  Thankfully, nature has resilience but we need to realize the connection of all living creatures and habitats. We need to understand what happens between them.  

We have moved into a new epoch of awareness and concern. Future generations must live with the consequences of decisions made today. If each individual takes responsibility for becoming more conscious of his or her environmental impact, it will enhance our interconnectedness.  We will have the ability to cultivate a more considerate life as a result. 

Safina writes, ”Just as we went from hunter-gatherers to agriculturalists to civilized societies, now we must take the next great leap: from merely civilized to humanized.”

How do we, "advance compassion and yet survive in a world of appetites?" 

Consider these concerns as you move through your life's moments today.  Where is the meaning in your life?  What three things can you do to promote connection, belonging and purpose?

Using en plein air techniques in writing

In the mid-19th century, artists who painted outdoors in natural light popularized techniques called  painting en plein air. They searched for sites in nature to observe and capture with their paint brushes. Painters such as Monet, Pissaro and Renoir used a French box easel with telescopic legs, paint box and palette which assisted their travel to a variety of natural locations. 
The techniques encourage artists to work quickly using large brushes for bold statements rather than pursue intricate, fine detail.  There's a focus on light, color and landscape.
Writers also may benefit from observing plein air techniques.  Take a walk and set up in a location.  Write quickly what you notice about light, color, sounds and scents in the landscape.  Search for details in your observations.  Then move on to several locations and capture snapshots of nature with your pen.

Scouting for Stories

Desire does not bring poems. The hunted can only abide how opportune the killer's lunge is and how deftly sharpened its blade. - Richardo Pau-Llosa

Poet, Ricardo Pau-Llosa, writes of the inspirational moment as a "hunger of the stalking mind." He feels creativity requires a hunt for the moment it cannot grasp, let alone pity.

What obsesses a writer in the moment that jars from the onslaught of every day thoughts and feelings? Can we hunt for topics or stalk them until they relent? Will they behave if trapped or captured this way?

I do not become a stalker of experience. Ready for gleams that beckon, my notions might not connect immediately. As a result, I feel more like the collector and collator of their sparkle rather tracking them like a hunter. I save experience, surprise wonder in a kaleidoscope to twist, turn and view the assimilation of color and shine. Eventually a series of clicks shift and sort for me.

A series of gleams arrive and dovetail or flee. Why? They relish the freedom of flight.

I keep a notebook with me and record the flashes so later I can spin through pages and observe what will shift into perspective.

Create Write: Go through your journal or notebook for words that gleam. Will a poem result? Try writing a myth or parable.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Everybody C*A*N

Writers require time to day dream and explore; antennae ready for everything along the paths. Let fantasy and reality mesh and meet attention. Through Curiosity, Awareness and Noticing (CAN!), new opportunities build focus during times of "boredom" which all writers encounter.

Notice, I did not use the other B word (Block) because I refuse to believe in it. We can always write something.

Believe (a Positive B word!) writing has its own rhythm. We need patience and word shuffle. Also, we must learn to distract ourselves at certain times and become demanding during other situations. Each writer's temperament requires a different carrot and stick. Learn yours.

Writing requires lots of play time and the engagement that nature offers sensory perceptions. Then writers CAN gather experiences and interactions to use in a variety of ways.

Cameras help to add another layer of creativity to the day. Often an incident such as a Great Blue Heron landing on the water will happen far out of the camera's focus.  The blur adds to the context.

What a discovery to experience an elephant who extends its trunk and smiles from the grass!

How will you use the ability to C*A*N today?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mystery Boxes

What are boxes and what can you put inside? What needs to move outside? If you hide something inside, an opportunity to discover magic and mystery waits. How long will it wait?

Boxes also mean limitation but Jack-in-the-Boxes permit "out springing." Then discovery occurs.

From East of Eden by John Steinbeck:

You came upon me carving some kind of little figure out of wood and you said,
"Why don't you make something for me."
I asked what you wanted, and you said,
"A box.'
"What for?"
"To put things in"
"What things?"
"Whatever you have," you said.
"Well, here's your box. Nearly everything I have is in it, and it is not full. Pain and excitement are in it, and feeling good or bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts - the pleasure of design and some despair and the indescribable joy of creation. And on top of these are all the gratitude and love I have for you and it's still not full."

Creative Write:   Write about an object that has meaning for you.  Describe it in all its dimensions and see where the freewriting takes you.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Write Reasons

Writers need to flow into their write reasons from time to time.  Take a break from your writing projects and freewrite to these questions:

Describe your ideal writing venue?  Use all your senses to describe where you would love to write each day.

Where do you usually write?

Write about three books that have influenced your writing.

What three books you're unlikely to read and why?

What causes distractions?  How do you factor these into your Write Life?

Do you write in more than one language?  What results from a bilingual approach?

What elements of other art forms do you bring into your writing?

If you chose a gem to describe your personality, what would it be?

Which aspects of the writing life do you prefer.  How do you deal with those that feel tedious:

Chasing ideas and discovering those to write about
Sculpting into essays, stories or poems
Editing and final polishing
Publication submission

Where do you feel your writing will flow in five years!

Play, have fun and write!

Writing with Water

"The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters." - Norman Maclean

A tumbling river teeming with life reveals the search for simplicity and unity. Waters have magical power. Swift-surging rivers change with the light during the day. They merge with wonder in darkness. The fl ow provide opportunities for meditation and reflection. The river becomes a symbol of constancy within change.

Norman Maclean wrote, "Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it." The Indian word, 'hassayampah' means, the river that loses itself undergound, in other words - intuiton.

Creative Writes: Recall a river or body of water that affected your life.

Write your personal journey as a life that flows, constant and changing. How do you compare your life to a river?

We experience others' lives. They move on, flow through other landscapes and merge with different lives. Consider those who came before you. How, like a river do you carry them with you?

Heart of Darkness

No, I don’t like work. I had rather laze about and think of all the fine things that can be done. I don’t like work—no man does, but I like what is in the work—the chance to find yourself. Your own reality—for yourself, not for others—what no other man can ever know. They can only see the mere show, and never can tell what it really means.                            - Joseph Conrad, from Heart of Darkness

Have you ever dropped into your own "terror-itory" in writing - your own heart of darkness?  What lurks there that shines a light side also?

Consider your dark side as a way to investigate an area of concern as an actor would. Develop dimensions rather than focus on the darkness as a negative.

How can the dark expose your light in humor, insight or possibilities?

Write how you might play a variety of dark roles.

Move into and around them and collect fragments of other personalities to enrich the persona.  

What do you know about yourself that no one else would ever discover?  Create a character based on these insights.

Write a character sketch from the "he" or "she" perspective.

What have you discovered by writing into the "terror-itory"? 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Resilience and Possibilities

“The truth is, everything that has happened in my life… that I thought was a crushing event at the time, has turned out for the better.”                        - Warren Buffett

How you adjust to or recover from misfortune defines your resilience in life. Recall an event that felt frustrating or focus on a perceived failure in your life. Paint each into mind pictures with all your senses. Next, permit your writing to inform you by working with the sound and scent of the events like a distanced third party reporting the scenes.

How were you resilient in processing the events? Write for ten minutes to reveal how these events made a positive difference in your life.

Become more resilient and feed on possibilities:

Focus on where the event led. Effort and attempts are first steps that can lead in directions we have not considered if we move past the mistakes and let them inform us of possibilities.

Accept failures as lessons. Make a different mistake next time. Learn from experiences and accept them as pre-payments for future success. Deal with undesirable consequences when you're learning a lesson; that’s real life.

Never give up. Get up one more time, wiser.

Seek reinforcement from people who enrich your life.

Each day provides learning experiences. Engage with the rocks in the road and leap over them or race around to a new path. Launch yourself from the branches. Discover metaphors to use when you need encouragement. Write about it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Rumi Day!

That Journeys Are Good
           by Rumi

If a fir tree had a foot or two like a turtle, or a wing,
Do you think it would just wait for the saw to enter?

You know the sun journeys all night under the earth;
If it didn't, how could it throw up its flood of light in the east?

And salt water climbs with such marvelous swiftness to the sky.
If it didn't, how would the cabbages be fed with the rain?

Have you thought of Joseph lately? Didn't he leave his father in tears, going?
Didn't he then learn how to understand dreams, and give away grain?

And you, if you can't leave your country, you could go into yourself,
And become a ruby mine, open to the gifts of the sun.

You could travel from your manhood into the inner man, or from your womanhood into the inner woman --
By a journey of that sort earth became a place where you find gold.

So leave your complaints and self-pity and internalized death-energy.
Don't you realize how many fruits have already escaped out of sourness into sweetness?

A good source of sweetness is a teacher; mine is named Shams.
You know every fruit grows more handsome in the light of the sun.

Creative Write: Journey today in your writing. Consider how to turn the bitter into sweet. Become a ruby mine. Search for that place where you find gold. Avoid complaints and self-pity all day. If they trickle into your throughts, write them away. Use writing as your teacher.
Have the Best writing day!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Check Out Characters

We often make quick stops at the market to pick up one or two necessities that don't relate.  This trip attracts additional items as we move down the aisles. Connections among disparate products could provide ideas for comical characters.

Have you ever checked out the items people purchase when you're waiting in the express check out line?

Today I went though the express line around noon behind a woman in spike heels, over-dressed for work. She selected a bottle of specialty Vodka, six small bottles of cranberry juice and four bottles of water.  What kind of afternoon did she plan?  Did she have a bladder infection and thought the Vodka could ease the pain?  Or what else would the afternoon bring?

Behind me, a woman in a warm-up suit placed shampoo and hamburger dill pickles on the moving belt.  Will she shower with a friend and share the dills?  Ice cream would have added another dimension.

An elderly gentleman included a bottle of hot sauce with two large packages of bathroom tissue.

Finally, a young man brought air freshener, sponges and three onions.  What evening did he have planned?

Did you visit the market today?  If not, the next time you go shopping notice the variety of items people purchase. Let your curiosity and imagination make connections.  Develop sketches from your character insights.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sing your Sentences!

A sentence creates a bridge from writer to reader. Every word moves the ideas and action. If all your sentences look the same, where's the thrill? Add texture by naming the sparrow, hibiscus or magnolia tree. Stress key points with the details of color and sensory imagery. If you break long sentences into short ones you will attract the reader's attention. Add spice! Create a breathing stop. To achieve emphasis, reverse the usual word order. Read your sentences aloud to gain rhythm, emphasis and impact.

Write like a moving camera to take in the scenery and tease each moment. Let the reader experience your subject as you go. Don't tell everything. Add sound and scent along the way. Color the greenery with delphiniums, roses and a daisy.

Listen to bird songs and see if you can duplicate the trills on the page. Show the ping of water that splashes in a fountain.

Word choice provides clarity. Active verbs intrigue and intensify sentences.  Avoid the use of passive voice and the "to be" verb. The subject needs its verb near the front rather than separated by a clause and stuck at the end of the sentence.  Ask yourself what does an adjective or adverb add?  Often they creep in like bandits and hitchhikers to rob your sentences of power.  Make verbs your heroes to defeat them.

Take a look to see if adjectives and adverbs sprout like weeds among the "beautiful" flowers. They choke the essence from nouns and verbs that drive the sentences. Why write "beautiful" rose when you can show the rose float above its stalk like a banner in the wind?

Select a paragraph from your current work. Circle the adjectives and adverbs first.  Then use a green underliner to color your nouns and verbs.  Begin to re-arrange the sentences to add texture and movement to the sentence.  It helps to sing your sentences!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Study Relationships Behind the Masks

Relationships of all kinds provide fodder for the writer.  Take a day to create lists that reveal characteristics of family, friends, or associates at work.  As you go about your daily activities, add individuals you have more distant relationships with: store clerks, waiters and waitresses, attendants of all types, shoe and clothing sales persons, service professionals for cars and appliances.

Examine relationships to discover the hidden workings.  Delve beneath the surface appearances.  What's going on in this person's life behind the mask of behavior?

Watch interactions in a variety of circumstances. How do individuals relate to their surroundings, objects, buildings and nature?

Take notes about body language and facial expressions. What do you notice in hands and leg positions?

How do people interact or depend on each other in daily situations?  What happens if you toss in an emergency?

Explore layers and add your own ideas. What happened just before your view of a hotel clerk? What will happen after he or she leaves your vision?

Notice how superficial relationships define basic human needs.  Where's the tension lurking?

Creative Write: Create characters from your day's observation:

Use only body language and situations to define:  uncertainty, ritual behavior, boredom, consequences, attention and freedom.

Show an interaction between a waitress disagreeing with a cranky couple.

Write dialogue with only body language of someone showing enthusiasm to another who responds with words.

Provide the interaction for a returns clerk at an after sales event.  Reveal the unexpected.

Use these insights to set the stage for a story or poem.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


"Judge each day not by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant."   Robert  Louis Stevenson

Writing practice provides the opportunity to plant seeds on a regular basis.  This act of optimism becomes an investment in our writing future. We sow words to sprout sentences. They grow into paragraphs and essays, poems or stories.  While we share our harvests with others for their enrichment, it's always about the selection of seeds.

Our seeding of words does not produce quick rewards.  We learn patience, perseverence and perspective to create pieces of writing just as seeds need water, soil and sunshine.

Watching that first cotelydon rise from the page gives the greatest pleasure.

Take time to scatter the seeds you wish to nurture today.  Create a metaphor for your writing process.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chaos and Order

Henry James said, "Chaos in the law of nature; order is the dream of man."  Fiction and autobiography attempt to impose order on a writer's life.  John Cheever wrote to try to make sense of his life. Wallace Stegner felt, "The life we all live is amateurish and accidental, we can't practice for it.  It begins in accident and proceeds by trial and error towards dubious ends. That's the law of nature."

Stegner said we try to go beyond a dream and give life purpose, direction, meaning or with a darker frame of mind that it has no direction or meaning.  We cannot let it alone.  We examine it as Socrates did who felt an unexamined life was not worth living.

In the fifth century Socrates dedicated himself to careful reasoning. He sought genuine knowledge rather than victory over an opponent.  Socrates employed the same logical tricks developed by the Sophists to define a new purpose - the pursuit of truth. He called everything into question with a determination to accept nothing less than an adequate account of the nature of things. This made him the first supporter of critical philosophy.

Writing creates order for us.  We can invent characters, create an environment for their behavior to unfold within, or develop imagery and make something out of the chaos that flows through our minds. 

Take something that's important,  that you've brooded about and see it as completely as you can.  Fill in the gaps and fix it with words.  All you want in the finished print is the clean statement of the lens which is yourself on the subject that has drawn your attention.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Eavesdrop and Write!

Writers have kept journals for a variety of reasons.  Henry David Thoreau's 25-year journal ran more than 7000 pages and 2-million words.  Marcel Proust's journals collected half that amount.  Most writers use journals to practice writing along with the need to fine tune observation skills and delve into life's challenges with introspection. The consistency of writing in a journal improves composition, rhythm and style.  

Regardless of format, daily writing establishes the habit of writing.

Writers need to throw words on the page but certainly don't want everyone to read their trials and articulations, anxieties and heartbreaks.  In 1966 Gail Godwin found her husband reading her private thoughts and dreams.  The reading ended his tenure as husband. She kept writing in her journal. Her second volume, The Making of a Writer, Volume 2, is now available from her journals dated 1963-69.  

Virginia Woolf, Anais Nin and Natalie Goldberg attracted me to journal keeping. After taking Ira Progoff seminars, I discovered a creative approach to truths I wished to uncover.  For years, I have developed characters, situations and scenes as ways to interact and act out concerns I've observed in myself and others.  I eavesdrop and write.  

Whoever reads my journals will discover multiple personalities, a variety of intentions and lots of humor.  I take my writing seriously but have discovered ways to keep myself at bay!

If you feel concerned about writing your true self, create a persona! Try writing letters to others in this voice. Begin a character study with daily events and use your stresses and strains as ways to write beyond yourself.  You will discover possibilities and additional insights. It's a great way to protect yourself from prying eyes concerning motivations and intentions!

Creative Write:  Choose a name and develop a few characteristics for a character that has a personality similar to or just the opposite of your own.  How will this persona manage a frustrating day?  

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Try a Write-along

                   Good artists copy, great artists steal.
         - attributed to both Picasso and Steve Jobs of Apple

Writers need to study the work of writers who came before and those currently publishing. Immersion with improvisation occurs when we copy out the rhythms of a favorite writer. Rather than "stealing" - which could cause trouble - move into the moods and words of great writers with a writing practice.

Take a few lines from F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, Joyce, Joseph Conrad and Kerouac in order to try out their writing styles and various rhythms. Mix in Salinger, Stegner, Carver, Twain, Nabokov, Vonnegut, Amy Tan. Add work by Cisternos, Marquez and Kingsolver, Choose your favorites to have as write-alongs.

Also select a variety of poets and see how the lines feel under your typing fingers. After you have spent the time copying, do a freewrite. Do you notice a difference in sentence variety and structure? Do word choices flow and change? Do you feel the presence of another voice?

Writing is serious work in a playful realm. Nurture your possibilities by copying the best.

Eat Words. Play. Then Write!

"A writer's brain is like a magician's hat. If you're going to get anything out of it, you have to put something in first." Louis L'Amour.

Many writers make the mistake of trying to pull rabbits from their hats without first taking time to tuck the rabbit away so it will be there when they need it. Then they wonder why writer's block assails them and ideas fail them.

Writers need to become voracious omnivores of literature. A variety of readings provides experience and growth. Don't get stuck in a genre rut, design your reading to challenge and inform your writing.

Start your search for books to consume this year.

Consider the following:

1. Biographies

2. Memoirs

3. At least four classics

4. One book you re-read every five years

5. A couple of books written by writers on writing

6. Several poetry books

7. A history book

8. Two books in a new field of interest

9.  One children's book or even two

10. Two books on multicultural literature

Eat words, play, then write!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Writeful Positive Day!

Do you awaken each morning determined to Write your Day? Or do negative thoughts attack your brain?

Here are a few negativities you can turn around!

Defeatist - Do you expect to feel defeated? Write an opposite expectation. How can you discover a winning attitude with a new slant?

Cynical - Why distrust human nature? Just turn a person you can't trust into a character and write about him. What are his motives?

Vindictive - Create a plot where someone seeks revenge.

Blame/ Fault - Why place blame? Take responsibility instead of making a list of faults.

Wishful - Wishing is fine but you have to have a deadline for results.

Self-pity - Bark more, whine less!

Worrisome - Take the worry and write about it from someone else's view.

Procrastinatory - If you plan to procrastinate, do something fun instead.

Choose a few of the above to write about today. What if all walked into a bar? There must be a joke somewhere above!    Have a writeful and positive day!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Portals to Adventure

"A picture lives by companionship." - Mark Rothko

"There are things known and things unknown and between them, the doors."
- Jim Morrison

Time stands still for my writer's mind during morning runs. I snag a snapshot of attention. Ideas leap in. I become a companion with the frame and wonder where my imagination will extend the image.

What happens beyond the gates I run by? Sounds and scents release over garden walls.

Words in response to pictures help me reflect and interpret the world and form a relationship with others. Sentences search a world of paradox and mystery. Barriers invite my curiosity as portals to adventure.

Natural entrances will invite a story or poem.

Creative Write: Take a walk and capture a collage of portals. Do a freewite to investigate their connections. Do stories and poems arise from one side of the entrance to the other? Search for what's on the other side. . .


Add musicality to your writing today!

Take time today to listen to lyrics that move fast.

Freewrite on the keyboard and keep up with the flow!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Write Outlaw


What does it mean to become a write outlaw?

It's a leap beyond usual thinking for possibilities. It pulls the writer out of conventional thought patterns.  Outlaws scamper beyond the ordinary.  They perceive the obvious with intrigue from sound, scent, taste and playful fingers moving on the world's textures.

Writers require an ability to experience unknown levels never conjured before.  At times, they must forget everything known. Transpose things that don't go together.  Moments gone provide insight.

Build your thoughts, layer by layer.  Move away from yourself, become transparent and receptive to myriad windows to mystery.

Forget everything you know.  How would a write outlaw respond?

Explain morning like a peony in a hundred petals or less.

Tackle anxiety with the milky way.

Become a silversmith for dandelions.

Define a tendril of chance.

Wisecrack a bowl and set the celadon free.

Glimmer, Tremble, Wink.  Where does it lead?

Enter the labyrinth.  Move into the inner ear.

How would you trumpet the darkness past sunset?

Take a left turn in your right mind and a right turn with your left spoon.

Consider a conestoga wagon and sand melting to glass.

Walk right into the middle of . .

Creative Write:  Wear yourself out word by word.

Conjuring with Words

I want to witness the thirst inside the syllables:
I want to touch the fire within the sound:
I want to feel the darkness of the shout
I want words rough as virgin stones
                     -  from "Verb" by Pablo Neruda

Take time to write about ways you play with words.  How do they assist you in balancing life?

How do you discover a thirst inside the syllables?  Show your fire with sounds.

In what ways do you conjure words when you write about movement or consider uses of sorrow?

Imagine your life inside the Fun House mirror.

Did anyone ever give you a disaster that turned into a gift?

Write into new areas of darkness and light today.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Animal Instincts

"Like the owl, I want to be paid in mice and falling stars, take my midnights in the middle of the day." - Lance Larsen from the poem, "Chancellor of Shadows"

Consider the above description and how to develop a character based on animal instincts. Make a list of animal traits for your persona.

Take a look at some of the stories in this site for Aesop's Fables:

Other possibilities to try on yourself for development:

If you had donkey skills, how would you show stubborn? Or, are you a beast of burden?

With fox instincts, what does sneaky sound like?
Lion strengths include ferocity. Are you also a kitten at times?

A Black Phoebe is a workaholic, flying dawn to dusk capturing one insect after another. Does that apply to you?

Rabbits and Roadrunners are speedy. Are they as calculating as a tortoise?

Does a hummingbird's attention span define focus?

Elephants never forget. What do they do with their memories?

How would you combine several animal characteristics into one character?

Creative Write: Develop three lines to begin your character sketch. Then see how to mix and match.

Why Worry? Put Your Worries to Work!

Tibetans have a saying,  "If there's something you can do about it, why worry?  And, if there's nothing you can do about it , why worry?"

I like to think,  Birds Never Worry!  They just do what needs doing!  If you're a habitual worrier, put those worries to work.

Find a shoebox or a container you can close with a lid. For a week, keep a notepad with you. Write down each worry that trespasses or rages through your mind.  Put each in the container, close it and then let the worry go.

In a week, before looking into the container,  write about the worries you have placed inside. Can you even remember all of them?  Then, open the container and read the notes. How many of your worries happened?  How did you deal with the worries that did occur?

Revisit the worries to discover the creativity they will generate for you.  Write these worries into a story or poem. Worries keep our minds moving in aimless directions. We need to harness them as workhorses for our writing.  Consider the writing possibilities they will generate.

Take charge of your worries in this way and you'll always have writing material.