Friday, September 30, 2011

Threshold of Choice

Often the best writing occurs when a writer arrives on a threshold.  At this place the disorder of experience, emotion or memory meets the ordering power of words.

Recall a memorable experience just before and after it happened.  The threshold forced a choice and took you to another place.

Discover the nature of your own personal theshold.   Place yourself there and write from that dynamic location.

Creative Write:  Write the memory of a choice made "just in time."  Bring the reader into your experience at the threshold moment.  How did the choice move you into a better outcome?  Write again about the other choice you could have made. Where might that decision have taken you?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What did you read as a child?

Once upon a time children's stories encouraged young readers to behave for their parents. Children's literature enjoys a history of fables, fairy tales and stories. What did you read?

Writers like Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are) and Shel Silverstein (Where the Sidewalk Ends) challenged what a children's book should deliver. These authors ignored the rules of behavior and brought a shock of subversion to the genre. They created scary, sily and yet sophisticated reading. Their books encouraged human behavior even if it deviated from acceptable.

Their editor Ursula Nordstrom of Harper & Row called the books, "good books for bad children." These books promoted absurdity causing children to laugh at the wrong things.

In 1957,
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss used only 233 different words of simplicity revealing one could achieve the sublime under absurd constraints. Reviewers applauded the move away from the dreary text of Dick and Jane.

Creative Write
: Write about the books you read as a child. How did they affect your behavior, vocabulary, and future writing?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Writing from the Unconscious Mind

Writing ideas and solutions lie waiting, hidden in what Sigmund Freud called the "unconscious mind." He felt memories, feelings and mental content - outside conscious awareness - affected all individuals. The key element of his theory focused on the causes of mental disorders and how to deal with treatment.

While Freud promoted the "talking cure" writers moving into the unconscious mind can discover the "writing cure."  Freeflow writing explores and brings forgotten tendrils of thought and connections to the surface. Possibilities and solutions journey through the fingers to the page or screen.

When writing to unearth these unconscious notions, a mine of hidden treasures exists. Writers can uncover and use "repressed" notions to develop characters or to generate other forms of writing.

Neuroscientists focus on how much mental life happens without knowing much about it. Let writing become the process to use all concerns in productive ways.

Creative Write:  Appreciate your underground stream. Write into the caverns that contain gems and gold bits in hiding. Take advantage of shapes and shadows. Experience colors, sounds and scents. Spiral unconscious thoughts and feelings to the surface.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Story Starts

Play with these story starts.

1. You awaken in shallow water on an island somewhere in the Pacific.  No idea how you got there,  you rise from the sand.  Dizzy and hungry, you amble toward a grove of palm trees and then into the jungle.
What happens next?

2. You wander the beach at sunset and discover a message in a bottle.  The writer's request astounds and makes you want to . . .  and then . . .

Share your starts with us.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Typewriters to Laptops

Do you remember plunking away on a Remington, Royal or Smith-Corona? Did you take a typing class to learn the QWERTY keyboard?  Or did and do you still muddle along with fingers in hunt and peck?

Jammed keys and carbon paper once ruled the day.  Writing progressed from draft to draft by rolling pages out of the platen.  After a sigh, one inserted another white page and soldiered on: musing, typing, correcting, and typing again. It required hours of focused thought.  

Back then, cutting and pasting meant cutting pages into paragraphs and taping the choices in new order. This also involved pencil or pen corrections in the margins. A bottle of white fluid corrected small errors.

Then the electric typewriter arrived which had tape that corrected by removing lines of type. 

With the word processor, paragraphs could be re-arranged by a new form of cut and paste. Lines moved around right on the screen.

Now with laptop computers, one can go anywhere to patter away at the keyboard.  Freedom to write!

Creative Write:  Share your story.  Where are you in the progress from the manual typewriter to the laptop?  What have you discovered along the way?  If you have only experienced writing on a computer, begin with your first experience using technology to write.

What's in a TItle

Choose a title for its ability to intrigue, inspire wonder, or even confuse the reader into your story, essay or poem.  Try not to tell too much about content in your title.  Make the first words entice your reader to read on.  Let your title establish new territory.

Here's an article on titles:

Play with ideas:

l.     Look through your story for phrases that might work as a title.  Do any sentences change the way you see the story?
2.    Check out your favorite book or story titles.  Do they intrigue the reader?  What questions do they ask of the reader? 
3.    Does your title reveal expectations in plot, theme and or tone?
4.    Does the title capture an important image?  Consider these: Steel Magnolias, Atlas Shrugged, The Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, Angle of Repose, White Oleander, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Crossing to Safety.
5.    Look also at bits of dialogue and if they encapsulate an idea for your title.
6.    Think of titles as advertising.  How would Nike title your story?  Or Coke?
7.     Flip through a poetry book to see titles poets use.  Could you borrow a line? Credit the poet, of course.
8.    Would humor work in your title? 
9.    Ask the reader a question in your title.
10.  Try re-arranging words in your title in an unexpected order for a different approach.

Work with your title to transform a sense of what the story reveals. 

Creative Write: Share a few of your favorites with us and why you feel they work.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Gratitude for the Day

Teachers in the  Zen Buddhist tradition save the best wisdom for their last breath in life. With their final exhalations, they utter their best understanding of life's processes.

One Zen teacher’s final utterance,  “Thank you very much. I have no complaints" feels like a life accepted and complete.

Daily we struggle and work with what we discover about ourselves and the world.  Choices allow us to do what we can. With its causes and conditions life provides just what we need on every occasion. Even though it might not seem like it at the time. It's up to us to make the most of each moment.

We live in challenging times on myriad levels.  Without permitting judgment or false distortions to get in the way, we can figure most things out.

Using the words, “Thank you very much. I have no complaints" or a similar axiom to evaluate each day, we gain the truth of daily experiences.  Gratitude for frustrations as well as triumphs will inform as we employ daily writing to engage with problem solving skills.

Creative Write:  Thank your day for its greatest challenge. Write it out.  With a mindful approach to problem solving with words, use positive energy to engage with what appeared impossible at the time. You will write yourself into, "I'm possible" as a result.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Banned Book Week

Banned Book Week begins today.  Take a look at this reference and read a banned book.

Which one will you select?  Share your favorite story with us.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Medreedle a Drangle

"A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men"  - Willy Wonka

Do you know that Shakespeare invented almost 3,000 words on his own?  You know who else made up words on the fly?  Snoop Dogg. 

Here are a few of Shakespeare's words:

Blanket:       'Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark to cry, Hold.Hold"
Champion:    "A stouter champion whoever handled a sword."
Hobnob:        An invite to reciprocal drinking
Hoodwink:    "He will blind and hoodwink him."

Discover more words and meanings from Shakespeare at:

Play with words and their sounds.  See what happens if you just start out with skringle, prink, fedrance, dedorable, baxtrap.  Start a dedorabe sneezle.  Remalk a sentrick fobally.

If you draddle for ten minutes where will it take you?  Oh go on, medreedle a drangle.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Capturing Sensations

"Sometimes a poem comes over me like weather, feels like an itch or impulse. It's a near physical sensation. At that moment, there is nothing else to do but move to the typewriter or computer to pound the thing out." - Cate Marvin

How does one capture ideas to transform into pieces of writing? Awareness of what's happening on myriad levels of sensation begins the process. With eyes, nose, ears and fingers alert, receptivity opens. Translate sensations into words with sounds, scents, touch and taste to enliven writing. 

Make lists of possibilities.

Take time to follow the light as it bounces during the day. 
Notice shadows and dark spaces. 
Taste the air and make notes on sensations and scents. 
Observe conversations between others. 
Watch their body language and record gestures. 
Listen to sounds floating and mingling in the air. 
Read signs and transpose words. 
Scan the newspaper for headlines that mean more than the subject. 
Search for oddities. 
Gaze into flowers and plants for shapes and faces. 
Ask, "What happens here. . ."
Look up and around. 
Make friends with clouds and small creatures.
Squint to capture nuances.

Creative Write: Start your own list of observations and sensations. Do a freewrite to see what adventures will unfold. Express yourself in details.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Let the Sun Shine

A monk rattled around in a constant state of upset and depression.  When another monk tried to help him out of his gloomy mindset, the first monk said, "Look at the Master. He has outbursts of anger."
"Ah, that is so," replied the other monk. "But, notice that his anger is like lightning.  It strikes to the heart of the target and then is gone. The sun shines again."

Often we react with behavior that doesn't reflect what we want to reveal to the world.  We carry our emotions around with us instead of setting them free.   

Once we recognize it's impossible to avoid feelings of anger, sadness, frustration or other negative emotions, we can control our relationship to them.  We need to recognize the negative thoughts that accompany them.  What positive action can replace the potential for negative behavior?

With awareness, we can feel the emotions arrive, pause and learn what they have to teach us.  Then we can choose not to react with negativity.

Everyone has emotional triggers. Here are a few: a hurtful comment from someone, standing in long lines, green lights turning to red just as you arrive, being put on hold during phone calls. 
When situations arise that trigger angst, use your mind to its best advantage.  Develop a key phrase or sing a tune before responding. Take a few deep breaths to re-center.  Open yourself to possibiities.  Laugh, laugh and laugh again.  

Let lightning strike in the solitude of your mind.  Then let the sun shine out.

Creative write:  Choose three situations that trigger your negative emotions.  Write three responses for each to show how to react in a more positive way. See what happens if you use your positivity when they arise again.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Unsticking The Mind

Consider what you would do if you need to open a stuck window. Do you push and shove, sigh and give up? What would it take to open that window?

With all problems, you have an attitude and choices. Start on an action plan with a solution-attitude.

l.  What's simple and the easiest step? Call for someone stronger to help? Look for a lubricant? A can of W-D 40 or vaseline might loosen the stuck latch?
2.  What's bold and courageous? Persevere: one good hit and a constant jiggle?
3.  What outrageous action could you take? Throw a baseball through it or . . .?

When you're stuck in a writing situation, follow a similiar course of action. Asking, ". . . and then what?"  and "What else could I do?" will ease you through the challenge. Just keep writing and pushing past the questions.

Creative write: When you meet a challenge or frustration today, follow the three steps above. Write about it and share your results or more creative problem solving techniques.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Spirit Helper for Your Writing

Imagine you have a spirit helper.  Describe this creature and its powers in detail.  Give it a name.

What do you need for your writing right now? Reveal how your spirit helper will assist with its super powers.

Create Write:  Write dialogue between you and your spirit helper. Begin with your questions and requests.  Then provide responses.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Communication Skills

A veterinarian in Nashville, Tennessee was asked to diagnose and treat a wounded whooping crane. Experts advised him to wear a billowy white suit to ensure the bird would accept his attention.  After the fellow completed his work he commented, "You learn quickly how to communicate dressed as a marshmallow."

Creative Write: Revisit a time you had a communication challenge. Write about how you used innovation to deal with the situation.  Also take a look at time you needed to "communicate dressed as a marshmallow."  How would you approach that situation today?

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Imagine you overheard a whispered conversation that would change your life for the better.  What did you hear?  Write the details and your reaction.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Diverse Activities

“Specialization is for insects,” said science fiction writer Robert Heinlein. “A human being should be able to change a diaper,  plan an invasion, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, pitch manure, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently."

Make a list of your talents.

Write about five activities you would like to try. If you add these to your repertoire how will they enrich your writing?

Become a Writing Outlaw

"What has been spoiled through human mistakes can be made good again through human work."
                                                                   - Richard Wilhelm

Become an outlaw and break writing rules as an exercise.

Make a list of the correct grammar, syntax, and style issues you wish to attack before your begin your destruction.

For example:

Omit a verb and see where the sentence action goes.
Dangle a participle.
Over-modify nouns with stacked adjectives.
Overwhelm verbs with adverbs.
Avoid subject and verb agreements and use a singular subject with a plural verb.
Add commas everywhere to splice sentences.
Use myriad exclamation points rather than have the sentence do the work.
Split infinitives.

Write for ten minutes making outrageous grammatical and syntactical mistakes.  Take detours into kooky. Create and dabble in your own language.  Make up words to suit your style.  Just go fliberative.

Notice what happens when you intentionally break the rules.  Does it help to shake up stale concepts?  Do you feel energized and on a hunt for surprises?  Take a risk you haven't before.

Share your experience as an outlandish outlaw of writing rules.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Art of Performance

In the novel, THE ART OF FIELDING by Chad Harbach, the narrator reveals challenges for Henry, the shortstop.

"Half the crowd anxiously counting on him and the other half cheering for him to fail.  Like an actor in a play, his inner turmoil was on display for everyone to observe; unlike an actor in a play, he didn't get to go home and become someone else."

Do you ever feel like Henry?  Put these feelings into a character.

Show in your character's career or an aspect of life, the ways he or she are on display. Their audience has mixed feelings about their success. As you write the details of this persona, show how to get beyond the criticism and release into another aspect of the character's personality.

How can one find a resting place within the inner and outer turmoil?  Permit your character to use magic or fantasy and discover a way to "paint a rainbow's elbow."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Write to Make it

Today during my morning run,  I watched skateboarders and their magic moves.  One yelled back at the others, "Keep going till you don't make it."   As I ran by the fellow about to make his next attempt, I suggested, "Keep going till you make it and if you don't make it, keep going!  He wagged his head in agreement.

That felt like good advice for writers.  Why stop when you feel stuck or hit a dry spell?  Keep writing and writing,  especially when you don't feel like it.  Always stop when you don't want to. Positive conditioning results if you stop while in the flow.  You'll feel eager to return.

You can always write about something.  Moving away from the place where you feel like you're not making it will open new avenues.  If you keep writing, you always will make it past obstacles and frustrations.

Move past self-limitations.  Write to make it; break the speed barrier and then some.

What did you discover today when you kept going?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Moving from Abstractions to Sensory Imagery

The creative is the place where no one else has ever been.You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus,only by hard work and risk,and by not quite knowing whatyou are doing. What you will discover will be wonderful.What you discover will be yourself.
                                    - Alan Alda

Alan Alda spoke at his daughter's college commencement advising her about life from a father's point of view. In the last paragraph, Alda weaves abstract words: creative, comfort,   intuition,work,and risk with a travel metaphor to define his notion. He moves us from the city to the wilderness where no one else has gone. 

In six lines Alda develops an image of self-reliance and exploration. What if he removed the abstractions and used sensory imagery to take the reader from the city on a bus ride that stopped at the edge of the forest? What would the experience of entering the forest feel like on a sensory level?

Creative write: Go into the forest with its sounds, scents, tastes and textures. Show the reader what "wonderful" means without using the word. Or, develop a metaphor and discover your writing self through the details.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Write For Your Life

“To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.” - Kofi Annan(Ghanaian diplomat, seventh secretary-general of the United Nations, winner of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.)

Let Autumn become a season of Awareness and Action. Define five to ten areas you wish to evaluate. Consider: personal, health, fitness, family, career, friendship, finances.

Take a sheet of paper and divide a circle into divisions with your chosen areas. Take another sheet and write for five to ten minutes about each.

Ask yourself: What's going well?  What needs improvements or enhancements?  Avoid negative comments as you tune into yourself.

Observe your inner compass. Set behavioral goals.

Creative Write: Choose one area to begin work on today.  Get into self-awareness for Action. Write for your life!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Shine your light today

"The greatest contribution we can make to the wellbeing of those in our lives is to have peace in our own hearts.” ~David Simon

Today as you take time to reflect upon the ten years since the events of 9-11, feel gratitude for those who united and persevered in our time of crisis. Although many have said American would never be the same, the spirit of unity shown after the experience defined our character and gave us hope.

If each American takes responsibility for possibility thinking, we will outlast all challenges.

Write to your sense of self and peace today.  Shine your light.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Redefining Success

"My firendship with Jane is two years and a few dozen beach walks, horseback rides and mud baths old.  The relationship is deeply successful, like, she would say, the relationship between these huge dark rocks and the silver waves that crash all around them."    Pam Houston, from A Little More About Me.

Pam Houston writes, "My need to write things that terrify me is matched only by my desire to write the things that surprise and delight. I take what the world hands me in free verse and give it back in something like a form and it is language that lets me complete that circle."

Creative Write: How do you define a relationship you find successful?  Write about the relationship within a locale where you might walk with this person.  Show the reader the benefits of communication woven into a sense of place.

Beyond the Push and Pull

"Don't be angry with the rain," wrote Vladimir Nabokov, "It simply does not know how to fall upward."

Consider how to apply this principle to your writing today. Bound away from angry thoughts about what you believe controls you.

Do you let the tug of gravity get you down?  Do other forces of nature knot you into a bundle?  How will you let writing free you from a magnetic pull?

Today disobey the laws of nature.  Go against the flow and pick up speed in your writing about freedom from reality.

List three laws of nature you will write beyond.  Fly!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Will Or Won't Power?

Psychologist Walter Mischel conducted experiments in the 1960's where he had preschoolers choose one marshmallow now or two 15 minutes later to test their willpower.  Decades later his follow up studies revealed that four-year olds who waited turned into adults less likely to abuse drugs, had higher self-esteem and better relationships. They earned higher degrees, had better financial balance, and handled stress better than those who chose immediate gratification.

I wonder about those who didn't like marshmallows?  Would they choose to eat the mushy thing to get it over or ask for M&M's?  At that age,  I would definitely have asked for a different treat.

Now in a new study on willpower, Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney probe what they call "the greatest human strength."

Baumeister and his collaborators believe the will, like a muscle, can become fatigued.  They call this "ego depletion."  They found an individual's willpower consists of a circuitry in the brain that runs on glucose.  Their research revealed that the ego can become invigorated by a sugary pick-me-up  although not by a diet sweetener.  They also showed self-control requires exercise.

They observed students in a study that required them to keep track of eating habits, exercise regularly, use a mouse with their weaker hand, and speak in complete sentences without swearing.  After several weeks the students appeared more resistant to ego depletion and showed greater self-control in their lives. They smoked, drank and snacked less. They washed more dishes and studied more. Although they watched less television, no one monitored computer or cell phone use from what I can tell.

After these observations, the researchers offered advice to build the strength of willpower:

Don't try to tame every bad habit at once. Don't diet because it starves the system that implements self-control.  You may actually have to eat something sweet to avoid overeating.


Sweets and exercise alone will strengthen self-control?  Hmmmm

I would add that writing about issues will assist in self-discovery while it instills a positive habit.  Keep the M&M's handy and go for a long walk or run each day.

Check out their book, WILLPOWER, Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength.

Creative Write:  What do you observe about your self-control issues?  Do you think you feel an "ego depletion" when trying to break or make a habit?  What do you do to keep to your goals? Can you resist one temptation and not another?  What is won't power?

Tell us how you strengthen your ego to keep writing.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Weaving a Life

"War is like the threads in a piece of lace. Who can say it's the threads or the voids between them that make the patterns."  Roger Hicks

"For a long time when I seemed to live by a slender thread of faith, spun out from within me   From this single thread I spun strands that joined me to the good things of the world.  And then I spun more threads that joined all the strands together, making a life.  When it was complete, or nearly so, it was shapely and beautiful in the light of day.  It endured through the nights, but sometimes it only barely did.  It would be tattered and set awry by things that fell or blew or fled or flew.  Many of the strands would be broken.  Those I would have to spin and weave again in the morning."  Wendell Berry

Creative Write:   Do you see yourself sending out threads like a spider spinning its web?  What metaphor would you apply to your life?

How do you deal with mistakes and starting over?  If you wrote about the "voids between the threads" of your life,  how would you describe them?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Bite from the Writing Bug

Remember when you met someone who really attracted you?  Once you started talking, you felt the power of chemistry take over.

For many writers, the lure of writing feels similar.  When an individual meets the feelings and satisfaction writing provides one asks, "Where have you been all my life?"

When in the flow of words, the brain's chemical reactions and synapses firing hold attention beyond the initial situation or troubled world.

Addiction to writing feels like self -indulgence of the highest power.   One's craving for a pen or to run fingers across the keyboard excites.  Unlike a negative addiction, it does not have remain a secret.

Individuals can recover from a chemical dependency but the addiction to a love of words defies all treatment.

Creative Write:  Move into a flow of words as you write about your writing addiction.  If you haven't truly felt the bite of writing's love bug, see if you can discover it today.  Begin with a feeling you've experienced when dealing with a strong attraction.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Writer's Alphabet

Keep these as daily reminders and idea sparkers.  Write in response to them.  Create your own Writer's Alphabet.

A    Awareness of each moment in movement.

B    Books. Read. Read. Read.

C    Courage to Create

D    Dreams and Dedication

E     Effort and Enthusiasm do the work.

F     Flexibility provides a foundation.

G    Gratitude for the wonder of words

H    Humor conquers all.

I      Imagination rules.

J      Jump-start the day with a smile.

K     Kleptomania. Take ideas and make your own connections.

L      Laughter arrives from the bounce of words

M     Moodle  -  Write into and out of your moods

N      Nourish with quality food and drink.

O     Optimism attracts opportunity.

P      Process means everything.

Q     Question the world.

R      Resources abound from every corner.

S       Stay upbeat and stick to a writing schedule.  

T       Timing and talent are friends.

U       Understand yourself!

V        Victory arms up after each writing session.

W       Wordle for 15 to 30 minutes each day.

X        Xylophone.  Learn to play an instrument.  it's a stress buster.  Music impacts the blood vessels and keeps them open.

Z         Get lots of zzzzz's.  They control the stress hormone cortisol.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Slice of Life

"A personal narrative is a mental journey and meditation of the mind.  It moves through thoughts and feelings to a small, subtle realization.  It is structured by the progression forward of personal truth." 
Phillip Lopate

Choose a situation you have experienced that provokes emotion and questioning.  How might you make visible this emotional a "slice of life" and combine experience with opinion?  Begin in the middle of the situation and see where it takes you.  Provide a different slant on the experience.

Write in first person, present tense.

Set the stage: 

   Where is this happening?
   What's going to happen?
   Why is this happening?
   Add insights and a new perspective.

Bring events into sharp focus and color them with emotion.

Hook the reader with a beginning sentence. Leave with the reader savoring the ending and wondering beyond it. Discover your personal truth.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Menagerie Stories

The earliest known artists used animals as their subjects. Images of beasts dominate cave walls of Lascaux and Altamira. They tell stories of the prehistoric world.

Teaching stories and fables arrived later. Through the actions of animals, they showed children how to behave and the consequences of bad choices. Native American stories of coyote and raven abound.

What menagerie could you create to tell a story of collaboration?

Consider two animals.

An elephant waded into the pond at a Wild Animal Park. With the sound of a trumpet, it tossed water from its trunk onto its back. Ripples from its skin sent droplets over its frame. A bluebird happened by and noticed this refreshment in the heat of the day.

“Hello,” the bird sang as it flew above the trunk.”How do you do that?”

“Ah, it's easy, “ the elephant responded. “ Would you like a spray?”

“Yes, I have flown for days from the north and would like a drink and bath.”  The bird flapped in motion just above the gray trunk. Soon the water sparkled from its feathers.

“You’re fortunate also to have wings,” smiled the elephant. “I’ve always admired birds in the sky and how they can travel.

“It looks like we have ways to share our experiences,” said the bird, drying one feather at a time with its beak.

“So many animals here have talents to learn about,” said the elephant.

“Aren’t you frightened by the fierce ones?”

“Each has his or her own specialty,” the elephant moved deeper into the water. “Ah, this feels good.”

Creative Write: Where will you take this story or create your own two animal characters and let them interact in story.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What You Carry

Are you ready for the tooth of September?

September 2 -  I call it the tooth of September because this time of year I sink my teeth into a state of mind of reduction and discard -  R and D.  I minimize a reliance on things and maximize my creative time for writing and photography.

"Throw or stow" becomes the mantra. I throw. throw. throw while rummaging through closets and drawers.

Research has shown that heavy handbags cause spinal misalignment, shoulder and back problems in women.  Many men stash their wallets in their back pants pocket.  That causes "wallet butt."  Health professionals call it wallet neuropathy.  Sitting on a large wallet for long periods of time twists the spine and compresses nerves in the buttocks and legs.  This pressure leads to inflammation, tingling and lower back pain.

What do I need to lug around with me?  I have down-sized purses this September.

After discarding items, I retain a wallet (4x2 inches), round mirror-brush (think dollar size pancake),  thumb-sized dental floss, 2 handiwipes, one chapstick, fountain pen (ring finger size) and business cards.

I choose a purse that my hand spans (6 inches) up and across in size (it's a Kiplinger sans the gorilla). What else can I do without?  The bulkiness of a cellphone becomes the major challenge. It goes in the outside zipper pocket with the chapstick.  I delete a mini writing tablet and extra handiwipes.  Of course the mirror-brush will be the next to go. I can slip the business cards into my wallet.  Voila, I have become a turtle-istic minimalist.

Ah the freedom I feel as my purse dangles from my shoulder, light as a bird.

Creative Write:  Tell us a story about what you carry.  Can you minimalize?

September of Possibilities

It seems to me that January resolutions are about will; September resolutions are about authentic wants. . . . The beauty of autumnal resolutions is that no one else knows we’re making them. Autumnal resolutions don’t require horns, confetti, and champagne. September resolutions ask only that we be open to positive change. 
                - from Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach 

Autumn begins to creep in and envelope summer.  Change seeps into leaf color and crisps breeze as nature prepares for change. 

What changes do you feel around you this September 1?  Take time to notice the subtle messages nature sends.

What scents arouse your writing fingers?  Listen for changes in sounds. Watch the day's progression into dusk. Feel your body's adjustments and sensations with the seasonal shift.

Which writing desires will you accomplish this fall? Reflect about changes you wish to initiate this month.