Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Take advantage of Halloween to write about a haunting. Who lives here and what evil lurks in the shaded rooms? Imagine what happens in the turret?  Creep around to the back where you hear dogs growling.

What does the full moon inspire?

Create clankings and eerie sounds that arise from the basement.

Do you dare open the front door?


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Happening

Halloween has taken over to decorate neighborhoods and malls. Everywhere ghosts, witches and goblins abound. Skeletons shake in the wind. Pumpkin designers become more creative each season.

In anticipation of October 31, write a fable or poem about a Halloween happening.

Choose a costume to describe yourself.

Do you know if there are dinosaur costumes for dogs?

Imagine a cat in a artichoke costume.

Transform a carved pumpkin into a story of flight.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mine the Mysteries

The answer is never the answer. What's really interesting is the mystery. If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you'll always be seeking. I've never seen anybody really find the answer. They think they have, so they stop thinking. But the job is to seek mystery, evoke mystery, plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom. The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer.” 
- Ken Kesey

Move from the actual into fun and fantasy with words.

What if you planted a garden in which strange plants grow?  How would you describe them by colors, textures, scents, and sounds they make? 

Imagine an orchestra or a wild concert of blooms. Discover magicians within the petals. How will you choreograph the dance?

Place yourself into an encounter of strange and delve into the wonder and magic.

Flavor your writing with mystery and see where it leads.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Writing Motives and Contradictions

How well do you write about uncomfortable and sensitive situations?

Fictional characters are human beings with fickle natures. Mercurial personalities revolve from desire, fear, love, spite, pride, and guilt, to name a few.

Explore motives, contradictions and consequences of thoughts and actions. When planning plot investigate the extent to which a character feels the nature and source of suffering. What's uniqiue about existence in this entanglement of pleasure and pain?

How does each individual cope with the suffering?  How does the character think about what is lacking? What does he thinks he wants? How will she set about getting it? Discover the variety of ways.

Creative Write: Investigate a world view or moral view that has troubled you. Begin by writing about a moment of concern for a persona created from your perspective.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Body Memory Journey

Journey into your physical self to discover story possibilities. Map birthmarks, wrinkles, cowlicks, and scars.

Notice the lines and vein rivers on each hand. Show how your hands reveal a mood. Explore where your legs have journeyed in exercise and rest.  Can you pick up objects with your toes?

Do arm or leg freckle fields represent patterns of constellations?

Recall how you gained scars and those that represent victories.

Delve into your body's habits and rituals.

Find a memory of a childhood astonishment. Reveal your milestones.

Study aspects of yourself with a comic relationship.

Creative Write:  After you've hunted and gathered details, write a vignette of your journey.

Friday, October 26, 2012

First Line

"It's so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas."  - Paul Cezanne

Feel fine and write first lines.  Discover delicious anticipation and push word against word.  Let ripe chaos coalesce into musicality.

Go for that line. Where do you see it?  What does it taste like? How does it ripple your skin?

Write into its indescribable scent.  Let it take you away . . .

Throw it out there.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Turtle Tales

Turtle fables abound. A turtle represents creation, endurance, strength, cunning, longevity, and stability. Turtles provide happiness, protection and good fortune.

The turtle’s shell figures in many tales. Zeus invited a turtle to a party. When she declined the invitation and said, "There's no place like home," he put her house on her back. In China a turtle shell formed the vault of the heavens. Vishnu, the Hindu god, changed into a turtle's shape to carry the world on his back. For many Native Americans the world rides on the back of a giant sea turtle.

An African legend tells of the leopard who built a drum that everyone can hear. He will not permit anyone to try the drum, not even the Sky-God. Angered at this behavior, the Sky-God announces that anyone who can bring leopard's drum to him will receive a reward for teaching the leopard a lesson about his greedy, disrespectful ways. Then the Sky-God waits.

The elephant, monkey and tiger try to get the drum but the leopard scares them away. Finally, the tortoise steps up. The animals laugh and tease her because of her size and soft shell.

She proceeds anyway and tricks leopard by telling him his drum looks only middle-sized, but nice. She says that the Sky-God can climb inside his drum and not be seen at all.

The leopard brags that he can climb into his drum and not be seen, too. When he squeezes himself completely into the drum, the tortoise seals it with a cooking pot. She drags the drum to the place where the Sky-God waits. He laughs at the lesson that the little tortoise has taught a big, bragging leopard.

As a reward the Sky-God presents her with the strong, hard shell that the tortoise wears to this day.

In reality, sea turtles have poor eyesight and cannot use visual clues to find their way. Experiments have shown some turtles can detect differences in the angle and intensity of the earth’s magnetic fields. Scientists theorize they follow each region’s magnetic pull to find their way back to birth beaches. They have a built in global positioning system.

The first turtles swam more than 150 million years ago. Seven species of sea turtle survive today: loggerhead, leatherback, hawksbill, green, olive ridley, Kemp's ridley, and flatback.

Five of the six species that live in the United States appear on the endangered species list.  The sixth, the loggerhead, is listed as threatened. The last species, the flatback sea turtle of Australia, is considered "vulnerable" to extinction. 

Celebrate a turtle in words today!

Creative Write:  Write a fable or poem about a turtle and its qualities. Or, choose a legendary animal to research and write about. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Nurture Heightened Perception

I have not arrived at my understanding of the universe by means of the rational mind. 
- Albert Einstein

We use our rational mind to read maps, balance budgets, prepare taxes, and attend to many of life's activities. Carl Jung defined intuition as an unconscious process of perception required for creative thinking. He felt sense perception became a starting point to stimulate ideas, images and ways out of a blocked situation. 

No matter how small a drop of water, it reflects the entire moon.
- unknown author
Our eyes, ears, noses, mouths, tongues, fingers and toes assist us to experience life. 

Questions abound:

Do we learn curiosity and creativity?  

Is intuition nurtured? Does it rattle in the background of experience, knowledge and synaptic connections?

Do you feel a heightened perception at times where sensory imagery leads you to discovery?

Will a flash in the corner of the eye flame into an idea or concept?

What unlocks mysteries and reaches for connections?

Writers benefit from a high level of curiosity mixed with syncronicity and its extensions. It becomes a push with all the senses to uncover flickers, fragrance and fun.

Awaken awareness to movement around you. Take in substances, textures and make correlations.  Invite synchronicity and include a collaboration with nature. Squint to see objects beyond what they appear.

Stimulate your perception. Ask questions of nature and write to discover.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Write with Courage and Ferocity

"Don't shoot the messenger. Edit the message."  
- written on a wall.

Approach your day to notice where words and actions affect others in a positive way. Share a smile, a few sentences of gratitude and a compliment.  Those expressions become your high art.

Write with ferocity today.

Applaud everything around you.

Make peace with irritation.

Use words to burrow into frustration.

Irrigate the soul with positivity.

Change your attitude and watch how it soothes another.

Count how many judgments you can avoid. What would
their opposites sound like?  Write them!

Tell someone to expect an Amazement in an hour.

When a negative rattles toward you, twirl its pace and add a laugh.

Write one-liners and share them.

Win the world's attention word by word.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Build a Character

What do you admire in people: honesty, punctuality, ability to have fun and laugh? Now focus on what upsets you: tardiness, messiness, lack of humor?

Build a character with one of each. Write the character who laughs past the disarray. Include another dimension for the individual revealed by choices of clothing.

Place that person lost in a car without a map on the way to an important event.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Background Sounds

Detail music, clatter, weather's pings, and conversation to provide texture to the beginning of a freewriting session. Listen to what rushes around you in unusual ways. Duplicate sounds in phonetics.

Let the sounds lead you to ideas.  Write for fifteen minutes.

Take a break.

Begin with background noises and distractions to set the stage. Enrich a character or characters by the dimension of sounds.  Let cacophony elevate emotion in the scene.  Add a twist of humor.

Creative Write: Escalate tension between a couple at a coffee shop. Begin with song lyrics, add machinery, noise of cutlery and drinking glasses. Try a one-sided rant.. How will silence intrude?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Upside Down, Inside and Out

Nudging into creativity today, I ran in a pattering of rain. Puddles and reflections encouraged ways to view nature upside down. What fun to notice leaves relaxed in their morning spa.

Spokes of spider webs draped from the bridge railing.  Dappled with beads of dew, the lines refracted rain. Fir trees stood on their heads as squirrels twisted down oak trees in search of breakfast.  In the ponds, ducks ventured upside down to feed beneath the surface, tails wriggling in the breeze. Even the herons appeared to search for a reversal.

When we take the opportunity to break from the ordinary and move out of a mind set, it clicks our imaginations into a fresh gear. Ideas and ways to view our life's challenges appear from the inside out with a variety of connections.

Notice the leaves in communal hugs on a park bench. What a better world we'd have if everyone shared a morning upside down and inside out.  

Creative Write:  Approach the day upside down.  What do you have hiding inside that wants to come out.  Write about it!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Write the Nonexistent into Life

"By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it.  The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired." - Nikos Kazantzakis.

What does not yet exist that you could bring into life today?  

Do you need to stimulate a friendship?  Would refreshing lines in a poem or story add to its possibility?  What if you left an encouraging note for the mailman, an office worker, or someone who provides a service you take for granted? 

Think of just one area of life that needs enriching for someone else.  Then add one for yourself.

Make your day one of believing and doing.  Become a magician of what could add energy to our weary world.  

Write the nonexistent into life.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Twitter Fiction

“Great smile,” he said as the lady passed him.  She nodded a thank you.  At his job interview, the door opened and a woman directed him in, “Oh, it’s the smile guy,” she said. 

Imagine writing a story with only 140 characters?  Create Twitter Fiction. Provide intrigue.  Try a few of your own.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Monkey Day

Have you heard of the three monkeys?  

Carved on a stable housing sacred horses at Tōshōgū shrine in Nikkō, Japan, the monkeys embody the principle to "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil." The three monkeys are Mizaru, covering his eyes, who sees no evil; Kikazaru, covering his ears, who hears no evil; and Iwazaru, covering his mouth, who speaks no evil. 

Sometimes there is a fourth monkey depicted with the three others; the last one, Shizaru, symbolizes the principle of  "do no evil." He may be shown crossing his arms. Imagine another with a pen.

Creative Write: Take the monkeys with you today. 
How will they advise you during the day's challenges and choices? What if you tease them into mischief? Do they get you into trouble?  Does one protect you just in time? Write your adventures.

Have fun with your monkey day!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Launch a Laugh

Everyone needs comic relief to expand ideas in writing. Humor and far-fetched thinking will benefit a writing day. Play with notions and ridiculous riddles. Add nuances and absurdity by asking a few questions of unlikely combinations.

What if a Garibaldi wore a Rolex. Could he outswim time?

Imagine a Siamese cat pawing a cell phone to order a pizza when her owner is late for dinner.

How would a canary benefit from singing with a Kindle Fire?

Mix technology and the outlandish with animals you know.

Come on!  Launch a laugh or two today.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Questions for the Interior

"Gaining access to that interior life is a kind of . . . archaeology: on the basis of some informtion and a little bit of guesswork, you journey to a site to see what remains where left behind and you reconstruct the world."     - Toni Morrison

What matters the most in your life?

Answers to that question change as you grow older and mature with experience in thinking about choices.  During a lifetime, we return to aspects of life that matter the most.  Writing about and through these experiences provides insight for future choices.

Think of an incident that shaped the way you view your life?  Was a hidden gift there, or a lesson you've carried forward? 

Did you make a choice in the moment that benefitted your future?  Could you have gone a different direction and altered where you reside in life today?

Recall a time when you felt a real or perceived disadvantage of life.  In reflection, would you change the results?

Consider a choice you did not make or one that was made for you because of procrastination or indecision. How would you rewrite it from a third person perspective?

Remember a choice you did not make or one that was made for you because of procrastination or indecision. How would you rewrite it from a third person perspective?

Do you have unfinished business in an area of life?

What's your life's greatest decision to date?

Creative Write:  Freewrite to one or all of the above concerns.  See what the writing uncovers in the archaeology of your interior life.  Then, as Morrison suggests, "reconstruct the world."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Drops, Bubbles and Sky

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters. 
                                                            - Norman Maclean

Write about reflections and water today.  

Discover a variety of water forms: waves, drops, bubbles, beads. 

Add colors, scents and sounds of splashing. 

Search into the realms where water explores and nurtures. 

Notice what stories or poems reflect and refract there. 

Do you find a metaphor for an aspect of life?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

What Ifs ?

Writer, Jorge Luis Borges poses, "What if?" and lets his stories work questions out to their logical or absurd conclusions.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez blends the fantastic with the ordinary for his approaches to story. In his short story, "The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" he ponders, "What if an angel appeared in our own village?" A poor couple in an impoverished South American village cages the creature and sells tickets to view it. Marquez toys with the reader's emotions of disgust and strange wonder when an old man rises from the sand and flies away content that the couple has made money to support their new baby.

Writers need to stay open to surprise, absurdity and play with complexity for stories and poems to reach to the edges of possibility.

Stop reading and look around.  Notice a roundness, square objects, colors and scents.  Add a sound or two. Launch your imagination and add tiny creatures. Where did they come from? What if they spoke?  Let plants philosophize. What would a grasshopper do if . . . ?

Invite a character from your favorite novel into your living room. Which questions would you ask?

Creative Write: Imaginate and return to a story or poem that has lost its energy. Ask, "What if?"  Keep going until you have moved beyond reality into a realm that produces surprises, absurdity and fun.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Write About Change

"Every change begins with a story."  - Anita Roddick

Consider a journey of promise and possibility.  Define an upheaval causing seismic change you would like to happen.  What discoveries will you pursue?

Describe a change that begins with a story. When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Describe Color

How do you describe color?  Is it a bit of leaf and some bark chips?  

Notice a scent of aubergine. What's a whiff of blue? 

Dab a flame of chartreuse into fun.

Show how a color tastes.  

Listen to ways yellow sounds?  Have you noticed shades of reggae?

Define a slurry of magenta.

Color expectation. Pose into purple.
Get a grrrrr from green.

Creative Write: Fly into a galaxy of fantasy describing color.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Thresholds create the in-between place. Neither inside or out, they provide an entrance and exit; forward or back. What happens in that space between the origin and the ending point?

How does one move into the point where a physiological or psychological effect begins? Where do limits exist?

Create Write: Gather images, associations, feelings and memories of threshold experiences. Write words and phrases that come to mind. Then circle ideas of interest. Freewrite for 15 minutes and stay open to where the gatherings will lead your writing.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Why didn't the earth replace the dinosaurs?

"What the Earth Knows" by Robert B. Laughlin, physics professor at Stanford appears in The American Scholar - .

Laughlin provides insights about how the earth survives - with or without us. The earth didn't replace dinosaurs, it just moved on.

The author writes that our real problem of living involves overpopulation, overuse, habitat destruction; pesticide abuse, species invasion etc. He details how the earth does climate changes on its own routinely without asking permission or explaining itself.  It recycles and changes for its own needs regardless of our energy crisis.

He definitely makes one aware that human beings have little impact, regardless of positive environmental action taken on the minute level we "control."

During my morning jogs I notice the nature of human beings during their acts of unconscious or selfish behavior.  They toss cigarettes from cars, drive with knees while yelling on cellphones and drinking from cups. Not many will pick up paper that litters the sidewalk within their reach.  So many take for granted  that the sun will rise again in what appears like a lifestyle of irresponsible and entitled behavior.

Why do they neglect the earthstyle? Why miss the colors, scents and flavors of our living planet?  Would an earthquake or tsunami that removes their privileges of a comfortable life jar them into reality?

Sadly, regardless of our behavior, the earth doesn't need us so we can remain self-consumed.  The earth has suffered floods, volcanoes, meteors, upligts into mountains and abuses greater than what we'll ever inflict.

Laughlin's article lingers during my day as I avoid the media's concern with tragedy. I can control only my attention to moments with respect and responsibility for myself.

We do not know when or how the earth will react.  It certainly will outlast and not replace us either.

How I interact with and appreciate the natural world matters, even if it has a mind of its own.  Sunrises and sunsets, roses and stargazers, squirrels and pelicans will enrich my moments in movement.

Creative Write:  After reading the article, choose a concern you have with "civilized living."  

Does it matter what we do?  Must we have systems like religion, ethics, politics and self-responsibility to control us since we have no control over our planet?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Indian Summer

Cool air sleeves each arm as I turn into a neighborhood of trees in transition. The sidewalk's display of  orange, scarlet and yellow leaves crisp under my feet. I breathe in morning fires that spiral from chimneys and tint the breeze with the aroma of wood smoke.  Sun plays hide and seek with shadows on the pavement.

It's time to carve pumpkins and add to the decorations neighborhoods sport in anticipation of Halloween.  Goblins and witches accompany skeletons. Tombstones, black cats and ghosts appear. I'm partial to the spiders. 

Creative Write:  Write about a Halloween tradition.  Notice all the sensory details.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Elephant Needs a Bicycle

What's as unnecessary as an elephant needing a bicycle? Elephant metaphors abound in speech and literature.
Kings of Siam offered a rare white elephant to noblemen who had fallen out of favor. The cost of feeding and caring for the creature destroyed the recipient.  This evolved into using “white elephant” to refer to an expensive and wasteful construction project.

Then a white elephant became an undesirable possession. A white elephant sale attracted individuals who found value in others' discards. In his story, "Hills Like White Elephants," Ernest Hemingway led the reader to decide the value.
An elephant in the room refers to an obvious situation no one wants to acknowledge.  When the elephant changes colors, a pink elephant refers to a drunk person's hallucination.

The elephant test refers to the difficulty describing an elephant.  One just knows it when one sees it. In one story, six blind men had the task of describing an elephant. Each felt a different part and described the animal from that reference point: the trunk, a tusk, an ear, a leg, the stomach, and the tail.

Have you heard anyone say that they hope to “see the elephant” ? Individuals traveled miles to view an elephant in a circus parade or under the big top. As a result, any overwhelming experience could result in seeing the elephant.
P. T. Barnum advertised his elephant, Jumbo's size which led to referencing the name as a synonym for colossal. (Elephantine, is another synonym, though it also refers to ponderousness.) Dumbo from Disney fame has discovered its name thrown around in disrespect.

Other elephant attributes include superior intelligence and memory. Since they have poor eyesight, based on observations in zoos and circuses, they are not bothered by mice as some have believed.
Creative Write: Create your own elephant metaphors for a story or poem. Or, try the fox, chicken, frog, snake or donkey.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ready to Create

Think of yourself as an observer, a spectator fascinated by all that whirls and dances about you.  Life comes together. Bubbles burst by confusion.  Cold and heat surround stillness and motion of day.  You might notice parting and reuniting mingled with smiles and the glisten of faces. Ears tune into a symphony of sounds and raucous beats.

Discover a place free from the chains of routine. Go into a personal space where you can admit aspects of life you've let go of or turned your back on.

Observe with wonder and curiosity at an opportunity not taken. Develop a metaphor like an unfurled scroll where you write and draw a new life, another beginning, a renewed earth.

Create an invisibility. No one can find you but you can see stars born, the sparks of insights, flames bursting into light. A scent swirls into questions. Gradually what's no longer needed releases.

Renewed strength attracts courage and a true sense of self.

Move to write from and toward your center.