Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

On New Year's Eve many sing a Scottish folk song written by Robert Burns, They sing, “we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne" at Hogmanay, the Scottish New Year’s Eve. Hogmanay derives from a French word for a gift given at the New Year.

Just after midnight, someone scrambles into the house of a neighbor or friend with gifts. This is called "first footing" or becoming the first person to bring good fortune for the new year. The first-footer is a tall dark-haired male.

Customs vary by region within Scotland and include, decorated herrings, fireballs, pipe bands, fruit cakes, song and whiskey.

Have a safe New Year's Eve. Get to sleep early,  Then you will have a clear head to write your way into the New Year on January 1, 2013.

When you awaken in 2013 give yourself a gift. Stay under the covers a few minutes to think about your writing.

Place a sheet of paper where you'll see it every day. Over the next weeks, make notes of what you expect to play with, discover and accomplish in your 2013 writing.  Add wild expectations.

Along the way, add in several daring goals to push yourself beyond limits.

In the last two weeks of January, lock in your goals and determine three actions for each. 

l. What you will do (specifically) to accomplish your goals given your current writing climate and resources.
2. Who might be able to help you. Contact that person with specific requests. 
3. Write a scene of what to expect when you meet your goal. 

Happy Write Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Write Enthusiasm

"There is real magic in enthusiasm. 
It spells the difference between 
mediocrity and accomplishment." 
- Norman Vincent Peale 

How does one write enthusiasm? Search for a bounce of words that 
jive and shimmy.

Let them gleam upon the page. 

Reveal yourself in verbs!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Write into the Present

Take time to revel in the gift of now. Do what needs to be done.

Each day give yourself the present.

Don't plan it.  Don't wait for it.  Let it happen.

Write now!

Intensify your commitment to self-care.

Deepen your devotion to making yourself feel the best. Increase your artistry by providing yourself with everything you need to thrive.

Stay present. Write about it.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Write About Parents

Virgil's Hand  
by Francesc Parcerisas translated
by Cyrus Cassells 
The battle's slow and sinuous,
a stormy fire on the hilltops.
The enemy's spears and darts
have decimated,
at such a snail's pace,
our once-protecting parents,
that, almost unawares, we're caught,
wordless, shield-less, in the blazing
tumult of the frontline.
Up till now, Virgil's hand.
From this day forward,
the world will be utterly different:
we'll combat the fire
totally on our own.
Guideless, spurred by a secret
quest for common sense,
perhaps, in the long run, we'll realize
the ramparts,
the enemy, the war itself,
are trumped-up shadows
of a fire that's merely
light and ash;
we'll realize: purgatory
and paradise are located
within us.


In what ways did you learn to combat the fire on your own?

What did you learn from your parents that resides within you?  Consider behaviors you forward on to others that have tendrils of parental guidance. How have you taking pieces of a mother or father and puzzled them into you?

Creative Write: Let your writing entertain the questions about parental influences.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Capture Conversation

If you spend time in the airport and the mall at this time of year, eavesdrop as you wander. Record words and reactions. Will they lead to a story?

Captured eavesdrops:

I didn’t end up buying the purple one. Nah. Just didn’t
I’ve been with him a year, that’s not it.

I mean…woah

Cool. Couldn’t be in a better position.

Whatever. Friends.

Mom. Mom Mom. Listen to me.  Will you?  It’s nothing. Nothing.

Love the mildew smell of his tiger sheets.

We’re too traumatic to each other.

Why you overwhelmed?
And you have to write the paper on it?

What yuck?

Wanna gowanna bike ride or sumpin
Anyonje like know where I can live?
Fer summer

You owe me money -
You owe me more than that money.

She likes everything but he dropped the ball
Noooo   that’s stupidy stupidy stupideee

Reasoning’s terrible.

He's stuck on his monologue.

Oh Blah, I feel really, really great.

Mary’s son went to school in a blue sheet today

It’s pineapple.  No banana
It’s banana but  I can’t get it open

Have you met Bill?
I thought he was a card board cut out?
. . . He certainly wasn’t last night

No problema.  Why is it that problema is feminine? Always

She’s kinda round but not in bad shape

Man she’s like Lucy holding the ball for Charlie Brown
Promises. Promises. No results.

 Maybe you need a seasonal cleanse?

I’m the son of an evangelist
and an alcoholic mother.

Que paso now.

Why don’t you
Who do
and why?

Straight ahead into morning.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Write a Meraki Moment

Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun. 
- Picasso  

Meraki [may-rah-kee], a Greek word, refers to the bliss you feel when engaged in a task you love and do well.

Similar to “ardor,” meraki refers to one’s own creations. During the writing process, effort and creativity mingle into words. In this way one approaches them with meraki.

Creative Write: Choose a favorite pastime and experience its abundance in writing. Sail into a meraki moment. Write with all your heart today as you break into smiles.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wander into Wonders

There are not seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million. 
- Walt Streightiff

A television advertisement stars comedian, Beck Bennett who sits at a table with several children. He chats with them and asks questions. They respond with fun and their youthful truths.

Innovators like Albert Einstein did not feel encumbered by convention. "A new idea comes suddenly and in a rather intuitive way. That means it is not reached by conscious logical conclusions, " Einstein said.

Discoveries begin in curiosity and abound in playtime. As Einstein claimed, "Intuition is nothing but the outcome of earlier intellectual experience."

Why not spend more time grabbing unexpected ideas in wonder and play?

Creative Write: Write your wanders and wonders.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Memories

‎"One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six." 
              ~ A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas*

The season stimulates memories in the form of anecdotes, conversations, and relationships. Events turn over and over in the heart and mind. Will the memory fulfill itself in the events of the moment?  Will those who have left return home to celebrate?

Creative Write:  What do you wish for to complete your holiday celebration?  Would you request a return from a deceased relative for the day?  Will you return to a childlike self for the festivities?  Do you require a day of youthful pleasures?  Do you recall when someone told you about Santa Claus? How might you transport yourself in words over the miles and years?  

Bring memories to the fireside and write.

"Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!" ~ Charles Dickens.

*Full Dylan Thomas text:  http://www.bfsmedia.com/MAS/Dylan/Christmas.html

Monday, December 23, 2013

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

A Chinese poem reveals the true measure of a mountain's greatness is not its height but whether it is charming enough to attract dragons.

Life gathers joy with mystery and fabulous.

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. Discover ways to choreograph the dance.

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

Move from the actual into fun and fantasy with words.

Flavor your writing with mystery and see where it leads.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Write into the Immediacy

"When I write, I author the present, and in authoring the present, I create myself.  I disappear when I write"  - Bob Hicok

Author, Bob Hicok feels, "A poem is that focusing activity, an opportunity to give flesh to my mind, to make it actual, to give the internal a physical, external existence."

Hicok promotes writing as performative. Writers need to move. He advises students to, "Step into the moment that's coming into existence, rather than insist the moment take on a predetermined shape."

"There's a delay between you doing a thing or thinking a thing and your awareness of said doing or thinking but I still have the desire to live and write without hesitation, and from that immediacy, surprise myself away from the known patterns of my mind," Hicok says.

The creative stage of the writing process provides the opportunity to energize and disappear in each moment. Move into the mind's flow. Without judgment, let the words flicker and fly. Surprises arise with each bounce of words.

Creative Write: Disappear into the immediacy of the moment. Amaze and amuse yourself. Let the words spread, splay, and sprout from your fingers.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Design a Brumalia

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." - Berthold Auerbach
December solstice usually occurs on December 21st.The Romans celebrated Brumalia as a winter festival. It also became known as Saturnalia (the “waxing of the light") to honor Roman Gods, Saturn, Demeter and Bacchus. 
The festival included feasting and merriment to celebrate the victory of the sun over the cold and darkness of winter. Everyone celebrated with dancing and carousing.

Creative Write: Create a winter festival of fun. Choose a theme and decide on guests to invite from other times in history. Mix and match your delights and let the story evolve.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Write by Listening

Everything in writing begins with language. 
Language begins with listening. 
~ Jeanette Winterson

Spend a day tuning into and taming your listening skills. You will discover how this process affects language. Set a time limit of several hours, if a day seems too long.

During the selected period, focus and listen to those around you. Hear  conversations without responding with judgment. Keep a notepad with you and write your concerns to what's said to you. Also, keep notes on words and meanings as they float in dialogues around you.

If you feel the urge to speak, say to yourself, "Write it; don't say it." Then write it with vigor.

Smile and do not engage in commentary. 

How long can you accomplish your listening and remain in the silence without spoken words? You may discover humor along the way. 

Try another silent adventure.

Discover a place of solitude. Focus on your breath as it moves in and out. Listen to a collage of sounds with full awareness.

At first, you will classify sounds as an airplane, car passing, or bird's chirp. Listen beyond the harshness of garbage trucks and jack hammers. Defining the sound removes you from it. If you concentrate long enough eventually you will let the labels go and notice only the energy beyond noise.

Creative Write:  Listen to one side of a conversation you usually interrupt to clarify your view. What happens when the other speaks without your comments?  Write about the experience.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Writing about Power

"All power is from within and therefore under our control." - Robert Collier
Write about power today by turning abstract notions into concrete examples. 

To begin, show your life's examples of each: 


Design your own  P O W E R  words and write about them.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Winter Write

Do you feel a bit weary today?  Has inclement weather sent clouds to your brain?  Have Holiday preps started to take their toll? Break from today's inner tsunami with word play.

Write responses as fast as you can.

l.      One sound like - groak or  kachung
2.     Use a different name for a color - like persimmon
3.     A memory of. . .
4.     A city name that's unusual
5.     A flower
6.     Song title
7.     Tell a secret
8.     Add a taste
9.     An animal's scent
10.   Material texture - like corduroy

Read what you have written.  Write the notions one after the other. Take another quick glance. Close your eyes and count to ten.  Then turn your sheet over and freewrite for a page.

You feel better . . . write?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Learn Wisdom

Three methods to learn wisdom: reflection, which is noblest; imitation, which is easiest; experience, which is the bitterest. 

Reflect about events in your life where wisdom appeared after a struggle. If you returned to the scene of the event, how might you adjust your actions in a different way if the situation appeared again?

Let your writing flow to discover your wisdom.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Write about Birdsong

I grew up listening to a variety of birdsong. My eyes opened to a blue jay with its raucous chatter. Song sparrows and finches entertained during my tree climbing exploits. When I filled his seed bowl, my pet canary trilled his arias. Twilight blended the coos of mourning doves.

Now, birdsong brightens and energizes my morning runs. Each spring, I teach mockingbirds to sing the first notes of the Oregon Fight Song.

A research project at the University of Surrey studies the impact of birdsong on creativity and on our sense of well-being. 

Supported by the National Trust and Surrey Wildlife Trust, the study examines the psychological impact of exposure to birdsong. Does it help us relax? Will it assist our ability to complete tasks and even think creatively? Does birdsong have a restorative effect?

Eleanor Ratcliffe, the researcher, interviews the general public. She wants to understand how people perceive natural sounds and birdsong's effects. 

Ratcliffe explores different songs and how individuals relate birdsong to their own memories and sense of place. She also will examine whether recorded birdsong played on an iPod will have the same impact as listening to birds in cities and the countryside.

Read more about Ratcliffe's study: http://www.academia.edu/1775367/Exploring_perceptions_of_birdsong_as_a_restorative_stimulus

Creative Write: Write about your experiences with birdsong. Do warbles, tweets or a series of trills bring memories or a sense of well-being?  Do you return to a setting when you write about it?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Write Beyond Holidaze

Don't let the chaos of the Holiday season cause distress and down time in your writing journey. Incorporate surprise, laughter, and delight into your days of writing and notice what happens to your attitude toward life.  

Take time off from your usual worrying or trying so hard to please everyone else.  Make a list of the five biggest worries on the left side of a sheet of paper.

Opposite each worry write why they never-in-this-world-will-happen.

You'll discover you worry using creative improbabilities not creative reality.

Creative Write:  Write a Dear Child of Me letter.  What would you like to do that's really fun, daring or outright wild? As you write, try to remember your fearless self.

Take a timeout and write yourself into Fun.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Language Beyond Speech

"Egrets soar in noseless flight or tack, like a regatta, the sea green grass, they are seraphic souls."   
                 - David Wolcott

David Wolcott claims, "The perpetual ideal is astonishment." 

Language beyond speech prevails.

Let writing astonish today . . . just for YOU!

 "The egrets are the color of waterfalls and clouds. " - David Wolcott

Beak moves into the curves of neck.

Energy dips and rises into wings of wonder.

Write for yourself today.

Lift off, flutter, flap those wings and soar!

Let the blur occur.