Sunday, July 31, 2016

Trees and Clouds

"We're all yearning for an edge of sky, aren't we?" - from The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

The pines, dogwoods and locusts
clutch at clouds.
They stand on tiptoes of their roots
in applause.
Nimbus, cirrus, cumulus
create their cheering section
for rain to quench
bark and branches.
Gravity tugs,
teases them from
sailing or turning
into herons, gulls
and osprey.
Ideas wriggle
at the edge of
the sky.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Flow

"It is better to be a hopeful person than a cynical, grumpy one, because you have to live in the same world either way, and if you're hopeful, you have more fun." - Barbara Kingsolver

Kingsolver also wrote, "Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you want to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer."

Identify where energy needs release for creativity.

Enhance the flow.

Relax the tweaks, unravel snarls.

Cut through the nets where the art of wonder tangles.

Flap into fantasies with diligence, zeal, and purpose.

It takes effort to progress past the quagmire of life's onslaughts.

Follow the flow with a suggestion from Lao Tzu  to enjoy your greatest treasures: simplicity, patience and compassion.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Dealing With Unanswerable Woes

Making a Fist - Naomi Shihard Nye

For the first time, on the road north of Tampico,
I felt the life sliding out of me,
a drum in the desert, harder and harder to hear.
I was seven, I lay in the car
watching palm trees swirl a sickening pattern past the glass.
My stomach was a melon split wide inside my skin.

“How do you know if you are going to die?”
I begged my mother.
We had been traveling for days.
With strange confidence she answered,
“When you can no longer make a fist.”

Years later I smile to think of that journey,
the borders we must cross separately,
stamped with our unanswerable woes.
I who did not die, who am still living,
still lying in the backseat behind all my questions,
clenching and opening one small hand.

Rainer Maria Rilke advises there are no classes for beginners in life. The most difficult thing is always asked of one right away.

How did you employ childhood determination to steer past obstacles?

Which questions did you ask?

Did you make a fist or sprout wings?  

Would you walk backwards or race forward?

How have you grown since childhood in dealing with "unanswerable woes?"

"To dare is
to lose one's footing momentarily. 
Not to dare is to lose oneself." - Kierkegaard

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Where Art Begins

When you start working, everybody is in your studio - the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all your own ideas - all are there. But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone. Then, if you are lucky, even you leave. - John Cage.

"Can words sprout wings? Can they glide like butterflies through the air?  Can they captivate us carry us off into another world? Can they open the last secret chamber of our souls?" - Jan Philipp Sendker, from The Art of Hearing Heartbeats.

Do you know where to venture to discover your art?  Will voices and sounds, tones, and trills follow your pace?  

Where does silence fill the crucible with curiosity?

What hides and peeks around corners that once felt inaccessible?

Ideas sneak away from unexpected petals.

Cracks crunch beneath the feet.

Clouds attract feathers to defy gravity.

How will you leave all behind and begin?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Listen to the Wild

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. 

Move into 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. Hear 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.

Observe one side of a conversation you usually interrupt to clarify your view. What happens when the other speaks without your comments?  

Listen to the wild and write the experience.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Childhood Memories

During childhood I spent a lot of time in San Francisco. Venturing to the Top of the Mark, and then at the Fairmont hotel, I learned about the city from a bird's eye view.  

My father took me for what were then called booster shots. We walked to the pediatrician's office.  These little mounds occurred at the corners of the doctor's building.  I have called them boosters ever since.

Notice how you made connections with words and creativity when young.

Consider your own booster story.

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Letter Game

Who am I?

If thrown out of window, it makes a wife grieve.

What's added to the front door helps sustain a life.

Ducks out of a row need a to grow.

Fly removes why and becomes flea.

What happens to blooms in a  monsoon?

Have you solved the first riddle?


Amuse then reuse. 
        Leave out a letter or make an exchange for the better.

Did you get the answer to the question?      It's the letter N for the first sentences.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Find the Shine

"If you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomena of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy.  You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all. " - Alan Watts

When analyzing ourselves, we often find the fissures. By accepting them and letting light in, we shine.

Take time today to appreciate the amazement of your life.

Write to express your individuality and ways you enrich each day.

If a negative thought, fear or frustration floats into the mind, replace it with a dream.

Find the shine.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Slow the Approach

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." - Lao Tzu

Patience with persistence takes time. We want it NOW when the approach of slowing down helps generate room for ideas to bloom.

With the slowing of movement, the gate will open and ideas will flood in and energize the creative juices to flow.

Free the imagination. 
Discover your curiosity. 
Play in a natural setting.  
Observe the motion and swirl while you remain in the slow lane.

Don’t hurry or worry.

Breathe in flowers.

"The world of reality has its limits; the world imagination is boundless." 
    - Rousseau

Friday, July 22, 2016

Write to Ignite

Joan MirĂ³Spanish painter, sculptor and cermatitist loved reds, yellows, greens, and blues combined with black and white. MirĂ³ insisted that a painting should, "ignite the imagination."

Discovering objects such as spoons and rakes, he created sculptures. He felt anything accidental that occurred in his studio like paint drips or smudges would provide a new work of art.

Writers also can use a sandbox for the subconscious mind.  Consider unlikely and unrelated ideas that might collide to create a collage of experience.

Write from a new perspective.

Try a scent, an attitude, and a screech to ignite the imagination.

Add a structure to it.

Find a texture.

Notice what's unlikely.

Add color and write to ignite!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Design a Love House

Love is a house with many rooms, this room to feed the love, this one to entertain it, this one to clean it, this one to dress it, this one to allow it to rest, and each of these rooms can also just as well be the room for laughing or the room for listening or the room for telling one's secrets or the room for sulking or the room for apologizing or the room for intimate togetherness, and, of course, there are the rooms for the new members of the household.  Love is a house in which plumbing brings bubbly new emotions every morning, and sewers flush out disputes and bright windows open up to admit the fresh air of renewed goodwill  Love is a house with an unshakable foundation and an indestructible roof.  - Yann Martel from The High Mountains of Portugal

What kind of house would you design for your laughter, listening, self-care, and secrets?  How will you add family and friendship rooms with scents and tastes?

Add animals, flowers and plants for texture and pleasure.

Circulate a rainbow of color.

Create your love house out of words.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Need to Write

Margaret Atwood presents several one liners about her need to write:

To record the world as it is. To set down the past before it is all forgotten.  
To excavate the past because it has been forgotten.
To satisfy my desire for revenge.  
Because I knew I had to keep writing or else I would die. 
Because to write is to take risks and it is only by taking risks that we know we are alive.
To produce order out of chaos. To delight and instruct.
To please myself. To express myself. To express myself beautifully.
To create a perfect work of art. To reward the virtuous and punish the guilty; or – the Marquis de Sade defense, used by ironists – vice versa.
To hold a mirror up to the reader.
To paint a portrait of society and its ills.
To express the unexpressed life of the masses.
To name the hitherto unnamed.
To defind the human spirit and human intergrity and honor.
To thumb my hose at death.
To make money so my children could have shoes.   

Rainer Maria Rilke in his Letters to a Young Poet said, “Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you to write. This above all, ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: Must I write?  Delve into yourself for a deep answer.”

Imagine yourself in an isolated location. Consider Atwood's responses and how you might reply. Use the following or create your own scenario. 

You're at the top of a mountain in a teahouse with food and drink.  You have three days alone. What will you write? 

You have three days on an island with fruit trees, fresh water, and fishing equipment. What will you write?
You find yourself isolated for a day in a hotel room in a city of discomfort. What will you write?

A train takes you across the United States. You can stop where you want and return to continue the journey.  What will you write?

Fly to the land of curiosities and write.