Tag Archives: writing

Creative Quests and Spiritual Journeys

30 Apr

I had an interesting albeit painful experience this week.  I’ve been working on a book proposal for the past 6 months with my colleague, Jackie.  It has been simultaneously an agonizing and rewarding process. For example, the title has gone through several incarnations morphing into the present – Be Brave. Lose the Beige, A “Coloring” Book for Living Outside the Lines title. We are hoping that this will be a must have manual for Lady Boomers (women of the Baby Boomer generation) for creative living.

My husband dubbed me a “Clay Writer” because I like to think I write with clay and sculpt with words.  And that is how this book, and its companion book proposal, has evolved. It has been a process of sculpting each word as if it were made from the colorful polymer clay I use to create the illustrations for the book.  Needless to say, there is more than a bit of ego involvement in this endeavor.

Prior to submitting the proposal to a potential publisher we asked a few people to review the proposal.  I failed to anticipate how vulnerable I was making myself by subjecting this work to public scrutiny.  Our first reviewer (whose opinion mattered a great deal to me) was surgeon-like with their editing scalpel.  I’m not sure what I expected from these reviewers.  I naively assumed the response would be praise and applause, not necessarily a critique of academic proportions.  Despite the fact the criticisms were spot on and will help to make the proposal a more effective document, I was crushed.  I even felt a measure of shame.  You see I spend an inordinate amount of time researching, writing, and sculpting.  I have often hidden these endeavors from my linear lawyer friends out of fear they may think it’s silly or a waste of time.  (You see, even at 60 I still care what others think) But creativity is funny.  It’s kind of like breathing.  I can’t fathom living without it.

After a day of self-doubt I shared the critique with my very creative 34 year old writer daughter.  Having experienced this on a few occasions, she rushed to reassure me.  “Mom, would you trust a child you created to just anyone? Your art work and words are your creations and should be entrusted to people who will nurture and encourage these ideas .”  Unless I’m being paid for future creative efforts I’m going to choose my audience carefully.  My daughter said to send future comments her way and she will act as my filter as to what to keep and what to delete.  I like that idea.  Creative expression, though fun and fulfilling, is really nerve wracking.

I’m a journal writer and I noted this experience in a journal entry.  As I listened to this interior monologue it occurred to me this creative quest of mine is no less than a spiritual one.  Perhaps God is an essential truth within ourselves.  To deny this part of myself to pursue something more linear, is to deny the God within, what we are called to become in this life.  Pretty lofty, huh?  Or maybe just a rationalization to permit myself to do what I really want to do.

 

 

 

 

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Ira Glass on Creativiity

3 Mar

Creativity can be such an intimidating word. I’ve seen grown women cover their ears and run screaming from the room at the prospect of participating in a creativity activity. That is one reason I enjoyed Ira Glass’s description of creativity and story telling. Check it out here- http://vimeo.com/24715531#

The Art of Being Still- A Writers Way

3 Dec

For all of us aspiring writers, Silas House offered good advice in his column in this week’s Sunday New York Times. “Many writers I know talk about writing more than they actually write.” These aspirants read books about writing, attend conferences, talk about writers block, but spend too little time alone putting words to pages and computer screens. He opines..”The problem is, too many writers today are afraid to be still.” He’s not necessarily talking about the kind of stillness where you are locked in a room alone with your laptop. People are too busy being Moms, spouses, daughters, and employees. We are always in motion. But that motion does not preclude pursuing our dreams of authorship. The kind of stillness to which Silas refers is a stillness in our heads, keeping our mind’s eye still as we observe the world around us, which feeds and fuels our inspirations.

Silas argues writers, (like every other woman I know), “must become multitaskers who can be still in our heads while also driving, waiting to be called “next” at the D.M.V., while grocery shopping or walking the dogs. We are people who are forever moving, who do not have enough hours in the day, but we must remain writers. This kind of stillness translates to maintaining our focus on the essay or short story at hand even in the midst of caring for children or care-taking for aging parents. It is pausing to notice the details around us.

This article embodies the Be Brave. Lose the Beige philosophy of transforming those mundane, every day tasks into creative opportunities. “Life stuff” will always pop up and try its best to postpone or interfere with our dreams. Why not use all this life stuff instead to fulfill our dreams.

Lady Boomers are “Om for the Holidays”

8 Jan

I was afforded the distinct pleasure of helping facilitate an “Om for the Holidays” mini-retreat in December with a group of fabulous Lady Boomers.  Aside from the great conversational exchanges and chocolate communion (yes, that’s right, Chocolate Communion…who says communion always has to include wafers and wine?), we engaged in a journaling exercise in which we envisioned what our ideal holiday season would look like.  A couple of the women agreed to share their visions in this blog.

Linda Solash Reed wrote…

family – whose? choose?

Time travel -unravel-pound the

gavel

Warm -cold air- snuggling

blankets, furry friends

Food lots of food, comfort

gravy smooth crowded table

all ages all friends all strangers

Ecstasy -chanting uplifting

rising rising rising

The core, What is the core?

Quantum strings carry the

Universe’s beat vibrating

over and over forever and

ever long as it ever was it is.

Donna Borko wrote….

A “Lounging at the Beach Holiday”

 

I awaken to the sound of seagulls calling and the surf lapping the sand. I

share a quiet breakfast with my sister or a friend on the patio. Then curl

up on a beach chair to read a good book, followed by a scrumptious lunch and

a stroll along the beach. We let the waves splash cool water over our feet

and even sit in the water to allow the salty sea to soothe our body and

spirit. Later as the sun sets and kisses the horizon with its warm and

glowing rays of departing light, we know that we have been touched by the

love of God, nature, and the love of family and friends. We have quietly

shared together the joys of our peaceful day together.