The burn is sizzling
Smoke from nostrils, ears.
Instead, I’m here;
I need to fuel flames,
Tend an inferno.
But now I must douse
The burn in reality.
I am presenting a few workshops this summer, as part of the Murdering Mr. Edwards book tour, and as such I have been researching. In the Finding Inspiration and Voice: a workshop for novelists and poets workshop, participants explore character and plot development through a variety of prompts.
I am using the prompts to shake loose new ideas and bring out things ‘your brain knows, but isn’t tell you.’ This is a very unscientific way to explain creativity and its link to the subconscious, but there is science behind the concept, and here are some articles that may be of interest:
Andreasen, Nancy C. (MD PhD) A Journey into Chaos: Creativity and the Unconscious. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3115302/
“How to Stimulate Creative Breakthroughs: The Unconscious and Creativity.” The Academy of Ideas. https://academyofideas.com/2016/06/stimulating-creativity-unconscious
Seager, Charlotte. “How the subconscious mind shapes creative writing.” The Guardian. 2015 https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2015/apr/07/subconscious-mind-creative-writing-mark-haddon-michelle-paver
With respect to the fashion he loves to capture on New York streets photographer Bill Cunningham said,
How often have I heard this?
I love your shoes,
but I could never wear something like that.
Oh, I love your hair!
I wish I had the guts to do that.
Your outfits are always so great,
how do you come up with these ensembles?
That car is so cute!
I could never do that.
I’ve started about a dozen books,
but I never finish them.
Just do it. You have the power to decide.
I wonder some days, if I’ve gone over the deep end
into Crazy Old Lady Land
but what the hell. We live one time.
There are no secrets here.
Every day, make choices that make you feel
“How can you write
about being drunk
if you’ve never been drunk?”
the boys ask, grinning.
I shrug, and hand them some papers.
“You tell me. Did I do it?”
They read, groan, gasp and sigh.
“I didn’t see that coming,” one mutters.
Finally they look up at me with muted faces.
“Well?” I ask
“Oh, yeah,” one grunts. “You did.”
The others nod and grunt in agreement.
“But how?” asks another shaking his head.
“I could imagine what it’s like to be drunk,
and so I never needed to drink.
I could have fun without needing to dull my senses
or find artificial courage.
I don’t drink. I’ve never done drugs.
I don’t need to, because
I have imagination.”
“Huh,” they say,
and class begins.
I know that my experience is not at all common. My parents were social drinkers, but I never saw either of them intoxicated. I didn’t like the taste of alcohol, and felt no need to drink to be cool. If I went to a party, I was disgusted how the drinkers all turned into idiots.
My high school friends didn’t drink. We went out together, had a great time, and the next morning we remembered what happened and we didn’t have a headache! We had a remarkable amount of common sense! 😉
I have addicted relatives. They are also a good lesson of how lives can be destroyed.
I am routinely astonished by students who have never met *anyone* who doesn’t drink. They think all adults drink. Many of the adults in their lives only socialize in an inebriated stupor and they don’t know there is another way to interact with people. I have never tried marijuana or other recreational drugs either. I don’t need to medicate my emotions or do weird things. I need all the energy I have, so I can’t afford to send my motivations up in smoke! I can’t imagine just taking some pill off someone at a party. That’s not fun, that’s just stupid (and dangerous).
I don’t presume to tell anyone else what to do, and I actually support legalization, to remove the criminal component. I consider it a health issue.
One thing about my clean life style- it frees up room in the budget for my Fluevogs! 🙂
an adorable black hat
at Goorin Bros.
Tilted the burgundy brim
to the perfect angle
Grabbed my new
wooly black ruana,
draped it around my shoulders
with a flourish, loving the fall
of the ruffled edges,
the weight, the warmth.
I felt my creativity
shouting through the garb,
felt Bohemian, wild, and artistic.
Then I grinned in the mirror
and saw the echo of my
Salvation Army cape and bonnet.
We never get too far away
Words for research
on the couch,
in the bath
more book shelves.
You know, I think there are probably over 100 books in the area shown in this shot? Wild. This is my writing zone. Theoretically, I sit at the desk, but usually I am lying on the couch. Theoretically, I use the ergonomic keyboard, but usually I just use the mini-keyboard on the notebook computer, which is probably not good for hand health. One of my favourite places to write is (seriously) the bath tub. Why I can focus so well there, I have no idea. Computer well away from water, waterproof keyboard on my knees, I don’t have to see what I type, and I get huge chunks of story.
Where do you write?
I am wrapping myself ,
Twisting into taut threads of myself.
I am pulling the strings
The last couple of weeks I have felt many pressures to meet expectations, complete tasks, go along with plans, take charge of things, etc. I have a number of large professional obligations ahead this month, and I need to focus. I don’t want to be distracted by what other people think I should be doing. I want to be left to the work I need to do, in my own time, with the ‘down time’ I forge that is actually the time when the creativity is simmering on the back burner, working for me.
Do you find other people get in the way of your goals? How do you deal with it? Have you learned to say no to extended family expectations and imposed obligations to do what you need to do, whether or not they approve? How does it work out for you?