Tag Archives: creativity

Different Rhythms

Photos from The Hook in Capitola, California, October 2013…

So I guess a post with this title shall appear.  My cold has abated, and the laundry is done, five loads yesterday that usurped the writing which I had planned.  Initially I felt a little guilty, but assuaged myself that unless I felt so called to create, best to get the washing done instead.  And today I was rewarded for my patience by managing an entire chapter, albeit on the concise side.  However, a chapter is a chapter, and at this point, I’ll take whatever words emerge.

Big splash!

Ten years ago I couldn’t have halted the words with a steamroller, but that isn’t what I want to address today.  Today I’m fifty-one and grateful for whatever prose I can muster.  And lately I’ve been wondering if once I complete The Hawk, will I even embark upon another fictional project?  Right now I’m feeling rather drained, not sure if it’s the dregs of my head cold, or just age.  It’s also due to other concerns, not of a bothersome nature, but of sheer joy; grandkids are a hoot, and I’m so pleased to be as involved in their little lives as I am blessed to be.  And there’s the sewing, coming out of left field like a shot off of Babe Ruth’s bat.  Years ago between novels I checked out the ocean, but I haven’t been to Capitola in….  A very long time.  These photos are from four years ago, my goodness, as if the Pacific disappeared or I forgot my way there.  Instead of traipsing off to photograph the waves, I stay home and fashion quilts, or spend my time with wee ones.

Yes indeed, different rhythms have overtaken me.

So, how to write a book when my time is so splintered?  Others do it, lots of others, but my technique has previously been that of a horse with blinders, only the story in my view.  That was fine when my kids weren’t parents, lol.  I could accommodate their solo needs, but now all bets are off.  Not even my father’s battle with cancer impeded upon my word count; I wrote to maintain a modicum of sanity.  But this new generation is another kettle of fish entirely, and I suppose I’m glad to have released The Hawk in installments, providing impetus to finish it.  For the first time in a long time, the urge to write is diminished, although thankfully not absent.  But has that waning desire set a precedent for future stories?  Only time will tell.

Surfers….

What I need to remember is exactly what saved my bacon yesterday; when it’s time, the words will come.  Trusting in that is essential, because it’s not merely about writing fiction.  It’s about any such project that needs my focus.  Age has affected my authorial drive, but I can’t just throw up my hands and whine that I can’t do it.  I can write, it’s a matter of accepting where writing now falls within my life.  And that for now, it’s okay to move other items up on the list.  Nietos won’t be toddlers forever, and perhaps as my forties was the decade to learn to write, my fifties will be more about reflection.  I have to evolve, even if it means a reduction in the output.  What I write now is certainly better than what I was spewing in 2007, ha ha.  Better to honor quality over quantity.

One day I’ll bring the nietos here and we’ll chat about nature’s awesome beauty….

And the best of all is to take this journey one step, or word, at a time.  Again it’s about trusting in a greater good, as well as not taking myself so seriously.  And to remember I will never write this story again (thank you Jesus!).  Each day with these characters is a gift all its own.  I’ll revel in that when feeling uninspired, then wait for my brains, heart, and soul to be equally engaged.  When that occurs, no steamroller around can stop me.

Exciting Times

I have a lot to note, but first off, a good friend of mine has started a weekly series on You Tube about creativity and courage.  Julie K. Rose is a fantastic writer and a terrific video blogger; check out the first episode below….

Watching these clips I was thrilled for Julie’s insights, as well as her bravery, of which she discusses so eloquently in Episode #2.  In Episode #3, I was taken aback at how true are her words, in how being vulnerable opens us to compassion.  That theme goes hand in hand with what I’ve been reading; Bonhoeffer, by Eric Metaxas.  I’ve been working on it for the last couple of weeks, although as I move further into it, I find myself going outside to read, even in the heat.  Hard to digest all that the Nazis did unless out in bright sunshine.

Julie speaks about moving beyond where we feel safe; our inner critics are looking out for our best interests, or that’s what they want us to assume.  But in facing one of the most evil regimes in history, Bonhoeffer notes how peace isn’t equated to security; in Bonhoeffer’s words, to demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself.  In the creative life, there are no absolutes, only the urge to step out of the comfort zone into a realm filled with….  Aha, there’s the spark, the magic, the limitless reach of what could be!  Possibilities are rife if only we choose to unfetter ourselves from what is familiar.

In Bonhoeffer’s time, the stakes were so different; freedom from tyranny is hard to conjure, and I certainly didn’t mean to delve into these sorts of waters when I started reading this book.  Yet, the same can be said for when I began writing The Hawk.  I wasn’t thinking much past a love story with some intangible odds attached.  Yet instead of shirking from that idea, I marched on ahead; peace wasn’t on my agenda, but to tell a truth bound in a small bit of fantasy.  I’d never written in the genre of magical realism, nor is historical fiction my strength.  Again, I needed to forge past misgivings, following my heart.  To me, being creative is an action of faith; instead of dwelling in my own shoes, I’ll interpret how another might live.

I’m so pleased to share Julie’s web blog, not only for her valuable insights; I applaud her courage!  When the heart’s dictates are followed, great tasks are accomplished, the least not being moving past fear.  When fear is demolished, wonderful occurrences take shape, maybe in the guise of stories, perhaps in artwork, but mostly in a peace that encourages the better angels of our natures to flourish.

The Creative Process Part 256….

The beginning....

The beginning….

I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but when coming to a crossroads, reflection is necessary.  I just completed Part 9 of The Hawk.  Assuming the rest of 2016 goes to some ethereally tentative plan, I will manage to wrap up this story by year’s end.  But it won’t be like finishing a typical rough draft, for I’ve been revising this novel since I clocked in the first 40K.  This tale is like no other, but then that’s true of whatever gets written.

Building around it....

Building around it….

It’s like a quilt top, for no two are the same.  I’ve been working on what will be a baby quilt for college buddies of my eldest and her hubby.  A playmate for Little Miss will arrive in May, and in between chapters, fabrics have been accumulating on the quilt wall.

Corners and the middle block sort of set....

Corners and the middle block sort of set, with one log cabin block in place….

Admittedly I’m not sure what I think about it, for a baby I mean.  I told my daughter that I’m still slightly intimidated when making an improv quilt; just because I like this style doesn’t mean everyone will.

Another log cabin block; oh I so like sewing these!

Another log cabin block; oh I so like sewing these!

But of course, that’s a tad defeatist, and I just need to set aside my fears.  Fortunately I have laid down all expectations when it comes to The Hawk.  I keep spinning out more plot than might be good for me.  Yet, a novel isn’t intended for merely one person; it’s uploaded for all takers, and I have no concerns if someone quits halfway through.  Writing a book differs from making a quilt in that manner, or maybe just sewing a baby comforter for someone not related to me, lol.

And then I switched it around....

And then I switched it around….

But if I take away the expectations, I love how this quilt top is coming along; I adore the log cabin blocks (Oh give me a log cabin block any day!) amid the corner and middle blocks which are drawn around one framed piece.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to fashion this quilt until I saw another with the same notion.  Then it became a matter of solids balancing the prints, low and high volume hues scattered appropriately, sewn as words fell onto the document, stretching out what initially was a short story into something epic in length if nothing else.

Then added some more....

Then added some purple, as well as teal with foxy-looking feet!

Considering that novel will take up my time through the end of March; I’ll be keeping an eye on grandkids and hosting a good friend.  But I’m grateful for the break, for I went from Part 8 right into Part 9, and while I love writing, the last few chapters felt like pulling teeth.  I’m also feeling that way with this quilt, insecurities chipping away at my resolve.  Silly insecurities!  A baby won’t have aesthetic concerns, plus her parents will be too sleep deprived to notice.  By the time any of them might harbor a critical eye, the quilt will be well worn, and other distractions will have arisen.

Where is stands as of this morning....

Where it stands as of this morning….

Creativity isn’t conjured by twitching one’s nose or snapping fingers.  There is work involved, many musings, then the courage to git ‘er done, as my father used to say.  And perhaps bravery is the hardest part, pushing through the anxiety, reaching the stopping point.  Sometimes that pause is brief, as revisions occur, or sometimes it’s the finality of those last stitches, followed by a good laundering.  And of course that’s merely for those pieces of my life which don’t linger.  They are given away to make room for other treasures, which then are handed over and….  And the cycle will continue until either I run out of words and plot or fabrics and thread.  I remember completing previous novels and quilts, wondering what would follow.  And here I am again in the middle, working myself outward, widening the circle in manners I never considered.  Maybe that’s analogous to a life well lived; touching with love all with whom we encounter.  What a blessing not only to proffer books and quilts, but to persevere through the worries.  What I write and sew isn’t for everyone, but that’s all right.  It’s not for me to determine the purpose, only to engage in the process, then embrace what comes next.

The Liberation of Creation

This morning, after basting the improv quilt, I sat to edit some of The Hawk.  I’m two thirds through the second part, reading about three chapters a day, and at the end of Chapter 33, I had to smile.  Sometimes being a writer is very rewarding.

But it’s not only about the words; basting that little quilt, which will be for my grandkids when they visit, has also stirred relevatory notions; I spent much of last night sewing the last section, then found myself wondering about the backing.  I considered flannel, but it’s been so warm lately, and….  And I wanted to put a little of Sherri Lynn Wood into this quilt, even if I’ve used a ruler.  So I made do with what I had, which is some special hippo fabric.  I’ll tell that tale later, for what I most wanted to say today is how blessed is the ability to create, be it with prose or cotton or in any other manner of expression.  As soon as I finished Chapter 33, I had to check laundry, but today’s title bubbled in my brain, for being an artist is truly God’s gift.  And I am *ever so thankful* to have been graced with crazy plots and improvisational quilts and healing poems and baby yarn and hippos and….

Hippos are indeed for another day.  In the meantime, here’s how Chapter 33 ends.  Part Two of the The Hawk will be released sometime next month, but here’s a little taste of how the tale has evolved.  If you’re interested in Part One, you can find it here.

Renee wailed louder, but Sam wasn’t worried.  Something was being released in her cries, and it wasn’t all from her.  He wrapped her close, to shield her, for he knew how badly she ached, yet, she needed to expel this, even if it was in front of Eric and Lynne.  What did it matter now, for Sam had tended to Eric when that man wasn’t even a man, and next spring Renee would minister to Lynne in her most compromised moment.  But the situations, while somewhat tenuous, weren’t bad; they were about new life springing forth, wounds being healed.  Occasionally pain was involved, but ultimately those aching memories were set aside by the joy of what had been transformed.  Eric had suffered immensely, Lynne would too.  Sam could sense Renee’s agony, similar to how he’d felt on the battlefield, and as with every dying man he had held in his arms.  Was all their pain akin to Mary, cradling her dead son, Sam wondered.  Maybe, for while Mary was mother to a savior, Jesus had also been her human offspring.  Perhaps she’d had no idea of his divinity, or maybe Sam had it all wrong.

But in that moment, he grasped the barest edges of why Christ had come at all, to ease the torment, to give new life.  In that room, a new creation was forming.  As Renee started to calm, Sam stepped toward Eric and Lynne.  Sam stroked Lynne’s cheek, then he gestured for Eric to take Renee.  Then Sam embraced Lynne, whispering something only for them.  She nodded, then began crying profusely.  Sam hadn’t wanted to stir her tears, but maybe the soul could respond in no other fashion.  As he comforted Lynne, Sam stared at her image on the canvas.  Then he gazed at Eric, who nodded his head.