A Writing Journey

Posts tagged ‘art’

Coming Back to Life

There is a lovely blogger at fibijeeves who has inspired me. We had a brief conversation about getting out of writer’s block, and so I am trying to do more writing again. I’ve been busy working at my other blog, Simply Stitched, and of course busy with the big wide world and everything life throws at a person.

But I am coming back. I want to write here, I want to breathe the written word again, I want to live like I used to live: immersed in stories and language and adventure. So here I am, ready to get back out there, ready to reinvest in myself, ready to go questing once again.

Adventure Well,

Emily

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Make More Art

Write me a story. Write me a poem.  A song.  Draw me a picture.  Paint me a sky.

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(Examples of some my non- writing art. Pen is my favorite medium,  whether for writing or drawing.)

Art is living. Without art,  we are nothing, just creatures roaming this earth with empty souls. Art shows us meaning when daily life cannot.

When I see a painting, it captures my heart and then rides there forever,  even when I can’t recall the image. Because it made me feel. It stirred up the parts of me that become stagnant,  starved for light. Hearing a song,  reading a book, watching a play,  these things awake passion for the world, passion to create.

Art has no limit. If there is beauty in it,  it is art. If it awakes a longing to be of the world,  it is art. Art can be both deliberate and accidental. Art is planning a garden,  composing a song,  creating a recipe.  The list goes on and on.

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(Not my image.  Found on pinterest.)

So make more art.  Go where your heart takes you.  Make mistakes.  Make discoveries. Find what makes your soul come alive and sing the wonder of the world. Spread that wonder.

Take care,  fellow travelers.

Creating Wholeness

I recently read a book – a fascinating book – called “Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament” by Kay Redfield Jamison. This is a book that I would strongly recommend to any sort of artist*, if only to spread awareness.

One of the points of this book is that creative people create to help heal themselves. This seems to be a pervasive thought in memes and quotes from writers. On Pinterest probably half of the quotes about writing are about healing oneself. Which brings me to my favorite quote (of the moment) from Madeleine L’engle:

The discipline of creation, be it to paint, compose, write, is an effort towards wholeness.

So when you are feeling low, remember this. Remember that creating something might just help you.

Take care, fellow travelers.

*The book focuses largely on writers, but does discuss other creative types as well.

Thursday Inspiration

Hello everyone! It’s time for your weekly inspiration!

Write when the world is chaotic. In my experience, if there isn’t chaos somewhere nearby, you aren’t looking hard enough. This morning the chaos is coming from the road work on my street. I live on a one-way street, but the road work is blocking one end and so since Tuesday it has been a two-way street. That’s pretty tame chaos, but it’s still there.

The world is going to throw hardship in your face. It’s going to try to bring you down. Some days it is going to try to crush you. Take a deep breath and keep doing what you do. Whether that’s writing, painting, or any other job, keep doing it. Push through the chaos and you will find peace.

Take care, fellow travelers.

A Workshop at the Buddhist Temple

Today I went to a day-long introduction to Buddhist practice at the local temple. For the most part, it was what one might expect: we beginners talked about why we were there, we were given a brief introduction to Buddhist practice, and then we were instructed in two of the various forms of mediation (sitting and walking). In the afternoon, we had a question and answer session about how Zen Buddhism (or this particular sangha) would approach certain issues that we face in our lives. One of the issues was how our mind throws up defenses against the unknown. Amazingly, this talk turned to writing (and then more generally art).

One of the biggest takeaways from that discussion was (and I am coming to my own conclusions based on what was said) that writer’s block – or any other type of artistic block – stems largely from the fear of failure. For many budding writers, this is something we’ve never done before. I’ve certainly never been this far in the process of writing and editing before. And so our mind is trying to protect us against the unknown we are experiencing. Whenever we venture into something new, there is always the chance of failure (though I am loathe to call anything failure – I much prefer calling missteps learning opportunities. Failure is much too negative) and it is frightening. We probably don’t even realize that that is why we have blocks. But it makes sense – if we’ve got the story all laid out in our minds and we know just what should happen why can’t we write it? Because it is scary. What if we write it and no one likes it? What if, somehow, it gets published but the public readership bashes it (as too often they do)? But we ought to understand that that is a fear we are imposing on ourselves. Someone is bound to dislike what we write, but does it matter? So many of us are writing primarily for ourselves, to tell a story we keep inside of us. The only way to fail is to stop writing – which is exactly what happens when we get writer’s block. Our fear opens and closes the cycle. My recommendation? When you get writer’s block, take a deep breath, and work on something else that is related to your story.

Something that Rev. Rinsen said resonated well with me. He said that art is the gateway to reality, and that it is part of the human condition. He said that we must be open to art, that eventually the act of creating will take over, and we have to give the power over to the art – that art will tell you what it wants to be. I think we writers know this somewhat instinctively – after all we always talk about our characters talking to us or how the story takes directions we didn’t plan for.

I don’t mean to say that writers are instinctively Buddhist – by no means is that the case! All I’m saying is that for me, this connection has been particularly powerful and I share it in hopes that it will be powerful for someone else as well.

Take care, fellow travelers.

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Neil Gaiman’s 2012 Commencement Speech

Neil Gaiman’s 2012 Commencement Speech

One of the hardest things for any writer (or any other type of artist) is getting stuck. Whether it’s writer’s block or being unable to get just the right look for the image you’re drawing, or figuring out the pattern you are following for sewing or knitting or crocheting. Getting stuck makes me want to give up, just quit and never write again. But sometimes you just need a little bit of inspiration to keep going. I don’t mean inspiration as bam! an idea suddenly hits you. I mean encouragement, something to remind you that it isn’t always so bad, that most of the time you really enjoy what you are doing.

When I was struggling with my rewrite, I came across this speech by Neil Gaiman at a commencement ceremony. It inspired me to keep working at my novel, even though it wasn’t making me feel very good at the moment. And so I will pass it along to you, so that maybe you will be inspired as well. (In case you are confused – I know I was – click the title for this post and it will take you to the video.)

By this point in the week, I am usually pretty tired, which means I need more inspiration. So every Thursday I will find something short and hopefully inspiring to pass along.

Until tomorrow.

Take care, fellow travelers.

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