Archive for the ‘Art and Creativity’ Category

Guest post at Following Schaibles

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Today a little poem I wrote is featured at my friend Lydia’s blog as part of her wonderful advent series. Check it out here.

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Thursday, November 29th, 2012

“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.” — Margaret Atwood

What wonderful minds.

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

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I have always said 20th century American literature is my favorite.

Something — the disillusionment, the concurrent hope — spoke to me as true. The protagonists’ pursuits of true freedom in this “free” country resonated. Further freedom from government, from confines, from boundaries, and — as they got freer and freer and recognized the thing that still trapped them — from themselves.

Tim Parks, essayist for The New York Review of Books, published “The Chattering Mind” in June to reveal what he says is the true protagonist of 20th century literature — “the mind that can’t make up its mind, the mind postponing action in indecision and, if we’re lucky, poetry.”

Here are a few notable quotes from the essay:

Seeing the pros and cons of every possible move, this modern man is paralysed, half-envying those less intelligent than himself who throw themselves instinctively into the fray…

It’s all quite reassuring, even self-congratulatory. What wonderful minds we have, even though they don’t seem to get us anywhere, or make us happy.

…at least I’ve understood and brilliantly dramatized the futility of my brilliant exploration of my utter impotence.

It is hard not to congratulate oneself on the quality of one’s unhappiness.

Is this true? Can it sum up an entire century of writing?

Whether or not this is overly simple — and I’d argue that mostly it isn’t — I see myself so much in these observations. Postponing action, occasionally with something as worthwhile as poetry but usually with somethings much less meaningful and much more tedious and maddening.

And the love, too. The love of brilliant dramatization, of wonderful, dissatisfying minds.

And here I am again, the mind that can’t make up its mind.

More on this to come. Thoughts?


On the fleeting nature of ideas.

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

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I have ideas sometimes.

But if you asked me if I have ideas, I might say no.

It wasn’t always like this. I used to have lots and lots of ideas, back before I was self-conscious and a perfectionist. Now, I like other people’s ideas more. I hate that, but it’s the truth. Instead of being productive with a piano and 45 minutes, I like being told what to do. Given assignments. Given thoughts.

Ironically, I do not like being told what or how to think. I just work well within parameters, and I think I might like the freedom to say, if ever I need to, Well, this wasn’t MY idea, but someone had to do it.

And I think — I hope — that I speak for all perfectionists with these statements.

I want to stomp it out, this perfectionism. I want to be ugly:

You can first make it ugly, or not make it at all. There is nothing else.
Jeff Goins

God is the only one who can create beauty out of nothing. Everyone else has to start with something they know. I have to make beauty out of something, and my only somethings are anything but perfect.

Ideas are also hard to catch.

They come at inconvenient times, in dreams, during conversations, at all the moments you don’t have a pen. And they’re so sensitive — more so than I am, and more self-loathing and more scared.

They run away with the slightest sense of I don’t like you very much or You’re not very good, and when you realize you didn’t mean it they’re already long gone.

I’d like to have a date with myself, just for idea-gathering. To prove they still come, and to help ease them out. And then I’d like to choose one, even if it’s less than pretty.

Do you have trouble writing (or otherwise creating) ugly?


750 words

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Eric showed me a site not too long ago that I was eager to get on board with.

750 words is a website/community where members write “private, unfiltered, spontaneous, daily” entries in a journal of sorts, but no one can read the writing.

It’s been a great tool for me this week as every entire day has been taken up with a large writing project I’ve taken on.  After my quiet time and breakfast, I jump on the computer and just write whatever comes to my mind. No filter, no worries, no editing as I go (sometimes no editing at all). The site alerts me when I’ve written 750 words, then I save and it shows me a page of analylsis, with bars and graphs and stats based on my words, similar to this:

It also shows me frequently occurring words, categories my writing was concerned with, the weather while I was writing, and my WPM speed at every minute mark throughout my writing.

What do I use this for?

Prayer. A brain dump. Meditation. Getting my mind going. Practicing writing without thinking or editing.

If you decide to try it out, let me know what you think!