What moves you?

It’s a typical day.

Same old. Same nine-to-five routine. Same rush-hour headaches, same group of maniac drivers on the road… when… all of a sudden, my attention is gripped by the sight right in front of me—mother nature’s magnificent ink pots of ruby, magenta, russet and amber spilling to stain the deep blue of the sky—right there before my eyes, waiting patiently to be noticed. In awe, I detour away from the traffic to a quiet road, park my car, and sit in worship of such a perfect sight.


When I see something that moves me like this, I am compelled to stop and take notice… and write about it. Everything about a sunset—the amalgamation of colour, the serene sense of peace it represents, the powerful expanse, the pull of it—is all too special not to be noticed and revered.

Writers have an all-consuming need to translate what moves us into words. When we see something that stirs our feelings, we simply can’t keep quiet about it. If we see something that makes us happy, we must write about the source of our happiness. If we see something that makes us sad—oh woe is the story we’ll write. If we see something that makes us angry—well, let’s just say it’s wise not to mess with a writer because you just might find yourself the subject of a very spirited editorial in a newspaper or other venue. We don’t just see things, we feel them to the core. Which drives our need to write.
If you’ve been down with a case of writer’s block or caught in a mood rut, perhaps you need to rub your eyes and take a fresh look around. It’s all too easy to lose sight of the simple yet astonishing beauty blooming in front of our noses every day, when our sights are ever-focused instead on the hustle and bustle of daily life.

A fat black and yellow bumble bee darting into and out of a clump of blossoms; the metallic flecks that sparkle in an otherwise plain stone; a lone ripple on the calm face of a pond made by the paddling of a mallard duck and her babies; the bouncing pigtails of a little girl playing hopscotch; cream-puff clouds on a blueberry sky. So simple, so precious, so easy to miss.


How many sights do you pass by each day without taking notice—sights that have the power to move you?

Open your peepers. There are miracles everywhere.

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How creative are you?

I was reading an article the other day about creativity and the personality traits of creative people, and it brought on one of those “Aha!” moments—it described me to a tee, as well as all the other writers I know. I think it would be rare to find a writer who isn’t a creative type—think of all the entertaining stories in this world we’ve read or the articles that have inspired us or taught us something we hadn’t already realized.

CreativityAre you a creative type? Read on and see if you identify with these traits:

  1. Creative people are intuitive. We have powerful instincts and are attentive to them, even when logic tries to tell us we’re wrong. Our intuitive nature is necessary to the type of work we do, because it helps us seek out and acknowledge our own truths rather than accepting what we’re told to believe. We feel a driving need to share the truths we discover by writing about them.
  1. Creative people have a directed purpose—a destiny that must be followed. We eat, sleep and breathe our passions. Without them, we would feel unfulfilled. We have a vision and, by George, we cannot rest easy until the entire world knows about it. And then… we have another vision. And another. Our only release is death. Maybe?
  1. bird-with-big-hair-copyCreative people are unconventional and won’t hesitate to open our minds to the most irrational of thoughts. We have a hard time conforming to “you should” and “you’re supposed to.” It’s not that we’re trying to be difficult, it’s that we’re bombarded with ideas that make us question why things have to be the way they are. We have a need to walk the path that deviates—“just to see what happens.” When we hear a different beat, it piques our curiosity.
  1. Creative people can see the big picture from many different angles. We visualize what isn’t yet there and we see infinite possibilities. We imagine a lot. And explore. And play with. We’re known to frequently stumble upon unique uses for ordinary things because we’re never content with the first draft of anything. Our imagination is as borderless as our universe. We love, love, love to dream.
  1. sense-of-humorCreative people have a great sense of humor. We like to seek out the fun in everything we do. We never did leave the “play” part of our childhoods behind. Because we look at things from so many different angles, it’s easy for us to see all of the humor in life. Many of us think our own jokes are uproariously funny, and have no idea why the rest of the room isn’t laughing too. (Ha!)
  1. Creative people are not motivated by financial rewards. Of course, if our passions generate money—bonus! But even if they don’t, our mission is still GO. We are rewarded emotionally and spiritually when we do what we love, and there is no price tag on that.
  1. feelings-and-emotionsCreative people are hyper-sensitive to feelings and emotions. We feel very deeply; we allow our feelings to guide us and we have a need to translate those feelings into words or art or what have you. When we’re happy, we’re HAPPY! When we’re sad, we’re SAD. When fresh ideas nuke our brains, we erupt into fits of manic glee and then we’re off—immersed in yet another thrilling new project.
  1. differentCreative people are not threatened by anything that’s “different.” Original concepts delight us. Unique intrigues us. We are extra-motivated when we see any of our fellow creatives cracking through the barriers. Different is the secret password that opens doors to all things possible.
  1. Creative people are independent. We don’t like to be told what to do. We do our best work when we have freedom to express our ideas in all their crazy glory. Try hemming us in and we’ll fold faster than a bad hand of cards. You want proof of this? Just observe the creative student whose teacher insists that they NOT color outside of the lines!
  1. Creative people love to learn. Learning something new—whether it’s a hobby or an informative topic in a magazine—stimulates our idea fountain and gives us something different to chew on. We source fresh ideas while we learn—and we pursue new opportunities to learn like vampires on the prowl for blood banks.

yellow-flowers-in-rocks-copyCreative people bring something extra special to the table of life. A beautiful painting, a thought-provoking story, a delightful stage production, a captivating song, a mesmerizing choreography, a remarkable invention… creativity brings a feel-good glow to daily living. When doors to creativity open, we step into a beautiful otherworld that has no borders, a place where we can be free to discover all the possibilities.

When all else fails…get out your Sharpies and doodle!

I keep an art journal for doodling in. Whenever I feel inspired, I get out my markers/coloured pencils/pen and ink/crayons/etc., and I draw. The results needn’t be perfect (after all, perfect is boring). The act of drawing and colouring is a release of sorts. You become absorbed in the act of allowing your mind to guide you in creating freestyle images on paper, just as you did when you were a child, living “in the moment.” My art journal is one of the many simple things in life that costs little to nothing, yet provides returns that are priceless.
bird_watercolor pencil & inkThe beauty of a little yellow finch at my backyard feeder caught my eye and was soon the subject of my art journal. After drawing him, I felt the need to embellish him with a poem I’ve always loved—Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.graphic doodles_sharpieThinking one day about how much I love the ocean, I opened my journal and doodled a page of rolling waves and water bubbles… and then I set sail with some of my guiding beliefs.IMG_8709I started doodling the little house in the country that I’ve always dreamed of, and then it turned into a pattern for a thread-painting sampler (which I still have yet to do).IMG_8710Another doodle that I’d like to transfer onto fabric and hand-embroider someday.IMG_8711I drew a tree to contain the marriage poem I wrote. Again, I would love to someday hand-embroider the entire thing onto fabric and turn it into a small wall hanging that wedding guests could leave their signatures on. The finished product that I envision would make a great gift for a bride and groom.IMG_8712Ahhh… to be shipwrecked on a deserted island. It’s what I dream about.
IMG_8713A drawing to go with my Monkey poem, which I shared in one of my earlier blog posts.
IMG_8714I must have been in a really good mood the day that I doodled this one! 🙂

Whether you choose to express yourself with pictures or words or both, journaling is captivating, restorative and sheer fun.

Try it and see. Get yourself a journal and a pack of coloured markers. Then throw open the windows to your mind and fill the pages with your thoughts, your feelings, pretty shapes and colours, or anything else that inspires you. The more often you do it, the better it gets. Do it!

What the world needs now is love tweet love…

Has there ever been a time in history when our world hasn’t needed more of this?

acrylic on canvas_love tweet love copy

My painting is acrylic on canvas—some spring birdies and blossoms—both of which I’m yearning to see again someday. (Here I go again. Stuff a sock in my mouth. I can’t stop bitching about the cold weather. You’d think I lived in the Antarctic. Look for me in the dictionary under Broken Record.)

acrylic on ceramic_love birds copyHere are more birdies and blossoms, this time painted on a plain ceramic tile.

Here’s to a world where good will always triumph over evil, where love will always rise up to eradicate hatred, and where all militant evildoers will fade away to become a vague memory in our past.

 

 

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

“If malice or envy were tangible and had a shape, it would be the shape of a boomerang.” ~Charley Reese

Another year, another promise to self

It’s 2015. Already.

It seems like only yesterday, humankind scurried to prepare for the ominous approach of December 31, 1999…panic loomed as computers worldwide were expected to self-destruct at the stroke of midnight—the launch of a new millennium—sending civilization spiraling backward to such cobwebbed practices as having to write longhand with a pen (which sure beats having to chisel out your novel in stone like our poor cave-bro writing kin had to).

Well, whaddayaknow? 2000 came. And then it went. Our beloved computers had the last laugh as we wiped the sweat from our brows. Now here we are 15 years later, still happily tapping away at our keyboards and storing our stuff on TB instead of GB. (MB? What’s that?)

Where has the time gone? And what have I accomplished? Um…

Rather than sitting here, beating myself over the head because I’ve allowed another decade-and-a-half to slip by without launching my New York Times best-selling series of novels, I’ll do something a little more constructive. I’m not going to yada yada yada about New Year’s resolutions either. We all know by now exactly what we have to do to achieve our goals.

Instead, I’d like to take this moment to agitate the creative fire that boils deep down inside the right portion of our brains like molten lava, just waiting for permission to explode from our minds and onto a publisher’s desk.

Your imagination is the lava—“what if?” is the earthquake. Just think about an everyday event in your life and shake it up with a “what if?”

…It’s the week before Christmas. Your decorations are up, your shopping is done, and you’ve just settled down on the couch with a carton of eggnog and the TV remote all to yourself for the first time in ages. Spouse is away on business; kids are at the mall (it took a whole fifty bucks to get rid of them)…(what if?)…a huge puff of soot suddenly belches from your fireplace and a big old fat man in red velour tights kerplunks onto your clean hardwood floor?

…Your cat climbs onto your lap and as you stroke its fur and chit chat to it in your high-pitched “cat-talk” voice, he turns his head and…(what if?)…he stares you in the eye and replies in the Queen’s English?

…You’re parking your car. You’ve never been that great at backing into a space. Maybe that’s why you’ve just heard a scary crunching noise. Uh oh. A cute little foreign sports car is now affixed to your back bumper. You stumble out of your car and the other driver’s door swings open at the same time…(what if?)…OMG! It’s Ryan Gosling!

Get my drift? Good. Now get writing! (Or get doing whatever your “someday I’m going to” might be.)

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