Saturday, July 23, 2016

Creativity and the Current Temp: 105F and 40C

Hi, folks. We have hit the high temps in of the summer. The next four weeks are going to be brutal. It is so hot outside I can feel the wall of heat pushing into the house.

I'm struggling as a creative person right now. When the temp goes up, so does the pressure in a closed system.

I am feeling the pressure, and I think I'm cracking.

I thought I could do this story thing. I thought I could be a author, but it looks like that is not in the cards for me. I got another rejection with glowing praise for my writing followed by sizzling barbs about my inability to tell a story. My plot is just not, in the publishing professional's opinion, you know, worth a hill of beans. Not news to me.

I keep hoping that I might gain wings and take to the sky in a beautiful way, but I am a ridiculous caterpillar who sprouted tiny wings that will never lift anything. Dang.

My big problem? I can't imagine not writing, but I find my publishing career has crashed. I'm sifting through the wreckage. I know I sound depressed, and you're right. I've had major depression for a while. I'm getting help, but it looks like this is the new normal. Here is the question that haunts me. Why did I ever think I could capture an audience? I've never been the star of the show. I'm a little worker bee. Not the type who receives fanfare.

The worker bee is tired. Persistence makes sense to me, but whatever I'm doing is more of an epic delusion. The doors of publishing have been closed to me for several years. I've tried to reinvent myself through self-publishing.  CHICKENS DON'T TAKE OVER HALLOWEEN was a fun experience but it didn't lead me toward my goal.

So what am I seeking?

I'd like to be a place where I turn out a book a year to a group of happy fans who buy enough books that I don't have to score essays anymore. I'd like to have few (4 or 5) speaking gigs in the spring and the fall. I'd like to be paid to do the work with teens that I do.  Modest goals and yet they might as well be Everest.

To end, I have a request. I rarely ask this, but all my friends who read this blog, send up prayers and thoughts that I could become untangled about my creative life.

I hope that you find creative vision.  I hope you keep working under pressure despite the heat.

I will be back next week with more of my rambling.

Here is a doodle.

"For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not." Cat Stevens

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Creativity and the Current Temp: 103F and 39C

Yes, it is so hot. My creative juice has evaporated. I keep getting heat exhaustion and then snooze. I have heat headaches and then snooze. I have hot flashes during the heat and then, you guessed it, snooze. Thankfully, I have not internally combusted from the heat yet, but I have come close. So close.

Heat makes for short tempers. Heat makes for grumpiness. Heat drains your energy. Heat puts my brain in park.  What do I do?  Read. I find that no mental state ruins reading. Daydream. Nothing like kicking back with some fresh iced limeade and following the white rabbit. Nap. Napping sends invisible chills into the creative soul. Take one ASAP!

Next, heat and moisture leads to violent storms. I had a big set back a few weeks ago. My work in progress manuscript was corrupted during and electrical storm, and now I have to redo the work for a whole month. Ugh. I do not want to do this. I just want the magic to return to me. But that is wishful thinking. I must press on and do the work again. All cheering is welcome.

Last: hiding from the heat. Today I went to see Wicked at the Hobby Center in Houston. What a great show! Nothing like being blown away from an excellent re-imagining of the story of the Wizard of OZ. Expose yourself to art when the creativity is ebbing.  Let art sink into you.  Listen to the music, Stare at the sculptures. Fill yourself with culture. Reread a master classic as a challenge.  Recharge those heat drained cells. Beat back the heat.

I hope my little wrestle with heat is helping you find your creative bones. I will be back next week with more creativity and the current heat.

Here is a doodle for you.

Here is a doodle for your pocket:

You've done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.
Ralph Marston

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Creativity and the Current Temp: 102F or 39C

Hi, folks: Yes, it is hot. You get the vision. Eggs fry on pavement. Brownies bake in cars. Heatstroke is a real problem. So how is my creativity? Except for the heat headaches, good. I have a mild one right now. Boo. 

Regardless of the heat, you can be creative. Here are three little suggestions that might help you beat the heat. 

Call an old friend in the hot part of the day. I had an excellent conversation with the brilliant Chris Eboch (aka Kris Bock) today. She is a treasure for sure. Chris certainly has taught me about the value of working hard, keeping calm, and not giving up. She is facing tough times right now and with typical graciousness. I hope that we all seek to face the storms of life with graciousness. Good stuff for the creative journey.  

Shut off the feeds. Did you know computers give off heat and so do angry statements? I've had to avoid the feeds for the past few days. Many people are angry. I'm the kind of person who feels it for every side. When the sides get crazy polar, I just feel crazy. I have to turn off all the voices and listen to the cool one within. Where is the common ground? On my walk this morning I found that ground once again. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is humble. It isn't prideful. It never fails. Love somebody, folks! Love somebody that is tough for you to love. Try on someone else's shoes, not your own and see how walking goes. 

Avoid the heat. It is not good to boil the brain. Creativity works much better in the AC. Take walks in the early morning. Drink lots of iced tea.  Write in the hottest part of the day in a nice cool place.  Ah, isn't this a lesson for all of life?  Search out those still waters especially with everyone hot and bothered. That English saying: Keep calm and carry on, there is some truth there. Emotional storms are not sustainable and are rarely helpful. 

I hope you take these suggestions to heart. Beat the heat.  

Here is a doodle for you.  From my book CHICKEN'S DON'T TAKE OVER HALLOWEEN. $7.99 on Amazon.  A sequel is in the works Chicken Lovers.  Don't freak out!

Here is a quote for your pocket from the musical Godspell. 

To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly

Robin Lamont

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Creativity and the Current Temp: 102F and 39C.

Hi, folks, I live in Texas and we have moved from reasonably tolerable heat to I wake at 6:30 a.m. every morning to go walking to walk in the coolest part of the day. This morning I almost threw up from the heat at 7:00 a.m.  With the heat index (this a mysterious number that makes hot as hell feel hotter than hell), it felt like a 109F out there. This month I'm going to write about creativity and the current temp.

Heat zaps creative energy out of me. I want to go to some place shady and float in water. I want sno-cones. I want a arctic breeze. Heat makes me grumpy. It must be endured. So here is my plan to work around the weather. I get up early. I stay up late. I take an afternoon nap in the day. I huddle under the air conditioning. I don't linger outside after 10 a.m. unless I'm at the pool. What about my creative bones? What are they doing during this watch the weather or die time?

My creative bones give me permission. It's okay to hibernate in the heat. It's okay to not do as much as usual. It's okay to daydream. So the lesson of the current temp?  Work when you can and take frequent breaks when the weather is challenging. (Heat or hard times.) Hydrate. (Read books.) Rest. (Read books.) This slower pace will help you burst with energy when seasons change. Embrace it.

I hope that you come back next week as the heat is rising, and I offer ways to keep creativity alive.

Here is a doodle for you:

Jupiter, a world far larger than Earth, is so warm that it currently radiates more internal heat than it receives from the Sun. Seth Shostackl

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Heart and Soul of Story: Joy

Hi, folks, I'm continuing my series on the heart and soul of story.  This week I'm going to chat about how joy fuels the heart and soul of story.  To me, joy is much deeper than a feeling of happiness, though it is that. Over the years, a state of mind has developed within me as I write and draw. It's resistant to the storms of life, like I've been surrounded by a giant levee keeps me from ever being flooded with despair for too long. The drainage is good. Flood waters recede quickly and all the buildings are sturdy and stay put in catastrophe. I might weep for a night about another rejection, but then I wake the next morning ready to work again.

Every time I learn a new skill as a writer, or overcome a plot problem, or unlock a new character trait as I am creating, I feel a surge of joy.  After writing for so long, I feel like I've turned toward the true north of my creative heart.  I've settled on my journey, finding confidence and hope.  Where is all the joy coming from? The saver of souls for me. The world seems so unsettled these days. Fear sends folks skittering one way and then another. We are inundated by floods of information in this age of information. And yet we can find shelter in this flood. We can connect with joy and write stories that make a difference.

Here is my little recipe into that joy. Work even when you are hoping against hope. Work even if there are voices real and imagined  telling you writing is a waste of time. Resist the desire to write about the "hot topics" and write about what is bright and beautiful to you.  Write about what is great and strong to you. Be fearless. Open yourself up to learn from all the people in your in life, especially the people who rub you the wrong way.  When you do these things, you will be surprised by joy. Truth: that joy that comes to you, that joy is your strength. Let it permeate everything you do.

I hope you come back next week as a start a new series. I am so glad you have dropped by.

Here is a doodle for you.

I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do. Arabella Katherine Hankey