Saturday, July 30, 2016

Creativity and the Current Temp: 107F and 42C

Hi, folks. Yes, the temp is out of control now. I am hunkered down in the air conditioning. My summer publishing program for teens, TEENSPublish, has come to end. It is tough to say goodbye. We laughed, ate Skittles and wrote reams. Good times.  

So talking about the heat, did you know that high temps lead to more aggression? All that energy is best channeled into your dreams and aspirations. That has been my goal this week. I haven't written many words but I have been doing the hard work of thinking about what I should do next.  This is a secret, no one tells you at first. Much writing is done off the page.

Many ways exist to beat the heat. One is to find water. I went to the beach. I love to jump waves and soak in the rays.  My bones feel better. My muscles feel better. My favorite sight: dolphins jumping in front of the wake of a boat. Embracing the heat is one way to beat heat exhaustion.

Think about this. The heat brings gifts. Summer rains pour down as the temps rise. Every afternoon. It's tropical here, and the rain is torrential. The feeling of pounding rain is better than any massage. My senses tingle with so much input. Creativity is bubbling.

Hence, the writing is swirling to the surface. I know last week, I was pretty down, but all the encouraging words have helped, and I am rising. Cling to hope, friends. It anchors your soul.

I will be back next week with a series I am calling School Days.  These are moments in my educational journey that have changed everything.

Here is a doodle for you:

And a quote for your pocket.

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
Langston Hughes

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Creativity and the Current Temp: 105F and 40C

Hi, folks. We have hit the high temps 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 an 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 in 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