Tuesday, October 14, 2014

creative life & daily practices...

  Autumn always finds me busy as a bee. There's back to school for my children, a swift succession of holidays, many close friend and family birthdays to celebrate and, I have realized that, Autumn is my most intensive creative period. As the days turn darker, cooler, we are forced more often indoors, I am swept away by mental adventures, stories, ideas...

  As a teen and young adult I was steadfast in my belief that my writing was something than need not be cultivated or regimented in any way. I guess when I had a surplus of time and minimal responsibilities, that worked for me. I could write and create whenever the mood hit, able to drop whatever I was doing and get lost chasing my muses. Writers and artists I admired (Sylvia Plath, Rimbaud, Byron, Anne Sexton, the Brontes...) were generally of the self-destructive or tortured variety. I thought that's how all artists lived/worked. I was naive, hadn't thoroughly researched how many of my beloved artists and writers approached their work. I knew F. Scott Fitzgerald had a mentally ill wife (who was an amazing artist herself, to whom he wrote beautiful love letters) a deep affinity for gin, partied all night and grew up in the South... That was enough for me, I idealized what I saw as the romantic aspects of his character. Had I delved deeper into his process I would've know that he spent most of his daytime hours in front of his typewriter. Writing was approached as a full time job. Although not always wholeheartedly... When I was 24 I had a quote from an F. Scott biography tattooed on my right arm:

"I've found my line
 from now on this comes first
This is my immediate duty
Without this I am nothing"
  F. Scott said he wished he'd said that to himself about his writing after he'd finished Gatsby. I idealistically got my tattoo and then kinda forgot about it as life got busy, I cultivated my own fondness for loud parties and staying up all night, left my husband, became a single parent... I let my writing diminish in size and frequency. I still wrote in a journal, though not dutifully, I blogged on occasion but was not giving life to fiction (which I enjoy most of all) or memoir.

  Now, with not enough time and a towering mountain of work & mama responsibilities, I have began implementing a rhythm of daily practices to support and encourage my creative life and well, damn, finish all these projects. I have been known to not always complete a great many of my passionate stories. I am not content to just let this thing, this energy slip away and hide. My creative routine is pretty basic and wonderful in it's simplicity!
   I sit and write. It's really that simple. I make myself sit at certain times in certain places and eventually I write things. Every morning, first thing after dropping my kids at school, I go to a coffee shop, get coffee and sit and write. I have a notebook in my purse. Sometimes, I bring my laptop but usually just actually writing with pen on paper works best for me. I write again or edit in the afternoon, just after lunch. I write again when the kids go to bed. These aren't the only times I write but these are the times I do make sure to always write. It's working well. Pages are filling up, Short stories are being finished. The neglected novel is growing, getting edited and transforming into something completely new.

  I also need time outside, rain or shine, every day. I get so much inspiration from life/nature. My imaginary world is born of Black clouds, mist & rain, rolling waves, leaves underfoot, counting fairy rings of mushrooms, a murder or crows circling evergreens and cawing... So much beauty everywhere about me if I can make my internal loop silent and demand my mind whine a little quieter. I remain open and wait for images to appear. And they always come.

  I listened to Nick Cave talk about his creative process on npr a few weeks back and was (no duh...) immensely inspired.  Now I need to get inspired to make soup. It's chilly, kids will be home soon and everyone will be talking, all at once around the dinner table, of the day. xo m

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