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Posts from the ‘Creativity’ Category

Gleanings, self-pity and solitude

rain windowFrom Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, by Winifred Watson:

‘ In my life,” said Miss Pettigrew, ‘ a great many unpleasant things have happened.  I hope they never happen to you.  I don’t think they will because you’re not afraid like me.  But there’s one thing I found fatal: pitying myself. It made things worse. ‘

Styles change. The above paragraph, typed just as it is in the book reprinted from 1938, shows the punctuation and spacing style of its day. People and truth, however, never change. Self-pity truly is never any help. In fact, self-pity harms. Self-pity is poison to the soul and body. Do not indulge one sip.

From Living the Writer’s Life, by Eric Maisel, Ph.D.:

“To say that a writer is basically introspective or that she requires solitude in order to think her thoughts hardly catches the flavor of her riotous inner life. What defines the writer more than anything else is her rich, roiling, sometimes light but often dark inner busyness, a busyness made up of daydreams, worries, thought fragments, and elaborated thoughts, an inner reality filled with the music she has heard and still dwells upon, the sights she has seen and still dwells upon, the sentences that form and dissolve and form again, finally becoming the opening paragraph of a book she had no idea she was intending to write.”

I am playing fast and loose with copyright by posting such a long excerpt, however, love and admiration compels me to share. Maisel writes such a long, glorious running sentence, and he isn’t even Southern. He describes the rich inner life exactly. I am reminded of the answer Winifred Watson gave when asked why she had given up writing. She replied more or less: “One cannot write when one is never alone.”

The first thing I had to do when I was faced with not being alone enough for me to write was to quit complaining and fuming in self-pity. Only when I could turn my attention from fussing and fuming, could I see myself clearly; my need of solitude as much as I need air, as well as the reality that I wasn’t getting much of it. I was suffocating. From seeing reality, I could find a way to gather and protect as much solitude for myself as possible. It is awareness of reality, then acceptance of reality, and then action to change what can be changed. Just about anything can be changed, if only our attitude. And attitude changes everything.

These days I guard my solitude, because it is my life.

We writers have busy minds, and we can have a lot of fun in there, if we want to.

 

 

 

Scant Gleanings and Appreciation for Miss Read

I realized this morning that I had not noted anything of particular interest from my past week’s reading. I think it may be because my reading was scant. That awareness right there is cause for changes for this week. I started out this morning with some reading time and came up with this:

“The writer has the sense that she knows where she’s going when she starts out–that is, she has some intuitive sense of a destination and maybe even an intuitive sense of what the journey will look like. But she doesn’t have anything like a blueprint…she must accept that she is working in the dark; she must suspend her desire to force herself to move in a pre-set direction and must hold tight to a belief in the process.” ~ Eric Maisel, Living the Writer’s Life.

While Maisel directs this truth to writers, let me say this is true for living life in general. We’re all working in the dark. It’s helpful to have goals and plans toward those goals, but we have to open ourselves up to the unexpected, and when it happens, keep faith in the good and able within ourselves and our God.

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missread

Dora Jessie Saint, aka Miss Read

I finally finished Thrush Green by Miss Read. This book was the beginning of her series of novels set in the rural fictional community she named Thrush Green. I found there were places I had to skim, and I believe that caused as much by my often fatigue as Miss Read’s sometimes lengthy descriptions.

Yesterday a writing friend and I were discussing the mutual fact that we’re finding it harder and harder to read current fiction. We find so much of it poor writing and crafting in general. Because of that I hesitate to recommend the Miss Read books to anyone under 40; by today’s standards the books appear too simple and quiet. Although I can point out that they have remained in continual print since the beginning back in the 1950s, I believe. Times change, the nature of people does not, and Miss Read writes about people and the earth they inhabit, and flora and fauna does not change much either.

The Miss Read books are definitely worth a read for improving vocabulary and writing in general. Miss Read could evoke feeling from choosing the perfect wording.

Within the books, are addressed love, longing, and heartbreak, the joy of childhood, death, alcoholism and plain meanness, poverty and thievery, beauty and community, being odd and an object of scorn, foibles and hilarity, growing up and growing old and having to let go of lifetime dreams. After identifying these themes, I don’t know how anyone could call the books simple. It was Miss Read’s ability that made them look that way.

Please let me know if you’re reading something you especially like, and why you like it.

Gleanings from the past week

As a new week starts, I go over a few things that struck me in my reading in the past week. These help to carry me forward ~

“Always be reading; always be writing down new ideas. Ten ideas a day.” ~ James Altucher, The Power of No.

This practice helps me to be in the moment, which is always the point of power and thus creativity. It is an exercise for the creative muscle. It is the act of writing them down, purposefully, that helps me to see these ideas that I wasn’t at all aware of existing in my mind. The first couple of days I was dismayed that I could only come up with a list of three or four, but with persistence, I’m now listing eight to ten. It’s a lot of fun. Reminds me of the practice that I learned early on to make written lists of everything that could happen next in a scene. Working the creative muscle makes it stronger. Do it on purpose.

“When I want to read a good book, I write one.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli, as quoted in Eric Maisel’s book, Living the Writer’s Life.

“Truly profound power and peace lie in the ability to change my behavior to suit my needs.” ~ Anonymous.

Any of you have some interesting gleanings from the week?

 

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