Thoughts on not much of anything…

A reprise from 2009. I hope you don’t mind.

~

I’ve been thinking. What I write here varies with my mood, but the two topics that most often turn up in this blog are my novel writing and my locale. If you were a fly on the wall here, you’d understand why that’s so.

In this semi-rural retreat I call home, I am surrounded by trees, a bit of wildlife, and the stillness that makes for a perfect sanctuary. Nighttime moonlight flits between the darkened trees to find its way through the french doors beside my bed. Morning sunlight filters through trees to bring its warmth into the livingroom.

With hands wrapped around a coffee mug I stand at the bank of windows in our kitchen/family room and check out the slash of deer tracks punctuating the leftover snow in a sheltered corner of the back yard, and watch a lone Towhee who has arrived on the deck for its breakfast. There is no place I’d rather be. When my thoughts settle into this groove my subjects are home and hearth.

Other times my mental closet of plots and process reaches spillover stage and the ideas that tumble out are random aspects of novel writing — the quirks of the Muse, character development, storylines, revision frustrations, even agents and rejection dejection.

There isn’t a lot of logic to why and when creativity clicks into gear or what writing will result when it does. I’ve learned the important thing is not so much what I write but that I write. My responsibility is to keep trying and eventually I become a channel for ideas that need to materialize. Then I simply have to find an appropriate title to attach and launch the creation into cyberspace.

So, with that revelation, here’s today’s contribution. (Not much content, is there? It’s indicative of the state of my morning brain.)

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From the Archives: The Music of Words

A couple years ago I showed you this incredibly heavy box of music that was sitting in the middle of my kitchen. It represented over a decade of choral music collected by one of our church accompanists. In the same way as I hoard books, she hoards music, and for the same reason – it speaks to her.

She needed to downsize and was returning a portion of her collection. While I sorted through the six hundred-or-so octavos and several music books, I couldn’t ignore other similarities.

Notes build phrases of melody that blend into harmony, creating music that sings in my heart.

Letters become words and sentences, and grow into stories that beguile my imagination.

Both transport me to a new place. The creativity required to produce the best form of both is art, and originates somewhere deep within. When it is well done, it impacts those who listen… and read.

The creativity represented by all this music staggers me. Each song is unique and represents hours, days, months or maybe even years of the composer’s time. More significant is the piece of its creator’s soul that is embedded in the reality of each.

Composing words and music are both forms of writing, totally different, and yet so very much the same.

~

If you are a writer, do you find your creativity spills over into other forms of art?

~  ~  ~

Graphics by digitalart

 

Some days are more conducive to writing than others. (Or are they?)

Bitter wind rattles the windows and flings icy pellets at the glass. The rhododendron leaves are curled into themselves, huddled against the cold. It’s wild and wintry outside … a good day to stay home, turn up the thermostat and catch up on the writing we’ve been meaning to do all week.

Cold Snowflake

Of course, it’s also a good day to do a bit of Christmas baking. Or finish cleaning the bathroom. There’s too much to do. We’ll have more time to write in the New Year, after Christmas is over.

But perhaps New Year’s Resolutions will make fitness sessions and the gym more of a priority, (Of course I’m talking hypothetically here! You know me better than that!) so we’ll take a breather and get back to writing next month … or in the spring. Well, after the garden beds are dug and seeds planted. Oh, but there’s always summer to look forward to … all those lazy vacation days with endless opportunities. In the summer the excuse becomes the heat. It’s too muggy to stay inside and write. Better to take advantage of the sunshine and opt for gardening, or vacationing, or enjoying some family time at the beach. When the fall rains start there will be time enough to stay inside and write. We won’t talk about the changing colours and crisp autumn afternoons that will tug us outdoors for walks.

From what I’ve seen, successful authors don’t procrastinate. When there’s writing to be done, they write. But when being interviewed, it’s interesting to hear them describe what they consider ideal writing conditions.

*

Darkness has enveloped everything beyond the window. The family room is lit only by Christmas lights, the fireplace crackles and the room is cosy. Lyrics of a winter song come to mind: “Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go”–we might just as well write, right? Except it’s too cosy, too comfortable. I’m content to stare into the flames and let my thoughts wander.

I think it’s time to grab a mug of black coffee and take my laptop into the office where the room is cooler and distractions are minimal. It’s time to get down to work and make the most of the next hour.

What are your ideal writing conditions? Is there one season or situation that’s more conducive to a productive writing session?

~  ~  ~

Monday Morning

BlogBlank

I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day,
a fresh try, one more start,
with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.

J. B. Priestley
DSC09302

Dawn on the Fraser River

 

This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24

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In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

Psalm 5:3

~  ~  ~

The Music of Words

This incredibly heavy box of music is sitting in the middle of my kitchen. It represents over a decade of choral music collected by one of our church accompanists. In the same way as I hoard books, she hoards music, and for the same reason – it speaks to her.

She needed to downsize and was returning a portion of her collection. While I sorted through the six hundred-or-so octavos and several music books, I couldn’t ignore other similarities.

Notes build phrases of melody that blend into harmony, creating music that sings in my heart.

Letters become words and sentences, and grow into stories that beguile my imagination.

Both transport me to a new place. The creativity required to produce the best form of both is art, and originates somewhere deep within. When it is well done, it impacts those who listen… and read.

The creativity represented by all this music staggers me. Each song is unique and represents hours, days, months or maybe even years of the composer’s time. More significant is the piece of its creator’s soul that is embedded in the reality of each.

Composing words and music are both forms of writing, totally different, and yet so very much the same.

~

If you are a writer, do you find your creativity spills over into other forms of art?

~  ~  ~

Graphics by digitalart

 

Is writing without passion worth the effort?

 

Her Shiny New Idea died an early death. In explaining why, my DD Shari Green said, “How do I know I’m not destined to write this story? Lack of passion. I just can’t see myself spending a year or two of my life completely wrapped up in this story.”

I was sorry to hear about the demise of her SNI. Lack of passion kills all sorts of my potentials, too. There’s never a lack of ideas flopping around in my mind. They materialize and multiply like guppies in a wading pool. They fascinate at first glance, but then I think, “meh” and move on.

That’s what’s happening now as I attempt to settle on a particular contest entry. I could work up any number of articles or short stories. I could. But when I hold them up to the light they don’t sparkle much. There’s nothing to ignite my passion.

Remember these rain-weary daisies from last week? Even when they dried out and lifted their heads so I could have a second look, they didn’t really glow. They were lovely, just not special.

(Yes, these are the exact same two flowers.)

And that’s how I’m feeling about all these ideas. ::sigh:: The deadline is still a distance away so there’s no pressure, but I want to be working on my entry… to feel the urgency that propels words out ahead of me, accumulating almost faster than I can keep up. I yearn to fling words onto a page and see them explode, let my fingertips experience the raw bits embedded like Braille on glass.

It’ll come, but oh, I wish it would hurry! Without passion there are no words worth writing.

What makes the difference between good ideas and great ideas for you? Can you take a mediocre one and work it into something special?

~  ~  ~

Trying and falling short. Then what?

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Radio personality Ira Glass offers his take on what to do when we aren’t creating the quality we desire…

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What’s your take? It’s fine to say, from the pinnacle of success, that you would have liked people to tell you the climb was going to be a rough one. But if told, how would you have responded amid the enthusiasm of your initial ambition?

~

This Sunday I’ll be posting at ‘The Pastor’s Wife Speaks‘ blog
about how living water can help create firm footing
in the shifting sands of life.

~