Art’s crowning reward

House Finch. November 27, 2019

Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.            ~ Frederic Chopin

 

Reflections of my creative mind

I just finished reading a young adult (YA) novel that was recommended as a good example of multiple point-of-view (POV) characters. The book recommendation came weeks ago as I debated whether I wanted to write my new project in multiple POVs rather than my usual first-person, but I just got around to reading it. It’s a very good book and I’m glad I read.

Except. One of the POV characters in the book has a home situation and coping strategy that very closely mirrors how I’m writing one of my characters. AND, there are some general similarities to the plots.

Photo by Lucas Pezeta from Pexels

Panic! Doubt! OMG, should I stop reading this? Do I need to rework my character? Rethink my plot? Drop the project altogether and buy a sailboat or take up harmonica lessons?

Well. As mentioned, I did finish the book. And the panic has (mostly) subsided because the draft I’m working on isn’t a YA but a middle-grade (MG) which means it’s for different readers. Plus, the book I read was published in 2012. So, I’m putting on my big girl pants and resuming my project.

 

I will admit, however, it was very unsettling to come across a reflection of something I thought existed only in my mind.

Infinite possibilities

I’m brainstorming and jotting notes for a new middle-grade novel, and sometimes feel slightly overwhelmed by the possibilities for this story. Is it this? Or that? Here or there? There’s so much to consider.

This photo of me feels like the perfect image for this stage in the process and I’m posting it here as a reminder to myself: infinite possibilities are a gift.

Rustler Gulch Trail, July 26, 2018.

May I continue enjoying the creative journey as much as I did that wonderful hike. May I continue embracing the infinite landscape of my creative mind.

Forest for the trees

Revision is all about keeping in mind the big picture and the many, many details that go into creating that big picture. Because a novel is kinda like a forest, which is nothing without its trees.

Hike in Staunton State Park, Oct 13, 2017

 

A feeling of buoyancy and clarity

For me, when I ‘discover’ a story,
there is a feeling of buoyancy and clarity,
perhaps similar to early morning out on a prairie highway,
when darkness lifts and reveals
the outline of farmhouses and copses of trees in the distance.
~  David Bergen

Image from Pexels.com

 

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Thankful Thursday: The I-Didn’t-Procrastinate-(Much) Edition

stevenwrightquote

I’ve started working again on a project that I put on hold in 2012 because I didn’t feel equipped to do it justice. I’m still not insanely confident about my abilities (after all, I am a writer), but I’m pushing ahead.

Last night my Writing Roosters critique group got together, and one of the members spoke of her current process as she drafts another book in a series. She said that for her, outlining and research could turn into a form of procrastination, and that it was important to just get writing and trust that that other stuff will sort itself out along the way. I realize that isn’t a new concept, but it was one of those right-comments-at-the-right time things, and it went ping in my brain.

That’s exactly where I’ve been with this project; reacquainting myself with the characters and plot, doing more and more research. Thinking I had to get most every detail nailed down. Obviously, that’s false. Because as it says in STOP THAT BALL! : Could this go on all day and night? It could, you know, and it just might.

stopthatballcover

One of the best read-alouds EVER!

So today I stepped away from the outlining and research rabbit holes, and started writing. I didn’t get a whole lot of words down, but I accomplished more than page numbers.

Take that, Steven Wright!

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What it means to be an artist

To be an artist means never to avert one’s eyes.
~ Akira Kurosawa

zoey-averting-her-gaze

Yes, I absolutely agree with Mr. Kurosawa. Art calls for the unflinching truth. However, sometime’s I’m with Zoey and just want to avert my gaze. Sometimes it’s just too damned much to process.

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Winner winner veggie dinner

I don’t think the goal is, ‘How big a star did you ever become?’
I think the goal is, ‘Were you able to express yourself?’
And if you’re able to say yes, in any field, you’ve won.
If you paint, write, do mosaics, knit –
if it’s solving that part of your brain saying,
‘I need to do this,’ you’ve won.

~  Albert Brooks

Guess what? Today was a win!

emmy-award

To be clear: I didn’t get an Emmy. I just like the look.

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Live music lessons

Last night’s concert with Shovels & Rope and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats filled me with joy and admiration. I’m not a musician nor have I ever played one on TV, but I felt a kinship with the people on the Red Rocks Amphitheatre stage.

Why? Because as I watched and listened to all those talented musicians, I understood on a gut level the work they’ve done. They’re creative people who have put in years and years to get where they’re at, and they’ve enjoyed glimpses of triumph and then been dragged down low. They’ve been discouraged yet kept going and when something wasn’t working, they tried something else. Every one of them took chances and eventually triumphed.

I want to be like those musicians when I grow up.

Antique Typewriter (with lettering)

 

 

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It’s All Subjective

For a long time I mostly resisted watching those “Inside the Episode” segments that seem to be all the rage in cable shows. They come on after the episode to supposedly give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse into that creative world. But one “insider” bit I’d watched had the show’s creator saying stuff about the characters that was so obvious, it felt like talking for the sake of talking. (I’m looking at you, Lena Dunham.)

Zippy and I have recently started watching a show we really like, and thought we’d give the “insider” thing another try. We watched a few of those segments and enjoyed getting the creators’ take on what they were trying to accomplish. However, the last one I watched was especially valuable for me as a writer.

The creators/writers talked about an interaction between two of the characters and said the one character acted selfishly and purposely put down the other character. That wasn’t my take. I’d interpreted the first character as being a bit clueless, but also truly coming from a good place. I’d still liked and rooted for her until I got the insider treatment which has now warped my sense of that character.

My two takeaways:
1) Stop watching “Inside the Episode” segments
2) I can’t control how readers will react to what I’ve written.

There’s intent and then there’s interpretation.
Persa azul