To Write or Not to Write…

I think sometimes writing is especially hard because you want to say things that you’re not sure anyone else wants to hear.  And I don’t mean wondering things like, “maybe people don’t care about my dead cat…” or “maybe people aren’t interested in hearing me complain about how horrible my life is right now…” (shocker there).  No, what I’m talking about are small, snapshot instances, the fleeting, nitty-gritty details that somehow manage to make our lives profound.

It’s that moment when you realize your mother really did know what she was talking about when she told you growing up is hard.

Or that instant you finally understand something somebody said to you when you were eight.

Or that amazing epiphany when you get the “perfect” idea for something.

Or the lovely moment when you realize someone is going to become a new close friend.

Feeding readers the stories behind each of these situations feels wrong somehow… like we’re pulling the screen of privacy a little too far aside.  Or like we’ve finally crossed the line between putting ourselves into our writing, and becoming the writing.

Because in some ways, it’s good to “become” your writing – at least, in the sense that you put some of yourself into every piece that you write.  But here’s the question: how far do you go?  How far can you go?  Where is that line?

It’s so irresistible – that urge to tell someone every detail of an experience you’re passionate about.  It’s an urge that stems from a desire to share a special moment with someone who is also willing to share those moments with you.  But can we ever successfully project those desires onto our readers?  I mean, can we ever write that kind of piece successfully, without regrets?

I think I’m going to argue (for the most part, anyway) no.  Because no matter how many of our readers might know us personally, no matter how much our readers may enjoy our writing, and no matter how comfortable we may feel exposing our private lives to complete strangers, the fact still remains: some moments are all the sweeter savored in silence.

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Music: Move Me, Mark Me

From poems about music itself, to poems about the emotions evoked by a certain song, to pieces written with lyrical description, music has always been my #1 inspiration.  It has prompted my best pieces, my best lines, my best phrases, and even when I write non-creative pieces (like essays and research papers), listening to music while I write never fails to help me find the best ideas and compose my best work.

“sometimes I wonder what it is
beneath my ribs
that beats and flutters so
and rises with the words
of a crooning song
         the lyrics a cry for freedom
         the notes a bid for flight”

“I have become nothing but a helpless instrument of emotion tied to the beautiful music of the world with ribbons of scarlet and cobalt hue, strong as the chords of love and agony, and just as vivid.”

“…the music dances with wild abandon
among my wandering, delirious thoughts…

it rushes past the blued shards
of my tattered consciousness,
caressing them with a feathery touch as it goes by,
bringing the song to my lips
and I sing, sing for all the world to hear,
the sound in my throat bubbling with the beauty
of a writhing, twirling, forgotten art.

the perfection of its grace spins webs
of cobalt and ebony in the shadowed recesses
and craggy caves that wind through my skull,
weaving the bright ribbons of sound
through my very  b  e  i  n  g ...”

 “…if only I could lose myself
in the twirling play of the baby arpeggios
and breathe the pure beauty of their intricate song,
in that place where the only emotions
are the ones evoked by the crying melodies
and wistful harmonies that sing to me
as they carry my soul to the wavering edge
of their mysterious realm, which rests
between our world of tangible reality
and that realm where the stars  v  i  b  r  a  t  e
and the moon can hum.” *

Getting inspiration to write isn’t the only reason why I love music, though.  I’ve loved to sing ever since I was little, and even though I took piano lessons for a few years and violin for a few weeks in elementary and middle school, singing is the only music form that I’ve ever truly loved to do.  I’ve often thought that if I didn’t love writing as much as I do, I would have pursued a career in music.  Actually, I’ve often wished I had the time in my college schedule to squeeze in a music minor.

I’m sure it’s already abundantly clear through my posts, but I have an intense passion for art, and I count music and writing as two of the most beautiful forms of art there are.  For me, writing and music are not just hobbies or career choices; they are things that define me.  I wouldn’t be who I am if either one of them wasn’t in my life, and I know for a fact that my content and style of writing would be drastically different if music was not such an enormous influence on me.

I won’t go into who my favourite music artists are right now because that question alone has an answer big enough to fill its own post, but you can be sure it will be coming in the near future!  One thing you’ll come to understand about me is that when I get excited about something, it’s hard for me NOT to share it with others.  I love introducing people to the things I love so that they can come to love them too!

So what are your biggest inspirations?  What kind of music do you like to listen to and what role does music (in general) play in your life? I’m very interested to hear your answers, so tell me in the comments below!

 

*Each of these quotes are excerpts from pieces of my creative writing (though there are many more examples of music showing up in my writing than just these four examples!).  If you would like to read the whole pieces these quotes came from, just ask me and I’ll send you the links!  Or you can just wait for me to feature them in my Creative Writing posts (:

Inspiration Feature

Well, seeing as it’s time for my weekly post and I’ve had some trouble finding inspiration this week, I thought I’d do a feature post about a few artists whose work never fails to inspire me! You may be the type of person who gets inspired by things other than visual art and writing done by others, but those two things happen to be 2 of my top 5 inspirations (the other three are music, movies/TV and nature).  As I’m sure most of you know, my main writing social-networking site is mistressofquills.deviantart.com, and I’ve found it to be (among other things) a gold mine full of amazing visual artists and writers who create breathtaking artwork. Some of these people have become my friends, and others I simply “watch” in order to get notifications when they post new work.  Either way, I’ve found and met an enormous number of incredibly talented people, so I thought I’d introduce some of them to you!  (Side note: all these people go by usernames on DeviantART, so that’s what I’ll use to refer to them. I’ll provide links to all their profiles, too.)

First up is “Ninjatic,” a digital artist who paints beautiful landscapes and settings, as well as fantasy creatures and characters (ninjatic.deviantart.com).  Here are a few examples of his work:

misty_mountains_by_ninjatic-d6lksii substrata___unexpected_quest_by_ninjatic-d6ggoi6 substrata___until_then____by_ninjatic-d6opcqw substrata___a_visit_from_an_old_friend_by_ninjatic-d6nv871

Next is “Rona-Keller,” a skilled photographer who captures her images with warm colors and interesting concepts (rona-keller.deviantart.com).  Here are just a few examples of her work:

autumn_is_for_going_out_there_by_rona_keller-d6nue60 someone_like_you_by_rona_keller-d6btki6 thinking_back_by_rona_keller-d6rnoq4 traces_of_the_seasons_to_come_by_rona_keller-d66a8d6

AlectorFencer” is a professional digital artist whose work includes intricately detailed fantasy creatures and characters, as well as some beautiful leatherwork (alectorfencer.deviantart.com).

story_time_by_alectorfencer-d5h7ntv Fireplay_by_AlectorFencer morning_by_alectorfencer-d5j2m5s we_are___friends_by_alectorfencer-d5x1ife

Next is one of my favourite writers on DeviantART, “colbalt-rain” (colbalt-rain.deviantart.com).  She is an amazing writer with a talent for identifying with her reader even when the circumstances she’s describing might not be something the reader had experienced.  She captures ideas and concepts in her poetry that resonate with the reader in a very compelling and vivid way.  A few of my favourite poems by her include:

  1. “breaking a writer’s heart.” (colbalt-rain.deviantart.com/art/breaking-a-writer-s-heart)
  2. “adults.” (colbalt-rain.deviantart.com/art/adults)
  3. “red leaves and Robert Frost” (colbalt-rain.deviantart.com/art/red-leaves-and-Robert-Frost)
  4. and “bodies like star systems.” (colbalt-rain.deviantart.com/art/bodies-like-star-systems).

Please take a moment to read a piece or two of her work!  You won’t regret it! (If you only have time for one, read “breaking a writer’s heart” (: It’s my personal favourite!)

Next is “PixieCold,” a traditional-style visual artist whose paintings are creative and colorful as well as unique and beautiful (pixiecold.deviantart.com).  She also does some amazing make-up art!  Here are just a few pieces of her work:

goddess_of_galaxy__original_on_sale__by_pixiecold-d6g5j0k pale_moon_by_pixiecold-d5ynuxj sunken_treasure_by_pixiecold-d5miq94 the_last_snow_by_pixiecold-d5z82m4

Another of my favourite DeviantART writers is “DearPoetry” (dearpoetry.deviantart.com).  Her ability to write is breathtaking – one moment you find yourself reading a poem, and the next, you find yourself being pulled away into an impression or feeling or environment where all you can sense is what she’s describing to you.  Her use of language is (in my opinion) exquisite.  My favourite poems by her include:

  1. “Writer Scars” (dearpoetry.deviantart.com/art/Writer-Scars)
  2. “Dear Poetry,” (dearpoetry.deviantart.com/art/Dear-Poetry)
  3. “9729 kilometers away, to be exact.” (dearpoetry.deviantart.com/art/9729-kilometers-away-to-be-exact)
  4. and “Poetry,” (dearpoetry.deviantart.com/art/Poetry).

Be sure to read some of her work!  (Especially “Writer Scars” and “Dear Poetry” – I can’t choose which one is my favourite!)

My last visual artist to show you is “tachit,” a digital artist who works primarily with fantasy characters and landscapes (tatchit.deviantart.com).  Here are just a few pieces of his art:

and_time_stopped_by_tatchit-d5qjdzw for_mom_by_tatchit-d4zslwn heart_attack_by_tatchit-d6l9o6l keres_by_tatchit-d6jdwra

I hope this (really) long post was interesting and helpful, especially for those of us looking for inspiration!  There are hundreds, thousands even, of talented artists and writers that I couldn’t mention on DeviantART, and if this is a well-accepted post, I may do another in the future… especially for those of you who aren’t familiar with DeviantART! Anyway, let me know if this was helpful and if you would like to see similar posts in the future!  Also, tell me: what inspires you the most?  As always, thanks for reading!

My Creative Writing: Poetry

Many of my creative pieces can be linked back to the specific songs that inspired them, and this one is no exception.  Music can evoke such potent emotion, and I love letting that emotion just carry me away.  As always, I appreciate each and every comment and critique!  Thanks for reading!

 

Cursive Lines

sometimes I wonder what it is
beneath my ribs
that beats and flutters so
and rises with the words
of a crooning song,
the lyrics a cry for freedom
the notes a bid for flight

it feels as though it wishes to burst,
as if
(if it swells any more)
I will rise on its current,
floating away in the wind,
the freest bird in the sky

but the cold of the world
drags me down –
the beat within the white cage
labors on,
the fluttery throb of hope
all but lost

for though I reach out,
my fingers grazing the rough edges
of my unfulfilled dreams,
they tease my fumbling grasp
and withdraw
out of reach

I wish to sing,
to let my voice be carried
to the ends of the world
as my inky fingers
dip again into the feathery depths
of the well of my inspiration,
my fingerprints everywhere
touching everything
everyone
with the words of whispered rhymes
and heart-rending tales

who hasn’t wished
for the beautiful dreams
that haunt the gold of sleep
to come true at last?
but ah, few get
the reward of white doves
and the chance to dream on

I wish that the beauty
                                                         higher

                                                me

of cursive lines would  take
as the sun in my heart burns on
longing for what?
its own song is a complicated string
of arpeggios and dissonant chords
that beg for my attention
as my mind wanders
following the flapping wings
of my fleeing fantasies

no diamond tears
or crystalline cries
will make the music of my heart
and the ink of my soul
translate itself into the weeping voice
and dancing fingers
of my wandering dreams

yet still I wail and    s  t  r  e  t  c  h    out my hand
toward something that seems
to move slowly away
an enigma of the flowing river
its caresses cold and gentle
against my bloodless body

so yes, I wait
as the condensation
of all that I wish to be
falls on the ground of
who I am.

 

 

 

~   fly me away
on wings of old
up to stay
among the stars so cold

on wings of white
and dreams that soar
show me the sight
of what flying is for

(fleeting) Inspiration.

One problem that every single writer who has ever lived (or ever will live) has come across is the problem of writer’s block – a period of time where inspiration decides to leave us in the dry, cold, colorless dust.  It’s an incredibly frustrating feeling: wanting to write, knowing you should be writing because you haven’t for far too long, but unable to conceive of a worthy topic or just unable to put anything you think and feel into the right words.  It’s like feeling out of sorts.  Nothing is right or normal or the way it should be, and you feel unsettled and uncomfortable in your own skin until the feeling goes away, or – for writers (and other artists) – until inspiration returns.  Which usually happens in long-anticipated floods of emotion and epiphany and color.

But how does this ebb and flow of inspiration work?  What makes it flutter away on disdainful wings like the spiteful Muses of old, and what makes it return in such productive floods and overwhelming relief?  (I think the Muses had/have Bi-Polar Disorder.  It would explain a LOT.)

Some writers turn to alcohol and/or drugs to prolong (or induce) their surges of inspiration.  Others feed off the emotional roller-coasters that dominate their lives – and sometimes those in the lives of others, too.  Sometimes it’s a combination of both those things that provides the impetus for new pieces to be created.

Not long ago, I wrote a journal entry about my current (at the time) state of mind and related it to the descriptions of how other writers get their artificially-induced periods of inspiration, and I think it does a pretty good job of describing my position on the issue of inspiration and how it comes to a writer.  Following is a section taken from that journal entry:

“I assure you, I am NOT saying that I’m “under the influence” right now, but I think I can begin to understand why [the writers doing drugs] did that… for the last few days now, I’ve been hovering in this state of mind where it’s as if I’m in some sort of detached unreality.  It’s like I’m still living my life, but I’m also observing it from a perspective that lets me see more – perceive more – than my normal outlook would usually allow me.  It’s giving me so much inspiration that I’m hardly finishing the first draft of one poem before the words of the next get shoved through my mind and out my fingers…

I am not a sadist or a masochist, nor am I the type to think of the glass as either half empty or half full (actually, I tend to really dislike that metaphor), but the pain that I’m going through has been a blessing as well as a curse.  I won’t be sorry when it’s gone, but I also won’t be sorry that I went through it.  Make of that what you will, but I can understand why those writers might have tried to prolong the time they were in the state of inspiration.

Nothing good (usually) comes of writing without inspiration, so they tried to figure out how to bring it on at will.  Granted, it was very often through using illegal substances or being irresponsible drinkers, but you see my point, right?  I tend to not call myself an optimist or a pessimist because there is truth in both of those labels for me, but I like what’s coming out of my pen right now.  It’s a slightly new style than my norm, but I’m letting it take me where it will, and I’m just fine with going along for the ride…

As long as the ride ends happily.  If not, then I’d be ok with it continuing for a while longer…”

My point in sharing this excerpt is that life gives us every reason we need to write.  It provides too many topics for us to ever explore thoroughly enough, and its ups and downs leave no time – or reason – to use anything else to augment the flow of that vital inspiration.

Creative Writing and the New Adventures of Magazine and Feature Writing

Well, I think it’s been a sufficiently long time since I last posted an entry here that I can say, “I’m back!”  The summer is officially over and I am back in school with a new Writing class in my schedule: Writing 300 – Magazine and Feature Writing.  One very exciting feature of this class is that I’ll get a few different chances to send off the pieces I write to (hopefully) get published!  Obviously there’s no guarantee that they will get published, but it’s still an opportunity that I don’t intend to waste!

As a result, we’re back to regular, weekly posts again!  I still fully intend to post about my creative writing, but once a week I’ll post about other various topics too, and these posts will often have something to do with a concept we learned in class that week.

In class this week, the point my Professor made over and over again is that the material you need to write a feature is everywhere – in the seemingly mundane events of your everyday life, in your conversations, the interactions you have with acquaintances, friends and family members, the effect something you read or watch has on you, etc.  I thought this was an interesting (and very important) point to encounter in a Magazine and Feature Writing class because as a creative writer, I get my inspiration from everything around me, too.  Inspiration for both my poetry and creative prose often come from the music I listen to, the artwork and photography I see, the weather, the events of my past, my hopes for the future, the ideas and opinions I form from what I hear and read on a day-by-day basis, dreams I have, and even my various moods throughout the day.

I must admit, though, that when I first signed up for this class, I didn’t really wanted to take it.  Why?  Well… now I know it’s because I was simply ignorant of what this class is about.  At the time, though, I thought I didn’t want to take it because it didn’t fit my definition of “creative writing” – it wasn’t a “Writing Short Stories” class or a “How to Write a Novel” class.  Therefore, I decided it wasn’t a class I wanted to… well, waste my time with.  Now that I’ve attended class for a full week now, however, I am very, very excited to continue the class because I learned that there is an element of creative writing here.  There may be some instances when I need to do some research and conduct a few interviews, but I’ll still be writing stories – just not the kind that I’m so used to considering “real” stories.  If I want to hold my own in the competitive writing industry, I need to learn all kinds of different forms of writing, and this is one of them.  Of course, it’s a plus that this discipline counts as creative writing!

In short, I’ve learned a lot more this week than just the definition of a “feature” and the difference between a commentary piece and a short feature piece; I’ve come to understand my position in my field a lot better, and I have a clearer vision of where my future is headed and what I need to do to get there.  Now on to the hard stuff!

My Creative Writing: Poetry

Hello all!

Well, the summer is finally getting interesting now that I’ve got a weekend job and am in the process of getting employed as a nanny for the weekdays, and now I’m finally making some headway on my commissions!  New stories are coming to mind, and the time is ripe for inspiration!  I’m excited to show you what I create next, but for now we’ll stick to the things that have been written for a while and have been critiqued and improved(:

I wrote this poem after reading most of the book by Wes Moore called “The Other Wes Moore.”  It’s a wonderful story, and it gave me the inspiration to write this poem. Let me know what you think!

“…it’s hard sometimes to distinguish between second chances and last chances.”
– Wes Moore

 

The Street

Under lamps as tall as trees
And loud or laughing conversations buzzing like bees,
There lies an old grey street.

Many a car and pedestrian
Has its cracked sidewalks and faded line-paint seen,
And policemen, gazes keen.

Small children playing ball
As mothers yell warnings, using full names and all,
Summer sun, bright and hot.

But not just as a playground
Has its purpose served, but also drug-dealer spots
And beds for bums, minus cots.

The people wear old eyes,
Jaded, faded, and worn with time’s desperate cries,
Aged beyond rightful age.

Slow steps walk the street,
Shuffling and dragging like nowhere is worth going,
Ash-grey concrete-wandering…

Dull sky and lifeless world;
Even the yellow paint is cheerless, even if it’s curled
In its sharp, winding turns.

Hope is scarce, love more so
And kindness is a thing forgotten in the distant past,
Hiding from people harassed.

These are the grey streets
That crisscross our cities, rain coming down in sheets,
Poverty reigning just as heavy.

The fear is hard to grasp
When you’re from a background and home like mine,
Where safety is benign.

So many different realms
Can exist in the very same city! The change overwhelms
And awakens us to reality.

Looking into the recent past,
So calloused to – and ignorant of – life’s reality we’ve become;
We’ve become so very numb.

What is life really like outside
Our own little personal worlds? What could one little stride
Have changed if it was wrong?

Life’s details and how we cope
With what we endure – these are what seem to decide our fate,
And if the path we walk will be straight.