Feeding the Writer

No this isn’t a post about food. Though I could definitely do that. Today though, I decided to talk about the one thing that I’ve slacked on lately. Feeding the writer is a bit of a necessity. Why and how are likely questions you have at this juncture. Well my own opinion on the matter is simple. To breed creative works, you must view the world differently. You must view it through the ‘what if’ glasses to take a simple thing and let it blossom into something great.

The avenues I choose to take when feeding my writing soul are by no means a one size fits all approach. However, there are three distinct things I turn to for creative fuel.

Reading ~ when I delve into a book, be it an awesome NYT Bestseller that I can’t put down or a crappy book no one’s ever heard of, there is inspiration and knowledge to be gleaned from those glorious pages. From the character development to the plot, you can learn a lot about what works (or doesn’t) for a particular story. Even better, a book can light a fire under my arse if I’ve been slacking on getting my words on paper.

Movies & Television ~ Stories acted out for a viewer can be a great source of creative fodder. Everything is visual. So depending on what your eye is attracted to, you can see what works or doesn’t work in a story. Sometimes, the characters might not stand out to you as ‘the evil doer’ because of the way the screen/script writer drafted the character. They make the character blend. On the other hand, you have characters that are so in your face that you can’t forget them even if you tried. Settings are another big thing. When you read a book, everything is left to your imagination. If the author did a good job, then your mind can recreate the scene effortlessly. Television and movies leave little to the imagination in that arena, but from an author’s perspective, you can pick apart the setting and try to describe the pieces that really set the scene.

Life ~ Nothing sparks the ‘what if’ game more to me than life itself. For example, let’s say you were on a road trip. Everyone else in the car is sleeping. You’re tired. So you start playing the game to entertain yourself. Here you are, driving down the road, late at night, a long drive. Darkness surrounding you. Two jails set back from the highway. A sign that states hitchhiking prohibited. Tell me that doesn’t just set the minds wheels into motion. Go on I dare you.

It’s always easy to blame the ‘muse’ when it seems the creative well has run dry. Honestly though, she can only work with what we give her. So if I’m not feeding my creative self, then she’s got zilch to go on. There’s only one way to keep her working for me and not against me. I’ve got to feed her with more than just Guinness (though that definitely doesn’t hurt). So tell me what are your tricks to feeding your creative self, or share what book or movie really stood out to you because the story was well told. Better yet, what are you reading now? Me? I’m reading Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore and so far, enjoying it. Sláinte!

Chasing Dreams~

Once you discover what your dream is, what would you do to achieve it? How long are you willing to pursue it? Is there something that would keep you from reaching that tasty sugar coated dream? I mean besides the brain eating zombies. Focus people.

Sometimes, it’s a matter of priorities. Where do your dreams rank among other things in your life? For me, the dream is pretty high up there. While I may not be blogging like crazy, I’m striving to achieve my dreams. Going to school to hone my craft while dealing with children and still working on novels is challenging at best, but will be so worth it in the end. I see the goal line and have every intention of reaching it. Nope dear readers, I’m just getting started, so stick around while I continue chasing my dreams. And while you’re hanging out with your Guinness or Triple Venti Irish Cream Latte,  share your dreams and what you are doing to chase them down.

Zombie Mom

Days like the one I had today are really quite common. I roll out of bed, try to coerce the little hellions, I mean zombie twins, to clean their room. Arguing ensues. Try to make it to coffee pot. Get sidetracked by yelling at little zombies. I snarl. Grumble something that is incoherent. Get coffee brewing while pounding headache rages on.

No coffee in reasonable amount of time from when I leave the bed equals a very unhappy and zombie-like mom. Not the lightening fast ones that you see being depicted in movies today either. More like the original George Romero Night of the Living Dead type zombie. All stiff limbed and groaning. Even my skin lacks that certain glow that a relatively lively mother should have.

Maybe there is a way to avoid the morning zombie state. Perhaps if Starbucks simply mainlined coffee into my veins before I ever left the bed in the morning. You know, a timer goes off, not to unlike programming your coffee pot to start brewing in the morning. This might solve my dilemma. Then I could pop out of bed fresh and fully ready to take on the day. Or am I destined to wake in the zombie state forever? Come on. This is 2011 people, what’s a girl gotta do to get a little coffee on demand?!

Dancing in the Dark~

Dear Muse,

We do this often you and I. You tempt me with your story ideas–a melody I cannot resist. The keyboard is ready for us to indulge in the movements we are so familiar with.  My fingers are hovering over the keys…waiting. A whispered word. Vampire. I think–overdone. Something new. Again you whisper the same word. I give in.

The words begin to form a scene that is all mine. The excitement builds. Passion for the art I so dearly love is reignited. Then you step away and take those little temptations that spark life into my work with you. I search for you and discover that my partner has left me alone to dance in the dark.

You may think this will stop me. That I will leave the dance floor. Spirit broken. But you lured me out and the song is not finished. I will continue dancing. Alone if I must. For I have not yet mastered this dance. Little do you know that my determination runs deep. So to you my dear muse, I have only this to say-

Would you like to join me? With or without you, I will continue this dance. Even in the dark if I must. Though, I do prefer to have a little company from my partner in crime. Take time and think about it. I will be here, fingers dancing on the keys.

Yours Truly,

Moira

The Bad Seed~

BadSeedBookOk, so I wasn’t really the bad seed. Neither my mother nor my father ever called me that. I was just the difficult, determined, challenging, stubborn, and most importantly …. hard headed child. Yes, it came as no surprise to me. But to actually hear those words spoken. Out loud. In front of others.

Granted, my actions throughout my childhood pretty much speaks for itself.

The determination to have my way and defy my mother while I was still young enough to be in a walker just so I could touch a plant.

The refusal to let a single tear slip from my eyes when a slapping war ensued over an ashtray. (Again, I was at a young age.)

Move to my teenage years and my poor parents were dealing with sneaking out, breaking curfews, ditching school, falling grades, calls from the police, and dropping out of high school. Still, and this is by no means an endorsement for bad behavior, but I didn’t turn out so bad. It took many years, yet I know that the person I am today is a direct result of my parents guidance.

Sometimes, I guess being a bad seed isn’t so bad, if you have the right guidance with a dash of carefully administered love, you just might be like the ugly duckling and manage to transform into something those you love can be proud of. Hope I have managed to do that.

Now that I am done sharing my very round about thanks to my parents, the update is as follows-

1. I hereby forbid myself to work on any other story (outside of plotting) other than my paranormal WIP ~ Chosen. – Again, doing well I think. I have thought about my Young Adult Book, but no writing…but then again there has been little writing at all since the last update.

2. All current 117 pages of said story have been printed out. I realize this is working ass backwards, but I will use that to help fill in my plot structure and story arc. While doing so, I will not open up the original document and all notations will be made in either a notebook or in the side margins of the printed version. – Ok, hard to do bad on this when I haven’t opened the document or worked on the story at all.

3. The nights when the kids are with their dad…. I will limit my online time (i.e. the devil Facebook) outside of a brief check in or status update. The kid-free time will be utilized for writing and research. - This didn’t really happen due to the kids not being able to go to their dad’s in the last two weeks.

4. I will gag my internal editor as much as possible during this process so that I may actually have a finished draft before all is said and done. – This would have worked better if I hadn’t decided to change the setting for my story, which I did during the course of the last few days.

5. Once a week, I will blog about my progress. – Has been more than a week, but I did it, so it is all good.

Perception~

My mother sent me an email today with the following story attached. I found it so poignant, that I thought I would share for those of you who may not have seen or heard the story. The link to the original story reported in The Washington Post follows.

~*~*~

..something to think about…

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was
repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes:
The musician played continuously.  Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin valued at $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the price of seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. The questions raised: in a common
place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:  If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made…. what else are we missing?

~*~*~

If you would like to see the story please visit The Washington Post. Whatever else you may take away from this story, please take at least this… live in the moment, do not rush through it.