Friday, June 27, 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Poet's Eyes

“Poets are damned but they are not blind, they see with the eyes of angels.”  - William Carlos Williams

Monday, June 23, 2014

Week #16 - William Carlos Williams

This week I've come off a weekend with time and focus to a much lesser degree on writing then usual. My wife and I celebrating our 40th Anniversary we had two very late nights out at concerts in a row. Besides the minimal attention paid to writing and writing related things like submissions, etc. I've come away with a low level of energy and a slightly defeated view of my writing weekend.  I know that's not a fair assessment because we have to at times spent time with family and we have to at times just step back and not freak out about doing so.

Perhaps drawing William Carlos Williams is exactly what I need to pick myself up and move forward. Here is a man who worked during the day as a doctor and in the evenings took to the pen.  Williams is definitely an excellent example for me and so many other writers that must maintain regular jobs while being dedicate to their writing as well.

Exploring what Williams might be saying to me...

  •  Be an observer. Much like Sylvia Plath, Williams seems to have made sort of a cottage industry of observing the everyday of life and pulling it into his poetry. The Red Wheelbarrow, or This Just To Say are two very excellent examples of his ability to draw from his surroundings in the simplest ways.
  • Right Now Write. All the necessary resources are there, things we see in the world around us, the pen and the paper, and the time.  Take the time and use it well. We have no one but ourselves to blame when we look back and say, "wow, that was a wasted afternoon, or evening, or weekend." We have the keys to our ignition, we can set ourselves in motion or we can piddle time away. No one else can be the responsible person if we aren't taking the responsibility our self. 
  • Am I even near my full potential? Am I settling for two little. 
These are things I need to be thinking about this week as I look to find more balance and commit to staying focused on projects. The good doctor will be my guide this week,

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Week # 15 - Eight of Mentors

It's Sunday morning and I'm desperately in need of coffee. A deficiency that I soon plan to correct. But I'm in the studio this morning and I've drawn a new new Poet Tarot card for this week. From the shuffled and fanned out deck I've pulled the Eight of Mentors card.

This card is asking me to take stock in how I provide advise to other poets/artists about their work in critiques offered. It has been a while since I've been especially active in any group critiques and maybe this is telling me something about the lack of this.  I know it's wanting to tell me to be sensitive in any collaborative suggestions of another's work to make certain that  you are not trying to change the author's voice. Let them be true to their own voice. Suggest they look at  things that improve what they are saying but not usurp their message altogether.

When I've done critiques, I don't believe this has been a problem for me. Still, it is goof to again consider the value of what  one poet can offer another when they are revising.

I think that  I need to workshop my own work more. I really stopped doing this when the people all seemed like they were telling me what they though I wanted to hear... "oh that's nice," etc. I'm not a thin skinned person and if I want to know what someone is seeing  or hearing in one of my poems, then I want honesty. I don't expect others to write my work, but if something needs to be tightened or explore saying something a different way, honest is what I want. In the same way that is what I assume they are wanting when reading their work. Suggest, question, but don't usurp the work.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Week #14 - Four of Mentors

For the fourteenth week I've gone to my Poet Tarot deck and shuffled and drawn a card at random. The Four of Mentors slid out  between my fingers from the fanned out deck.  As I turned it over and studied it I was taken by the skeleton type keys that were on the card.

This card reminds me that occasionally I can put my writing away. Place it in a folder or closet or drawer and let it rest figuratively. Let each of us have a rest from one another. I control the keys to my work. Take a break from a poem draft or a project, refill my creative well, but I am in control and I decide when the time is right to revisit the work.

The Four of Mentors seems to be reminding me that sometimes when I need is a little distance from my work.Besides recharging my energy sometimes it's a whole different perspective that I need, something that a few days or weeks or even months  can provide. At any rate the writing will be there when we are ready to be reunited.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Week #13 - The Seven of Quills

The Seven of Quills card comes to me at an interesting time.  She speaks to me about the element of competition inherent in the arts.

While I don't really think that much about competition in terms of my routine submission to various journals I can see that there is in fact a limited amount of space available in each publication and that in a way I am vying for a coveted spot each time I submit.

I usually would associate the competitive level more specifically with actual competitions for poems or collections of poetry. I have not historically been heavily invested in such contests but it's interesting that I should draw this card now as I will have over a 30 day period entered three contests. I rarely enter more than one or two in a whole year.

Things to think about:

  • Each time I enter a contest or submit material - be mindful that there are others working  just as hard to produce work that  they wish to be seen by others.  Be appreciative for each success but not boastful. Every artist has failures as well as successes, it is all a part of the process. Recognize that winning or losing, work was required to get to this point.
  • With each success you have, remember  friends, family, mentors who have helped you along the way. Nobody creates art in a vacuum. It may seem like it at times, but at some point we have to come up for air and it is encouragement, belief, and trust that  provide the oxygen.  

Bringing Back Sexy.

I read an article by Mike Hanski today has brought me to a better understanding  on what developing a magical creative life might be like.

In his own soul searching Mike concluded that children (who after all are the masters of creativity) usually have one thing going for them in the creative routines. They have a strong supportive community.  His example is that you come home from school with some art on a paper plate and you are met by patents and or family  who fuss over it and it get attached to the refrigerator for all to continue to fuss over. As we get older what happens to that core of enthusiastic support? He asks, who is your support system now? 

Ouch! Something happened over the years that were left behind from grade school. Life got more serious. The nurturing fan club called family no longer is interested in perpetrating your creative efforts and if they have any interest at all will generally take a more critical view of what you do. So what is one to do when he/she is up to their elbows in pottery clay, has acrylic paint on their cheek, or has poured out their soul onto paper in ink? It seems that artists would benefit from a collective of like individuals that support us even in out outlandish efforts of creativity. It's not likely that you are going  to reshape your family members  back into this core of support. No, we need to go beyond this and find like minded individuals to form such support structures for our work. It can be people who have an appreciation for the arts in general or individuals that  are active in our same art form.  The beauty is that we can be that  source of energy and enthusiasm for each other. A reciprocal supporter.

Mike's examination of the valuable lessons of childhood and creativity took him to some other  conclusions. He believes our creativity would be benefited by the following:

  • De-structure  your life.  Add variety and spontaneity to your daily life.
  • Turn off electronics. Use it wisely and don't  let it become an umbilical cord you depend on.
  • Be reckless. I'm not talking  about your driving, I'm talking about moving beyond comfort. Taking risks.
  • Rekindle the wonder in life. Try something new, go places you've never been. Drive home a different route. Look around you and discover new things. 
I'm pretty certain that Mike Hanski has got it right. He has found the key essentials to rediscovering  the creativity that has been siphoned from us over the years.  Now, to implement this in my day to day life. 

Now, you are wondering what  has any of this to do with sexy?  Creativity is the new Sexy!