Perhaps it was in my very first blog post that I mentioned the reason why I write. To understand. That understanding doesn’t stop with my observations of the environment around me or the people who I encounter, but goes straight inside of me, my heart and soul, thoughts and dreams. I’ve been reading a lot about how, in order to create, we are to treat our inner child with love and respect and take care of her by being kind to ourselves. It is with the imagination of a child that we entice our muse to visit us. That isn’t to say that what we create is childlike. What comes through us is shaded by our perceptions and experiences. In order to create something that is a reflection of who we are, it is necessary to walk in the dark parts of ourselves and emerge with a piece of comprehension for how or why we do our behaviors. Cat Bennet, author of The Confident Creative: Drawing to Free the Hand and Mind, mentions artists ‘telling their truth’; that peek into the shadowed landscape and reporting what was found, then perhaps using those realizations to fuel our imaginations.
In drawing from imagination, it helps us create our worlds as writers. Our characters are pieces of ourselves. The dancer, the notes in a song, the underlying flavors in a particular dish, the subtle hues in a painting, are part of our style, our own character, pieces of ourselves that we camouflage. And there is nothing that says just because we start out with one style, that it can’t morph into something else as we refine our art, which is a reflection of who we are.
How do we discover our style, refine it, change it? Experiment! Word prompts have been used for years to get writers unstuck. Lists of words that name objects, describe feelings, tell how something moves, words that rhyme or that depict sounds we might hear. Bennett suggests we group them together and create lists of 3-word imaginative pictures, then draw them. Why not write about them? Sculpt them? What would their theme song sound like? Picture words like ‘butterfly swim red’, ‘pink wheel skip’, or ‘cozy spike kick’. Perhaps you’ll find that the usual charcoal and paper won’t work for this exercise, but rather bold acrylic paint. Maybe close up black and white photographs of bugs instead of the usual peaceful landscapes.
Through all of this ‘making of art’, keep in mind that like life, it is about play. Trying this or that, instead of judging when something comes out different from how our critic planned. Reminding ourselves that our muse, which likes to entice the child inside of us (or maybe it’s the other way around), just wants to encourage that artist to express herself, to have fun, to create for the sake of self-expression and self-discovery. We decide what excites us, what makes us linger over a particular shape, color, word, note, or flavor. As we evolve along our life journey, so too does our level of creativity. Every time we pick up the pen or the brush or the camera, we are willing to look inside, to see where we have been, where we are now, and dabble in what the future might bring us.
I think it is past time that this artist do more than just refer her readers to her website that, if you’ve been there before, hasn’t changed much. The promise of added short stories and poems has yet to materialize. The work of a second volume of Yogis All and the completion of the second novel in my first trilogy continue in their current holding pattern. If you haven’t visited my website, then there is a plethora of words for you to read. If you have, then know that I’ve decided that www.myjoyenterprises.com receive some updates. Leave a comment if you’ve created something kind or something wacky with your string of 3 words to ignite your imagination.