Tabula Rasa

Tabula rasa

The blank slate

The silence weighs heavy

And the open space is oppressive

A skeletal world of moonlight and rock.

Without thought or imagination

Nothing to dream, nothing to say

Only fear and exhaustion

Tabula rasa

Try and start over

[I am at a standstill with both my long fiction pieces and I am going to set them aside while I collect my thoughts.] 




Filling the Creative Reservoir

Life with all its stresses can be a drag on your creativity. And yes, we all know about the writers and artists who use their anger, pain, and frustration as source material for their work. But what if your crappy, exhausting job, bills, debt and student loans, managing your kids’ school activities and issues, and if you’re a part of the sandwich generation, taking care of aging parents, isn’t proving to be terribly inspiring? When you do find a spare minute to yourself and finally sit in front of the screen or the canvas, then nothing comes. All those daily anxieties push out the great ideas that used to wake you up in the middle of the night. Can you force yourself to be creative? Or is it hopeless?

Take a look at it this way: some of those ‘daily grind’ things we do involve being creative. Things like parenting, successfully carrying out the tasks of your employment, cultivating your relationships and cooking meals for your family. When we appreciate that we are being creative in our daily routine, we must then figure out how to cultivate creativity for our artistry. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking, ‘what if…?’ and letting your mind answer the question with all the possibilities.

Remember that your talents have already manifested themselves. If you’ve been creative in the past, you can be again. Reflect on those past achievements. While it’s true that creativity may come naturally to some, many successful artists and writers have simply nurtured their creativity over time. You see what I’m saying? They worked at it. The writer or artist who sits staring at the blank screen or canvas waiting for inspiration to strike is going to be waiting a long time. Inspiration comes not just from within but also from without. We must take the initiative to find it.

Read other authors in your genre. Read other authors outside of your genre, including non-fiction. Watch films, television programs, go to the theater. Go outside and move your body. And for Pete’s sake, turn off the podcasts and the news and refresh your mind with some quiet time. Listen to music. Go to the art museum, or even a small gallery and take time to study the paintings, photographs or sculptures. Spend time with your friends, especially those who also have creative pursuits. Join a book club – you might be able to find one through your local library or independent book store. Take an evening art class, even if it’s way below your skill level. You’ll always learn at least one new thing. Spend time with people who inspire you, rather than drain you. Granted, we can’t all hang out with our heroes but this is the time to read interviews, listen to lectures or read their biographies.

And since we began this discussion by acknowledging the scarcity of free time, I’m by no means advocating ALL of those suggestions. Just pick one that fits into your schedule. Above all, don’t get discouraged. If the creative reservoir seems dry, it might take a little time to fill it back up again. Start adding just one bucket full at a time.

A Virtual Hug For a Friend!

My girlfriend Sandra at “What Sandra Thinks” is going through some tough times and her friends here on WordPress want to show her some love. Thanks to Cyranny at “Cyranny’s Cove” who came up with some questions for those of us who are closest to her. I loved the idea and readily agreed. If you follow the link to Cyranny’s blog, you find links to the other posts for Sandra. I’m thinking of this as a great big virtual hug for my friend:

How did you discover Sandra’s blog? And how long have you been following her?

Sandra and I met during WordPress’ Blogging 101 back in 2015. These free ‘classes’ were sponsored by WP to help new bloggers set up and get the most out of their sites. The group we were in was extremely social and many friendships were formed in the commons — the site which we were all encouraged to visit so as to give feedback to one another as we learned how to use our brand new blogs. She and I hit it off right away!

What do you enjoy the most about “What Sandra Thinks”?

I enjoy Sandra’s writing style – she writes like authors I like to read and I hope this doesn’t sound pompous, but I think she writes similarly to me. Reading a writer with whom you have much in common is helpful. She writes natural, flawless dialogue. Her timing is impeccable. In other words, she has the awareness in her storytelling of just where to leave the reader wanting more. When she shares things about real life and her struggles, she’s honest and though my heart always aches, and I wish I could fix things for her, that ability to evoke strong empathy in the reader is also the mark of an amazing writer. Even through her pain, she still manages to be funny and refreshingly irreverent, too.

What do you like the most about Sandra herself?

Sandra is a good friend. I’ve always wished we lived in closer proximity, because I’m sure we’d be friends in real life, too. She’s honest and doesn’t pretend to be something she isn’t. Now… that being said, I wish that Sandra could see herself the way we see her! If she could just get a boost of confidence somehow!

What would be one of your favorite posts from Sandra?

I am totally loving her current series: Dear Diary. But one of my very favorite stories of hers is the Secret Admirer begun in 2015. I think that story could be (should be) published! (Might be a little short for a novel but still!)

What would you tell Sandra, if you two were talking over a cup of coffee?

Oh man… lots of stuff. I’ve always felt a kinship with Sandra because we have the same types of issues —not to the same levels, but I feel like we understand how the other feels. And we could talk about writing. I think it would be fun to brainstorm with Sandra over story ideas! Sandra can write the romance and I will add the mystery.

What do you wish for Sandra, in the future?

Ideally? I want her to win the lottery so money will never be an issue or alternatively I want a big time producer to discover her blog and buy the rights to turn her stories into films. I want Alex O’Loughlin to sweep her off her feet… (sorry Mr. Sandra)

Ok, realistically… I want her kids to grow up knowing how much their mom loves them and that even though it doesn’t feel like it now, school doesn’t last forever and mean kids will not always be part of their lives. I also hope they will make good decisions that bring them success and happiness in their future, because that would mean the world to Sandra, too. I want her health care professionals to find a permanent solution to her back pain. I would love for her to find a part time job that she loves, which also  gives her a schedule that works for her kids. In whatever form it takes, I just wish for Sandra to find happiness and know that she is loved.

Meg Sorick