A Lightbulb Moment.

One of my most favorite things to do in my spare time is read about the creative process.  I re-read a lot of things too in case it didn’t sink in the first time – which, obviously, is the case here.

I find that I dismiss the most obvious things and then will spend entirely too much time trying to figure it all out after the fact. I’m not sure what causes me to do this but I tend to do it a lot.

For instance…

I was recently re-reading a passage in the book, ‘writing poetry from the inside out’ by Sandford Lyne when I came upon his reference to the words ‘writers studio’ as another name for an artist’s personal journal.  He compares the journal to the artist’s studio – a place full of inspiration and natural light – all necessary for channeling the inspiration and associations that an artist’s space offers.  He says the ‘writer’s studio’ (or journal) should be nothing less – not only should the pages offer space for writing but (as walls are to the physical studio) they should offer space for ‘decorating’ as well.

Fill your journals with poem sketches (he calls them) or just simply thoughts and ideas that are meaningful to you.

And I think this is probably the reason I’d never really gotten into the whole journal writing thing – as so many others have (something I’ve always been confused by and thought extremely strange considering I can hardly resist buying journals when I see them) …because I never knew what to put IN THEM. I was always a little concerned that what I put in them wouldn’t be worthy of the book itself – because I always pick up the ones that are really unique – some with leather covers, some with sewn bindings, some that are simply covered in beautiful paper…but it really didn’t matter what they were made of  – I never felt what I could fill them with was worth the space.

So most (if not all) of my journals remain empty, lying about, quietly mocking me.

I’m sure if any psychologists are reading this, they’ve already diagnosed my ‘condition’ but, in my defense, its really just a matter of not wanting to fill up books for the sake of simply filling up books. I guess it never occurred to me that all those words that fill other people’s journals, have actual MEANING (gasp!).  But meaning FOR THEM (not for me necessarily) and not simply for aesthetic reasons alone, either -which is the way they always appeared to be to me – which explains why I never really ‘got them’ before – because their words weren’t my words.

Its as simple as that.

CLICK.

That was the sound of the light coming on.

Its ok if my journals aren’t perfect, its ok if they’re not beautiful according to someone else’s definition of the word, its ok if they’re not cohesive like a portfolio, and its ok if I give myself creative license…because, well, that’s kind of the point!

AND…

I’ve been holding on to one of the ‘1001 Journals, a collaborative art experiment, sharing journals amongst strangers and friends around the world now for quite some time…now, maybe, I can actually pick it up and put something in it!!

For more information about the journal experiment… go to: www.1001journals.com.

Images of the journal’s cover (front and inside) – taken with my cell phone.

Box of Chocolates

I think it’s pretty safe to say, reading any entry in my blog, is like opening a box of chocolates…you just never really know what you’re gonna get.

And today is no exception.

Even though I consider myself a lover of words – both in their physical form (I come from a long line of serious doodlers) and their metaphorical…(I’m pretty good at that ‘magical, cross-connection’ thing I mentioned in yesterday’s post, if I say so myself) and even though I love to read (I’m a Prime member at Amazon which, btw, is TOTALLY worth it), and own, not one, but two Kindles (they keep coming out with newer versions!) and even though I’m truly inspired by those who  do ‘it’ – I’ve never made a qualified attempt at writing poetry.

Are you surprised?

A bit disappointed?

Well, I plan to rectify that very soon.

Recently (as in like yesterday) I’ve had the pleasure of reading the blogs of some new followers who are ‘into’ that sort of thing, i.e. poetry and song writing (cool, huh?).  And, let me just say right now…the blogosphere is such an amazing thing – I’m fairly new to it all, but, the idea that so many individuals are able to come together, share, inspire and gather feedback from one another  – instantly – is huge.  No longer do we have to feel as though we’re alone in the world of our thoughts and ideas – no longer separated from others who do what we do.  I think it’s great and I’m really glad to be part of it. And to be able to offer something to someone (someone you may not have even met), someone who knows nothing about you, but who thinks what you have to say is worth listening to …is truly rewarding.

In a gentle way, you can shake the world” – Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948).

So…in true Light Blue fashion…I searched the internet (Amazon specifically) and found a book that I think I just may have to have.

See if these words (from the book, Writing Poetry from the Inside Out: Find Your Voice through the Craft of Poetry, by Sandford Lyne) don’t make you want to jump right in and give poetry a try yourself!

This much I know: things happen when you work sincerely at a poem.

What kinds of things?

Wonderful things.

Certainly you are not the same person after working at a poem that you were before you began.  The circle of your awareness has grown, by a mite or a mile.  When you work at a poem, new pleasures unfold; creative energies begin to flow.  The brain, which in our culture works mostly out of discrete compartments, recomposes itself and becomes a tapestry of unleashed and united energies.  Public thoughts get together with private thoughts; public feelings get together with private feelings; and these unite with our imaginations, with our sensual memories, with our symbolic thinking and our dreams.

Time lengthens and slows down.  To work at a poem is to enter a sacred and timeless space, the field of infinite possibilities.  It is a place of silences wherein the chief activities are watching and listening.  …all the attributes essential – conviction, patience, stillness, attentiveness, intuition, curiosity, experimentation, and acquired knowledge and skills – are exactly the attributes of the poet.  In the silences, associations and connections are assembled.  Nature itself, which nourishes your body and provides you with sensual experiences, may now present itself to you as symbol, and nourish your soul.

The one who you were as a child reappears, and the marriage of the innocence and experience takes place.  Invitations for a great reunion go out; writing a poem is like calling the scattered children of your heart, your mind, your emotions, your memories, your dreams, all to come in to supper at the same time, perhaps for the first time in years.  In this moment, your life becomes an examined life (Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”) and begins to offer up its meanings.  With courage and honesty you initiate yourself as an artist seeker, a lifelong learner, a worker in depth, in vertical perceptions, in discovered truths.

The path of the poet is indeed a master’s path.  When you work at writing poems, you are no longer merely a reader of poets but their apprentice, their student, their colleague and compatriot in the country of poetry and its myriad kingdoms.  Journeys and adventures begin.

All this is to say that, for the person who works at writing poems, life is never again the same.  Seeing is not the same.   Hearing is not the same.  Thinking is not the same.  Remembering is not the same.  And dreaming is not the same.  Everything is bigger; everything is more palpable.

After writing a dozen poems, you are going to say, “I’m going to need a bigger life”.  Or you may think, “My life is bigger than I ever knew”. And it is, both wondrous and dangerous, requiring your vigilant attention and your courage and ultimately rewarding you beyond your dreams.

Yes, things happen when you work sincerely at a poem and the only thing better than writing a poem is to write countless poems over a lifetime.

If you haven’t already…perhaps it is time to begin.

Sandford Lyne, a poet and national poetry workshop leader, offers the writing exercises, guidance, and encouragement you need to find the poet inside you. His techniques flow from an understanding that poetry is an art form open to everyone – whether you are an experienced writer looking for new techniques and sources of inspiration or a novice poet who has never written a poem in your life – the book will help you to craft the poems you’ve always longed to write.