It feels so good to sing in the car. On the drive into Toronto yesterday I listened to an audiobook. Then I started to hum Ella Fitzgerald. Soon I drowned out the audiobook. By the time I passed Bowmanville I had given up on the audiobook to blast jazz standards, singing along like when I was 12. I was all in.
As the city sprouted up around me, Nina Simone and I slid our way through “Feeling Good.”
If I had a writing mantra, it would be to write the truth. It’s borrowed from Robert McKee, inspired by an inscription he put in my book years ago when he signed it.
What does it mean to write the truth?
I’ve learned that this doesn’t mean I need to write “my” truth or bare my soul, sharing things that leave me feeling too open to the world. Since the summer I’ve been working on a poetry manuscript. Through the speaker of a poem I can explore “a” truth. It may be mine or it may be a truth I’ve observed in someone else.
Intuition and trust are essential elements of my writing process. I often close my eyes while I’m writing, open to the direction my hands want to take, and let the poem determine its own focus and shape. The same thing happens for me in fiction and playwriting. I close my eyes and listen, allowing my intuition to guide me. It’s about capturing the essence of what is true.
During the revision process I ask: What is this about? What do I want to say with this piece? And then I work back through it to strengthen the themes, clarify the truths, and sculpt the work into a finished product. Sometimes a poem looks very different when I finish, maybe even unrecognizable from the original notes.
What is your truth?
How do you write the truth?
What a beautiful Family Day long weekend! A friend and I took advantage of the sunshine and went to Port Hope for a walk along Lake Ontario. Finding a sculpture family and seeing a swan was a wonderful surprise! I haven’t used my camera since the Fall so it was nice to take it out to play.
The process of creating often begins with inspiration. What inspires you?
What do you create? How do you bring your creation into being? Creativity is all about action. When we create anything we take something from inside us and turn it into something else. What we create and how we create share a close relationship.
This week I’ve been reading Stephen Nachmanovitch’s new book, The Art of Is: Improvising as a Way of Life. Click here to read a short excerpt from the book. Yesterday I read about notes and tones, my jaw dropping when he highlighted that both words share the same letters. We think music is about notes, but is it more about tones?
In my voice lessons we have been working on tones, focusing on creating resonance. When I shift from paying attention to the notes to paying attention to the tones, the sound and feeling intensify in their depth. He talks about the importance of listening with the whole body, not just through the ears, listen is touch. Think through the eyes.
It’s About Noticing
Finding inspiration is about noticing, being present and paying attention to what is happening now, listening with your whole body. When I can go through a day empty of expectation and open to surprise, the creative energy vibrates at the most exciting levels and ideas pop up everywhere.
My new hobby is intuitive painting. One evening over the Christmas break I cuddled up in my favourite chair with a blanket, colouring on an app on my iPad while Netflix hummed along in the background. I was so happy and relaxed.
Would I feel even happier and more relaxed if I used real paints and a canvas instead of a screen and stylus? This thinking felt genius level.
I begin by putting a blank canvas out for a day. “What do you want to become?” I ask. The painting at the top of this post starts as a river and turns into a dragon.
What does your creativity look like? Can you see its face? Do you hear its voice? One way to strengthen your relationship with creativity is to bring it to life through personification and metaphor.
Give your creativity a form and a personality.
Begin talking to it during the day and listen for what it says back. I encourage you to take your time with this post and return to it throughout the week. I’ve included some options for you to play with. Pick one each day.
We begin by thinking deeply about spirals. How can we use the metaphor of the Fibonacci Spiral as a way to explore our relationship between who we are as writers and what we are writing?
This is for anyone who wants to be more creative.
Where do spirals take you? How do they appear in your life?
This video introduces the metaphor of the Fibonacci Spiral. Learning and writing are connected. When we become better learners, we can become better creators (writers, artists, performers, etc.).