Trying out new things is part of the creative process. Things can change at any stage in a painting’s or manuscript’s development.
The writing process is an exciting and adventurous process. It sometimes feels electrifying and at other times, downright discouraging. A writer needs to go in knowing that it might not work. It means that results don’t matter as much as the process, the joy and the journey.
I try to keep this in mind every time I sit down at a blank page. An athlete has to work out to get to a point where she wins the competition. A writer sometimes has to fail many times before succeeding.
You may think that what you wrote is terrible, but it may work out later in a future draft, or help you get, through experimentation, to a wonderful manuscript. t’s part of the journey to that wonderful piece that finally works.
Why does literature endure? Why do we read it? What makes the words so compelling, we can’t put the book down?
Literature, and the reading of it, has saved many people in difficult situations. Literature can show people at their best. If you’re living through a difficult situation, say prison, this can be an important hope and message. Words can teach, illuminate and inspire us. Nelson Mandella cites the books he read in jail that gave him solace during his long incarceration. He devoured anything he could read on armed combat because he was trying to form a Liberation Army. As a young strategist, he read about boxing when he tried to defeat his opponents in the ring or books on chess when he was competing in chess tournaments. “I had no time to brood. I enjoyed reading and writing letters and that occupied my mind completely…” says Mandela.
Most prisons have a library and prisoners are encouraged to read books. According to most state statutes, prisoners are entitled to legal texts to research their own appeals. In addition to lawl books, almost all libraries have literature. Sometimes there are limits on content, like rape or gun construction, but overall there is much literature available to inmates. Some of the most popular in prisons are Stephen King and Harry Potter novels. Orange is theNew Black and Gone Girl are some of the most popular novels in prisons. Longer novels are also popular, like Ayn Rands The Fountainhead. Biographies of different famous Americans are also sought-after in prison.
We should donate books, and keep books circulating, to The Prison Project. In this way, prisoners will continue to read. It can only help us as writers. I will continue to blog on Thursdays. http://www.eileenpkennedy.com.
How does blogging differ from writing? I guess when I sit down to write a poem or prose piece, I have a more formal block in my head. I think the main thing is that blogging is more spontaneous. You could argue that blogging has changed formal writing. But if you can write, you can blog.
The conventions of writing and blogging are very different. Run-0n sentences and asides don’t work in a blog. Short declarative sentences do.
Print stories are often written in the third person, especially nonfiction. Blogs are mostly in the I, first person.
In books, footnotes are frequently used to tell the backstory on your topic. They take up space. Hyperlinks serve a similar purpose in blogging. No one has to read them unless they click on them and they take very little space.
I enjoy blogging as a variation to my poetry. I will blog on Thursdays about the writing process. Follow me here at WordPress.
I am a meditator and a writer. I meditate in the morning and write in the morning. I also practice yoga. To me, these are all intertwined.
While yoga originated in India, its been universally accepted. The U.S. alone has an estimated 36 million yoga practitioners. It has adapted to local socio-political and cultural norms world over so much so that it can hardly be called an Indian custom. The system of yoga has physical, mental, and emotional dimensions in addition to spiritual underpinnings. But yoga is not a religion. It has no dogma. But the practice for me is essential to my writing and brings me to a place where I can write truth.
Meditation helps improve focus. Something essential for the good writer. I began meditating years ago with a meditation method popular at that time, Transcendental Meditation. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi developed this mantric method of meditation in the 50’s in India, and it spread widely throughout the world. For me, it was a good place to learn the technique, but my meditation practice evolved when I combined meditation with yoga, especially Kundalini. Kundalini is a spiritual energy or life force located at the base of the spine, conceptualized as a coiled serpent. It didn’t matter which type of meditation I was using, as long as it focused my mind and enabled me to write from that place.
Meditation slows the world down to make room for creative thought and exploration. It’s an ideal practice for the writer or artist.
I will be blogging on Thursdays and Tuesdays, as announcements as they come along. Follow me at http://www.EileenPKennedy.com. I will be on hiatus for the summer until September. See you then.
I was struggling with writing a poem about a historical incident. I just couldn’t find a way into the poem. I tried locking myself in my study, ignoring the phone when it rang, procrastinating with housework, but nothing worked.
Thena writer friend of mine made a suggestion. Go to the Library. I live in Massachusetts where every town has a town library, but it just didn’t occur to me. I’ve read many articles and blogs on how to focus as a writer, but I hadn’t tried my local library.
I organized my writing materials as best I could, convinced I would leave important things at home that I would need there. I allowed for time to get to and from the library (about eight minutes each way. ) I carried my computer and notes to the car and set off.
When I arrived there, I found a lovely place to sit, a desk with partitions that actually blocked me from other desks. It was quiet and I easily tuned my computer into the wifi, and soon enough I was writinga rough draft. I came to a point where I needed to confirm some historical information, and the reference librarian was at the ready to help.
I wound up bringing the draft home and finishing it there. I recently submitted the poem. I don’t know if it will be accepted, but at least I finished it and it’s off my desk.
I’ll be blogging on Thursdays and doing announcements on Tuesdays as they come along. Follow me.
To support our creativity, we all need compassionate spaces. We need to do our best, but not pressure for more and more. We should renew our inner resources to overcome obstacles and difficulties.
Especially in these difficult times with wars and pandemic, we need to remind ourselves of the beauty that exists. We need the support of our fellow artists.
I remember seeing on television a cello player performing amidst the rubble of bombed out buildings after an attack by the Russian army on his Ukrainian village. When interviewed, he said, “We’ll rebuild.” His message was one of hope through creativity. It’s an antidote for despair.
Literature is important. In this materialistic era, where the pursuit of money often comes before the public welfare, literature becomes even more important than ever.
Not having literature prevalent in American schools has caused a deficit in education. Dana Gioia states “.. A time of crucial intellectual and emotional development bypass the joys and challenges of literature is a troubling trend.”
At a time when businesses are claiming they can’t find employees who are able to expand their minds to different horizons. They want employees to think out of the box. An education with a wide range of world literature is essential to doing this. Reading literature in childhood, and becoming lifelong readers is essential for broadening the mind.
I will continue to blog on Thursdays, with announcements on Tuesdays as they come along. Follow me here on WordPress.