For writers, reading is a way of life. We read early and often. We read, we write. We check our media contacts, read newspapers or magazines online or in hard copy, then read a text of something similar to what we are working on in our own writing. If we stop reading, it’s deprivation.
It’s a paradox that by emptying our lives of all that text and distraction, we are actually refreshing the wellspring. By absenting ourselves from all the media, we get in touch with our inner selves, which is where all the creativity comes from. By keeping the inflow to a minimum, the outflow improves. Our true thoughts and feelings will begin to penetrate and come out in new writing, running freely. I knew a playwright who would take off his shoes and socks and stand in a running stream with a paper and pencil to literally get his flow going.
If you find not reading difficult, and many writers do, here are some suggestions:
.listen to music that has no words
.cook a complicated, time-consuming recipe and then
.invite friends to dinner
.rearrange the kitchen
After a number of these activities, sit down and write again. Notice any differences in your feelings or content. Your writing may benefit.
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In-Person Reading on 2 p.m. October 23rd at the Grand Hall, Workshop 13, Ware, Massachusetts
It has been awhile since I did an in-person reading, but if you are in Western Massachusetts on Sunday, October 23rd, I encourage you to come. The attached flyer has the details.
Radio Interview About the Writers Read Reading for Workshop 13
I’m happy to have a radio interview to talk about the Writers Read Reading at 2 pm on Sunday, October 23rd at Workshop 13, 13 Church St., Ware, Massachusetts.
Stephanie Shafran and I will be interviewed and reading poetry for Tommy Twilight’s Twilight Poetry Pub on WXOJ-FM, Valley Free Radio on Tuesday, October 11 at 8 pm (EDT.)
Thank You to the Massachusetts State Poetry Society for my Recent Awards from the National Poetry Day Contest
I am grateful to the Massachusetts State Poetry Society for two awards in their National Poetry Day Contest:
My poem “Fairy Tale of Eternal Economic Growth” was awarded third prize by the Amy L. Dengler Award.
My poem “On Listening to Stravinsky’s Pulcinella” was awarded third prize by the Celebration of Life Award.
I’ll be blogging on Thursdays. Follow me here on WordPress.
Failure Is Part of the Creative Process
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.
I’ll be blogging on Thursdays about the writing process. Follow me on WordPress at http://www.eileenpkennedy.com
Literature As Salvation
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 the New 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.
Blogging v. Writing
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.
End of Summer Musings
I’m writing to you from my summer home in New England. As a retired college professor, summer is my favorite time. It always represented freedom to me.
I love fresh vegetables, beautiful flowers, farmer’s markets and stands, swimming in cool lakes.
But my favorite thing to do is to go to a local bookstore that’s located in an old mill with a stream running by it. I feel like my creativity flows more easily with the flowing stream. I knew a playwright who would stand in the stream and write with a pen and paper to get the creativity flowing?
Now that summer is coming to an end, I will look for new inspirations for my writing. What do you do for inspiration?
I will be blogging regularly one Thursdays again, with announcements, as they happen, on Tuesdays. Follow me here on WordPress.
Meditation and Writing
Many writers are also meditators. Some even write about the relationship between writing and mediation. 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 intertwin
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. Yoga originated in India. 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 provides a safe space to be. Meditation slows the world down to make room for creative thought and exploration. It’s an ideal practice for the writer or artist.
Have you had experiences with writing and meditation?
I will be blogging on Thursdays. Follow me at http://www.EileenPKennedy.com.