Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Why I write

Why I Write

I write to amuse myself, to see what comes out or, as someone famous once said, 'to find out what I am really thinking'. To be quite honest, I think my thoughts are better on paper. Words stumble and fumble out of me and I lower my eyes and send out unspoken apologies when I try and speak. Writing is clearer, more strident, more ... what I really think.

I write because if I don't write I become dark and mean and bitter and twisted and frustrated and I froth at the mouth and spit fire.

I write because it puts what's inside of me on the outside of me.
Its sweet relief and gentle progress. Word therapy.

I write because I am shite at drawing and painting.
Because words are the way I paint pictures.
Words are the bomb.
Words are bombs.

Writing leaves a mark. Good writing leaves an indelible mark.
To write a picture that another person can look at and say 'Hey, hang on ... that's me!'  - now thats something.

How does my writing differ from others in my genre?

I am not sure what genre I fall into? As a blog writer I think my writing is different as it aims only to share a moment with the reader. More forthright blogs that teach or tell or have themes can be so fantastic, but my blog writing does not seek to teach or instruct in any way. I am just sharing thoughts and ideas as they come in a stream of consciousness. My only agenda is the desire to connect.

Why do I write what I do?
Last year I lost my father and I couldn't stop myself from writing about that. Its not easy to read other people's difficult emotions, I know that. But after one of my posts a woman wrote this to me "I lost my husband suddenly, inexplicably, almost six months ago. Your beautiful words here sum up exactly how I feel. Thank you." 

A few short months earlier my beloved aunt died and I couldn't stop myself writing about that. My cousins read my blog post as my aunt's eulogy. 

I wrote two posts years ago - one about restlessness and the other about presence and they struck a chord with other women. 

Thats why I write what I do. In the hope that what I express touches and connects me to someone else. That the story I am writing is not just my story and that what I write could mean something to someone I have never even met. 

What am I working on?
Today I started work on a novel - a story for young girls. In ten months time I will have a first draft in my hands. 

I write for my luthier at www.philipsmithluthier.com

I have joined a Writing group and now I call myself a 'writer', just in case its true.

And  I have invited a friend to work with me to turn this piece  into something. She has agreed to help me create a book from it, agreed to turn the words into actual pictures and I will watch her in awe.

How does your writing process work?

A recent course called "Unlocking Creativity"  taught me the discipline of short, timed bursts of writing to themes. No time to edit or proof as you go. Silence that inner critic and "Just get it out, baby, get it all out!". This process taught me a LOT.

Did you ever watch the Elizabeth Gilbert TED talk where she describes the Greek concept of the muse and the Roman concept of 'genius' as a being or force separate from yourself? A force that inspires and generates the work of writers and artists? Where the inspiration works through you and is not of you? I get that. 

When I write blog posts I lie sequestered in my bed - (my favourite place in all the world) with my scruffy dog curled up like a hairy doughnut nearby.  I look out of the window, through the magnolia tree with its fairy flowers or its barren stalks and  up to that sweet little nest at its top.  I take in a great big breathe then I write ... whatever. I have been known to type a whole post on that ridiculously small keyboard on my phone. Being alone and writing relatively uninterrupted, in our tiny Smith house bursting with five people and a dog, is the most lavish luxury I have. I dream of a study, one's very own room, just like Virginia, but until then ...

This post has been written as part of a 'blog hop'. Bloggers all over the interwebs have written posts about why they write.  Thanks to Deb at Sew Craft Goodness for inviting me to participate. Part of the hop is to invite two more bloggers to participate, but I think all the bloggers I know have already been a part of it.But,if you would like to post on why you write, please leave a message in the comments and I will link you here with a photo and a bio! 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Me and Ken Burns

The luthier made a truly stunning thing - a baroque instrument, a viola da gamba. He diligently took photographs of the entire process from the rough bits of wood to final completed instrument. I gathered up the shots and made a wee film of it with iMovie. It was a fantastic process. I didn't really know what I was doing, but nutting out how to crop shots and drop in music and lengthen clips and zoom and all was really fun.  Jane Campion, eat your heart out! Well, maybe not quite yet.

What the luthier does never fails to astound me. His work is superb and sculptural and fine. This instrument, with its beautiful Baroque quirks, caught my heart. The size (smaller than a cello), shape (flat backed with sharp edges) and its extraordinary range (7-gut strings of sound, - and when they say gut, they do mean gut) and its unique, sweet feur de lys embellishment, handpainted with love by the luthier, all came together to make an incredible objet d'art. 

So, if you would like to see how to make a viol in 4 and a half minutes, please do watch this little film, cropped and edited with love by moi. 

iMovie. So good!

I do just have one question though. Why do they call that zoom-y, croppy effect "Ken Burns"? Who is this Ken Burns? Anyone?

I obviously have no idea, but his natty, zoom-y effects are quite jazzy. Thanks Ken!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

And Still I Rise - Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may tread me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops.

Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don't you take it awful hard

'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines

Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I've got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame

I rise

Up from a past that's rooted in pain

I rise

I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.