Discovering abandoned writing

Art is never finished, only abandoned

Leonardo da Vinci
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Frigid winter temperatures and pandemic isolation have forced me to embark on another phase of clearing out clutter that mysteriously accumulates in my home. Discovery of a box placed high up on a shelf, both out of reach and out of eyesight, recently led to an interesting find.

Blowing off decades of dust, I opened this innocuous cardboard box, both puzzled as to what was inside of it and wondering why it was languishing in that spot unnoticed. Curiosity welled up inside of me. Along with a small buzz of excitement as recognition dawned about what it might contain.

Dozens of cheap notebooks were neatly stacked inside. Hilroy brand with narrow lines, three holes punched in them while sporting traditional colours: yellow, blue, green, and an odd dull shade of red. Reminder of a time when I had once poured my heart and writing soul into the craft of writing.

Flipping through them, I read past attempts at short fiction, poetry that badly needed line breaks, and pages of ideas for essays. Today I guess we would call that genre, creative non-fiction. Some random journal entries, typically melodramatic rather than upbeat but clearly delineating the timeline of the writing. Decades old from my university days and slightly beyond.

Character sketches. Plot outlines. Prose written with far too many adjectives. Ideas for a novel. As I read, becoming rather engrossed in the words written by my much younger self, I knew that my clutter clearing project was going to be placed on hold. Most of the notebooks had many blank pages. It was almost as if I must have started to use a new notebook whenever I made a renewed commitment to developing a writing practice.

As I read through these notebooks, I felt an emerging sense of creative energy. Looking at one of pieces of short fiction, I wondered if it would better lend itself to a flash fiction piece. Moving quickly to the computer, my now preferred way to craft prose, I began reshaping the words that once were in my mind so many years ago. And realized how thankful I am for this unexpected opportunity to rediscover these abandoned words.

Stay healthy and safe!

Objects in the rearview mirror..

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

One can only wonder after watching the horrifying events at the United States capitol during the first week of January, about the legacy the former president leaves behind and how he will be remembered. Even as this final chapter concludes with yet another surreal political event as the GOP has failed to uphold impeachment charges for “incitement of insurrection”, it seems like the United States will remain deeply divided for a long period of time.

Once the brakes were finally used to stop this man’s penchant for using social media as a vehicle to unleash a litany of questionable statements and at times, incendiary rhetoric, things seemed to have toned down. This does little to distract from the likelihood that he will fail to be held to account for the fatalities that occurred on January 6th or the trauma imposed on public servants and indeed, the country. And given the power that he seems to hold within the Republican party, the muting of his voice is likely only temporary.

To an outsider, the past four years of American politics have seemed like a bizarre farce playing out on a reality type television show. With the second impeachment trial now concluded, and millions of individuals still standing firm in their populist, racist, destructive viewpoints, I can’t help wonder and perhaps, worry that what this man has done will not in fact be understood with accuracy but instead glorified.

I hope that this object in the rearview mirror does not appear larger than it really is.

Stay healthy and safe!

Searching to find words this winter

Winter knows to

hush,

still,

listen,

so the soul can

speak

Angie Weiland-Crosby
Photo credit L Meyer

As the winter drags on, a polar vortex descends, blanketing most of the western Canadian prairies in temperatures so cold they are labelled as extreme and dangerous. Suddenly it seems that any motivation I have to write has disappeared. It’s simply vanished.

Winds outside my window howl, gusting relentlessly, siphoning moisture from the air. Skin cracks easily, becoming almost lizard like, now sucking up even the strongest of lotions. Constant reapplications makes it hard to hold a pen, my favoured writing instrument. Outside adventures are placed on hold, walking from room to room in my home now serves as the only form of daily exercise.

Why is it so difficult to create, I find myself wondering, to become inspired, to write when these horrid weather conditions descend upon us? Puzzled by this, I have been searching for answers, seeking motivation from outside of myself. Likely the wrong place to find the solution to this.

Gazing out the window of my office this morning, my treasured writing space, I notice that frost builds incredible patterns on windows that appear to dance during the sunrise. Backlit by the red glow of the sun, I am drawn to the shimmering vision before me.

Tiny intricate designs are there if one looks carefully, hiding beauty, revealing the apparent nature of creativity that surrounds me. A dawning realization emerges in my mind, and suddenly a different kind of energy begins to take shape within.

Finally, words begin to form in my mind’s eye, ideas begin to excite. I move to my desk and although somewhat stilted at first, like an ice jam that suddenly begins to thaw, the winter words seem to release and move onto the page. And just like that, I find that I can write again.

Stay healthy and safe!

To haiku or not to haiku…

I think it’s forced me to be in the moment, to pay attention, to think about connections, and to look at things in different ways.

Christine Watson
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Earlier this week, an online news article caught my attention and has been the impetus for a new creative daily exercise habit. A Canadian woman, Christine Watson began writing a daily haiku on April 7, 2020 as a part of her participation in a free global art project – The 100 day project. But once the 100 day mark was up, she didn’t stop.

Describing writing daily haikus as a habit she couldn’t stop, her journey of writing these short poems defined by 3 lines, and 17 syllables, continues. Seeking inspiration from all around her seems to have served to be not only positive and grounding in spite of the chaos in the world around us, but has captivated many people.

Integrated with photography, her daily haikus posted online, have stimulated creative activities both within her family and her community. Coincidentally, the same day I read about this unique approach to developing a daily creativity habit, a library book I had placed a hold on became available. Natalie Goldberg has just published, “Three Simple Lines – A Writer’s Pilgrimage into the Heart and the Homeland of Haiku”.

Feeling energized by the possibilities of this creative practice, I have begun filling pages of my writer’s notebook with what are certainly novice attempts at haiku. This poetic device on the surface seems simplistic but I suspect the complexity of this art form will take a long time to develop.

Galvanized by both Christine Watson’s story and Natalie Goldberg’s newest writing book, this feels like something worthy of focus. As with any type of creative exercise, this often seems to beget more creativity. So it seems like it should be a win/win kind of thing. The only downside I can see is that you shouldn’t do this too late at night.

Or you end up counting syllables instead of going to sleep.

Stay healthy and safe!