Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


Talismans, Rituals, and the Fine Art of Procrastination

Some creatives have talismans in their creative spaces. Many an artist or writer will waste time in searching for that “right” object to serve this function and even more time arranging their spaces around the object. They do all of this instead of arting or writing. I know this because I spent time rearranging my “dream corner” and finding the right place to put my dream catcher.

Another time-waster of creatives is engaging in some sort of “ritual” before sitting down to work.    They dim the lights, light candles, fondle the aforementioned talisman (I DON’T do that with my dream catcher), make a whole ceremony over making a pot of tea (or pouring a few fingers of Scotch), and so on.

Again, I am guilty of that myself.   For example, this morning, instead of working in my sketchbook which I vowed to do every morning, I wasted time doing an inventory and making a swatch list of all my colored pencils.   Seriously.

Now I know some creatives will argue that their talismans and rituals are vital to their work.  Some see their work spaces and times as sacred and thus requiring such objects and actions to sanctify them.  I get that.  I do.  To me, the act of creating is a calling, a vocation.  You must treat the work with respect and awe.

But I know for myself that such things can be massive time-wasters.  I may do them because I don’t want to face the blank page or empty canvas.  I do them because I am just lazy and would rather screw around on Facebook than sit down and work.   Sometimes, I know the work is going to bring up uncomfortable emotional baggage.  Who wants to experience that?    All of us, if we want to live out our calling as creatives.

Don’t let your time-wasters divert you into becoming a master of the fine art of procrastination.


ljgloyd (c) 2018



Suddenly, She Was Without Words

I cringed when I saw this morning’s word prompt, “Suddenly.” This is a word with which I struggle almost every time I write a bit of fiction. My short stories tend to have abrupt changes in action, especially after several slow paragraphs of explanatory material. For example, “Suddenly, the door flung open and jarred her from her thoughts.”   I spend a lot of time agonizing over this one little word.

Like the word “very “, “suddenly” for me has become overused and boring.   I have tried using a thesaurus to find alternative words, but most of the time these alternative words are just as overused: “quickly” “abruptly”.   Or they don’t suitably or precisely convey the action or the flavor of the piece.   For example another word for “suddenly ” is the word “forthwith”.   This would be fine if I were Will Shakespeare.  “Forthwith, he dreweth his blade and ventured yonder.”

This is an extreme example, but I hope you get that my point is in not relying too heavily on the thesaurus  for your word choice. It doesn’t always work well.

So what is the alternative to using a thesaurus?

Reading.  Yes, it is not an immediate fix, but in the long run, nothing replaces reading as the best way to build a writer’s vocabulary.

For every paragraph you write, read a novel.

OK, that was extreme too, but you get my drift.


ljg 2018

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Peering at the World through Cat’s Eyes

The amazing thing about writers, poets, artists, — creators of all kinds– is that we have the innate ability to observe the world around us and feel wonder. Wonderment is as important a tool as pens, brushes, cameras, and musical instruments. Here is a poem I wrote 22 years ago, and I think it explains this.

Peering at the World through Cat’s Eyes

To meditate like a cat,
Poised, enigmatic, sphinx-like,
on a redwood deck
watching morning sun splinter
through dew-drops,
sniffing the fading
night scents of jasmine,
listening to rising
birdsongs and strong steps
of mistress in the kitchen,
to meditate on such as this
in stillness, in silence,
peering at the world
with golden almond-split eyes,
is to watch it crack
open and display
its wonderous beauty.

ljgloyd, 1996, 2018