Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


Integrity and the Color of Yellow

The word of the day at the Daily Post is “yellow”. The first thing to pop into my head when I saw this word was “cowardice”. A discussion on the reason why the color yellow has an association with cowardice is best left for another day. Truth be told, there are so many reasons, I have concluded that no one really knows for sure.

I think the reason the word “yellow” makes me think of “cowardice” is because I have been lately dwelling on my own personal integrity as a writer. For me, to have integrity means that you are true to yourself and are living a whole, undivided commitment to that truth. (A definition of “truth” is also a discussion that is best left for another day.). I don’t think I’ve been doing that and the reason is that I have been “yellow”, that I have been a coward.

I have been afraid of what my readers will think of me if I express what I believe is the truth. I am afraid that I am going to be “unfriended” or “voted off the island “. I am afraid of the fury that comes to one who expresses the contrary opinion. That is the world we live in now. No one can have a civilized difference of agreement.

One must be a special kind of brave to be an expressive person in this world.

Ljg 2017



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Power and Anger: AW Check-In #3

penI can’t say that my experience with chapter 3 was any better than my experience with chapter 2. This week dealt with reclaiming power, whatever that means. There is a lot of discussion in this chapter about anger, guilt, shame, and other emotions. The author says that this week I should be feeling these strong emotions. She is correct. I’ve been in a pretty bad mood this week; however, I don’t think it has anything to do with writing. It has everything to do with dealing with life and reality this week.

The author writes that anger is the fuel for action and thus to regaining my sense of personal power. She writes that instead of using anger in destructive ways, I should channel it into action. I assume she means anger fuels the action that empowers my creativity. (It is hard to follow her train of thought here). Since I do not want my writing to be laden with a lot of anger and negativity, I’m going to just pitch that whole notion away. A wise person told me, just last night, that true power comes from not trying to control people and situations, but instead from controlling our reactions to them. This takes anger right out of the equation regarding my creativity.

In answer to the weekly questions, I wrote morning pages every day except a couple of times they were not quite three pages. My artist date was going hat shopping, but I also engaged in some little mini dates with myself involving music-making and dance.

Of course, I completely ignored her task list and engaged in my own. I continued organizing both my computer and physical writing notebooks and reviewed some old writing projects that I had abandoned. I zeroed in on what I have labeled a “pre-draft” of a novel I wrote five years ago for NanoWrimo. I asked a couple of writing buddies to read the first chapter and let me know if the opening grabbed them. I created a bullet list of tasks in my notebook which includes re-reading the entire pre-draft and making notes of both substantial and minor changes. I may keep working with this piece, rewriting it completely, or I may only need a few minor changes and a little more fleshing out, or I may abandon it once again. The main thing is that I am writing and moving forward.

You might be wondering by now that if I so dislike this program then why am I continuing to engage in it. That is because I committed to it and I’m going to see it through.  I doubt that I will ever do The Artist’s Way again, but at least I can say that I did it once.

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The Mad Hatter Goes on a Date

This weekend, partly because it was cold and partly because I was having a bad hair day, I wore a hat to a tea and then to church. I donned a black wide-brimmed hat I had purchased on a whim last year but never had the nerve to wear. To my surprise I received a number of compliments. Curiously, many were from people at church who had hardly ever spoken to me in the past. I have to admit that my steps gained some confidence and I stood a bit straighter as a result.

The next day as I was working in my journal on the theme of regaining a sense of personal power (chapter three in the Artist’s Way) my writing sequed to a stream-of-consciousness discussion of hats.

What?  Well, it did not take long for me to see the symbolic connection between hats and power. I wear a hat like a queen wears a crown, perhaps?  Hmm.

So, I took my inner artist, who is need of a little confidence-boosting, on a date yesterday and we went hat shopping. No, I’m was not the Dowager Countess shopping for a tiara — just an ordinary creative looking for a really cool red fedora.


Ljg (c). 2017


The Artist’s Way Week 2 Check-In: Just Do It


I have reached the point in reading the book where, in my past attempts at it, I was tempted to slam shut the cover or pitch it across the room. It is not because of what the author writes, it is how she writes. Chapter 2 is titled “Recovering a Sense of Identity,” and opens with this: “This week addresses self-definition as a major component of creative recovery. You may find yourself drawing new boundaries and staking out new territories as your personal needs, desires, and interests announce themselves. The essays and tools are aimed at moving you into your personal identity, a self-defined you.” (Cameron, 41)

The problem is that it doesn’t– or at least I’m not seeing this in the text. Oh, there is useful, insightful material on writers’ block, “poison playmates, ” “crazymakers,” and other hindrances to the creative process, but if these issues serve to help us self-identify as creatives, then the author did not do a good job in bringing her arguments back to support her thesis. If I were my high school English teacher, this chapter would have gone back to the author with red comments and a request to rewrite it.

But this post is not a book review. It is a review of my progress in developing a healthy identity as a creative person. So to that end, this past week I created my own task list. This week I simply did what writers do. I engaged in activities that made me write, prepare to write or edit what I did write.

I dug back into my files and pulled out storylines and character profiles I had started and then abandoned. I set up both computer and physical project notebooks for my research and development. I also wrote several short blog posts this week.

Yes, I did stick to the program inasmuch as I did my morning pages every day, went on an artist date (see the post on setting up my creative corner) and by reviewing and writing out creative affirmations.

I can give the author some credit: since I started the program a couple of weeks ago I have seen some movement and breakup of creative blockages,. However, I wonder if this has as much to do with my own work and commitment to my creative recovery. We’ll see.  In the meantime, I’m just going to do it!