Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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Random Words and Runaway Sentences

I did a writing exercise this morning. I wrote a list of 10 random nouns and a separate list of 10 random verbs and then gave myself 10 minutes to write 10 sentences using both sets of words. Here are the results:

  1. A hot cup of coffee teaches me to slow down and savor each moment.
  2. The child wrote out her name using bits of her alphabet pasta.
  3. The worn out magnetic strip on her ID card could not be read by the scanner.
  4. You’ve heard of “pillow talk”? On that cold morning, the couple engaged in a little sweater talk.
  5. How do we listen to the incessant war drums pounding in our hearts?
  6. A wrinkled scarf sits on her dresser top where she tossed it the night before.
  7. Her old-maid reading glasses look up and meet his slick, stylish sun glasses.
  8. They shuffled the conference room chairs, badgering the too small tables.
  9. The color of the antheriums run juxtaposed against the dull, peeling wallpaper of the room.
  10. The vase she set upon the fireplace mantle was like a praise offered up in church.

The sentences are awkward, but the point in writing them is two-fold. First, it helps me to employ nouns and verbs in new and hopefully vivid ways. Second, these sentences can be a jumping off place for other, more solid writing. The sentence can be pared down, re-arranged, flipped over, allowed to run wild and even thrown away altogether after it has served this purpose.

This exercise is adapted from one that is in Writing Down the Bones, page 147 of the pocket edition.

ljg 2019


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Cleaning Out the Sludge

Last night around midnight I tossed and turned, puddling up in my sheets because it is still too wretchedly hot and humid. Finally, I got up and for some odd reason I felt like getting one of my favorite writing books off the shelf, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, by Natalie Goldberg.  I did not attempt to read it, but I put it aside to pick up and peruse this morning.

In ruffling through its pages this morning, I was inspired to post about the wonders of this little book. Then I faintly recollected maybe having done that already. In searching my archives, I discovered that I had written about this book way back in February of 2013. I was astonished to read what I wrote:  how this book was propelling me write in my journal 10 to 20 minutes a day–every day.

I must admit that the discipline of writing so much every day had escaped me years ago.  The sad truth is that I am a writer who has not been writing. It is no wonder then that my thoughts and ideas have become a jumble. Writing helps me sort things out — even if none of it ever meets the eyes of any reader.

So, this morning I got out a composition book, my favorite black felt-tipped pen, set the timer on my phone to 5 minutes and answered the basic question “How do I feel today?” My answer is not repeatable on a family-friendly blog.  I think that I am not writing because I got a lot of muck backed up inside of me that needs to be cleared away.   Journaling clears the sludge like running a rotor through a blocked sewage line.

The point I am trying to make here is this:    I wrote today for five whole minutes and a bit of the toxic backwater moved a bit.  That’s huge.

——-

If you would like to read the post from 2016, it is here:

ljg (2019)

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/09/16/rdp-monday-jumble/


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This is NOT a Product Endorsement

Through my school years, I had teachers who corrected papers and graded tests with blue pens, green pens, and, most scarily– red pens.   Later on, I worked for various people with specific pen choices:  a man who would only write with purple gel pens and a woman who only wrote with Sharpies.    I also know people who don’t care what they write with– pen, pencil, iron-gall ink, crayons….

I think writers in particular (though not all) are fussy about their writing implements.  Some writers have rituals around their writing practice:  place, artifacts in that place, time of day, special music, a special journal, and, of course, PENS.   I truly think they believe that the creative process only flows if they use that one specific type of implement.

I would not go that far, but I do admit that I have a pen preference.   I don’t believe that the Muse will have a hissy-fit if I don’t use it; my reasons are purely practical.

I use medium felt-tip Papermate Flair pens in black.  My reasons are that I can write while in an inclined position which is how I usually hand-write my journaling and they are so economical that I won’t have a melt-down if I lose one of them.

Hehehe, and I bet you were wondering how this post had anything to do with the Ragtag theme of the day?

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/06/26/rdp-wednesday-flair/


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An Island of Ideas

Inside of me is a vast, tempestuous sea where all my idea toss and churn. Occasionally, those ideas wash ashore on islands where I comb for creative inspiration. Those “islands” for me in the physical world are journals. I am one of these creative-types that has a bookshelf full of notebooks, journals, and sketchbooks, all of them islands of ideas and I turn to for inspiration.

I came across this video this morning about creating a commonplace book.

I so agree with the speaker in this video below:

 

Today’s Ragtag Prompt


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Why I Write Poetry When I’m Not Very Good at It…..

Why do I write poetry when I’m not very good at it?   Primarily, I create poems as a prose-writing exercise.  By writing  poetry I practice being precise in my word choices in order to create vivid images in as few words as possible– striking and colorful nouns, lively and intense verbs, fewer adjectives and adverbs.     I create poems to improve the lyrical flow of my prose-writing.

So that’s one reason.

I discovered a second reason I write poetry:  it is therapeutic.  I certainly do not set out to write poems about my inner well-being (or lack thereof on certain days).  While engaging in the April NaPoWriMo Challenge (writing a poem a day for 30 days),  I found that some of the poems I wrote “took over” and out came some of my issues.  So obvious this was to me that I am now researching the use of poetry for emotional healing and resolution.   Poetry writing could become a daily meditative practice and inner work.  I’ll see where that leads me.

Here are a couple of media resources I came across that you may find of interest:

A podcast episode of Poetry Spoken Here devoted to Poetry Therapy

And these Tedx Talks on the same subject:

It has been a long April so I am off to rest now.

ljg 2019


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Wandering

I recently read Keri Smith’s book The Wander Society, another of countless books on how to jump start the creative process. The author promotes the practice of “wandering” through the world, both literally and figuratively, and learning to mindfully observe what is discovered.  The book’s description at the Amazon website describes “…the act of wandering, or unplanned exploring, as a way of life.” At Goodreads I gave the book only 3 stars simply because this is not an original notion. That criticism being made, I quickly realized that I have been negligent in this very form of creative self-care.

It has been raining quite regularly for many weeks, but this morning the clouds cleared and the sun broke through. So I grabbed my camera, hopped in my car and began to wander.  I ended up being entertained by a pair of white rabbits in a vegetable garden, joining a gathering of members of a bread baking guild as they made pizza in a wood-burning oven, roamed around the outside and inside of an old church, paused for a few minutes in a Zen meditation room, drove through a university, stopped at a library, and came home to a steaming bowl of home-made beef stew.

I visually documented my wandering.  Here are a few of my images:

ljgloyd (c) 2019


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More Reasons to Write Every Day

I came across this TedX video about the benefits of a daily writing practice.  Since life recently threw me a curve ball, I have fallen out the of that practice.  This video has motivated me to pick it up again and make it a part of my daily spiritual routine– just like prayer, meditation and yoga.   If you are a writer — or even if you are not– I encourage you to take a few minutes and listen to this writer’s entire presentation.  She really provides some practical advice for developing a daily writing routine.

 


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The Daily Examen

Candles in the Dark

I am quite ashamed of myself. I made an agreement with myself that I would become involved with a daily self-assessment practice. My plan was to take a few minutes each day to write in my journal an inventory of my behaviors, both good and bad. If I had been unkind that day or morally failed to step up to the plate in some situation, I would note that in my journal so that I could own it, make an amend if necessary, and in general try to improve myself.

In addition to confessing faults, I would also note those things for which I have gratitude.

I have a roof over my head, food on my plate, clothes on my back, and an income. I live in a place where I am relatively safe, there are people who care for me, and in some small way I am making an impact in the world. I am more fortunate than 99% of the rest of the world.

Yet I consistently fail to state that gratitude for what has been provided to me.

That selfish, self-absorbed, center-of-the-universe attitude — well, I own it. It is mine. And I need to excise it from my life.

One way that I will deal with this is to get back on track with writing a daily examen. Let this be the first entry:

Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity.

Ljg


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Flipping the Switch

As I have stated many times in the past, I think it is vital to a writer’s life that she or he write every day.

Just as doing a cardio workout or a strength-building regimen on a daily basis would keep a person physically healthy, writing every day keeps a writer’s skills toned and in shape.

Writing for a few minutes every day also helps the writer gain insight. That insight can be on anything from the writer’s personal life to the broader world where solutions to social and political problems may find their way into a finished essay.

Sometimes the insight comes slowly. Fragments of thought become words, words develop into plots, characters come to life and stories are born..

Sometimes just putting the first word on the paper will flip a switch and light will suddenly illuminate the imagination.

That being said, once again I give my admonition to write on a regular basis and write often.

 

ljg

Enlighten


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Starting The Artist’s Way, Again

homegirl cafe angelas green potionI was gliding across the blogo-vlogosphere this weekend and I noticed a large number of Creatives are engaging in The Artist’s Way program and posting their reflections and insights on their social media platforms.   (For those readers not familiar with the book/program, please click here for a quick explanation.)

I have attempted to do the program several times,  but I always got bogged down by the author’s meandering and unfocused writing style and would eventually give up the reading.   However, the tools the author insists that Creatives follow in overcoming their expressive blocks and reclaiming the inner Artist have been amazingly useful.   One tool consists of writing “morning pages”, three pages of long hand writing done every morning upon waking.  Even if one is not a writer, this journaling activity helps the Creative break up and move through blockages.     Another tool is the Artist’s Date, a regular activity to stimulate and refresh the creative output.

I was so inspired by what others have been doing with the program that I decided to give it another go.  I went on an Artist’s Date this weekend (see the previous post) and this morning I did Morning Pages writing.    I will try to do the readings and I intend to post my Check-ins each week here.

I don’t have the courage and lack of vulnerability to vlog about my experience, so I will stick to writing about them here.  However, I will enjoy other Creatives’ vlogs, such as this one by Burgess  Taylor.

Later….

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