Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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Waiting for My Mojo to Come Back

I haven’t posted anything here for about three weeks.  In fact, I haven’t done any creative writing for even longer.     I have a half-written story just hanging there waiting for a conclusion.  It will never be finished at this point, I fear.

I tried doing some written journaling to see if I could get my writing mojo back.  That has dwindled.   My fear is that my creative self has become like a cold bowl of soup — no steam and a bland savor.

I tried some arting and photography.  That’s not working either.    I even tried one of those self-help art books that offer suggestions like drawing your dirty beach towel draped over a chair or painting a picture of your sleeping cat.

Nothing inspires me anymore.

However, lately I have been almost obsessed with physical journals and planners.  I put together a new day planner which I will junk in a few weeks to set up another one for 2016.  Besides that,  I have been spending huge amounts of time disassembling a four-year journal and commonplace book I just finished and redacting it into thematic sections and adding visual elements.

What is that all about?

I think I have an idea.  Perhaps focusing on placing creative elements into a book form is a way of containing and controlling expressions that I may fear to let out to the world with the hope that these elements will morph into something I can let go to the world.    Perhaps it is the physicality of the paper and the ink and the act of coloring, cutting, and gluing that make the act of creation a more real thing to me than just sitting at a computer monitor dealing with the ethereality of bytes and pixels.

Maybe I just need to walk away from it all for a while.  Or maybe I need to plunge into it more to thoroughly explore the explosive elements that think they need to be contained in a hard cover book.

When I get my creative mojo back, I’ll let you know.

A page from the current art journal

A page from the current art journal

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/an-odd-trio/

An Odd Trio

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The Sucking Vortex

I have heard it said that social media is the playground of the truly crazy where you will see many pathologies played out in a public arena. As true as that may be, I have also met many sane and wonderful people online who have actually become friends in the real sense. I know people from all over the world who have given generously of their time and wisdom to encourage me in my creative endeavors and to give me sound advice in many personal situations.

Additionally, my creative works would have no way of reaching an audience without social media. I would just be another writer whose works would never leave the confines of a computer hard drive.

Thank goodness for social media, yes?

However, we who are on social media for any length time will eventually discover that there are some terrible drawbacks to playing on this ball field.

Aside from the obvious – dealing with those faceless unknown people whom we will never see with any real clarity and who display their worst behavior – if we play with it long enough, social media will eventually become a soul-sucking addiction.

How much time do we waste reading cat memes and watching the current viral videos instead of actually creating? It is perfectly fine to set aside a few minutes for some entertainment, but for me, this “entertainment” has often gone on for hours, well into the night. (How many of you check for Facebook notifications when you get up at 2 am to pee?)

What does it do to one’s writing skills to have thoughts conveyed in only 150 words at a time?

Dealing with difficult posters can be so emotionally debilitating that one might not have the energy to lift a pen or a paintbrush to create.

We need real-life fodder to fuel our creative endeavors which we will not get if we don’t move our butts away from our computer desks or from our devices to get outside and live a real life.

Recently, I engaged in a spiritual fast which included not only giving up food but also giving up social media for a day. Just a day!   The food was easy. Not signing on to social media for 24 hours was dreadful.  Can we say that I am a tad addicted?   Yes, yes we can.

All this being said, you will see less of me on Facebook. I have simply had enough. Am I gone completely? No, absolutely not. I won’t forsake the exchange of ideas with my cadre of fellow creatives.   I will check frequently but I won’t be on all the time. I am moving my FaceBook and Twitter app icons to the last screen of my device so I don’t see that I have notifications every time I pick up my device. I am turning off the notification alert function on my settings. I will not carry my device around with me wherever I go.

I need to start swimming away from that spinning vortex. My life depends upon it.


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For We Are God’s Handiwork

underwood typewriter

I recently published a post on the website of my faith community.   Since the article is about the creative process, and this blog deals with this topic from time-to-time, I thought it might be appropriate to share with you.   Even if you are not of the same faith tradition (or any traditional at all), I hope you find these words encouraging.

 

For We are God’s Handiwork: Using Our Gifts

The writer of the book of Genesis states that humankind is created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). Much has been written and preached over the centuries on the meaning of this verse, and the general conclusion is that one of the ways we reflect the image of God is through our creative capacities.

That being said, it is no surprise that we are required by God to exercise the creative gifts He gives us. In fact, the human capacity to create is elevated and sanctified by God himself. In the book of Exodus, He specifically names and calls out two accomplished artisans to coordinate the decoration and furnishings of the temple.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you (ex. 31:1-6 NIV)

In bestowing wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, the Lord fully equipped these men and “all the skilled workers” to engage in the creative process with a wide range of media. We too are equipped for creative works in a variety of ways suited to our time and culture. Some are called and gifted to make music, art, written works, spoken addresses or the like. Even those skills which we may not consider “creative” can be employed with such wisdom, knowledge, and understanding so to be elevated to a level of artistry. For example, if you are an adept administrator, then hone your abilities to be an even better one. If your life is centered around the home, then make that home an oasis of beauty and serenity in a chaotic world. The apostle Paul tells us …Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,…(Colossians 3:23 NIV).

What is the purpose of our gifts? The apostle Peter points to the reason: Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms (1 Peter 4:10 NIV). It is that simple– we create for the glory of God and for the service of others.

We reflect the image of God whenever we engage in our creative endeavors, for we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

LJGloyd (c) 2015


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Some Well-Timed Advice

Yesterday’s post was a lament about how uninspired and bored I had become in my creative endeavors.  However, I stumbled across a recent Ted Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert where she discusses how she deals with the effect of success and failure on her creative process. I don’t have exactly her problem, but her advice is adaptable to my situation.  I offer it here for your consideration:


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A Misfit Post: Thoughts about Blackberry Muffins

I know a lot of you read my blog because I write about photography, writing, and my general observations about the world around me.   This blog is also about exploring creativity.  So what am I doing making this misfit post about blackberry muffins?

It has been busy on the day job lately, and when I am stressed and tired, I don’t feel like writing or taking photos.  Instead I spend my time hop-scotching around the internet.  And fooling around in the kitchen.  So I really must be creatively blocked when I can make both activities intersect.

A couple of weeks ago, while wasting time online rather than writing, I discovered The Happy Hobbits.   The Happy Hobbits are two sisters who are Tolkien fans and who regularly contribute to The One Ring fan website.    I stumbled across their now viral video of them reacting to the reactions of the stars reacting to their reaction to the second Hobbit movie trailer.  ( It’s hard to explain so you just may want to view it yourself:  http://youtu.be/X1XsnHQSJso ).

Anyway, watching this video led me to their Youtube Channel.  One of the other videos on their channel is on making “Second Breakfast Blackberry Cake” (LotR fans will know about Second Breakfasts).    I thought it sounded good so I attempted to make the cake.  Not wanting to heat up my oven on a hot day,  I made it in my toaster oven.  Not such a good idea when one forgets to switch the toaster oven from broiler to bake.  I ended up with burned blackberry pudding.     Baking is much like writing.  If something isn’t working, you pitch it out and try a different approach.  In this case, I tried the recipe again and made muffins.

muffins There are a lot of streams coming together here  — baking, literature, film, social media, toaster ovens — but a confluence like this often results in a creative breakthrough. So along with my gastric fluids flowing, so are my creative juices.   Thanks, Happy Hobbits, for giving me some insights on my process along with a good recipe.

If you would like to see their video, here it is:


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Passion

We speak a lot about inspiration when we discuss creativity.  We discuss how ideas come to us, but something we do not often bring into that discussion is the notion of passion.    Once we get that idea, what do we do with it?   What is the motivation that carries us to final product?  What takes us through the process?

I know for myself that when I become inspired and get an idea for a bit of writing or an image, I cannot wait to get started.  If an idea blossoms,  I might be motivated to work until maybe one or two in the morning. Sometimes an idea will shake me awake at about three a.m.,  and I’ll write or art until the hour forces me to get dressed and leave for work.   Sometimes I’ll get to my job, and I can’t wait until my lunch break so I can continue working on the project.   When this passion fires up,  it  propels me through to the end.  Quite often the works that are forged by these fires are  some of the best pieces I have created.

In Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED Talk  (which you can view on the Just Nous blog),  she speaks about inspiration being a force outside of ourselves.  It is the daemon, the genius, or the transcendent reality that operates beyond the rim of our own internal world and supplies the ideas for our creative works.  Passion, on the other hand,  is that energy that comes AFTER we receive the inspiration.   I believe that passion is something we dig up from within and add to the mix.   We supply the fire that fuels our passion to the end.    We need both inspiration from without and passion from within if we are to truly engage in the creative process.

Below is another TED lecture.  This one is given by author Isabel Allende.  In her lecture,  she talks about this passion.  She talks about heart.  She asks “What is truer than truth?  The story,”  she answers.  Allende believes that the heart, which is the seat of passion, is the motivator by which stories are told and change is accomplished.

I invite you to listen to her remarks about passion and the creative process.