The View From the Cheap Seats

cat-fink-creative-life-600ppi
Cat’s Instructions for a Creative Life

I am reading Neil Gaiman’s book The View From the Cheap Seats, a collection of his nonfiction writing.  Magazine pieces, book introductions, speeches, musings, more.  I am being inspired, delighted, learning, and made curious.

The making-me-curious bit is fun.  I have a Curiosity List going as I read this book.  Writers, books, comics, artists, articles, web stuff.  All new to me, and I have to check them out, now that Neil has made me curious.  I am nearly two-thirds of the way through his book, and my list is getting long.  This is a good thing.

One of the things I love about those of us working in the arts is how so many of us share what we are discovering, what is delighting us, what we are learning and doing.  Neil’s book is delighting me, not only because of his writing, but because of his sharing who and what inspires him.  Sharing one of the paths through his universe.

Thank you, Neil.

________________________

In this post, and other thoughts:

Neil Gaiman, book The View From the Cheap Seats, 2016, WM Morrow.  http://www.neilgaiman.com/

The image at the top of this post is what I have been creating the last two days.  It is going onto a postcard I’ll be handing out at my interactive art show ‘The Joy Diary’ in November.  (I was going to add the link here for the Station House Gallery in Williams Lake, BC, but according to Google just now, their site may be hacked.  Yes, the weird and wonderful world of the internet.)

The Continuing Story of My Second Draft

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‘Jack Built My House’ by Bryan Fink

I’ve posted several times about doing the second draft of my book.  This is the latest installment in the eighteen-month story of my efforts.

One word describes things at the moment.  Confused.

I’m adding others.  Messy.  I am okay with messy.  Messy happens in all my creating at some point.  It gives me possibilities.  Having been a neat and tidy child, as an adult I enjoy messy.  Also, I know how to go from messy to focused, a useful talent.

Another word.  Procrastinating.  Somehow, and I have said this before, other jobs and delights keep taking precedence over my second draft.  Strange how that happens.

Yesterday I am telling one of my fellow artist-writer friends about this.  We come to the conclusion I need to clear a chunk of time for only the draft.  Yes.  I do this.  Now marked off in my diary is February through May.  My friend will meet with me throughout this time to help me keep accountable to myself in getting the draft done.  Cool.

A third word.  Blind.  This draft feels like I’m doing a jigsaw puzzle without the picture from the box top to tell me how things should look.

I tell this to another artist-writer friend.  She talks about finding the arc of the story, a kind of outline.  Oh.

I know about outlines.  I tried one out at the start and it drove me crazy.  I learned I am a writer who feels her way through the story.  As Nanowrimo fans say, I’m a pantser, not a plotter.

I am very visual in my thinking.  My friend says ‘arc of the story’.  In response, I see the image of an arc drawn on a big sheet of paper, with me writing sticky notes all along it.  This makes sense.  A way of creating an outline that works for me.  Here is my picture of how things will look when I am done.  Yay!  The picture will likely shift as I go.  That’s okay.  I still have a picture to play with.

Continue reading “The Continuing Story of My Second Draft”

What I Read on My Summer Holiday

1.'Containers for the Soul'--Cat Fink
Containers For The Soul

I love books.  I love reading, and I am always curious about what other people are reading.  So, of course, I enjoy reading people’s book lists, especially those from writers and artists.

Here is what I read during July and August while I was on holiday.

The Owl Mage Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey – Mercedes is one of my favourite writers.  She dives deep and at length into what her characters are thinking and I find this inner monologue fascinating.  Some might read this and say ‘get on with the story’.  Not me.  These inner monologues are part of the story, developing the character, connecting with me-the-reader and my personal inner talk experience.

End of Watch by Stephen King – As a teenager, my introduction to Stephen’s writing was ‘Carrie’.  The story totally creeped me out, and I loved it.  Later I left off reading horror.  I came back to him with ‘Lisey’s Story’, and I’ve kept up with his writing ever since.

A Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George – A friend introduced me to Elizabeth and her intricate, very human mysteries.  I read the one lent to me, then promptly hit the used bookstore for all Elizabeth had written up to that point.  Now I wait with anticipation when I hear a new book is coming, and get my order in at my local bookstore.  If you are a writer, check out her book on writing fiction ‘Write Away’.  I borrowed it from the public library three times and then ordered my own copy.

Return of the Padawan by Jeffrey Brown – Pure fun.

The King’s Man Trilogy by Pauline Gedge – Pauline makes me feel I am right there in ancient Egypt.  Heat.  The smell of dust.  Cool water poured over my bare feet.  Linen brushing against my skin.  I read her books in the summer to heighten the feeling of being there.

Raiders of the Nile by Steven Saylor – Steven’s writing has the same effect on me as Pauline’s.  In his books, I am in ancient Rome.  This one happens in the Nile delta, not his usual setting.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling – I admit it.  I am a Harry Potter/J. K. Rowling fan.  I read this slowly, right after a week of watching all the Harry Potter movies in sequence.  I let my inner vision create the movie for me as I read.  Fun!  Then I discovered the website Pottermore, got myself sorted for Hogwarts by the Sorting Hat, and claimed my wand.  (For my fellow Potter fans, I am a Hufflepuff–totally suits me– and my wand is sycamore with dragon heartstring core.  Cool.) Continue reading “What I Read on My Summer Holiday”