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”

Summer Mode

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I Dreamed I Was Water (Emma) – Cat Fink

I’m on summer vacation time this past week.  My internal clock finally adjusted itself.  It looked around, said ‘oh it’s July’, switched into slower, and then into slowwwww.  I am now in summer mode.  Hooray!

Summer mode means my time stretches.  Becomes casual and bendy.  I start tacking ‘ish’ onto my times for meeting friends and family.  Six-ish.  Noon-ish.  Eleven-ish.

I like ish-time.

I worked with a fellow who taught me about summer mode and ish-time.  Every year he would take his vacation, six weeks of it, as one piece.  On the morning of his first day off, he would pick up his watch, put it at the back of a drawer, and leave it there.  He moved through his vacation to the feel of each day in his body, to the rhythm of the sun rising and setting, to long conversations with friends, to the stars appearing at night.  Eating, moving, resting as the mood took him.

On the evening of the last day of his vacation he would go back to the drawer, pull out his watch, and return to the world of time and appointments set without ish on the end.

This summer it took me until mid-July to remember to take off my watch and put it away.  After an intense twelve months, it is time to play, to re-balance and recharge.  To wander through summer.  Let my days stretch.  Let my body and the sun tell me what time it is.  Let ish-time lead me where it will.

Thank you, David, wherever you are, for showing me this so many years ago.  Thank you for the gift.

List for Living My Creative Life

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Old Coyote Trick-standing out (detail)

Begin where I am.

Open my heart and feel all my feelings.  They tell me where I am and where I need to go.

Daydream.

Be a child and do what I love.  Imagine.  Play.  No rules, no expectations, no schedule.

Be curious.  Experiment.  Explore.

Ask questions.  Be okay with not knowing.  It gives me a big space in which to be.

Be okay with the new and different.  Be okay with change and transformation.  That’s what creativity is all about.

Let go of control.  Let go of judging.  Let go of using other’s truths, and find my own.

Be okay with not being perfect.

Use everything, including mistakes (they lead somewhere different).  Allow and accept.  Trust what shows up.

Be in my body.  Notice what my senses notice, right here, right now.

Move between creation and rest.  Do.  Be.  Do.  Be.

Laugh.  Enjoy.  Let happy happen.  Even better, choose happy.

Be with those I love who love me back.

Find friends who love to create too, and inspire each other.

Love my creativity.  Let creativity love me back.

Love my life.  Let life love me back.

Let my life be a playground, a petting zoo, a test kitchen.

What I am saying here in every line—Choose Love.

_______________________

In this post:

‘Do.  Be.  Do.  Be.  Do.’  This comes from Amit Goswami, in his book Quantum Creativity.  http://www.amitgoswami.org/

Come And Play

 

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The Joy Diary Sept. 26 2015

It’s grey cloud outside.  We’ve had rain for two days.  A good thing.  We need it.  The land is too dry for mid-May and we have a summer yet to move through, and wells we rely on.

I’ve been busy all week, creating, writing, making plans.  Playing with possibilities.  Daydreaming.  Enjoying all of this.  Everything in full colour.

And now this morning, here I sit noticing how I feel like the colour of the grey clouds outside.  I can blame it on the weather.  I know that sunny days boost my energy and my mood.  Sunny day equals sunny Cat.  This is not a sunny day.

I know what is going on.

It’s not the rainy weather.

The full-on creating has drained my well.  I’m running into a drought.

I have a well of creativity within me that I use.  All week I have been creating, playing with my possibilities, pulling water from my well.  Good.  It is meant to be used.  All good.

What I forgot to do was refill my well after pulling from it.  Yes, too busy being busy.

My creativity is a balance.  I imagine and write and draw, using the ideas, inspiration, words, and images that flow from my well.  Then I need to replace what has been used.

How do I do this?

I play, with no agenda and no goals.  No expectations or rules.  I become the child I was—really, the child I still am.

I bring out my felt pens and colouring books, my Spirograph set, my crossword puzzles.  I wander my way through the million images in one of my art books.  I plug in my iPod, choose my soundtrack of the day, and dance around the living room.

I pull out the deck of cards and crib board, and lose (a regular occurrence) to my husband.  Then I challenge him to Scrabble, and win (also a regular occurrence).

I phone one of my friends and we talk forever.

I drive to town, and wander through the library, the bookstore, and the toy store.  I get a mocha (grande, decaf, to go) from my favourite café, then park by the lake.  Car windows open.  Sip mocha.  Savour that marriage of chocolate and coffee in my mouth, feel the heat as it moves down my throat.  Watch the water and the sky.  Hear the red-wing blackbirds, the ducks, geese, gulls.  See the goslings, fuzzy balls in their baby feathers, following their parents around the edge of the water to where the new grass tastes best.

This.  All of this fills my well again.  Play and pleasure running through my senses, through my body and heart and mind.  Choosing to reach into the things that I love.  Leaving the watch and the clocks behind.  Moving back into balance.

Hearing my own voice calling me.  Come and play.

Today Is A Writing Day

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I dreamed the wind and danced its edges. (Chantel)

This gives me joy—today is a writing day.

Five words.  A declaration and an intention.  A pen with dark pink ink and a stack of loose leaf paper.  An open heart and a hungry mind.  This is all it takes to give me joy.

I can write anywhere.  My joy is portable.  How cool is that?  It is easily called and easily, instantly created.

I could make this difficult, make my writing feel like work.  Be all serious and ‘this has to be good, this has to be perfect, this has to be outstanding, a twenty out of ten on the Writing Scale.’  Putting my focus on the product, the outcome, how my writing will be received.

Ick.  No.  That is the job of my internal critic, who is sleeping right now.  There is no need to call her.  She is grouchy when woken up.  Truth, she is grouchy all the time.  No.  I don’t need her here, being bossy.

I am putting my focus on creating.  Being in action.  This is play.  Writing my blog post is play.  Jumping into words like they are the biggest ball room at the playground, and I get to wiggle into the middle of all these words and find the ones I love best today.  Try this one or this one.  String together these ones.  Nope, not this one.  Choose the one over here instead.

Joy.  This is joy.  Imagining.  Being curious.  Experimenting and finally choosing which words I want.

This is how I played as a child.  No expectation.  Just diving into the ball room of my imagination and letting myself go wherever I wanted, for as long as I wanted.

Pablo Picasso said every child is an artist.

He is right.

I am a child today.  I am playing with words and pen and paper and my imagination.  I am in joy.

Today is a writing day.  There is nothing better.

________________________

Mentioned in this post:

Pablo Picasso, artist, 1881 – 1973,  http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/p/pablo_picasso.html

 

In Beauty I Write

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Before I begin to write, this is what I do.

I ask for help.

I am writing, I say. Come and play and imagine and daydream and write and create in concert with me. I say this to my angels and guides, to Source, to the universe around me and within me. Come and play.

I am always answered.

Two days ago I am doing this, thinking ahead of the blog post I want to write today. Into my mind pop the words ‘in Beauty I walk’. The Beauty Way Chant.

I am not Diné. But I am human and these words show up in my life at various times.

In Beauty before me I walk,

In Beauty behind me I walk,

In Beauty below me I walk,

In Beauty above me I walk,

In Beauty all around me I walk,

It is finished in Beauty,

It is finished in Beauty,

It is finished in Beauty,

It is finished in Beauty.

 

The words are here now.

This chant, this blessing moves into me as soon as I read or hear the beginning words.

I breathe deeper. My mind slows, my body quiets. I feel my weight on the earth. I am present to this moment in time (time doesn’t exist, I hear as I write this, there is only now). My heart opens and listens.

Here in this place of no-time, I stand in creation. Here is all balance and harmony, all life in concert with all life. Here is holy, sacred, all blessing. Here is love. Joy. Here is breath and being and all connection. Here is Beauty, whole, one.

These words shift me into communication with life. I am not just Cat, the single small me. I am Cat, a creation point among many creation points. I am supported, guided, gifted with inspiration and vision.

This is what asking for help does.

It connects me to all that supports me.

I have had two long conversations this week about releasing old feelings of being alone and unsupported in work and life. I know this is no longer me. I know all I need do is ask for help, and help arrives. Words, resources, and people show up. Ideas and images appear. I have a whole world supporting me. I am never alone, unless I choose it.

This is what the words and energy of the Beauty Way Chant do for me.

They connect me to all that supports me. Instantly. Perfectly. With ease and with grace, they stand me in creation.

Every one of us has something that opens us into grace like this. It may take the form of words or image or sound, an object, a person, a place. We just need to recognize it and then choose it, deliberately and consciously. Choose to ask. Choose to be supported, connected.

Choose to stand in grace in creation.

_____________________________

Happy Birthday, Bryan!  I love you.  Your presence in my life is a gift. xoxo Mom

 

 

 

 

What I Learned From Reading ‘Living Color’ by Natalie Goldberg

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Last week, Wednesday, I am pulling books from my studio shelves. Preparation to lead a writing workshop on Friday.

I pull down Living Color by Natalie Goldberg. I have had this book since 1997. Have read it through at least four times, and thumbed through it many times more. Inspiration, from writer to writer, from artist to artist.

I open the book and a piece of folded, loose leaf paper falls to the floor. I pick it up, open the page. In pencil, all caps, printed across the top margin, underlined, in my hand—what I learned from Natalie’s book ‘Living Color’.

Mystified. I don’t recall writing this. I did, obviously. After the first reading of Nat’s book, or the fourth. I sit down and read.

Here is Natalie’s wisdom distilled through mine, writer to writer, artist to artist:

‘Finish every piece, even when I think I just doomed it with my last marks or words. Take off from there into a different relationship with the drawing or the writing.

Nothing I ever create will hold that same intensity of joy I feel while I am creating it. The joy is inside me.

Trust and act on how I feel (my artist’s instinct).

Slow down and look.

If I really know a thing, it is there in my work whether I can see it or not.

Continue reading “What I Learned From Reading ‘Living Color’ by Natalie Goldberg”

Choose Love, Choose Love

Everything I Know About The Human Heart Part 2
Everything I Know About The Human Heart Part 2

 

(In honour of Valentine’s Day on February 14th, I’m reposting a lesson I learned about love.)

Choose love.  It should be something that comes naturally.  For me, not always,  although I am getting better at this.  Somewhere in my growing up, I unlearned choosing love.  The words that follow tell how I am moving back to choosing through love and for love.  Let me tell you a story from 2013……

 Red Dots

I have been working online and by phone with Dee Wallace and Jarrad Hewett for the last five months.  I am part of a large group, more than one hundred of us, international.  We are doing ‘Let the Shift Hit the Fan II’, a ten month program of inner work, energy and intuition.  We are learning to hear our own voices above the clamour of those around us.  Learning to trust what we feel and know for ourselves.  Learning to make choices and act on those choices.  Learning to create our lives consciously.  We are returning, each of us, to our true selves.  This is what has sparked my constant mantra of ‘know, trust, choose, create’.

Dee’s channel is telling us we need to learn to develop our focus on feeling love.  They give us what we call ‘the Red Dot Exercise’.  This exercise seems a bit silly at first, has us laughing about it, that we are loving a red dot on a piece of paper.  Then we realize it is working.

This is the Red Dot Exercise we have been given:

‘Make a red dot on a piece of paper.

Drop into your heart center, open your heart, and find a strong experience of love.  Feel the joy and unconditional love of that moment.  Allow that feeling to expand.

Now for thirty seconds, five times a day, for two weeks, practice sending that love to your red dot.  Become one with it.  Practice detachment from sending and being this experience of love.  Just feel love for your red dot.  Leave the thinking and judging aside.  Just feel.

For the next two weeks, do the same, knowing that the red dot is simply self-love.  EXPECT NOTHING.  It is just the practice of sending and BEING the love.

For the final two weeks, you can choose that the dot represents something: money/health, etc., and send love.  All feeling, no thinking.  SEE IF YOU CAN STILL DO THE EXERCISE WITH NO ATTACHMENT.  You are simply BEING Love around whatever subject you choose.  You are realizing that the state of love IS that which you have chosen.

It is suggested that this become a way of life.  This is not a temporary exercise.

Feel this shift in your heart and your gut.  YOU ARE the energy that is the Love.’

I am midpoint in this Shift work and I am seeing and feeling the changes I am creating for myself.  Dee, Jarrad, and their channels have my trust.

I find a pad of yellow sticky notes and a red pencil.  I make my bright red dot and stick it eye height on the wall above my studio desk.  I cannot miss it.  I will remember to do this five times a day, no problem, since I am in and out of my studio frequently.

Actually.  Yes.  Problem.  I go into my studio for something.  I see the red dot.  I say to Continue reading “Choose Love, Choose Love”