Friday’s Focus—Something From Nothing

There are some days, as a writer, it feels like I have nothing to say. The muse is off playing with the dog or helping some other writer slouched over their keyboard. Sometimes all that seems to fill a page are half sentences or phrases that start out hopeful but stop short of being anything more than a glorified bunch of nouns, verbs, and adjectives and the paper is littered with the glitter of wanna-be quips and stories.

For me, the way ideas come and thoughts develop into whatever they want—stories, poems, essays, doodles—changes depending on the medium I use to bring it forward with. It’s been interesting to notice how characters change and the endings shift depending on whether I use a computer or a good old-fashioned pen and paper. Hands down, my favorite way to write, or at least get started, is using pen and paper. I’m an admitted paper-a-holic and just can’t resist blank notebooks; paper that just begs to be written on. The pen also needs to be right and together, in the right combination, it’s as though the story is already there and the ink simply reveals it.

Writing with a pencil gives an entirely different feeling. I find my writing takes on more of the feeling of a doodle and I tend to edit more. The words feel “sketched” and less “committed” than ink. Writing with ink is like changing your Facebook status to “in a relationship.”

Finally, there’s the keyboard. I find that writing on a computer releases a completely different stream of consciousness. This may be the easiest of all to write with but it is also the coldest and least personal way of working to me.

Of course, I can, and have begun writing something with one medium and switched over to another (beginning with pen and then moving to keyboard) and every time I do the story changes—for better or for worse. I’m not talking about editing or revisions but rather that fact that I experience a distinctly different flow with each medium and the words just come out different.

When I began to write today’s post, I couldn’t find the rhythm no matter what I tried to write with. In a last attempt, I opened my laptop and like a Seinfeld episode (which is really about nothing), I began to write about nothing, but it ended up turning into a something (which is still about nothing). So this is my Seinfeld post; one that is really about nothing except to say whether you’re a writer, an artist, a musician, a chef, or you do anything that’s creative, if you’ve found your usual way of doing things isn’t working so well and you feel that your muse has abandoned you, try things from a different angle and see what happens. Don’t stop. You never know what something will come out of your “nothings”!

Have a great weekend!

#takingitdeeper

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Friday’s Focus—Creating From Your Inner Twitch

There is a feeling inside all of us that makes our fingers twitch, our toes tap, and our voices hum, and if you tell me you’ve never felt it, I won’t believe you. We ALL experience this at some point in our lives.

You may not know what that urge is or that inkling or feeling is, but I’m going to let you in on a secret—it’s your creativity calling out, begging to be seen and heard.

It’s like a deep itch that nothing quite yet has scratched. You feel like there is something inside that is so full, so ready to burst but you don’t know what to do with it, like the energy before a storm except you feel it all within you.

Today’s focus is on releasing that creativity and letting it out to be seen and heard. Listen to your creativity today instead of the critics and let it go!

Paint, draw, doodle, take photos, compose a tune using the drums or keyboard on Garageband; sing in the shower or in your car, create a meal with whatever’s in the fridge; dance even if you look like Elaine from that episode of Seinfeld.

Let it out and use today’s focus to create from your inner twitch!

Have a great weekend!

Keeping it light and singing LiLoLa [Live, Love, Laugh] all the way…

Soundtrack of Summer

I can’t believe that Memorial Day is just days away! Summer is thisclose and I’m dazed by how quickly time is passing. Before I know it, I’ll be making plans for Thanksgiving Dinner and Christmas shopping, but until then, my most immediate plans are farmer’s markets, watching the robins pick at the worms in the freshly mowed lawn, and long lazy weekends in the backyard.

I woke up this morning to the familiar warm air and crisp smell of a day when you don’t even have to look at the calendar to know that June is coming. I opened the window wider and leaned my head against the frame, closed my eyes, took a deep breath in, letting my senses take me back as my mind replayed for me in no particular order, the movies of summers past:

Sitting on my parents’ patio with the radio on and a fresh glass of ice tea next to me, soaking up the sun like a lizard and listening to some new singer by the name of Madonna;

Driving around in my parents GMC pacer with the windows rolled down and my red mini-boom box strapped to the passenger seat because there was no radio, blasting Bryan Adams, “Summer of ‘69”;

Working at a private pool for the summer hearing Don Henley sing about the “Boys of Summer”;

Going with my best friend to the local public pool. The air permeated with the smell of chlorine and French fries, and the cries of “Marco” “Polo” were mixed in with Bananerama’s “It’s a Cruel Summer” and the Motels singing about “Suddenly Last Summer”;

I remember days of jumping through a sprinkler because there was no other way to cool off, and when there wasn’t a sprinkler, my husband and I became nine years old again throwing water balloons at each other and chasing each other around the back yard with Super Soakers as the Beach Boys, “In My Room”, Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues”, and David Lee Roth’s version of “California Girls” played on the stereo.

I let these memories continue to play as I started my day and headed out the door to go to work, which brought back its own memories of traveling the Garden State Parkway.

Being a Jersey Girl, driving down the shore was a rite of passage with traffic so thick you could hold a conversation with the people in the car next to you for a few exits until the next toll. Strains of music could be heard from each car’s own choice of summer tunes, but nothing, absolutely nothing beats a Bruce Springsteen song on those parkway drives with all the windows down and the volume cranked to the belting of “The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive….” Call me jaded, call me old, but I don’t care—when I hear that line, it still makes me smile and gives me goose bumps.

I never realized until today how much of a role music played as a part of those summer memories. Every one of them has a soundtrack—anything by John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, and The Eagles; “Summer Breeze,” by Seals and Crofts; “School’s Out,” by Alice Cooper; “Saturday in the Park,” by Chicago, “Under the Boardwalk,” by The Drifters; “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” by Sly and the Family Stone, and on it goes.

My summer soundtrack for this year is still to come and I’m looking forward to creating new memories with maybe some new songs. With this last thought, I made the final turn into the parking lot of my office. Shifting into park, my hand stopped midway to the radio to shut it off when the unmistakable first beats of Mungo Jerry came on the radio…“In the Summer time when the weather is hot…” You’ve got to be kidding. Serendipity at it’s best. I laughed out loud and stayed to listen to the song smiling all the way.

Yeah baby—welcome to summer! What’s your soundtrack?