Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Feeding the Artistic Soul

The act of writing, building worlds, forming characters -- that's what feeds my artistic soul more than anything else.  When I get into that zone, into that place, that space.  I feel like my best self, my most confident self there.

But sometimes, like now, there's not much time to write.  But there are still other ways to feed my soul.  Music is probably the best way, for me.  Closing my eyes, letting myself experience music like this:


Now, I'm not arrogant enough to believe that only "artists" (writers, musicians, painters, et al) are the ones who get their souls fed through art.  But I have noticed that we seem to....need it more.  That we crave it in our lives:  books, paintings, music.  I have wonderful people in my life who, self-admittedly, never read books.  They never listen to music.  Never enjoy art.  Never.  It doesn't bother them, not to have those things in their lives on a daily basis, even in small form.  Granted, they have other pursuits, other passions.  But "the arts" just isn't one of them.  

Today, I sit here, grateful that even when I can't "create" through writing, I can still transport myself to that other world, through art.  Through music and color and even nature.  That I can watch the last of the autumn leaves dangling from a tree and see the beauty, the art in that.

There should be art, should be beauty, in every single day.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

First Sentences

We've all been told how vital those first few sentences of a novel are -- they have the power to entice the reader, bore the reader, or turn off the reader completely.  And so, we writers usually spend extraordinary amounts of time and care crafting our opening sentences/paragraphs.  I know I do!

There are so many choices.  Do we open with dialogue?  With description?  With action or danger or mystery?  The decisions can feel overwhelming.  That's why I usually experiment with my openings.  Rarely do I keep the first opening I write, from the original rough draft.  Instead, I like to play with it, test out other possibilities, try other avenues, until the right one "fits."

Just for fun, I thought I'd share the first couple of sentences of one of my novels.  I've edited this novel MANY times, so the first chapter has gone through several changes.  I've probably changed/tweaked/edited this opening at least five times.  And this was the final result....

(Feel free to share your own first sentences in the comments!)

Chapter One

She knew it was a paradox, loving something so beautiful and so dangerous.  Especially something that had tried to swallow her up ten years before.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

There is Such a Place as Fairyland....

I came across this beautiful quote by L.M. Montgomery, one of my favorite children's authors.  I actually never read her most-famous Anne of Green Gables series.  Instead, I read the Emily of New Moon series as a child (Emily dreamed of being a writer).  I adored that series and have such sweet memories of curling up with those books, being taken to another place, grinning as I read page after page, imagining that Emily and I were the best of friends.

I have no doubt that book had a huge influence over my own desire (and fulfillment of that desire), to be a writer someday.

Anyway, here's the quote:

“There is such a place as fairyland - but only children can find the way to it. And they do not know that it is fairyland until they have grown so old that they forget the way. One bitter day, when they seek it and cannot find it, they realize what they have lost; and that is the tragedy of life. On that day the gates of Eden are shut behind them and the age of gold is over. Henceforth they must dwell in the common light of common day. Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again; and blessed are they above mortals. They, and only they, can bring us tidings from that dear country where we once sojourned and from which we must evermore be exiles. The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland.”    L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

Saturday, October 20, 2012

500 Posts? Wha...?

I just realized that this post, the one I'm typing now, makes 500 posts (over about 4 years' time).

I had no idea when I started this blog that I'd have anything much to say.  But I've found that it's not hard to record bits of inspiration along the way, or to share quotes by brilliant authors that inspire me.

Thanks to any readers out there who've stayed with me for this journey!

Readjusting Reality

Just saw a great interview with JK Rowling on Charlie Rose's show (link here ).

She talked a lot about the creative process, her new book, Harry Potter, etc.  This quote caught my ear more than anything, though.

When he asked about why she writes, Rowling said:  "I think the urge to write comes from a desire to re-adjust reality....our own reality."

I think she's spot on.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Participating in Art

I believe "the Arts" are all connected:  dance, painting/drawing, photography, writing, music.  They all share the same creative foundation.  I also believe that, even if a person doesn't happen to be gifted in the creation of these arts, he/she can still enjoy them, be moved by them, feel connected to them.  And by doing so, that person participates in that art.

For instance, I feel an intense level of personal/creative satisfaction when I write.  I'm creating something, involved in the nuts-and-bolts process, from the ground up.  I feel comfortable writing, always have.  But -- I cannot dance.  And I cannot draw (well, maybe a passable stick figure).

However, I thoroughly enjoying watching other people create their art.  Watching someone like this be incredibly good at what they do moves me on an emotional level.  Or, watching my grandmother paint, noticing the intensity in her eyes, the knowing movement of her brushstrokes.

I may not be the one creating the art, but I'm still watching it, appreciating it.  Participating in it.

I guess I'm just grateful that, even if I'm not talented enough to create certain forms of "art," I can still enjoy it on a very satisfying level.  And be part of it, just by appreciating it.


*waves*  Apologies for neglecting the blog lately!  It's been a crazy-busy semester, teaching 7 classes.  All I seem to do is grade, grade, grade.

But I wanted to pop by and post something totally non-writing related.  It's just too cute not to share.  And it made me smile (mostly because I have a Corgi, and I know how true this is):

40 Things That Make Corgis Happy