The Most Vulnerable Point for Writers

Writing Reflection

Writing Reflection

The most vulnerable point for writers
is when
the the artist opens
the door for
reflection
and
the inner critic
slams it in rejection.

 

Why does artistic reflection lead to a sense of critical rejection in one’s mind? Why can’t we simply say we are in the space of “reflection” when reviewing our work? That keeps the door open. Rejection (even our own internal brand) simply closes it.

Compulsive Writers and Readers

Soul Vision

Soul Vision

Digging through some cupboards this morning, packing my bag for the day.
No room in the small space, shoved a box of Glutino crackers on its side into the shelf.

Noted some simple writing on the bottom.

“Compulsive writers appreciate compulsive readers.”

The joy of blogging world on the bottom of a Glutino box.

You could probably split the world into those who compulsively read and those who do not. Personally, I have never held complete trust in those who don’t like to read. There is always something questionable about these types in my mind.

I will read anything and everything at any time. I have been known to bring my Kindle into the theater during children’s movies. I found the experience to be less painful that way.

Here’s to all who compulsively write and read. I like think we make the world a better place.

And also a shout out to Glutino and the “Universe” for finding the most creative ways to get us the messages we need.

Resonating with the Irrelevant…What My Book Proposal Has Taught Me

Resonance

Resonance

I am just now wrapping up a book proposal on the topic of female embodiment and the power inherent in women. It was, in some ways, a delight to write. I focused on creating the book in a format that resonated with who I am as a creator. Thus, I included artistic images, poems, and bits and pieces from my speaking engagements surrounding this topic.

All was well and good, until about 3 days ago. I have been so busy with so many commitments that, although I was working on the proposal a great deal, I really was not paying attention to where I was in the process.

Suddenly- and this is the very tricky part for any creator- I realized I was almost done.

And that is when the panic hit.

When completion of a project is a dream in the distance, it is difficult to feel nervous. But, bring a project close to fruition and suddenly you begin to doubt and second guess yourself.

I came a little unhinged in the final segments I was working on – the introductory letter and opening material of the proposal.

I could not determine what I wanted to say or how I wanted to say it. I wrote in circles and deleted and wrote in more circles.

I began calling friends to get their opinions. They were busy and did not pick up the phone, so I called again. Never leaving a message until I tried at least twice.

I am embarrassed to say it was a writer’s version of “drunk dialing”.

Until I understood what was going on.

I was using my energy attempting to resonate with the most irrelevant aspects of my project and then wondering why I no longer felt assured in what I was doing.

I was spending an inordinate amount of time worrying about ridiculous matters- the 2nd and 3rd sentences in the 4th paragraph of my introductory letter- really? When the body of my work was whole, complete, and authentic.

Let me tell you this, the main body of the proposal will either resonate with the publisher or it won’t. The acceptance or rejection of the project will hardly hinge on sentence 3 of the 4th paragraph, but that is where I let my focus take me.

It’s an old defense mechanism of creative types the world over. Let me attempt to resonate with the irrelevant, so I do not have to look too closely and honestly at what I have created. For if I were to stand in front of my own authentic creation and allow the significance of what I have created resonate with me, I truly don’t know if I could stand it.

Once I understood what I was doing, I could let it go and stop calling my friends.

We are never at our best when we attempt to resonate with the irrelevant in our lives- whether that irrelevant is contained in a creative project, the details of a relationship, a work situation or whatever. We are only at our best when we authentically resonate with our best, most significant aspects of our work.

When it Becomes Painful to Write

I have, as of late, experienced some chronic pain. Pain can be such a nebulous thing to nail down, despite our tendency to make it linear (“On a scale of 1 t 10, how would you rate your pain if 10 is the highest?”)

All pain has a way of taking a parasitic attachment to our comings and goings.

Ever the hearty traveler, once pain has placed its hooks in you, it requires quite a bit of work for detachment.

Pain, physical and/or emotional, can also be quite the reflective surface in our lives. Any hurt pushes awareness to the forefront of our consciousness. We see things through a different prism when we are in pain.

The prism isn’t any more “right” or “wrong” than any other view. It’s just different.

This particular pain has shown me where I am blocked in life. My modus operandi through life has been this-Let me attack myself, and I will feel the pain, so you don’t have to feel anything at all.

This has led at various times to compulsive exercise, compulsive not eating, compulsive sex, compulsive anything – so I could “manage” this pain that was never quite mine in the first place.

So what does this have to do with writing? I am not in such significant pain that I can not write.

The issue has been rather, “What should I write and when?” For you see, many thoughts and ideas have swirled about but they have always been a bit out of reach. I could write about that…or not…I may finish that one piece…or not…

This is not necessarily complete writer’s block, but somehow the flow is off. The stream which used to be languid and smooth is altered, corrupted.

And, I realized (because, yes, blogging is where I compulsively share my 1,001 “realizations” per day. Seriously, could I use the word “realized” any more than I already do? 🙂 ) that the pain and the lack of the writing both reflected the same thing-

an unwillingness to address what is present in my life.

I don’t believe artists or writers truly run out of ideas for long. If there is difficulty coming up with ideas or bringing the ideas to fruition in some form whether it’s missed deadlines, incomplete works left hanging, rough starts and even more abrupt stops – it is the creative version of a pain signal.

Something, somewhere is not “right”. And the what is “not right” is NOT the problem. (We never truly know what is “right” and “not right”. ) The problem is that we are denying it.

Too often when we write or produce creative acts, we have expectations. 90% of the time, our inner artist is happy to go along with any creative thoughts and the attached expectations.

But every once in awhile, I will feel my inner artist refusing to hide and lie the lie any more. The truth is always the realm of the inner artist and the inner artist does not respond to the external scale of “good art” and “bad art”.

All art derived from the truth of awareness is “good art” and is meant to be produced and shared in the eyes of the inner artist.

When we turn away from this truth, our inner artist turns away from us.

I am not saying you have to drag out every tidbit of ugliness that has transpired in your life out into the public forum for your inner artist to be satisfied.

What I am trying to say is that if/when writing or art becomes a creative pain in the a**, be aware enough to ask yourself what you may be trying to keep hidden.

Maybe the “writer’s block” says more than we think. Maybe is the writer who is blocking something from evolving into expression.

If you ever find yourself “blocked” creatively- “What story am I holding, what story am I placing a lid on that wants to get out?”

The inner artist can “wow” each and every one of us with its brilliant displays of innovation but what it asks for in return is for the venue of expression.

Pain holds us. And we in turn create pain by our holding on to things that long for release. Let it go. Let it move in to the world as it should.

My Author Interview

Copyright: Post Independent, Glenwood Springs

Copyright: Post Independent, Glenwood Springs

One of the blogs I have enjoyed during the past several months is Kev’s Blog.

Kev is a writer living in the UK. To say he is multi-talented is an understatement. But, where I have connected with him is first through his writing. I just finished his book Miedo: Living Beyond Childhood Fear.

But it is not just that Kev is an author. He does an outstanding job encouraging and promoting other authors, along with his own work.

I mean, you know how you see someone doing something and it seems so natural to them, that is how I have always felt when I see how he integrates creativity and promotion.

He is constant champion for other authors. He provides a venue for author interviews and SENDS YOU MATERIALS AND EVERYTHING with how to go about completing the author interview. He will even help you format the material, correct mistakes, etc.

Given we are all so busy, how wonderful of a gift is that to give of one’s time and creative energy to helping others.

Unless you have tried it yourself, never take for granted how difficult it is to be strong both in a creative and promotional sense. They are not one in the same as far as skill sets go. I have learned a great deal from Kev in how he has handled these things.

Which of course leads me to this- Kev was kind enough one day to ask if I had ever considered doing an author interview. He even sent me a link with all of the materials needed.

I wrote back, ever clueless, “Hi Kev, such an interview engenders a great deal of fear for me.”

Sigh…sigh…sigh..

At this point, Kev, being the kind person he is, said, “There is nothing to be afraid of. Don’t worry.”

( I am sure he was internally likely thinking- “My gosh, I am just here trying to provide promotional opportunities for writers. I am not your psychotherapist for heaven’s sake.” – I am not saying Kev did think that, I could just totally understand if he did.)

Here is the link for my author interview on Kev’s gracious blog.

Thank you so much Kev!!
——

Note about photo: I wanted to attach a photo of myself to this blog. However, I am at the wrong computer and don’t have any self-images, so I thought that I would look up my name on the internet to see if I could find a photo. (It is recommended you do this every once in awhile to make certain no strange/harmful information is being posted about you. )

Although it is recommended by others, I don’t know if I would recommend this approach. If you are like me, when you Google your name and images, you will see a ton of images of people with your name who are way better looking than you and seem to be having a lot more fun in life than you ever will.

The photo is taken with our then college President giving me the faculty of the year award.

Where Logistics, Art and WordPress Themes Meet

Spirit Within You

So, per my last posting I tried a new WordPress theme. I compared switching themes to getting a new hairstyle, summarized with “It was time for a change.”

And, change I did! Apparently, I managed to switch from the mousy, brown brunette of my previous theme to the raven-black of a different theme only to end up making it more difficult for people to read the blog.

I know we all blog for different reasons and hope for varying outcomes with our blogs. Despite these sliding criteria for each of us, I think we can all agree that of paramount importance to blogging is actually having a blog people can read without eye strain.

As I am scientist by training, to me this is simply an example in which logistics meet creativity. You normally hope their meeting results in a symbiotic union in which each emerges stronger for the other.

In this case, however, I have to say I think logistics won out.

I have chosen another theme and we will see how this goes.

On a sidenote, I think all endeavors are a balance between creativity and logistics. Many of you may remember that I self-published a book several months ago. Thank you to those who purchased it!

One of the things I found surprising at the end of the process was the price set up for the book by CreateSpace in conjunction with Amazon.

I knew as the author, I would have some say, but I did not realize until the end (yes, I am that slow) that the base price was set based on number of pages, images, etc.

My book came in at ~$20!!! I was hoping for $6.99. (By the way, the price on the book changes now and then. Why? I don’t know, but this is not something that is being controlled by me.)

The reason the cost was so high is that I have images in the book and in some ways, I later realized, I had wasted a lot of page space.

Then, the logistical part of my brain took over. Really it did. My main goal for my second book was to produce something relating to the spirit within each of us and our sense of compassion for ourselves.

I still wanted to do images, but I wanted to cut out any pages that did not have images. That is, I wanted to make this book “tighter” (read, “less costly”.)

I am really pleased with the outcome. The page format is more consistent than the other book. And I chose to actually use the same font throughout the book this time (Yes, this should have been an obvious thing to do the first time!).

With just as many images, but fewer pages with simply words, the book comes in at ~$12. Much more reasonable.

A friend read it and said, “I can see your strength and belief in compassion for ourselves written all over these pages.”

I loved her words and secretly thought to myself, “All for $8 less.”

I do not write this so that you will buy the book, but just to show another example of the balancing act we are all performing as creators- logistics and creativity…

Hair styles and Blog themes

To state the obvious, I have changed the “Theme” of my blog.

I went with a black background on my artist’s website (soulhealingart.com) so I thought I would do the same here at wordpress. Black-backgrounds apparently are now my self-defined identifiers on my sites now.

Actually, that really isn’t true. What resonates a bit more is that my blog, having been the same basic format for years, needed an update.

One friend actually asked me about my previous blog format if I had purposely chosen the most bland blog style, because other people were not as likely to have chosen it. No. I am just bland and boring and select things in kind.

I realized that changing my blog template had little to do with what was happening on my artist’s website.

The closest analogy of how my thinking emerged- and many of you women will relate- is when one suddenly, after years of the same hair style, up and decides one day to drastically change one’s hair.

A woman may walk into a salon with relatively long blonde hair, and exit with a short brunette bob. She will summarize this stunning transformation with “It was time for a change” and move on with her life. Snip. Cut. Dye. Done.

As a witness to such transformations, you are always placed in the position of “Should I comment or not?”

“If I praise the new hairstyle (blog) am I indicating that I never liked the first one?”

Or “If I don’t comment, will that make her feel bad? I mean she put all that time and effort into her new hairstyle (blog), she is probably expecting it will be noticed, isn’t she?”

So to summarize the switch in blog format, “It was time for a change.” Explore themes. Preview. Activate. Done.

The Gentle, Authentic Creator…The Essential “Y” Questions

I was at a writing conference this past weekend. Well, it wasn’t exactly about writing, the conference primarily centered on publishing your writing.

For the actual writing part, they basically left that up to you and the ghost writer/editing team you may decide to hire once you realize writing is hard work and sucks a lot of the time. 🙂

Well, the one editor did say about 20% of the population were adequate writers. You know, every single person at the conference was sitting there thinking, “Oh, yeah, that’s me. I am even in the top 20% of the 20%.”

I normally don’t attend such conferences or workshops, but the timing/logistics of this one felt right. And plus, my friend signed up first and so like the proverbial lemming, I followed.

I was familiar with most of what was discussed in reference to publishing , what was stirred within me, however is how essential an “internal compass” is for every artist/writer.

The possibilities for publishing now are quite broad. Add to that the diversity of options for developing a “platform” (Publishing-speak for getting your ideas out there and connecting with audiences beyond your book).

Mix these together and every artist/writer is confronted with literally hundreds of decisions beyond the creative work itself.

Do you see yourself as a speaker and writer? Do you have social media associated with your work? How do you handle such media? Is it integrated with social media of a more personal nature?

Do you need an author website? Twitter? How can people find you (or not find you- as those in the audience who asked during Q/A about writing memoirs that are picked up by Oprah, but still wanting to be anonymous.)

I realized that there are so many options that not only must we be authentic with ourselves in the creative process, we must be authentic, and gentle, with ourselves in relation to our platforms.

We can not, most likely do it all, nor should we. Each artist must make those clear decisions for him or herself based on temperament, time available, logistics, topic choice and so on.

As I was sitting there and saw one participant after another in the Q/A trying to get some answers, I understood that no one can give us such answers. Many participants spoke in paragraphs (NOT sentences or a simple statement followed by a question, I am talking – Paragraphs) only to have the speaker say, “And what is your question?”

And in some ways, no one wanted to ask the simple, direct question because the answer may be equally simple and direct.

Sometimes we like too make life harder on ourselves and stay in the nebulous-aspect of life, in which things float about and meander and no clear decision is ever made.

But if one is to be clear in life, then one has to be willing to answer the “Y” questions in life. Note, this is “Y” and not “why” because these are the “Y” in the road questions- they provide one direction or the other.

Every person who walked away from the microphone with a sense of relief that they had “gotten an answer” was because they were finally able to articulate their situation in a “Y”-context. As in, should I use a penname? If I use a penname can I be “unknown” on Oprah? and so on.

Next time you are feeling, perhaps unsure or overwhelmed by your next step, don’t be afraid to ask yourself the “Y” question. The one that gets to the nuts and bolts of what your are doing and what is truly resonating for you.

Stones of the Gods- Our Vulnerability in Creativity

Stones of the Gods

Stones of the Gods

What may the Gods believe of Man
Carrier of the Stones
To perpetuate the Ages
Why the position so vulnerable?

—-
Right now, at this moment, I am at a writing workshop. Note the multi-tasking, not only am I am at a writing workshop, I am doing some actual writing. 🙂

I have been struck by the hope and faith by those I have encountered at this small conference. I think it is a definite belief in one’s self and one’s work to sign up, attend, and pay for such a conference.

As I have listened to the stories of these writers, I have also been struck by the sense of vulnerability that arises with creative works. SO many decision to make- what do I reveal? Do I use a pen name? What if others have problems with what I write?

The sense of vulnerability lead me to my most recent art piece, and the play between the idea of vulnerability and sense of power.

To me, the testes are a perfect example of this interchange of energy. I label the picture “Stones of the Gods” because it shows the strength and power contained in the testes- houses of procreation.

The testes are Stone-like, not only in shape, but in their containment of the continuity and power of the eternal lineage of life. In this manner, they represent the indestructible.

Yet, they hang as orbs in position most vulnerable, swinging free from the protective abdominal-pelvic cavity.

By what design? What are we to take from this?

As a biologist, I, of course, understand that body temp is lethal to sperm development, but why does the energy play out this way?

How can billions of bits of genetic material be so exposed? (Perhaps it is because I am a woman, that male genitalia has always appeared vulnerable to me, so “out there”.)

And I thought of this with the writers in this workshop (yes, my mind is that weird. Everyone else is thinking publishing contracts and I am thinking art, testes, vulnerability and creativity.)

Creativity is our eternal lineage. Our creative works will survive us (in both the literal procreative sense and in other more esoteric ways).

And like the sperm in the testes, our creative acts contribute to the on-going evolution.

But in these acts of creation, as they will outlast us and take upon their own lives, there is vulnerability, there is exposure.

Where we most carry the power of life, we are the most vulnerable and vice versa. Our sense of vulnerability allows us to also play with a sense of power.

I see this represented in the testes of men and the hearts and passions of these writers here.

To be creative is to be both powerful and vulnerable at once.


I know my picture is a little strange. The spermatic cord (or whatever it is) makes it look like the penises are wearing earmuffs.

I am not sure why I drew it like this. Each side of the spermatic cord is actually independent. But, I like the strength and color of this image.

And the vulnerability of the testes and also their strength brought to mind discussions had with my husband and stepson. Similar to many women, I still don’t “get” the “humor” of a man being hit in the testes. We see this played out in TV shows and movies and I got to tell you, it’s just lost on me, as my husband and stepson sit there giggling in glee.

As my husband and stepson have reassured me and tried to “explain” this humor to me, insisting it is SO funny because it hurts so much.

As a woman, I am just not sure I may ever “get” it.