Go Squeeze Words

pencils rich in wordsDo you read what artists in other disciplines are writing about?

I am always surprised by how helpful blogs and books about photography or visual arts or theater (or any art form) can be for my own writing or movement creativity.

“Think like a painter. Think like a musician. Think like a surgeon. Don’t think, just write.”  Lisa Moore (Prism International, 2009)

I’ve been receiving ideas, advice, inspiration and encouragement from artist Robert Genn’s always entertaining twice-weekly newsletters for years. His recent passing will be a great loss to those who enjoyed his writings, paintings and teaching.

His daughter Sara, also a visual artist, is picking up the torch and continuing her father’s newsletter tradition. In last week’s newsletter she celebrated her father with a moving and inspiring tribute.

Robert Genn was a master of pithy quotations. One in particular that Sara shared, snagged my attention: Continue reading

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Looking Sideways

Man With Potential Selves by Sean Henry, 2003. Grainger Town, Newcastle.When did you last look at the world sideways? Or upside down?

Why would you need to?

Try it. See? What are all those weird Continue reading

Writing Craft and Community

spare parts for writing a storyI was stuck with my novella, not a bad stuck, just a point when I needed to stop, think, and realign characters and plot.

I pulled a couple of craft books from my shelf at random in the hopes of sparking an idea, or finding a new way to see my material.

  • “Naming the World” (ed) Bret Anthony Johnston
  • “Burning Down The House” Charles Baxter
  • “Creating Fiction” (ed) Julie Checkoway

Writer Unboxed

Not an hour later, I was reading a blog post from Writer Unboxed about the issue of craft books. Although many people shared their favorite craft books and inspirational authors, a number of comments expressed quite a lot of antagonism towards craft books – e.g., craft books are only written to make money; you can’t learn writing from a book…

I was very surprised because I think of writers/artists as curious people and would have thought they would want to see what other Continue reading

Writing and the Dynamics of Smell

I watched a mother pass sample pots of dry teas to her young son in a local tea store. Oranges, he said, sniffing at the tin his mother held out while at the same time continuing to tease his little brother. Grapefruit. Vanilla. Mint. He got them all. I thought about writing and the sense of smell.

Smell for Narrative Energy

In Edinburgh last year, I was entranced by the installation “It Happens When The Body Is Anatomy Of Time” by Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto in the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. The fragrance of spices, cloves, cumin, turmeric, pervaded the room, bringing the visual artwork – lycra ‘skins’, the stitching details, the colour and lighting – alive, and making the installation a sensual and exciting experience. Continue reading

A Dark And Desolate Night: Braving The Elements To Write

street lamp on dark icy nightIt is a dark and desolate night. The wind howls. The streets gleam, sheet ice. Not a soul in sight.

Not a night to venture forth.

Go back, my brain urges my legs, go back into the cozy warmth. I’ve forgotten to put on woolen leggings under the two pairs of sweatpants.

But my legs stalk on, two icy ski poles. Beneath my tractor-tread boots, sharp crampon spikes Continue reading

Odd Connections and the Creative Process: Writing “Arrivals”

Arrivals notice boardI am so pleased to have my story “Arrivals”  in the new issue of carte blanche.

I started this story in response to an assignment given by Nancy Zafris in her workshop at Kenyon Review Writers’ Summer Workshop in June 2012. Nancy gave the group a list of sentences. We were to choose one as the closing line for a story.

We were given one or two assignments every day for the whole week of the Kenyon Summer Workshop. This assignment Continue reading

Inspiration and Intention: Writing New Stories On The Road.

walking the reflexology labyrinth at Coastal Maine Botanical GardensA change of environment can often work wonders in helping stimulate new ideas, new inspiration, new ways of seeing oneself and the world. New stories too.  Perhaps it’s because a strange place makes one hyper-sensitive to new sights, sounds, impressions… That’s why Continue reading