Sued51's Blog












New Moon Storm

It was a dark and wet ride home last night, a new moon Nor’easter,

But I was tired enough to sleep through the night without hearing it.

This morning the cat was hidden somewhere she thinks is safe;

I’d like to hide myself there too, I think.

But this morning my prayer group email is entitled “Clarity,”

and it seems true.

The Universe seems to be aligned,

I think there is also an eclipse.

Fitting that the trees have been cleared of leaves,

Their structure revealed, a kind of clarity,

My life changes revealed, I feel a surge of creativity.

After months of distractions and busy-ness,

I know what I want to say and I want to blab it!

But I have to work.

Ironically these are the days when it is hardest to work –

High energy days when it is almost impossible to stay where I am,

To sit and stay focused.

I’m like a horse pawing the ground,

Resenting the bridle and the rider, work and responsibility,

Let me go, says the voice inside,

Let me go with the wind and the leaves…

 

P.S. This was written totally off the cuff as a stream of consciousness in response to the Daily Post Prompt: Ready, Set, Done, so excuse grammatical and punctation problems…take it for what it is. It is written like a poem because it seemed liked random thoughts to me as a they came…more like a poem than prose. Hope you enjoy it!



{May 19, 2014}   Virtual Blog Tour

My current morning pages notebook

My current morning pages notebook

My friend and incredible photographer, Susan Licht, recently invited me to take part in a virtual blog tour. I first “met” Susan by discovering her beautiful blog and then discovered we had a mutual friend on Facebook! (Despite the massive size of the Internet, it’s still a small world!) We have many interests in common including literature, gardening, music, nature and photography. We could have met each other years ago through our mutual friend, and sometimes I wish we had.

So…my thanks to Susan for asking me to be part of this blog tour and involving me in this slightly different way of learning about other bloggers’ creative processes, of finding some new blogs recommended by people I respect, and of being able to introduce some of the bloggers I enjoy and give them a little extra support.

The “work” part of this blog tour involves answering the following questions about your creative process, so here goes:

1) What am I working on?

Too many things! Recently I had been trying to send out some of my poetry to publications. The last time I had poems “officially” published was in the 90s, though I do support a local poets community and go to open mike events. Although I publish some poems on this blog, I “keep” what I consider the best ones, seeking a more prestigious home for them than my blog. 🙂 I will probably end up self-publishing…sending work out seems to be too much like a dating service. I have also joined some photography groups, hoping for an inexpensive way to learn Photoshop. I take pictures almost every day for Last Train to QVille, though I don’t post every day. I tend to walk in the same area so it is a challenge to find new ways of looking at the same scenery.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Anyone who reads positive self-development blogs and books has probably read over and over that we are all unique. I still struggle with the answer to that question. The easy answer is that I was an only girl growing up amongst 6 boys! But beyond that I suppose part of my uniqueness is that I am interested in so many unrelated things…I have held a lot of different jobs in my life: from working at a movie theater (doing everything from selling tickets to popping corn and cleaning the theater) to working in offices. I worked in the garden dept at Home Depot; I’ve been an usher supervisor for concert venues, a legal secretary, an editor, and now I am working in the wine industry and as a part-time hostess at a restaurant…totally unrelated things. This translates into meeting people from all walks of life, which is a great thing for someone who likes to write.

3) Why do I write/create what i do?

Well, bottom line is that I love to create and I live to create. When I’m not creating, I’m miserable. My creativity most often takes the form of  poems because I have been expressing my feelings that way for over 35 years and it is second nature to me. It is an integral part of the way I process my life and connect with others. And I love beauty and nature, so I take pictures to capture and remember moments in time and the beauty I see daily.

4) How does my creative process work?

I have many different notebooks that I jot down ideas in. I journal every day. I read other people’s blogs and see which directions their work sends me. I write about whatever strikes me on any given day.

NOW comes the best part of this post: my recommendations for other blogs to check out. Another reflection of my eclectic job history and interests, the blogs I read regularly are very different, but all great.

Louisa May Alcatt takes her name from the author of Little Women; her “pub” writes interesting posts about women in history at her blog: Suffragette kitty

Peter S, former ad man chronicles his life as a stay-at-home dad through the antics and eyes of his son, Mr. C.

Queenie, as her name might suggest, is from the U.K., a former dance teacher with a bucket list, a camera and a good sense of humor.

Not sure if any of them will be following through on this tour, though. 😦  I know it is a time commitment that we can’t all manage.

Finally, I’m adding this on my own, one of the bloggers I wanted to recommend had participated in a blog tour right before I could ask her! So I’m throwing in a link to her post for good measure. Meet Beeblu!

Happy reading everyone!




I’m open to any tools that will help my creativity. I have written before about “The Artist’s Way,” one of my favorites that I turn to over and over.

I usually read more than one book at a time: a creativity book, a fiction novel, and sometimes a non-fiction book. I switch back and forth at different times depending on the time of day and my moods, so it generally takes me a while to get through books. I am not a fast reader anyway…especially with novels; I tend to savor the words like food. Usually I read the creativity book first thing in the morning when I write in my journal. I am currently finishing up “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

This week I started doing meditation with Deepak and Oprah. It’s free and it is about boosting your creativity and achieving your dreams. You can join here!

Today’s message: “I am a powerful creator!”



{August 26, 2013}   Magnetic Poetry Monday (2)

Magnetic Poetry, Poetry

 

I found it challenging today; I kept looking for words that weren’t there. The calendar set is limited.

I might have to cheat and dig into my other set next time. 🙂

 




I recently spent some money on the cats to help them adjust to their new surroundings: a new cat tower, new scratching refill, and new toys. I was gratified that they have been using them. But…the favorite toy of the moment is once again a homemade toy. (See my blog about the first homemade toy here.)

A couple of years ago, my husband and I made chocolate lollipops at Christmas time. We had some leftover candy sticks; I find leftover crafting items perfect cat toy components. In this case, I figured if the sticks are safe for humans to chew on, they would likely be safe for the cats. I tied some leftover ribbon on a candy stick and —  VOILA! — a new toy. My cats are very interactive and they definitely prefer toys that bring them in close contact with me. So I sit on the floor and dangle the toys for them. (Please excuse the quality of the pictures in this post…it’s hard to play with the cat with one hand and take decent pictures at the same time!)

cat play

Aimee watching her favorite toy

They like to grab the ribbons, but also they LOVE to chew on the stick!

closeup cat toy

We LOVE to chew on the stick…

The downside is that the ribbons slide right off and I have to keep putting them back on. To the cats — that’s part of the fun (Off–On–Off–On…). To glue the ribbons would be spoiling part of the game (for them). Sometimes they run off with ribbons streaming from their mouths. (I wish I caught a picture of THAT!)

Anyway, I recommend the local craft store as a go-to place for cat toys. 🙂

cat playing

Aimee playing with her present favorite toy




Writing In FlowMy morning routine includes reading a chapter of a book about writing and then writing my “morning pages” (as coined by Julia Cameron). I am currently reading “Writing in Flow: keys to enhanced creativity” by Susan K Perry, PhD. According to Ms. Perry, Key One is to Have a Reason to Write. In the questions at the end of the chapter she suggests that the reader examine his/her motivations for writing. She knows that her readers will find many. (I certainly did.) Her theory is that when you clear away the peripheral ones, you will get to the heart of the matter and learn a lot about how to foster flow in your writing.

It has always been easy to tell when I’m “inspired” in my writing vs. when I am not. It is as if I am a completely different person. When entering college I was required to write an essay to see whether I could opt-out of Freshman English. Unfortunately the topic was something I knew nothing about and had no interest in…so it was Freshman English for me. Once in class, we were able to choose our own subject as long as we followed the assigned format: comparison essay, descriptive essay, argumentative essay, etc.  Lo and behold, by the time I got to the third paper, my professor had written “A+” and a note that said, “Do you really belong in this class? See me.” Ah, the power of writing about something that interests me!

But I don’t want to depend on being “inspired” to write well, that’s why I am reading the book. So…what is my motivation for writing? I have loved books from the time I was a small child. Consequently I have always admired writers; it was always a club I longed to join. Also, one strong aspect of my personality is that I am a “communicator,” someone who is constantly trying to make sense of my world and interpret what I see, to create relationships between people and things that may not appear to be related (i.e., creating metaphors, the source of my poetic bent). And I want to connect with others, gain their respect, and have them appreciate what I have to say. But although I found many of my reasons have to do with connecting with others, I have written so much that no one has read: endless journals and poems that I haven’t shared. I’m thinking getting to know myself and being comfortable with myself is also an important reason that I write; it may be the bare bones reason, because even if no one reads what I have written but me, I still feel compelled to do it.

One of the most important things I learned from this exercise, though, had to do with a motivation that wasn’t there: making a living with writing. I’ve always struggled with that: making money by editing is one thing, doing it by writing is another. I have often felt conflicted, at times guilty, envious of others, and angry at myself for being a “failure” at making my writing “pay off.”  I often beat myself up about this “failure” and think that “I should” be making money. This exercise helped me work through some of those feelings. I simply don’t have the motivation for it. I am not a “failure” as a writer because I’m not making money at it. If I really wanted to make money at it, I would approach it differently. I would be writing what I think others are interested in; I would be doing research and treating it as a profession. I have to recognize that I am “choosing” not to make it a living at it.

I’ve got a long way to go with this book. I’m interested in what else I will learn about myself and where it will take me. My readers, have you ever REALLY explored your motivations for your passion?



{March 15, 2013}   My First Poetry Slam

microphoneThe Brockton Arts hosted their first poetry slam last night at a college near me. I decided to check it out. They were having an open mike before the slam for poets to get up and read or recite a poem. I wanted to stretch myself out of my comfort zone.

Boy, was I glad I went. I discovered a new form of entertainment, a lot of talent, and a welcoming community — and some things I’d forgotten about myself.

Going to see local bands when I was in my early 20s was an energizing experience and stimulating for both my mind and my creativity. I had forgotten what it felt like to feel so alive and so…young. I felt twinges of that last night. The poets/performers had so much passion, energy, and talent. The atmosphere was intimate and warm, and the time flew by for me. Watching them felt like a combination of watching a play and watching live music. It has been way too long since I have done either of those things, mostly because of the money involved. I had no excuse here…this was free and fabulous.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it because I don’t like rap music. The repetitious bass beat for some reason makes me feel like I want to slug somebody. But I really enjoyed this…the word play was great and I could actually hear it because I wasn’t distracted by the music. Many of them were extremely polished in their voices and stage presence; others were nervous and at times forgot the words. But their nervousness just made me like them and admire them all the more. A door to my nurturing self opened inside me as I watched them: I was face to face with an old dream to be a teacher. They made me want to be INVOLVED in  the world, instead of hiding from it.

The winner of the slam and several other performers recited religious poems, filled with belief and passion. I was reminded of the energy of a southern Baptist church. Not what I expected at all. What a wonderful surprise!



{March 6, 2013}   A Writer’s Sense of Service

Julia Cameron's booksI have recently been rereading Julia Cameron‘s books to give my creativity a boost, but it’s also been making me think about being a writer with a “sense of service” or an “attitude of gratitude.” I decided that what I really like about Julia’s books is her teacher’s sensibility and her nurturing attitude. I’m not naive enough not to recognize that she’s trying to sell books, but I see some sincerity there. I think she truly believes in writing as the salvation and glorious gift it can be and wants others to experience that feeling. It lead me to thinking about being “of service” as a writer and what that means.

One of my coworkers writes poems for her church in her spare time. Her church publishes them in their program and sometimes they read them as a congregation. I think this is a wonderful use of her gift. This is her third Easter performing this service and if you think it is easy to keep seeing a topic in a new way and creating fresh material, then you haven’t tried to do it.

For myself, it has been most gratifying to me when I have been able to write a poem for a friend going through some kind of worry or difficulty: a death in the family or a sibling serving overseas. This is one way I can be “of service” as a writer.

How else can we be of service as writers? The most important way is to encourage and nurture other writers; this is what I feel Julia does very successfully. This type of service could be as small and simple as “liking” someone’s work on Facebook or a blog, or attending a poetry reading. If you feel confident and can take an interest, critique their work in a positive and constructive way. If you have extra money, you could purchase their book. Give them the kudos they need and deserve for completing such an undertaking.

Funny thing, though, I think a lot of writers, once they start to have a following forget what it was like to need that support. They forget what it was like to be someone struggling to find their voice, struggling to feel that what they have to say is relevant. Many writers write because they have a need to be heard. If they don’t feel heard, they give up, and I believe the world loses something important. We let jealousy stand in the way of being of service as writers. (See the video where Julia addresses this topic.)

I believe every writer, famous or not, has a duty to encourage other writers; they are performing a very important service if they do. So…you bloggers reading this…go out and like someone’s blog, comment on someone’s poem…do your part to keep the world writing!



et cetera
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