July 1, 2012
The above quote gave me a big fat aha! moment, this morning.
It was a soothing balm after yesterday’s blah-ha moment.
My blah-ha feeling came from reading Marilyn Robertson’s blog post, “Creative Habits, Work Environment and Tools of the Trade.” I was blown away by the grasp she has on her ‘creative powers’ — she seems so together, so grounded, so comfortable with her artist self.
The more I read, the more it struck me:
I don’t know who the hell I am!
So I ate an extra large bowl of chocolate-banana ice cream. Then I made myself a huge bowl of popcorn and watched the movie Inception.
Wow, what a movie — LOVED it. Found myself wishing I could ‘dream’ that way. Then thought about re-reading “The Art of Dreaming” by Carlos Castaneda. Then got scared because I know how far my mind can go. Then went back to reading “Zen and the Art of Stand-Up Comedy” in order to get my mind off my mind.
Don’t get me wrong, dear reader and especially Marilyn, I’m not at all discouraged; quite the contrary. I’m grateful to be, at almost 62, living on the edge of insanity… on the brink of discovering who I am.
June 28, 2012
Who are these women and
what links them together?
Well, first came…
Lately, I’ve been meeting oodles of cool women on Facebook. Creative women. Gutsy women. Women who are out there living their dreams.
Marta Szabo is one of them.
Co-Director of the Authentic Writing Workshops, Marta has been a writer and an editor all her life. Reading the short bio on her website, I’m amazed at (and a tad envious of) how exciting her life has been to date. From working as an editor in mass-market paperbacks to pursuing yoga and meditation to living in an ashram for over ten years AND spending a year and a half in India… Marta’s exploits make the heroine of Eat, Pray, Love seem lazy and dull. (And that’s only part of it… see for yourself.)
Through her workshops, Marta is making sure more and more people start living their dreams by helping them “return to their most essential, personal material – the content of their actual lives – and to render those stories not in pious ephemeral terms, but in tough, concrete ones.” In other words, Marta helps people unleash the writer within!
A good way to get to know her is by reading her blog, Experiments in Memoir. She’s of course on Facebook, though you may want to start by joining her Facebook Page and following her on Twitter.
It was Marta who shed a light on…
It all started with a quote I stumbled upon while reading a book:
“The way to find your true self
is by recklessness and freedom.”
— Brenda Ueland
I had no clue who Brenda Ueland was, but finding myself in need of a quick quote fix, I skipped the research part and went straight to citing her on my Facebook wall.
Then came Marta’s comment: this is one of the best books ever about writing — written in the 1920s or 30s. “If You Want to Write.”
I immediately googled Brenda and found the following info on — yes — Wikipedia:
Ueland published two books during her life. The first was If You Want to Write: a Book about Art, Independence and Spirit, first published in 1938. In this book, she shares her philosophies on writing and life in general. She stresses the idea that “Everyone is talented, original, and has something important to say.” Drawing heavily on the work and influence of William Blake, she suggests that writers should “Try to discover your true, honest, un-theoretical self.” She sums up her book with 12 points to keep in mind while writing. Carl Sandburg called If You Want to Write “the best book ever written on how to write.”
Her second book was an autobiography entitled Me: A Memoir, published in 1939. In it she writes about her childhood, time in college, her life in Greenwich Village, and love affairs, among other topics. She tells of her affair with Raoul Hendricson, an anarchist who eventually left her for Isadora Duncan. This book was reprinted in 1994. Libby Larsen composed a wonderful song cycle using texts from this memoir.
Thanks for the tip, Marta… “If You Want to Write” is on its way from Amazon.ca. I would have ordered both her books but “Me: A Memoir” is too darn expensive for my present financial situation.
And finally, Brenda reunited me with…
(couldn’t find a picture of Dorothea — her book cover will have to do)
As soon as I saw that Brenda’s book was published in the 30s, I remembered another book that was also published in the 30s: “Becoming a Writer,” by Dorothea Brande.
I bought that book in 1993 (I always jot down the purchase date inside the cover), but to be honest with you, I don’t remember reading it. And after flipping through the 186 pages, I admit I find it boring. Still, here’s the first exercise, page 58:
You are near a door. When you come to the end of this chapter put the book aside, get up, and go through that door. From the moment you stand on the threshold turn yourself into your own object of attention. What do you look like, standing there? How do you walk? What, if you knew nothing about yourself, could be gathered of you, your character, your background, your purpose just there at just that minute? If there are people in the room whom you must greet, how do you greet them? How do your attitudes to them vary? Do you give any overt sign that you are fonder of one, or more aware of one, than of the rest?
There is no deep, dark, esoteric purpose behind this exercise. It is a primer lesson in considering oneself objectively, and should be dismissed from your mind when you have learned what you can from it. Another time try sitting at ease and — using no gestures at all — tell yourself step by step how you comb your hair. (You will find it harder than you think.) Again, follow yourself at any small routine task. A little later take an episode of the day before; see yourself going up to it and coming away from it; and the episode itself as it might have looked to a stranger. At still another time think how you might have looked if you could follow yourself all day long from a little height. Use the fiction maker’s eye on yourself to see how you would have appeared when you went in and out of houses, up streets and into stores, and back home at the end of the day.
END OF CHAPTER
There you have it — three fabulous women linked together by one burning passion: writing.
Dorothea passed away in 1948; Brenda, in 1985.
Thank your lucky stars Marta is ALIVE.
P.S.: I’ll be reading “If You Want to Write” as soon as it arrives. Stay tuned for my book review.
June 6, 2012
Okay, here goes: I’ve decided to make a living out of living my passion. To make something out of what I’m good at. To become sustainably creative and get myself out of this financial rut.
But what’s even scarier is to know that if I don’t make a move right here, right now, I’ll be missing out on an opportunity to build a better life for myself. Because at the moment, I’ve pretty much hit rock bottom — the only way left for me is UP.
So the first thing to do is ask the right questions. For this I chose a book I bought in 2009. Back then, I had planned to work through it, but quit.
The book is called The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, written by Gail McMeekin.
Here are the questions which will help me determine my priorities.
- Who and where is the audience you want to reach with your work?
- What is the message in your work?
- What business are you in, e.g., entertainment, education, enlightenment, fine arts, medicine, business services, or a combination?
- What percentage of time do you want to spend creating versus something else, like marketing? Create your own time formula and write your own job description from it. Be sure to include time for yourself and vacations. What tasks need to be delegated or how many employees/contractors do you need to make your business work?
- How much money do you want to make in the future? Remember, you need to project your gross income minus your business expenses and allot sufficient funds for taxes.
- All of us could market ourselves around the clock. Marketing is an endless task. How much time and energy are you willing to invest in this process? Write a list of marketing goals as the start of a marketing plan.
- Do you like public speaking or appearing on television and radio? Are you skilled at presenting yourself or do you need some training? Do you enjoy the limelight or dread it? Perhaps you’d rather write articles than be on the speaking circuit.
- How do you feel about being away from home? Is travel exciting to you or a chore? What happens to your creative energy when you travel? Many creative women limit their travel to a certain percentage of their time and choose where to go.
- How is your work best presented? Think innovatively about different models. Do you need a multimedia presentation, a Web site, a workbook, a film, or a sales force?
- How are you most comfortable presenting your work? What kinds of communications with potential clients or customers feel positive and mutually rewarding to you? Will these preferences work for you in the marketplace? Try some experiments. As more of the marketplace is influenced by the Internet, some exciting new possibilities emerge.
I’ve made the decision. I’ve committed to changing my condition. I’ve taken the first step.
The goal is to go UP… no ifs, ands, or buts!
December 24, 2009
…from my good friend and crochet artist Kcrystina Stephen.
As I had decided not to decorate for Christmas this year (nothing happening here — will be partying at family & friends’ homes), I was glad to find a good place to hang my crocheted snowflake. Pretty cool, eh?
By the way, Kcrystina is one of the passengers on my Road Trip Destination Happiness. I’d love to have you join us, but first you need to be on Facebook. Hope you’ll add me as a friend — I promise lots of action and goodies for 2010.
See you on board the Happy Bus!