Monday, 19 June 2017

Fitting into corners ~ A Story of Priorities and a Jar

Before I sat down to type this post I was making my bed, a task I loathe as I always seem to take a ridiculous amount of time trying to tuck the sheet in trying to smooth out the wrinkles, and usually lose patience half way through trying to fit the quilt into the corners of the cover. But then it’s kind of worth the hassle as nothing beats that feeling of climbing into a clean, crisp bed…

And then I got to thinking, when it comes to fitting into other corners, is it always worth it? 

It’s easy to find yourself in a corner, wondering how you got there if you spend too much time listening to the expectations of others, listening to their perception of you and thinking, ‘You’re right, I am like that, so this is a really good idea, following this path, because really it’s the only sensible option at this stage of my life and won’t I be a bit of disappointment to you and to myself if I don’t try it?

And it’s easy to forget to listen to another voice, the one that’s echoing in the perimeters of your brain, that’s demanding you listen to the creative dreamer. The dreamer sometimes gives you a good kick deep inside when you listen to a haunting song, and the goosebumps erupt up your arms, waking up your imagination, pulling you back into another part of your world you sometimes forget to spend adequate time in. Maybe that world got a bit real, when your words were released into a forum you didn’t quite understand, so you hid for a while wandering along another path of expectation that has more clear cut rules that you know how to follow…

But then you remember that day, when you were a few weeks into following the path with more rules, you found yourself sitting in a meeting and you were shown a video called, ‘A Story of Priorities and a Jar’. The smart professor on the video explained that if you fill the jar with sand first, then there will be no room for the rocks or the pebbles, which are the important bits. And you couldn’t quite shake the thought I’ve just gone and put a whole heap of sand in first and now I have to spend a lot of time sinking into the sand, when really there’s rocks and stones I need to collect to build something else…

So this is the start of me going back to building something else. Remembering to listen to the dreamer, and the dreamer is so happy as I type these words, that I can feel a little tingle dancing up and down my spine.

P.s The photo at the top is of a beautiful ‘Small Stones’ booklet that my friend Rebecca made me for my birthday a few months ago. You should check out her creative website here 

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Small Stones

Last month I decided to repeat a writing challenge I tried many years ago called 'Small Stones' to kick start some creativity. When I completed this exercise the first time around it showed me how much detail you can see in every day observations if you look closely enough.

The idea behind the Small Stones challenge is to:
~ Notice one thing each day
~ Give your whole awareness to it
~ Write it down

I attempted to capture observations in a poetic and creative way. Here's a selection of my January observations below: 

Misread subway advertisement on the morning commute: Think of your perfect hell. This is it, right here - Monday morning where the grind begins again, a row of weary eyes reflecting mirrored emotion, a glimmer of who we want to be burning beneath restless hands turning the pages of today's news, lost under the city in a rattle of repeated loops. 

A teenage boy, vulnerable face, dark shadows under nervous eyes, a sigh of relief flooding his body as he walks into the comfort of a group who understand: with no questions, no judgement. They speak his language of technological puzzles, navigating night monsters into oblivion, so he can live another victorious day.

A montage from a photography class displayed above a robot with printed across his chest. A photo of a girl - one green eye, one red. Startled by a flash of realisation that she is being looked at, examined, seen - not judged - captured and suspended in a beautiful light, expressed through colour.

Red Glove: child sized, waving hello from a puddle on a dark January morning. The puddles pulled her under and this is a sign -Help, come and find me...

Girl in stilettos, walking comfortably in new shoes, head held high. Her friends are running alongside still trying to catch up with who they are.

Wooden heart laced with fake red berries, tied to a fence. A cheap remembrance of a love so rich. 

Pink hair, pink trainers, black nails and fierce eyes. Sweet and sour: Do not underestimate my power.

In January I also had a nice surprise of being a runner up in the Weegie Wednesday Shorts competition. (Weegie Wednesday is a writing networking group I have attended for years).
My short story, Only You, was broadcast on the Glasgow Hosptial Broadcasting service and was read aloud by an actress, with sound effects and music. They captured the atmosphere of Paris within the story perfectly and it was quite special to hear it 'brought to life'. 

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Hello Again

Yesterday I logged back into this blog and couldn't quite believe it when I saw that my last post was in December 2015. I re-read the post, where I talked about how fast paced life had been during 2015. 2016 followed a similar vein and I had a year of purposely 'stepping outside of my comfort zone' and seeing where that took me. It took me to good places: a perfect new house, a promoted post in my day job and some romantic adventures. Throughout 2016 I was also really lucky to take part in a lot of fun book related events, engaging with lots of enthusiastic and passionate teenagers, some of whom took the time to contact me afterwards to tell me I had inspired them to read more and write more. (You can read about these adventures on my author website here).
Every time I leave one of those events I feel a renewed energy and enthusiasm for the power of creativity, but also a sense of guilt as I've been really bad at disciplining myself with my own creativity, of creating enough space to silence my mind. But then I kept telling myself if you want to write something of true depth, with emotion and meaning, isn't it also important to make sure you live a full life? That's what I feel has been important for me the past year or so, as I had been so immersed in my writing and day dreaming for a good couple of years I felt I'd let my 'real life' plod along without much change.

Now that I've thoroughly shaken up my life (in a good way) I feel it's time to get serious again about re-connecting with the creative side of my brain. I have still been working on my new book and I'm happy to say it's over the half way mark now, but I want to be typing THE END really soon.

The past year I've stopped myself from writing anything which isn't the book, because I feel guilty when I use (my very limited) spare time to play around with words in other ways. But after reading over this blog again yesterday I realised how much I've missed using it as a way of expressing myself creatively and documenting anything interesting I see, or using it as a way of expressing thoughts which pop into my head from time to time into something more meaningful. This blog was a fantastic way to keep me connected to the creative part of my brain.

One of my favourite exercises I documented on here was the Small Stones challenge so I'm going to put a notebook in my work bag this evening so that I can start to doing this every day during my commute. I'm going to re-train my brain to edge aside work things and some life things, and make more room for my imagination to take flight.

Watch this space!