This really happened to me when I went to NYC a few summers ago. I saw a flash of something blue and red out of the corner of my eye. Being an intuitive person, I darted around speedy quick. That’s when I saw my super hero: Spider-Man!
I grabbed my camera. I started clicking before he could eject his super sticky web maker and sling himself out of my sight. Clearly you can see, those with lesser intuition went about their day unaware they were in the presence of a superhero with super powers!
One smart man, finally had the guts to ask him, just how do you sling that magic web?
Squirt! Sling! Flash! Gone!
Just like that, the Marvel-ous masked man was off and flying, no doubt already on the job to save the day for somebody else somewhere.
I’m just a blogger who hopes to organize her life someday in such a way she can finish a book. But I keep getting distracted by my second passion–photography. I haven’t decided which I like more yet: Words that paint a picture? Or if a picture is worth a thousand words, does this mean in a parallel universe I’ve already written volumes of books?
Maybe I just need a little supernatural help to rescue me from life’s distractions, or perhaps inject me with some structure? Discipline? Time management skills? Confidence? Inspiration? All of the above?
I’m ready to write now Spider-Man! Won’t you throw me a line?
Let there be light! Or at least let there be light in all the dark places. In our writing, it’s sometimes cathartic to bring light using our words to showcase redemption in our dark characters, or to perhaps illuminate the evil that always seems to lurk just below the surface of our skin.
As a writer, it helps sometimes to clear off the desk, ignore the mental clutter, and bring light to our soul simply by writing!
Photography is a whole other ball of wax! Light is an infinite scale to be manipulated, fudged, added, subtracted, by playing with settings, or adding external lighting such as portraiture work, or subtracting overexposure (operator error) with Photoshop or various editing software.
So the other day I decided to photograph my jet black cat in “negative” mode on my smartphone (an HTC Amaze). Sigh! Yes, these are the things writers do when they should be writing. Correction–these are the things all people do when they are avoiding productivity. WE PLAY WITH OUR PHONES!
So really this photo is actually a reversal of light. What is really dark, is perceived as lightness. The cat is black, as is the shelf behind her. The green box is really pink. The purple box is really rather yellowish-tan.
So what could’ve been just another crazy pic, ended up being a stimulus to get the writing hands moving again. Leonard Cohen once said:
There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light get’s in.
I took a picture simply to play. But instead it inspired me to work at my writing. Yes, light is an infinite and timeless energy source, once it’s tapped into, both in the physical world and the metaphysical and metaphorical world.
Voila! Let there be light!
Tree Picture Taken at Raleigh’s Raulston Arboretum — October 2013
One dreary evening under a spooky old tree,
a spirit seemed to beckon me.
What do you think you want to do with your life?
A profound question whispered eerily.
Dark and ominous it quite did appear,
but by capturing it in time,
I began to allay my fear.
THIS! THIS! This is what I want to do!
Weave words and pictures together.
What say you?
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” — Coco Channel
How big is your freedom these days? Do you say what you want to say? Or do you self-censor because maybe it’s not politically correct or it may offend in some way? Do you think we are more free or less free to say what we really want to say?
In writing, and photography, and art in general do you create what’s in your soul or what you think people want to hear, read, see, or purchase?
I have made a decision in my life and in my art. I’m going to say what I mean to say. I just am. People came to this great country so they could carve out their own destiny and control their own life and be who they were born to be, not who those in power say they ought to be.
I see in this world a great need for those in power to CONTROL those of us who choose not to be. I don’t need it. I don’t want it. I just want my freedom to be me.
What does freedom mean to you? Is it a big idea bigger than all of us? Or is it an attribute to be handed out to us incrementally by those who claim they know what’s best for us?
Would love to know your thoughts on FREEDOM in art, in your choices, in your faith, in your life, and where you live.
Say what you want to say. Be who you truly are–the destiny God set upon you before you were here. Be free to create something beautiful and true today.
Freedom! Cherish it always!
“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” Gloria Steinem
A storm is coming. Danger lurks around the corner, hiding, crouching, like a lion ready to devour and pounce. The warning clouds are hovering above. Moreover your gut is acting up. That’s because your intuition already knows what your mind keeps closing the curtains on.
That’s the problem with intuition. It blasts out alarm signals that only the intuitive–those with ears to hear and eyes to see can discern. It sucks sometimes. This foreshadowing, this incessant foreboding.
The best definition of foreshadowing is that you know before you know. That is you know before it is confirmed.
In life, and in writing, how do you deal with impending storms? Do you or your characters prepare? Hope for the best? Trust in God? Pretend everything is just fine?
There is something magnificent about storms though. If you persist, you will eventually reach the eye. It’s deceptive, but the eye is where everything is calm. It’s the place where you can get still; grab clarity as a life preserver, and finish riding it out without panic.
Storms are always preceded by a foreshadowing. They may pass quickly, or they may linger or destroy what’s around leaving a new landscape.
How do you show foreshadowing in your writing and all that comes after? How do you respond to foreshadowing in your life?
“Joy weathers any storm: Happiness rides the waves.” — Todd Stocker
“It takes a real storm in the average person’s life to make him realize how much worrying he has done over the squalls.” — Bruce Barton
“You can dance in the storm. Don’t wait for the rain to be over before because it might take too long. You can can do it now. Wherever you are, right now, you can start, right now; this very moment.” — Israelmore Ayivor
A woman in the 1770s meticulously and patiently labors at sewing her Masterpiece–a woman’s dress. She may spend a month using only needle, thread, and fabric without benefit of anything electrical to speed her stitches or illuminate her work space. She creates using only natural light. She is not rushed. She is uninterrupted by an in-box or anything electronic that chirps, rings, or beeps. She does not work to music, but to silence. She creates using only her hands, using no pattern other than the vision in her mind. She is not in a hurry. She is at peace.
When you write your Masterpiece can you say the same? Can you find a quiet and uninterrupted, uncluttered time and space to pursue your craft? If you do, you may find that by sunset your soul is satisfied and your work is indeed nearing perfection. Less is more. When you are at one with your work, you are grateful for having been given the purpose of creating something, that until this moment, never existed. And all of heaven rejoices.
What will you write or create today?
“Solitude has soft, silky hands, but with strong fingers it grasps the heart and makes it ache with sorrow.” Khalil Gibran
“You can’t, if you can’t feel it, if it never
Rises from the soul, and sways
The heart of every single hearer,
With deepest power, in simple ways.
You’ll sit forever, gluing things together,
Cooking up a stew from other’s scraps,
Blowing on a miserable fire,
Made from your heap of dying ash.
Let apes and children praise your art,
If their admiration’s to your taste,
But you’ll never speak from heart to heart,
Unless it rises up from your heart’s space.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe — Faust: First Part
Photos Taken: Williamsburg, VA — May 2013 — Liz Gray
Ah the Golden Hour! In photography, it’s that magic window of time that occurs about an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset, where everything is in shades of gold, brilliantly lit with silhouettes who magically appear like whispers on the horizon and where dark characters are outlined by light. In writing, well…..not so much.
I find in writing,the Golden Hour is like trying to corral these three precious dogs! You’ve got your dog Inspiration, the dog that is always super excited, chomping at the bit, and raring to go. You’ve got the wandering dog, Time. She is the rascally one that always tries to get away from you, and then you’ve got Substance (sometimes who answers to the name Results) the dog that is actually your prized purebred, your show pony if you will–the one you hope will make you known.
But in the subdivision known only as Reality Bites, Inspiration always seems to get pushed out of the way by Time, the one who constantly demands you chase after her, so you’ll be forced to ignore the other two. But once in a golden sunset, Time will behave, and Inspiration will sit on your lap for a while, and when that happens, your shy, enigmatic, and often elusive dog Substance will finally make an appearance.
And for once, all is WRITE in your world.
“Is life not a hundred times too short for us to stifle ourselves?” — Friedrick Nietzsche
“When asked, ‘How do you write?’
I invariably answer, ‘one word at a time.’” — Stephen King
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” — Agatha Christie
“Every single cell in the human body replaces itself over a period of seven years. That means there’s not even the smallest part of you now that was part of you seven years ago.”
― Steven Hall, The Raw Shark Texts
Like this sweet little boy who is completely pooped after a big wedding, you may feel like this too after writing a long chapter or a challenging piece. Your tired. Spent. Exhausted.
It’s okay. It’s time for you to rest. It’s good to give yourself permission to stop sometimes, especially when life gets busy.
“I’m just a drinker with writing problems,” the Irish poet and playwright Brendan Behan one stated. In that case, know when to say when!
It’s so easy to dither between unwarranted intoxication or absolute depression over the words we spill all over the page. Don’t let writing make you feel wasted! Translation: There is still life out there that needs to be lived!
If you wrote something today then good for you! Review then rejoice!
If you wrote poorly or didn’t have time at all, than tomorrow is a new day. Take the time now to pause and take a breath. Reflect a little. Rest. Then you can come back tomorrow renewed and refreshed and ready to write.
Renewal: A necessary part of the creative process!
PHOTO: LIZ GRAY — SONORA DESERT EXHIBIT — NC ZOO — ASHEBORO, NC
Perspective is everything isn’t it? I find when I write, especially when attempting to write a fiction story, it’s a bit like this photo above. So many angles to everything!! As a writer who is fascinated with architecture, I marvel at the science of geometry that goes into constructing a round dome completely out of triangles.
This desert environment at the NC Zoo in Asheboro is preserved from winter’s harshness by creating a completely controlled, dry and warm environment year round for the cacti to thrive. Not only are sunlight and warmth preserved, but it feels as if you exist in two places simultaneously: inside and outside.
Writing coherently is like geometry. You write a story with lots of angles, but in the end, you have to figure out how to tie all your plots and characters together. Just like the dome above, you bring your readers full circle by the construction of angles. You take your readers to another time, another place; you take them outside of themselves. Then you take them deeper still. You hold up a mirror, using paper and words, and force them to look inside and outside of themselves.
Geometry in architecture, in words, and in life–it’s a beautiful thing.
What dimension will you write about today? How will you connect your characters across time and space to one another?
Enjoy your writing today as your play with the shape of your words!