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?
Saturated: soaked, impregnated, or imbued thoroughly; charged thoroughly or completely; brought to a state of saturation.
Have you ever been absolutely SATURATED with life? Yeah? Tell me.
What color or colors are you saturated with these days?
August and September were hard months in our home. Everything was sinking, it felt like we were all falling underwater so to speak. Everything felt like it was tangled up together. Everything felt completely blue. This photo is at a pond at the Asheboro Zoo, but the reflections look sad and wintery, when I turn up the saturation full throttle.
Our lives mirror our art. Sometimes when looking at a piece of writing, or even a slice of our life (i.e. current circumstances), all we see is murkiness. But when seen from a far, a bigger picture emerges, one of clarity, and color, and vibrance. We are no longer saturated, but satiated.
If you feel saturated with your writing today, or perhaps your life, walk away for just a little while. Look at the bigger picture. Hang in there. Maybe your current work is providing the contrast to the future big picture!
That thing happened again. That person. That event. That habit. That thing from your past that you keep buried deep and far back in the closet of your mind. It/they are your past you remind yourself. Still, from time to time, the door creaks open, and a bony finger protrudes threatening to blow the lid off of all that you are now! I’ll expose you is the subtle implication!
I am not enslaved anymore to that person or event you convince yourself. For it is merely a memory.
Maybe it was a good thing you can never share or possibly explain. Maybe it’s a horrific secret that took years of therapy to overcome. Maybe it’s a little bit of both. Whatever it is, whoever they are, chances are, it may have something to do with the reason you write now.
Skeletons are skeevy this way. Though they cannot speak, they remind you of a time when they were more flesh than bones, once so alive and real, so powerfully remembered. Their story whether by choice or happenstance merged with your story, daring you to break the concrete covenant of silence.
Like the singing siren who softly lures the seaman to come drown in her ocean, the skeleton sometimes rattles in his closet demanding to be let out. He will tempt you with memory and mesmerize you with lies.
It’s okay. Dare him to walk into the light. Come on out and do a little dance with me!
I’m not who I was. And now—I can see right through you.
Write! Write because you loved. Write because you endured. Write because you witnessed. Write because you survived. Write because you lived like you never knew you could. Write because you are not afraid of anything now. Write because you’re stronger than any skeleton or their poison secrets. Write because now you live life true. Write because you’re just brave enough to say it and then do.
“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
Writing is a curved process. At least it is for me. It’s never linear. I start on a topic here. And another one there. And then I go back and add and subtract some words from the first piece. Then I start writing about a third and fourth topic. Then life interrupts me about 1,729 different ways and I don’t do any writing. Then I play with my photography. Then life calls again.
Will it all come together someday? Will that novel in my head ever make it to print?
I hope so.
Writers today have to immerse themselves in every kind of technology you can think of just to get your name “out there”. You try and promote your writing on Facebook, and/or Twitter, and/or a zillion other blog sites. You have to submit and face rejection and often absolute nothingness. You have to learn how to multiply your contacts, exposure, connections, and ideas. By the time you figure that out; you’re spent!
You probably waste hours and days figuring out the process when all you really want to do is create. It makes you feel like everyone else is ahead of the curve and you’re a thousand miles behind.
I remind myself daily that writing, photography, and any other artistic endeavor worthy of consuming is unfortunately now days more about learning about process than it is creating of craft. I love creating. I detest learning about process, and yet I know that’s what I must do soon to take either hobby to the next level.
Our words flow in linear fashion but our thoughts and ideas are far from such tidy organization. Perhaps when we are sleeping, both are being stitched together, day by day, like the curves and lines of a peacock feather. One day we finish “it” and just know:
I created something beautiful
Writing can give so much joy; it can also make one feel utterly worthless as if you are wasting time and not living a “productive” life. Then all of a sudden–an encouraging word is granted, a glimmer of hope shines, a nugget of wisdom is gleaned, or a new challenge is mastered.
You’ve been thrown a curve ball. Only this time you catch it and say: