I’ve written earlier how Covid-19 has helped me establish some better writing habits, and it has. Yet the last two weeks provided some interesting self-learning opportunities for me. We traveled to California (via car), to spend time with family. This hasn’t been a trip for sight-seeing, but has allowed us to connect with some family members while staying in one location. A location different from our house. Everyone here has their normal activities, as do we.
Yet the environment differs vastly from home. The sights, the temperatures, the plants—I’ve found all these differences sparked additional creativity for me.
In the past, I’ve found traveling ignites creativity, or time appreciating natural beauty, or enjoying another’s art creations. Just spending quiet, uninterrupted time in a different environment from home provided an unexpected burst.
This gift of creative energy was a surprise, a very pleasant surprise.
A daughter commented that she’s heard other writers say that’s the reason they enjoy going to a retreat. I’d always thought one went on a writing retreat to remove one’s self from their routine and have more time. So like me to consider “time” as the limiting commodity. …and so, incorrect! I’ve enjoyed this “writing retreat” to work on multiple projects.
Reflecting on the first half of 2020 brings many thoughts to mind. It’s a year that has affected everyone.
Civilizations around the world all touched by Covid-19 have dealt differently with it, each in their own way. Even in other cultures, individuals have responded diversely to the impact. Recognize that I will only address the affects to me, and in no way mean that to minimize or marginalize anyone else’s experience. Personally, Covid-19 allowed me to slow down; no really, forced me to slow down. I considered myself to be a grateful person, yet this slower pace allowed me to recognize even more things to be grateful for. Regular Zoom meetings allowed me to stay connected with writing friends from Ireland, and the local writing group, now on-line connects more frequently. I’ve been able to establish some new patterns or routines in my life, resulting in more consistency in writing. A new children’s story awaits art work; a compilation of short stories (some new and some former writings) is coming together; there’s noticeable progress on the sequel to “Dream Glasses.” With this slower pace, I find after an initial writing, it’s easier to go back and review it with a more critical eye and make corrections. I recognize I’m more calm. Life feels less hectic, and more relaxing.
The question that plagues me is, what of these new patterns will I bring to my future when life returns to some semblance of normalcy?
Have you found aspects of these last few months you want to carry forward? Are you willing to share them?
In the midst of the current pandemic, we’ve found ourselves with more time at home. There has been a task at my house I’ve been saying “if I just had some uninterrupted time at home, I would get that done.”
So, due to the pandemic, I have time at home. I’ve found tackling the task difficult to do. Not because the task is so hard, I just lacked enthusiasm to start and stick with the project to completion.
It took me over a week to complete the project once I began. What’s interesting to me, is that I realize it was not a question time. The question proved to be motivation.
For whatever reason, I made cleaning my office/art room into something so daunting that I was avoiding even beginning.
I can say it is complete. I’ve been waiting to start a project in the room until I completed the clean-up. Now I’m able to begin creating something I want to do. Why am I not filled with a sense of satisfaction for cleaning up my work space?
Do you have a project or task that you’ve been putting off and can’t seem to do it?
Why, as the sky turns dark, and I lay my head into my pillow, do all these great thoughts and ideas come to mind? I want to sleep but instead I ponder story starts, and various scenes to add to pieces I’m writing. My body is weary, too weary to get up and write. The thoughts are so vivid I’m sure I’ll remember them the next time I sit down to write, or for sure, in the morning.
Slumber finally comes. Then when the pink glow of morning lights up the sky and the sun peaks above the horizon, my eyes slowly awaken. Gratitude for the new day and all it offers, fills my heart. But alas! Some thief snuck into my room in the night while the stars twinkled and shone. I’m certain I was considering something wonderful last night, but all those thoughts vanished. Not a remnant remains, nor is there any evidence of who took the fruit of my inspiration.
I’ve been back in Colorado about a month now. After a few days, I adjusted to the time differences, the altitude, the night stars and different lifestyles. Remaining were the routine things around the house that needed attention, civic responsibilities and reconnecting with friends on this side of the Atlantic. It looks like it might take us the rest of the year to connect with family and friends we haven’t seen in a while.
While in Ireland, I established a “more” regular writing routine than I had previously practiced. For me, that meant at least three or four dedicated times of writing, or writing related activities per week. It seems like I fell out of step with those practices quickly after landing back in the states. My first goal is to return my Irish writing routine.
I’m okay with you checking in to see my progress. That’s accountability.
The local writers group assigned the topic of “Day Dreams.”
This piece came from that assignment.
As a little girl, with bubble wand in my hand, I twirl.
The bubbles, like my day dreams unknown to me, rise in the sky.
My only fascination lay with watching the bubbles rise and marveling how high they went before they burst.
I shared this activity with my daughters and grand-daughters. To this day, I stop and smile when I witness a child partaking in this delight.
Only later did I realize my day dreams rode on those bubbles. How many dreams did I let escape? Did they really escape, or simply hitch a ride on a star?
As an adult, the night sky and its stars captivated me. I love how the night lights sparkle and shine against the dark velvet.
I moved west and in the high, dry mountain air found the stars more numerous than previously imagined. And they appeared much closer. In fact, close enough to reach out and grab. I began to see the connection between bubbles, stars and my day dreams.
Now I envision my day dreams found protection in the stars until such time as I could gather them back to myself. In the safety of maturity and greater self-awareness, I’m learning which dreams to toss back to the stars for another time or person to claim. With fresh eyes and new appreciation, I’ve reclaimed some of those day dreams. As they unfold and develop, I change and grow.
Now I recognize that day dreams and dreaming keeps one alive and vibrant.
My advice to you: Hang onto your dreams!
Do you still dream?
Are you finding any of your old dreams returning to you?
This morning while reading “writing” material, I discovered an article on crisis management and how that affects writers.
Oh, the events in life that affect a writer, and how those same experiences impact creativity or the ability to put words to paper. Perhaps I should say, inability to put words to paper.
As I pondered the article, I realized I can exercise crisis management during those seasons when the words seem to have died. In fact, I recognized unwittingly I was actually doing just that. Instead of working on my next book, I found myself absorbed in other writing. I practiced what I call “mental health” writing. Life itself had presented various writing assignments I needed to complete for marketing a couple up-coming author events.
I don’t know what works for you, but for me, words are the answer to healing, to dealing with a crisis, to life. I can smile, knowing I’ll be back to working on that book project soon.
What do you do when life throws you a curve ball and you feel you’ve lost your creative edge?
Several years ago, when I started writing what was to become “Dream Glasses,” I wanted to stage much of the story in a Parisian Bakery. My storybook bakery was to be located across the street from a neighborhood park. Using the internet, I found Ble Sucré in the 12th arrondissement met these requirements. The bakery in my book was renowned for making Madeleines.
Can you imagine my surprise when reading news this weekend, I found Ble Sucré identified by Top Chefs as one bakery having the best pastries in Paris? …and the bakery’s best is their Madeleines!
Locations identified in “Dream Glasses” are real Parisian locations. The story is fictional. If you want an armchair trip to Paris and an easy read “Dream Glasses” is your ticket.
“Dream Glasses” is available on Amazon, both as a Kindle or print format. There are print copies available for sale in Carbondale, CO at Susan Flowers & Artisan Boutique and in Glenwood Springs, CO at the BookTrain.
The full article “The Best Bakeries in Paris, According to Top Chefs” by Kate Krader & Richard Vines was originally published April 17, 2018.