Conversing with your Creation

Whether it’s painting, poetry, writing, sculpting, woodworking…you name it, what is your relationship with your creation in process?  Is there an ongoing conversation as you work with a piece?

When, for instance, you are crafting your poem, are you aware of a subtle dialogue going on between the parts of yourself that demand expression and the you that witnesses what has been said, written?  With poetry, I think the dialogue comes in when crafting the poem, less than in the initial stages of “getting it down.”

When you are painting, do you impose your design and/or desire on a piece or really step back from the canvas and ask “what’s next?” or “what do you want?”

Yes, creating art is typically a solitary expedition.  However, there is definitely a relationship that is being cultivated.  The language of creativity can be expressed with words–often hunches, instincts, intuition, images, symbols, thrusts or bents that have no logical explanation and aren’t couched in words.

I love it when this conversation induces the creative flow.  Ordinary time is left behind and I enter “the zone.”  And the guidance for what’s next is in place, because basically I have surrendered myself to a process in flow, to the creative conversation.

When you awaken from this trance-like state, you are often surprised to find how long you’ve been so occupied.

What is created while in this zone can be something quite surprising to the artist or writer.

Writing Prompt:
Have you had such an experience?  Write about what it feels like for you to be in conversation with your work of art, poetry, or prose.  Look for metaphors to describe both your creative process while in the zone and the passage of time.

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Lanterns & Fans

A life-long artist and teacher critiqued my
painting (above).  He noted the daring in my abstractions,
designs, color choices and composition.
I remember being deep in creative conversation
with this painting and the art critic recognized
this.

Do I Make an Outline or Chart an Uncertain Course?

Outline or...

It depends?  Either one or both?  Or do you have another way?  This is yet another writer’s decision based upon your own unique needs and the parameters of what you are writing, whether to start with an outline or to be a bit random.

I have writing-friends who are very linear. For them, making an outline gives a sense of security and even comfort.  They’ve got something down on paper and it has a safe structure!  They’ve contained their idea and phew, they are on their way.  Regardless of the particular genre, this is their chosen method of beginning to write–their point of entry.

I like something looser…a wending path across a long roll of paper that I unfurl as I go. Or on that same long roll of paper, I might draw text bubbles of all shapes and sizes.  I diagram, play, map, add and subtract, doodle, make notes, daydream, go a little wild, add color, and engage with my theme or story in a way that the rigidity of an outline with Roman numerals doesn’t allow.  My whole body is involved as I navigate around the meandering paper roll which has now drifted from table to floor.  I number and re-number the text bubbles when I want to bring in some continuity or order.

Structures serve a purpose; however, in the creative realm, structures imposed too soon may be restrictive.  If you are relating something that is absolutely fact-based, then you probably want an outline (at some point).  However, if you have a fact-based story and go a little wild with diagramming, drawing, diverting, you might surprise yourself and bring in some elements that would give your fact-based story a different sort of vitality. And in doing so, you’ve tapped into another part of your brain!

I am not going to tell you not to do an outline.  If you are bent on this, then do it.  Once it’s done, try taking it apart and destructuring it.  Take that long roll of paper and draw that unfolding path or unwieldy text bubbles.  Call on your own fun-loving creative spirit and play freely.  Afterwards, you can rein in your troops and see what is worth keeping and how to integrate it (or not) into your outline and written script.  This is part of the crafting process.

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Considering all of the above, writing seems to be a left-side of the brain activity.  It seeks a logic of some sort as its basis.  (Except, I think, for poetry…which dances between the left and right side of the brain–the masculine right to be assertive and logical dances with the feminine right to intuit and feel). Hmmm.

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WRITING PROMPT:
Try it both ways…take a poem you want to write, a chapter you’re working on or a theme you are considering.  Outline it first.  Then, set yourself free on a long roll of paper or several 8-1/2″ x 11″ sheets of paper taped together.

Once you’ve drafted your ideas on a paper roll, get yourself some inexpensive fluorescent paints and a paintbrush.   Holding the brush in your fingertips, loosely glide it across the paper.  No intention in mind, let the paint flow any which way.  Later on if you want to add squiggles, doodles, designs and symbols, you can come back in with markers, gelatos, colored pencils, pastels, whatever you have. Remember that all of this is cut-able and paste-able if you decide to map your poem, essay or chapter  in another way.

Notice how you feel during and after this exercise.

paperroll