Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

Breaking through Writer’s Block

         Blankness               It is a daunting task to face the blank page of a computer screen, a sheet of notebook paper, or a stretched canvas.  There it is.  Wanting nothing but the start.  How to start, and what to put there.  I cannot think of the beginning; yet my heart and head are unrequited with thoughts of creativity – and then the moment I attempt to begin – the blankness is overwhelming.
              I drive down the highway, away from the blankness of starting upon the blankness and my thoughts are bursting through at such a speed that I must steady my foot on the accelerator lest my thoughts cause my car to attempt to keep up.  The thoughts are flowing freely.  All I can think about is how quickly I must get to my computer, my paper, my canvas and give free rein to what is in my soul; allowing it to pour freely upon the page.
              I arrive home, go quickly to my desk, my studio, my place of retreat…and there it is; the blank page.  I wonder where the creativity has vanished away to.  I sit quietly a moment.  The voices of many mentors begin to permeate my thoughts.  Mom says, “Let’s get started.”  My husband encourages, “You can do it.”  Hallie reminds, “Begin where you are.”  Sharon admonishes, “Write it down…we want to read it.”  Voices everywhere.  I can do this…one stroke on the keyboard, one stroke with my paint brush, and I have begun.
             Time vanishes away. Creativity pours itself out and floods across the blankness.  Hours have been swallowed in time, but I am unaware.  There is no longer blankness.  I have begun. —–

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Thoughts on a New Day

            The soft, red glow of the clock reveals the time to be 3:30 a.m.  Another hour has passed since first I awakened with thoughts worth thinking about, trapped inside a body that was contentedly avowed to stay a little longer in bed.  The distant hum of the fan beside my bed, the warm back of my husband pressed lightly against my own, the cool touch of the sheet and quilt as they drape themselves  against the contours of my body, all join together to lull me into contentment, and to return to the bliss of sleep…but I cannot.   There is no worry here, nor troubled thoughts, nor stress of deadlines.  I lie here contemplating the birds I have observed throughout the day – yesterday.  I think of the Sparrow that is fallen, of the black birds who have chosen to nest and raise a family in our guttering, and of the Blue jays chasing about in my back yard.  I recall the Cardinals squawking and fluttering about the bird feeder all in a dither to be the only one at the feeding station.  I think how like God to reveal life-lessons to us by recording stories of birds in the Bible.  I wonder if I’m absorbing all I need from the lessons I see as I watch their behavior.

            I think about all of the progress of science and technology, and wonder why I can’t have access to an electrode, attach it to my head, press a button, “download” and have an instant hard-copy in manuscript form of the thoughts I’ve just thought about all.  I then think how bizarre a world it would be if such a contraption did exist.

            Another chunk of time passes as I lie contentedly, contemplating, making mental stabs how to record all these thoughts.  My mind is racing – like I’m running out of time. It is now almost daybreak and I can no longer restrain myself from getting some of these rampant thoughts into hard copy.

            Why do I write?  Why have I had to write since I was very young?  When did I first feel the need to write?  Was it because I had the need to communicate?  Were there things which were bottled up inside my soul which I felt compelled to express in words? Is this why a musician sings?  An artist paints?  A preacher speaks? A dancer, dances?

            It’s dawn, and the birds outside my window are the first to herald its coming. Somehow I feel satisfaction that I have shared these moments with them. I am exultant that I found the courage to remove my head from the cool, softness of my pillow long enough to “download” my initial thoughts.  Today as I experience the adventures the new day may bring my way, I will color them with the shapes, hues, and musings this early morning has brought.  But for now, I think I’ll crawl back into my inviting bed and await the sound of the alarm to mark the official beginning time.

The Gift of Writing

Just Thoughts on the Gift of Writing
July 16, 2011

      Many times in our lives we are given gifts. Some thrill us, amuse us, and others leave us wondering, “How in the world does this thing work?”  For those sorts of gifts, there is usually a book of detailed instructions.  Such was the case with my new SLR Canon camera my dad gave me while I was a college student. He was such an avid photographer that he wanted me to have a good camera for a photography class I was taking.   I studied the handbook and tinkered with all the settings.  I re-read the instruction book again, and again.  It seemed another language.  What did I know of aperture settings and shutter speeds?  I held in my hand a wonderful gift -but I didn’t know how to use it.

      As the spring semester began, so did my photography class.  Michael, my instructor, showed us the dark room, the developing and enlarging processes, explained a few things about the camera and sent us out into the night to take pictures.  The following week he sent us into the dark room to develop a roll of film.  From there to the dryer, and then to the enlargers.  Each step of the way he was close by to answer our timid questions.  One week blended with the next as we practiced the skills of using our cameras and printing our film.  Had I not first received the gift of my camera, all those other doors would have been closed to me.

      Today as I was cleaning my home, I found my old Canon camera and was reminded of those college days when I was doing so much writing and photography work.  I had written an English assignment dealing with various gifts we had received.  In that paper I made the statement, “the gift God has given me, writing . . . as I polish the skills . . .” The love of writing is a gift God gave me from early childhood.  In fact, I won many writing contests before my tenth birthday. 

     I often laugh with my classroom of school children when they balk about a writing assignment I require from them.  When they woefully tell me they can’t write, I encourage them by quoting a poem I wrote when I was in Mrs. Heath’s first grade class way back in 1957.

 Once there was a cat, his name was Skitty Scat,
He chased a baby rat, under my mother’s mat. 
My mother said, “He’ll have to go”, I said, “Oh, Mother don’t let it be so.” 
She chased him with a mop and pail, and that was the end of Skitty Scale.” 

     I explain to the boys and girls how I changed the cats name at the end of the poem to make it rhyme.  They are amused, and then encouraged that they can do better than that!  And off they go on their writing adventure.

     This journey of life is our gift from God.  He created us in His image.  He has made each of us to be uniquely creative.  This gift should not be accepted with an apathetic nod, or a cursory “thanks” to the gift-giver, but with genuine appreciation of the treasure that is hidden in the heart of every soul.  These unique thoughts and words can enrich, encourage, inspire, or amuse others along their own journey through life.  Once we discover the thoughts and words that are there, we must get a firm grasp on the instruction books which explains proper use of the gift, and press forward.  We must practice this art until we better understand it, sharpen it, and then a little more just because we love it.

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