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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Challenge Update

For the past week I have been working on a short story, "Third Piece", a Missing Pieces story.  It still needs some work, but expect to see it soon!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Everyday Inspiration Challenge

Lately, my level of creative inspiration has plummeted so low that I seldom feel the slightest inclination to take up pen and paper (or switch on the laptop).  It's a situation that has been greatly annoying me as my focus has been on what I haven't done and not on what I could do.

What is inspiration?  Is it that sudden swelling of emotion that surges through the body, looking for an outlet of creative expression?  Is it a beautiful sunrise that sweeps the imagination into fantasy and childhood delights?  Is it the laughter of a child that so completely embodies pure innocence that it must be captured in pretty words and shared with the world?  Yes, inspiration is just that.

Or is it?

Throughout my writing life, I have anxiously awaited inspiration.  I have marveled at the complexities of thought it has produced.  When it was absent, I vainly prayed for the return of my missing Muse.  I have waited.  And waited.  And waited.

Why?

For so long, inspiration seemed like a fleeting shadow that only appeared at random moments to whisper a catchy phrase or novel idea into my mind.  It was a mystery, a thing of beauty and depth that only graced me with its presence once in a great while.  At times, I would be blessed to desperately hold on to that moment long enough to write a few poems, and once, an entire novel.  But is that truly inspiration?  Or is that a moment of divinity, a brief connection to higher realms of belief and possibilities?

I simply don't know.

It's true that my best work has come from the words that could not be contained.  There have been times when writing was the only way to purge my mind of the constant flow of thoughts and verses.  Other times, poetry was the only effective way to express what the heart felt but the mind could not comprehend.  Obviously, those were moments of inspiration at the heights and depths of life.

What about the mundane, everyday life that matters little in the great scheme of things?  Where's the inspiration in that?

It's quite easy to take blessings for granted.  We see, touch, feel, and hear them so often that we forget that they were a gift given in love.  I took a while to look around me, with newly opened eyes, at the untapped inspiration that surrounds me.  I found it everywhere, right in front of me and on every side.  I found it in the wind that billows out the red curtains in my living room.  I found it in a conversation with my children at the kitchen table.  I found it in the beauty of a flickering candle, the silence of newly fallen snow, and the embrace of my son.  I heard it in my daughters' laughter and in the gentle rustling of leaves across the ground.  I saw it in the fog that swirls and dances, the rain that renews, and the light of the sun.  Inspiration, everywhere, in places I rarely remembered to look for it.

In thanksgiving to the Divine Powers that have given to me my beautiful children, my loving husband, my amazing friends, and a life filled with endless beauty and mystery, I have issued myself a challenge.  I can no longer excuse my long bouts of written silence on an absence of inspiration.  To say such a thing is an insult to both the miraculous creation of life and to any talent I may possess.

 Leonard Bernstein (probably best known as the genius behind the music of West Side Story) once said, "Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but a writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time.  The wait is simply too long."  I have come to agree with Mr. Bernstein.  I make myself this promise, this challenge:


I will write everyday. 


I set myself no limits on this affirmation.  One line is better than none!  I will look to the everyday inspiration that surrounds me, and I will write.  A poem, a rhyme, a short story, an entire novel...something everyday.  No excuses.  


I may not have the opportunity to post what I have written everyday.  There may be days when a work is still in progress.  I may not have the time, or the desire, to sit at the computer.  But, at least once a week, I will post my progress on this journey.  


I hope that you will join me on my quest to find inspiration everyday.  Perhaps you will enjoy something I write, or maybe you will be inspired to set your own challenge.  As always, comments and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.  


Blessings to you all.
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I'm a wife, a mom, and a writer. My life is crazy and chaotic ... but I wouldn't have it any other way!

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"A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be." -- Abraham Maslow

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