Writing

Ebbs and Flows

The tides rise

Bringing life to the shores

Excitement and activity

Possibility and potential

And then they fall

Leaving pockets of life

But mostly stillness

Dried up skeletons

What used to be

Death where there was once hope

The ebbs and flows

The tides rise

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Twitter

I joined Twitter.

But not by choice.

I am a notoriously late adopter in the technology world. I still read books made of paper, I still use an iPod instead of my phone, my smartphone is years old, and I’m the only person in my group at work who doesn’t have a work phone. I’m just reluctant to be connected all the time.

But I’m taking a continuing education course on how to promote and publish a book right now. And one of the assignments was to join Twitter. And I did. Reluctantly. But now I kind of like it. It’s way different than things like blogging and Facebook. There’s so much noise to filter through on Twitter, that if you do happen to make your voice heard and have a real “interaction” with someone, it’s only for a second, and any feedback you get is instantaneous. Youre actually connecting with someone in real time. People aren’t giving you the thumbs up days later. It’s in that moment or not at all. There’s no “catching up” on Twitter. Your comments are fleeting. Or at least mine are as a relative nobody.

It’s a strange little world, but it’s interesting. You may want to give it a try. I’m not sure how long I’ll last but right now I’m intrigued.

Not Just Another Story

Time ticks by

Boredom is an itch

I long for an escape

I crave it

To lose myself

To stretch my arms out

And dive in

With no intention of ever coming back

Off to discover new worlds

Where I don’t even exist

I will become them instead

They are interesting

They are exciting

They are alive

In a world of their own

Created just for them

They have friends with long made-up histories

Bonds forged forever in print

There are villains with the worst qualities

But still human

Disgusting but likeable

Complicated

And the adventures they go on

Full of meaning and purpose

The fate of the story rests on their shoulders

How will it end?

Read on

But I’m not reading

I am there

I am them

I have left my own world behind

So I could be in theirs

So I could be them

And forget my own

I am not lost

I am found

The Summer Thief

Autumn is a thief

Working before my very eyes

I might see but I don’t notice

Through the canopy of trees

It sneaks

Leaf by leaf it reaches out

Changing greens to golds

Leaving behind reds and rusts

The change is slow

Subtle

Sandals have changed to shoes

Shorts have changed to jeans

Nights get longer

As autumn steals the day

And wind gets colder

As autumn steals the heat

Leafless skeletons are all that remains

Autumn has stolen the summer

Giving Up Reading for One Week

Could you give up reading for one week? No novels. No stories. No blogs. No newspapers. No articles. No social media. For one entire week.

I’m honestly not sure I could. And I’m even less sure that I can. But that’s what I’ll be doing for the next seven days.

For over three weeks now I have been reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and been going through the twelve-week program and doing the assigned exercises. I’ve been waking up every morning between 6:30am and 7am (even on weekends!) to write my morning pages, I’ve been taking myself on “artist dates,” I’ve been using affirmations, and I’ve been doing a lot soul searching in trying to answer questions about who I am and who I think I want to be. But I think I just ran into my most difficult exercise yet.

One of the assignments for week four is to give up reading for seven whole days. I’m not even entirely sure how it’s possible to give up reading. I love reading so much. I do it all the time. I suck down words like I breathe down air. I’m not even sure I can live without reading – especially if I’m comparing reading to breathing! What will I do with all this spare time?

Here’s Julia Cameron’s reasoning about why reading deprivation is one of the greatest tools you can use to unblock your creativity.

“Reading deprivation casts us into our inner silence […] “

“We often cannot hear our own inner voice, the voice of our artist’s inspiration, above the static.”

“If we monitor the inflow and keep it to a minimum, we will be rewarded for our reading deprivation […] Our reward will be a new outflow.”

“[…] sooner or later, if you are not reading, you will run out of work and be forced to play.”

“For most blocked creatives, reading is an addiction. We gobble the words of others rather than digest our own feelings, rather than cook up something of our own.”

It is a fascinating theory. She’s basically implying that by limiting the inflow or words and ideas from other people, which can flood our system, we are able to tap into our own words and ideas and change the direction of the flow; without ideas flowing in, they can flow out instead.

It makes a crazy amount of sense. But it is terrifying as hell. And it’s really strange that it makes me feel panicky. How can the idea of giving up reading be so terrifying? I think it has something to do with the fact that I can’t use reading to avoid things anymore. Cameron is right. Of course I’m addicted to reading. I don’t consider it a bad addiction, but in looking at it from a new perspective, I totally use reading as a crutch. I would way rather get lost in another author’s world than be faced with the prospect of having to create one myself. Even though I love writing too. How does this make sense? Too many times I have delayed doing something because “I need to finish my book first.” It will be interesting to see what happens when that excuse is off the table.

Plus, as part of this assignment, Cameron also suggests giving up TV. The obvious solution to having too much time from not being able to read is to fill it with TV. Watching TV is an amazing way to kill time. But TV is an inflow too. And like so many parents have said to their kids throughout history “TV numbs the brain.” TV is a crutch too. What am I going to do with so much time??!!

Prepare yourself for a lot of blog posts over the next seven days…