A Key to Writing

A typewriter is essential writing equipment. It doesn’t matter if the ribbon’s dried up or if it’s actually a teapot disguised as a Remington—I believe that if you are actively trying to put words together, it’s absolutely necessary to have one.

Even if it’s only a postcard or a newspaper panel of Snoopy typing on top of his little red doghouse. Continue reading

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A Call for Curiosity

Creativity is imagination at work. This combination of individuality and innovation is as unique as each of us. It represents originality. It is one of our most treasured traits, and if we are not careful, we will lose it.

Every day on the walls of our digital worlds, we have the chance to encounter whimsy and wonder. Fast internet and faster social media connects us to artists creating galaxies from spray paint, engineers custom-building computers, designers up-cycling tacky suits into runway-ready dresses, and planners crafting picture-perfect parties.

Platform after platform gives us the ability to engage with high-resolution flights of fancy, to collect ideas and gather inspiration. Yet, while likes, shares, and retweets give us a unique language for sharing and supporting creativity, they also give us on the other side of the screen a reason to disqualify ourselves from it. Little by little, we tell ourselves creativity must be validated, recognized, and perhaps most dangerously of all, paid. If a passion can’t win us followers, fame, or fortune, should we spend time on it?

When we’re little, we make forts out of pillows, pies from mud, and art galleries in legal pads. We dream of becoming astronaut ballet teachers and artist doctors—daring mishmashes that barely encompass all we want to be when we grow up. Yet, somewhere along the way, we grow self-conscious. We start to feel the importance of knowing and that if we are meant to pursue something, it will come easily for us.

Faced with the daily pressure of expertise, we are terrified to be amateurs.

However, curiosity—not knowing—is the prerogative of the creative person. The results we marvel at began with someone thinking, “What if I tried this?” Like a cat, curiosity explores the undersides of everyday expectations and tips over the boxes we live in.

Yes, some might say. And curiosity killed the cat.

There is risk in creativity. Imagination is messy. Paints so easily run together. Seams have to be torn out and sewn again. But just as the joy of a hike is not simply the view from the summit, what our hands and our hearts learn from the endeavor is more than the end result. Being creative means enjoying the journey, experimenting, wondering, learning, and simply trying.Climb-J

It’s time we reclaimed inspiration for what it was meant to be. Instead of being content to simply curate creativity, let us delve right in up to our elbows. Let us bring creativity back into our days by celebrating it in our own lives. Build, write, paint, photograph, and dance because you are curious. Do them badly and learn to do them better, but in everything, try.

We should remember the second half of the saying, lost somewhere along the way: Curiosity did kill the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.

Pie Again

In honor of Pi Day (3/14), I’m writing about pie again.

And (because of the way I am) if I’m writing about pie, that means I’m also writing about words, too. For me, baking and writing are nearly inseparable. They are both things I enjoy doing and experimenting with, and while only one can actually be eaten, both can be consumed. They can both show care for others, bring warmth and comfort, and nourish the spirit.

In my opinion, both are absolute necessities. Continue reading

A Perfect Heart

It’s getting close to Valentine’s Day, and in the spirit of the occasion, I’ve decided to join in on Susanna Leonard Hill’s Valentiny Writing Contest–With a Hopeful Heart! The challenge is to write a hopeful Valentine short story in poetry or prose for children all in or under 214 words. There’s still time to jump in before the 14th, and you can read the details here. Continue reading

The Element of Reprise

Here near the end of June, I really must admit that it’s summer.

In my mind, I was pushing back those calendar days as if I could hold it off until I felt like everything was ready and feeling 100% like summer.

You see, the return of summer comes with the anticipation of kids curling into a poolside cannonball, fans queuing outside movie theaters in flip-flops and tank tops, and novice gardeners like me staring at the ground for tiny green leaves. It’s the first time down the water slide, the tipping of a dripping glass festooned with a slice of lemon. It’s blazing blue skies and back porch sunsets. It’s the satisfactory thud of the classroom door behind you, even if you haven’t been in school for years. Continue reading

Atramentous

I need a title.

A new project I’m working on has outgrown its old one, and now I’m left with the task of naming it again. It’s because of this and other bits of life that have got me thinking even more about the impact of words. So here I am, trying to decide which words will set the stage, which ones have the right shades of orange and twilight lavender splashed with stars.

Like many people who love language—the sounds and shapes of it— I keep a list of words I like. Some of them are on the list for their meaning, and others are on the list because of their timbre. Often, it’s a mix of the two. Words are complicated, infinitely loaded with perception, context, and even your own experiences. Continue reading