29 Ways to Stay Creative

29 Ways to Stay Creative

  1. Make lists.
  2. Carry a notebook everywhere.
  3. Try free writing.
  4. Get away from the computer.
  5. Quit beating yourself up.
  6. Take breaks.
  7. Sing in the shower.
  8. Drink coffee.
  9. Listen to new music.
  10. Be open.
  11. Surround yourself with creative people.
  12. Get feedback.
  13. Collaborate.
  14. Don’t give up.
  15. Practice, practice, practice.
  16. Allow yourself to make mistakes.
  17. Go somewhere new.
  18. Count your blessings.
  19. Get lots of rest.
  20. Take risks.
  21. Break the rules.
  22. Don’t force it.
  23. Read a page of the dictionary.
  24. Create a framework.
  25. Stop trying to be someone else’s perfect.
  26. Got an idea? Write it down.
  27. Clean your workspace.
  28. Have fun.
  29. Finish something.

This list was from Life on Michigan Avenue.

Describe the Music in Words

For the A – Z Blogging Challenge… V is for Violin.

Is there a difference between the violin and the fiddle? There probably is, but I don’t know about it. I do know that fiddle players have a much different style of music than violin players. I love listening to fiddle music, lively tunes that you can’t sit still for (unless you’re the guest of honour at a wake).

I like classical music but seldom stop what I’m doing to find any and listen to it. Of all the instruments my favourite is a relative to the violin, the cello. I like the deep bass. It’s mellow and smooth – much the same way I like my coffee. Music is a continual education, not unlike learning how to make a great cup of coffee. I had piano lessons as a kid. Tried drums later in school, but it didn’t seem to become a passion with me.

What instrument would you most like to listen to? Have you ever written about someone playing an instrument? Give it a try, describe the music in words.

What Makes you Weepy?

For some reason I am “sensitive” this week. Must be something going on inside my head that I don’t know about. This afternoon I have Cupcake Wars on the TV as I work. (I’m not one of those who puts on music to work to, nope, for me it is TV. Which is kind of odd considering I don’t really like TV that much.) Anyway, one of the women bakers was not getting a good review from the judges. She had a bit of a tear, trying to be stoic, funny how that can just make it worse. Watching her cry made me start to get teared up and leaky. Silly.

When was the last time someone else cried and made you cry? What was it about, what was happening? Was it someone you actually know or someone you were just watching? Write about someone who cries when other people cry. How do they feel about being ‘weepy’?

Don’t Pick Up Lost Poems from the Ground

Looking for Poetry

Don’t write poems about what’s happening.
Nothing is born or dies in poetry’s presence.
Next to it, life is a static sun
without warmth or light.
Friendships, birthdays, personal matters don’t count.
Don’t write poems with the body,
that excellent, whole, and comfortable body objects to lyrical outpouring.
Your anger, your grimace of pleasure or pain in the dark
mean nothing.
Don’t show off your feelings
that are slow in coming around and take advantage of doubt.
What you think and feel are not poetry yet.

Don’t sing about your city, leave it in peace.
Song is not the movement of machines or the secret of houses.
It is not music heard in passing, noise of the sea in streets that skirt the borders of foam.
Song is not nature
or men in society.
Rain and night, fatigue and hope, mean nothing to it.
Poetry (you don’t get it from things)
leaves out subject and object.

Don’t dramatize, don’t invoke,
don’t question, don’t waste time lying.
Don’t get upset.
Your ivory yacht, your diamond shoe,
your mazurkas and tirades, your family skeletons,
all of them worthless, disappear in the curve of time.

Don’t bring up
your sad and buried childhood.
Don’t waver between the mirror
and a fading memory.
What faded was not poetry.
What broke was not crystal.

Enter the kingdom of words as if you were deaf.
Poems are there that want to be written.
They are dormant, but don’t be let down,
their virginal surfaces are fresh and serene.
They are alone and mute, in dictionary condition.
Live with your poems before you write them.
If they’re vague, be patient. If they offend, be calm.
Wait until each one comes into its own and demolishes
with its command of words
and its command of silence.
Don’t force poems to let go of limbo.
Don’t pick up lost poems from the ground.
Don’t fawn over poems. Accept them
as you would their final and definitive form,
distilled in space.

Come close and consider the words.
With a plain face hiding thousands of other faces
and with no interest in your response,
whether weak or strong,
each word asks:
Did you bring the key?

Take note:
words hide in the night
in caves of music and image.
Still humid and pregnant with sleep
they turn in a winding river and by neglect are transformed.

-Carlos Drummond De Andrade

Angst Can Age Well

I was listening to music my nephew put on this morning. It got me started thinking about music, who performs it, writes it and who listens to the new music. I don’t dare to call it rock music any more. They seem to have so many genres and subgenres for it now that rock seems to have become it’s own subgenre rather than a general description.

The music my nephew listens to comes from people just a little older than he is, 14 years old. They write about love and love lost, almost all the songs are on the same theme. A few are about personal angst, teenage angst. Young people don’t yet know about the angst of someone who has seen more of life, had more time for the drama and the good and bad. I think they could use a balance of opinions.

As someone with an older view on the world (whatever your actual age at this time) what song would you write? What topic would you write about and how would you put it into words and verse for a song?

Music in Your Words

“If you do not hear music in your words, you have put too much thought into your writing and not enough heart.” – Terry Brooks, from ‘Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from A Writing Life.’

Found this quote in a book I bought this week from my favourite local secondhand bookstore. The bookstore is closing at the end of the month. The owner is moving to another town. Whatever books are still left after her 70% off sale will be taken to GoodWill, to whatever fate befalls them there. She has some really lovely old books. It is a shame for them to be abandoned. I can’t take more books. I’ve already got my family complaining about the books I have here. But it does seem sad for books to become homeless.

Anyway, I bought the Terry Brooks book because of the sale. It was one I had wished to buy before but decided not to for reasons of budget and space. Now I just have to find space for it.

Would you Host your own Radio Show?

Do you have a weird thing for stick figure drawings? Me too. I think that’s the main reason I started playing KOL (Kingdom of Loathing). The humour drew me in after that and kept me playing. Once I got to the point of being stuck in the game I was already listening to the KOL Radio, especially ADeadHeart, my friend who had sent me the link in the first place. She is taking a break from live radio, not on as often as she had been. But you can hear her on November 4th, 10:00 AM (depending on your time zone). If you do listen to her show you need to know ahead of time that it is not family friendly.

Have you ever thought about being a radio show host? What kind of show would you do? What kind of music would you play if you were a radio DJ? Or would it be a talk show about gardening, or auto repairs, or something else entirely?

Write a plan for doing your own radio show. Write your very first monologue to introduce yourself and the show.

Roll the Credits!

George Carlin – “I often wonder if movie directors have credits at the end of their dreams.”

How would the credits roll at the end of your week this week? Would the music be loud or soft? Would you have funky graphics or photos taken from the air over the city? Would there be an extra ending or bloopers at the very end of the credits for those who stick to their seats right to the very last dotted I?

A Vintage Burlesque Star

Renee Andre claims to be one of the first strippers to have a breast enlargement. It almost killed her. I read this in a book review (Chatelaine magazine) for Pretty Things, about burlesque queens and vintage glamour shots, by Liz Goldwyn.

I couldn’t find anything about Renee Andre, just mentions of her in regards to other burlesque stars and movies. I thought that’s kind of sad.

So, invent her life. Who was she from her humble beginnings, through her torrid youth and on into her creaky old age? Write up a biography for a vintage burlesque star.

The Burlesque Women’s Institute

The Burlesque Guide

Toronto Burlesque Festival

Glossary of  New Burlesque (from the BBC News article)

  • Neo-Burlesque: A wide range of performance styles, from classic striptease to modern dance, from satirical comedy to theatrical mini-dramas.
  • American Burlesque: Originated in 19th Century music hall entertainment. In the early 20th Century it re-emerged as a populist blend of comedy, theatre and striptease.
  • Male Burlesque: Acts who have become popular in recent years include Bearlesque and the Dream Bears.
  • Guerrilla Burlesque: When a burlesque act happens spontaneously at a show, or when burlesque performers descend upon a show uninvited.

Writing in the Rain

On the next rainy day get out somewhere and write. What kind of mood does a rainy day bring to your writing? What kind of flavour does it have when the rain is gentle versus a real stormy day with hard rain pelting down?

Would writing with mood setting music work just as well? Try that next time you want to write about someone who is angry, sad, happy…