Posts filed under ‘Creativity’

Jul 18 2017
0

Writing is carpentry! Must-read Granta post by Natasha Pulley

Writing is carpentry! Must-read Granta post by Natasha Pulley

I came across a post on Granta called “The Myth of the Creative Genius” and it so encapsulates how I feel about writing–not to mention, the Center’s philosophy about writing–that I had to share it here. Author Natasha Pulley writes: It’s tempting to feel like writers have some sort of special, unique connection to a well of creativity – everyone else can look in and make a wish, but writers go down on the chain…

Read More »
Dec 26 2016
Comments Off on Creativity Is A Way Of Life

Creativity Is A Way Of Life

Creativity is a way of life. It is deep within whatever it is that makes you who you are. It is an automatic process that can be monitored at random; and it is omnipresent and functions continuously. Every moment of every day stimulates the creative process whether those moments are exhilarating or mundane. Peaks of excitement in a lifetime should not have any different effect on creative activity than the lowest doldrums that you reach….

Read More »
Nov 27 2016
Comments Off on Creativity and the Evolutionary Impulse

Creativity and the Evolutionary Impulse

Creativity and the Evolutionary Impulse

Since its emergence 13.7 billion years ago, the Universe has been a creative journey into ‘something more.’  From hydrogen and helium we get complex elements.  From a supernova explosion we get our sun and solar system.  From the alembic of Earth’s oceans we get one-celled organisms, worms, vertebrates, reptiles, mammals.  From seaweed we get ferns and oaks.  This is the evolutionary impulse, individuals sharing their characteristic energies in always-greater and more complex unions. The characteristic…

Read More »
Nov 20 2016
4

Nature Inspires the Imagination

For most of my life, nature has fueled my imagination.  When I am stuck inside for too long, I get cranky.   In school I angled for the seat near the window, and 365 nights a year I sleep next to an open window.  When I cannot be outside, I bring the outside in:  jars of sand, bowls of rocks, winter twigs arranged in a pitcher. Therefore, it is no accident that when I write, the…

Read More »
Nov 13 2016
Comments Off on Imagination: The Writer’s Call

Imagination: The Writer’s Call

There is a mystery about sitting down to write, an alternate awareness, of a world where imagination and memory, and a mysterious knowing merge, indistinguishable.  A palette of our experience, and perhaps, if Carl Jung is right, the experience of everyone who’s ever lived. How did I know, for instance, when I wrote my story, “The Call of the Dove” (Cricket Magazine, volume 21, number 9, May 1994) how it felt to be a young…

Read More »
Oct 30 2016
12

Is Creative Writing Your Destiny?

Is Creative Writing Your Destiny?

So many doubts assail the writer as she struggles to put fleeting thoughts into memorable words.  He’s tempted to give up, because it’s hard.  There’s little recognition and even less remuneration.  The question keeps coming back:  “Is this really what I’m supposed to be doing?” The great priest-scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote beautifully about the process of becoming “something more.”  What he said about the Universe moving towards its Omega Point – its moment…

Read More »
Nov 23 2015
Comments Off on Trying new things to make poetry accessible, poets famous

Trying new things to make poetry accessible, poets famous

Trying new things to make poetry accessible, poets famous

I’ve been blogging seriously for at least six or seven years now, though not always on the same platform. This past spring, for the first time ever, I shared two pieces of creative writing on my personal blog. What took me so long? I’m “old school” in the sense that I considered blogging separate from my attempts to craft experience and emotion in verse. One was informal; the other was formal. Somewhere along the way,…

Read More »
May 07 2015
Comments Off on Ellen Collins, Writing the Wave teacher, on spirituality and the creative process

Ellen Collins, Writing the Wave teacher, on spirituality and the creative process

Ellen Collins, Writing the Wave teacher, on spirituality and the creative process

In previous months, the Center community-building posts focused on Helena Clare Pittman and Abriana Jetté. This month, Writing the Wave teacher Ellen Collins shares with her colleagues an experience of what she terms the “spiritual creative” process. EA: What excites you, turns you on, makes you grin from ear to ear about your Center class? Where is the joy for you in the teaching? Is there any relationship between the pleasure you feel teaching and the…

Read More »
Dec 23 2014
Comments Off on Soulful writing prompts, prompted by Center retreat

Soulful writing prompts, prompted by Center retreat

Soulful writing prompts, prompted by Center retreat

This week’s guest blogger is Donnette Hill Walto. Donnette Hill Walto is a registered yoga instructor who’s been leading yoga classes worldwide for more than 15 years. She especially loves to guide women and girls as they discover connections between life on and off the yoga mat, empoweringing them to move into their futures with confidence and grace. Donnette is currently working on a novel which introduced itself to her accidentally many years ago, when she took Writing…

Read More »
Nov 06 2014
2

Fitting in: Is this a poem, story, or essay?

Fitting in: Is this a poem, story, or essay?

Lately I find myself writing things that are not poems. I’ve always considered myself a poet first and foremost, and a year or two ago, it would have been unheard of for me to sit down to write in any other genre. It didn’t even cross my mind. I thought in poems. Then my lines started growing longer. I started reading more poems in prose. Then I wrote a short story. And another. Then I…

Read More »
Oct 04 2014
Comments Off on On Teaching Writing

On Teaching Writing

I teach writing and I also teach painting. Sometimes I teach them together. Recently, I taught a weekend workshop at Gallery North, in Setauket, Long Island. There were five of us: four students and me. We painted flowers, freesia and roses, then wrote, describing the flowers. I worked along with the other four. It was a pleasure for me but also a way to make myself vulnerable while holding the hands of my students while…

Read More »
Apr 18 2014
Comments Off on Finding God at the Tip of Your Pen: Preparing the Way

Finding God at the Tip of Your Pen: Preparing the Way

When I was ten years old I started writing my autobiography.  I wrote it from the point of view of an old woman looking back on her life.  She was a nun, this older woman, and she wanted to tell her readers the story of how she had become a Bride of Christ. I finished this autobiography a few months ago, at age 62.  It’s called Home After Exile: A Spiritual Odyssey, and at the…

Read More »
Mar 29 2013
Comments Off on What Is Communication?

What Is Communication?

If you want to write, you want to communicate, yes?  But what does that really mean? I invite you to consider the Latin root of our word “communicate,” which is “com” (with) plus “uni” (one).  The literal meaning of the word “communicate is “to be one with.”  The word “community” has the same root, and means the same thing:  “to be one with.” So when you write, there is a “being one with” that happens,…

Read More »
Mar 15 2013
Comments Off on The Sound Of Inspiration

The Sound Of Inspiration

In a recent post, I quoted E.B. White, who said, “All writing is communication; creative writing is communication through revelation — it is the Self escaping into the open.” I’m intrigued by this notion of writing as self-revelation, because it’s what keeps me coming back to my desk day after day.  Not because I have a message for the world, not because I have a story to tell, but because as I find the words…

Read More »
Feb 01 2013
Comments Off on Surprise: A Writer’s Gift to the World

Surprise: A Writer’s Gift to the World

Yesterday during my morning’s walk, I noticed a ditch along the side of the road, filled with rainwater and clotted with leaves. Dead leaves in a ditch, I thought, but then my brain registered something else:  a mighty fretwork of trees towering loftily above – or were they plunging down below? – into a sky where alabaster clouds drifted by, billowing underfoot, but no, that’s impossible, they must be drifting high above, but no, the…

Read More »
Jan 25 2013
Comments Off on A Writer’s Sacred Duty

A Writer’s Sacred Duty

One of the reasons I founded the Center for Creative Writing was to provide aspiring writers with an awareness of artistic endeavor as a sacred call, a holy vocation, a divine mission to a people starved for wisdom.  Recently I came across this quote in a book called Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet by theologian Matthew Fox. All artists have to let go of the modern world’s silly and reductionist notions that…

Read More »
Jan 18 2013
Comments Off on Failure: A Writer’s Constant Companion

Failure: A Writer’s Constant Companion

One of the laments I hear often from my students is that the words they’ve poured out onto the page seem shabby imitations of the story or poem or essay they really want to create.  For that reason, they tear up their papers and toss them in the wastebasket, considering themselves failures and giving up on the whole dream of becoming a writer. That experience — of being unable to capture the shimmering vision —…

Read More »
Jan 04 2013
1

Why Do You Write?

Why Do You Write?

As the new year begins, I invite you to reflect on why you write.  And don’t be ho-hum hum-drum — put some muscle into it!  That special muscle available to the writer called “imagination.” As a warm-up, please read the following, excerpted from Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert by Terry Tempest Williams. Dearest Deb: You asked me why I write…. I write to make peace with the things I cannot control.  I write…

Read More »
Dec 14 2012
Comments Off on The Writer You Are Becoming

The Writer You Are Becoming

The Writer You Are Becoming

The other day I was wandering around nearby Leonardtown, after my appointment at the dentist’s and before the bookstore opened.  In the yarn store there was this woman sitting in front of a loom, doing mysterious things with her hands and feet that transformed stiff, straight rows of brightly-colored thread into soft billows of patterned fabric.  The me that has always been a weaver said, “I’ve always wanted to learn how to weave,” and I…

Read More »
Dec 07 2012
Comments Off on Inspiration Is Everywhere

Inspiration Is Everywhere

Inspiration Is Everywhere

“I don’t have any ideas.” “My mind is a blank.” I can’t think of anything to write about.” It seems as if almost everyone I’ve worked with has said something like this. Okay, I’ve said it, too. But here is the world, available to us in all kinds of dimensions, scales, emotions, colors, activities, histories and possibilities — and we can’t think of anything? A long time ago, my economics professor held up a book…

Read More »
Oct 26 2012
2

A Writer Looks at Halloween

A Writer Looks at Halloween

Halloween is almost upon us, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a reflection on the holiday I wrote several years ago.  “Baking for the Holidays” is excerpted from my newest book, Invitation to Wonder:  A Journey through the Seasons.  “Lay me down like a stone, raise me up like bread.”  As prayers go, this one’s a champ, don’t you think?  I picked it up from a character in Tolstoy’s War and Peace…

Read More »
Oct 19 2012
Comments Off on The Pains of Publication

The Pains of Publication

Recently I’ve had two pieces accepted for publication — I’ve mentioned these in other blogs.  (See September 14th and September 21st.) The word ‘publish’ means ‘to make public.’  Because we live in such a results-oriented culture, a writer can be seduced into thinking that the act of making the work public is the important thing, the critical thing, the thing without which a writer can’t go on, and the frustrations of not being able to…

Read More »
Oct 12 2012
2

A Writer’s Voice

how to write, how to be a writer, writing prompts, writing tips

I’m taking a weaving class.  I’m learning on a small, portable loom, but it has all the necessary pieces of a traditional loom, and it’s great fun to learn an entirely new language, with words like “heddle” and “thrum” and “shed” and “apron” and “shuttle.” I’m learning how to “warp the loom:” to set up the long threads that provide the structural integrity of woven fabric.  It’s extremely complicated, requiring a lot of math and…

Read More »
Sep 21 2012
Comments Off on The Work in the World

The Work in the World

Last week I shared the work which will be published in Orion magazine.  This week I have the pleasure of announcing another publication:  one of my pieces has been accepted for the 2012 edition of Van Gogh’s Ear, an annual anthology “devoted to publishing powerful works by major voices and innovative new talents from around the globe.“ I’ve published there once before — in 2005 — and what I admire about this magazine is its…

Read More »
Sep 07 2012
3

Weaving Words

the words teach writers how to write

I’m taking a weaving class, and my teacher said something the other day I found illuminating for the writer’s life. She said that she never plans a project.  Instead, she goes into the store to see which yarns call out, “Take me home.”  Then she sits with them at home and lets them speak to her as she asks questions of them.  Are you soft and yielding, needing to be made into an airy shawl…

Read More »