Category Archives: The Writer’s Life

New Year, New What Exactly?

It is the year 2017, according to the Gregorian Calendar. It may as well be Year 42AMB (After My Birth). Or Year Zero with the way the leadership of the world is going.

Reflection: 2016 was meant to be the Year of Getting Stuff Done.

Stuff didn’t get done. 

Because reasons.

Some within my control. Others outside my control.

And it was the most frustrating year regarding my creative output. I realised it’s been two years since I’ve written a complete short story. The most output I had was the rough draft of a verse novel (still incomplete) and part of a novella. I had done little pieces of writing but there was a host of reasons that kept me from putting in the work and making it happen. 

It’s not trying to make excuses, although I can do that with the death of two significant people during the year. It’s an acknowledgement of what I did not do. I can use the word ‘failure’ without it becoming a label to wear.
I failed to complete projects.
I failed to write.
I failed to make time to work out what I wanted to do.
I failed to plan.
I failed to pursue my creative desires.

I did do things that kept me thinking about writing and creativity, like my zentangle poetry. More importantly, I gave myself permission to put it aside for the sake of significant priorities. And that’s ok. 

But with the end of the year, taking a break over January, I needed to move beyond the sloth and slump and take on a new perspective. In speaking with some close writing friends, we try and find a single word to help guide and focus our creative work. It took me a few days to sort it out but my key word is “Intentionality.” 

If I am to pursue the creative goals I have set for myself I need to be intentional about the work I have planned and the work I plan to do. Which leads me to how I want to approach the new year.

DO THE WORK.

If I am to be intentional in my creative work, I therefore need to DO THE WORK. That work might involve planning a new short story, creating a new zentangle poem, writing a new piece or editing a current story.

It needs to be planned, deliberate, month-to-month goals and outcomes. One month it might simply be planning and note making for a project. Another month it might be actually writing a short story or pushing towards the completion of the verse novel or novella. At the moment, this month is given over to completing a vignette collection.

It’s a new year and a need for a new perceptive. Therefore, I will be intentional and do the work.

How about you?

Zentangle Poetry For Sale

I have produced a short run of zentangle poetry on postcards and calico tote bags  for sale.

POSTCARDS $8AUS (inc. postage)
Set of six cards.
Top Row (L-R): Coloured Pencils; Sadness and Comfort; Bare Feet
Bottom Row (L-R): Information; Two Ravens; Celestial Bodies

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TOTE BAGS
Coloured Pencils (zentangle poem)
Calico Tote Bag $11AUS (inc. postage)

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Stupid Question (blackout poem)
Calico Tote Bag $11AUS (inc. postage)

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Zentangle Bundle
In the Zentangle Bundle you get: a set of postcards and one of each of the tote bags. $25AUS (inc. postage)

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If you have any hassle paying for items, please let me know.
Thanks

The Articulation of Stories as Scars

Last week during a reading of some blog post or another (and for the life of me I wish I had kept the reference to link you to it; I went searching through my browser history without luck) and this idea developed:

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My apologies to the original author whose work I was reading because I don’t think my thought is originally mine, simply a reworking or a remixing of what I had read and I don’t want to pass this statement off as purely my own. I’m using it as a launching point for discussion. 

As a story teller, the narrative I am creating has a purpose. For my writing, I want to explore the lives of ordinary people, to understand who they are, their decisions and the ramifications.

I do not write autobiographically so the story is not an attempt to exorcise a past, redress an indiscretion or justify a choice. But a narrative, once released to the reader, can wound or heal. 

A story has the potential to open up issues in the reader’s past, or to dress a wound. Such is the power a story can wield. As a writer, I don’t know what the impact a story will have on the reader, and it is my hope that the story I write will move the reader in some way.

The stories we tell one another, orally or written, are evidence of the life we have lived. Those stories are like scars; wounds inflicted by accident, neglect, or others. They are markers of who we are, what we were, what we have become and what we want to be.

Sometimes those scars are worn with pride. Sometimes those scars are hidden. Sometimes those scars are repurposed, redecorated.

This is the power of the story.

Post Marked: Piper’s Reach Christmas Special

It’s nice to return to previous stories and characters. The collaborative epistolary novel I wrote, Post Marked: Piper’s Reach, while still seeking a home for publication, provides a wonderful depth of characters and ideas to return to.

Jodi (my co-writer) and I have often bounced around ideas for other stories in the world of Ella-Louise and Jude, and the town of Piper’s Reach. 

Two years ago we released a Christmas Special focused on the night of the surf club Christmas party in 1991. There’s a lovely tradition in English television of the Christmas Special episode. Think of Doctor Who.

The night in question is mentioned in the letters so it was a natural place to return to and looked at their burgeoning, and doomed relationship, while also seeing their lives through their family and friends.

Old friends, like old characters, well met. We have a very soft spot for the characters of Ella-Louise and Jude; they are our “comfort writing;” the writing that flows almost unconsciously to create the lives of characters we lived with for so long that we see them almost as real. That if we were to walk down the street we’d recognise them in an instant in the crowd.

Therefore there will be a NEW Christmas Special released this year. Stay tuned for details!

If you’re unfamiliar with Post Marked: Piper’s Reach, drop into the website and introduce yourself to the characters.

The Heart Is An Echo Chamber Release Day

Today The Heart Is An Echo Chamber is released. It is the companion to Jodi Cleghorn’s No Need to Reply.

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My story, “Untethering” is a response story to “Squeezebox.” Get both books and see what the authors have done with the original idea.

You can grab yourself a copy by heading over here.

Handwritten Pages #10

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They sat opposite each other in the sand, knees drawn up and toes touching.
She pressed her finger to her lips, paused, withdrew it.
“You will know me in my silence.”
He nodded in response before resting his head on his knees and tucking his arms under his thighs.
Around their feet she smoothed the sand into a clean palimpsest. She traced patterns in the mandala of silence.
Taking a handful of sand she poured it over their toes until they disappeared in a poetry of communion.

 

I was about to take a picture when I saw the error of a repeated word. I debated what to do: rewrite or edit? First, I scribbled out the word, made the edit. Then I looked over it again and rewrote it. Oh the glamour of artistry (letting you behind the curtain of creativity).

Digging the Creative Well

As creatives we often speak of drawing from the well; to draw from within ourselves the creative spark and energy.

But to draw from the well of creativity first requires you to dig your own. It requires you to construct the access to creative water. 

While you are digging your own well, you can draw water from the wells of others to help your creativity. However, it is temporary measure. Drawing water from others’ wells enables you to draw strength while you are building your own.

Finding good water takes time. It may require digging many wells to find the source of good water. Once you have dug your well do not neglect the upkeep. 

As you have drawn from the wells of others, allow new creatives to draw from your well while they dig their own.

Think it’s time to break out the heavy machinery and start digging.