Pain Can Be Inspirational!

In my Haliburton School of Art, Creative Writing course, Catherine Graham presented the idea of creating characters, plots etc from inanimate objects.  At the time my knees were twinged with pain from the damp morning air.  My knees were speaking to me and as they spoke I thought of those two TD Bank  Commercial old guys sitting at a park bench kvetching about life in general. So my knees became two griping old men.  I then thought about writing this as a play.   I called it Kneel and Bent ; A Play .

Now I am thinking about creating vignette plays of many of my body parts.  I think this could be very humorous, perhaps sad, erotic, beautiful? and very challenging to get in the psyche of a body part.  Your nose for instance…two nostrils, septum, olfactory senses …nose with an allergy…smelling something pleasant, unpleasant, sneezes could be orgasms for the nose… What parts would the be involved in a sneeze…brain, lungs, vocal chords …challenging indeed.  There needs to be a bit of dissection a bit of cutting a body part away from its connective tissue and elements in order to have it take on a character.

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Good Beginnings Resources

Good Beginnings Resources

The Writer’s Digest resource has some good ideas about crafting a good beginning to a story.  Need to find other resources about beginnings to short stories and novels. This is a start. Please leave a comment or suggestion of other resources you may find helpful in crafting a good beginning.

A Good Beginning

I eat oatmeal for breakfast.  Not that I particularly love oatmeal.  It’s habit—and my Grandfather.

“First meal of the day should stick to your ribs,”  he’d say. “Sugar? No. It’s poison! Stay away from that stuff.”

Oatmeal is bland and good for me.  What was Mother Nature trying to achieve by giving me taste buds for not -good-for -me delicious foods like chocolate ice cream or sizzling steak dripping with fat? The outrage!  I just wished that bland, green and fishy appealed more to me than sweet, fat and salty.  Grandfather often said Mother Nature had her cruel side as a matter of necessity. I want to break free from necessity. One morning sans guilt, I will frivolously order a Sausage Egg McGriddle and Mango Chiller in the drive-thru.

One day; not today.  Necessity demands that today  I sit alone at my kitchen table swallowing the last bit of gruel that sticks not only to my ribs but cements me in a life of doing what is good for me.

 

 

Endurance

“In order to walk longer,  we must walk slower”. Words of wisdom from my massage therapist.  Like the idea of slowing things down so we can enjoy life longer. Also about how to endure things or make things last. Like savouring delicious food. Enduring love….two meanings really. Like experiencing time.

 

Watched a documentary “The End of Time” by Peter Metler. It was hard to watch because it was so slow.  Then I couldn’t stop watching as I was entranced.  But that was in part its message to alter our perception of time.  Watch this when you have a lot of time. It is worth it.

Experiencing Time

 

Gets me thinking about time as a writer/reader.  We have rules around time… deadlines, spare time, out of time, blank page time, inspiration time…objectively we could measure this but this indeed does not capture the experience of time. Time fading away when immersed in a good book.

How might a writer capture the experience of time for characters, for readers, etc.?

 

XII Ways of Experiencing Time

I.

Time

Foretold

A childish game of chance

With a roll of the dice

Your fortunes are blessed by ladders

And cursed by serpents.

II.

Time

Endless

The youthful day warming in radiant beams of energy

Prickly green blades tickling bare feet

Bumblebees buzzing their Honey Symphony

Serenading Mother’s enchanted roses

Who surrender sweet intoxicating potions to spellbound noses.

III.

Time

Suspended

Swaying in protective arms

Gazing up into dark hazel eyes

Gold flecks sparking lightning bolts of recognition

My soul mate.

IV.

Time

Snapping

At my hooves

Forcing me forward in unwanted directions.

Fearing the stabbing pain of its teeth.

 V.

Time

Running out

A warrior worn from a cancerous battle

Lays down his sword of strength and shield of will

“I just want to have a nice long nap”

Turning out the light with a kiss.

Goodnight Daddy.

 VI.

Time

Endured

Pointless wandering loss in dank underground blackness

Blind, cut off, suffocating

Familial miners digging for the healing surface

Knocking on walls. Can you hear our pain?

VII.

Time

Expanding

Encompassing all that was, is, and shall be

Existential thoughts, memories, and wishes of a lifetime

Will it burst?

VIII.

Time

Flies

Soaring in misty cloaks of imagination

Cresting mountains of creation

Swooping down valleys of lessons learned

Gliding over glistening waters of wisdom

Migrating across vast memories

In moments.

IX.

Time

Late

For class

Again!

Horseshoe Lake Road trapping the distracted traveller

In its deceptive web

Sucking out the life force from her best laid plans.

X.

Time

Flashes

Colourful images painted in bits of black

Ebony lines undulating laughter, fear, loathing, and fantasy

Across an undefined white

Whispering dreams into countless possibilities.

XI.

Time

Wasted

Fighting what is immutable.

Forcing what was not meant for you.

Failing to accept your flaws.

XII.

Time

Saved

By green lights of passion

All the way to your ultimate destiny.

Love.

Free Falls

photo
Picture taken by friend E.M.

I found engaging in Free Falls the best way to get into the zone of writing. Read something for inspiration. Look at a photo. Hear a snippet of someone else’s conversation or suggest a character setting and problem and then for 5 to 10 minutes write like a fool. Do not edit, revise or worry about the best word right now. Just splat your brain down onto the page. If you are by yourself set a timer. At Haliburton School of the Arts  our instructor, Catherine Graham, read a passage  from Ralph Keyes’ The Courage to Write and then said Free Fall write for the next 10 minutes.

I thought about writing…I thought that writing felt selfish like time away from others.  I thought of mothers and how they can be very selfish about their own child. Mothers will put their child above all other children deserving or not, husbands, parents, friends and so on. Mothers are not cursed or shamed or questioned when they do this.  It is considered natural. No matter how destructive some of their choices are in putting their child first, society condones these very selfish acts and then calls it self-sacrificing…a virtuous act of motherhood. I thought I must treat my writing like my child.  I must put my writing above all other obligations, loves, passions etc in my life.  I should live  for writing. F or now I am not published as yet,  so I cannot claim to write to live.  Yes, I must do anything to live to write.

I will post my revised and edited piece about writing being my child soon.  Haven’t thought of a title for it yet.

When I am stuck  for writing now I go to my writer’s notebook and look for something to twig my interest or inspire me. Then I put on my online timer for 10 minutes.  On your mark get set go! Perhaps this photo will inspire me today…morning sun, reflecting lake, clouds drifting carrying away the dreams of the night, the ball of the sun skipping like a rock over smooth water…..Give it a try.  On your mark, get set, Free Fall!

A Nice Girl—A Monologue by Kathleen Clarke

A nice girl like me?

I don’t think

Your son is interested in

Nice girls like me.

He is attracted to Kay Slutterland.

Oh, Pardon my faux-pas….Sutherland.

Yes !….Kay.

All plunging neckline, bare belly and bossom bursting up out of an underwire prison.

That’s right. The Sutherland girl from the East side.

Please don’t take this the wrong way

But…

Your son practically tattoos his eyes on her skin.

I hate to disappoint you but he barely glances my way.

I am not his type.  Yes, really.

I’ m trim. Neat. Polite.  I look glorious

In a knit-sweater and pleated skirt.

It’s true.

Ready for Church Picnics

And afternoons at the Racquet Club

of course.

I bumped into Kay and your son at the

Library.

In fact.

They were in the Poetry Section.

She had her head thrown back, eyes closed, and toes curled

And she was practically

Moaning

as he stroked her with exhilarating and  pulsating words.

I was overcome with a dizzy sensation.

I had to…

Escape to the cookbook section.

He reads poetry so well.

Yes , the bundt cake comes from a recipe

I found there.

So delightful;  lemon poppy seed.

All proper and everything when coming for a visit

Mother always says.

This has been lovely.  Thank you.

And would you tell your son that his Poetry Book is overdue?

He could bring it to my place

Later.

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