Crafting Variety

Camp NaNoWriMo Winner

2014-Winner-Vertical-BannerIt’s official – I successfully completed my goal of 10,000 words on my work in progress, The Fifth Anchor, since July 1st. This brings the total word count over 25,000.

While this may not seem like a lot to some writers, it gave me a huge boost of oomph on my story and the drive to complete it. That right there is worth its weight in gold. Or books, rather.

I think there is another 10,000 – 15,000 words on this story. I’m hoping to wrap up a first draft in another month. That’s the great thing that Camp NaNo helped me with – consistency. I’m going to continue on the pace that I started in July until this story is finished. Luckily I have another fellow camp buddy to keep me accountable.

Write on, dear ones. The story will only finish if you make it happen. I’ll keep the candle lit for you.

Crafting Variety

Truth speaks in whispers of time

Maybe I’ve been away from my journal too long.

Those random, dark, annoying thoughts crowding my head are now turning the conduits sour. Cutting circulation. Making me wonder why I picked up a pen in the first place. Sliding a sharp knife between the ribs that isn’t felt until it’s in to the hilt. This isn’t limb severing. It’s core damage. It’s cheek muscles hurting from holding back tears. It’s feeling your rib cage shudder from silent sobbing. It’s past any comfort point.

Tear my heart out of my chest as it still beats and slice through the ties. It might feel better then. At least the hurt would ease.

Nothing goes deep enough, dark enough, true enough.

Truth only speaks in the whispers of time.

Crafting Variety

True Meaning

stormy weather

Restless limbs
Mind clustered, frenetic
Irritation twisting spine
Spirals tight from the core
Hands clenched
Nails dig for blood

Scream builds
Won’t come out
Unknown cause
Hidden behind
Logical phrases
Placating smiles
Fake sympathies

The tests lie beyond
Waiting for the chance
The proof
Of what is worth fighting for
What holds
True meaning

Amy Dionne, July 2014

Image courtesy of dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Crafting Variety

Soul Tears

I gathered each tear off my cheeks
Tasted bitterness
Despair
Heartache
Swallowed them
Felt as they burned down my core
Woven into essence
Sifting in my heart and body
Unrelenting
Grasping in the shadows
Til hope becomes no more
Crying out for light
For peace
For a moment’s rest
Finding none

Sifting through a pool of black tears
From the waterfall within
A flutter flash of light
A single note of joy
An echo of serenity

The tears recede
Easing their pain
Softening the droplet edges
A comforting caress
Sliding over skin like a kiss
Through the darkest times
There is hope

Amy Dionne, 2014

Crafting Variety

Find the Joy

JoyAn online buddy of mine posted recently about his decision to quit fiction writing. He was depressed and miserable trying to push though the struggle to force words out. Of course people came out of the woodwork to tell him to stick with it, that it will get better, that he should try a, b, or c. What he has figured out though, is that if something is causing you heartache and misery, even if you love it, then it’s time to let go. It’s not right at this point in his life.

This has nudged me to look at much of my life and some of the same struggles I’ve been facing lately. Many of the areas of my life which I love completely, have been more challenging than they should be. I’m tired of being drained by the things that should be building me up instead. I’m not going to give up what I love, but I’m realizing it’s time to revamp my approach. Find a new rhythm, a new dance. Find the joy.

Horses

Anyone who knows me realizes I’ve loved these animals since I was young. I walk into a barn and it feels like home. I love the soft noses that nuzzle and the sweet gaze that follows me around. However, after being thrown, leasing horses that weren’t right for me, riding with folks that have different focuses and styles than I do, never regaining my confidence and not having the right fit for instruction and philosophy for me, I’m rethinking my approach. I appreciate everyone that I’ve worked with and those that have helped me along the way.

I need to keep seeking the right approach/fit/style that works for me. Currently that means taking a break and easing back into the horse world slowly. Not trying so hard. Finding the enjoyment of just being with these magnificent animals. Putting aside goals, even the one to have my own horse, until I’ve found the joy again. Letting a natural fit happen instead of trying to force it.

Crafts

Ah, yes. Another love. I have made everything from art quilt wallhangings to full sized bed quilts to wedding gowns, creatures and bags and costumes. If it’s fabric, I generally can figure out what to do with it. I also love paper crafts and have dabbled in crochet.

It was natural to try and turn those creative ventures into businesses. I did for a while, first doing the craft show circuit for a couple of years, then an Etsy business online. Although I learned a lot from both, and had fun, they were failures. Why? Lack of business experience/knowledge notwithstanding, the bottom line is that I hate production work. I prefer to work on one of a kind pieces that I can really get into. Plus working full time really puts a crunch on the preparation time needed for shows. So, I shut the businesses down, and besides the immense relief at not trying to prepare for craft shows or produce inventory for an online store, asked – now what?

Now what, indeed. I’m trying to learn how to create just for myself without thinking of sending the piece somewhere or needing to make multiple for sale. It’s harder than I thought it would be. I’m trying to finish some of the projects that were set aside in favor of production. I’m finding I love creating for friends, family, and exchanging work with other artists.

Writing

This is the hardest for me to talk about. From the second grade, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Growing up and into college, I took workshops and classes. Wrote poetry and short stories. Alternated between hearing that I was a brilliant writer, or I sucked. Listened to those stupid, annoying, and wrong people that said I sucked, and didn’t write for ten years. The stories wouldn’t let me go though, and with a nudge from my best friend – ok, actually a push – I jumped back into the world of stories.

I’ll admit that I haven’t finished any of them yet. There are eight total, all carrying varying degrees of weight around in my head and heart. I realize part of it is still dealing with my friend’s passing, as she was a constant catalyst for forward motion. And my beta reader. And the one I gave my work to first with complete trust. Finding that inspiration to write again is challenging.

The other aspect to all is the desire to fulfill my dream of becoming a full time writer. I’m realizing that all it’s doing is putting pressure on my stories – are they clever enough? Am I showing, not telling? Are the characters real and developed? Do the plots zing? Is there enough humor in the writing? And on, and on, and on. It’s enough to drive a writer mad and stop the creative flow. Performance anxiety, or something of that nature.

The only way to stop the pressure it to dissolve the dream. Take away the parameters, and the cage, that my writing is surrounded by. Decide not to care if I ever publish anything or if anyone besides me reads my work. Let it go. Does that seem counter intuitive? Perhaps, but it is the only thing that makes sense. I’ve tried everything else. I’ve listened to advice, followed it, tried other ideas, discarded them. The only thing left is to just let go.

It’s actually a freeing thought rather than a disappointment. My terms for creativity is that there are none. I’m not giving up creativity – it’s a part of my very essence. To be clear:

  • I am a horsewoman
  • I am a crafter
  • I am a writer

Just on my terms, and without the pressure. I am joy.

 

Crafting Variety

Puppet Strings

Puppet strings
Tangle and pull
Dragging heavy feet
And leaden limbs
Head falling in time
To staccato bouncing
Jarring the body
By false means

Puppet dances
Despite the strings
By will
By strength
A futile journey’s trial

Puppet looks up
Tears tracking
Scream forming
Hope ending

Puppet collapses
The strings cut
Some time past
The pull imagined
The weight real

Puppet’s eyes
Only needed to open

Amy Dionne, May 2014

Crafting Variety

Journaling to Create

A Collection of JournalsNo matter how much I’ve written in my journal, I often show up to the page with a scattered mind and little idea of what I want to talk to myself about. Maybe it’s the act of committing words on the page that unsettles me. When the thoughts are still in my head, they can float around and go in any direction. Writing them on the page makes them real.

 

Words, both written and spoken, have power. Both take courage. That solidification of thoughts breathes life into the anonyminity fogging up my brain.

Writing is a release. Writing validates. Writing gives voice to mind clutter.

What journaling does is allow me freedom and space, especially when I’m most reluctant to write. It opens up the pathways, allowing the writing habit to take hold. I find journaling lets me get all those annoying thoughts and rants and randomness that I wouldn’t share with others out of the way so I can focus on writing my stories. It pushes me to listen to my characters. Journaling doesn’t take away creative time, rather, it provides the groundwork.

The habit of journal writing plants a seed of hope for the future. No matter what level of despair you face, the pages are waiting for you. No judgement, and a place of solitude.

The big question is how to journal when you have no idea where to start.

Got your notebook? (or keyboard?) Pen? (or fingers?) Great. Now write the date. (Or not, it’s your journal). Then write something. Anything. Not happening? Here are some ideas:

  • A quote.
  • A mantra.
  • A visualization.
  • An affirmation.
  • What resonated about the day before?
  • Voice your regrets and fears.
  • Breathe life into your hopes and dreams.

Your thoughts deserve validation. Start small, but make it habit of turning to your journal. Then there will be fewer times you show up to a blank page, or canvas, or performance space. Because when you give your randomness validation, you can focus on your creativity.

Non traditional creatives, I’m talking to you too. Journaling can help you bring your A-game to your favorite sport, rearranging your house, planting a garden, cooking, or building a relationship with your kids. Journaling will let you be in touch with your intuition so you can find solutions and approach problems with a clearer head.

Try it. Commit to a page a day. A paragraph if that’s too much. Hey, even write a cool sentence to sum up the day before if that’s all you’ve got. Just show up, and the words will follow. Even if you have to bribe them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crafting Variety

Lighthouse Beacon

ID-100107989I’ve finally found a perspective for my writing and my blog to help me focus away from writing with others in mind and writing for myself first. Which all ties into authenticity, and the truth within the words. When I write for myself, the thoughts ring clear and true. When I write with others in mind – their opinions, feelings, considerations – I don’t write much, if at all.

In wondering how to combat the constant battle, which leads to stagnation and avoidance of showing up and putting my thoughts on paper, an image came to me. The lighthouse, with its guiding beacon.

Light emanating from the lighthouse lamps does two main things, guides and warns. Well, instead of warns, reveals might be a better term, for without that illumination, the ship’s crew may know the danger is there, but not how to avoid it.

The lighthouse exists as a vessel for a light to shine forth. Whether the ships decide to sail into port or move past makes no difference to the lighthouse. From its position on the coastline, the lighthouse sends out its message to the sea, cutting through fog and storms. Providing a haven for those that need it. Just existing.

That is what my writing is. The words that flow no matter the weather, no matter the reaction from others, no matter if the readers bypass my blog or my story for the next one. It is a constant beacon for the weary travelers that need my particular light. A place to welcome them and exchange stories. Or perhaps just highlighting the dangers to a ship that keeps sailing in the night.

Whatever the case or the reason for writing, the point I’ve learned is that I can’t stop. My words, my stories, need to be out in the world whether they are accepted or recognized. It doesn’t matter. All I need to do is continue being the constant, just as the lighthouse is. The ships that need my light will find me, even if they are just passing through.

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Crafting Variety

A Snail’s Pace Forward

ID-1006129I’ve made some changes in my life. Small ones, because I can’t handle anything else. When I try to make large, sweeping changes in my life I set myself up for failure from being overwhelmed. Instead of trying to take large leaps and be disappointed, I am dancing in baby steps.

Yoga
I’ve added a yoga practice into my morning routine. Now, this is not some grand practice where I stand on my head or twist myself into a pretzel. No where close to that image. This is simply showing up at the yoga mat in my loft and doing some stretches. If I’m so inclined, add a few poses or flows. If I’m too tired or just out of it, I sit there, and breathe.

Journal Writing
Many times in my life I have thought about keeping a journal and started one, only to have it fizzle out within a couple of days. Oh I’d write in it periodically, especially when I was angry or frustrated or depressed. So what changed this time? I write in my journal directly after yoga, after the energy has moved through my body and my mind and heart are open. As with the yoga practice, I just show up. For the days where I have little to say, or basically nothing, I write a phrase that seems to be my current theme.

All I need is within.

Breathe
Breathe

Instead of trying to look outside myself and find the latest self help book or guru to lead me in a new direction, I’m looking within for the answers. I’m showing up to the mat. I’m opening the journal. Whatever comes out is what is supposed to be. No matter how little, or how crappy, it looks and I feel.

I’ve been consistent with these new habits for a month. Yes, between the two it takes about an hour every morning. Already though I’ve seen results. My back feels better. I’m moving more freely (which was even commented on in a recent exercise class). I’m pausing and taking deeper breaths and checking in with my body during the day.

The best result though? I’m working on my stories again. I’ve made more progress in the last month so far than I have in the previous six. I’m not asking for miracles with my stories or creating grandiose plans. I’m just showing up at my writing desk and working on a scene. One at a time. Solving one puzzle at a time.

There were times I thought I wouldn’t finish my stories, and that sent me into a spiral. It’s different now. There are no expectations. All I’m doing is showing up. So are they.

Once the energy in my body and the clutter from my mind cleared by doing yoga and writing in my journal, it paved the path for my stories to surface again.

That’s what has worked for me. Small changes. Baby steps. Just show up. The results may surprise you.

Snail image courtesy of Simon Howden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Meditation image courtesy of tiverylucky/FreeDigitalPhotos.net