Tag Archives: creativity

A Break from Writing for Dreaming

One thing I always notice during Nanowrimo is how much energy getting out the word count takes out of me and how much more time I spend intently staring at the computer screen.  While it’s not as hard on my eyes as say an 8 hour marathon of spider solitaire or minesweeper, it does rather exhaust both my eyes and my brain to add that much more screen time.

This makes it more critical to take proper breaks and do non-writing activities that are both restorative and creative.  My usual choice for non-writing creativity is wychinanki, or Polish Papercutting, where layers of colored paper are cut into the shape of birds or flowers with colored paper on top in diminishing sizes.  However, living with relatives (gotta love the recession) doesn’t give me a permanent table for the cutting and gluing and has scattered my supplies.  Thus, I decided my non-writing activity would be cleaning my room and sorting through the clutter to find my stuff.  Joy.  But it moved my hands and rested my eyes and used a different part of my brain than novel writing does, so that was good enough to qualify.

Well, while cleaning I found a dreamcatcher kit that my aunt had given my husband for Christmas several years ago and he’d never bothered with.  I’ve

always thought dreamcatchers were really cool, but none of the people I knew who made them ever got around to make me one, and let’s face it, when spending money, it was never going to get up to the top of my list as far as actually buying one.  So, I got excited, and thought I’d try and make the dreamcatcher following the kit instructions.  It was an interesting process but I’ve ended up really pleased with my dreamcatchers and quite pleased to finally have some to hang up.

After soaking the reed and starting to bend it, I realized the instructions actually suggested making three smaller ones instead of one big one, so I switched to trying that and made three hoops out of the colored reed.  I was a bit clumsy, but liked the results anyway.  I started with the blue hoop, and decided to use the blue string in the kit for it, but while there were feathers, the beads and a small clay bird, supposedly in the kit, were missing.  So I hunted around in some of the old jewelry I had and picked the star and the turtle for the blue dreamcatcher, along with a couple of old earrings.  After all,  a turtle is as good as a bird for a symbolic dream symbol, right?

The red one, I found that I hadn’t made the hoop as well, and the tension started to warp it.  After determining this was inevitable without resoaking it and trying to shape it to be smaller and stronger, I decided just to go with as the warped shape was also sort of pretty.  Again, I used a couple of old earrings for beads and while I’ve never seen a bell on a dreamcatcher, this one lying around seemed like the perfect thing to add to it.  To conserve feathers as the kit was short, this is one I found in my driveway that I think was once a feathered earring, but ended up in the mud and so is a little worse for wear, but the rugged shape I think worked out despite that.

The final one (purple) I hoped to keep from warping by not pulling it as tight, but it did a little, although not into as dramatically as the red one.  I decided to go all out on this one as far as trying to weave things in.  The stone and cross I got from one of those little machines at the supermarket (see my previous post and ninjas and aliens for the little machine saga) and thought they would be the perfect elements for this.  The shell I found on the beach last year.  The beads are old earrings and I just stuffed the ends of the feathers into the beads and figure if I’m careful, it’ll stay together.  Over all, I love these.  It was worth the wait for the right dreamcatchers.

A Commentary on Creativity

As I had to leave unexpected last weekend on a family matter, I didn’t have time to write a proper post for this week.  Now that I’m home, my brain is still a little scattered, so I’m going to share a short piece I wrote as a metaphor for creativity while at a live orchestra performance in the park.

***

In the gathering gloom Elana waited, one hand clinging to Migov’s arm. Pooli tagged along, busy peeling the bark off a twig. People kept arriving, striding into the green fields of the park. They laughed with their friends, bragging about how strong or how fancy a light they’d make. Some of them clapped others on the shoulders and challenged them, while others claimed tonight’s prize for the best light would be theirs, that they would be the ones called up front in front of everyone.

Elana looked down at her pink hands, smeared with a bit of dirt from when Pooli shoved a rather muddy rock at her, insisting she look at it. A couple of fingers were sticky from dinner, a bit of fuzz clinging to the side of her right forefinger.

She tried to rub it off on the bottom of her shirt, but that only made it fuzzier. Pooli, as always, was oblivious.

“Are you sure we’re supposed to be here?” Elana tugged on Migov’s arm.

He chuckled. “Of course.”

“But what if I can’t make any light? Or what if my light is small and ugly.”

“Everyone can make a light, sweetheart. It comes from inside of you. Maybe it’ll be weak at first, but as you practice, it’ll get stronger and prettier. If you feed it, it will pour of out you and light up everyone around you.”

Elana sighed. Oh how she longed to do that, to stand at the front, light pouring out of her in bright rainbow colors, to have everyone gasp in awe at her, to wonder at what she could do with it.

The sky, as if beckoning them to try it, turned bright colors as the sun set. Golds, pinks, violets, the rest of it pale blue fading to royal blue, and then to black with stars as the sun sank down. All across the field people cupped their hands. Light sprang from them in small colorful flames, dancing across palms in twisting shapes.

Migov pressed his own together. “Like this,” he whispered. Between them started to glow a soft golden light. As it expanded, tendrals like purple flames glittered and sparkled, swaying through it. Elana caught her breath, awed.

“Oh!” cried Pooli, dropping his stick.

“Now the two of you, try it.” Migov smiled.

Pooli screwed up his face in concentration, slamming his hands together. For a moment nothing happened and then they began to glow, light in blues and greens dancing across his palms. “Oh! Oh!” Pooli turned in a circle, laughing. “Look, look, I can make pretties!”

The people around him chuckled, encouraging him, showing him their own lights. Migov laughed as well, calling out advice to him.

Elana tentatively put her hands together and pale light formed between, before disappearing. She took in a sharp breath and tried again. Slowly but surely the light formed, but no colors danced. It wasn’t as big as Migov’s, not even as big as Pooli’s. Glancing around at the happy people around her, Elana couldnt’ help but notice hers was smaller and plainer than anyone’s.

“What’s wrong?” Migov took his hands apart to place one gently on her shoulder.

She stared at her cupped hands in dismay. “It’s… not very big.” She peeked again at those around them. “It’s so ordinary.”

Migov frowned, considering her light. “So, what you’re saying is, you don’t think it’s bigger or brighter or prettier than anyone else’s?”

She bit her lip. “Everyone else’s is better. I have nothing to add.”

He shook his head. “Little one… oh, little one.” He cupped his hands, the light dancing and swaying, pink and green in its depths, beautiful, unique. “When you put your hands together, when you call on the depths within yourself… you make light! Isn’t it wonderful? Beautiful? Mysterious? Who cares how great, how different, how much it stands out. You’ve made it, from within you! And it comes out—becomes alive.”

“But I want to stand out. I want it beautiful and wondrous like yours. I want everyone to see it, admire it, recognize it… only it’s not very good.”

“It’s yours and it lives only because of you.”

She shook her head.

He sighed. “Dearest, everyone longs to be recognized. But I’m going to tell you now… the recognition you need most is to recognize yourself. When you do this, when you can feel the pure joy of bringing this to life, when you can stand in the dark, bring light, and rejoice, then you will have everything you need, and with time the rest of it will come.”

Elana dropped her hands as he turned away, talking with the others. Pooli ran in circles, making light. Everyone was so happy, so content. For a moment she felt bitterly left out. Then Migov’s words, like the evening breeze, brushed against her again. Bitterness was not something that could be poured out, shared. It made no light.

Elana took a deep breath, the night air caressing her cheek, ruffling Pooli’s hair, swirling around Migov. She was here, with them, in an evening park, full of light, full of people. A thousand set of hands burned, a thousand flames danced.

This power within me, it makes light, a beautiful light. And she soared above the crowd, free, soaking it in, so that in the future she could again pour it out.