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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Yearning

By Randy Hinckley

My body misses yours when you aren’t here
The caress of your hand
The soft flesh of your breast against my face
The tenderness of your lips to mine

My mind wanders yet always comes back to you
Always thinking of your spirit
How the smile on your face soothes me
And how your beauty is beyond measure

My soul longs for you
Missing the same hearted nature of our existence
I think often of your charm
And remain awed by the person that you are

While we are still learning
All that is to know about one another
My being longs for you
Yearning

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Guest Poems

 

Believe

By Kate Cheevers


Faint but echoing whispers
of what we’ve lost,
or could never be.
These are the sounds we hear;
they haunt our lonely dreams.


Are we broken
or merely lost?
Set adrift on a lonely sea
we fear there are no happy tomorrows.
We fear what may never be.


You told me once I am worthy.
Hard to believe,
but you say that it’s true.
For what it’s worth, I do believe.
It’s what I believe of you.

This poem was given to me (and to post here) as a birthday present from my gorgeous and talented friend, Kate.  I don’t have words for how amazing such a gift is or how much it means to me.  Thank you.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2012 in Guest Poems

 

77 Lance Schonberg

Dancing With The Dark Side

There are far more ways to express yourself through art or craft or science than there are people. I’d go so far as to say that everyone is creative in some way. It’s something inherent in human nature, though not everyone allows that part of themselves to peak at the outside world, and only a few of us allow our creativity anything approaching free rein. Still, whether we consider ourselves creative or not, we all think of creativity as one of the most positive traits someone can possess.

So why do we have a cultural cliché in the tortured artist? Why do we feel on some level that we have to suffer or sacrifice for our art?

If creativity is a mostly positive thing it also has its issues, moments that threaten the act of creation and sometimes your life beyond it.

Creativity has a dark side.


The Next Project

You’re in the middle of a project you love—a novel, a screenplay, a painting—something fun, exciting, and going very well. Creative energy burns through you, desperate to be turned loose, impossible to contain. A new idea sprouts in the back of your mind, something you can look forward to doing when you’ve finished. It’s new, it’s exciting, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.

It’s the Next Project, and it isn’t content to wait in the back of your mind until you can give it the attention it deserves. The Next Project considers the Current Project competition, and it will demand more and more of your mental attention until you reach the point where you’d rather abandon the Current Project and start on the Next Project.

I’ve written 1/3 to 1/2 of at least five novels, and I don’t know how many short stories, this way. Yes, I have every intention of getting back to each of them someday, but there will always be a Next Project to distract me and as each abandoned story falls farther into the past it also falls farther down the priority list.

But I’ve found a way to counter this dark side manoeuvre, to scratch the mental itch. And it seems so obvious, so absurdly easy, I’d like to smack myself in the back of the head for not thinking of it years sooner.

Work on the Next Project, but only a little teeny bit, or in a way that makes it different, or both. Spend ten or fifteen minutes a day on the new thing. Maybe with a pencil and paper instead of the keyboard. Slower, yes, but it lets you keep your focus on the primary project at the same time.

The best of both worlds? Always up for debate, but it helps.


No Means, Well, Um…

Okay, so maybe you can work on more than one project at a time. Lots of people can and do. Variety is nice, but just how many major projects can you have going at the same time and still make any real headway on any of them? It’s easy to take on too much. Believe me, I know.

And it isn’t always self-inflicted. Sometimes people come to you. You may have discovered this law of nature in your day job, but it crops up in the creative world, too: the reward for good work is more work.

Someone really liked a story of yours they read in an anthology last year so asks you to submit to theirs. That voice work you did in your cousin’s podcast was great—and could you do this major character in my thirty-episode audio drama? The blanket you knitted for the new baby next door was beautiful. My sister’s having triplets…would you mind?

And sometimes it’s got nothing to do with you. The universe is sneaky and underhanded, and it will throw things at you to suck up all of the time you thought you had. Voilà! You’re overcommitted. And there are deadlines, and you fall behind, and your stress level goes up…

When you get a new idea, it’s easy to give it some time to see where it takes you. When someone comes to you to ask for your creative help, it’s easy to say yes. It feels good on both counts: getting things done and doing things for other people.

But when you’ve taken on so much that you can’t get anything done, whatever the reason and whether or not there are deadlines attached, you’ve got a problem: you can’t get anything done. For someone who needs to be creative in some way, this is nothing short of torture.

There’s a deceptively simple solution. Be honest. Both to yourself and to the people you’ve already committed something to. Prioritize and explain those priorities. And don’t be afraid to admit that the universe has thrown you a series of curve balls. Be as open as you feel you can be.

And if someone asks you to do something that really excites you, don’t say no, at least not outright. Ask them to ask you again in a few months, if the offer is still open, or drop them a quick line when you’ve caught up a little.

Honesty is still the best policy. It’s not always the easiest though, even with yourself.


Stealing Time

You’ll run across the advice sometimes that you should steal time from other parts of your life to pursue the creative endeavours that are so important to you. Take the laptop to bed with you, take a notebook to your daughter’s soccer game or your son’s karate lesson, and your boss certainly won’t mind if you do a little of your own thing on company time. Steal the minutes wherever you can and be as productive as you can with them.

Creativity’s dark side is whispering directly into your soul. There’s a huge difference between making time and stealing time.

Suffering a little for your art—giving up a few hours a week of TV or video games, or that thing you used to really love doing on Saturday morning that’s now far more like a chore than something fun, anyway—can improve your art, or at least the value and focus you place on it. Making other people suffer for your art just makes you a jerk, especially if those other people are your family and actually like having you around.

This is a hard lesson. The real world is very important.


Without Darkness, There Can Be No Light

Which isn’t the same as saying you should wallow in the darkness looking for a spark to clear it all away. You don’t need to succumb to the dark side to learn how to defeat it. You only need to watch out for the potential pitfalls your passion to create can lead you to.

Each of these things I’ve had to learn the hard way, and I’ve had to relearn them, too. More than once, and I’m probably not done with the lessons yet. There’s always more to learn, and more to create.

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2012 in Creativity Guest Posts

 

Happy Birthday to Me

When it comes to holidays, I’m a firm believer that a person’s birthday is their one special day just for them.  It’s their holiday; their day to do whatever their heart desires (within the constraints imposed by the necessities of finances, work schedules, etc).  But I think you know what I mean.  Other holidays are about various religious or national celebrations and involve the whole family being active participants.  Your birthday is just that…yours.

Seven years ago on the occasion of my 40th birthday I chose to not do any chores on that day.  Now, this was not necessarily an unusual choice on my part; I avoid housework as much as I possibly can.  On that day, however, I felt I had a great reason…it was my birthday, my special day, my day to do or not do as I saw fit.  To which I was promptly asked if I was somehow special because it was my birthday. And when I asserted that was in fact the case, I was told that I’m not a fucking princess, that I was mistaken and I am not in any way special, and, “Happy Fucking Birthday”.

To say I was devastated doesn’t do justice to how I felt at that moment.  That I sit here with tears streaming down my face as I recount the story seven years later speaks to the damage that one interaction did to me.  A part of me believed what I was told.

Fast forward through seven years.  Years that feel more like lifetimes.  I know now, how wrong that person was.  I know I suck at housework. And, while I struggle to improve in that area, I also know it has no bearing on what kind of human being I am.  I am special.  As are you.  We all have our faults and we all have wonderful gifts.

So, this year I reclaimed my birthday as my special day and I celebrated for an entire weekend.  I didn’t throw any elaborate party or take an exotic trip or spend a lot of money. Hell, I didn’t even bother with a cake this year. What I did do, was spend time with my boys, have two inexpensive meals out where I didn’t have to cook or cleanup, and I got myself a small, useful, inexpensive present.

Oh, and I declared the day to be “Create Something Day”.  And my kids and I talked about creativity.  And how creating things inside a video game (Minecraft) absolutely counts as creating something.

Then NASA went and landed on Mars.  I can’t even begin to discuss the awesomeness of that.

And a friend from Twitter, Lance Schonberg, posted about what creative things he had done on “Create Something Day”.  To inspire someone else in any small way is something so amazing I don’t even have words for the joy it gives me.

I spent today and the entire weekend talking to friends on twitter between all the other activities that make up my daily existence (as usual).  The first voice I heard on my birthday was that of someone near and dear to me over the phone. And I remembered that not only am I special on my birthday, but I’m special every day, even when I’m not my best me.

I couldn’t ask for better gifts.

Thank you all for the best birthday ever.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2012 in My Essays, My Writing

 

Create Something Day

Last week Wil Wheaton, of STtNG fame and all around cool geek guy, decided to declare his birthday to be “Don’t Be a Dick Day”. What a wonderful idea to take your birthday and proclaim it to be whatever kind of day you want (preferably something that has the potential to yield positive results). Technically, Wil didn’t start it; but he saw the brilliance of it and embraced it. If you don’t already read his blog, the story is here.

So, in this spirit, I have decided to proclaim my birthday, this coming Monday, August 6th, to be “Create Something Day”. While I won’t turn down fancy chocolates or a lovely bottle of scotch, the one thing I’m asking for is for you to create something. Anything. Draw something, write something, start the blog you’ve been dreaming of, knit, crochet, cook… Whatever.

It doesn’t matter what you create. It matters THAT you create.

If you want to share your creativity, that would be awesome. If just one person creates something that they wouldn’t have otherwise, this will be the best birthday ever. Actually, truth be told, even if none of you does a damn thing this will still be the best birthday ever. But your creativity will certainly make it awesomer. Yep, that’s a word. See, I just created that…okay, I’m making it up. Same difference.

So, stretch your imagination and use your creativity. And when your special day rolls around, what sort of day will you proclaim it to be?

PS….ChocolateScotch is always accepting guest posts on creativity, art and inspiration as well as guest poems.  So if you create something and need a way to share it with the world our door is always open.  Just saying…

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2012 in My Essays, My Writing