Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Artist's Way

So, one of my favorite writing podcasts, I Should Be Writing is working through a book called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron together. It's a kind of workbook for unblocking creativity. I wasn't feeling particularly blocked or anything, so I'm not sure why exactly why I decided to join it, but I did. So I'm doing the exercises and stuff. I'm in week 3 of the program. There's a total of. . . hang on let me look it up. . . 12 weeks. I guess I felt like since I don't get as much writing and other creative time in as I'd like, maybe it would help me to do that.

So far, it isn't helping me get more writing done. In fact, I'm actually getting less done. The program requires me to write 3 pages (longhand writing) every morning about. . . just whatever. Stream of consciousness stuff. I usually can't even get dressed in the morning before kids and cats and husbands (okay, just the one husband) need me for something, so I moved the page writing to evening. But evening is when I usually sneak in the little bit of writing I already did. So now I'm writing what feels like pointless ramblings (the book assures me it isn't pointless) instead of working on my novel, or my newsletter, or my blog. Not loving the program yet.

Another problem I'm having, is that it's difficult for me to view myself as an 'artist'. That label doesn't feel like it fits me. I write about alien fish and robots, and sew quilts that are made to snuggle with, not be hung on walls. Yet I feel like it's strange that the name should bug me. Artist. Fine. So what? Don't know why I don't like it.

But I shall plow forward with this thing for a little while longer at least. If I gain any great insights that I feel are worthwhile, I shall come and report in about it. If any of you have ever heard of this book, or gone through the steps, I'd love to hear your thoughts about it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rainbows



We had a beautiful rainbow here today.
I got to wondering. . . are there any old mythological stories about rainbows? They are so beautiful, so amazing, I believe there must be, but I've never heard of one. There are myths from so many cultures about the sun, moon, planets, and even the wind and rain. So there must be some great rainbow stories out there, right?

I just wonder why I haven't heard any.

I'm sure my curiosity will get the better of me eventually, and I'll search out some rainbow myths and stories, but I thought I'd ask here first, if anyone wants to share a favorite rainbow story.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

On Vampires

I remember saying that I'm not into vampire stories. But the last few I've read, I've really enjoyed, so I guess I need to rethink that generalization. Back in college some of my friends were into the Ann Rice vampire books, and they were too dark for my tastes. I never really cared for any of the versions of Dracula I've seen over the years either. That's probably why I thought it must be the vampires I didn't like.

Then with the popularity of the Twilight series, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I think it took me three weeks to read all four books, I was so into them, and they were easy reading. Shortly thereafter I was sad to hear one of my favorite writing podcasts routinely making fun of the series, and putting it down in almost every episode. Some of it, I think, is that when anything gets to be too big, too popular, some will always have to come with negativity to balance things out. But, I listened to their criticisms anyway, hoping to learn.

Just this week I listened to an episode in which the host admitted, to my disgust, that he had never actually read any of the Twilight books. All his criticisms were based on watching the first movie. I would have thought that a writer would know better than to judge a book by its movie.

Anyway, one complaint I've heard from a few sources is that the vampires are too tame. Vampires, some feel, are monsters, not just dead people who may be nice or may be jerks. Since vampires are made up creatures, I guess they can be whatever any of us want to imagine them to be. It's really a matter of personal preference, right? So then I thought that maybe that's what I like. Nice vampires. I don't like monster stories.

Then again maybe not.

My good friend Amanda just had a vampire story produced on the Shadowcast podcast. I think it definitely falls into the 'vampires are monsters' camp, and I loved it anyway. Maybe because I was pulled along with the heroine's hope to find the nice vampires. I wanted a nice vampire as much as she did, even though her limited experience with a vampire was definitely of the 'monster' variety. I won't tell you what she found at last, so you can enjoy listening to the podcast or reading the story:
Letty by Amanda B. on Shadowcast.

The moral of this post is that I've learned not to make blanket statements like, I don't like fill-in-the-blank stories. If I'd stuck to my guns against vampires, I would have missed out on an awful lot of enjoyment. Each story should be judged on its own merits (but remember a story should never EVER be judged on its movie!)