Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Fun: Things that Make Writers Laugh

And, on a completely unrelated note -- but totally related to me -- Happy Birthday, Kate!!! And happy weekend to all of you!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Creativity Tips: Take a Balanced Approach

Take a quick look at this post from Shanna on balance. Go ahead. I'll wait. La-ti-da-ti-da-ti-da.....

Back so soon! Oooh. You're a fast reader. Very good. Now, to Shanna's point, I can't count the number of times I hear people say, "I'm not creative." Truly. I hear it all the time. All. The. Time. I used to always launch into a big, positive, creativity-affirming speech. Now, I do the speech if I'm in a good mood. Other times, I just roll my eyes.

But for you, today, I'll be good. Listen up, my dear: You are creative. Just as we are all excellent at practicing balance, we are all excellent at practicing creativity.

Heck, I can prove it to you:
  1. Think of a great story from your childhood or teen years.
  2. Tell the story to someone.
What's creative about that? What's not?!? Deciding on the story and the audience are acts of creative selection. How you tell the story -- the words you choose, the inflections you use -- all creative acts. Storytelling itself is one of the most creative practices in the world.

Do I believe I'm creative? Absolutely. Do I believe you're creative? Damn straight. And I believe that's a balanced approach.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Creativity Tips: In Praise of Boredom

When was the last time you were bored? For me, it was in a meeting. And my mind did what it always does when bored -- wander. I doodled. I came up with a few poem ideas. I wrote opening lines for a novel while smiling and nodding dutifully at the meeting leader.

If familiarity breeds contempt*, boredom breeds creativity. Release the need to fill every moment with activity. Relax. Be bored. See what happens!

*Reminding me of the ever-popular take on this: Familiarity breeds.

P.S. for any clients who might read this: No. It was not your meeting.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Creativity Tips: Write a New and Improved Profile

Writing a post at 11:30 p.m. after watching Les Miz for three hours could be dangerous ... I may get up Monday morning and see a thousand typos. But, I'm in the mood to write, so here goes a quickie:

Look at your profile on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or wherever. When was the last time you updated the info? Are the verbs active? Have you trimmed extraneous words? Does every word, every character count? What are you calling yourself? What have you forgotten? Are you a speaker? A blogger? A mentor? An instigator? Are you a volunteer? A yogi? A singer? A poet? A jim-dandy-cracky snow shoveler?

Consider what you do that makes you really proud of yourself. Too humble for that? Sigh. Fine. What do you do that would make me really proud of you? Is that listed?

Update, people. You're evolving all the time. Your profile should too.

I may even follow this advice myself this week. Although, truth be told, I'm much better at giving advice than taking it. I'm a mom. It's my job.

Happy Monday!

P.S. No, I did not mean that kind of quickie. Seriously, people. What are you thinking?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Fun: God Hates Kittens

So, for those of us who welcome the Sabbath on Friday evening, it's always nice to kick the day off speaking directly for the Big Guy:

Does your God hate puppies? Ponies? Bunnies? No problem. Just visit
Now, before you get upset, God Hates Goods is poking fun at the Westboro Baptist Church and its infamous God Hates Fags placards. (I will say this. The signs are most often spelled correctly, since the words are short.)

Unfortunately, since I live in the Sunflower State, I have to admit that Westboro is a Kansas phenomenon. However, on the bright side, so is this.

Happy weekend! Go play with a God-forsaken chipmunk for me.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

In Honor of John Mark Eberhart

Kansas City's literary world lost a great talent and an enthusiastic advocate this week with the death of former KC Star reporter/books editor/poetry promoter John Mark Eberhart. In his honor, look here for my favorite poem re: cancer from Raymond Carver. And an equally beautiful "response" from Carver's widow, the poet Tess Gallagher.

I think John Mark would have liked both poems.

Rest in peace, John Mark.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Fun: Paper is Not Dead

Because it's Friday. Because print is not dead. Because paper is definitely not dead.

Thanks to Maureen for the link!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Creativity Tips: Something There Is ...

Paterae by Jean Wender
Jean Wender's show at the Kansas City Artists Coalition's Underground Gallery does exactly what great art should do: It stops you in your tracks and makes you reconsider your view of the world.

Jean's pottery is not glazed. It's not raku. It's something beautifully different. I consider it pottery poetry ... so this post from Jean describing her work makes perfect sense to me.

"Something there is that does not love a wall."
These words of Robert Frost beautifully express my rejection of putting a glaze on my pots. I love working with clay: the yielding fullness of clay in its raw state; its suppleness on a potter's wheel; the subtle sheen of a burnished surface. My hands have coaxed this entity into existence in a series of almost ritualistic steps. To encase a piece in a layer of glass strikes me as a betrayal of this precious relationship. Much better to leave the surface open and porous, receptive to the marks and colors that result from a saggar or a sawdust firing, open and receptive to the touch of a hand.
--- Jean Wender, 2013
Go see Ceramic Work by Jean Wender at the Underground Gallery, Kansas City Artists Coalition, 201 Wyandotte, KCMO 64105. The show closes March 29; gallery hours are Wednesday - Saturday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

P.S. Full disclosure: I love Jean. She is one of the kindest, gentlest, smartest, funniest, honest people I know. But that's not why I'm promoting the show. I'm promoting the show for the art, which -- in this case -- naturally reflects the beauty of the artist.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Creativity Tips: Falling isn't Failing

My buddy Vanessa sent me this link to a wonderful post about Jennifer Lawrence's Oscar night tumble -- the best fall in history.

The post is such a good reminder: It's never the fall that matters. We all fall. It's how we get back up that counts. And isn't it lovely to see what friends come running to help?

Thanks, Vanessa!