The Moon Calls me | No point fighting it

Call me Nokomis

Nokomis is the daughter that fell from the Moon in the Ojibwe legends. I don’t know what is about the allure of the night sky and the moon & stars that holds me enthralled. But for as long as I have known, I have been a child of the night. I come alive and my energy becomes reanimated just as the sun starts waning in that magical part of the day called Dusk.

For the past few months I have been trying to retrain my clock into working creatively in the morning. It has not worked. Instead whenever the alarm goes off in the morning I wake up resentful and definitely without any creative inclination. I do practice my Morning Pages but my brain still feels asleep. I also find that I tend to procrastinate when I write – or should that be attempt to – in the mornings.

So in the past few weeks I have decided there is just no fighting genetic disposition. I am a night owl. I do not understand morning larks and have no desire to. When I hear someone tell me they are able to get up at 5am and work, my mouth drops open and I wonder how??? Likewise I know that morning larks in my own circle think me totally barking-mad to be able to work at 2am in the morning.

No…I am a daughter of the moon and the night sky. There is no point in even trying to go to bed early to wake earlier because invariably my muse drags me out of dreamland at 3am every morning without fail. Between 12am and 2am is when I get most of my inspiration.  I have tried changing this but not even sleeping tablets quietens my imagination in the early hours of the morning/late hours of night.

There is something mystical and magical about the night. The air holds a pensive aura of anticipation. Creatures with bright eyes come out to hunt or play. The night has an air of possibility that is ripe for imagination. It is possible to believe that everything and anything can exist at night. That is what stirs my imagination when the sky is dark and the stars are bright. It is as if a deeper part of my brain is awakened at night. 

Perhaps it is because everyone else is usually asleep at this time of night and there are fewer distractions. Perhaps it is a strange magic of the moon’s influence. But there is definitely something that awakens the creativity in me in the middle of the night. Perhaps this is also why I am drawn to writing in the genre / style that I do. My style of writing is definitely darker and I am drawn to the surreal. Perhaps this is also determined by one’s natural body clock. It is an interesting concept. One that I will have to ponder on some more.

Have you ever tried actively changing yourself from a night owl into a morning lark or vice versa?

Many psychologists believe that you are either a night owl or morning lark and that this is determined by your natural circadian rhythms or internal body clock. So apparently though you may be able to retrain your system, if you choose a complete opposite you will find your life to be more stressful.

Identify your internal body clock via Psychology Today. Interestingly enough, I took this test and scored an 8 which makes me a very definite owl.

So I am proudly standing up for the rights of Night Owls everywhere. No point in fighting your inherent nature. I will answer the call of the moon. My muse and characters should be happy with that.

What’s your best time of day for creativity?

Character Recipes | Spices & Secret Ingredients

Shop with spices in Morocco

Image via Wikipedia – Spice shop in Morocco

Do you love cooking?

Or do you prefer baking?

Personally I love cooking. In baking you have to be very careful to follow a recipe to the letter. You have to be precise with times, temperatures and measurements. The smallest variation could be disastrous. Frankly the thought of baking leaves me cold. I tend to leave that to the experts like my clever CP who is a baker extraordinaire and my amazing mother who is the world’s best baker. Cooking however, is something I love and something I thrive at: especially when it comes to making my own tasty recipes where the only rules and limits I need to stick to are the boundless limits of my creative imagination.

The art of creating a memorable character has more in common with cooking than baking. You have your standard ingredients as your base but the rest is up to your creative skills as a writer: you are the chef in your own Character Recipe. So what’s my Character Recipe? What spices do I use to flavour? What secret ingredients do I use to make the character breathe with depth and emotion? What is my inspiration for the recipe? This brings me to the topic for this month’s Tuesday Blog Hop.

Topic for Tuesday August 9th:  Character Recipe 

Alphas, betas, helpless Hannas we all have characters we love and those we hate.

But how did we create them? What’s your character recipe? 

 

The best cooking is rich with spices, sauces and exotic flavours. The best dishes are when you, the cook & chef extraordinaire, can come up with a new twist on a well-known dish. Writing a story is very much like this. Just by changing the spices in a dish you can create a whole new flavour explosion. Characters are the spices that writers use to flavor their own dishes: the stories.

Very few plots are completely original. I read a quote this week that your story is either a Romeo & Juliet or a David & Goliath but just in different variations. In just the same way most cookery dishes are just new twists or different variations on the old tried and true favourites. But the difference between each dish is the combination of spices, herbs and sauces that add the final WOW touches that create an EXPLOSION of taste-bud orgasm that leaves you breathless and wanting more. We have all had those moments where we have had a plate of food put in front of us that may have looked similar to a well-known dish but the moment a forkful is put in your mouth: Your tastebuds just melt in submission of a flavor EXPLOSION that is happening in your mouth.

Creating characters is like adding my favourite spices, herbs and sauces to a dish. They are the WOW factor in a dish that will make you begging for seconds, thirds and fourth helpings. For me characters are what I love or hate about a story. Sometimes it is even  a question about loving to hate the bad guy/girl in the story. They often are the most memorable. Just like a great spice they might be sharp, spicy-hot or colourful. I have always had a soft spot for the villains in the piece. Maybe it is because they are limitless and in-your-face with their attitude and their lack of moral or ethical restraints. They do what we may in our deepest parts dream to do but dare not.

In my current story I have two Main Characters and a shadow character that binds them together. I have quite a few beta characters and secondary characters but these three characters that I mentioned are the heart, gut and backbone of this story. I am going to write an individual post for each of these three characters. So let me start today by introducing you to the character who started it all.

My favourite character in the story is actually my antagonist or villain. Her name is Eliza Chambers. She is also the inspiration for the whole story. The story is really her story and all its complications. She isn’t the easiest of characters to work with and in the beginning she was quite stubborn and reticient in sharing with me. But I am equally as stubborn and with a lot of persistence I managed to tease the story out of her. She lives in Victorian London in the suburbs. She is the eldest daughter of a very well known and high society family. But she does not fit the mould of either her society’s view of a woman nor her family’s. She is feisty, headstrong and incredibly independent. Her heroes of the day are the many inventors of the Victorian age, starting with her father. She also sees and communicates with spirits. This starts getting her in all sorts of trouble and soon trouble is brought to her own doorstep  in the form of deadly family secrets & skeletons that force her to face her own capacity for rage and scorn. The twist is that she ends up confronting her worst self and she becomes the family skeleton & secret.

One of my betas told me they found her creepy. I loved that reaction and that description. It meant that I had interpreted Eliza correctly and done her justice even though justice is the last thing she has coming. The story is about ghosts, family secrets, cursed love affairs, revenge and redemption. Without Eliza Chambers there would be no story. She will give you the creeps but she will also fascinate you as she has me. I love writing all her chapters because it stretches my skills and my imagination. Because she lives in a Victorian time I had to think, speak and act like a Victorian woman. She starts off very stubborn, secretive and austere, even cold at times. But as the complications ensue, passion and scorn transform her into a woman bent on revenge and seething with rage. Hell hath no fury like Eliza Chambers being scorned. In the end this is a woman who even ghosts & spirits fear to tread with. I think women will understand her even though they will swear they have nothing in common with her and men will fear her. She has given me sleepless nights many a time since I first met her last year in October.

Where did she come from? I really don’t know. One day she just appeared and started telling me her story. It was all I could do to grab a pen and start writing down the bones of this story. Perhaps she came from my fascination with ghosts & the afterlife which usually co-exist with family secrets & skeletons, both literal and figurative. I am also in love with the Victorian era and often believe that is my true era. I also like strong women who don’t always fit the mould. Are there elements of me written into the character? That is a difficult one because when you create a character there is a fine line between yourself and a created personality. Would I behave in the ways Eliza does? I would hope that I didn’t. But in the same manner, I can sympathize with her. The fun part of a mean & vengeful character is that you get to act out without actually acting out.

Eliza Chambers will remain with me for a long time even after this story is finally put to bed. She is a complex individual who chooses the wrong turns. Her story is an extreme story of cursed love, taboo relationships, betrayed secrets, broken hearts, revenge and thrown together with large helpings of the supernatural. But the one reason why I do respect her is that she never apologizes for who she is and above all she stands up for her views of right and wrong, good and evil: even though her views may be slightly skewed and twisted. Do I like her? Yes, there are many parts of her I like. Do I like her actions? No, although understandable, they are extreme and usually bent to her own agenda which is tinged with revenge, scorn and rage. But all of these same characteristics make a great story and create a multi-faceted person who you will either love to hate or hate to love.

 Eliza Chambers

is the spicy pepper,too hot chilli and pungent garlic to my, or should that be her, story: The Raven’s Court.

Kim

My Writing Nest

Famous Writer’s Rooms 

Above I have included a fascinating look into the writing spaces of some authors you may know. Writers’/ Artists’ spaces have always inspired me. There is something very personal about a place where creativity is nurtured.

One week in the new house at the coast. Finally I have finished with my writing nest. It is filled with all the things that inspire me. This is my place of refuge. As promised, here are some pictures of my writing nest. What do you fill your writing nest with?

261639_102793433149122_6699957_n 259944_102793813149084_1256527_n 260524_102793639815768_3702503_n 262004_102793929815739_2574794_n 262009_102793973149068_2608755_n 265064_102793473149118_630480_n 267659_102793669815765_3840860_n 267709_102794023149063_3553930_n 269094_102793579815774_1206917_n 271004_102793729815759_926681_n

 – My Memory table with my favourite lazyboy armchair. This is my spot for reading and ruminating – ever good writing nest needs one of these. (the cute black and white creature is my gorgeous papillon, Jazz – the dancing pup)

 My lovely roll top desk – now in its perfect place – and my ergonomically designed chair.

Pictures on the wall are of my creative home of inspiration – Greece.

My new writing mascot, the tiger (Gary Pinkleton) – named and gifted by my brother. My scented candles. (Red – Spiced Apple and Cinnamon, White – Wild Apple & Milk/Honey) 

 My ever present writing mascot – the pink troll (he holds a little sign that says “nobody is perfect”)

Thanks for visiting. Now excuse me while I ask you to leave so that I can close the door to my writing nest and get to hatching some new words.

Kim

Related articles

I am back blogging!!

lock
Image via Wikipedia

Well this has been a very frustrating 5 days. Since Thursday last week I have been locked out of my blog as well as all other WordPress sites. I was ok on Friday. On Saturday I was starting to get impatient. By Sunday I was nail-biting, wondering whether any of my posts would still be there. By Monday I had succumbed to the idea that it may be a long while until I get back onto WordPress. I was thankful that, in the worst case scenario of being locked out permanently, I had backed up all my posts and could re-archive them via a new blog.

The one plus about the situation was that I finally got to grips with tumblr. I had toyed with tumblr this year; mainly using it for posting photographs. But with WordPress denied to me, I was forced to get tumblrised with tumblr. I learnt how to add a comments tab as well as a “Facebook Like” page. I also realised that should the need rise, I could blog from tumblr.

Just as I was giving up hope on WordPress and preparing to grieve my loss of my beautiful Dragonfly Scrolls, I logged on this evening and….I was in. The site was very slow and took about 15 minutes to get me in but I was in. The first thing I did was check that all my previous posts were intact and unharmed. Thankfully I can report that they are all intact.

I did have a few breakthroughs during my enforced lock-out. I was forced to get down and dirty with a short story that I have to write this month. I had a theme and an idea but the characters and the essential plot kept on evading me. Finally inspiration struck and I had my main character. The story suddenly came alive for me.

This made me realise once more that for me Character is the all-important element in a story. Without a Character I have no emotional connection no matter how good the story idea may be. So for me no Character is a creative block.

So now I have a Character and I can see where this story is going. Suddenly where before a faceless Character stood at a four-way crossing not knowing which way was the best route to take; now a Character with purpose and drive took me down a route that was suddenly clear of obstacles.

Another plus about this enforced lock-out was that  inspiration struck constantly this last weekend. I have a head full of story ideas. So I have to invest in a new notebook that I can keep handy and capture the ideas as they flow. I have five submissions to complete by the end of this month, not to mention work on two WIPs. So these ideas are going to have to take a backseat for a little while until I take them out and give them the full attention they deserve.

For now I am just happy to be back in the land of WordPress. Watch out for me here. The next post will be a new interview for the Warrior Wednesdays series…If you don’t find me here know that I have been locked out again. Do not despair there is more than one way to word a blog. If not on WordPress, look for me on tumblr. Post I will…by hook, crook, WordPress or tumblr…

For now I leave you with a taste of one of my WIPs. This is a piece I tumbled on my tumblr site:

A snapped twig in the dark

Inspiration is sometimes loud and jarring. But sometimes it is that one snapped twig in the dark forest. There is an eery silence and you believe you are all alone and then very faintly you hear a distinctive snap: someone is walking there. Suddenly you are not alone.

Today I heard the snapped twig in the dark forests of my imagination. It is the foot tread of a story. It moves quickly and quietly through the forest. Is it following me or am I following it? I still my thoughts and listen. The dark silence is almost deafening. Nothing.

Out of the corner of my eye I catch a glimmer of movement. There is a shadow behind the tree. My heart beats violently struggling to maintain its home in my chest.

I feel watched.

Yellow eyes…

© All rights reserved Kim Koning.

Step into a space between time…


This week I read a blog post of a good friend’s about her dream writing retreat if she won lotto. It did not take me long to figure out my dream writing retreat. I have already been there and was entranced and charmed. My dream writing retreat is Greece. There are many reasons why this is my dream retreat. Let me tell you about why of all the places in the world, this would be my dream and will be my future writing retreat.

For me Greece is a magical blending of the Ancient and the Modern. It is a place where you can walk with closed eyes and hear the thundering of the chariots. It is a place of spiritual power and a place that has more stories than can be told in a lifetime at the foundation of its heart. I went to Greece and I fell in love with the country, the people and the culture. There is a timeless essence to being in Greece that lends itself to the timelessness of creativity. Inspiration does not have an era or a timeline. It is as old as time itself.

My strongest memories of Greece are the scent of oranges and lemons. Wherever you go in Greece you will be assailed by the sweet and tangy scents of oranges and lemons. It is a place of donkeys and motorbikes. It is a place of ancient ruins and modern luxury resorts. It is a place where the great Philosophers of time called home and found their inspiration. It is a place of mathematics and poetry.

When you are in Greece, time seems to be suspended and you enter a place where both the Ancient and the New can be together in one place and transcending the element of time. This is a place where life and living is revered. This is a place where a simple meal is appreciated and relished over 3 hours. This is a place where love and lore come home to rest. This is a place where every moment of life is appreciated and time is worshipped. This is place where you do take a moment to enjoy the simpler things in life. This is a place where family is revered and where fierce loyalty binds all.

I remember when I left Greece, I wept bitterly. For here I had found my true home. It is a place that sings to my soul. I still travel there at night in my dreams. It is the place in my mind that I escape to when I need a respite from daily life. My heart and soul belong to this ancient home of Philosophy and Inspiration. I made a vow to Greece when I left that I would come home to her. I would come home to this place of beauty and power.

I want to feel the power of magic coursing through my veins as I stand once more in the ancient ruins of The Acropolis.  I want to view the horizon from her rugged cliff-tops. I want to ride on the back of a donkey, that most humble of creatures integral to Greek culture, up a mountain side to my blue-doored and white-walled home. My view will be that of the brilliant blues and greens of the magical Mediterranean sea. I want to taste fresh seafood caught that day in the bounty of this sea. I want to know that here I am finally at home. This is the place that my gypsy heart calls home.

I believe that there is a certain place in the world where your heart,soul,mind and body just feel enriched and feel “at home”. My place is Greece. The land of the legends and myths, land of Eros and Romance. The land where love and poetry are the cornerstones of this culture. Step into the home of democracy and freedom. Walk in the pathways of Socrates and Homer. Let the grandeur of the ancients seep into your veins. Swim in the fountains of the ancient nymphs and play in the playgrounds of the Ancients.

Come join me in Greece and be inspired by the rugged beauty of cliff tops, the endless orchards of Olive trees, the traversing of goats and donkeys, the magical blues and greens of the Mediterranean, the sweet and tangy blended scents of oranges and lemons. Take a seat on the roof of my cerulean blue-doored and blue shuttered, white-walled home and forget time and the rush to squander time. Watch the fishing boats come in as you take in a magnificent sunset that has seen the passing and stilling of time as the centuries roll by. Be taken in and charmed by the many superstitions that these lyrical people believe in. Step into the land of the Olympians and take your lessons for living from the rich spirit of this culture.

Greece – My True Home.

The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece! Where burning Sappho loved and sung. Where grew the arts of war and peace,– Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung! Eternal summer gilds them yet, But all, except their sun, is set.
Author: Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron)
Source: Don Juan (canto III, st. 86)

Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts And eloquence.
Author: John Milton
Source: Paradise Regained (bk. IV, l. 240)

To Greece we give our shining blades.

Author: Thomas Moore
Source: Evenings in Greece–First Evening

If noble death be virtue`s chiefest part, We above all men are by Fortune blest, Striving with freedom`s crown to honor Greece, we died, and here in endless glory rest – Simonides

Greece is like a mirror. It makes you suffer. Then you learn. To live alone? To live. With what you are.”

— John Fowles.

In many ways we are all sons and daughters of Ancient Greece.

-Nia Vardolos

To describe Greece I would share with you a tomato on the sandy beaches of Skopellos, open a sea urchin with my penknife and serve you the scarlet eggs inside while the salt stretches the skin on our backs. – Nicholas Papandreou

© All Rights reserved Kim Koning.

Thursday Tips – Be an Imaginer

Rendering of human brain.
Image via Wikipedia

It’s that time of week again: Thursday. Which means it must be time for Thursday Tips. This week this blog has been focused on creativity. Today’s tips will be no different.

How to develop your creativity?

Firstly before we work on how to develop your creativity, you need to understand creativity. What the word, the concept and the action of creativity actually are.

creativity |ˌkrē-āˈtivitē|

noun

the use of the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work.


imagination |iˌmajəˈnā sh ən|

noun

the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses : she’d never been blessed with a vivid imagination.• the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful : technology gives workers the chance to use their imagination.• the part of the mind that imagines things : a girl who existed only in my imagination.ORIGIN Middle English : via Old French from Latin imaginatio(n-), from the verb imaginari ‘picture to oneself,’ from imago, imagin- ‘image.’


idea |īˈdēə|

noun

1 a thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action : they don’t think it’s a very good idea.• a concept or mental impression : our menu list will give you some idea of how interesting a low-fat diet can be.• an opinion or belief : nineteenth-century ideas about drinking.• a feeling that something is probable or possible : he had an idea that she must feel the same.

2 ( the idea) the aim or purpose : I took a job with the idea of getting some money together.

3 Philosophy (in Platonic thought) an eternally existing pattern of which individual things in any class are imperfect copies.• (in Kantian thought) a concept of pure reason, not empirically based in experience.

___________________________________________________

create |krēˈāt|

verb

[ trans. ]bring (something) into existence : he created a thirty-acre lake | over 170 jobs were created.• cause (something) to happen as a result of one’s actions : divorce only created problems for children.• (of an actor) originate (a role) by playing a character for the first time.• invest (someone) with a new rank or title : he was created a baronet.

ORIGIN late Middle English (in the sense [form out of nothing,] used of a divine or supernatural being): from Latin creat- ‘produced,’ from the verb creare.


imagine |iˈmajən|

verb

[ trans. ]1 form a mental image or concept of : imagine a road trip from Philadelphia to Chicago | [with clause ] I couldn’t imagine what she expected to tell them.• [often as adj. ] ( imagined) believe (something unreal or untrue) to exist or be so : they suffered from ill health, real or imagined, throughout their lives.

2 [with clause ] suppose or assume : after Ned died, everyone imagined that Mabel would move away.• [as exclam. ] just suppose : imagine! to outwit Heydrich!DERIVATIVESimaginer |1ˈmødʒənər| nounORIGIN Middle English : from Old French imaginer, from Latin imaginare ‘form an image of, represent’ and imaginari ‘picture to oneself,’ both from imago, imagin- ‘image.’

Above are 3 nouns that make up the definition of creativity. These define what creativity means. It is the innate ability of the human brain. Creativity is what separates us from the other mammals. We have the unique ability to create, imagine and think. Our ideas make us creative. Our creativity is fostered by our imagination.

For me though I disagree with the one of the above definitions. Creativity is grammatically speaking a noun. However for Creativity to be fostered an action is needed: The action of creating and imagining.

For creativity to be successful, it needs to be a verb. I know that I may be throwing a spanner in the grammatical works and right now my inner editor is attempting to bite her tongue but I am sticking to my guns on this one.

Creativity must be a verb. It is an action word. What is more active than the art of creating something. For me creativity is also the opposite of destruction. Creativity is a tool we are able to use to fuel emotion. Through creativity you can make someone feel something or see something using the tool of your imagination. Creativity is a gift.

This brings me to Imagination. Imagination derives from an old french word: Imaginer.

Imaginer Meaning and Definition from Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

    Imaginer Im*ag”in*er, n. One who forms ideas or conceptions; one who contrives. –Bacon.

What a stunning concept! What a creative concept! What better calling than to be an Imaginer?

So today’s Thursday tips are:

  1. Become an Imaginer.
  2. Use your mind as a fountain for ideas.
  3. Let no idea escape: Keep a journal just for ideas. No matter how random an idea may seem, do not throw away the seed. Write it down and see what germinates. you may be surprised.
  4. Nurture your curiosity: This will fuel even more ideas.
  5. Nurture your right-brain thinking.
  6. Exercise your most important muscle: Your brain.
  7. Think outside the square: Stretch your horizons of what is possible. This is called imagination. If it has not been done, imagine how it could be done.
  8. Learn at least 1 new creative or artistic skill every week.
  9. Teach someone at least 1 new creative or artistic skill every month.
  10. Most important make Creativity an Action in your daily life.

May you have a creatively rich week.

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.



What Inspires the Most Creative People We Know

Entropy ≥ Memory . Creativity ²
Image by jef safi via Flickr

What Inspires the Most Creative People We Know – Oprah.com.

I have been thinking a lot these last few weeks about what creativity means to me and what inspires me to feel and be creative. I have made a resolution with myself that 2011 is going to be a year focused on creativity. I have been immersing myself in different forms of creativity.

So what inspires me to feel and be creative? Beauty inspires me. The beauty found in the natural world around us. The beauty of a child’s laugh; unashamed and full-hearted. The beauty of love in an old couple. The beauty of gathering clouds before a storm. The beauty of sunbeams striking a path through heavy clouds.

I have also been doing a lot of photography this year. I have really found that the ordinary can truly be transformed into the extraordinary when looked at through the view finder of my digital camera.

Words also inspire me. I often find that if I come across a new word that I am unfamiliar with, I take note of it. I then go look it up in the dictionary and thesaurus. I challenge myself to use this new word in a few sentences. I love the sounds of certain words. My favourite words are: Zephyr, Serendipity, Surreal, Radiance, Effervescence, Subtle, Gossamer, Effusive, Ephemeral, Sublime, Lyricism.

zephyr |ˈzefər|noun1 poetic/literary a soft gentle breeze.2 historical a fine cotton gingham.a very light article of clothing.ORIGIN late Old English zefferus, denoting a personification of the west wind, via Latin from Greek zephuros ‘(god of) the west wind.’ Sense 1 dates from the late 17th cent.

serendipity |ˌserənˈdipitē|nounthe occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way : a fortunate stroke of serendipity | a series of small serendipities.DERIVATIVESserendipitous |-ˈdipitəs| |ˈsɛrənˈdɪpədəs| adjectiveserendipitously |ˈsɛrənˈdɪpədəsli| adverbORIGIN 1754: coined by Horace Walpole, suggested by The Three Princes of Serendip, the title of a fairy tale in which the heroes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.”

surreal |səˈrēəl|adjectivehaving the qualities of surrealism; bizarre : a surreal mix of fact and fantasy.DERIVATIVESsurreality |ˌsərēˈalitē| |ˈsəriˈølədi| |-ˈalɪti| nounsurreally |səˈriəli| adverbORIGIN 1930s: back-formation from surrealism .

radiance |ˈrādēəns|noun1 light or heat as emitted or reflected by something : the radiance of the sunset dwindled and died.great happiness, apparent in someone’s expression or bearing : the radiance of the bride’s smile.a glowing quality of the skin, esp. as indicative of good health or youth.2 Physics the flux of radiation emitted per unit solid angle in a given direction by a unit area of a source.

effervescent |ˌefərˈvesənt|adjective(of a liquid) giving off bubbles; fizzy.DERIVATIVESeffervescence nounORIGIN late 17th cent.: from Latin effervescent- ‘boiling up,’ from the verb effervescere (see effervesce ).

subtle |ˈsətl|adjective ( -tler , -tlest )(esp. of a change or distinction) so delicate or precise as to be difficult to analyze or describe : his language expresses rich and subtle meanings.(of a mixture or effect) delicately complex and understated : subtle lighting.making use of clever and indirect methods to achieve something : he tried a more subtle approach.capable of making fine distinctions : a subtle mind.arranged in an ingenious and elaborate way.archaic crafty; cunning.DERIVATIVESsubtleness |ˈsədlnəs| nounsubtly |ˈsədli| adverbORIGIN Middle English (also in the sense [not easily understood] ): from Old French sotil, from Latin subtilis ‘fine, delicate.’ .

gossamer |ˈgäsəmər|nouna fine, filmy substance consisting of cobwebs spun by small spiders, which is seen esp. in autumn.used to refer to something very light, thin, and insubstantial or delicate : in the light from the table lamp, his hair was blond gossamer.adjective [ attrib. ]made of or resembling gossamer : gossamer wings.DERIVATIVESgossamery |ˈgɑsəˈmɛri| adjectiveORIGIN Middle English : apparently from goose + summer 1 , perhaps from the time of year around St. Martin’s summer, i.e., early November, when geese were eaten (gossamer being common then).

effusive |iˈfyoōsiv|adjective1 expressing feelings of gratitude, pleasure, or approval in an unrestrained or heartfelt manner : an effusive welcome. See note at sentimental .2 Geology (of igneous rock) poured out when molten and later solidified.of or relating to the eruption of large volumes of molten rock.DERIVATIVESeffusively |əˈfjusəvli| |iˈfjusəvli| |əˈfjuzəvli| |iˈfjuzəvli| adverbeffusiveness |əˈfjusɪvn1s| |iˈfjusɪvn1s| |əˈfjuzɪvn1s| |iˈfjuzɪvn1s| noun

ephemeral |əˈfem(ə)rəl|adjectivelasting for a very short time : fashions are ephemeral. See note at temporary .(chiefly of plants) having a very short life cycle.nounan ephemeral plant.DERIVATIVESephemerality |əˌfeməˈralitē| |əˈfɛm(ə)ˈrølədi| |iˈfɛm(ə)ˈrølədi| |-ˈralɪti| nounephemerally |əˈfɛm(ə)rəli| |iˈfɛm(ə)rəli| adverbephemeralness |əˈfɛm(ə)rəlnəs| |iˈfɛm(ə)rəlnəs| nounORIGIN late 16th cent.: from Greek ephēmeros (see ephemera ) + -al .

sublime |səˈblīm|

adjective

( -limer , -limest )of such excellence, grandeur, or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe : Mozart’s sublime piano concertos | [as n. ] ( the sublime) experiences that ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous.• used to denote the extreme or unparalleled nature of a person’s attitude or behavior : he had the sublime confidence of youth.verb1 [ intrans. ] Chemistry (of a solid substance) change directly into vapor when heated, typically forming a solid deposit again on cooling.• [ trans. ] cause (a substance) to do this : these crystals could be sublimed under a vacuum.2 [ trans. ] archaic elevate to a high degree of moral or spiritual purity or excellence.

DERIVATIVESsublimely |səˈblaɪmli| adverbsublimity |-ˈblimitē| |səˈblɪmədi| |-ˈlɪmɪti| nounORIGIN late 16th cent. (in the sense [dignified, aloof] ): from Latin sublimis, from sub- ‘up to’ + a second element perhaps related to limen ‘threshold,’ limus ‘oblique.’

lyricism |ˈlirəˌsizəm|nounan artist’s expression of emotion in an imaginative and beautiful way; the quality of being lyrical.

Your task for this week is to choose 11 of your favourite words and use them in some way, either in a piece of prose or poem.

Your second task for the week is to find a new word per day and memorise it.

Meditate on what creativity means to you this week. What inspires you to feel and be creative? How can you be more creative? How will you inspire others to be creative?

I will post my piece of prose or poetry up here tomorrow inspired by my 11 favourite words.

Some famous thoughts on creativity:

“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” — Alan Alda

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” — Henry Ward Beecher

“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.”  — Henry David Thoreau

“Creativity is… seeing something that doesn’t exist already. You need to find out how you can bring it into being and that way be a playmate with God.” — Michele Shea

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

A Perfect Balance

Seesaw with a crowd of children playing
Image via Wikipedia

A life has to be lived at right angles to a perfect balance. Life is all about keeping your footing in that middle point of a see-saw. If you go too far to either side of the see-saw, the see-saw tilts. In a sense you are never on either side but somewhere in the murky middle. Everything is made up of this balance. Good and Evil, Love and Hate, Right and Wrong, Light and Dark.

So much of a life well lived is about striking that perfect balance. However if you look at a seesaw, you will see that balance is all about equal weights on either side of a weightless object. Success is measured by finding the perfect balance between want and need.

We know what balance is in life, but what is balance in art. Or is that the ultimate contradiction? Can one have balance in art without it becoming ordinary? Is balance important in art? I think art is the one area in life when balance can be to the detriment not the betterment.

Creativity is one side of a seesaw and Logic is the other side of a seesaw. The artist that is remembered for pushing the boundaries is not one who strikes a balance between creativity and logic. Genius in creativity is given too excess creativity. The world sees this as having one’s head up in the clouds.

Why is that it is so important to have your feet on the ground, metaphorically speaking? I believe that an excess of creative thought and expression scares the ordinary into extraordinary. I find it a terrible waste and shame that children in particular have their creative thought and expression controlled and bordered by boundaries that are supposedly protecting them. Are we not harming them more by trying to control and contain that creative spark that is natural in a child?

I believe that if adults could find their inner spark that they had as a child that they would find life to be richer in detail and beauty. Maybe the definition of a life of perfect balance is to lose the balance. Let your creativity be unleashed.

Art cannot be art when it bordered by imposed boundaries of what is right or wrong, good or bad. Creativity cannot be contained in a glass container. Creativity and creative thought or expression needs to be fluid like our emotions. Emotions defy balance. Creativity has to do with our emotions not our thoughts. Logic is guided by thought and balance.

Creativity is like a wild horse. If it is left to roam as its natural need, there will be no limits to how far the horse will run. If you tame a wild horse, it does not stop being a horse. Just like if you try to contain and bound creativity by logic and normality, it will not stop being creative. But the spark of spirit that is the essence of a wild horse will dim when tamed just as if creativity is bounded by logic it will dim.

To truly be open to your own creativity, you need to allow that wild horse to roam free, far and wide. Trust in that spark of creative innocence that you had as a child. You need to allow yourself to colour outside of the lines. You need to tilt the seesaw in your life. You need to not allow criticism and judgement to try to tame your creativity. Creativity needs to be untamed.

What are you going to do this week to unleash your creativity? How are you going to release that wild horse from its captive paddock? What would you have done as a child? Do that now. Growing up is not a reason to lose the magic of creativity and imagination. Instead embrace your creativity as a gift. You may think you have been living your life balanced because you are doing what you are supposed to do, you are being a grown-up. But in fact your seesaw is tilted too far to the left and logic is blinding your view of the world. The world is a beautiful place and sometimes there is no logic to be found in life. Creativity and imagination understand this.

Follow the creative path you have been told has no future. You may find it creates a new future for you. You may find you burn new paths for others to follow in. Do not be afraid of losing your logic to your creativity. Sometimes throwing caution to the wind can be more liberating than you imagined. Are you brave enough to try? Are you brave enough to write that book, paint that picture, take that photograph, dance that dance? So what if nobody likes it or understands it. The important thing is you may just find your inner child hidden within that creative release.

Run free and roam far. There is nothing more beautiful than a wild horse running with the wind as its only companion. There is nothing as beautiful nor magical as releasing your creative spark.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
Pablo Picasso

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
Pablo Picasso

“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.”
Pablo Picasso

“If I paint a wild horse, you might not see the horse… but surely you will see the wildness!”
Pablo Picasso

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

Looking at the world with different eyes

Sunlight dappling my day
Sun trapped under my tread

These are two of my favourite shots that I took in the last couple of weeks for my project 365 – where I take 365 photos in a year. I love the “different view of the world” idea that these two shots give.

The first image is taken beneath a tree looking up through the leaves at the afternoon sky.

The second image is taken of beach sand. On the West Coast of New Zealand, most of the beaches are black sand beaches. The incredible thing about black sand beaches though is that when the sand becomes wet, it becomes a virtual mirror and will reflect anything. The shot that I took is of the sun and clouds reflected in the sand.

The most fascinating thing about any form of art is that is makes you look at the world with different eyes. I think that is what fuels my creativity – my search for it, my need for it, my passion for it, my focus for it. I love the way creativity makes ordinary images suddenly extraordinary. That is the true wonder of all creative arts for me:

Creativity in the hands of imagination and the heart of inspiration has the ability to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary, the plain into the beautiful, the simple into the challenge, the view into a vision.

Whether I am writing a poem, or working on some prose or even taking a photograph – I am transported into a world of the POSSIBLE. Suddenly dreams can be reached and the stars are within touching distance. My common and ordinary troubles seem to disappear for those moments when I am focused on creativity.

I need to be creative. For me not to be able to write or create is like a thirsty man in a desert. I may survive for a short time but “survive” will be the operative word. I will not be able to live with ease. For like water fuels a person’s body, creativity fuels my heart and nurtures my soul. I drink in words like that thirsty man near death drinks in water. Those who know me well know that the best torture for me would be to take away my pens and my paper. I would find a way to write even if it were with my nails scratching into a wall.

Writing is therapy for me. Some people go to psychiatrists and lie on couches telling a stranger their problems. I believe in the healing power of therapy but I do not go to a psychiatrist. Writing is my therapist. Words are my medicine. Poetry is my recovery. How do I describe myself? I am a writer. Whether I had nothing published or whether I am published in 50 languages: I am a writer. Irregardless. I am a writer. It is the only passion that keeps me sane. It helps me understand the world in its idiotic simplicity and its terrible complexities. It helps me understand myself and puts words to the wordless emotions that fill my heart to overfill. When I put a pen in my hand and put that pen to paper that is when the world makes sense. In a senseless and cruel world; writing is my form of release, escape and succor. Without writing I will not cease to exist. But I would be no better than a prisoner in solitary confinement for a lifetime sentence. Writing makes the world a better place for me. Writing makes me a better person for the world.

Hippocrates put is perfectly:

Ars longa,
vita brevis,
occasio praeceps,
experimentum periculosum,
iudicium difficile.

(translated)

Life is short,
[the] art long,
opportunity fleeting,
experiment dangerous,
judgment difficult.”
Hippocrates

What does creativity mean to you?

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

Duck on a walking mission | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

 

Day 6 ( Project 365/2011) Duck on a walking mission

 

Duck on a walking mission | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

This is my image for today. I did not go looking for this image. Instead I was walking home from the gym. I had my camera with me but did not expect to see anything worthy of being captured. Until I came across a group of ducks gathered in a backyard of a house. They all seemed to be just waiting there. Now these were not tame ducks. They were wild ducks. I expected them to fly away. Instead they all started walking towards me. I knew the moment was rare and might not present itself again, so I slowly took my camera out – trying not to make any sudden moves – and started taking pictures. I took about 20. All the time the ducks stayed close to me. One actually came right up to me and tried to see what I had in my hand. This is the one that I captured for today’s image.

I have been doing this photography challenge for a week now. The aim is to take at least one photo every day. So far I have succeeded, except for yesterday when instead I posted an image that is on my vision board. Have I gone out hunting down the perfect image. To be honest, no I have not. I do take my camera with me everywhere now and wait for an opportunity to present itself. But sometimes the impossible happens and life hands you a rare moment of beauty. Today was such a day.

It led me to wondering how often we go about our lives looking for the perfect story, the perfect title, the perfect characters, the perfect plot. We seem to find nothing. Maybe the problem is not the lack of ideas or opportunities but rather the problem is that we are so busy looking ahead and elsewhere that life does not have a moment to grab our eye.

My Zen lesson of the day is that maybe you should go about your normal every day life without constantly seeking. The perfect creative moment may be waiting for you to pause in your looking to make itself known to you. It is these rare moments that truly capture you and inspire you.

So this week, I encourage you to not be in such a hurry to rush after creative thought. Maybe take a moment and pause, then look around. You may be surprised what image presents itself for you.

Don’t run around looking for a lighter to light the fires of creativity when life is already waiting with a box of matches.


© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning


Have a creative day. Remember to take a moment to pause and wait for a creative sign to make itself visible to you.