Creative Courage.
April 12, 2011

The thing about publishing is that it’s like a reallllly long ladder with neverending rungs. Just when one rung is reached, the next comes into view, then the next. Just like a poem or a novel, it seems we’re never finished.

Sometimes the writer’s journey hurts so much it aches — a physical sensation I’d liken to a punch in the gut, and which, from time to time, can extract a low groan which causes dogs’ heads to turn and husbands to pause the television to inquire.

Some days there is over-confidence, not necessarily because a writer thinks they’re oh-so-great, but as a stop-gap measure against the waves of doubt that threaten to drown the hope, occurring mostly on the days we feel especially discouraged, stressed or unsure.

Other days we can lose all confidence because it’s easier to give up for a day (or month or week) than to continue to remain confident (takes much more energy) and withstand the aching assault on our writing hopes and dreams.

That’s where creative courage comes in.

It takes courage to create art, and not only to create it, but to risk the criticism and exposure that accompany the act of putting our work (our heart) out there.

Courage will falter from time to time. That’s normal. Those are the times it behooves us to follow our dreams back to their roots, to the childlike magic that precedes our words, brushstrokes, camera flashes, musical notes, pirouettes …

At it’s heart-shaped core, the act of art is an act of bravejoy. If an artist can reconnect to the joy, the doubt subsides and the hope and fortitude return.   

Writing is tough, getting agented is tough, going out on sub is tough — creative courage is tough, but if you’re creating art, if you’re putting yourself out there, if you’re picking yourself back up after a rejectional fall, please consider this post a candle in the window, pages and pages of belief in you, a full-out sentence parade with a marching band, flashy floats and paragraphs and paragraphs of confetti in your honor.

More and more, I admire the artists of the world. I believe artists change the world, both within and without. 

So thank you, artists who come before us, for your creative courage. Thank you for lighting our candles with yours. We hope and dream and leave the belief-light on in the jules (and jewels) of your example.

Tomorow is a new day of words.

Tomorrow is art waiting to happen.

Snow!
December 2, 2010

Bless The Querying Writer.
March 9, 2009

1000 words.

 

the deed is done

the gauntlet thrown

the friend of yes

the foe of no

and while their fate

in limbo goes,

bless the querying writers

in between

a rock and a hard dream,

wearing their stories

on their sleeves

and just returned

from imaginary lands

still warm to the touch

of their trusty pens.

 

On the middle saguaro -- see the woodpecker making a hole for its nest?

 

Poem and photos by Emily Murdoch.

Thoughts Are Things.
February 15, 2009

005

 

I hold it true that thoughts are things;

They’re endowed with bodies and breath and wings

And that we send them forth to fill

The world with good results, or ill.

That which we call our secret thought

Speeds forth to earth’s remotest spot,

Leaving its blessings or its woes

Like tracks behind it as it goes.

We build our future, thought by thought,

For good or ill, yet know it not.

Yet, so the universe was wrought.

Thought is another name for fate;

Choose, then, thy destiny and wait,

For love brings love and hate brings hate.

– Henry Van Dyke

 

006

Photos by Emily Murdoch

 I stumbled across the poem above, and it stuck to me like gum on my shoe. Wonderful gum. 

I hope everyone had a great writing weekend.

As I chug down Query Road, I read the signs along the way. “Be brave”, “Write hard”, “Choose your words carefully”, “Don’t give up”. Rest areas become writing forums, writer’s blogs, writing friends, and all the people, places and things that encourage, commiserate and make the trip bearable, and even, sometimes, amazing. 

Thank God for the rest stops along the way. 

If you, like me, are clutching a rejection slip (or three) in your hand this weekend, don’t forget that Jack Kerouac couldn’t get any takers for On The Road, at first. How sad it would’ve been if he had given up. Or, how about Madeleine L’Engle, Newbery Award winning author of A Wrinkle in Time

She flouted popular wisdom by writing in a style that editors and critics thought was too difficult for young people to read, too childish for adults — even though the scientific concepts and philosophical ideas actually were not that easy even for grown-ups to grasp. So it took ten years for her unusual stories to be published. The manuscript of A Wrinkle in Time collected rejection slips for two and a half years before a publisher took a chance on it. “You can’t name a major publisher who didn’t reject it. They all did.” But she was never tempted to compromise her vision in order to play it safe.

From Creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi      

So chug on, brave and weary writers, because you never know what tomorrow has in store. (Yup, that’s me in the car next to you, waving wildly and honking the horn and using exclamation points!)   

Go Home, Again.
January 29, 2009

The Winter Monsoon hearts Rainbows.

 

Go back to the words.

When trusty mountains shake

and lucky stars shudder,

when the compass denounces North

and the Sun forgets to rise,

go back to the Source;

put that crazy-brilliant antenna up

and see what you can catch.

Invite unbridled greatness

to swallow you whole

and spit you out, inspired.

Go back to the child

who dreamt in roy g biv,

who flew with the fairies,

whose dreams came bright and easy,

who can’t wait to see you, again.

 

And this is the *desert*.

 

(Poem and photos by Emily Murdoch)