Monthly Archives: March 2013

NaPoWriMo Starts Tomorrow!

Here we go. Thirty days of poems. Thirty days of looking at everything from an entirely different point of view. Thirty days of creativity and growth. What is it? NaPoWriMo of course!!

You can find all the information that you need to participate here but basically all that you need to know is that by committing to NaPoWriMo you are committing to writing one poem per day for the month of April. You can keep it private or post it on your blog; whatever you want. If you do post them, be sure to add your website on the NaPoWriMo page so that all of the other participants can find your work.

This is a great opportunity to challenge yourself as a writer and a chance to get your words seen by an expanded audience. Check it out!

ALSO Don’t forget that the RedInkling writing challenge submission deadline is tonight. At midnight I will post the links to your submissions, and then the real fun begins! (This is when we get to read each others’ work!) So make sure to get those posts in by midnight.

Writing Challenge Reminder

If you haven’t already, make sure to post your response to the RedInkling’s first ever Writing Challenge! The Challenge will end Sunday night, March 31st at midnight so make sure to post it and link back to the original post so I can find your work. You can find the original post describing the Challenge here.

Open Doors

Below is my response to the first ever RedInkling Writing Challenge! If you haven’t written yours yet, make sure to check out the Challenge here: http://aredinkling.com/2013/03/26/calling-all-writers/

 

The house glowed from within. The house, the home, the place, the only place.
The last place.

That house was the the place where I was born. The place where I shot into the world, wet and screaming. At least that’s what I remember. But memories are unreliable. My memory, especially cannot be trusted.  It plays tricks on me and false things appear to be true.

I was walking once, outside in the field with the long grass and the yellow flowers. I walked with my head lost in sky and my bare toes buried in earth. I walked and I walked until I found the edge of the world. I stood on the edge and the warm yellow breeze nudged me from behind.

I wanted to fall but my toes wouldn’t let me. I stood on the edge for a long, long time. Years and years passed behind me, nothing at all happened in front. For years I stood and when I finally fell, I fell for so long that I almost got lost. When I landed I was small and wet and screaming. It was then that I saw my mother’s face for the first time, although I’d known her forever.

I told her that story once and she said that it was a dream.

The house glowed from within but no forms inside cast shadows on the walls.

The last story is the one I remember best but I cannot know if it is true. The day it happened on was a sunny day. The air was warm but the soil was still cool. I followed a stream and found a riffle and waded through water that was up to my knees. The pebbles were smooth beneath my feet and I stood in the water for a long time. When I got tired of standing I went back to shore and lay down in the grass and closed my eyes.

Never asleep, I was alert behind my eyelids but so much time passed as I thought that soon I was cold without realizing it was cooling. It was a long walk home.

I saw home sooner than usual. At first it was a yellow glow on the horizon where there’s usually just a smudge. When I got close I saw that all of the doors were open; all of the lights were on. It shone brighter than I’d ever seen, cleaner than I’d ever known it to. When I went inside, it was empty. I waited outside because the lights made the house cold and harsh and none of the switches responded when I flipped them. After an hour the lights turned off. I waited outside until the sun came up.

Eventually I went inside. Still empty, but the house was home again.

I do not know if this last memory is real.

 

 

Calling All Writers!

Welcome to The RedInkling’s very first Writing Workshop Challenge!

One of my main goals with this blog is to use it as a platform for communication with other writers. I move around too much to really get involved with a workshop group in my local area and I think it would be so amazing if writers could share their work with a group of people who are mutually invested in improving their writing and having as much fun as possible.

You, my reader, are a rare gem. You’re like a majestic sea turtle; you’re beautiful and unique and there aren’t that many of you. BUT! If we all work together, I think that we can build a respectful and productive community of writers. So let’s get started! Here’s how it will work:

  • I’ll post a picture.
  • The writers’ mission will be to use the photo as a prompt to write a story, a poem, a description; whatever you want. Be creative and have fun with it!
  • Then, post your piece on your blog with a link back to this page. You can title it whatever you want, just make sure to link back so I know that you’ve posted something.
  • I’ll post links on here to each of your posts and then
  • we can have an online workshop! You will be able to click through everyone else’s work from here. Read each one and comment on what you like but especially on what you think could be improved. Be constructive and give the type of feedback that you would like to receive. Make sure to vote for your favorites with likes!

Hopefully this will be a beneficial experience and, we’ll all get to read and write some really fun stuff! So if you’d like to participate, check out the photo below and then get writing!

Montana 2012 091

I’m so excited! Happy writing!

 

 

 

The Best Book On Writing That You Will Ever Read

This book is fourteen years old. It isn’t the next big thing or a surefire way to make truck loads of money on the internet. It is a simply written, engaging conversation on the subjects of writing and creativity. Ray Bradbury’s Zen In The Art Of Writing is, hands down, the most beautifully written book about writing that I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

I studied creative writing for a couple of years (I didn’t graduate so I won’t tell you which school it was) and read six or seven craft books on various styles of writing. I learned a lot while in school, and first started to get my writing legs but the craft books were a responsible for a very small percentage of that.

In January of 2011 I went on vacation for two weeks to the smallest of the US Virgin Islands, St. John. If you ever get a chance to go, do it. We stayed in a run down hostel that turned out to be our personal heaven. Sadly, Botanical Villas went out of business about a year later, but we don’t need to get into that here.

I read a lot while we were there and ran through all six of the books I brought with me in the first week. Every day we hitchhiked into town for groceries, and we often stopped at the used book store that was inside the same mall area. I can’t remember the name of the place but it was tiny and crammed from floor to ceiling with paperbacks. At least half of the books in the store were either romance novels or travel guides, most of them with puffy, sand filled spines.

My lovely boyfriend found Zen In The Art Of Writing crammed in with the science fiction and fantasy; a set of three bulging shelves in the back corner next to the espresso bar. Knowing me like he does, he gave it to me. You may have noticed my fondness for Mister Bradbury is previous posts (http://aredinkling.com/2013/03/19/we-are-the-martians-a-grossly-inadequate-attempt-to-honor-a-genius/ ) but let me impress upon you the extremity of my fondness for his work. It’s serious. My dad first read me The MArtian Chronicles when I was really young, probably six or seven. He probably read it to me three times and I’ve read it at least once every year or two since. So I’m a fan.

I read Zen In The Art Of Writing for the first time slowly, devouring every word. It took me about three days, even though it’s only 152 pages. I finished on the plane. And then I read it again, in just a few hours before the plane touched down in the snow. On the first read I took in every minute detail of what Bradbury had to say, letting each word marinate and unravel in my mind. On the second read, it was poetry. I read for the flow and the musical words and the sparkling pinnacles of inspiration.

Bradbury shares his personal journey to respected author-hood, weaving the tale of his childhood with the same twisted shimmer of his published stories. It is beautiful writing that inspires the passion to write beautifully. Bradbury takes money out of the equation. He writes because it is who he is, he simply must write. This book helped me to remember that I was one of those people too. It is so easy to get distracted, to get caught up in building a career and forget that we used to enjoy what we are doing.

It helped that I read Zen In The Art Of Writing fresh off of two weeks in the sun; I was already in a very free, creative place. But that first time and every time I have read it since, Zen has felt not so much like a book to me, but like a detox for my creativity. I read it whenever I need to remember how to clear out all the crap and just write.

How To Exhibit Confidence You don’t Feel (yet).

I’m very self-conscious. Left unchecked, I think an unhealthy amount about what other people think of me and what my status is in the world. To combat these tendencies, I spend much of my energy strengthening my relationship with myself and attempting to live as unselfconsciously as I can. As Ray Bradbury said,

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.”

Suddenly, finally, I want nothing more than to have peace within myself. I have come to the obvious but difficult conclusion that only I have the power to decide who I am and how I will live my life. It is an awesome responsibility and I find myself humbled before it.

 

I start each day on a positive note (I usually meditate) and focus on positive goals for the day. After that, I try to keep it simple.

POSTURE

The way you carry yourself has a huge impact on how you feel. Push your shoulders back and hold your head high. Pushing back your shoulders opens up your chest cavity making it easier to breathe. Look at the tops of things for a while.

EYE CONTACT

Making eye contact for an extended period of time is extremely uncomfortable for me and for many people. I have found that it gets easier with good posture though; your eyes just seem line up naturally.

It is okay to look look away every once in a while but I try not to look around me or at the floor, it makes me more nervous and it can seem rude. Maintained eye contact gets more comfortable over time and has become a sort of stabilizer for me; when I maintain eye contact I stay focused on the conversation which takes the focus off of any negative self-talk.

SPEAK UP

It can be easy to be critical of our own thoughts and opinions, especially when we are trying to better ourselves. It is important to voice your opinion, ask questions and enter into conversation with people. The act of speaking my mind and standing up for my beliefs has made me believe more strongly in everything that I believe in, including myself.

PUSH YOURSELF

By challenging yourself to do things that are outside of your comfort zone, you will build confidence as you see what you are capable of. Setting attainable goals, like implementing a reasonable exercise routine, or writing for an hour every day builds you up with incremental bursts of confidence.  Pushing yourself to do something that you are really afraid of,  has a skyrocketing effect on your confidence that can last for a very long time.

Last summer, I did the Tarzan Swing at a zip-lining course in Costa Rica. I walked the green gangplank, out over a deep chasm in the rainforest. I looked down. And then I walked the green way back to solid ground. I paced the ground for forty five minutes. And then I walked the plank one last time. The last twenty feet I felt my way forward with my eyes closed. Every nerve in my body was on high alert, almost to the point of being painful. I felt the pull of the rope as the man clipped it to my chest. He pulled me forward and I felt the end of the road under the tips of my toes. My thighs pushed into the low metal gate that held me in place. He opened the gate. It was 200 feet and five minutes before the rope caught me.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

And in the meantime, take small steps each day to mindfully cultivate confidence. Think about who you are and who you want to be. Come alive in every moment. “The world needs people who have come alive.” (Howard Thurman)