Whence Ideas Come and Whither They Go

Those who’ve followed my blog for some time know that I think writer’s block is an (ironically) imagined disorder. There is no such thing as a lack of ideas. However, writers can make finding those ideas difficult, often by falling into inflexible routines. Let’s assume, for instance, a writer has always found their story ideas while hiking through the woods. If, after months of hiking without any new ideas emerging, it would be normal for the writer to assume they’ve finally run out of new ideas. It’s even easier to feel stuck if your normal writing method is to sit down at the computer and pound out whatever idea emerges. If nothing comes, is that writer’s block or simply a bad methodology? I would argue that it’s the latter.

While everyone has periods where new ideas don’t fall as readily from the imagination tree as other times, changing your writing routine can be very effective at giving your tree a vigorous shake. To this point, I’ve penned the equivalent of ten books, although I’ve not published all of them. Of the ten, three are collections of short fiction. In addition, I have a backlog of a half-dozen new book ideas I’ve not had time to develop and dozens of short-story ideas. So, how do I generate so many fresh starts? I simply assume that everything I do in life is a potential source of information. As a result, ideas never stop.

To demonstrate what I mean, let’s look at books I’ve written and where I got some of my ideas. I’ll ignore sequels, since those are follow-on works that should evolve organically from books that are already developed on in progress. The list below shows where brand new ideas sprang from.

  • Dreams: The Changeling* (Fantasy) – I wrote this when I first started writing fiction in 2009, and long before I had any inkling on how to generate ideas. In fact, to this point, I’d never seriously considered fiction since I was convinced I had no imagination at all. On a lark, I decided I would write a short story based on one of the few dreams I remembered from my childhood. A friend liked the story, and so I turned it into a novel, which quickly became a series. In fact, I wrote the first two books at once (Grandfather Time** was Book 2), so you could say that childhood dream inspired two books.
  • Music and/or Videos: Hard as Roxx (Sci-Fi) and The Little Burgundy (Mystery) – Being somewhat of a music fanatic, it’s perhaps not surprising that I get inspiration from music and music videos. While I would hesitate to recommend turning someone’s video directly into a book plot, music is an interesting way to generate story ideas. For Hard as Roxx, the music video to “Dude It Like a Dude,” by Jessie J gave me the idea for my Sci-Fi tome’s protagonist, Roxanne Grail. I let myself imagine a world wherein women allowed themselves the same power that men always claimed, with my lead being a musically inclined woman who just happened to kick much ass. The Little Burgundy stars detective Jeanne Dark, and while I created my lead based on character traits I wanted her to have, like synesthesia, inspiration for her style (and a bit of background story) came from singer Melody Gardot. There was just something about Gardot’s rendition of “Who Will Comfort Me” that gave me a sense of Jeanne’s smooth vibe and set the tone for the book. I even wrote a few chapters while listening to it. In a number of books, the writing was inspired (or at least aided) by the music I listened to while writing).
  • Movies: Hard as Roxx (Sci-Fi) – In addition to the above, Roxx is somewhat of a character amalgam. She’s part Clint Eastwood, part Bruce Lee, and very much her own woman. In order to avoid typical dystopian clichés, I created my own projection of scientific and technological advancements, and then placed them in a northern African setting for a change of pace. Action scenes were inspired by movie genres, rather than plots, with fight sequences taken from spaghetti westerns and Kung Fu flicks.  I asked myself to imagine a Bruce Lee fight sequence that takes place on an airplane with an 8-months-pregnant woman as one of the combatants. I asked, “How would Eastwood’s Man With No Name respond to encountering a group of sex slavers in an unmarked desert town, if he were the father of a little girl?” These “what-ifs” provided fodder and allowed me to explore both new ideas and old ideas in new ways and settings. Imagination isn’t limited to creating new worlds; sometimes, it’s understanding how a simple shift in a few dynamics changes the existing world.
  • Books: The Brooklyn Trace (Detective)  – Admittedly, I’m no longer a voracious reader of fiction, so if I read a book, I’m looking for something specific: not plot ideas, but more often, understanding what’s been done so that I don’t do that. Frankly, other writers’ ideas get in my way. I can no longer read a book as a reader. Instead, I always read as a writer–specifically, me, as the writer–and end up asking myself, “How would I have written this scene?” It’s not always better in my head, but it is always different. I wanted The Brooklyn Trace’s Eddie Daley to have an old Film Noir detective feel, but in an updated setting. Eddie isn’t sexist or mildly racist like Hammett’s Sam Spade or Chandler’s Philip Marlowe. He’ll never call someone a ‘fairy’ or use the ‘n-word.’ He’s not a misogynist like Marlowe, and he not an alcoholic like Hammett’s Nick Charles. In short, he’s not a self-destructive loser like most noir detectives, but neither is he an infallible superhero like (sober) Sherlock Holmes or James Bond. Knowing what your character is not goes a long way toward determining what he is. While I plotted the book meticulously (for mysteries, you have to ) I allowed dialog and relationships to evolve organically, based on the strong character definition that the noir genre requires. In that way, I took cues from  Chandler and Hammett, using their clipped dialog and quick-paced conversations as a template. The book is all mine,  but the novel’s pacing was inspired by those masterful writers. No one’s writing is a tight as Raymond Chandler’s, but Eddie’s narration is my tightest writing to date.
  • Kinetic Scripting: The Brooklyn Trace – Okay, I made this term up, but I don’t know what else you’d call it. While I outlined in great detail Brooklyn Trace’s primary and secondary plot lines, the actual writing of each scene was different. A typical chapter’s outline would list one or two pieces of information that needed to be revealed or an event that needed to happen. The why and how of it is where all the free-style writing comes into play. The entirety of this book I wrote while walking or hiking, typically on my two-mile jaunt through the neighborhood. I’d allow the scene to play out in my head as I walked and when I got home, sat at the computer and typed it out. There is something symbiotic about scripting an action novel while in motion. If you haven’t tried it, give it a whirl. Just watch out for traffic if you do.
  • Daydreams: The Stubborn Life of Jesse Ed McKinney (Literary Fiction)– I’ve learned there are 3 stages of dreaming: normal dreaming, conscious dreaming, and wakeful dreaming. As a kid, I taught myself conscious dreaming by focusing on one element I wished to see and not moving on in the dream until it appeared. My key at that time was a “STOP” sign. Until I could read the sign, nothing else happened. When I could, I knew I was dreaming, but in control. I’d allow the dream to continue, or wake myself up if it got too scary. I still use the technique, though now it’s limited to my usually being aware that I’m dreaming as I dream. For Jesse Ed’s book, I took it a step further. I often awake from dreams in the morning, with the dream interrupted in mid-stream by my brain’s clock telling me it’s 7:30 and time for meds. On one late-summer morning, I decided to remain in bed and asked myself how would I finish the dream I’d been having. How would I change the parts I didn’t like? I lay there, and as I did, the dream evolved to a new story about a poor family in Tennessee in the early 1900s. The entire “movie” played out before me in my head, and after an hour, I got up and wrote the plot down exactly as I remembered it. It still took a month to convert my notes to a book, but 30 days later, I’d finished my best work to date. Since then, I’ve written a couple of short stories the same way, and come up with a several plot ideas.
  • More Books: The Stubborn Life of Jesse Ed McKinney – As I wrote Jesse Ed’s book, the narrative voice was quite different than my usual style. Prior to beginning writing, I read some work by William Faulkner (choking on his racist stupidity but dazzled by the literary brilliance of Light of August) and Toni Morrison (Song of Solomon and Jazz). What I was looking for was not “how they wrote” or “what they wrote” but, much more importantly, “What did they give themselves permission to do?” Faulkner gave himself permission to make up words for things that didn’t have words, but needed them. I remembered Shakespeare gave himself the same permission. Oddly, I do that all the time in my real life, but usually edited made-up words out of my writing. This time I gave myself permission to create as much language as I wished or ignore as much grammar as was required to tell the story. Morrison gave herself permission to be poetic whenever she felt, to sing the words, to love the characters’ flaws, and tell the story as though reality, absurdity, and impossibility were all one thing. So, I gave myself that permission too, dedicating the book to them both.
  • Photos: Various Short Stories and Novelettes – For me, this works much better for short fiction. To put it simply, I find unusual photos online, those that have a story, and I write scenes, or stories, or 16,000-word novelettes based on the photo. It’s easier than you think, especially if you keep the visual on your computer, side-by-side with your story, as you write. I use a similar technique when I want to get very specific in a story, having the advantage there of setting stories in places I’ve been, using photos I’ve taken. As an example, the cover photo for Jesse Ed’s book is, in fact, my great-grandfather, a shot I had restored some years back. The opening chapter of the book was inspired by the two photos below, which I searched for online, since I’d already dreamt the story that went with them. Sometimes the photos come first, sometimes it’s the story that does.

For me, writing is quite similar to how I’ve heard “channeling” described. The stories are there, and the characters can’t wait to tell them. All you must do is trust that they’re there, learn how to see or hear them, and then try to keep out of the way of the story as it’s being told. If, when you begin to write, you find yourself talking too much within the book, try to be quiet and see if your narrator can’t surprise you with a voice you didn’t know you had in you.

If you have ways of coming up with stories I’ve not thought of here, chime in and let me know in the comments. Maybe I’ll try those too.

Notes:

* The Changeling was previously released as The Stream: Discovery.
** Grandfather Time was previously released as The Stream: Awakening.

Excerpt: “Holy Mother of Selina Sky”

My sincerest thanks for all the kind words and well wishes from my blogging friends. I needed to get my priorities sorted, particularly with respects to the relationships in my life. I started writing again, in earnest, and managed to salvage the most important relationship I have, other than the one with God. I’ve also started the novel Jeanne Dark, and so far, it’s going well. So, it was a productive respite. I also started a blog that’s not about the writing per se or the photography, but about me and the world. Sometimes you have to take some steps backward to get where you’re trying to go. Here’s to moving forward.

In hopes some of you still enjoy my stories, below is another excerpt from the novelette  “Holy Mother of Selina Sky.” It’s my favorite story to date. It’s the bittersweet tale of a lonely man who becomes the caretaker of a special little girl when her mother abandons her. 

I have no idea who this is, but she was my Selina right away. The story was based on my true encounter with a little girl in a park.

On the Tuesday that life started, I made the first loop around the lake, past the ornamental grasses full of peppery pollen, around the bend to the wildflowers that drew fewer bees each summer, through the roller-coaster twists of an up-and-downhill S-curve, to a dense thicket of trees, over the wooden bridge that covered fetid water that smelled like poo, past the noisy hill where small children played in the neighboring development’s tot lot, and past the grass field where lived an enormous cloud of gnats whose sole function in life was to torment me. I once read that mosquitoes are attracted to Type O blood, my type. I suppose gnats must be too. Past the swarm was a 0.2-mile straightaway along which little old ladies flocked on wooden benches like winter seagulls on the frozen lake, and then to the final straightaway, a downhill obstacle course where I would dip and dodge trying to avoid the gross, green globs of goose guano that perpetually painted the pathway. This was the part I hated the most, even more than the rude children, the swarming bugs, or the fetid lake water. This was where the families were – moms and pops who’d bring their kids to feed stale popcorn or moldy bread to the fowl vermin, despite signs along every turn of the lake admonishing them not to.

In retrospect, I cannot tell you if I was ever aware that I didn’t actually like walking around the lake. Liking a thing wasn’t something that I ever thought about. It was preferable, I believed, to focus on what was required of me. I was like a sharpened pencil. No one ever asks the pencil if it wants to write; they merely sharpen it, wearing it down a bit more each time, and make it do what it should. The way I saw it, I was an excellent pencil. Continue reading “Excerpt: “Holy Mother of Selina Sky””

i go to work


i go to work
some days i flow
soft
like the first
kiss of spring sun
or an untouched creek
i’m gentle, cool and smile
’cause God is there
and you my dear, always
you my dear
but on other days, i rage
in the night
a cry of pain, of cold, of heat lost
but i play it cool
see?
cool like a glass of ice
cool like winter in the south
and cool, like i don’t
hurt

i go to work
and make it flow
and let it cool
cause that’s what God expects
and i type, and weep, in silence
you write my song, my dear, and it’s
you, always you,
for whom i type,
eyes closed, i write your
words, sing the softness
of your strength, only soft for me
you say, as i am only hot for you
and you know,
baby
what magic soft and hot can make

like the flow of a lava-sunday
morning love session
when you clutch our satin sheets
and arch to me, like
when you grab my head
and lose your own
right before … right then…
just then … baby, when

i go to work
and make it flow and
they never know, do they
baby? they never
feel it from me, do they
baby?
so i just, you know,
i play it cool
cool like fritz the
cat cause they
don’t know fritz
baby
cool like a marvin gaye
soundtrack
cool like “t” and it rhymes with
me, cause i play it cool
so they won’t know
baby but you do
you know the saxophonic heat
playing in my gravelly voice or
like a miles davis broken bell
it sings the soundtrack to my burden

my God has left me
a road map with no destination
instead, in bold letters
instructions saying,

“my son
go to work
and make it flow, child
and I gave you more burdens
than them because
you got more work to do
and you know, child
how lazy you gets
so pick up the pen in your
wrong hand and
go to work and
tell them of the days you spent
in a crowd of
no one there
the lion manchild
in a little boy shell
all crunchy nougat and
no sweet inside”

so i go to work,
to make it flow
and let it cool
like the pacific, cool
cool like ike cool
cool like ray letting it do
what it do cool
so cool yo mama
wears her back hair
as a fur coat, cool
bitch
too cool, that kinda cool
cool like
you know, you
know you know you like
it bitch
kinda cool
and your mama did too
and

i go to work
and make it flow
cause it don’t have to rhyme
cause life ain’t a damn poem
life from the bottom
always looks like everywhere
you go is up
and the view from the back
of the pack
is always the same
and smells a lot like ass
so up, i rise,
up, i rise,
and up i rise and
up i rise and
up i rise
and
up
i always rise
because i’ll be
damned if the
enemy will win

see my God
whispered
this song
see
just a one note song
in my left ear
with a stingy melody
and a funky ass backbeat
and God whispered,
singing

“go to work
and win, my child,
and win.”

Random Photo Prompt

I posted this to my photo blog and wondered what people could do with it. If you’re so inclined, I’d love to see what words (or other art forms) you can make, with this as inspiration. It’s not a great photo, but it’s a pretty cool sign.

No Vacancy Tonight

And if that one doesn’t move you, maybe this one will. If you get bored enough to use one, let me know. Cheers!

every morning, when u rise

every morning, when you rise
they’ll shout the gloom and whisper hope.
but truth is what your heart accepts,
hear the whispers and you’ll cope.

every morning, when you rise
bruised and battered, full of fail
sing the song that susurrates,
“nine times fallen, next time sail.”

 

My Church Has Bugs

My church is nature. On Sundays, you will find me in communion with God, here, amidst his works. Now some would say that means I am spiritual, but not religious. They would be wrong. Although I believe  in houses of God, I prefer the house God built. With the earth my church, I am forced to treat her as a sacred temple. I don’t throw trash in my church, and although I may swat the occasional vermin, I nurture those God chose to house in his temple.

The earth is my temple
I shall not want
it maketh me to stand straight and notice
to stop to hear the call of the cardinal
Yeah, though I walk through the shadow of the sewers of filth,
I will heed no people
for thou are with me.

Amen

Now I realize that as prayers go, that one sounds a bit misanthropic. In truth, it has little to do with people. Instead, it’s a reminder to trust. I walk in the sun, close my eyes, and try to forget all the things I’ve been taught are impossible. In letting go of what I’ve accepted, hopefully I can take possession of what I’ve been promised.

My church has bugs, but it’s bigger than yours. The roof leaks too.

What LeBron and Jordan Taught Me about Writing (and Life)

Writer’s Note: This is a long post, but it’s about the NBA, Writing, and the Key to Life.

I am a fan of NBA basketball. In fact, it’s fair to say I’ve been a near fanatic for most of my life. I grew up watching the greats: Wilt Chamberlain, Clyde Frazier, Jerry West. I was a fan through the Magic vs. Bird years, and endured, and eventually rooted for Jordan’s Bulls. These days, I watch most every Miami Heat game, while choking down occasional helpings of my hometown team, the Wizards.

This week, sportscasters and writers are aflame with LeBron James’s recent feat: scoring 30 or more points while hitting 60% or greater in six straight games. For all you non-basketball fans, suffice it to say it’s an unheard of level of efficiency.

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So now, laughably, all those same people who were bashing LeBron two years ago are gushing all over him now. Some have even begun the whispers – maybe LeBron is as good as, or (gasp) better than Jordan.

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Now, before you Jordan worshipers douse me in Haterade, let me quickly say I’m not getting into that stupid debate. There is no such thing as a Greatest of All Time (GOAT). The best offensive player in history was Wilt. The best defender was Bill Russell. The winningest NBA baller was Russell with 11 championships – hell, even Robert Horry had 7.

The arguments remind me of those who try and determine who was the best writer of all time (which I wrote about previously). Each of the greatest among us has different gifts, and to attempt to compare one to the other misses the point. No one was as enduring as Shakespeare. Yet, even the Bard never reached the economic heights of J. K. Rowling. Picking Jordan as the GOAT diminishes everyone else whose path to success was different or who played under different circumstances.

Sure, Jordan was arguably the best NBA championship performer of our generation. (I couch it in those terms because I never saw Russell play.) He also had the greatest impact on young players worldwide, and was certainly the most economically successful. So, does this supersede Wilt’s 50 points per game season, or Oscar Robertson’s triple-double (points, rebounds, and assists) season? Not in my opinion. A crate of apples isn’t better than a crate of oranges; it’s just different.

So, what does this have to do with writing? Everything. See, I’ve been pondering why Jordan, who was less heralded than LeBron at age 19, yet achieved the same number of MVPs, reached the same number of NBA Finals as LeBron at this stage of his career, and managed to win 3, while Mr. James has but one. My conclusion: it’s all about coaching.

No, I’m not saying that Jordan was an inferior talent whose brilliant coaches got him over. Instead, I am saying that to achieve greatness, to maximize one’s potential, one has to avail oneself of whatever resources are available. This includes finding mentors, using strategic and tactical resources, and most importantly, doing what they teach you.

43_3108473_0da6677b699ebb81Let’s quickly look at the two players’ paths. Jordan left high school and went to the University of North Carolina, playing under legendary coach Dean Smith. Coach Smith was a brilliant tactician who won 879 games in his career, including two National Championships. Jordan helped win him his first. Jordan was great in college, but no one foresaw what he would become. In part, that was because he played alongside another 1st-ballot Hall of Famer, James Worthy, and a very talented Sam Perkins. After three seasons, Jordan went pro.

Sam Perkins, Michael Jordan, and Coach Dean Smith
Sam Perkins, Michael Jordan, and Coach Dean Smith

We all know what happened next: He developed into a brilliant offensive (and defensive) weapon, and won six NBA titles, the first coming a year after new coach Phil Jackson arrived. Jordan won all six titles playing with 1st-ballot Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen, and the last three with Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman. Does the pattern sound familiar? We’ll get to that later.

Teams carry each other
Teams carry each other

The rest is history. By the time he retired everyone (but me) agreed he was the NBA’s GOAT. (I still like Wilt. And Magic. And The Big O. And Kareem. And …)

LeBron took a different path. He was decreed the Second Coming of Jordan while still in high school. urlHe forwent college, going straight to the NBA, along with enormous endorsement contracts. He carried played for the Cleveland Cavaliers for seven years, taking them to the Finals once, before making The Decision to join Batman Dwyane Wade, as the Heat’s new Superman. (There ain’t no Robin.) Now, in year 3 of his stint with the Heatles, LeBron has become that which everyone always thought he would be, back when he was a teenager.

So, what’s the lesson here, you ask? Well, let’s compare:

–       Jordan left high school and honed his craft under the tutelage of a master coach. Dean Smith taught him the game, and Did Not allow Jordan to use his athleticism to the detriment of developing other skills. In effect, he pushed him out of his comfort zone.

–       Jordan improved his game year by year, as LeBron has done. However, he began to win titles when he 1) teamed up with another All-Star performer (Pippen) playing under probably the best basketball coach of all time.

–       LeBron, by contrast, missed the 3 years of being coached up by a master teacher. Instead, he jumped straight to the pros, where he was expected to be the alpha dog, the main attraction, and the only real superstar.

–       LeBron’s coach in Cleveland was good, but not great, and certainly no Phil Jackson. Throughout his career, LeBron had been admonished (by critics) to develop a post-up game (playing close to the basket where his size and quickness gives him an advantage), and to develop a consistent jump shot. He resisted both. Since he was the alpha dog, no one made him.

–       He finally paid attention to history and began to recreate what Jordan had: finding two Hall of Fame caliber teammates and a better coach. More importantly, he worked in the offseason to improve his jump shot, and took private coaching from Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon to improve his low-post game. In effect, he finally used his resources and accepted coaching.

The result? No one has seen anyone make basketball look so easy before. We don’t know how good the man will be, and that’s the entire fun of it.

Let’s step back now, and apply these lessons learned to writing, or to any endeavor you may be undertaking.

1. Learn the fundamentals. Both LeBron and Jordan have a single thing in common beyond working harder than everyone else: they made few mistakes on the court. Both are students of the game, and applied what they learned. If you’re not dead, you haven’t finished mastering the fundamentals. (If you are dead, stop haunting my blog, you ghost-ass bitch.)

2. Coaching makes a difference. Jordan never won a title playing under less than a Hall of Fame coach, despite his talent. Why? Success is hard. If it weren’t it would mean nothing. Those 3 years of college LeBron missed probably did more to limit him than any opponent. Imagine LeBron in Cleveland after being forced to learn to play power forward as well as he did point guard. He would have entered the league the player he is becoming only now.

3.  Step out of the comfort zone  – I promise you that both players were forced out of theirs. Dean Smith didn’t play alley oop ball to the exclusion of all else. Phil worked his offense, irrespective of who had to sacrifice to make it work. LeBron made his historical 30-point, 60% run playing the power forward game he had steadfastly refused to play his whole career. You cannot grow without stretching.

4. Get Good Teammates – For writers that means find artists, marketers, agents, publishers, editors, critics. GOAT or no, Jordan won no titles without Pippen. LeBron won none without D-Wade (who won none without Shaquille O’Neal or LeBron). Writing takes an inordinate amount of individual effort. Publishing, however, is a team sport. You will not win it alone.

5. Ignore Haters, but listen to critics – this one will determine whether you succeed or fail, in my opinion. Coming out of college, the NBA draft thought Sam Bowie would be better than Jordan. Sam Who? When LeBron left Cleveland, haters said he would never win a championship. They said if he won one, no one would credit him because it would be Wade’s team. LeBron was Robin; D-Wade was Batman. When the Heat won the title, nobody said either thing. Haters don’t study history. If they had, they would have noticed LeBron was following the Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson model of playing with Hall of Famers. Lone Wolves don’t win titles. However, critics also said LeBron needed to play the low post and shoot more consistently. Year 1 with the Heat, he didn’t. They lost. Year 2, he did; they won.

6. Don’t measure success with numbers – Robert Horry won more titles than Jordan. Pippen won as many. Udonis Haslem has twice as many championship rings as LeBron. Give yourself permission to measure your success by achieving whatever it is you set out to achieve.

See, the lesson here is simple. Basketball is the key to understanding the universe. That’s why God made the planets round. We’re all part of the game. Life is a team sport. Play it to win.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go (if you get off your butt)

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where you’ll go. Oh the places you’ll go.” – Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

“I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” – Oprah Winfrey (Billionaire)

Tomorrow, you have an opportunity. The sun will rise (even if you can’t see it). Birds will sing (some will poop on your car). Something will be available you have never experienced. There will be a place, small in the universe, where you have never been.

Step out into the light, take the right at the fork in the road. Make endorphins. Create change. The world is a blank slate, and you have all the tools you need to grow just a little bit… tomorrow.  There is no limit to your mind, and none to your imagination. You simply have to turn the switch, and begin. See, there’s always a catch.

For most of my life, I considered myself to be a person of very little imagination. In fact, I thought so even through the writing of my first two books. Then I finished them, and people began to tell me they aren’t quite like anyone else’s books. So, while I may be a Bear of Very Little Imagination, I have learned to take it as far as it can go.

 “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot

“Screw the fear.” – Jo Leigh

Opportunities are scary, stressful, horrid things. But, if you can manage to be more excited than fearful … oh, the places you’ll go.

Creativity

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.”
— Carl Jung (1875 – 1961)

“When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”
— Buckminster Fuller

Mr. Fuller has accurately described the creative process for me. I don’t have an end in mind, I just know it when I get there.

This was once a black and white shot of a cardinal in a tree. Cardinals, being gloriously red, object to being black and white. And, skies, being jealous of the birds’ colors (given they keep the floaty little things aloft) despise being so… well, grey.

So, now we’ve fixed it. All is right with the world.

Other problems are not so easily fixed… unless you view the problem as a blank sheet of paper, and yourself as a box of crayons. Then, they are even easier. God keep you strong.

Keep yourself cool.