My Creative Process

My mind races ahead of me at times, with ideas which at first seem easy and then leave me wondering how on Earth am I going to do that.

When I write my stories, the characters take centre stage and lead me down their own merry little paths, which I enjoy. They, the characters, put themselves in the midst of an array of weird and wonderful situations and then look at me, almost pleading, asking for help with moving them along. I try, but sometimes I simply have to leave them where they are as I cannot see a way forward for them as yet.

With my artistic creations I get an idea as to what I want to create, whether in paint, through the digital painting software, or even PowerPoint, and then start. And I then stop, looking at the blank space ahead of me.

It must be the same for both writing and art to get passed that initial block, although I’m not entirely sure whether it’s a case of just start and see what happens.

My initial idea’s there. The means to get that idea into some form of reality is there in front of me. And some kind of destination is there also, although said destination is an extremely fluid one.

But that first push is in a spongy grey area. It’s a soft stumbling block which lately has been holding me back with just a little more gusto than it used to. It absorbs the weakest of my ideas, and leaks out any feeble attempts of a start in a dribbling never-ending flow of self doubt. And this flow of self doubt gets in the way of my creative flow, bringing in turbulence, which further waters down the already fluid destination, splattering it into the mists of an increasingly murky future.

See what I mean? My mind – racing ahead again.

That future, as well as the blank canvas before it, isn’t set. It isn’t a solid unchangeable wall. It may appear murky or blank (depending on where one looks!) but it can be changed by the lick of a brush, the stroke of a pen or the click of a key on a keyboard. I just need to remind myself of that more often. It’s that sponge at the very beginning I need to focus on… to dissolve it away. It doesn’t matter if I create rubbish – the rubbish can be changed; amended; even re-done if needed. After all, that’s the creative process.

It’s a shame to be held back by a sponge, isn’t it? I think I should just dive in once again and see what happens.

A Neologist’s Request

Recently, Chris from Luna’s On Line, introduced me to a new word. She also introduced me to ‘neologist’, but that isn’t the word I’m referring to. No. The word she quoth was ‘braccaneer’.

Braccaneer? You ask. I can hear you. I can also hear you ask “what does that mean?”, and luckily for you, that is the point of this post!

Basically, a braccaneer is a modern version of the ‘pantster’, one who writes by the seat of their pants… one who writes without plotting beforehand. ‘One who improvises’ is another definition of pantster that I read whilst plotting this post, but that doesn’t make the old term sound any nicer.

Being honest, I never knew the term ‘pantster’ existed until I read Chris’s post, so I already liked the new term braccaneer although I read both at the same time. And braccaneer takes it’s origins from ‘pants’ as well, so it is a genuine word. It has an origin.

I’m a braccaneer. I have no clue where my tales are going when I start writing them… the characters seem to take over. On occasion, I do have to help them out of the situations they get themselves in… but they got themselves there in the first place! Not me. And once freed, they go off again and carry me along with them. It’s all very exciting.

Now. Braccaneers the world over are emerging. Revealing their true writing style to the world with confidence and pride. No longer do they hide behind the ‘pantster’ label, and they proclaim with gusto who they really are. I’m a braccaneer. Are you?

Oh, and a badge has been created, in two colours:

And a button:

And a definition:

And even a discreet symbol, for undercover braccaneers who would like to remain discreet:

OK. I created the badges and buttons and things, although Chris asked me to. And they are freely available to be used by anyone who would like to declare themselves a braccaneer.

(And yes, I am aware that the image is of a pen with wings, but that is a much better visual representation of a free writer than a pair of pants with wings…)

Visit Chris on the link above for more behind the creation of this new word… and possibly movement!

A Return and a Farewell

This is a post I never wanted to write.

Although always inevitable, one hoped it would be further in the future than now, but days and events come upon us so suddenly. A lesson, perhaps, to make the most of every day; of every moment of every day; for the time comes suddenly when such moments are gone.

My Mum took ill suddenly in October, a day after her 89th birthday. Since then, she remained in hospital, some days a lot better than others. She had infective endocarditis, an infection of the inside of the heart. The treatment was a six week intensive course of antibiotics, and, as the doctor told me, the prognosis isn’t good with this type of infection.

As I’ve just mentioned, some days were a lot better than others, and even the doctors were convinced the treatment was working. They were pleased, they told me, as Mum is a lovely lady. Not that they needed to tell me that.

But then the treatment started not working. Mum wasn’t getting any better, but she wasn’t getting any worse. They wanted to make plans for her to either go home, or go into a care home, where she would be made comfortable for the rest of her days. Mum’s choice, quite decisively, was to go home.

However, her health deteriorated again. My brother and I were allowed to go to sit with her in hospital, sometimes separately, sometimes together. Sometimes Mum was chatty, sometimes not. We held her hand whilst we were with her, making sure she was as comfortable as she could be.

On 24th December, as we were approaching the hospital car park, the doctor called. He would meet us when we arrived at the ward. Mum passed away at 11:56. We drove onto the car park at 12:00. We saw her again, and as usual held her hand, thanking her for being her; for being there for us; and for being a lovely lady. We wished her, one last time, Good Night, God Bless, and have a good sleep. I also asked her to let us know she was still with us, through feathers, coins or other unique ways we would know the sign was from her.

Christmas Eve?! People say, stepping back a second. Oh no, December 24th, I say. There’s a reason. We have a link to the numbers 13 and 24 in our family. Mum and Dad were born on the 24th. They married on the 13th. I was born on the 13th, on their anniversary. My brother was born on another 13th a couple of years later. My Dad passed away on the 24th a few years ago. And now Mum has passed on the 24th.

Some say the Angels communicate to us through number sequences, the numbers 1234 being one of them. Well, 1324 isn’t that far away, all things considered.

My brother found a feather in a box as we were sorting out her home, which took him aback a little. “Here’s your feather!” he said, handing it to me. “Thanks, Mum!” I smiled.

Mum used to write notes so she wouldn’t forget important things. The note she wrote on her birthday was Clocks go back one hour tonight. This was her last note. She had a battery-powered analogue alarm clock, which I set back for her on the day of the 25th, when she first started feeling unwell. As my brother and I were sorting out her home, I noticed that the clock had stopped. 10:56. One hour back form 11:56. And being an analogue clock, the hands pointed to 11 and 56.

So even though I can’t see Mum any longer, I can’t talk to her face to face, I can’t hug her (even though I couldn’t due to the current situation last year any way) I know she’s still with me. She even sent a bright white feather today. I can smell her perfume.

Years ago, I asked her, once she’d departed our mortal coil, if she’d come back to be my Guardian Angel. I’m seeing signs that she has. Although, thinking about it, she always has been.

Good night, God Bless, Mum. Sleep well. Love you.

This is the reason I’ve been absent from Blogland for so long. I will be returning soon, possibly posting once or twice a week to get back into the flow of things. I may never catch up with the posts I’ve missed on the blogs I follow, so will start reading all new posts and move forward from there.

Please remember, as I said at the beginning, make the most of every day. Time changes in a split second. Don’t leave it too late for the moment could soon be gone.