Thursday, November 24, 2011

Good mentors, positive vibes

  Have you noticed all the difference that encouraging people make in our lives? I'm referring to people who inspire us to move forward with our projects, those who bring a positive vibe to our day just by being around, by setting an example of persistence, creativity or enthusiasm. It may even be a person that we never met face-to-face but we can still connect with him/her through his/her writing. It may be a friend, a writing partner, or an author that we like reading.
  It may also be somebody who has passed away but whose legacy is still alive through his/her words. I appreciate writers whose stories or essays, even though written many years ago, have something meaningful to tell me today. The truths they share are as  alive as they were in the past, and I feel they understand my thoughts and concerns as if they were my own friends. Have you experienced this too?
   There are, on the other hand, people who are just the opposite. These people will take every opportunity to make us feel inadequate. They do this by underestimating our dreams or criticizing our choices because they don't understand them or don't care to understand them. I have encountered people like this lately-some of them are disguised as "friends"- and I think it is very healthy to  stay away from them. (Depending on the situation we may not be able to stay away if this person is a coworker, but minimizing contact can help). I wish them well, of course, but I know I can't meet their expectations... and I don't have to.
     The point of this ramble is to emphasize how positive people can have a great impact on our lives, how being surrounded by those who support our dreams and our choices can make a world of difference.  I would love to read about your thoughts on this.
 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Following The Whispers

  Three weeks ago I finished reading Karen Walker's memoir, "Following the Whispers". The story came to my life at the right time when I was in turmoil and going through a dark period of self-doubts. Her first chapter hooked me right away as it shed light on some dark corners of her past.
   Karen walks us through her childhood with determination. She states that childhood should be a sanctuary, but hers was not one. She shows us, with striking details, experiences that conditioned the poor choices that she made later in her life: an episode of sexual abuse at age six, details about the relationship with her parents, her upbringing. She later has to endure the betrayal and indifference of  the people she loves, the loss of custody of her own son, the intense pain of feeling left out and lonely. This is a story that reached my heart.
   I admire the courage and honesty that Karen spilled on those pages. Despite her challlenging experiencies and the suffering she had to endure, she is finally able to shape a life that she cherishes. Her path to healing is a long winding road that reminds us that life is worth living despite all the pain that we may go through.
   The description of scenes and characters are so vivid and realistic that they stayed  in my mind. After reading her memoir  I felt stronger. I connected to the writer's inner strength, that special energy that grows from pain and healing. Thanks, Karen.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Do you let your inner voice come out?

 "Logic can take you from A to B. Imagination can take you everywhere." Albert Einstein's quote is inspiring. Whenever you are bombarded with advice on creative writing, remind yourself that the first stage of your writing needs to be like a release. I believe that letting everything out on paper (or the screen) is what matters. Editing comes later. Letting the inner voice come out without stifling it can get you somewhere you did not even expect or plan. We need to be brave. Why? Because we need to accept that creativity goes hand in hand with uncertainty. During that stage, I've learned  to silence my inner editor to let my imagination fly. I stay flexible to learn where my mind is willing to take me.
   Ken Robinson, creativity expert, said: " If you don't allow yourself to make mistakes, you will never come up with anything original."
    Creativity expands the mind, or I'd better say that the mind expands through creativity. It is not limited to music, art and/or writing. It thrives through them, but it is not limited by them.I believe that fostering creative minds since a very early age can help our future generations come up with new solutions to the problems that we encounter. It can help them view the same problems  with refreshed eyes and new perspectives. Hence, every single person can benefit from being creative.No matter their professions or jobs they do. Ken Robinson says that schools kill creativity. Listen to his speech. It is thought-provoking:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY
Do you let your inner voice come out ? Or do you have an inner teacher/editor inside you who stifles it?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The art of being subtle

 Do you ever find yourself struggling between being subtle and too straightforward when editing a story? When I am editing  I need to find the right balance between these two trends. If I explain too much I tend to overtell, so I find myself trimming sentences or paragraphs to counteract this. On the other hand, if I hint at the theme without being too straightforward I sometimes compromise clarity. The message becomes so subtle that many readers miss the point. However, I know that eliciting different interpretations is something to be expected. After all, each reader has a unique life, a background on which the writing will reflect and acquire specific qualities. Our story  creates a life of its own.
  Most of the readers who critique my stories do a great job in communicating their perception about them, how they feel about the characters, what they fathom about the theme and the emotions that the words awakened in them.
 Another common situation that I have encountered after I finish crafting a story is that there may be a  part when the pace becomes too fast and I feel that something must be done about it.
 The point of this rambling is to state that it is, at times, difficult to find a balance between being subtle and being straightforward when editing a story.
 Do you ever struggle to find this balance? Or do you achieve it naturally and feel content with it?