Rhythm and tonality are a part of the creative process whether you are writing music, poetry or prose. Listen in on the creator of the biggest music track of 2017!
Thanks to a generous grant from James S. Rockefeller Jr. & Marilyn Moss Rockefeller to build The Writers Harbor at Maine Media there will be even more writing workshops offered in 2018. Full tuition scholarships are available: https://www.mainemedia.edu/workshops/scholarships/writing/
Throw your dream into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back: a new life, a new friend, a new love, or a new country. Anais Nin
When you wake up you gotta show the love in your heart. Carol King.
It’s the start of a New Year. We need to be awake to all the world has to offer us as artists. The Anais Nin quote came to me as I tilled the field of New Year’s Resolutions. The Carole King line floated across the TV screen. I learn once again that each moment offers a fruit ripe for the picking.
One of King’s backup musicians, Danny "Kootch" Kortchmar – acoustic guitar, conga, electric guitar, vocals reminds us that we are here “to serve the song.” Writers have to serve the story. Hence those long hours over a paragraph. What does this piece want to say? And, as one of the musicians says, “We are here to get people to feel.” How do we best do that, we ask, as we agonize over the appropriate word for the blue of our protagonist’s eyes. Are they azure, beryl, or blue-gray. Blue-green or cerulean, cobalt, or indigo?
As the year turns, I bow in the direction of my spiritual antecedents. I recite Mary Oliver and W.S. Merwin and the Pslams to ground myself in the world that surrounds me. I love this moment in Mary Oliver’s poem Wild Geese:
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
By our words, we help ourselves and our readers to find our place in the family of things.
The 2018 application process begins on February 1. FMI: http://mainewriters.org/ilgenfritz-scholarships/
This just published book celebrates Dylan’s links to the classic poets. Listen to Richard Thomas, Classics Professor at Harvard University, talk about Dylan and about his book on NPR. https://www.npr.org/2017/11/21/563736161/a-classics-professor-explains-why-bob-dylan-matters?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social
Friends in New York City (not to mention those in LA) look at me like I’m crazy when I say I love being in Maine at this time of year. “But it gets dark at 4 PM and it’s freezing cold.” Yes, I agree, that’s true, but I kind of like that. My friends shake their heads and walk away thinking I’ve gone round the bend. But, no, I’m in my right mind. I do like this turning in. I like the shutting down. It feels to me as if the Earth is encircling itself with its own arms and settling down for a long winter’s nap. Well deserved I might add. After all, the Earth has been going full tilt for six months.
Maybe it’s my Celtic blood that attracts me to this time of year. In the Celtic year, the months between Samhain (Halloween/All Soul’s Day/The Day of the Dead) to Beltane (May first) are considered the dark months. The Celts believe that, in the turning of the seasons, death always precedes rebirth. The Celtic day begins at sundown, and the Celtic year begins at the year’s death or Samhain.
Here in Maine, we gather by the fire, or the wood stove, lift a glass and tell stories. We craft, whether it be stories or curtains or sweaters or wooden loons, or pots, or beer. We sink into the mysteries.
Do we seek visions in the firelight, in the smoke, or in a bowl of water – visions of our true love, visions that inspire hope, or visions that help us to identify our path in life more clearly?
Let’s align ourselves with the Creative Mysteries of life, death and rebirth. Let’s invoke the Gods for help in our creative projects. Let’s perform the Sacred Rituals and sing life into being. Let’s plant the seeds for our rebirth, focus our minds, and reconnect.
If you are interested in reading more about our Celtic ancestors, here’s a link: https://www.circlesanctuary.org/index.php/celebrating-the-seasons/celebrating-samhain
It was a beautiful June evening, the moon promising to be full, when Judi Valentine and I spoke at the Lincolnville Community Library, a beautiful generous space, balanced and inviting. Our talk was titled “From Inspiration to Publication”.
The talk was set for 7 pm and, as is always true in Maine in my experience, people showed up on time. About twenty people, all interested in writing. Writers, artists, musicians, seekers. I spoke for about 20 minutes about why we write, about Method Writing, and about Judi Valentine who had studied with me and gone on to publish a wonderful YA book called The Crystal Chain.
After I assigned a writing exercise called Write Like You Talk, and several people stood up to read at the front of the room, we took a break, answered questions and ate chocolate and strawberries. The sun had moved in the sky and the light was soft and welcoming.
Judi spoke about her journey as a writer, her interest in crystals, science fiction and astrophyshics and space, as well as her desire to have a positive impact on the world. And then she read from her book.
By the time we had cleared the space and put all the pieces together, the moon had risen and we were ready to celebrate.