Posted in Uncategorized

Last days of summer

“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood”
Tom Robbins

Some people say that Labour Day marks the end of summer,

but not for me. I hold on to the beauty of this season

until the autumn equinox.

Maybe even longer.

I have resumed my morning ritual of painting in bed.

I pull all my supplies and my journal into the bed

and just begin.

It helps me remember that the raw dread I sometimes

wake up with is just a feeling.

Caring for my mother is difficult.

As silly as it sounds I am still afraid of

her. Afraid of displeasing her

Afraid of awakening her rage.

My fear is old and carved into my brain

like a mountain road is carved into the granite.

How many explosions does it take to cut through

a mountain– or a kid?

And she’s just a little old lady

frail with Dementia–and sweet

most of the time.

But still she can fill me with terror.

I have learned–well I am learning–

to have compassion for her and for myself.

I have hired a care giver again.

Four hours a week.

We will see how it goes this time.

She has already started to complain.

I think the thing is to not give in.

I think the thing is to hold my ground.

I have never been able to do that with her.

Now I have to grow up and be an adult,

and I think the best way, is to connect

with the child in me–

and have my happy childhood now.

So painting in my art journal is part of that.

I write down my sadness and then I paint over it

and it is surprising how my spirits

lift and my view of things shifts.

It is amazing how spending a little

time diverting your imagination from

endless ruminating on impending disaster

can transform my whole inner world.

If you paint it’s hard to think resentful thoughts.

If you splash colour around it’s hard to have all that

mess in your mind.

Posted in My writer's manifesto

Cultivating the Creative Habit

“The routine is as much a part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration, maybe more.”
Twyla Tharp THE CREATIVE HABIT

I agree with Twyla Tharp.

I think art for some of us has to be a kind of determined,

intentional creative habit that we submit to willingly.

I think habit is the right word for me.

But it is a habit that we have to hook ourselves into.

We have to manufacture our own psychological twitch.

We have to lace our own blood with the gnawing, clawing,

need to sit down and knuckle under.

This is what keeps the writer writing all the way

to the final words THE END.

Inspiration is involved. Magic is part of it.

Sometimes we need that whisper-that breath of the muse to wake

up imagination. After all what good is writing that is not inspired.

But Inspiration disappears pretty quickly when the work gets hard.

When the idea on the page starts to melt into a confused mess.

When fear and self doubt start their yammering.

But you can rely on good old habit and discipline and yes routine.

They will see you through the hard part.

At least that is how it is for some of us.

When we wait for the muse to inspire us–

or we wait for an opportunity–

to be invited, discovered, adored, chosen–

we can wait a long time.

If I relied on those things I wouldn’t write much at all.

Some people say they need a deadline.

I used to say that.

I said it because I thought it was true.

I thought I needed the pressure and the structure to

call forth my undisciplined mind to do my work.

I don’t think it’s true.

It’s just that deadlines scare me into submission.

And that is the key factor folks.

Submission.

Literally.

I need to surrender.

I need to come humbly to the work.

I need to bow my head and submit to the demands of the work.

Think about it.

The deadline causes us to comply.

We obey. We apply ourselves to the task.

You know it’s funny–but when actors and writers

are invited to send an example of

their work–in the actor’s case to audition–

in the writer’s case– to send a manuscript,

these are the words that are used.

CALL FOR SUBMISSION

This is usually interpreted as an opportunity to deliver–

to offer– for consideration.

Don’t be fooled. That is not what it means.

We are being invited to chain ourselves to our heart’s desire and do the work.

I believe that I need to come humbly and submit every day.

It is not my talent or my experience or my great idea–

that will write my play. No it’s my creative habit.

Some days my talent seems negligible, my idea muddy and unfocused.

I can’t rely on such ephemeral notions.

It is the daily submission to my creative habit/discipline/devotion

that will put words on the page.

Resistance as Stephen Pressfield calls it in his amazing books–

The War of Art.
Do the Work,
and Turning Pro

will show up. You can believe that.

Resistance he teaches is the inevitable opposing force to any creative act.

But I am cultivating an addiction to my creativity that will defeat resistance

like a smoking addiction will defeat a smoker’s good sense.

That is why I am sitting here on this brilliantly beautiful day,

tapping away at a blog post that few will

read. I am enslaving myself to my creative habit.

It’s a beautiful sunny day in rainy Vancouver and I know

that soon our endless rainy weather will be upon us–

but here I am writing instead.

I want to be so addicted to this that I will get the

shakes if I don’t write five pages a day on my play.

Oh and speaking of Twyla Tharp here is something of what her

Creative Habit has produced.

Posted in NEWS

End of summer news

I had a blast performing my solo show SALLY LIVES HERE at the Gabriola Festival last weekend.

My venue was an old post office now used as the Women’s Institute.

Not sure what they do there but I think it involves a lot of baking and handicrafts.

At the tech rehearsal on the Friday night the local AA group showed up to have their usual meeting.

When they saw what we were doing they generously chose to hold their meeting outside on the lawn.

Saturday the place was packed. Standing room only.

The sound tech was in the kitchen at the back with the

sound board on a card table.

The audience was so close that they were more or less on stage with me.

The response was amazing and then after my curtain call–

when I made my final exit out the back door of the building–

there was no where to go but the parking lot behind the buiding.

So when the audience started to exit out the same door I ended up standing there

at the back door like the minister greeting the congregation–

pretending I meantto do that.

There I was shaking hands and thanking everyone for their attendance.

I wish I could have invited them all to coffee, dessert and fellowship.

It was hilarious. Fantastic. Wonderful. I think I will always do that.

I got tons of beaming faces and heart felt thank you’s and hearty handshakes and spontaneous hugs.

Immediate gratification Gabriola Island style.

Next I am gearing up to direct my fellow WET INK COLLECTIVE member

Loretta Seto’s show WHY WEIGHT

in the new Brink Festival coming at the end of September.

And I am super excited about the 10 week Playwright’s Intensive for women, that we are running

at WET INK COLLECTIVE

with Jane Heyman as mentor and facilitator.

Jane is a well known director dramaturg and teacher and a long time treasure in the theatre community.

I know it is going to be a fantastic journey for all the writers involved.

We will be missing a couple of our circle who are busy with shows and we will miss them–

but we sold out in three days.

We have an amazing group of women–all Vancouver professional theatre artists.

The idea behind the intensive is that every writer will emerge from the workshop

with a completed draft of something.

It can be a first draft a fifth draft a full length a one act.

It doesn’t matter. It just has to be a completed draft.

I have been so busy organizing the intensive that I haven’t actually

put much thought into what I want to spend the next ten weeks writing.

I have narrowed it down to three choices.

For me making a choice is–well lets just say I feel challenged to choose.

I have given myself this week to decide.

Do I go with a first draft of a new one act play?

Or the next draft of a project I have had on the

desk top for a while or do I dig right in with the final draft of a full length play

that scares the hell out of me?

I don’t know.

I am leaning towards scaring myself.

I am happy to say I have a busy fall ahead of me.

I love being way too busy.

I seem to either be too busy or just busy.

Tee hee.

Posted in creative process, life lessons etc.

Life is too precious to rush.

Making art teaches me–

that life is too precious to rush.

I don’t want to miss any miracles.

And there are always miracles unfolding.

It takes time to truly become conscious of

how art opens the doors of perception and reveals

the deeper parts of the soul.

Drawing, painting demands that I slow down.

Hand made is a slow process.

Writing is using the mind like you use your hands.

You can’t just let the thoughts dart around.

You have to get a hold of what you are trying to say

and mold it, trim it, build it construct it.

And you have to observe deeply

the world of the five senses, so that the doors

of perception can open and reveal the soul.

The practice trains your mind to see more–

to see what is there–

to see what you have missed.

Monkey mind does not paint or write.

The anxious, worried, fretting, multi-tasking mind

is not present to the miracle of a tree.

Art is like catching a butterfly without a net.

It takes patience and perseverance.

I have to be enormously patient with myself.

I am learning to do less, to expect less

but accomplish more of what truly matters to me.

I am learning to be less pressured–

less anxious and more productive

with the important things.

I am learning.

Posted in life lessons etc.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE ACCEPTED

I am re-posting this entry from a few years ago when I was afraid but ready to go forward inspire of my fear.  I was about to travel to the Gabriola Theatre Festival to perform my solo show and I was struggling with debilitating stage fright and anxiety.

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur
when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled.
For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort,
that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for
different ways or truer answers.”

M.SCOTT PECK

I need to step out of my rut.
I need to search for different ways
and truer answers. 

I need to be fearless,

 

My old arch enemy- tStage Fright has reared it’s ugly head and is taunting me and leaping out at me when I least expect it. My  mission is to transform my Fear into Courage and vanquish my enemy for another day. I accept the Mission. My method Love. My super power. Gratitude.These are the magical alchemical tools that will turn the base metal of negative emotion into golden light and give me the super power I need. I will fly, soar, and float through the sky powered by the golden light of love even though I am terrified.

Please  forgive this flowery language.

I remind myself how much I really want and need to do my play.

I remind myself how grateful I am to have the opportunity.

I created my script with love and really hard work and commitment

and passion. I remind myself of the diligent writing process-

and my willingness to keep going when it seemed as if

I couldn’t bring all the elements together and I wanted to quit.

I am grateful to the audience who have bought all the tickets.

I am grateful to the festival that invited me to perform.

I am grateful for the opportunities I have to make art and share it.

I am grateful to special friends that generously supported me.

RAHEL B. EMMA H., WEAVER MEL. MARY K. BARBARA P.

I am grateful for my cohorts Loretta and Susinn in Wet Ink Collective.

I am grateful to Connie H. and all the painters and art-makers in my painting tribe.

that have sent me words of encouragement because they know exactly how I feel.

I am grateful to the Divine Creative Source and all the beauty in the

world that has possessed my soul and urged me to try to

express and celebrate it in art.

I am grateful for the healing power of art.

I am grateful for everything good and bad

because even the bad is part of it all.

I am even grateful to my Stage Fright

which I realize has been just trying to protect me.

I can thank her for her love and let her know

I am ok now with out her. I am pretty darn good

at this performing thing. I am I really am.

If she shows up in my dressing room on Saturday night

She better be carrying a bouquet of flowers.