More Creativity

“The urge to create is equally strong in all children. Boys and girls. It is imagination that counts. Not skill. Build whatever comes into your head, the way you want it. A bed or a truck. A dolls house or a spaceship. A lot of boys like dolls houses. They’re more human than spaceships. A lot of girls prefer spaceships. They’re more exciting than dolls houses. The most important thing is to put the right materials in their hands and let them create whatever appeals to them.”

I didn’t write that. It was a note in a box of legos. Of course I agree with the sentiment, except the part about skill not mattering. I guess it is okay if you create for your own enjoyment, but if you hope others to enjoy what you create it is important to practice and polish your skills. I am listening to a very skilled guitar player as I type this. But I want to talk about creativity, not skills.

When my son was in Kindergarten, I was a little concerned that he always played with the girls instead of the boys. I asked his teacher who explained, “Oh, it isn’t divided into boys and girls. There are two big groups at recess, those that play physical games and those that use their imagination. Your son is in the ‘imagination’ group.”

That made me really happy. Imagine how pleased I was to learn that my son was the one making up the games that the kids liked to play. I did not come from a home that encouraged using our imagination. If I could sum up my mother’s philosophy, it went something like “Life is hard, then you die.” I have tried not to limit my son and encourage creativity, but it is hard not to live under invisible restraints if we are not aware of them.

I am recently very motivated to allow my own imagination to run free, to loosen the reigns of my creativity. How will I go about this? Good question. Send me suggestions, if you will. I will not limit myself to my own ideas, but here are some goals I have for 2015:

1 – get back to being an avid reader without letting up on writing
2 – read more variety
3 – surround myself with more creative and positive people
4 – spend time alone (specifically running, a very important time for me, mentally)
5 – meditation
6 – get out more
7 – play more
8 – take in more art
9 – worry less – the biggest energy zap (easier said than done – but I have a strategy)

Creativity

For years I wanted to write a book, and always believed that I would some day, but I didn’t have a story in mind. I dabbled here and there, wrote a few short stories, then I started writing my own life story. I never want to write a memoir. I have been encouraged by a few people who think I have an extraordinary come-back story, but to me it is just my life.

I am so glad I am not writing about a Punk-rock-heroin-addict from Long Beach.

That story holds little interest to me. But it did get me writing and as I did so, I found that several people wanted to read it. I am not kidding myself, I know it is because they know me…maybe it is kind of colorful? Or maybe it was just the way I told the story. There are some funny parts because some funny stuff happened to me. I will say that one of the best compliments I ever received from my husband was when he admitted, “I don’t know if it is really good, or if it interesting because I love you.”

Pretty sure it is the second reason.

But it got me started. During that time I started writing erotica, and I started writing Subway Girl. I am so reluctant to admit how the idea for Subway Girl came about, but it is the damn truth so put up your cliche’ umbrella. It came to me in dream. Yep, I was Ray. I was homeless, down and out, hanging out in a Subway station trying to make my friend laugh by teasing the women getting off the subway station. It was the only time I remember ever having a dream where I was a guy. But a girl hugged me and it was so intense I was shaking. I woke up completely rattled. Why did that girl hug me? What was her problem? Why was I near homeless when I wasn’t a drug addict?

I thought about it all day long.

And then I wrote the first chapter. I would have never planned to write a story from a male point of view that takes place in a city I do not know well, but I did. I showed a few people, but didn’t think much of it. The truth is, one of my closest friends and fellow writer, Yoshi, didn’t care for it at all. Yoshi had read everything I had written with great interest and I can always count on him to tell me the truth. And the truth was, this story didn’t appeal to him at all. I assumed I could not write as a male.

I should probably mention that Yoshi is a very…unusual.

So I kept writing other stuff and one of my girlfriends kept asking about the story with the homeless guy. I ran out of thing to write and decided to edit it and put it on the lit site. I did not think it was appropriate for the lit site (literotica) and figured they would chew me up and spit me out. But what did I have to lose? It was anonymous anyway.

I was blown away by the warm response I received.

How can an erotic website give me readers who want to read a story with no sex? Well, no sex for several chapters that is. Lucky for me, people are complex, and I was encouraged to keep going. And then it was like the channel of creativity was open and since then I have been in a writing routine and the ideas just keep coming. I am 80% into my second book and feel like I have a great idea for the third book. I am grateful to the girlfriend who wanted to hear more.

Sadly, she lost interest in the book and never finished it.

But Yoshi read it, and he is able to express himself clearly and honestly. He doesn’t like the character, the character most people find endearing (Ray) Yoshi finds weak and pathetic. I am not offended. Everyone should have a friend like Yoshi who speaks his mind. And he happens to love my second book, is almost obsessed with it I’d say, because he likes the characters much more.

Obviously, you don’t get to pick who you touch with your writing.

I feel the warmth from perfect strangers, while many of the people close to me in my life won’t be bothered to read it. And so it is with art. Personally, I have many friends who play in bands I never go and see. I’m just not into it. And sadly, many of my friends don’t even read. I don’t get to choose who likes it, but I am glad some people do. But now I understand why people say writer’s are lonely. I am an extrovert who now spends great amounts of time in front of a computer, pouring out what I can and hoping to touch someone in someway. But it is coming out of me, either way. Now that the cork has popped, there seems to be no stopping the flow, and I don’t want it to stop.

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Male Protagonists by Female Authors

I knew it was unusual for a female to write a book in the first person as a male, but I didn’t realize how very rare it was until I did a little research recently. Here is what turned up:

Gone Girl is 1/2 male narrator and 1/2 female. The Room is about a six year old boy. Fountain Head is in the third person. Frankenstein is in the first person though. I am really surprised by what my search turned up and thought I would share this.

Pinterest as a Writing Tool

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I am a very visual person and “Flower Girl” is an explosion of color.  I use Pinterest to find outfits my characters would actually wear, how they would decorate their apartments, even things they might say.  It helps me to be stay true to my mental picture and it is also a hell of a lot of fun for me.  I have Pinterest Boards not only for each book, but some of my characters have their own Boards!  Wouldn’t you love to guess what William would pin?  Books, quotes, a bit of male fashion, and some sexy erotic photos.  And Tracy’s is covered with writing tips and flowers, as well as fashion.