I’ve been in front of the computer screen a lot lately, proofing text that’s more technical than creative. I needed a creative break, so I pulled out my giant chalkboard and made this. I was going to use it in the next 100 Words post, but I couldn’t wait. So here you go, a little random Thursday inspiration.
The full quote is:
And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath
I’m new to hand-lettering, and this is my first creation in chalk. I used standard issue chalk, no point. I erased a lot and the final product took a lot of cleaning up. I’ve since learned that there are magical things called chalk markers. I’ll be treating myself to some when this work project is done. And the two others I have in queue.
I’m not even pretending I’m going to do National Novel Writing Month this year. This first week of November I’m working brutal hours on a rush proofreading job, and I’ll be traveling to Florida at the end of November to visit with my Dad and brother. I’d be insane to take on a novel. Or rather, more insane than the average NaNoWriMo’er.
My poet friend G shared an interview with her mentor who spends a good portion of the interview crediting meeting Maya Angelou as inspiration in his work. I then spent the evening watching interviews with Angelou through the years. She’s fascinating to listen to, not because of what she says — which is of course wise and inspirational — but because of the dance of joy and wisdom she embodies.
Not having enough, I was reading through her quotes on Goodreads, and came across this one:
“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat,’…. And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.”
So, for those of you not even a week through NaNoWriMo, this one’s for you. What you’ve embarked on is the hardest work of writing. The sitting down and writing, as a discipline. And it may be crap, or boring, or full of holes, or a grammatical nightmare, but you’re committing to the act, and that’s something. Or maybe it’s brilliant and flawless and the muse is cozied up beside you with a cup of tea, gently mopping the sweat from your brow. Either way, brava my dears.
If you’re not participating in the madness of NaNoWriMo, not to fear. You’re still here, and you’re still writing. 100 words may seem small compared to the 50,000 of a novel, but to craft a truly brilliant 100 words vignette is quite an art. (I’m still waiting for someone’s bestseller to have started with a 100 word vignette. It’s gonna happen.)
So let’s get to it. Your word this week, from Maya Angelou, is:
As I was drifting to sleep last night, I could feel a draft. The dark chill from outside sliding through gaps and old, poorly insulated walls. The kind of chill that settles down into the bones, and lays over the contracting, tightening ground. The earth prepares herself for the long, cold, rigid sleep, waiting for the cover of snow.
I have a love-hate relationship with this time of year. Left to myself, without responsibilities, I would be happy to move with the season, to curl-in. To blanket myself, move inward, and come Spring emerge brightly, more weathered, more mature, and more wise. Yet work, life, culture refuses to allow it. We must rise at the same time, keep the same pace, and pretend as though the seasons are nothing but a mere nuisance to lifestyle, rather than a rhythm we should follow.
(before the chill, obviously)
In point of fact, my life’s pace has taken a frenetic turn just when I want nothing more than to fold into a pile of blankets and drink tea and think deep thoughts, or think nothing at all. Instead I’ve been gifted and burdened with a giant load of copy-editing with a whiplash deadline. No room remains for my own thoughts after 12.5 hours a day of staring at words on a screen, trolling for errors – hiccups in grammar, spelling blemishes, alignment problems and such. Attention to detail I rarely apply to my own writing.
Days like these I wish this were my only job. This blog. Inspiring you to write. Creating the space for it. Instead of it being a sideline hobby I can barely carve out time for, how wonderful it would be to just do this. I’ve thought several times of how this blog could support me, and have found no immediate answer. If you have one, share it would you?
I have a letter to write. Two in fact. With pen and paper. Letters to be slipped into the dark slot at the post office, waiting to travel to their recipients. And a package of cookies on its way to me from an old college Crew buddy. If blogs are dead, I insist on the revival of the hand-written letter!
I’m nostalgic, can you tell? Happens every year at this time. It’s a New England thing. Or maybe just a Velvet Verbosity thing.
Your word this week, from my 1800′s dictionary (with an interesting story), is:
Don’t let this one go to waste word-nerds. (Yuk yuk, Lance is going to love that one.)
Did you miss me? I hope someone missed me last week. I was on the road, but thought I would still be able to post. However, the morning of the beginning of my trip my laptop was dropped (face-palm). In the end it was all ok, except for the ginormous dent in the casing around the screen. I’m one of those crazy Mac people who loves the way my Apple looks, not just what it can do for me, so I still get a little queazy when I look at the dent.
And then it was all baby blessings and visiting friends and hanging out with my daughter and before I knew it the week was half gone. This is my long way of apologizing for flaking out last week without a heads up.
Just before I left I unpacked all my antique and vintage books. You’ll soon be seeing the vintage books on Etsy, and the antique books on Ebay. I love every one of them and can’t wait to tell you the stories about them.
I love the elegance of this simple sketch illustration. By the way, I’ve photographed a lot of things in my time. It turns out trying to photograph the page of a book has proven to be quite a challenge. The pages don’t lie flat so you get shadows and blurring etc, etc. Still experimenting and may look into scanning, though I don’t want to damage the spines of the books.
Your word this week is from Skippy by Percy Crosby, published in 1929. The above illustration is from the book and also by Percy Crosby. The word is:
Kind of like you, word-nerds.
P.S. Who’s doing The Crazy and taking on NaNoWriMo this year?
Woke to a rushing wind rattling the windows, and downstairs found two doors blown open, their aging latches no match for the push and pull of the wind. A stepladder fallen over in the yard, and shivery, wet cats waiting for their breakfast.
Over the weekend I accompanied my mother, the florist, to a wedding in order to photograph the flowers for her website, which I’m building. The bride and groom, the entire family, were bright, lovely people. The kind of wedding that makes you believe in love as a fundamental truth.
I hoped to take a drive over the mountain to photograph the Fall foliage, but alas, the weather foiled me. The wind today will have stripped the trees of most of their color, so now I have no choice but to wait patiently for another Autumn.
Instead I organized the kitchen, and watched sappy movies based on true stories with unlikely heroes, and period movies of betrayals and political maneuverings.
Your word this week is the title of one of those movies:
Now I’m off to read your entries from last week! Go forth and write, word-nerds.