Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Consuming words rather than images

On a rare occasion I feel like I get overloaded with imagery to the point that I become numb to sights that would have left me sighing and my heart thumping just a week ago. So, I'm trying to take a break, a vacation, from Pinterest, Etsy, Flickr, Blogs, etc. It's not easy. That's a lot of time and room in my brain to fill up. 

On the other hand, I have been craving words. Luckily for me, my husband prophetically gave me a book for mother's day which I'm trying hard not to devour in one giant gulp. It's called, If You Want to Write: A book about Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland.   It first appeared on bookshelves in the late 1930s and has inspired generations and while it appears to speak to writing specifically, in truth it's about all kinds of creativity because it's all related.

I thought I would share a little from the first chapter.  (paraphrased except where indicated)
Everybody is original:
If one speaks from themselves and not who they should be, they are an original. This is important because self-trust is one of the most important ingredient in creativity.
Creative power and imagination is in everyone, as is the need to express and share it. But, it often disappears sometime in our growing up. How?
"...we let dry obligation take its place; because we don't respect it in ourselves and keep it alive by using it; and because we don't keep it alive in others by listening to them." p.11
"...the only way to love a person is by listening to them and seeing and believing...in the poet in them... by doing this, you keep...the poet alive and allow it flourish." p. 11
Critics undermine us because:
 "...all people who try to write [be creative] (and all people long to, which is natural and right) become anxious, timid, contracted become perfectionists, so terribly afraid that they may put something down that is not as good as Shakespeare." p.12
"It is a murderer of talent. And because the most modest and sensitive people are the most talented, having the most imagination and sympathy, these are the very first ones to get killed off. It is the brutal egoists that survive." p. 13
Her advice:
"...you must practice not perfunctorily, but with all your intelligence and love.... Work freely and rollickingly as though talking to a friend who loves you. Mentally (at least three or four times a day) thumb your nose at the know-it-alls, jeers, critics, doubters." p. 14

I think what I like most about this book so far is that it is helping to confirm some very basic, deeply originating beliefs that have been part of me since the beginning of time, but which I call into doubt on occasion.  Those beliefs are that everyone is original, that we all have something to say, and that we are all creative beings who often forget that fact. 

Color me inspired. How about you?

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