Many Roads To Creativity

It’s raining again in Houston. Again. Raining. My heart goes out to the ones who had their homes flooded earlier this week. I am currently high and dry.

Since I am stuck at home waiting for the monsoon season to end, it is a good time to try different art forms. I think about the new Aladdin movie that is coming out soon. I wonder what I would do if I found a lamp that I could use to conjure up a Genie that would grant me wishes.

I would wish that I could draw. I have always wanted to draw and have been at least a little bit envious of those that can. However, I cannot draw. Maybe a straight line if I used a ruler.

Yet it is my desire to draw, combined with my love of art, that keeps encouraging me to find new creative outlets. I have done needlepoint, abstract painting, collage, photography, ceramics and I have dabbled in fiber arts.

This week my creative urges have taken me down the road to Alcohol Inks. As you can see in the various samples in this blog; it does not require drawing talent. I bought an assortment of bottles of Alcohol Inks, then I sprayed some rubbing alcohol on paper. The next step involves dropping the various colors of Alcohol Inks onto the paper and then I use a straw to blow on it and spread the colors around.

What you see here are my very first attempts at using these inks. Please be kind and gentle on your judgement of my artistic attempts. I think I will combine these inks with some collage and see what happens.

Of course when I am not playing with lots of pretty colors, I use my creative talents to write. I write essays, short stories, some poetry and blog. Of course I am working on a book.….aren’t all writers? I am quite sure that given enough time, I will bring forth the Great American Novel. But even if I don’t, I will have fun trying.

What is the connecting thread to all this? Creativity. What I have observed is that once I walk down one creative road, then I am always inspired to walk down others. I surround myself with my favorite artists and writers and include my own art and writing. As you can probably imagine, the walls inside my home are quite eclectic. And I am always open to trying new art forms. Book shelves are full and stacks of books sit on the coffee table and bedside table.

If the weather will cooperate this weekend, I want to spend Saturday afternoon strolling around Sawyer Yards. There are so many artists who have studios over there. It feels creative just to walk around. Unfortunately, the weather forecast indicates that all of Houston may be under water by that time. And I don’t own a boat. Sigh.

As I write this, the rain has really started coming down outside along with a good bit of lighting and thunder. Time to sign off and go hide under the bed with the cats.

Until next week.….

A Mindset for the Road

We launched this blog last May, shortly before a three‐state drive to attend a Colorado writing retreat.

Nine months later, I’m birthing something new. It’s a merger of sorts, combining what I learned last spring with what I know this winter. Call it a RoadBroad’s 2019 approach to living and writing.

It comes courtesy of my writing friend, Danielle, who shared a version of this “Comfort Zone” graphic on Facebook. The image grabbed my attention so fast, my neck nearly snapped. My mind thought aha!, and off to the Internet rabbit hole I vanished where I found the same image, topped with the creativity quote:

Image copyright: TWH (The Wealth Hike); Quote copyright, Dan Stevens. 

It’s so timely, post‐New Year (either 1/1 or 2/5). There’s 45 weeks left in 2019.

Take a look at the graphic. Where do see yourself here as a woman? As a writer? 

Some days, I stretch across all four zones.

Today, I stretch across Learning and Growth. It’s blog post day.

Tomorrow, I’ll perch in Fear, courtesy of an upcoming public speaking event.

Who knows what Wednesday and Thursday will bring? I suspect Comfort Zone therapy after Tuesday. But by Thursday, Learning and Growth returns, incorporating the week so far.

Learning and Growth involves an awakening, a choice we must make consciously. Comfort Zone and Fear tend to rule by our default.

My goal is to shrink the red circle of Comfort Zone into a smaller dot. It’s home to daily human recovery needs, so elements of it are vital. Healthy eating. Daily exercise. Adequate sleep. Spiritual practice.

Before we are women or writers, we are human beings. Superwoman and her twin, Wonder Woman, checked out of this universe decades ago.

Fear is too much my friend. So that’s why she resides in the orange zone? Moving forward, I’ll honor Fear while keeping a healthy dose married to boundaries and deadlines.

Finally, I focus on where my heart and energy landed when I saw this graphic. Enlarge the yellows and greens of Learning and Growth into ever‐widening zones. Purpose‐filled days. Achieved dreams. Goals enlarged. Objectives accomplished.

Daily, I’ll massage Dan Stevens’ words: creativity comes from activating intuition, expanding perspectives, and living fearlessly. 

What’s your Zone Plan?

Maybe the graphic offers not your life, but a simple story.

Heroine’s Journey, anyone?

Creativity as Process

Today I had the good fortune to have lunch with two electrical engineers. I mean PhD’s from Rice University genius mentalities that are much smarter than the average bear kind of engineers. One of them was my Dear Friend (DF) and the other one was a friend/business associate of DF.

They are busy creating a company called Northworks Digital Factory, that is all about 3‐D printing. If I were smarter in the ways of engineering, I could explain this better. However, all I can say is they make 3‐D printers and they make things with 3‐D printers. They make art objects for artists and they also make medical devices for various biomedical engineering companies.

SONY DSC

This is one of their 3‐D printers. Don’t ask me how this works. For all I know it runs on Fairy Dust. The important thing is that they know how it works and how to build it. I just look at it all and say something along the lines of, “Oh cool.”

We didn’t spend a lot of time today talking about engineering. What we discussed was creativity and the creative process. How do we look at something or a situation and come up with a solution or a process for making things work.

NASA and the process of working on the Apollo mission to the moon was one segment of discussion. What was attempted could not be done in the time frame that they had. Yet, it was done and we went to the moon several times.

We also talked about story building. What works as a good idea and how to bring that idea to fruition. Have an idea, think about it from all different perspectives, try things out, make some mistakes and learn, and keep moving forward.

Engineering, science, art, writing all involve this creative process. Keep thinking and keep developing ideas. I heard the author Neil Gaiman lecture once. He said that if you want to be a writer, then write. Finish what you are writing. You will learn more from completing a process than looking at something, deciding it sucks, and then start on something else. Once you are done, maybe your project doesn’t suck after all. Gaiman even has a new book out called, Art Matters: Because Imagination Can Change The World. 

A couple of weeks ago I found a perfect example of the creative process at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. I was amazed at a collection of pieces made out of gem stones called, Life In Stone. Gerd Dreher made animal carvings from all types of stone. For example, here is an orangutan that was made from one piece of obsidian. I was awed by the intricate lapidary work in this piece with incredible detail of the physical form.

Another animal carving I admired was this peacock. This one animal was made up of 350 pieces of stones such as quartz, tiger eye, agate, and others. Nothing on these animals involves paint. All of the colors come from the stones themselves.

Since I am neither an engineer nor a lapidist, I will continue with my writing. Story ideas are my creative and artistic work. Words are my tools.

Until next week.….….

A Rose is a Rose is a … Story!

The sun‐kissed white rose lay abandoned in the red‐hot seat of the grocery cart.

What came first?

Did its buyer choose to leave the gift my DH had just handed to me?

Or was it a senior DH who forgot the present for his/her love?

And so began Story Time, Round 543,928 between DH and me.

Yes, we play this game a lot. And we’ve been together 34 years.

It was weekly road trip for groceries. The two of us: me, the RoadBroad, and him, well, I’ll call him RoadDude for this post. After all, you’ll be hearing more of him as these posting adventures continue.

As I locked the car, I saw DH/RoadDude (this is going to get complicated) grab a grocery cart. Then he stopped and pulled back. Turning toward me, he pointed inside the cart.

The two of us froze and stared at the orphaned flower. It lay there with such strength. It radiated an odd, quiet solemnity. How does a rose gain that power?

It was then I noticed its head — the flowery part — was flat. As if it’d been smashed.

DH read my mind.

They left it because it got ruined,” he said.

No, they forgot,” I responded and went on, “because it was an old guy and he had an attack of some‐timers.”

In RoadDude’s big brown eyes, I spied a sparkle. I knew what was coming.

Tall Tales of Creative Riffing. Our favorite game.

His turn, first: “No, he accidentally put the sack of potatoes on the flower and when he saw it flattened up, he said ‘well, she’ll just have to get over no roses for her birthday.”

My response: “Or he’s back at home, looking for his anniversary gift to her and he keeps saying, ‘I know I picked up a white rose for you, darling.’ And she smiles gently at him, her eyes filling with tears and pats his hand. His eyes well up as he repeatedly apologizes for no flowers for their 65th.”

Him: “Maybe he bought it to leave for us, a Saturday Pay‐It‐Forward action. No why needed.”

Me: “And we found it. I like that one. You win!”

I reached in to the cart, picked up the rose, and said, “Here’s your prize!”

We both laughed and returned the flower back to its original perch, leaving it for the next couple to story‐time their find.

I’d like to believe my writer fantasy came true.

Who knows the real story of how a long‐stemmed yellowed white rose, wrapped in an empty grocery sack and tied off with navy blue ribbon, came to be in an abandoned grocery cart in Texas?

The truth doesn’t matter. What does is the possibilities for play, storytelling, a wee bit of magic on another ordinary day.

How about you? Do you play the storytelling game on errand day?

Best part of this game?

No wrong answers!