Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.
Thinking is SO overrated. I avoid it at all costs. Mom asks me “What were you thinking?” all the time. I try to tell her, “Nuthin'” but I’m not sure she understands. What is she thinking I’m thinking? She needs to stop thinking.
Head caught in a shopping bag?
Too close to the edge?
It’s really pretty simple, actually. Don’t think. Just do.
Mom is doing things these days, too. Just doing. Not thinking. She’s partway through a new story and partway through a new poem. And she submitted a couple of things last week, too. She found them in the computer, fixed them up all shiny and new and sent them on their way out into the world for people to judge. She will do the same when she gets to the end of her latest story and poem. First she will make sure there’s enough conflict and a surprise ending twist. Then off they go. Not thinking is fun.
Except when you head face first into the sticker bush by the lake….
Ouch. Not fun…
Today, Mom and I are counting down about poetry.
3. Words – Mom has lots of special words for me. Some of them are “leave it,” “stop it,” and “get down.”
Aren’t they sweet? I’m pretty sure they all mean I’m being a good girl. Other special words are, “wanna come?” “treat,” and “car.” Mom and I really understand each other.
6. Names – I have a LOT of names besides Cupcake. Some of them are “WhatInTheWorld,” “DoYouWantASpankin?” “Naughty,” and “Stubborn.”
16. Funny – Sometimes I am hilarious. I’m sneaky, playful, and mischievous. I know Mom loves all of that. Most of the time she says, “That’s not funny anymore.” But I’m pretty sure she doesn’t mean that the way it sounds. I am a riot.
3. Words – Poems have lots of special words. They rhyme, they sing, and they rock and roll. That’s what makes poetry poetry.
Rock and what…?
26. Names – Mom has been working on some poems this week. Sometimes she changes the titles over and over to make them more fun and unusual. She also changes other things in the poems to make them more poetic and sillier. Silly is a good thing in a poem. And in a doggie.
9. Funny – Funny poems are Mom’s favorite kind. The best ones are a little funny along the way, with a crazy twist at the end. No twist. No good.
Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.
Starting can be a tough gig.
Writers start new things all the time. If they stick with their start, they end up with a story. That’s a happy ending – with a happy ending. See what I did there?
If they bail, they end up with a sad, unfinished, possibly terrible first effort. But that’s not to say they can’t yank that ugly, old thing out of the depths of the computer hard drive, Dropbox, cloud, or OneDrive and use it as a starter on a new day or a new month or a new year sometime. Old ideas are not always bad ideas.
When I am doing something new I sometimes have a few (or 90) false starts or terrible efforts.
Fetch? What does that even mean??
My first efforts at getting my picture taken with Santa were confusing. Mom said, “Look at me.” and “Do you want chicken?” and “Wanna go in the car?” and “Ugh. Why do I do this to myself”
I looked this way.
And that way.
And this way again.
Santa didn’t give up, though. He held me in the squeeze-grip till I looked where Mom and the photographer wanted me to look and I was publisher-ready.
I am proof positive that sticking with a rough first effort can pay off. You need to start somewhere.
Let’s get going…
Some kite flying kids had an early end to their fun spring day. Their kite got stuck in a tree.
They threw stuff at it, but no luck. It just stayed up there, flapping in the wind. Of course they didn’t throw as much stuff at it as the kid in the book Stuck (one of Mom’s all-time favorites), but they gave it a shot.
I get stuck sometimes. Never in a tree – not yet, anyway. But stuck nonetheless.
In the back seat
Behind my blanket-bed
Below the dugout bench
On a wall
Inside the sheets
Or under the bed
Mom isn’t stuck with her writing, but she’s stuck in a rut of not submitting anything. Since, apparently, nothing gets published on the dining room table, she has a plan. She will submit 10 stories and/or poems in the month of July.
Once things are “out there” then we will have some suspense and something to look forward to. Book 2? Maybe. Ebook 2? Possibly. Something fun is bound to happen.
Meanwhile, I will look forward to ….cake
Conditions are never just right. People who delay action till all factors are favorable do nothing.
Writers know that they have to write whether they feel like it or not. Well, maybe not write – but they need to do writer-adjacent activities, no matter what.
Mom knows this, so when conditions are not favorable, she reads picture books or writing blogs, lists ideas, researches agents or publishers, submits stories or poems, critiques work in her writing group, or fixes up a story she wrote a long time ago.
There are plenty of actions she can take. And she does… But somehow, when that part of her day is finished, she turns her sights to me. Sometimes this is a plus. We ride in the car,
hit the park,
walk around the neighborhood, or play with toys.
But sometimes, she says the word, “Want to learn?” *cue scary music here*
The newest trick Mom is trying to teach me is called Shell Game. We use bathroom cups instead of shells and a Cheerio instead of a pea.
And the only gambling involved is the fact that I may or may not lose my mind and just eat the cups.
I would like to delay this learning (and ALL learning) till factors are favorable, but Mom says, “All factors will NEVER be favorable – for either one of us.” and “Now is as good a time as any – for both of us.” and “GAH! What are those jackasses in your head telling you???”
My face is two different colors. Three actually, but down by my nose there’s a brown side and a white side.
They’re as different as different can be, right down to the whiskers. White on the white side…
…and black on the brown side.
Mom’s writing has two different sides lately, too. Poetry and prose. She worked and worked on a story and kept getting stuck. She worked on other things, came back to the story, and got stuck again. And again.
Today, she decided to take that stuck story idea and make it into a poem. As different as can be, but she’s not stuck anymore.
Sometimes in hiking, there’s a special mark saying that the path splits.
We’re careful to choose the right path. Usually it’s pretty easy to tell.
For Mom, the correct path seems to be the poem for now. Clear sailing.
Mom has to take her time when she makes a story. It’s OK to write it quickly, but then comes the hard work, which is revising, and that part is slow. Fixing the word choices in poems or stories makes the right mood and the right voice and the right feel. In her Lyrical Language Lab Class, Mom learned to look again at every word in a story to make it sound better and flow better without slowing the story down or going off on a tangent.
Sometimes I get off on a tangent when I’m checking my pee-mail.
When I’m sniffing out a message, I will say, “This is from my friend, Mocha.” and “I wish I could jump on his head right now.” and “His mom always says the furs on my head are soft.” and “My squirrel toy is really soft.”
and “I wonder if that laughing monkey toy is out of the toy box waiting for me.”
and “Squirrels look like monkeys running around in the trees.” and “Trees are…..”
And then Mom says, “Let’s go.” and “Let’s GO!” and “LET’S GO!!” Apparently, sniffing the same blade of grass all day is not an option for me.
I am learning to take my time when I eat my dinner. I didn’t learn it in Lyrical Language Lab – it’s because of my new slow-feeder bowl!