Creativity, Longevity, Birth

Meditation, in the state of pure awareness, precedes the move towards or impulse of doing-ness, what we refer to as “creating something from nothing.” How many of us live in our heads, starring in our own endless scenarios? Of those, how many become actionable ideas? Writers are simply those idea spinners who make something out of nothing, a story, essay, poem. I am excited to have made something out of nothing in various recent publishing efforts, and feel as if I am pregnant with (or just birthing) triplets:

  1. I was the editor and project manager (or, the “midwife” who got it birthed to form) for my uncle Joseph Feingold’s heartfelt memoir: “Joe’s Violin: A Survivor Remembers,” now available on Amazon (Rachen Press), $18, or e-book.
  2. I am co-creator of a contemplative, practical card deck; it’s being richly designed, edited, and in the hands of “Beyond Words,” our partner in publishing. It’s meant to stir you to action and innovation. Beyond that, I can’t say more. But soon!
  3. My Middle Grade children’s “history mystery, time travel” novel (ages 9-12) is being submitted. It’s been an illuminating adventure over several years.

I can’t thank enough the mentors, students, buddies, readers, and chance encounters that have synchronistically fueled each of my “write to publish” endeavors. I’ve learned helpful techniques that I share in my tele-class and live writing groups. Best way to contact me now is email: sheilaklewis@gmail.com, and see how we can write and work together.

I dedicate this April 30, 2018 blog to my mom Ruth Kaufman, upon her 94th birthday. She has taught us to focus on what we want, not what we don’t want. That could be the secret to longevity and creativity. Have an especially creative day!

Write, Revise, Edit, and (don’t quit before you) Publish

Write, Revise, Edit, and (don’t quit before you) Publish

girl celebrating with laptop on lapWriting, editing, and publishing a book or story are different activities. For me, the first is a thrilling endorphins ride that makes my brain snap happy and sharp, the second offers the pleasure of precision and nearing the finish line, and the third is, well, about as much fun as climbing to the top floor of a very tall building (the elevator is out). I can take 40 years’ of writerly experience, distill it on the page and polish it, but getting it to market presents challenges.

Self publish? Partner or hybrid publish? Or go the traditional route and pray to be as evergreen as “Good Night Moon?” In other words, publishing invites hard work, speculation, and letting go. It’s no wonder so many writers quit just before the finish line. It’s a frustrating option. I’d rather persevere. I’d like some company, so please join me for some tips, tea, and sympathy on your own ascent.

Writing

Start for the joy of the idea waking you up in the middle of the night and writing you. It’s not torture, you can sleep later. If the idea and all its permutations are with you over time, develop it. Add chapters, an outline, whatever the form requires. Don’t even think about fixing it at first. Let the words spill, flow, and take shape organically. At some point you will tire of the unruly monster and give it a nap. Refreshed, you and your writing can get to stage two, revision and editing.

Editing

In our commodified culture, we are tempted to jump to branding, platforms, publication deals, and all manner of marketing and promotion. Wait. The time will come when you are finished. You will know it. If you hesitate, ask a friend, partner, buddy or two for input. You may need a little fine tuning. Keep going. Plan next steps and develop new muscles. If you can, hire people to do the stuff you least enjoy, like building a website or coming up with a marketing plan.

Publishing

You may hate and resist these steps. Consequently, theĀ  processĀ might be a bit like this. Pretend you are being paid big bucks, as if you were hired by somebody else. Notice resistance in its myriad forms, the desire to quit, take a nap, or go to the movies. Cut yourself a little slack, but not too much. Do what works, like keeping simple to do lists (which include delicious rewards) to get through the tasks on your way to publishing. Plan the party of your dreams, a trip to the birthplace of a favorite author. And go to sleep at night fully confident that you are doing your darn best.

Somehow, your words will fly from mind to page to an eager audience.

Fragrance Gateway

Fragrance from incense, heavenly scented flowers, like roses, lilacs, and magnolias, or even the sidewalk coffee smell oozing from a cart, can be a gateway to consciousness. For a moment, we are entranced, swept away from the nitty gritty streets to a faraway land where a sea breeze, jasmine, or pine rules. Fragrance jolts the memory, and we are back in grandma’s kitchen, or a favorite Italian restaurant. Never underestimate the power of a puff of lavender or spray of sage. What’s your favorite fragrance? What memory might it bring to mind? Light a clove candle and think about it.

Bumble More, Stumble Less

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/

To bumble is to create a stirring, a high flying energy that has its own upward spin. To stumble is to fall down and get up again, like an eternally optimistic toddler. If you want to create a rumble in your routine, bumble first. All good things come to pass after a bit of bumbling and stumbling around. Even cookies crumble before a recipe is perfected.

Tea Makes Me Happy

Tea is a ritual and destination every morning. Brewing tea is a moving and sensory meditation. It wakes me up and gets the day going. The tea shelf hosts several orderly and labeled cans (from recycled Zabar’s tea cans) and ranges from robust Irish or English Breakfast to demure Darjeeling to subtle or strong chai, various herbal mixtures, roasted bancha and other green teas, lavender, lime, French Vanilla, and Russian, which is like tea with an exclamation point. Nowhere else is my home or life so orderly and delightful. I sip as long as I can, my thoughts steeping over the day’s to do list, or perhaps a pleasant procrastination, reading a magazine or book. Enjoy your tea and and let it brim with calm vigor as you savor your day.

Lollipop’s last licks

My mom’s father, Pop Barney, died when I was ten. More memorable than his sweet smile and cigars were the the Charm’s or Tootsie Roll lollipops he gave us on visits. His status as a Depression-era Brooklyn candy store owner commanded respect. A lollipop from Pop was a special treat, and often came with his words, an incongruous aphorism, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Who understood adults, anyway? We understood love, and a lollipop was love on a stick. I get that now, when I give my little grandson heart stickers or the Bomba chips he loves. The lollipop era may have had its last licks, but the memory of Pop’s pops will linger forever. What bygone treat can you taste? What flavor was your lollipop?