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Showing posts from June, 2020

Blackout Poem for 6/29/2020

My blackout poem for the day based on a Washington Post piece by Catherine Rampell found HERE.

Up-cycling Reality for the Sake of Mental Health

Lately, very lately, I have taken to creating blackout poems. I was first introduced to this concept in a university Creative Writing course I took a few years back. Then I was reminded of it by reading Austin Kleon's Steal Like an Artist (which, for all I know, is where my instructor encountered it in the first place ... who knows, stranger things have happened).

For years I've been writing a poem a day based on five to six random words. I'm such a weirdo I find this sort of thing fun. But, in doing the blackout poetry I am discovering something else - a way to process the news (aka reality) which borders on the therapeutic.

I normally get something out of writing a poem - obviously - if that weren't the case I wouldn't do it. But what I normally get is something akin to a purge. Taking a news article and covering things up in order to uncover a way to make it about something else, is completely different somehow. Rather than purging something, it's more like …

Book Review - Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Overall, "Steal Like An Artist" is like having a pep talk at the ready for days when you need it. The general theme of the book is a sometimes gentle, sometimes blunt, reminder that there is nothing new under the sun and that's not a bad thing. We don't live in vacuums, and art (of any variety) isn't ever going to be a virgin birth. We are all products of everything we come across, and so is what we make, and THAT IS OK. And even if you know that intellectually, you can still manage to forget it on occasion. So on days, when you feel like every idea you have is unforgivably derivative - this is a great read!

The book also offers valuable practical advice about things like not waiting until you think you're ready (you will never think you're ready) - just make things and see how it goes; keeping some kind of notebook/log of things as diverse as the n…

Writing Can be Like Herding Cats

I've heard other writers talk about projects that refused to go in the direction they intended/wanted, and obviously I've had ideas morph from one thing to something slightly different. However, I never really thought I'd become a victim of this particular phenomenon since I'm a dyed-in-the-wool "pantser." I have never outlined anything I've written except when forced to do so in school (and even then I always wrote the paper and then back engineered the outline). I suspect it is a combination of however my brain is wired, and the fact that, to me, outlining spoils the fun. Why would I want to bother to write something when I already know what happens?
Don't get me wrong, I have written things with a vague idea of what happens, or else there was some sort of guiding principle keeping the thing on the rails. An example would be a short story cycle in which each section occurred on a day of the week and each had an overriding theme (love, loss, betrayal,…