Wednesday, September 30, 2009

All On A Plane Ride

There's no question that I'm not alone in having to face the fear of flying.  I've recently returned from a trip out to northern California to visit my brother and pay a brief visit to my cousin who just moved there.

I was fortunate to have an extremely smooth flight (not always my case, but that's another story altogether) coming back to Chicago and it was during that time I began to dig deep into the final chapters of my novel.  The final chapters that will rock poor Carmella to the core and force her to finally facer her life head-on and make some life-changing decisions.  While pondering all this I came to a conclusion:

You have to let go of who you are in order to discover who you can become.  

Not a small task.....

Especially not small for Carmalla, who is suddenly faced with an identity crisis.  What if everything you thought you were turned out to be false?  Everyone who was close to you wasn't really who you thought they were, and in the end, they emotionally deserted you, leaving you completely and utterly alone. What would you do?  Carmella will discover a family secret that will change how she sees everyone in her family and most importantly, how she sees herself. 

If she chooses to allow herself to change into who she wants to be, it will mean starting over with no one in her corner, and she'll have to find the strength and the guts to forge ahead - alone. This won't be easy for Carmella, as one of her big fears in life is loneliness and isolation.

And aren't we all a victim of our own fears in some way?  How many times do we make a decision based on fear of rejection or isolation?  And what about other fears, such as flying?  Do we face it and get our sorry self on that airplane?  Or run away from it, denying ourselves whatever lies ahead for us on the other end of that runway?  How many times does a fear of something or someone render us paralyzed? 

I'm glad I faced my fear of flying and in doing so felt as vulnerable as Carmella.  Facing the fear wasn't so great, but during the quiet moments where fear bubbled beneath me, I dug deep, hoping to find some questions, some answers and some insights into ever-perplexing notion of the human condition.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cross Training

So my hubby is about five weeks away from running the Chicago Marathon.  Big, huge challenge to say the least.  As he's been training for his huge challenge, I continue on with my own challenge of writing the greatest YA novel of all times (NO PRESSURE IN OUR HOUSE).

He spoke a few times about his "cross training" that he does, and it occurred to me a few days ago how important that concept might be in terms of being a good (okay fabulously great) writer.  Athletes cross-train all the time, and although I practice writing in various genres, I didn't really think about how vital it may be to get out there and do some other forms of art like painting or drawing, or dancing or catch my drift.

I turned to one of my favorite experts on creativity, Julie Cameron who touches on this in one of the first chapters of her book, Artist's Way by suggesting that creatives have an "artist date", wherein you would block out some time once a week and do something to nurture your "inner artist" or "creative child".  In other words, go out and have some fun.  Then she goes on to explain how the artist brain "is the sensory brain:  sight and sound, smell, taste and touch."  I must admit, after baking a few pies from scratch and decorating sixteen batches of Christmas cookies, I tend to feel creatively rejuvenated.

This past week, although I didn't paint, draw, dance or sculpt anything, I did block off time on my calendar to walk the dog.  Depriving myself of this daily ritual over the summer (due to the kid factor) I've missed that routine, and realize how beneficial it is to my writing.  Walking the dog helps me reflect on the day's writing and see changes or what needs to come next in the story.   I've also added a tip this week from novelist, Les Edgerton to listen to music that fits into my novel's story and characters while I walk.  

This weekend, I've decided to block out some time and paint some antique milk jugs that I've been meaning to get at for about oh, nine or ten years.  If I don't get to that, for sure I'm going to the local Irish fest to soak up some good Irish music, dancing and fun. What are some things you do to creatively cross-train?