Monday, December 4, 2017

Guest Post: Blogging as a Creative Tool


Blogging as a Creative Tool
by Jen Payne, author of the new book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind

One of the most inspiring art exhibits I've seen in recent years was called “Suddenly This Overview.” On display at the Guggenheim in New York, it featured 250 small sculptures by artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss. The sculptures were made of a pale gray, unfired clay, and were presented individually on white pedestals around the curving spiral ramp of the museum. Clean, Times New Roman captions explained Pythagoras Marveling at His Theorem, Jesus Walks on Water, the Fish Are Amazed, and (my favorite) Mr. Spock Looks at His Home Planet Vulcanus and Is a Bit Sad That He Can't Have Any Feelings.

At the time, I was in the middle of a blogging challenge to write a poem a day for the month of April - National Poetry Month. A friend asked what it felt like to write a blog post every day, and I couldn’t help but think of the Fischli/Weiss exhibit.

In an interview with Artspace, Weiss explained “The intention was to accumulate various important and unimportant events in the history of mankind and of the planet—moments in the fields of technology, fairy tales, civilization, film, sports, commerce, education, sex, biblical history, nature, and entertainment.”

That's a sweeping, broad source of inspiration for them—and for us! (Aren't those the very things WE write about, think about, create about?)

One of the Fischli/Weiss sculptures was a plain block of clay entitled Without Words. Their starting point, perhaps—a blank page of clay onto which they were challenged to put their thoughts and ideas. It's that place we all start when we first listen to our own inspirations—what will we create today?

Blogging is like that block of clay. It gives us a place to start and a medium to shape into whatever our Muse suggests—a poem a day, for example. A book review. A photo essay. Random musings about mankind and the planet.

A blog can no more sit idle than that block of clay. It's very nature is to be used, shaped, molded. To be a vessel for our creative efforts is its raison d'ĂȘtre.

All we need to do is show up…and shape it.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jen Payne is inspired by those life moments that move us most — love and loss, joy and disappointment, milestones and turning points. Her writing serves as witness to these in the form of poetry, creative non-fiction, flash fiction and essay. When she is not exploring our connections with one another, she enjoys writing about our relationships with nature, creativity, and mindfulness, and how these offer the clearest path to finding balance in our frenetic, spinning world.

Installations of her poetry were featured in Inauguration Nation an exhibition at Kehler Liddell Gallery in New Haven (2017), and Shuffle & Shake at the Arts Council of Greater New Haven (2016). Her writing has been published by The Aurorean, Six Sentences, the Story Circle Network, WOW! Women on Writing, and The Perch, a publication by the Yale Program for Recovery & Community Health.

Jen is the author of LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness, and the new book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, a collection of poetry and photographs that ask the reader to consider: What will we leave behind? What is our legacy in this vast and wondrous Universe?





For more about Evidence of Flossing, visit Three Chairs Publishing, or click here to purchase your copy today. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Review of "Evidence of Flossing: What we Leave Behind" by Jen Payne


Jen Payne has assembled a collection of poetry and photography asking a reader to take notice. She explores the question, "What do we leave behind?"  by taking a look at her reflection in the universe.

In her own words, Payne describes the book as part social commentary, part lament, and at its heart, love poems to the something greater within us all.

Payne's other work as an essayist is evident in many of the narrative poems. Strong sense of place and point of view carry the individual poems as a cohesive whole.

This collection is one I will turn to again and again. I anticipate greater appreciation for this thoughtful collection each time.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jen Payne is inspired by those life moments that move us most — love and loss, joy and disappointment, milestones and turning points. Her writing serves as witness to these in the form of poetry, creative non-fiction, flash fiction and essay. When she is not exploring our connections with one another, she enjoys writing about our relationships with nature, creativity, and mindfulness, and how these offer the clearest path to finding balance in our frenetic, spinning world.

Installations of her poetry were featured in Inauguration Nation an exhibition at Kehler Liddell Gallery in New Haven (2017), and Shuffle & Shake at the Arts Council of Greater New Haven (2016). Her writing has been published by The Aurorean, Six Sentences, the Story Circle Network, WOW! Women on Writing, and The Perch, a publication by the Yale Program for Recovery & Community Health.

Jen is the author of LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness, and the new book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, a collection of poetry and photographs that ask the reader to consider: What will we leave behind? What is our legacy in this vast and wondrous Universe?
  


For more about Evidence of Flossing, visit www.3chairspublishing.com, or click here to purchase your copy today (https://www.etsy.com/shop/3ChairsPublishing).

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Word on Wednesday: Novel



Novel, noun: 



a fictitious prose narrative of considerable length and complexity, portraying 
characters and usually presenting a sequential organization of action and scenes.


Writing a novel has eluded me. And it's not for lack of want. It is, to be honest, for lack of wanting it enough. I am, you see, a real fine starter. I'm 36,000 words into to one book, 6,000 words into another, and outlines on half a dozen others.  

But alas there has been no novel completed from this desk. My reasons and excuses are many and uninteresting. I didn't dig deep enough. Commit long enough. Focus clearly enough. Sacrifice greatly enough. Pursue purposely enough. Imagine creatively enough. And on the story goes. 

Enter November 2017. Now. This very minute.  
NaNo, NaNo, NaNo ..... 
BATMAN! (This sounds really dumb and cliche and what does it even mean? But, I won't delete it, because if I delete every sentence I write I might not ever finish. AND, NaNo is all about finishing!)

NaNo, NaNo, NaNo .... National Novel Writing Month

Well, actually the full acronym is NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo just doesn't have the ring to it that NaNo does. This online writing challenge was founded in 1999. In short, writers all over the world take up the challenge to complete an entire novel in a month. You can read more about the nonprofit and register your story here.

NaNo defines a novel as 50,000, although that is far shy of a published book. NaNo considers the challenge to create first draft. Perfection is not stressed. This equates to roughly 1,600 words a day or more simply, 2,000 words daily if you take five days off -- Saturdays and Thanksgiving for example. For non word counters, approximately 8-10 pages each writing day.  

So cheers to NaNo. Raise a pen to word counts and habit forming. My nieces, ages eleven and nine, say, "You got this." or "Come on, you got this." 


To my fellow NaNo-ers, "You got this!  See you at the finish!"