Category Archives: creativity

500 Favourite Words: I’m part of a cool, new chapbook and word cloud project

Those are a few words I like to say.

Discombobulate.

Fiddle.

Goop.

Everyone has a few favorite words, but how many of us share the same word choices? ChapbookPublisher.com‘s

Dan Waber is setting out to find just that with his 500 Favourite Words chapbook and word cloud series. And, I am so excited to be a part of it.

So far the line features over a half dozen mini chapbooks, each filled with the creative contributor’s 500 favorite words.

500 Favourite Words word cloud

A screen shot of the growing word cloud from ChapbookPublisher.com

The pocket-sized 500 Favourite Words chapbooks sell for just $2.00 each and are available here (and also 100-word snippets of each available title.) That’s less than a penny per fun word!

Bringing this series together, is a world cloud. This cloud encompasses all of the 500 words all in one spot, much like you see in a tag cloud on a blog. This visual representation gives a picture on the most popular words in the series overall. So far, I am not the only one who has the word discombobulate on the list. Or fart. And, jazz appears on the most, although it was not on my list.

My list is random. No real order. Some words that appear next to each other may rhyme or fit in the same category or have the same root. It just happened that way. Some were coincidences (<– that’s a word on my list!) and others were a clear stream of though, such as when I wrote cheese and then proceeded to write Muenster. These 500 words made the list for various reasons. Some are fun to say. Some I use a lot in my own writing. Some I like the meaning. Others, I just like how they sound.

And, in doing this, I noticed my own little trends in words. I like words that start with ‘c’ sounds (clever, crisp, kumquat) and words that have v’s (fizz, buzz, rendezvous) and q’s (quirky, kumquat) in them. I like words that have historic (parchment) or natural, organic meaning (igneous, metamorphosis) to them. I like words with lots of syllables (diabolical, participle, onomatopoeia) And, a lot of words I like also have cars with the same name (Element, Escapade, oh, and Rendezvous).

When I heard about Dan’s project, I jumped at submitting my top words. And, as I was compiling my list, at first I struggled with choosing the words I like best, but soon found myself crossing of words to replace them with “better” words. And even now that my list is complete, my chapbook done, I am rediscovering words that I love and would be worthy of a Volume II!

I also love the word cloud feature. It’s no doubt creative, unique types would be drawn to this project, so seeing so many common favorite words is just fascinating. We’ll all so unique and different, yet attracted to the sounds or meanings of the same words.

To learn more about Dan’s 500 Favourite Words project and hist other projects (and, to support the project by picking up a chapbook or two, visit ChapbookPublisher.com. Other NEPA folks who are a part of this are poet Jim Warner and Andrea Talarico (no relation although she’d be an awesome cousin!) of Anthology Books.


A few (purple) steps to happiness at home… and how Los Angeles wants those steps in one community repainted

Have you ever used sidewalk chalk?

It’s fun. It’s vibrant. It makes you feel like a kid again.

What if you permanently added color to your sidewalk?

As in trade in that lavender chalk for some lavender paint?

I’d say that would be pretty sweet. But, imagine five years later having to go to court to tell a judge that, yes, you will paint your sidewalk white again… to conform to all the other “squares” in the neighborhood.

That’s what is happening for artist Annakim Violette tomorrow. (She is the daughter of my favorite singer, but this blog post is not about that.) Five years ago, during a rain storm, she painted the sidewalk leading up to her secluded house in the Silver Lake area of LA. Now, in this new legal rainstorm, she must repaint the sidewalk to its concrete color. She must conform. No artist wants to hear that. That’s worse than the other c-word.

I am not familiar with LA and won’t pretend to be as I write this blog post – I am writing it to stand up for an artist who should be able to make her home what she wants it to be. However, I did some quick Googling on her neighborhood and found a headline from the Los Angeles Times about Silver Lake. The headline is Silver Lake: Creative and Artsy Folks Call it Home. Sounds like some neighbors don’t agree with that association, otherwise, why would a resident make a civil complaint over purple steps?

anna kim violette house

Images from Annakim's house - wish I could find one of the sidewalk. This image is credited to ladyfingers.tumblr.com

Foam Magazine called Annakim’s Los Angeles home a “cottage of curiosities.” I’ve seen pictures. It is. And, if I was not bound to the East Coast, I surely would love to visit this colorful abode. Here is the article about Annakim’s house from Foam Magazine, pasted into her blog.

In fact, Annakim’s home has been the subject of many beautiful magazine and blog articles for its artfulness. These mags features gorgeous pictures of the eclectic rooms and outdoor spaces. She explains in her Foam interview that her house is fearless.

Here is another blog post from Braided Unicorn that calls Annakim’s house “drool worthy.”

Here are a slew of colorful pictures from The Selby that show Annakim’s house.

Here’s the post, which Annakim wrote on her own blog today about the notice she received from the city. She writes here how much is sucks that some people just want the world black and white.  (Note – scroll down past several pictures to get to the post…)

I am Annakim’s friend on Facebook and since I am on her list, I received a message from her today about her situation. I told her I would blog about it. Not much a blog can do to make a difference by tomorrow morning, but at least it will make some noise about this — perhaps even allowing her permission to once again paint her sidewalk the color she wants.  She wrote back to me and accepted my gesture to write a blog post and added a few comments about how her house is considered a work of art for its warmth, color and vibes. She wrote about the situation:

“I have to say, it’s very 1984 and I have lived here all my life and traveled the world… When I’m not home (the house gives) a universal symbol of a young girl that does not wish to see alarm systems or gated windows or cops every five secs….”

She’s referring to a yuppie neighborhood popping up around her once artsy ‘hood. Gates and cookie cutter houses. Houses that don’t have personalities and developers making sure it stays that way.  She said there is a growing crime rate, and questions why then, is a focus of the community on harmless purple steps? I’m with ya sister!

I don’t own my home, but I do everything I can to make my rented place as happy and “me” as it can be. I have retro music stuff around my living room and lots of inspirational quotes hanging around my office. My bedroom is Asian-themed with Buddah stuff and such. I like to keep piles of clutter, too, because I feel a certain comfort in having lots of stuff.

I say that all of creative people with a vision of a more colorful world band together and paint our steps purple!!

~Who says exterior design is only landscaping?

~Why can’t we paint our yards? Our steps?

~Why can’t we add some “abnormal” colors to an otherwise white, beige, or brick community?

~Why can’t our sidewalk chalk be permanent?

Henry David Thoureau said, “the world is but a canvas to the imagination.”

I think we have a right to painting that canvas whether it’s a bedroom wall or steps leading to a dream home.

Good luck Annakim. Even if your steps must remain “their” color, you can still paint the world a happier place with everything else you do. Let them be miserable and know that you rock.

P.S. This situation is like a hybrid of two childhood classics, only it’s Annakim and the Purple Paintbrush Battle LA and Where the Sidewalk Painting ends:

Some others have also blogged about this:

http://happylolday.blogspot.com/2010/01/steps-to-happiness.html


An Eight-Week Course in Tom Petty History: The Start of the Superhighway Tour — A Review

Was I in Cleveland the past hour? (No.) Oh, okay. But it sure felt like I just came back from a trip in rock-n-roll history. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers history, that is.

What’s the deal with the Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ Superhighway Tour and Live Anthology? Here’s my experience from Day One , a mini-review of the content:

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Live Anthology - tompetty.com

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Live Anthology - tompetty.com

This morning at about 10:01 I purchased my ticket to the Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Superhighway Tour. I wasn’t sure how it worked with the downloads and digital playing of tracks, so I waited until I got home from work to log in for the first time.

Wow. I am completely impressed. This is an incredibly creative way to promote the Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Live Anthology. I am almost jealous that I didn’t think of it. I mean, not that I work in the record industry, but man, takes me back to my radio days. This is just an incredible idea. Kudos to Warner Brothers or whoever in Tom Petty’s camp came up with this creative concept.

I seriously look forward to the next eight weeks, where unique content and unheard tracks are delivered to me two tracks per week. Look forward? Wait. What kinda expression of excitement is that? I mean, I AM FREAKIN’ STOKED.

So, the deal is: You can buy the ticket to access the online content. A total of 24 advance tracks are made available, two per week over the next eight weeks leading up to the November 24, 2009 release of The Live Anthology Deluxe Box Set. On the 28th, the final 24 tracks are also made available, totaling 48 tracks.

I’m not stopping at the digital and I hope no Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers fan does. I describe what you get on the tour below, but real quick…

On the 24th the tangible stuff – do you remember what tangible music is?- is available. The Live Anthology Deluxe Box Set includes an incredible amount of music (Superhighway Tour ticker holders get a hefty discount!). According to –and directly pasted from — TomPettySuperHighwayTour.com as of 09/29/09 (in case it changes on us for some reason):

  • The definitive live collection. 62 tracks on 5 CDs recorded live in concert from 1978 – 2007.
  • Blu-ray AUDIO disc of all 62 tracks in both stereo and surround sound. High-resolution 96K 24-bit audio with 256 times more resolution than a CD.
  • One DVD of “400 Days”, a previously unreleased documentary film by director Martyn Atkins, made during the 1995 Wildflowers tour and recording sessions.
  • One DVD of previously unreleased New Years Eve 1978 Santa Monica, CA concert.
  • 12” vinyl of a re-mastered 1976 Official Live Bootleg album.
  • Deluxe book with liner notes offering personal perspectives on the band and their music by Tom Petty, Warren Zanes, Bill Flanagan, Robert Hilburn, Joel Selvin, Austin Scaggs, and Phil Sutcliffe.
  • Reproduction “Litho” of Shepard Fairey Cover Art (12″ x 12″ on high quality stock)
  • Reproduction of the 1997 twenty night Fillmore stand concert poster (8″ x 12″ on high quality stock)
  • Assorted authentic vintage backstage satin passes.
  • SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS OPTION: There is also a Live Anthology Vinyl Deluxe Box Set which has seven albums and over 51 live tracks from 1980-2007 plus a 12×12, 24-page color book of liner notes.

    Finally, folks can also purchase a four-CD set.

    MY EXPERIENCE: ABOUT THE TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS SUPERHIGHWAY TOUR

    Just took a screen shot of my welcome page after I logged into the Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Superhighway Tour (Image (c) Donna Talarico)

    Just took a screen shot of my welcome page after I logged into the Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Superhighway Tour (Image (c) Donna Talarico)

    The “ticket” to the tour was $24.98 and I purchased it through www.tompettysuperhighwaytour.com as soon as they were made available. I simply created an account, paid and Viola! Later when I logged in, I downloaded the first two tracks, which are also able to be played from the site. They are playing right now, in fact.

    The site: The layout and design of the Tom Petty Superhighway Tour site is uber-cool. The parchment feel of the site gives it that nostalgic touch- kind of like the tan old paper becomes. The site is laced with bits of red and images of old concert tickets, press clippings, posters, and the Damn the Torpedoes cover in the background- wonderful design.

    Navigation of TomPettySuperHighwayTour.com is easy,  very user-friendly. The sections are clear: new tracks, news on the album, photos, merchandise, etc. All very pleasing to the eye. The enlarged images allow users to scan through each image within the enlarged view, rather than open and close, and open and close.

    Hard Promises from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

    Hard Promises from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

    The goodies: After logging in, the welcome screen greeted with the new tracks of the week. Basically, the Superhighway Tour follows a calendar spanning the past 30 years. Each week the tracks are from live performances from a concert. This week, one of the tracks is “Nightwatchman” from a show at The Forum in Los Angeles on June 28, 1981. “Nightwatchman” was from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ album Hard Promises.

    More goodies: When you click on the page for an individual track, you are also given awesome material — and this is the kind of stuff I live for since I love media, memorabilia, and memories- that pertain to that particular show. You are given an overview of the concert (for example the Forum show is actually part of a three-night run), a set-list from that night, reviews, band commentary on the song and the concert, and more.

    I don’t want to give away all the surprises (although I am sure other bloggers will) because I want you to buy this digital treasure chest and see for yourself! But, there are articles, concert reviews, photos, and more. Oh, yeah. I didn’t even mention that each week there is new merchandise. This week it’s a vintage t-shirt from 1981. I can quickly see my bank account draining.

    User-generated content: I work in eCommerce so I know how important it is becoming to let customers, and in this case also fans, take ownership and play a role in the experience. Virtually every bit of media/information available on the Tom Petty Superhighway Tour allows for user comments. There is also the ability to upload fan photos. There is a forum as well.

    This isn’t even a tour.

    It’s an eight-week course in Tom Petty history.

    (I just coined that during an edit and had to change the headline.) I look forward to paying attention to Tom Petty History every week and indulging in the music and enjoying the nostalgia of a band that had an incredible 31+ years so far — who knows what is ahead. Watching the Runnin’ Down a Dream documentary last week was awesome, coincidental prep for this adventure.

    This is the ULTIMATE collection for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers fans. It’s the band, throughout the decades with tons and tons of extras- as Tom Petty said in his welcome message, “We’re gonna be sending you mountains of stuff over the Super Internet Global Highway.”

    Buy the ticket today. Enjoy what I am enjoying. I am sure I will write more about this down the line, but wanted to get the word out about this today since it’s brand new!


    Honest Thoughts from a Creative Slacker: Opening My Idea Box with the World (AKA My State of the Union Address)

    I’m a creative person. But, I have a flaw that many creative people have. My flaw is thinking of ideas, getting excited about them, jotting them down, and then immediately getting another idea to focus on, and so the circle begins again.

    OPENING THE BOX

    As you can see, I was always kinda corny from the tagline of my box. Uh, actually... that I gave my box a tagline scares me.

    As you can see, I was always kinda corny from the tagline of my box. Uh, actually... that I gave my box a tagline scares me.

    The other day, I came across my “Idea Box.” It’s an old Mudd shoebox filled with shreds of my “light bulb moments.”

    I was cleaning out a massive cabinet filled with way too many things I no longer need and the things I do need and want, were a scattered disarray. I was making good time with my office cleaning so I grabbed a fresh Sam Adams and took a trip down memory lane.

    The contents of this box are incredibly varied. There are many types of paper: loose leaf. spiral. yellow legal pad. steno pad. There are ripped-off placemats. Napkins. Business cards. Smaller notebooks. Envelopes. Really– anything that could be a writing surface.

    There are ideas in this box on Froggy 101 letterhead that still have (717) as the zip code of Northeast PA. I didn’t write down those ideas on that notepad when it was an old notepad. I wrote down those ideas when it was new, before (570) existed. Yeah. Wow.

    Inside this idea box are many ideas:

    • Greeting cards (one that actually got published by Oatmeal Studios in 2000… I guess I never took the original idea out of the box!)
    • T-shirt sayings – many of these!
    • Movie title or book title ideas. I’ve always been clever with names. Often, I think of a title and a very loose premise. But from the vast array of ideas here, it’s obvious evidence of my above-mentioned flaw. I have more ideas than time and sometimes know-how.
    • Side note to above: One of those movie title ideas I had was Swing Vote. Yep, jotted down I am guessing at some point during my fierce Young Democrats days, inspired by an election night party (which was about a year of awesome times– just got busy).  I can’t even remember what my original plot idea was, but the title is what I jotted down. And, it was a title of another movie this year! Too funny. Guess at least the idea had a ring to it!
    • Lines I Never Said. Sometimes I think of something cruel to say. Or funny. Or just inappropriate for the particular place I am at or the people I am with. However, I think to myself, “Well, I can’t *really* say that. But, it’d be really funny if I was writing a book one day about a guy who has this girlfriend, and then I can make him use this line…” Basically, all the things I thought were well-crafted witty responses that I never uttered out loud for one reason or another. I want to work them into dialogue of characters who *can* say them somehow someday.
    • Lines I Said that More People Should Hear. I say some interesting things. I like wordplay. Sometimes I say something that I think is funny and then no one laughs and I am sure I’ve failed, but just as I think that, the people laugh. Yeah. Sometimes what I say takes a second to get. At any rate, there are some funny lines I’ve said that have generated laughter. Many I lost… fizzled into the air at barrooms and office spaces. But I managed to collect a few gems, and some are in this box. Now, I make a more valiant effort to keep a better log, now that I use a moleskine. (One example– Donna to Doug, Halloween 1999 at Hops & Barleys: “I wanted to dress up as you for Halloween, but Party City was out of asshole suits.”)
    • Scribbles of Inventions. I am not the best artist. I think that’s why I am so hesitant to share ideas that require construction. But, I did scribble down ideas I had for nifty little gag gifts and gadgets.
    • Songs. I found four songs. I have no musical talent, so maybe they are just called poems. But, I was at country radio at the time so I was all into country songs, story songs to be more specific. One song/poem I wrote in 1999 is called “Riding Shotgun” about a girl who is one of the guys (yeah, my life story but the rest of the song isn’t) but the guy finally asks her to sit up front. The song is about that summer. Fast forward to last year, Taylor Swift releases a song, not called that, but “riding shotgun” that’s part of the chorus. Again, at least I had a catchy idea. That someone else had a similar idea and it took off makes me happy that at least my ideas COULD go somewhere.
    • Restaurant Ideas. I have four ideas for theme restaurants. One, I even bought decor for on eBay because I was so certain I’d create a business plan one day and wanted to sack up some goodies just incase. But now I think I will write stories around the ideas since I have no resources to actually become a restaurateur and plus I hate cleaning.
    • Random Thoughts. A lot of times I just had thoughts that I knew I wanted to remember. Ponders about my life. Questions about the world around me. I jotted these ideas down with intentions of writing an article about them or in the case of thoughts about me, an essay.
    • Letters. I found a letter to someone I broke up with explaining why I really broke up with him (I made an excuse that I liked someone else which was a terrible lie, but thought it made more sense than saying I wanted time alone). Obviously, he never got the letter and I forgot that I wrote it. But feelings in that letter, dated in 2001, still hold true today. Eight years later, I still feel the same way I felt in that letter– that I needed and wanted more. And it needed to start from within. I think rereading this letter shows me how far I HAVEN’T come creatively since then. Didn’t connect that dot until I am writing this blog post this very second, but there is so much I still want and need to do and I think that’s why I am still happily single.

    OLD IDEAS MEET NEW IDEAS

    A peek inside the box. Tons of scribble and inspiration, some I forget my train of thought at the moment. A lesson now is to write the date, where I was, and fully explain my thoughts so I can remember better later.

    A peek inside the box. Tons of scribble and inspiration, some I forget my train of thought at the moment. A lesson now is to write the date, where I was, and fully explain my thoughts so I can remember better later.

    The past two years as most readers know, I’ve been working on my MA in creative writing and now the MFA. I feel accomplished that I finished my first book-length manuscript. Looking back, I know I didn’t do the best I could have in my creative life. As my idea box shows, I’ve had ideas for decades. The only thing that is holding me back is time.  I know that with support and discipline I CAN create anything I want and completing the MA taught me that. But what about everything else before and after the program? Since the last idea was put in this specific box, I’ve had troves of new ideas, now in moleskines or random places. I put all the “new” random ones inside this old box and have a stack of my notebooks by the box.

    I need to do something with the ideas in this box. The worthwhile ones. What good are they doing in there? Area codes are changing as we speak. What I am waiting for? WHAT?

    I need to make some serious changes in my life. Nothing I do is per se wrong, it’s how and when I do it. I need, need, need to get myself a schedule. I see people way busier than I accomplishing a lot more. I am a procrastinator and a time waster and I know it. It’s my other flaw. I am great at thinking of things but horrible at getting them done. My professional career is different- not talking about that. I have always excelled in that and always (hope) I will. It’s the things I do for myself that I can’t manage to carve time for.

    I ask myself why I can’t do things as much as I should. Sometimes I answer with, “Because it’ll be our little secret. No one will know if you really nap until 2pm. No one else will know that you wrote a blog post instead of the short story idea you had. No one else knows you are doing all those quizzes on Facebook instead of revising that chapter. They may know what 80s rock song is most like your life, but they don’t know what you were SUPPOSED to be doing instead of that quiz.”

    procrastinationI don’t know if I have ADD or something that prevents me from focusing. And who cares. I’ve never talked to my doctor about it,  but probably won’t because I am sure its habitual. Sometimes I do wonder if it’s something greater, but usually I think my lack of focus goes back to me having to many ideas, too many things I want to do, and then not doing anything because I don’t know where to start.

    At first, I wanted to focus on a healthy life style – get up early walk (and hope that can turn into running). But now, I think I want to get my creative energy up to a new level. I think once that’s up there and I am happy, the rest of me will change and become more motivated to get the rest of me in shape.

    I want my body’s creative energy to match my mental creative energy.

    If my hands could go as fast as my brain, I know I’d get more done.

    I wake up every day wanting to change my habits.

    And every day, I hit snooze until the last moment possible.

    I come home from work every day wanting to change my habits.

    And every day, I get sidetracked…

    ..by a magazine, social media (I love it and am the first to admit I do it too much), looking up band bios on the new artist I heard on Pandora which leads to buying stuff on iTunes… and then, I get tired and go to sleep.

    And then I wake up… and the cycle begins again.

    (gosh.. coming up for air here… didn’t think this post would be so long, but this shows how much really has been on my mind as of late, and this was meant to be a check-list of what I want to do, and it turned into a whole backstory… but that’s okay, writing it out is making it more real…)

    THE PLAN FOR CHANGE – and it’s just that, a plan. I am making no great claim that I will be able to accomplish this. But, I welcome help, support, feedback, and ass-kicking from anyone who knows me. Someone once told me (and he was quoting a great motivational speaker) that the key to success is writing down your goals. I take that a step further by sharing these goals. Some may think its too personal to share these goals and self-revelations, but not me. Here’s why:

    • The people that care can read this and know what I am feeling and help.
    • The people I don’t know who may struggle like I do, may be inspired.
    • Being honest and sharing thoughts helps others, it truly does. We’re all human, and it helps to be reminded.
    • Finally, sharing these goals holds me accountable for them.

    Lately, thanks to a guy I blogged about the other week that I’ve known for some time, I’ve been attending a lot of local art events at Paper Kite Press. Meeting new people and being exposed to all this creativity has really inspired me again. The creative writing program of course inspired me, too. But this adds to it. This is something, somewhere local where I am seeing all different things that people are creating and sharing- art, music, knowledge, poetry, theater, and more. People have so much to share and it made me realize how little I have to share – of course I have ideas and insight to share, but here I mean “physically share.” Sure, I’ve done A LOT of feature writing and have bins of articles that I am super proud of. But, I am talking the creative stuff, the stuff for me. Short stories, essays, and such.

    Today, I made a list of things that I want to do in myself to improve my creativity. Some are easy, some take more effort. Some I will start today, some may be good ideas that may take me a while. But, this is what I came up with:

    1. Hand-write something each morning or night. I want to journal more. I realized I miss pencils. As silly as that seems, I do really miss writing with a pencil. There’s just something different. The pressure applied to the lead can be a measure of the emotion I put into the writing. Was it hard? Was it light? It’s something beyond the content of the words that shows how I felt when I was writing. Pencil writing looks gritty sometimes, too and I like it. I saw a new book out from I think Chronicle Books about the art of handwriting. I notice my own penmanship getting sloppy. So, handwriting each day will accomplish many things, including helping me get feelings out and de-stress. This may be a way for me to get back into my dream journal, too.

    2. Call one person a day for meaningful conversation.

    I am told very often by people that I am one of the most social people they know. I love to talk to people. I love to meet new people. I love being part of conversation. But something very bad is happening to me. I love email. I love Twitter. I love Facebook. I love texting. Boy, do I love texting. All have their roles in communication and I encourage the use of all of them. But they are no replacement for talking to someone. Easier said than done. It makes me sad to know that I don’t take calls, for no reason other than– well, damn. There’s not even a way to explain it. Have I become AFRAID of the phone? I talk fine in conversation in person, and frequently converse online. But I will let a call go to voicemail and then text that person. I am ashamed. So, I am committing to talking on the phone more. I would like to reach out to old friends and family members that I hardly speak to. I think calling people and talking in person will be inspiring. It may not directly be related to creativity, but for me, I know hearing voices I don’t hear often will be refreshing. An LOL can never replace a real but of laughter shared between friends. Talking on the phone with people will help me begin to be a more active person again. A better person. A better friend.

    3. Listen to some kind of new music each day.

    I am already doing this thanks to Pandora. I will just continue this. I do not know if I am different (well, I am), but I am a very visual-thinking person. When I hear a song, I think in movie montage format. I get all sorts of images that go to the beat of a song. A few months ago, I made a mix of songs that reminded me of my childhood and teenage years to help inspire the memoir. When songs would come on, I’d close my eyes and picture me doing something with some friends and then, like magic, a little detail would pop out. Something so small like my friend Dewayne with a Tarheels hat on. I was able to go back and add more detail to my memoir because of almost a hypnotic memory. New music does this, too. I can’t explain it, but it just makes me think of faces, places, even ones I’ve never seen before. Which means that I just created something.

    4. Attend one arts-infused event a week.

    I have been loving going to Paper Kite. I know there is more in our area that I have not been exposed to yet. I have to also realize it’s okay to do these things alone. In fact, doing them alone may even be better. I think my social-ness sometimes makes my life too fast to keep up with. Spending some quiet time to myself to be inspired and just think will do me good. I want to start paying attention more to the paper for these events and attend them in groups or by myself. Either way, notebook in tow. Phone off.

    5. Find a class to take.

    I think visually. Yet, I’ve never created anything visual. Maybe I have some untapped talent? I would like to find a class or clinic to take to try something new. Painting, pottery, drawing… something like that. Start with one class, and when its over, find something else. This again will also give me discipline to create something.

    6. Find a local writers group.

    I have awesome classmates and colleagues from the Wilkes program and we meet as much as we can. But I think I also need to find something regular that is close by. I will start to look out for one, or form one. Some people I know from Wilkes have been trying to start a local group and I should follow up on that.

    7. Turn off the Internet. Sometimes.

    When I am writing I need to make a better effort to not open the Internet browser. I work in the industry and it’s my job and my passion- I always have loved it. In 1995, my friend Jenn and I were featured in the Pocono Record as teenagers of the future when the Internet was just starting to become an everyday thing (we were selected because we had a column in the school paper called “Nothing But Net” where we reviewed five websites a week). However, my other passion is writing and creating. From reading this, you know I am easily distracted. Having the world in the next tab away is a hard thing for me to refuse. But, I need to keep Word, and only Word open while I work. I need to find that balance. It’s acutally becoming destrucive.

    8. Read and write every day. I don’t. I am only partially ashamed to admit that. I know many other writers who get in slumps. My slump has lasted too long. I have two shelves with books that look pretty sitting there, but they aren’t being read. I need to read every day so that I can get through these. I need to write every day as well, hopefully on a story or two so I can have a new, complete work to share and none of this, “I have an idea and write two pages” nonsense. I need to COMPLETE something. But even if the writing for that one day is just that hand-written piece I mentioned above, that’s okay. It’s a start to being more productive.

    9. Give back. I mean this in person and virtually. Creativity is good for the individual as an outlet, but it’s much better when its shared. Aside from sharing the creative work, sharing the process also helps. I am pretty active in the social networking realm. I read a lot of writer, agent, and editor blogs. I comment sometimes but mostly absorb knowledge. I am going to start to be more active in those online communities to share things that I have learned along the way, or when someone inspired me on one of those blogs, I am going to comment to them that they helped me. That gratitude goes a long way. I am going to write more book reviews and am going to blog more about the people I meet along the way and what they contributed to be and to the world. Finally, I want to be more active in the local scene. I did my first public reading in April. It’s been four months since. I need to do that more. A lot more.

    To sum up this novel-length post:

    I want to come up with an action plan so that my professional life, social life, and writing life can live in harmony and implement these changes to produce more work and build a better, more active life surrounded by creativity and inspiration.