Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Creative Environment


I have not been very diligent about publishing these days, as you may have noticed. After deciding it was clearly time to get back into the groove and opening my WordPress page a headliner cleverly caught my eye. The title suggested something about finding the right “environment for writing”, which has recently been a factor in my slacking productivity. Closer inspection reveled not a post about the physical or even emotional environment for writing, but instead some updates about recent changes in the blog formats.  Fine, okay, but not the serendipitous moment I had hoped for.

Environment and comfort have a substantial influence on both my desire and my ability to write.  If I’m at a computer, I’m much more productive using my laptop where I can move about, sit on my bed or slouch back in a recliner. I can even go sit on the porch and listen to the sounds of the neighborhood for inspiration. Sitting at a desk is not only physically uncomfortable, but feels  formal and constrained;  it feels like work.

Sometimes, the keyboard itself takes on a sense of sterility, a sanitized expression of the thoughts and feelings that demand a natural flow. I find this keyboard frigidity to be more common in my generation than in younger writers. People of my age group remember the pre-computer days when typing meant typing…on a typewriter; slow, laborious, prone to error, fading ribbon and sticking keys. Making corrections involved slapping a glob of noxious white-out on the misspelled word or slipping a small piece of correction paper in the carriage and typing over the error. By the time this process was complete, the creative train had left the station. There was also a good possibility the writer would be left with a somewhat disorienting buzz resulting from the inhalation of white out vapors.

Since my laptop has been in the “shop” undergoing repair, I have found myself spending more time writing by hand. I do journal by hand on an almost daily basis, my personal thoughts, dreams and out-of-the-blue moments of inspiration. Journaling in this way is a pleasant, almost meditative process. It is also somewhat liberating. Within the protected space of my own personal journal, filled with my sketches and doodles and random ideas, my thoughts flow freely and the words play on the page like happy children. Even my handwriting is reflective of my current mood, sometimes loose and flowing, sometimes small and cramped with frustration and uncertainty. Either way the process encourages an unrestrained pattern of ideas that easily takes on a life of its own.

A while back I was graced with the opportunity to be interviewed by Janet Riehl, poet, musician, storyteller and founder of  Riehl Life: Village Wisdom for the 21st Century http://www.riehlife.com/. In this interview I discussed my practice of  “word doodling” as I call it as a bit of fun which can alleviate the pressure of taking ones self and one’s writing too seriously, therefore freeing the creative process.

I’m hopeful that having had a solid week of play, no pressure to produce blog posts or submit to some judgmental, finger shaking, inner critic I will return to a steady pattern of committed writing (and posting) with a fresh breath of inspiration.

What are other people’s means of stimulating creativity and putting the fun back into your work?

Copyright 2011, Jennifer Hazard/Nanakoosa
Image courtesy of Relics and Collectibles http://s399.photobucket.com/home/relicsandcollectables/index

© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

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What Puts the Ape in Apricot?

“Whadda they got that I ain’t got?….(all answer)  “Courage!”   The the Cowardly Lion’s own  answer to his  rhetorical question is, of course, Courage. In case you’ve never seen the movie ‘The Wizard of Oz” I would encourage you to stop reading, find, rent, borrow download  a copy using whatever it is you use to view media, make some popcorn and lose yourself in what is probably one of the few examples of The Archetypal  Heroes Journey whose protagonist is a 13-year-old girl.  So go away now if you haven’t seen it because there’s a spoiler on deck.

Gone? Okay. Are they all gone? ok.

Geez can you believe there are actually people who have not seen the Wizard of Oz?!  

Well, we will give them our support and acceptance when they come back, let’s not make them feel embarrassed for not having incorporated one of the greatest films of all time into their schematic framework.

So, the rest of you know where I am headed with this thought. The Cowardly Lion, despite his panic attacks, tears and attempts at desertion was indeed the most Courageous of all the Seekers en route to Oz. Yes, he was terrified the entire time but, as a loved one recently reminded me, Courage is not the lack of Fear, but the act of going forward and doing what needs to be done in spite of the Fear.

As the Wizard presented the Cowardly Lion with his Medal of Bravery he expressed the same sentiment

“You have plenty of courage, I am sure,” answered Oz. “All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.”

Upon realizing the risks he had endured and survived in the name of loyalty to Dorothy and the others, The Lion is able to grasp the key ingredient in the recipe for Courage…Confidence.  Not the boasting puffy chested, “put ’em up” posturing he had (unsuccessfully) displayed when first encountering his fellow travelers ; but a warm and humble confidence that enabled him as a decorated hero, to weep in plain view of the entire populace of The Emerald City as he said goodbye to Dorothy.

True Courage is more likely to debate than display, to sacrifice freely with no expectation of reward, and more at ease with weeping  than warfare.

Think of times you have faced your fears, soldiered on and emerged quietly triumphant yet forever changed.  Please, as always feel free to share a story if you’d like, and Soldier On Warriors of Wisdom!

Peace,

Jenny

© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard


The Creative Environment

I have not been very diligent about publishing these days, as you may have noticed. After deciding it was clearly time to get back into the groove and opening my WordPress page a headliner cleverly caught my eye. The title suggested something about finding the right “environment for writing”, which has recently been a factor in my slacking productivity. Closer inspection reveled not a post about the physical or even emotional environment for writing, but instead some updates about recent changes in the blog formats.  Fine, okay, but not the serendipitous moment I had hoped for.

Environment and comfort have a substantial influence on both my desire and my ability to write.  If I’m at a computer, I’m much more productive using my laptop where I can move about, sit on my bed or slouch back in a recliner. I can even go sit on the porch and listen to the sounds of the neighborhood for inspiration. Sitting at a desk is not only physically uncomfortable, but feels  formal and constrained;  it feels like work.

Sometimes, the keyboard itself takes on a sense of sterility, a sanitized expression of the thoughts and feelings that demand a natural flow. I find this keyboard frigidity to be more common in my generation than in younger writers. People of my age group remember the pre-computer days when typing meant typing…on a typewriter; slow, laborious, prone to error, fading ribbon and sticking keys. Making corrections involved slapping a glob of noxious white-out on the misspelled word or slipping a small piece of correction paper in the carriage and typing over the error. By the time this process was complete, the creative train had left the station. There was also a good possibility the writer would be left with a somewhat disorienting buzz resulting from the inhalation of white out vapors.

Since my laptop has been in the “shop” undergoing repair, I have found myself spending more time writing by hand. I do journal by hand on an almost daily basis, my personal thoughts, dreams and out-of-the-blue moments of inspiration. Journaling in this way is a pleasant, almost meditative process. It is also somewhat liberating. Within the protected space of my own personal journal, filled with my sketches and doodles and random ideas, my thoughts flow freely and the words play on the page like happy children. Even my handwriting is reflective of my current mood, sometimes loose and flowing, sometimes small and cramped with frustration and uncertainty. Either way the process encourages an unrestrained pattern of ideas that easily takes on a life of its own.

A while back I was graced with the opportunity to be interviewed by Janet Riehl, poet, musician, storyteller and founder of  Riehl Life: Village Wisdom for the 21st Century http://www.riehlife.com/. In this interview I discussed my practice of  “word doodling” as I call it as a bit of fun which can alleviate the pressure of taking ones self and one’s writing too seriously, therefore freeing the creative process.

I’m hopeful that having had a solid week of play, no pressure to produce blog posts or submit to some judgmental, finger shaking, inner critic I will return to a steady pattern of committed writing (and posting) with a fresh breath of inspiration.

What are other people’s means of stimulating creativity and putting the fun back into your work?

Copyright 2011, Jennifer Hazard/Nanakoosa
Image courtesy of Relics and Collectibles http://s399.photobucket.com/home/relicsandcollectables/index


What Puts the Ape in Apricot…?

“Whadda they got that I ain’t got?….(all answer)  “Courage!”   The the Cowardly Lion’s own  answer to his  rhetorical question is, of course, Courage. In case you’ve never seen the movie ‘The Wizard of Oz” I would encourage you to stop reading, find, rent, borrow download  a copy using whatever it is you use to view media, make some popcorn and lose yourself in what is probably one of the few examples of The Archetypal  Heroes Journey whose protagonist is a 13-year-old girl.  So go away now if you haven’t seen it because there’s a spoiler on deck.

Gone? Okay. Are they all gone? ok.

Geez can you believe there are actually people who have not seen the Wizard of Oz?!  

Well, we will give them our support and acceptance when they come back, let’s not make them feel embarrassed for not having incorporated one of the greatest films of all time into their schematic framework.

So, the rest of you know where I am headed with this thought. The Cowardly Lion, despite his panic attacks, tears and attempts at desertion was indeed the most Courageous of all the Seekers en route to Oz. Yes, he was terrified the entire time but, as a loved one recently reminded me, Courage is not the lack of Fear, but the act of going forward and doing what needs to be done in spite of the Fear.

As the Wizard presented the Cowardly Lion with his Medal of Bravery he expressed the same sentiment

“You have plenty of courage, I am sure,” answered Oz. “All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.”

Upon realizing the risks he had endured and survived in the name of loyalty to Dorothy and the others, The Lion is able to grasp the key ingredient in the recipe for Courage…Confidence.  Not the boasting puffy chested, “put ’em up” posturing he had (unsuccessfully) displayed when first encountering his fellow travelers ; but a warm and humble confidence that enabled him as a decorated hero, to weep in plain view of the entire populace of The Emerald City as he said goodbye to Dorothy.

True Courage is more likely to debate than display, to sacrifice freely with no expectation of reward, and more at ease with weeping  than warfare.

Think of times you have faced your fears, soldiered on and emerged quietly triumphant yet forever changed.  Please, as always feel free to share a story if you’d like, and Soldier On Warriors of Wisdom!

Peace,

Jenny


More on Positive Thinking and Other Self Help

First of all let me say I acknowledge that I did not follow up a day later as I’d said I would…therefore I will try to be more ambiguous in my promises (I’m sure most of my readers feel the irony in that statement).

Anyway, as I was contemplating Positive Thinking and other quick fix self help methods I realize that I must include the disclaimer that not everyone suffers from self-doubt, mistrust and a emotionally complicated childhood. For those people, I’m pretty certain these things can and do effectively improve their quality of life or at least their perception of their quality of life. But that’s not who I write for. I write for the rest of us who have been damaged, abused, befuddled with mixed messages from those who we relied on to care for us; and for those of us who never were content to accept things at face value with no thought of a reality that differs from what is presented in mainstream culture.

Those of us who fall into that category have layers upon layers of developmental mishap to peel away and to lay the pieces out before us for examination. It’s like performing an autopsy on your psyche. We visit different professionals to help us with this process and we walk away with more confusing misinformation than The Warren Commission.

We most likely conclude that we will never know which bullet killed our sense of self, but that there was indeed more than one lone gunman.

The purpose of this “autopsy’ is not to identify the killers or the cause of death, but rather to examine how it is that we have internalized the messages of our perpetrators. As we begin to realize the nasty voices of self loathing and doom are not our own, but instead have been implanted (either willingly or unconsciously) by those who treated us as less than human, we can begin to release ownership of these toxic beliefs. It is not until these beliefs are returned to their rightful owners, that we can begin to truly believe that we are worth being safe, reasonably happy and secure.

Peace,

Jenny

© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard


More on Positive Thinking

First of all let me say I acknowledge that I did not follow up a day later as I’d said I would…therefore I will try to be more ambiguous in my promises (I’m sure most of my readers feel the irony in that statement).
Anyway, as I was contemplating Positive Thinking and other quick fix self help methods I realize that I must include the disclaimer that not everyone suffers from self-doubt, mistrust and a emotionally complicated childhood. For those people, I’m pretty certain these things can and do effectively improve their quality of life or at least their perception of their quality of life. But that’s not who I write for. I write for the rest of us who have been damaged, abused, befuddled with mixed messages from those who we relied on to care for us; and for those of us who never were content to accept things at face value with no thought of a reality that differs from what is presented in mainstream culture.
Those of us who fall into that category have layers upon layers of developmental mishap to peel away and to lay the pieces out before us for examination. It’s like performing an autopsy on your psyche. We visit different professionals to help us with this process and we walk away with more confusing misinformation than The Warren Commission.
We most likely conclude that we will never know which bullet killed our sense of self, but that there was indeed more than one lone gunman.
The purpose of this “autopsy’ is not to identify the killers or the cause of death, but rather to examine how it is that we have internalized the messages of our perpetrators. As we begin to realize the nasty voices of self loathing and doom are not our own, but instead have been implanted (either willingly or unconsciously) by those who treated us as less than human, we can begin to release ownership of these toxic beliefs. It is not until these beliefs are returned to their rightful owners, that we can begin to truly believe that we are worth being safe, reasonably happy and secure.
Peace,
Jenny
© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard


Positive Thinking and Other Self Help Fumbles

For the past 20 years or so the quick fix self help gurus have placed a nauseating amount of emphasis on the application of “Positive Thought” as a cure all for all social problems. From overcoming  poverty to finding convenient parking spaces we are told to visualize our needs and to apply positive energy to these thoughts and we will be blessed with whatever it is that our little hearts desire. I realize this may seem to be a gross oversimplification and it probably is but truthfully for every one educator/life coach or mentor who truly understands the use of positive energy it seems there are 5 more who toss the notion around like little band aids hoping they will stick and take away all our owies. And if they don’t stick it’s probably because we did something wrong, we picked at it or maybe our skin wasn’t clean enough for the band aid to adhere properly…or we just didn’t really believe it would work.

Well of course it didn’t work and here’s why. Many of us don’t believe it will work, not because we don’t want it to, but because we’ve never been taught how to develop that velcro skin that picks up all the good stuff. We’re more like teflon when it comes to positive energy. We do this because we have discovered time and time again that any thing good and comforting and healing that comes our way must certainly come at a cost and with some hidden agenda.

And therefore we do pick at the band aids, peeking to see if our wounds are indeed healing or if they are secretly festering and and growing beneath the veil of the band aid. We have a firmly entrenched sense of mistrust, well sealed within our teflon shell not because we want to but because at some time in our lives we had to. It kept us safe from the unpredictable and confusing gestures that have been handed us in the guise of love, only to reveal the narcissistic craving that was so well concealed in the pretty picture of love and concern. You can trap more flies with honey than with vinegar as my grandmother used to say, and any predator worth their salt knows that fact all to well. They rely upon the strategy as their primary method of entrapment. Then when things go wrong and we become hurt, we are soothed with the insidious plea that begs us to remember that it was all done to us out of love and concern…how dare we feel hurt or angry when someone was merely acting out of love and in the interest of our well being.

It should come as no surprise then that when some sweet talking agent of personal growth comes along telling us that we simply need to focus on the positive, if we don’t immediately dismiss them from our lives, we may desperately want to believe them. We may even try to apply their suggestions, but we are unable to make it work.

And sadly many of us do try to make it work only to end up berating ourselves for our inability to follow the simple formula for happiness.

The bottom line is one cannot slap a bandage on a very well established wound with out first cleansing the the injury and removing any shards of emotional shrapnel that may be trapped within. Once we have done this we stand a good chance to benefit from certain applications of the Happy Band-aid Process.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a follow up post to discuss cleansing the wounds and what and what not to expect from all those Happy Thoughts we can apply to keep them safe.

Be Safe,

Jenny

© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard