Thursday, January 2, 2014

Bradbury's Muse-Summoning List Trick

Ray Bradbury's masterwork

You, dearest readers, were promised Ray Bradbury and his way of list-making
that spurred his creativity and enabled him to write with cerebral, eye-popping imagery.
According to, Bradbury's book  Zen in the Art of Writing  claimed it also jogged his memory. When the Muse whispered her sweet sparks of inspiration to him, he would write a list of words which were evocative of that which would convey to the reader in the final work.

"These lists were the provocations, finally, that caused my better stuff to surface. I was feeling my way toward something honest, hidden under the trapdoor on the top of my skull."


Before we begin our own lists, let's have a look at an example of one of his from


Oooooh, creepy, eh? The list itself speaks volumes. Let's see another, shall we?


Now, suppose I am one of those super-smart fellows working at Nintendo. Suppose we're developing, oh... I don't know, a neat new game. My Bradbury-like list is scrawled in my notes. It reads:

Green Hat. Peril. Quest.
Power. Courage. Wisdom.
Green grass. Master sword.
Treasure chest. Labyrinth.
Puzzle. Lost woods.

If you think you know what game I'm referring to, post in the comments. You get major geek points if you're right.
Also, make some lists of your own for your poem/novel/song/artwork/interpretive dance. Try THE ARTIST'S TOOLBOX item #2: Lists. If you need a recap, Item #1 was a thinking cap. Get yourself one that suits you.

Happy New Year everybody!!! May your creativity floweth over all year long.
~Dr. (Ki)2

Thursday, December 5, 2013

2 Embedded Lists within a List of 7 Reasons Writers should Write Lists

Item #1 in The Artist's ToolboxMy Thinking Cap

2 Embedded Lists within a List 
of 7 Reasons Writers should Write Lists

1. By typing or writing down the#1, you've officially
gotten the ball rolling.

2. Really, there's no sense in putting down a #1
without following it up with a number #2.
So this list thing is keeping the ball rolling.
Momentum? Yes!

3. According to this obscure law called The Law of Inertia
(Newton's 1st Law of Motion), once the ball is rolling,
it's going to keep on on rolling, gathering no moss. Unless, of course,
One should encounter an unbalanced force in the way,
 like a toddler or big fat writer's block.

4. The kinds of lists you can make are limitless! 
Chronological, numerical, alphabetical, haphazard...

5. If it's a task-oriented list, putting that little 
next to a task is soooooo satisfying.

6. The template is so easy!
The Adjective + The Number + Random Subject
(adjective and numerical value can be switched up a bit)
The Happiest 14 Animal Actors in Hollywood
The 20 Most Scandalous Ugly Sweaters on the Runway
6 Reasons Reading a Quick List Trumps Reading a Poem

7. Ray Bradbury had a very unique way of using lists to spike his creativity.
While impressive, his technique about writing lists has no place
in a list such as this, so just wait at the edge of your chair for a forthcoming
blog of enlightenment, brought to you via me and and 
of course, Ray Bradbury. 

Write 2 lists and text me in the morning,
~Dr. K

Monday, November 18, 2013

Helping the Writer’s Mind

Oh my God! I desperately wanted to finish that story. Look! I have abandoned it. I had been working on it for the past one month. It’s been six weeks since I haven’t touched it. Would I be able to resume it? How could I do justice to the story, now, after such a long time of discontinuation? I do have some notes made from the times, while I worked on the stuff. I do not think those notes are of any help, anymore, though. 

It is clear to me how vague the classification of writers would be if I categorized them based on such feelings as above. A writer, at almost all stages of his or her growth feels this way. Most of those super-successful writers may not experience it the same way, because they have the ability to pursue writing without bothering much about another day-job, but apparently have other issues that affect them the same way.

If writing gives a person immense pleasure or joy, and the person is forced to work in a bakery in order to make a living, the resulting conflict could damage the mental equilibrium of that person. Those person(s) who have no aptitude for working in a bakery, when forced to compromise their psychological ecosystem with the sophistication of an altogether different system of things, creative writing suffers. This is when one feels; “Oh my God! I desperately wanted to finish that story. Look! I have abandoned it.”

The fear for being not able to do justice to one’s work of a lifetime deserves wise handling. If not, it will consume the writer, wholly. The totality of all fears has their common grounding in the unknown. In the case of the above-mentioned writer (let us call him Paul), the unknown part is the quality of his work. Paul does not know and fears this fact: how would it all turn out to be. How could I do justice to the story now, after such a long time of discontinuation?

In order to undo the fear of the unknown, the simplest method can be the Jungian concept of assimilation of psychic realities. Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961) was a German psychoanalyst, whose groundbreaking theories on human mind, guided the world into a modern-renaissance. He argues about a specific course of action through which a human being can bring out the contents of his unconscious and experience it in the conscious level in order to alleviate the pressure from the unconscious side.

This same method is useful in undoing the fear for the unknown in Paul’s case. If Paul is uncertain of the results his work could bring him after a considerable gap in the process of writing, he should first, look at the results. There is only one way he can get the result—by completing the work. Paul just needs some gut feeling to cross the initial fear.  

If one is stuck with the fear of how the work would turn out to be, the possibility of writing a book or a story is obliterated entirely. It is up to you to take that step courageously. Your work deserves to be born, simply because you have such strong feeling for it. Let your fears not obligate the stopping of your creative work.

About Anu Lal
If you liked this article, you might like my book too. Take a look.

Anu Lal is the author of Wall of Colors and Other Stories. He lives in Kerala, South India. He blogs at The Indian Commentator 
You can catch up with him in Facebook too.      

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Beautiful Words


Who isn’t constantly looking for creative inspiration? If you aren’t, then it is my advice as your attorney that you begin immediately. 
In my travels around the World Wide Web I found this debatable LIST of the most beautiful words in the English language.

These words are nice and everything. The list ends on a high note with 'woebegone," the name of a character in a classic 1980’s episode of My Little Pony. It means very, very, very pathetic. I mean sad. What’s the difference?   
(Watch the episode HERE! Bless Youtube!)

I thought perhaps it would be fun to include a list of words that I find beautiful, strange, or just fun to say:

**[DISCLAIMER: I am not a dictionary. I am a Ruby. The following list is not in alphabetic order, nor are the definitions provided exact.}**

Loop. I thought I would begin with a classic. I have always loved this word. It’s just a delightful treat for the ears, along with my second favorite word..

Vest. Is there another word quite as crisp as Vest? Hmm... maybe Crisp...

Moniker. It means more than name. Jessica is my name, Ruby the Wretched is my moniker. One is obviously superior to the other. 

Dubious. Mwha ha HA! Apologies. I can’t read that word without bubbling over with evil laughter. Evil sounds so commonplace. Dubious sounds a little more fun-loving. 

Ineffable. I love this word. I have no idea what it means so I will look it up now 
~Jeopardy music playing~ 
Oh I see... The word Ineffable is ineffable. 

Guffaw. I immediately demand you guffaw at least once a day, lest ye suffer the merciless wrath of RUBY... Like next time you hear someone say a word that sounds dirty;  
Kumquat? Guffaw!

Hoodwink. This word means to trick someone or something; however I don't care if it means "festering boil." I will use this mouthful of merriment as often as possible.
Our friend Doctor Seuss agrees with me, I'm sure, seeing as he concocted the "Wink-hooded  Hoodwink". I almost couldn't handle it. 
The Hoodwink / Who winks in his wink-hood. / Without a good wink-hood / a Hoodwink can’t wink good. -If I ran the Circus by Dr. Seuss

Now, conversely I would like to provide a list of the absolute WORST words ever;


This list is complete. 

5-Minute, Left-Hand-Written Free-Write, by Alonzo Riley

Alonzo Riley, special guest, left-paw, and rare species
(the author, not the monkey)

The most frivolous activities in the world are created by left-handed people. 
They never quite figured out the proper way to do things. 
So, by being themselves, nothing but themselves, they constitute a threat. 
This is not merely a curse, but the opposite. For you see, economic laws 
dictate that the so-called 80:20 rule holds for all things. About 80% of 
a population must be made of conformist suck-ups who have sacrificed 
what they stand for ...for money. The silly thing is that they stand for nothing at all. 
They claim to be ambidextrous, to be flexible; but in fact they can't use either hand! 
They rely instead on ordering others about. They are the nil-dexterous and ultra-flexible. 
They have sacrificed their minds so that cows may continue to be slaughtered 
cheaply so people can get more things done, so they can order
 more people around, so they can also be commanded by more and more and 
more and more. But this only refers to up to 80% of the society. 
That is why I have chosen to be left-handed! 

[Editor's Note: Guest author Alonzo Riley is a pre-eminent writer in the rare nil-dexterous genre. The Editor cannot  in good conscious promote laughter, prevent offense, or any of the above from you, dear reader. However, I suggest amusement. I mean, who IS this Alonzo? Why does he choose this for himself? Also, why couldn't he cite his sources as far as the 80% and the economics? These questions could prove troublesome if not taken with a grain of salt- preferably taken with one's left hand. That, dear readers, is your prescription for successfully digesting this disorienting but potentially giggle-worthy little gem].

*NOTE* Any comments left will need to be typed with the left hand only, please!