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!

Friday, November 8, 2013

etymologically speaking: a creativity warm-up &/or writing challenge

"Tête de Mort"
A vintage postcard I own,
The artist is fabulous,
Yet unknown
Here's a challenge:

Choose a word and create a history for it. Don't google-cheat. Make it up! Use a word you know little about, or one you've heard but are clueless on how to use, or even spell. This diddy could be an etymology (or entymology) story, a piece of usage guidance - whatever. You've probably at least a bubble of an idea already, so I suggest running with that! Really, ditch this, and go jot down your idea. This post isn't going anywhere; it can wait for your non-return.

In case you've returned, here's one I've been thinking about today:

MORTALITY is a word used only by those who haven't experienced the thing. The use of the word mortality perpetuates the notion of immortality. We believe ourselves to be immortal 'til we're not.  Mortality is something others around us fall victim to, like a genetic disease that we didn't seem to inherit. It's a sweaty match of Russian Roulette, and, so far, we're winning.

Mortality statistics spoken from powdered and hairsprayed newsanchors are treated with an air of victimhood. The boogeyman got the poor, mortal souls, and we, the Eternals, continue to be so.

There is a reverence and a kind of sympathy the Eternals express when confronted with death. It can be any combination of:

"How could this happen?"
"No one saw it coming."
"She's in a better place."

But amidst the deep sadness, is there not a message hidden in between the breaths? The negative space seems to say, "I'm sorry that death happened to them."

"I thought we were in this together! I thought you were one of us."
"Death? That still exists? What happened to modern science?"
"This place is fine for me, sayonara."

It's as if there are two species - Homo sapiens sapiens mortalis, and Homo sapiens sapiens eternalis. With every death we encounter, with every utterance of the word "mortality," our god complexes are fed, and our belief that we are the latter species crystallizes.

On that note (I hate it when my creativity follows the well-worn path of morbidity), I hope your internal investigations are more brightly colored. Well, no. I don't hope for anything. I am genuinely curious, though. Tell me I'm full of bull pucky if you think so. Better yet, give me your stories and they'll get compiled and published on our little blog! You can email them to or post them in the comments. I eagerly await!

Brighter next time,


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Launching through the Stellardoor

Imagine, if you will... 

...a place outside of time, beyond the boundaries of this earth, floating in space, an astral step through a stellar door. 

I am exploring rare experiences and places, the esoteric and mythical, the mind boggling and seemingly mundane yet out-of-place oddities that only show up to entice us to new realms. 

My name is Stellardoor. I have something for you. It is my gift to give to whomever I wish and I wish to give it to the eager seeker. What I do - what my greatest ability is - will be to find the doorways to new dimensions. It will be your job to open the door. Now, let me explain.

I am also known as Kim Lacey. I was born during a rare stellium of planets in Aquarius that has marked the beginning of the Age of Aquarius. According to my mother, my first word was light. My Aunt Maxine would carry me around the room and I actually have a memory of her holding me, pointing to the wall lamp and laughing as she would carry me over to the light so I could be closer to it. Over & over again - always moving, entranced, toward the light. 

I carried this desire for the light into all things throughout my life. Later I explored the dark and embraced its understanding. We will get into that as we become familiar with our relationship to the wildly esoteric and seemingly simple side of life...and beyond life as we now know it. We have much to cover. 

For now, suffice it to know that I have traveled astrally and physically through dimensional portals and I wish to show you the way. One of the "ways" is through imagination. We will use imagination and creativity to hone in on the portals. We will discover unusual beings that have much to teach us on our travels. I need only to gather the ones that are ready...yearning to press forward. I am seeking inspired fools - fools of inspirited inspiration. We will interact and help each other along. I will be the dog nipping at your feet. But first we must discover your wings and how to use them. Let's go, Grasshopper. 

Prelude: Meet Quozimodo

Your Assistant EiC, Quozimodo
photo: Alonzo Riley
'Quoz' is that which is strangely incongruous, dimensions away from any bell curve, and full of complexity. I am the Gizzard of the Land of Quoz. I devour, digest, and defecate all things quozy. I see visions and hear sounds. Sometimes it freaks me out and I attempt to root myself in THE HARD SCIENCES. I am (sometimes) the master of routine and discipline. That is my role, to keep the (always) mad doctor (Dr. KiKi) in line.

The gravities of micro and macrobiology, color, mental illness, language, haiku, belly button lore, plant collecting, skepticism, justice, and glitter all tug at me.

We seek after these things.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

This is your brain on ART!

Help me! 
      I’m addicted to arts and crafts. 

It happened again. I had an entire day ahead of me wherein I could use my vast array of knowledge to turn the hearts of man toward REVOLUTION! What did I do instead? 

That’s right. I covered my house in about a thousand paper snowflakes.

I believe that for some of us art becomes a bit of a neurosis. I compulsively create so I don’t have to “feel feelings”, but is that really a bad thing? I can think of many more destructive vices. Gambling, pyromania, totalitarianism.... but we aren't children anymore. We can’t play around with those things. 
Sure, painting pretty pictures or making things with paper mâché may sound like a convenient way to sedate a psychopath, but I believe it is the essence of building a finely tuned mental machine. 

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time” - Thomas Merton

That is probably the most accurate definition of art I have ever heard. I couldn't have said it better myself. I think I should have. From now on, I said that. That is a quote by me, Ruby the Wretched...
{Note from the Editor: The above mentioned quote will be noted in the general literary and legal
world as it was originally.  Let us not have copyright issues and simply humor Ruby's wretched delusions of grandeur).

Upon further probing I began to speculate that I could use art therapy to my nefarious advantage; that I could mold the grey matter of my unsuspecting victims and change their silly notions of “morality.” Alas I am dreadfully mistaken. Art is actually GOOD for the brain.

I was aghast to discover that it’s just plain science.[Art] introduces the brain to diverse cognitive skills that help us unravel intricate problems,an article by Gran Ekhart suggests

Hmm. How could being intuitive benefit Ruby the Wretched? Senior Ekhart goes on to say; Art, in thought and through the creative processes, activates the imaginative and creative side, the spatial and intuitive side of our brain. Art jumps over the process of linear and logical thinking. It trains the brain to shift into thinking differently, of broaching old problems in new ways

Because I am so VERY good at drawing conclusions, I realized this can only mean one thing: this is the secret ingredient for teaching myself to read minds.  

Just imagine, my biscuits, once I am clairvoyant I will be UNSTOPPABLE!
*Ahem* Pardon me. 
If you too want to fine tune your cerebral wrecking ball I would suggest these art therapy exercises; 

1.Get Your Feet WetHere is an exercise from the brilliant Lucia Capacchione. It’s a good jumping-off point if you’re not quite sure what the point is

2. DEFACE an Existing Image: Feeling some pent up anger? Don’t exact bloody revenge (leave that to us mad scientists- you’re just not ready). Destroy something in a therapeutic (and non-felonious) way; select a pretty face from a magazine and graffiti it. Rip a few pages out of a 50 cent thrift store book and alter them to match your current level of emotional dysfunction. The sky is limit. 
Remember what our friend Pablo Picasso said; 
good artists copy, great artists steal.”

3. Scribble Time: Remember when you were a little kid and you really, really wanted to draw on the walls, but you knew your mom would kill you? It’s time to cuddle that child like a kitten. Tape up some paper (I’m poor so I’ve cut up and used paper grocery bags) and Scribble to your Hearts Content. Trust me, scribbling is the most amazing thing. You may not know it yet but your heart definitely desires this. Afterward take a step back and look at the colors you used, then refer to this; 

Welp, there you go. This will get you started. After you’ve realized how RIGHT I am, I will be back with more exercises. Also, if you are particularly lucky I will tell you about the time I burned down a Circus and liberated a lion. It’s a great story...
Art on my friends. 

Love, Ruby the WRETCHED