Haven Alum Winter 2016 Blog Series by New York Times Best Selling Author Laura Munson You are published! That’s what the email said this morning.
Can you be thrilled and humbled at the same time? If so, that is exactly what I feel. Deliriously happy and yet completely overwhelmed with gratitude that Laura has chosen me for three years in a row to be featured today in her Winter Haven Writers Series.
I invite you to explore the link below, and if you have ever thought of attending a writing retreat, I promise, if you go to Montana and experience the retreat at the Walking Lightly Ranch, you won’t be disappointed. You may just join us on this journey of being a writer!
Finding Your Creativity
I must confess, my perception of creativity has changed and grown as I have gained experience, wisdom –ah yes, we can say it – collected years!
Creativity was always something spoken about, taught, shown, and encouraged while I was growing up. My mother studied sculpture with Waylande Gregory. His art studio was tucked behind our neighborhood on the Watchung Mountains in New Jersey. It was a marvelous place to explore and learn that a lump of earth could become a beautiful piece of art.
My mother also sewed our clothes, and stitched beautiful crewel embroidery. So there was always fabric, threads and yarn to play and make things with. There was also paper, paints, pencils, anything in arms reach you could think of to use in a diorama for school, or to decorate a doll house. It surprised and baffled me when I would go to others children’s homes to visit – these items were not there. Or at least not in sight.
Even in college I was painting or drawing, between learning to study to become a teacher. When I opened The Giving Tree Day Care having items to explore and create things with was first on my list.
Happily both of my daughters draw, enjoy museums and will stop to look at how the light plays on tree leaves. Creativity is not just something you do with your hands – you first explore and appreciate and question with your eyes. Then it becomes a part of you, like your own heartbeat.
Now after beholding the beauty of Montana, the faces of Haven, of watching letters and words explode from my thoughts and park on the page. The creativity in my life has changed from paints and brushes, and now grows stronger when writing. I make a conscious effort to create every day. Most of the time it is organizing ideas on morning pages. Some of my blog posts and even a few poems started while evaluating these ideas and concepts. After I returned from Haven in September 2012, I created the Touched By Words blog, that I post each month, which allows me to see where the creative process can take me. Beginning my first novel has given me much more than I ever thought was possible. From providing a gag for my inner critic. To introducing me to some of the most amazing people. Authors from all walks of life, in all different genres and all with this amazing warmth and charity to share whatever they have, and whatever they know. Which allows me to learn more about myself and practice the process to create even more beautiful pieces of written art. With proper sentence structure, formatting, the mechanics of the art– with words.
In my home, you will see my mother’s sculptures and her beautiful Japanese silk embroidery. You will also see a writing nook tucked in a dormer, surrounded by paintings, drawings and my children’s art work when they were young. You will find five desks on three floors that invite you to come sit and explore for your self. Each is different, but contain a few of the same things: scented candles, a variety of colored pens, a plant, art, poetry books, empty pages waiting to be filled. You will find a yard with a stone dragon sleeping, several Cairn stacked after I returned from Haven, that welcome you to this space near a hammock, close to a bench behind tall azalea bushes or under a canopy. Where a flat stone serves as an outdoor desk.
Until I began to write this piece, I honestly never took a tally of how many places we have in our home that beacons one to come, sit and create. Yet I’ve known all my life how important it is to give yourself permission to be free and unafraid to explore and try. No matter what it is – doodling, painting, coloring with crayons – or for me, right now, to write. Anything I want, as much as I want, to create something kept private, or to share it with the world. It is whatever YOU decide to do, but just like taking in oxygen, you have to automatically give yourself the chance to make it happen. Stop holding your breath and breathe! I’m worth this and so are you! Make daily writing a non-guilty pleasure!
So I invite you, urge you, suggest, shout and sing to you! Give yourself permission to find your voice, write, draw, put to music, whatever it is you choose to tell your stories with and allow them to take flight. You may just surprise yourself and find joy.
Breathe Deep, Think Peace,
Patricia Viscione Young
Touched By Words ~ the journey of a writer