Questions for you

I believe we all have a creative side.  The creative side has been called the muse, our inspiration, an otherworldly power, and even Alfred.  What do you call your creative side?

47 responses to “Questions for you

  1. I hadn’t thought about naming my creative side but now that I have, here it is: Shaddy.

    Since I used that nickname in BWW and it was with that name that my writing powers kicked in, it seems appropriate that I should give Shaddy the credit.

    Yes, indeed. When Shaddy talks, I listen.

  2. When Shaddy writes, I stop to read. Glad you’re still out there playing around with the words!

  3. I’m glad you’ve made yourself available to us in this venue. I’m glowing from the fun I’ve been having (thanks to your motivation) although I can’t include the challenge of Goofing Around 2 as fun at all!

    Actually, it is kind of fun to look back on my submission (poem? I don’t think so!) I did meet the challenge you put out there although I initially thought it would be impossible to do.

    Once upon a time, you did say we had permission to write badly. I’m hoping you’re still an advocate of that freedom.

    I’m amazed at your concoction; it actually flows and makes some sense.

  4. If I give it a name, will it come when called?

  5. Kathy,
    Your words conjure up a picture of a woman with hair falling into her eyes and coffee stains on her turtleneck, bent slightly at the waist, peering under tables and behind her desk. “Here, musey-musey. I’ve got a treat for you.” Behind her back she is hiding a half-finished manuscript.

    I’m still pondering the response. Any thoughts?

  6. Shaddy,
    I once challenged myself to write a poem about the permission to write badly, since it’s my theory that such permission is where creativity lies. This one’s for you. It’s a couple of years old, but I still like it.


    Take all your failures,
    mix with every urge to screw around,
    throw in a cross-eyed stare,
    a toe-tapping favorite song,
    and lay it out, end to end, in words or paint.

    Take all your happiest smiles,
    bite your lip,
    close your eyes,
    say, “Who cares?”
    and start.

    Think of the least obvious.
    Don’t think.
    Pretend you’re not really doing this,
    and are actually off doing laundry or washing the floor.
    Then hit record, but don’t watch.

    Repeat after me:
    It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay.
    Then pat yourself on the knee and tell yourself
    you’re a good kid,
    and whatever you put out there today is just fine.

    Hey, you have thumbs.
    You have loved ones.
    You have a spot,
    energy, and thought.
    Now get to work.

  7. Yes! My hair is in my face. And coffee stains are on my turtleneck. And on my desk and books and papers. Could I be kin to Walter? Scary.

    Your train of thought allowed me to write a letter to my muse, demanding a change in our relationship. I have not received a response from her yet.

  8. My muse is frustrating. It will hit me with excitement that drops my stomach faster than the the downslope Kracken’s first hill, wave an idea before me and pull it away before I can reach it or vanish completely leaving me standing in dust.

    Your creativity poem is spot on, Ann. Bite your lip… don’t think…oh yeah.

  9. The idea that some of a writer’s best work comes when they let go or go on autopilot has always fascinated me. You’ll find this notion in many books on writing–the idea that somehow the muse takes over and dictates, while the writer becomes the instrument, not the driver. I’ve found, too, that this is why the likes of Anne Lamotte, Natalie Goldberg, and Stephen Nachmanovitch finally segue from writing to creativity to spiritualism in one of its many forms. I find that I am too much of an empiricist to go that far, but I do think that there is a certain virtue to surrender.

    Nachmanovitch (“Free Play”), more than anyone, explores the overlap between technique, practice/drill, abandon, and the source of material for improvisation. (Great book!) Lots of food for thought in that particular paradox.

  10. I have small spiral notebooks, all shapes and sizes, that I write in and when they are full, I start another. Two nights ago I discovered one at the back of a drawer and read a few random pages. It made me wonder where some of the writing came from… was it really me that wrote that?

  11. If I had to name my muse, it would be Knothead, for the simple reason that the muse will whisper in my ear and I will slap myself up side the head and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”, thus the knots on my head.

  12. Name it? Name that thing that lives in my bedside alarm clock and has her alarm set permanently on two a.m.? Name that hellion that makes me pull off a busy highway to make notes in a spiral bound book? Name that wretched beast that leaves me speechless when she disappears, and leaves no forwarding address?

    Name her? But, I have: my muse. Mine, all mine.

  13. I’m not quite sure what I would call it, but
    particularly in the morning, its a gathering;
    of thoughts, pamphlets, books, the notion
    that an idea might root on paper and evolve
    and then is gone!
    Writing is so delicious and elusive.

  14. Ann. I just peeked in here and read your “Creativity” poem. I especially like the first five lines.

    Ahhhh, the joy that I gain when I allow myself to write with abandon is priceless. I wouldn’t have learned how much I love to write if I hadn’t been encouraged to let go of all fear of failure. I was stuck for most of my life. I was intrigued by the idea of writing but after a sentence or two, I’d be stopped by my inner critic.

    I don’t have fabulous stories waiting to be written, just years of bottled up “stuff” that loses it’s power when I expose it.

    Before my life is finished, I suspect I’ll conjure up a story idea that sweeps me along. If I don’t drag my fingers, I may end up with a book with my name below the title.

  15. Mine is called Word Whisperer. She only whispers and I must cup my hand around my ear to hear what she says. She often speaks to me when the ambient noise is loudest, so I must strain to hear her.

  16. Mine is called Pestalence for she pesters me to write at the most awful of times. Times when i should be concentrating on getting the ordered meals out or bossing the slack waitress into lifting her game.

  17. Hello Batpie! It’s great to see you here. Lots of ex-classmates from many sessions–folks you’ll get to know if you stick around. Share more!

  18. Thanks Ann trying to find the courage to jump into the word pools i find here, have only managed to stick my big toe in so far.

  19. What an interesting question.

    I have always considered my muse to be the real me unveiled, like a butterfly that has shed its cocoon. My outward facade, the person that goes by my real name, is a nagging protagonist that encases my creativity in a crystalline prison.

    That shell of a person, the one known by my family and friends is a hollow entity dragging behind her the chains and irons that shackled the Dark Angel.

    I find it best to leave her outside of my room and just be the muse, freed from her nagging criticism. This approach gives the Dark Angel more room to spread her wings.

    Some day I will no longer feel the need to revert into my shell. Someday I will be free to flutter away.

    Boy, it felt great to get that out of my system!

    I really miss class; my Comp class is so uninspiring. I am very happy I found your site Ann.

  20. DA–welcome! I hope you’ll feel free to hang out here frequently. I tend to post new questions and ideas on the main page. You’ll notice that most of the folks here are ex-BWW students who also enjoy poking and prodding with their words.

    Glad you discovered this spot! I hope you’ll get to know the folks who post. What a great crew. You’ll fit right in.

    • Thanks Ann!

      I am still learning how to navigate through your pages, but I am sure I will get the hang of it soon. I am not real savvy when it comes to internet navigation.

      I look forward to participating in the exercises and meeting the rest of the group. I would love to start my own blog soon and I’m glad to see that some of the others have done this. Maybe I can learn from their experiences.

      The good news is–I have been writing! I find myself waking at odd hours, grabbing a journal, and jotting down new story ideas. It has been wonderful! If I wrote 24 hours a day, it would not be enough. Now if I can just learn to punctuate correctly.

  21. Ann, I am considering taking BWW that begins on 9/16. The website (CSU cont ed) says “new lessons released every Wed and Fri.”
    So when are the assignments due each week?
    I really want/need a class like this, but I want to make sure I can follow through. Six weeks should be very doable, though.

  22. Betsy,
    After each lesson is released, you have two weeks to submit the assignment. After that, the discussion area for that lesson closes to new postings. However–and this is the nice thing about online continuing education–you can always post any assignment in any open discussion area. Flexible scheduling! I’ll always find your posting and comment.

    It’s a good class, Betsy, and you’ll find that the September session, though it will be large, is typically one of the best I get each year. I hope you’ll give it a try! –Ann

  23. I call this my dark side. I find that this part of me is so much darker and deeper, that it frightens people close to me and even myself sometimes. When I write, I close my eyes. The space around me deadens and I get completely lost in my mind. I begin to write so freely; from a place that is so disconnected from the present. I open my eyes and I read what I wrote. It’s always so raw but so refreshing.

    I’m taking your class that starts Feb. 16th…I can’t wait! I’m looking forward to it.

  24. The Rabbit Hole. My husband calls me “the rabbit hole” because of my imagination and all of the random things that run through my head.

  25. Sutter Home White Zinfandel.

  26. Hi Ann! I am incredibly glad I’ve found your site.
    Here’s my only contribution for now:
    I read somewhere that “writer’s block” is when your imaginary friends won’t talk to you. Apparently that writer has not taken your class and learned you can babble on paper in a stream of consciousness and poke and prod them out. Probably from the sheer exhaustion of listening to the chatter.

  27. Hi Daisy-Mae! Thanks for the quote on writer’s block. I hadn’t heard that one. I hope you’ll hang around and try some of the challenges here. Welcome!

  28. Well: my creative side is like a small voice in my head. It changes as to what i see. It can sound child like, animal like or very grown up. I try not to llisten to the grown up stuff. but what i see triggers the voice. my other side wants me to do the correct thing. Proper everything very dull but needed. I guess.
    Having two side talk at the same time some times is a headache in the making. but that only means i’m a bit crazy. they know me in crazy land. I feel comfortable there. the except me so i like it there.

  29. Waldo! What else?

  30. I am not worthy but I do seem to feel much freer when I write as Waldo. Oh I know I’m hiding behind a parked car and throwing a moltov cocktail at the world, but it feels so good. I can’t help it, after I read his journals and Nature and his little friend Henry David, I couldn’t help but take a little piece of him along my journey; ergo, Waldo.

  31. I don’t have a name for that side. It seems to be most of me, so I guess it’s called “Liora”. I have a very goofy sense of humor, and I tend to connect unexpected things together. For example, the other day my husband wanted me to write him a mushy love note. Since I am not the mushy type, I wrote an essay about my love for applesauce. He should have been more specific. 😉

    • That made me laugh. I’m glad you’re writing. I trust you got the word “mushy” into your applesauce essay. It’s good to see you here. Plan to visit often and try some of the challenges! –Ann

  32. pippiofvillavillekulla

    I think I would like to be called Cassiopeia (mythology). I would love to be among the stars (writers). But, like her, I spend most of my time just sitting here clinging to my chair so I don’t fall off.

  33. The Prisoner. My creative side is the prisoner. Locked up for all these years, walled off and awaiting freedom. He has achieved an upgrade in status now; he is allowed temporary furloughs. Temporary freedom. Given freedom he roams. He visits his friends John and Martha. He connects with ‘his’ dog at the gas station. He shops where a busker plays violin and tells jokes. He makes a trip across the country with Pete and Doug, watching them grow from kids to young mature adults. He inherits a ‘special’ rifle from his great-uncle Ned. He watches candles. In between his furloughs he is locked up again, not knowing when his next release will happen. But when it happens…

    Ann’s word from above, four years ago, empiricist, rings a bell with me. I’ve always been that way. Pragmatist is another good word. I’ve been an engineer all of my life. I worry about having enough ideas, about being creative, about thinking outside of my problem solving ways. Even-keeled, another cliche, The BWW class is doing amazing things for me, helping me with tools. I love it!

  34. I think being an engineer may have been better training than you think for writing. You’ll have the benefit of being organized, and that definitely helps. Meanwhile, it sounds to me like your journey is all about this exploration of untapped parts of you. Happy trails!

  35. My muse was once vibrant, whispering away in my ear,
    That was about… a century back.

    I think it’s name was, Youth.

    Now, my time is short and the whispers I can’t hear,
    Senior brain freeze…that’s a fact.

    Youth was fickle.

  36. Sometimes, I think my muse’s name is “Leave Me Alone. I’m Resting”.
    My response is always,”Have another cup of coffee and let’s get going.”

  37. Vonda,
    Remember, too, that being older means you have a ton experience that younger folks don’t. Older and wiser!

  38. My creative side is called Olivia as my real name is…

  39. Trouble.

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