Saturday, March 24, 2018

Blogging From A to Z Challenge 2018 Theme Reveal

2018 A to Z Challenge
Welcome! Like many writers and readers, I'm fascinated by the ways in which mythology and legend have shaped our lives since the very first story was told around the very first campfire all those many years ago.

My 2018 A-to-Z Challenge will include characters and concepts from world mythology and legend. But don't look for vampires and werewolves and Greek Gods, because I'm going to dig deeper and throw some obscure stuff at you. Hopefully, we will all come away with interesting information just right for tossing into casual conversation or weaving into a poem or piece of fiction. 

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you again during the month of April! (By the way, the Romans named this month Aprilis, which is thought to be from the Latin verb aperire, meaning "to open". Makes sense, as this is the month in the northern hemisphere when trees and flowers start to do exactly that.)    

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Repeat After Me

Last weekend, I had a couple of kitchen misfires (which is not at all unusual for me). First, I used a new gluten free flour blend for Swedish pancakes and ended up with a gummy mess. Then, I used a different shape of pan for my favorite coconut cake, and the result was...well, let's call it a sunken treasure.

Image result for picasso paintings"You should never change anything," said my dear husband. "You need a repeatable process."

I get that. I do. Especially coming from someone who has spent his whole career in a manufacturing industry...and has a favorite menu item in every restaurant because that way, he's never disappointed.

But I also firmly believe that if we don't ever make changes to a process, it can lead to stagnation, complacency, and a false confidence that we are doing everything right and have no need for improvement.

The internet abounds with articles and theories about creativity--what kind of thinking it requires, what situations support it, whether it can be learned or is innate. For me, everyday creativity isn't necessarily about a big new idea, though those are wonderful and exciting. It's about that extra nudge when my brain asks me, "Is this the best you can do?"

Sometimes, the answer is yes. In that case, my brain accepts that I am lazy, and, with an awkward parting glance, we move on to other things. Other times, I accept the challenge and try to stretch myself a little. The results are not always amazing, but I feel satisfied that at least I peeked around an unfamiliar corner to glimpse what waited there.

So, we need both: the framework of the repeatable process and the wiggle room to take a few chances within it. As Picasso said, "Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist."

Great advice, but I don't think I'll try to find out if it applies to Swedish pancakes.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

It's New Month Resolution Day!

Happy March, everyone! Two months of 2018 are already in the books, and I keep thinking it's still 2017. That's how far behind I am. But I'm one of those people who believes every month is a chance to start fresh. It feels a lot more manageable than making resolutions on January 1st that are supposed to somehow keep their freshness and appeal for an entire calendar year. I have found that resolutions are rather like English muffins...after 30 days, they're pretty stale and need to be replaced.

Image result for english muffin

So, goodbye failures of  February, and hello shiny, brand-new potential of March. Today, I will do my first-of-the-month rituals: flipping calendar pages, changing the photo in my "seasonal" frame, replacing the kitchen sponge, and committing myself to a few action items. Like most writers, I have overarching goals that don't vary much during the course of a year--or decade, or, probably, lifetime. But because I have a short attention span and am easily overwhelmed, it helps to break them down on a monthly basis into slightly different combinations. It's kind of like moving furniture. The room is basically the same, but with a new look. And possibly a new throw pillow. (Note to self: you do not need a new throw pillow.)

This month, I resolve to blog once a week, submit (something, somewhere) once a week, and increase my social media participation. Oh, yes, and write!

Before I go, here's an interesting tidbit about March 2018: it will have two full moons, one on the 1st, and the second on the 31st. It seems to me that those celestial bookends should be very good for writers. Because, you know. Books.