Entries Tagged as 'creativity'

Let words be your poison

January 23, 2015

3, 2, 1

Happy new year!

So maybe the way we count hours, days, months and years is based on an arbitrary system but still, you and I know that time passes and that, in any case, it’s 2015. And  within those seconds that count down to a new year, you can almost feel that you won’t be the same after the clock strikes twelve. And sometimes you are not. Because this is how change happens: you close your eyes, you smile and decide to live your life differently.

Last time I blogged, I concluded that I should start asking better questions. I was deep in my summer blues and writing about it, both offline and online, helped. It helped me cope with my life’s transitions and gave me a sense of control over what felt an inexplicable wave of emotions. And that’s normal. Because that’s what writing does: rather than allowing you to banish your sadness or avoid suffering, it helps you find a way to suffer better. ‘Do not ignore or throw away your grief,’ sculptor Richard Serra says. As opposed to the prevailing empty self help jargon to stay positive, taking a moment to acknowledge and process your feelings, gives you a chance to honour them. So I now write more. Not in order to finish a novel. Not to improve my writing skills. Not to get published, but as an emotional release, as a way to connect with myself and to one another.

And through a series of workshops, I want to share my insights of the last few years on therapeutic creative writing. Because I have learnt from Victoria Field that you don’t need therapy when you have creative writing: writing is that important because, as  Gillie Bolton says,  ‘it uses our ordinary everyday worlds and puts things together in different ways rather than tearing them apart – it puts elements together that weren’t together before. It’s that congruence, that meeting of different things that makes poetry flash fire and make things happen for us.’

Forget what your teacher or anyone has told you. Your writing is valid. Your writing is enough. Your writing is important. Write more this year, write freely. Discover yourself, write in odd places, on large pieces of paper, on post-its or even napkins. Write in quiet, uninterrupted places, write in a noisy cafe, in a stuffy waiting room. Let those well hidden emotions bubble to the surface. Let it be your psychotherapy, your meditation.

Alice in Wonderland, Illustration by John Tenniel

Alice in Wonderland, Illustration by John Tenniel

If you need an extra push you can start with an exercise from the book  The Writer’s Key by Gillie Bolton. Complete the following sentence beginnings. You can write a statement or a lot more than that. Don’t think too much. You can also do your exercise in the comments below or just share your feedback on how the exercise felt.

I am…

I know…

I think…

I believe…

I remember…

I feel…

I want…

I wish…

I can…

I wonder…

I hope…

I was told…

I promise myself I will…

 Join me. Let words be your drug, your poison of choice.

Love, Louiza


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On loving things too much

January 17, 2014

I have a flaw. I love things too much. And loving things too much is not always a good thing, because it can  inhibit you from creating your own things. Because when you love the words of others, your own words die silently in your throat. How can I write about love, for example, when Sophocles, to name one artist,  already did it in Antigone in such beauty, so eloquently, so perfectly centuries ago:

Love, all-conquering love, you fall on house,
and furrow innocence in girls asleep:
you ride the oceans to the meanest farm.
No god escapes you, no, not one, and man
succumbs to madness with his brief day spent.

What more can one say? That won’t feel superficial, inadequate and amateurish? What can be said that won’t be squashed under the burden of comparison with everything that has been written so far?

I did realise from an early age that I was not obsessing about movie stars or singers the way my peers did. I did not care about celebrities’ autographs and no such posters adorned my room. But I deeply admired writers and I took great pleasure in having my books signed by them. I was not fangirling over actors but I was, I am fangirling in a way about ideas, words, stories, books. And it so happens sometimes that the work of the people we admire paralyses our own creative endeavours. It often feels like everything has already been said in the most skillful and exquisite way, that it seems overwhelming and terrifying to share your own creations publicly.

Sure, there is an issue of fear of failure and resistance here I need to explore to surpass my creative barriers, and it may be advisable to kill my idols, humanize them and see myself as a person who can deservedly be considered one of them… The only problem is that I like my idols where I can see them. On their pedestal, thank you very much.

I have no interest in deconstructing them. On the contrary, I want to preserve the feeling you get when you love something so much, it overwhelms you. I  observe the way my pre-adolescent female pupils obsess over teen idols: the mere suspicion that I don’t who Harry Styles is, would  provoke such terror and puzzle that would break your heart. And that is priceless. Don’t we all look back nostalgically at a period when we unashamedly loved and had absolute and uncompromising faith in things and people? As we get older, we lose that ability, we grow out of a lot of things, we become disenchanted with everything and not a lot of things captivate us.

So I choose to embrace my excessive love about things, my fangirling, if you wish. Because it allows me to remain open and appreciative of other people’s art. And I think when you are open and honest about what you love and admire in an artistic level, you allow the creative energy to flow in. And as for my creative barriers, I am working on it. And books help. There is a lovely quote in Patti  Digh’s book Creative Is a Verb: If you are Alive, You Are Creative  which gives me perspective:

The only real way to be creative is to create. Without attachment to outcome. Without attachment to sales figures or blog hits. Without caring about the ways in which your work is dissected, criticized or loved. But with a keen, overwhelming, burning, passionate focus on what it is you long to say more than anything in the world. That’s the thing. That’s the only thing.

And another quote from Steven Pressfield’s Do the Work, which I just finished reading:

You are not allowed to judge yourself.
Suspending self-judgment doesn’t just mean blowing off the “You suck” voice in our heads. It also means liberating ourselves from conventional expectations—from what we think our work “ought” to be or “should” look like.
Stay stupid. Follow your unconventional, crazy heart.

How about you? Do you often feel overwhelmed in your own creative journey? Are you afraid that your work will fall short compared to your idols? How do you deal with it? Any inspiring quotes? Let me know in the comments!



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