Freestyle Friday: creative people and wriggling through

Most of the writers I know are introverts. Few of them have drug problems. Some of them write really really fast because their brains lay out the story before they put fingertip to keyboard and some write really really messy because they can’t see the path through the mist.

So I’m reading a book by Mason Currey called Daily Rituals: how artists work because I’m always curious about other people’s processes. 

In this compendium of novelists, poets, painters, philosophers, and other artists, I discovered that many brilliant people don’t (or didn’t) put pen to paper many hours in the day; a lot of them used some pretty weird drugs; a surprising (to me) number had very active social lives and I want to know where they found the energy.

Maybe in those drugs.

One of my favourite quotes is from Franz Kafka, who in 1912 complained to a friend, “time is short, my strength is limited, the office is a horror, the apartment is noisy, and if a pleasant, straightforward life is not possible then one must try to wriggle through by subtle maneuvers.”

Although I acknowledge the shortness of time and, alas, my limited strength, I’m grateful for my (mostly) pleasant, straightforward life.

Wishing you the same, or at least some interesting subtle maneuvers.

Happy Friday,


Freestyle Friday: repurposing the commute

I usually cycle to work, and I make sure my route takes me along the city’s beautiful multi-use trail system while I plug into a playlist of Blue Rodeo, Dixie Chicks, Bruce Springsteen and Adele.

This winter though, I’ve often taken the bus and I’ll admit that for a writer, eavesdropping is probably the biggest draw. I love overhearing a grandma and a toddler discussing life on the way to daycare; or two university students planning a road trip to celebrate the end of exams.

Even so, the bus is busy and jostle-y and noisy. There isn’t much space or time to, as Julia Cameron recommends in The Artist’s Way, refill the well of creativity.

So lately I’ve taken to riding shank’s mare instead of a bike or the bus.

Here are a few of the things I discovered when I laced up and unplugged. No wheels, no tunes.

The gold is a bank of willows lining a creek that is, right now as every spring, home to an amorous mallard couple.
Flowering ornamental plum trees prettify even a grey day, and when the blossoms fall, they transform the pavement. Magic.
A doe stood beside me as I took this photo. I was admiring the flowers for their beauty, she for their buffet potential.

Between and during every photo, there’s a soundtrack. The soft companionable quacking of the mallards, Canada geese squawking in for a landing on a baseball field, murders of crows, hunter-gatherer robins, and yesterday my favourite harbinger of spring: a red-winged blackbird.

My well runneth over.

Wishing you a weekend full of beautiful sights, sounds, and fragrances,