A guest blog by J.D. Faver
Thank you so much, Judythe, for inviting me to be your guest today.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about creativity and how different individuals express themselves. I am a writer in a large community of writers, both virtual and real-world. What I noticed first is that all my writer buds are incredibly creative with words. They write novels and non-fiction. They write poetry and specialty blogs. I am in awe of all the many genres represented in this group. The fascinating thing I found is that writing is only one of their talents. In a very non-scientific survey, I learned that these writers also garden, sew, make jewelry, do stained-glass, make pottery, etc.
This took me back to a wonderful class I had as an undergraduate. My original major was Theater, so I was hanging with a bunch of creative types, even then. The man who was Chairman of the Department was Paul Baker, founder of the Dallas Theater Center. I was enrolled in a class with him, in a huge tiered room with lots of windows on one side. The windows looked out on the beautiful, wooded Trinity University campus and often Dr. Baker would be lecturing to us, while gazing out the window. On some level, I figured he had given the lecture so many times, he was playing a tape from memory, but it didn’t matter. The words that dropped from his lips were stirring and inspired us all.
The name of the class was Integration of Abilities. Yeah, think about that for a moment.
Keep in mind this was a class in the Theater Department. Dr. Baker sent us out to gather a nature object that appealed to us. I recall that my object was a twig completely ensnared by lichen and Spanish moss. He had us draw pictures of the object from every angle, focusing on minute and realistic detail. He had us use different media to capture our images, graphite pencil, charcoal, conte, pastels, etc. He next told us to abstract the drawings to capture the essence of the object. Then we abstracted the abstract. So we were pretty much in tune with all the visual aspects of our objects.
Our next task was to write or choose a musical accompaniment that expressed our object. Yes, we did a movement piece where we danced or moved to the music. All this was relatable to the nature object, or in my case, a lichen and moss covered twig.
Next we wrote about it. We wrote odes, poems and haiku to and about our nature objects. These morphed into short stories, sometimes just a single scene. Trust me, by this time, the character of the nature object was getting stronger and stronger. Finally we wrote a scene for the character we had pulled from the nature object. We got up in front of our class and performed this scene.
My character turned out to be a barren woman (dried twig that had all the life juice sucked out by a leech-plant). She was bitter and I got a standing ovation. Amazing for this very talented class.
The upshot of all this reminiscence is that I use this sort of creativity to develop characters for my novels.
My other creative outlets are, I love to dance, love all kinds of music, I draw and paint, garden, make quilts and sew, make stained glass, jewelry, mosaics and pottery and many other arts and crafts. Not all at once, of course. And, it’s hard to have your hands in another project when they are constantly on the keyboard, but I CAN do all those things.
My contention is that exploring different creative outlets will enhance all your abilities. My very creative critique partners have a multitude of interests outside of writing. They do scrapbooking and crochet, drumming and bread-making, singing and sewing. The list goes on.
So, I encourage you to explore your creative process and be bold in trying new things. Take a class or just go draw on the sidewalk with colored chalk. Do something to polish another facet of your fabulous brain.
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