On February 4, 2013, I originally posted this blog about a six-minute animated film that mixes hand-drawn and CGI animation to tell a love story
Unfortunately, the YouTube video I chose is no longer available. You can, however, watch this Disney trailer.
The Disney Animation video premiered at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in June 2012 and won the Best Animated Short Category at the 2013 Academy Awards.
As a romance writer, I think Paperman does a fabulous job of telling a wonderful love story without using a single spoken word. It’s the perfect blog for the beginning of February, which is why I’ve revised my original 2013 blog and am posting again this year.
Edie Melson’s graphics always grab my attention and stir my muse. She’s gifted and insightful and incredibly generous to allow sharing of her work.
The quote in this meme especially caught my attention. A writer wanders. And a once-lost story finds a home. I love that thought.
Are you a wanderer? I am.
I wander by foot, by plane, by bicycle and car. I meander through the house, the woods, the store, through cities and towns near and far.
You don’t have to go anywhere particular to be a wanderer. You can mosey in your yard, in your house, or across the ocean. Whatever way you stroll, wherever you roam stories will find you.
In fact, sometimes you don’t have to leave your front porch. Or, at least, that’s been my experience.
Once, sitting in a Dublin train station, an older woman sat beside me and began to share stories of her family and her country. She told me she was returning home after being with her daughter, who had given birth to their twelfth grandchild. Another grandson, she said with pride in her eyes. Yes, there were pictures and lovely stories as only the Irish can spin.
Another time, a young woman waiting behind me in the grocery checkout line patted the multi-colored headscarf she wore. “Chemo,” she said. Her eyes misted. I couldn’t stop myself I squeezed around my full cart of groceries and gave her a hug. She began to share her journey with breast cancer.
My dogs and I go for walks daily. Last summer a little girl playing outside one of the rental cabins nearby ask to pet the dogs. My Old English is old and well socialized. He loved on her. The Maltese jumped around all jealous then relaxed when she petted him too. As we walked away, the youngster plucked a purple wildflower and rushed over to give it to me.
Buried in each of those encounters, and so many more, are lost stories waiting to be told.
What about you? Do you come upon stories in your wanderings?
The Urban Dictionary defines a closet writer as anyone who is involved in any of the arts (e.g. music, writing, drawing, photography, etc.) but will not admit it. Either that or he/she literally hides it somewhere and only shows certain people.
When I mention I’m a writer, I frequently hear, “I always wanted to write a book.” Other times, people give a wistful tilt of their head and get a faraway look in their eyes. Some even sigh aloud, and I have to wonder whether those people are closet writers.
Do any of these signs describe you? If so, you might be harboring a fugitive author within.
You constantly edit when you read. Silently, in your mind you spot (and correct) misspelled words. You’re the first to spot misspellings on sign as you’re driving down the street or you see grammatical errors in Facebook posts.
You’re observant. You notice details and people then file your observations away in a compartment in your head labeled I could write about this.
You have a hyperactive imagination. You’re always asking what if. When you couple this tendency with your observation skills, there’s never a dull moment in that head of yours.
You think grammar jokes are funny. Actually, a lot of those jokes are very humorous.
Your head is a walking library of information. That voice in your head is a narrator: reporting, observing and describing. You can astound friends with precise recall of events and their sequence from memory.
You love books. You have more than a borderline literary obsession. Sometimes you feel life in the real world can never compare to the worlds of words on the page.
You can name the titles of books that have changed your life. Books filled with compelling truths and hidden insights that helped you to see the world in different ways.
But you say, even if those things are true about me, the ability to write is inbred. True writers are born with calluses on the forefinger and thumb of their writing hand, not made.
Not true at all.
Writing can be a gift. It is also a craft that can be learned. There are resources upon resources available to help writers hone their craft. If you don’t believe me, try doing a Google search of writing craft or how to write fiction. Then search writing workshops and writing conferences.
Or check my website for writer resources or contact me. I’ll share my recommendations for writing workshops and conferences.
For those of you who recognize the signs in yourself, my advice is to stop hiding your penchant for writing. Make the leap from that closet. We need people in our world who care about words and meaning, definitions and spelling. We need grammar tyrants and style experts.
The world needs creative word artists, musicians, and artists like you closet writers.
As an author, I’m frequently asked what I write. You’d think the answer would be easy. It’s not.
My dilemma about how to answer comes because I write a blend of literary and commercial fiction.
But that answer won’t make sense to many because the nuances of publishing vocabulary can be hard to understand. Plus, readers don’t necessarily think about literary vs commercial when making their choices of what to read.
Usually I answer I write commercial fiction, which provides an opportunity to explain the difference between commercial and literary.
Then I explain…
In literary fiction, the story arc is character-driven. The story itself is episodic about personal growth or destruction as the character comes to understand his/her situation.
Commercial fiction, on the other hand, is plot-driven. The arc is the rising and falling action of an active plot and dynamic opening hook. External obstacles lead to interior changes for the character.
Another name for commercial fiction is genre fiction, which means the book category is based on content. Commercial fiction genres include crime, fantasy, horror, mystery or detective, science fiction, western, inspirational, or romance. But each of those categories has subcategories and authors can blend categories.
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.
J.D. Faver is a Houston-area author of romantic suspense and under her pen name, Calista Anastasia, author of young adult fantasy.
I recently learned about a concept called Liminal Space. I’d never heard the term before so off to Google I went.
Liminality is a transition period where normal limits to thought, self-understanding and behavior are relaxed – a situation that can lead to new perspectives.
Psychologists call liminal space, a place where boundaries dissolve a little and we stand there, on the threshold, getting ourselves ready to move across the limits of what we were into what we are to be.
There’s an Irish saying I think fits liminal space: Reality is that place between the sea and the foam. The sea is deep and dark and scary. The foam is shifty and uncertain, disappearing before our eyes. We linger in the in-between.
Interestingly, the word liminality comes from the Latin limen, meaning a threshold.
Remember adolescence? That’s the liminal space between childhood and adulthood.
So why is liminal space important?
Liminal space is where we can grow and change. The space between the closed door and the open window.
After a time of processing this concept, I see I’m in a liminal space on my writer’s journey.
Or maybe it’s simply that a writer’s journey is a constant state of liminality.
Doors close and windows open.
Everyone’s journey is filled with them.
The hiccup is that you can’t experience transformation unless you let go.
Richard Rohr says, “Few of us know how to inhabit liminal space. If we are security-needy by temperament, we will always run back to the old room that we have already constructed. If we are risk-taking by temperament, we will quickly run to a new room of our own making and liking. Hardly anyone wants to stay on the threshold without knowing the answers…”
I have to agree.
Straddling a threshold isn’t a comfortable place. Fear of the unknown has us holding tight to the familiar.
We must let go of the comfortable and familiar and move into the uncomfortable and the unfamiliar— seize the possibilities.
Not so easy to do. Scary even.
Unless we embrace change. Unless we stop trying to make our old journey fit the new destination.
“I’m going to show the courage not to retreat back to what was and I’m going to be patient not to jump into what I think ought to be, but I’m going to stand in liminal space. I am going to trust that as I stand on the threshold it is pregnant with the possibilities of God.” – David Jensen.
Richard Rohr says, “Nothing good or creative emerges from business as usual. This is why much of the work of God is to get people into liminal space, and to keep them there long enough so they can learn something essential. It is the ultimate teachable space…maybe the only one. … it is the only position that insures ongoing wisdom, broader perspective and ever-deeper compassion.”
What about you? Are you at a threshold in your life? Are you ready to let go and learn something essential—to claim the possibilities behind the open door?
You can also pick up a copy of her latest releases by clicking on the covers:
Intense (Young Adult Fiction) Sensitive subject but more about the compassion and help received afterward that makes up the story. Nova Dean dreams of going to Nationals in Debate but to do that she must beat Adam Parks and his team. Their rival is intense but not as much as the help Adam gives Nova after she’s raped. Only with his help can she take one step at a time back to a life she can endure. Only with his help are the rapists caught.
Return with Honor (Adult Fiction)
The death of Jud Longtree’s best friend gives the local police chief reason enough to suspect him of murder. With the help of Lottie Amberville, they use both logic and creativity to find someone who may have murdered more than once.