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.
J.D. Faver is a Houston-area author of romantic suspense and under her pen name, Calista Anastasia, author of young adult fantasy.
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Be sure to check out all her novels on her Amazon Author Page
Thanks so much, Candace. I love being a writer and I hope it shows. I hope I can continue to inspire you, because you inspire me too. *hugs*
A mosaic artist indeed – with words, and people and cultures. I love that we can see so many of your own creative outlets at play in your characters. Painter, photographer… I guess we will have to wait to see what will pop up in future characters! You inspire me, June!!!
Thank you, Judythe, for having June on your blog. June, you not only have a fertile and creative mind but such a way with words. I enjoyed your memory of the theater arts class. What a wonderful experience!
Thanks so much, Janie. I’m so happy to share the memory. It was an incredible experience. There were probably between 50-70 people in that class and they all came up with amazing outcomes using the same process. *hugs*
Thank you so much for sharing your insight, June! A lovely and eye-opening experience that we all can learn from. It’s good to know that we can use our creativity in so many ways and have it be beneficial to the writing process!
You’re welcome, Pam. I’m glad you could benefit from my weird way of looking at things. ;) It does seem to me the more you use your creativity the more unique it becomes, stretching you in ways you’ve not been stretched before. *hugs*
It was fun to learn how your characters come into existence and to learn more about you. Thanks for sharing. :)
Yes, Francine. I am a crazy woman with crazy thought processes. :D But aren’t all writers a little bit crazy? *hugs*
Great post…I used to have tons of hobbies…lately I mostly do jigsaw puzzles (because my vision is not what it used to be), but I do think putting them together helps me but my mysteries together!!
Thanks, Tess. I heartily agree on the puzzles. I’m a crossword and sudoku addict. I have to find the answer. Maybe this is part of the obsession with writing romantic suspense. *hugs*
That was an excellent post. Thanks for sharing. :)
My pleasure, Rose. *hugs*
Thanks to Judythe for the opportunity to share my process. I hope it helps someone else unlock all the creative juices. *hugs*
And thanks for the kind comments, ladies. :-)
Fascinating post, J.D. And you’re so right. Writing isn’t the only creative thing writers do. And, yes, you’re right that most of our time is spent writing and those other projects are kind of in our dreams of 48 hour days.
Unfortunately true, Jane. I can vividly recall throwing clay on a potter’s wheel or weaving on a loom. But these voices in my head demand to be unleashed onto the virtual page. *hugs*
Hi, JD Faver! I can’t just type and create books, I have to do needlepoint, or something else crafty. It’s in my blood, passed from my mom and aunts from my grandmother. Those ladies could make almost anything. I am fortunate I was exposed too.
How wonderful to have evolved from a line of creative women. I’m sure they expected you to turn out the same way. *hugs*
Thanks for sharing your memories, J.D. I’ve always been in awe of people who think they can define the creative process.
Glad to share, Tara. I’m sure I can’t define the creative process, but at least I hope I’ve shown how one experience can lead to another and then another. Always fun to explore and take the next step in the “what if” process. *hugs*
Yea for the Creative Mind! I could easily see how that dried up twig turned into a living concept. Good exercise, and one I’m sure to use.
I hope you have fun with this, Jaye. *hugs*
Creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found.
James Russell Lowell
This is just brilliant. Adding this to my little cache of inspiring words. *hugs*
J.D. is my shero! Her focus inspires me.
Wow! High praise indeed, especially from such an inspiring author. *hugs*