Writing and Creativity Rituals

 

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Looking for the light – June Perkins

My quest for stillness continues and part of the journey is to find a ritual that will help my daily creativity.  

I am at a workshop in Sydney with an Indigenous Canadian, and she is talking to me about ritual and centering when one engages in any creative act, be it dancing, writing, poetry.  She asks us to do physical things as part of this ritual.   I need to take more deep breaths before and during my writing.  I woke in the night last night, took deep breaths as if I was just about to run  a long race.

I am centering myself before I write like a martial artist doing exercises to keep fit.  To do this I am having a break from social media, which is becoming far too distracting.   I need to be in that space less, but when there be ever caring and gracious and find the pools of light that settle and sing to me that they will be the power in my day.

It’s time to draw a line in the sand and I want my family to spend more time with each other and less on our computers and facebook.  I love the sociability of the online but sometimes I don’t want to spend all day with hundreds of friends in a mind space, I want to  be with my family and friends in physical space, or to surrender to the Divine and just pray.  Yet what are these spaces when we look to the inner realities.

I am thinking about the book Sifting the Dust, and all the stories that Marjorie Rose shared there.  I can’t even write about it just yet, as I am sifting through it like Marjorie sifted through the challenges of fear and the power of love.

Blogs help writers like me sift their –  stories, identity,  landscapes, memories, inner, dreams and outer realities and communities –  for stories.  Books like Marjorie’s encourage me to look for how each of us even though connected to a world of family and friends, and faith, must also make individual journeys to walk with the Divine.

I am recalling a lady called Agatha, with Corgi dogs, who used to drive one of my brothers and I when were children to camps and our family stayed at her beach house sometimes and had a basket full of simple old fashioned toys and the beach to walk along.  When we walked along the beach we drew with sticks in the sand, and I remember drawing a large clock face.

I am opening letters that meant a lot when they arrived, including one from Agatha who wanted me to visit her  and yet I was unable to go and see her and that makes me sad now to think I didn’t see her on her island home, although  I heard lots of stories.  They were of a kind woman who helped with baby sitting and educating children and was gracious to everyone on the island.  I met her son once and wonder if he knows how kind his mother was to so many people like me.  I wonder if those letters are still somewhere.  I think of special letters that are like giving wings, and how sometimes I receive emails like that.  Sometimes I might even print them and place them on the wall.

I am thinking of taking the I out of more of my sentences.

The other morning I told my husband about three stories and unpacked them.  They had been dormant in my head waiting to have just the right amount of conflict, narrative drive and underlying mythology to make their way into being.  They are ready to be written and I must answer that call.  I had been thinking about them even whilst they weren’t making it onto the page,it was amazing to see when another big project was finished how my mind was freed to go on new creative journeys.

I am sorting and collating photographs for illustrations for books that are almost complete.  I want a jump out at me photographs, or collages with layers to interpret like you do with short intense poems that can mean much more than could be said in volumes of words.  I like textured abstracts that seem to me to speak of the things we can’t represent in images or easily in words.

Abstracts speak to me of spiritual realities. Abstracts allow me to take a deep breath and write of the power of spiritual insight.

 

(c) June Perkins

 

 

 

More paper please

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It was so Dickension – the moment I headed off to the paper supply office at my school.

I had gone back into the public system after being in a small alternative school and this was my journey back into the mainstream system.

I was on what was called the ‘free list’ which meant our family was now so poor I was eligible for free paper.

The office shop lady gave me her usual once over disdainful look and said ‘And why do you need more paper so soon? Weren’t you here a short while ago’

After causing her usual amount of discomfort through a quick draw ‘you sure you need this paper’ stare.  She handed it to me anyway, but I went away wondering how to write smaller and squeeze more into less space.

It wasn’t my fault I had so much to write for my assignments.

I was doing well with my book reports, social science and English projects and poetry.  ‘More paper please,’ was all I could say.

I just kept going back for paper and writing more stories.

Our year 6 teacher was a former football coach and he believed in applying all his footy coaching tricks to his students. He liked to coach us in life. We ran laps of the school every day to stimulate our intellect by having our bodies fit. I remember doing ten laps I was that keen to have my brain work well.

He was imaginative, and had us deck our whole classroom out as an Egyptian scene, complete with pyramid to read in. I wrote poetry about Egypt as we were studying Ancient history and performed it at the school assembly.  This was one of my highlights of year 6.

He encouraged us to make our assignments well presented in terms of how they looked, as well as the content.  This was the year I learnt how to use pencil shavings to colour my paper.  It was the year I mastered my cod cursive handwriting and went up  4 years in spelling age.  As a treat if we did well  in class or finished work early we could go and collect a mind puzzle from the school office and then solve it for the rest of class.

I collected many fun puzzle times.

One of my proudest moments was winning a big maths puzzle, that was set for the upper grades.  It was a number find I think.  I won a Rubics cube, back when they first came out.

Year 6 was an amazing school year, and although that office lady and I never saw eye to eye, I began to realise that there was a power in being able to write, speak and present words.

I had many opportunities, but was unable to afford school camp.  Instead my memory is of two other girls from that year staying back from camp also, and we had to plan an interstate trip we would make with travel brochures.  We had to do all the costings and list the places we would visit.  I miscalculated some of my travel time, and was told I would be booked for speeding, but apart from that my assignment was sound.

At the time I had never been across the Tasman, to what Tasmanians call the mainland.  Yet my Mum came from a far away land, Papua New Guinea and I had come out from PNG when I was under two.  I didn’t know about travelling anywhere but Tasmania.

There were many other adventures and wisdoms learnt in year 6, but most important of all it was definitely a time I came to see the power of the written and spoken word.

I didn’t know that the future would hold many travels and I would make some the journeys in that assignment.  Yet, even though I adore the power of the written word I often wonder –

How much of the eternal spirit can we capture on mortal paper?

 (c) June Perkins

Nature Boy

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The poster words were recorded by Nat King Cole.  Nature Boy“is track #10 on the album The World Of Nat King Cole. It was written by Ahbez, Eden but made  famous by Nat.

This poster is my artistic tribute to this song, which has become a jazz standard.

Eden was a singer songwriter, Hippy nomad, beat poet,  who lived in a park in LA.

Online I found recordings by Cher, Celine Dion and  American Idol  contestant in 2011 Casey Abrams.   Furthermore, it was used in the movie Boy with the Green Hair.

I like the Ella Fitzgerald version of  Nature Boy because of the beautiful background guitar.

Another haunting version is by  Afro Blue Nature Boy .

I often enjoy writing with music in the background to find a rhythm and tone.  As a young writer I loved jazz.  Not many people in my household like it.  But secretly, I still love a bit of jazz,especially something as haunting as this, which can be sensitively interpreted by the artist and  has an interesting background story.

Toni Morrison wrote a book called Jazz that two university class mates bought for me one birthday, a sad tale but with a beautiful use of language that I have never forgotten.

Perhaps I’ll write some Haiku with this melody running through my head.  Perhaps I’ll write a novel with someone as a jazz musician (wrote a poem called that once).

 

What books do you know which are greatly inspired by music for their structure and language?

Frangipani Dreaming

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Frangipani Dreaming – June Perkins

Dear Daughter is teaching me how to use parts of the photoshop program that I don’t know very well.  There are lots of online videos, and classes you can go to, but I love that my daughter can teach me.

She’s learning it at school, but experiments a lot in the programs too and has developed her own short cuts.

She practices instruction now on me, and is naturally patient.  She is enthusiastic, excited and generous, and wants to let me know handy tips.

The above image  ‘Frangipani Dreaming’ is two photographs overlaid, with some art treatments,  shifting of layers and making of transparencies.

She taught me about doing things with the edges of photographs.  I did that but still have to work on internalising that technique.

I enjoy learning from watching, doing, and practicing.

They were both strong images to begin with.  They could happily exist non photoshopped but I like the feeling of the overlay.

For now I am going to practice with our first lesson elements and do them until I can remember them by heart!

I am teaching her to blog and might teach her some of the guitar and things about the camera I know if she’d like me to.  I have a feeling she is going to experiment with all of these things and  tell me things I don’t know about them all at some point.

Still I have lots of wisdom to impart about many things, and a lived life that she can learn from.

Now my next request is for her to teach her bubu (grandmother) how to skype!

 

Do you have a teacher that inspires you?

 

Yours in technology adventures,

Gumbootspearlz

Inner Peace

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Inner Peace – By June Perkins

This poem continues my daily warm ups in poetic techniques and is a Naani, an Indian form of poetry that reminds me of the Haiku.  Its form consists of four lines adding up to a maximum of 25 syllables.

Here is my attempt to write a set of linked Naani. I’d like to write a few more of these to truly master the form.  I do like the potential of it and it lends itself to pithy lines.

Inner peace
With curious questions
To confused inner child
Who rebels only to understand

World peace
Begins with inner peace
Calming the inner child
To make Divine footprints

Divine footprints
Give power
To one so young
To become future ancient

Divining
Equality needs one feather more
To assist her flight
To true destiny

By June Perkins