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

 

 

 

Listening Divas – A Family Ritual Contribution

You can find Listening Divas over at the ABC Open project 500 words.

It’s day one of the project and we already have twenty contributions.  These began coming in this last week.

There are some beautiful stories arriving into the space.  My present favourite has to be Helen’s Puftalons.   The combination of rain, food, and overcoming drought is just mesmerising.

I like writing about the everyday that elevates it to some poetic level and I think Helen has achieved that.

There are lots of others to appeal though on themes from holidays to christmas and I’m sure there’s many more stories on their way

Yesterday I began work on my memoirs.  Some of the stories I’ve written for the ABC Open challenge will be in there, others are from the blog here, and my personal blog challenges, some are written for writing challenges over at Write Practice and some are never before seen stories.

I am so excited about it.  As of this morning the memoirs is at 25,000 words.  I have listed several more titles for story/passages  I wish to write, have a structure that I think is working. I’m not going to share it all here. You will just have to wait for the book.  After all you need some surprises!

I might give a sneak peak now and then of the work in progress, but I’m having a ball writing it, so  I hope you’ll have a ball reading it.

Listening Divas
My Dad – with us as Kids- by Anna Ako
When we were young, Dad told us bed time stories. They were always silly with us in starring roles.
Dad liked Spike Milligan and AA Milne. Sometimes he’d recite his favourite poems and direct them to one of us.
Snatches of AA Milne come back to me at the oddest times, with his poetry of children whose parents run away and cautionary tales to not step on the cracks in the footpath.
Dad’s stories were funny and satirical but sometimes we protested about the way he portrayed us. We were unruly characters, tiny divas, jostling for bigger and more complimentary roles. We directed our storytelling Dad just so.
Our favourite thing was Dad giving us magical powers. We told him the names we wanted and what we should be doing.

‘No I wouldn’t do that.’
‘I should be taller’
‘I need to run faster’
‘I’d jump to … the moon’

We loved to take over his stories. Sometimes our diva listening ways were so out of control they would make our storyteller abandon his tale and he’d grab out the Muddle Headed Wombat book to read to us and do all the characters voices for us. Tabby Cat, Mouse and Wombat became our friends. I read all the books when I had mastered the art of reading.

These stories were important because when we were very small our Dad was often away for long periods working as a labourer. Partly because of not having qualifications from his years in Papua New Guinea and partly due to prejudice over our Mum’s race he found it difficult to get and keep other work.

Our Mum told us when Dad came home after long labouring jobs my little brothers had forgotten who he was, and would hide behind her crying as the strange man with the overgrown beard came to hug us.

When Dad was finally home again for most of the time, we were able to know him again through the storytelling ritual.

Just as we were getting used to on tap Dad, he was away again to study and become a teacher and then later a librarian. Luckily I could read some of the books he had read to us so I didn’t miss him too much. Dad lived in another town with a landlady and sometimes we would visit him.

Dad hitch-hiked home to see us when he had a chance. This time when he came home we would come running out to meet him and my younger brothers would pipe up with ‘a story, a story.’ I listened for old time’s sake.

I was less of a listening diva because by this stage I was writing my own stories – partly thanks to my Dad’s early storytelling efforts to reconnect with his children.

For more on the ABC 500 Word Project Head to ABC Open, and check out  rituals families have.

Backyard Dreaming

Family Rituals is the next theme for ABC Open’s 500 Words. Thinking of summer coming up and family – I couldn’t help but think and write of our many games of cricket!

What are your family rituals?

Cricket  - A Family Ritual
Cricket – A Family Ritual – June Perkins

 

Backyard waits.

The lawn’s mowed to resemble the perfect cricket green of our imagination.

Bats out.

Reality.  We gather stumps, make shift – they might be a bin, or plastic wickets, or even more up market free standing metal ones.

Next each family member is called, usually loudly and persuasively by youngest, whose life calling is in this ritual.

It’s late afternoon, he knows better than to try in the midst of Queensland heat.

Hats on, sunscreen even for the late hour, and out we go.

‘Who’ll bat first?’

Not their Dad, he’ll slog it too much and make us run all over, although he also bats deliberate catches when he’s had enough allotted time at the crease and needs to quench his thirst.

Eldest loves to bowl.  He’s even filmed his brother and his own bowling actions so both can improve.  He will bowl fast and hard, because he’s training youngest.  No easy balls from him.

I picture the Waugh brothers putting each other through their paces.

It can be serious stuff this backyard cricket.

Fielders into position, youngest into bat.  Eldest bowls.  No mercy, but youngest is gaining talent day by day, and he can bat when the going is tough, later he will have a great day batting at the super eights in primary.  ‘Thanks big bro,’ he will say.

Mum (that’s me) positioned with camera for a capture of this classic ritual but ready to set it down for a catch, maybe.

Then it’s Dad batting against bowling eldest son, and there’s a true battle on.  He’s determined to have his Dad out.

‘Give it your best son!’

It’s on for young and old.

Youngest children are spectators now and I am sole fielder.

Hubby slogs it, grins – and eldest paces back, Lillee like, to his run up.  The ritual is repeated.  Each child has a bowl to him, but it’s a field day.  One day they’ll have him out!

Daughter varies, sometimes she’s in for the game and other times she’s doing something more interesting in the garden, like filling a bucket with water, what’s she up to, the mind boggles.

Now she’s called to attention, ‘grab that ball.’

Little Athletics was short lived for her; she just liked playing in the long jump/ sand/ pit too much.

There’s variations on this ritual – now we head of to the beach, and the scene is played out again, but this time there’s soft sand, ocean and people walking their dogs, who sometimes like to field.

At times there’s additional family members on visits, after long absences from grandchildren’s lives.

Again I am poised with camera, until called to the crease, to enjoy slogging the ball, and having my kids dart, crab like, everywhere on the sand.

Poppy’s into it, enjoying building the drama.  He keeps spare tennis balls in his shirt pocket, for when others end up out too far in the ocean.

Daughter is not left out; she takes to the crease, and does her best. Poppy’s a gentle bowler.  Now she’s also keen to bowl.  She’s working to perfect her technique.

Now she’s attempting fielding, but not for long, soon the bucket is being filled with goodies to make into art when she arrives home.

Dreaming.

For a moment we play heroes like Watson,  Ponting, O’Donnell, Lillee and Marsh.  We are beyond the backyard, beyond cricket hero boundary times– and on perfect cricket greens.

‘Howzat’

You can catch this post at ABC Open    

For more on the ABC 500 Word Project Head to ABC Open, and check out all the other rituals that families have.