Friday, June 23, 2006

Birth with a song, not a squeak!

It occurred to me that in naming this blog I didn't really think about what I was really trying to say. Do I want to be born with a squeak, or do I want to shout? Did I cry when I was born, or was I silent? I was two weeks' premature and very small. Did I fight back? Was I afraid?

It wasn't until my friend Leonie said to me that I should post my poetry somewhere that I saw any real point to having a blog of my own. What would I say? Could I say anything relevant? I had been silent for such a long time.

I wrote my first novel when I was around seven years old. It was about a calf with wings, called Cloudy. The novel filled up at least two school books, written in pencil in large, painstaking print. I kept writing poetry right up until I started university. At school I won a regional award, had my poetry published in the school magazine, and performed on stage. I wrote long, train of thought prose, without rhyme or embellishment.

During a year in the Netherlands on student exchange I swapped my latest writing with an American friend, Liz. Liz was equally angst-ridden and slightly out of place. We fed each other for years, until her depression and my need to move on drove a wedge between us. One of the good things of the last few weeks has been the renewal of our friendship - both in a better place.

Then it was back to New Zealand, and off to university. There I learned that I was a Westie chick. I did not fit in, and worse, I did not write in the accepted style. Everything was po-mo, and I was a naive realist. Which was about when my muse was silenced, unless you count a huge MA Thesis on cyborg identity in the classroom a work of creativity...

Ten years or so passed. The muse continued to remain silent, and I got on with living another life. But of course you never really forget your muse, and I really started to miss her. I decided I wanted her back.

Last year I tried working through The Artist's Way. I didn't get very far. I felt it kept trying to tell me that I had writer's block because of what other people had done to me. Well, sure, I didn't fit in at varsity, but the only person I was really angry with was myself, and naming myself over and over again in endless exercises was pretty limiting. Besides, getting out of bed in the morning to free-write was just never going to happen. I was an Artist's Way failure.

The exact events that led to me writing again are a little too complex to go into right now, and will probably be elaborated on in pieces over time. Suffice to say that one day I wrote. Then a few weeks later I wrote again. Funnily enough my writing had changed. I was creating wordscapes. Where did that come from?!!!

Let's just say that I decided to write when I was ready to write. And when I was ready, it came easily. However, it's taken me several weeks to decide what to write in this first post! This was rather public. Who was I and how did I want to portray myself to the world?

Inspiration came when I decided to Google a search for "creative women". Hello all you beautiful creative women out there! Where did you come from?

These 10 Commandments really struck a cord when I read them. I know I've seen them before, but this was the first time I think I have heard them. I need to start at number one. I need to remember that I am a creative woman! I have to have faith in that which is in me, and I have to have faith that it is good and worthy, and should be spoken.
  1. You will always remember: You are a creative woman.
  2. You will honor your creativity by nurturing it.
  3. You will honor your sister's creativity by nurturing it also.
  4. You will allow yourself to take creative risks.
  5. You will use your creativity to express and increase the beauty of the world.
  6. You will use your creativity to express truth.
  7. You will use your creativity to see more beauty.
  8. You will allow yourself and your art to be a work in progress.
  9. You will allow your creativity to be the "true voice" you hear when others may scoff.
  10. You will accept and love yourself during times of feeling fallow, trusting this quiet time is necessary to precede new birth or creation.
Before I started writing tonight I turned off the television, which I was using to kill some time on my own on a Friday on my own with the cats. Hamish was supposed to be coming home, but got stuck in Gisborne thanks to the huge storms sweeping the North Island.

I decided I needed a shower before I could begin to write. In the shower I opened my mouth and sang, loudly - the first thing that came into my mind. Unfortunately the first thing was The Beach Boys: "Wouldn't it be nice". I hate the Beach Boys! They were playing over the PA at the gym before I came home, and must have weasled their way into my subconscious. Anyway, I mashed them up and made them my own. I love the way my voice has power when I sing, and how it has depth. I want my writing to be like my singing.

So my first blog ended up being sung - not squeaked, not shouted. Kind of a nice way to begin really...

Thanks beautiful women/woman!

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