Creative writing is a passion of mine. I especially like a group I go to every other Wednesday at Barnes & Noble in Evanston. It's a peer led creative prompt group - the idea is, the leader for the night provides some kind of creative stimulus to get the writing flowing. It can be a first line, a picture, an object, a situation. We are given 10-15 minutes to write which isn't a lot of time, especially when it usually takes several minutes to come up with an idea! So the writing is quick and it's raw and unedited, sometimes it's brilliant, often it's crap. When we like what we've written, we share it with the group and read aloud.
On Wednesday, the prompts were very specific which annoys me. I like it when it's just the merest suggestion, like a picture of water or a first line pulled from a hat. I did what I could:
Creative Writing Piece #1
"I love her so much..she is the reason I'm alive."
"I know, you've told me that already, over and over. I get that she is your reason for living, but I'd like to move this along. You're seeming stuck in the present. We should talk about your childhood."
"Do we have to? It hurts to think about it."
"Yes, lets. We need to revisit the past. Only revisiting it can you avoid making the same mistakes over and over."
"OK, but really, they weren't such bad mistakes..I didn't hurt too many people."
"From what I heard, you were out of control, you showed no impulse control whatsoever. You were rude and pushy, your hygiene was terrible and you exhibited aggressive tendencies."
"I think I did pretty well considering the abuse..I had an abusive childhood you know...they hurt me...I have the scars to prove it."
"Yes and then the authorities found you. I know all this..it's good you ended up adopted by her."
"She is my love, my compass needle's north, my north star. Have you seen her? She is so lovely isn't she? I never let her out of my sight. Have you smelled her? Ambrosia!!!"
"She is worried about you..she says you might need some cognitive behavioral therapy. She needs you to get better, to be a dependable man of the house, to be trustworthy."
"But I AM trustworthy! I would kill for her! I DO kill for her."
"That's the point..the killing needs to stop..there can be no more killing."
"She doesn't like the killing? Seriously? Doesn't she know I do it for her because I love her?"
"No..no more killing."
"Not even a possum?"
"Not even a possum."
"What about those bitchy cats who don't appreciate her?"
"Especially not the cats."
"Yes, let's talk about crap...that's a problem too. You should be housebroken by now."
"I know, I know...it's all to hard. I'll do better. Really."
Creative Writing Prompt #2
Tonight is the night..finally. Tomorrow will not come for me. I won't wake up tomorrow as I usually do, happy in the few moments before I am fully awake, only to have despair kick in seconds later and do its soul crushing thing it does, day after day. Tomorrow I will cheat despair when it wakes and looks for me to inhabit. I will have already left the room, so to speak. So, is there a proper way of writing a suicide note? I know, I'll Google it. I'll see what Emily Post has to say. Ah..here is one. OK. I can do this.
"As I write this note, I am looking at the back of your head. I love the back of your head. When I first started working here, I didn't see the front of you for a week. It got so I didn't want to. I was afraid you wouldn't be as lovely from the front as you are from the back. I love your silver hair, the way it frizzles down your back. When you put it up with chopsticks, I love the back of your neck - did you know you have a mole? Some may say your earlobes are pendulous - I know they grow with age, but I think they look fleshy and adorable... I want to nibble them. I worry about your back - it looks like you might be sprouting a bit of a dowager's hump. I fantasize about massaging it. Does it ache? You don't even know I exist. To you I must seem like one of your grandchildren, a silly boy. It kills me not to be seen by you. And so, that you will finally see me and recognize the depth of my affection, I am going to bring this tragedy to its fitting conclusion. Tonight I die with a picture of you in my arms..a picture of the back of your head."
Now I'll print this...oh, crap...wrong printer!
"Honey, I think this is yours." She was standing in front of me, seeing me for the first time.
"Did you read it?"
"I'm sorry I did. It's about me, right? Coffee, dearie?"
Creativity, it really does heal. Anais Nin said something like, a neurotic person is an artist without a creative outlet. The idea is, we all have a burning need to create something whether we know it or not. If we haven't developed a creative talent, the need is unmet and we become neurotic and unrealized.
So my challenge today is to think about what it is that you can build, how can you be your own creator? And once you've identified your creative skill-set, how can you nurture it? I'm thinking of friends I have who would protest they have no creative talent at all. To that I would say balderdash! If you like to cut down trees, you can create neat woodpiles. If you like taking photographs you can create photo albums. If you play poker with friends, you can get out your smoker and cook Pepsi marinated ribs and create a perfect man meal.
Victor would say, "Do one thing each day you can be proud of." I would amend that to, "Create something, every day, that nurtures your soul." Find the time, even if it's as quick as picking a cool looking curly weed and making an arrangement of it.