Your Gifts to the Future

One of the temptations of the artist is to believe himself solitary, and in truth he hears this shouted at him with a certain base delight.  But this is not true. He stands in the midst of all, in the same rank, neither higher nor lower, with all those who are working and struggling.  His very vocation, in the face of oppression, is to open the prisons and to give a voice to the sorrows and joys of all. This is where art, against its enemies, justifies itself by proving precisely that it is no one’s enemy.  By itself art could probably not produce the renascence which implies justice and liberty. But without it, that renascence would be without forms and,  consequently, would be nothing.  Without culture, and the relative freedom it implies, society even when perfect is but a jungle.  That is why any authentic creation is a gift to the future.

Albert Camus

Daily Contemplation:

What authentic creation does the art of your life give to the future?

Are You Willing to Be Considered a Loafer?

One of my favorite photos from a few years ago – my kids walking with my Mom through a Redwood forest.

If a man walks into the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded a loafer.  But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.”

Henry David Thoreau

Cultural ideas haven’t changed much in the last 150 years since Thoreau’s time.  Our society still places a high value on worldly accomplishment without actually paying much attention on a daily basis to the world where we live.

Thoreau can be an inspiration for any of us writers, because he challenges us to look deeply at the choices and sacrifices we’re making in our lives.

There is a power in taking your writing, your values and life seriously, Thoreau shows us this.

Daily Contemplation:

Do you give yourself permission to see yourself as a Thoreau of our time when you write about the choices you are making in your life?

Would you be willing to be regarded as a loafer to follow your deepest values?

Related articles

Symbols of Enchantment

Chiron and Achilles in a fresco from Herculane...
Chiron and Achilles in a fresco from Herculaneum (Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we continue our theme of the Enchanted Oasis, I thought it would be fun to explore symbols of enchantment, that we find in our lives and sometimes use in our writing.

The symbols we use and encounter in our daily lives, our stories and our mythology reflect so much about our longings.

For the next several days I’ll be sharing posts about several symbols — the green man, the minotaur, Chiron, mermaids, the phoenix, ghosts and genies of jin.  These are symbols that have been meaningful to me and continue to appear in many places in our culture and its stories.

What symbols of enchantment speak most deeply to you?

As we continue to explore our inner and outer enchanted oasis, these symbols can be pathways to discover the questions that pull your life forward.

Harnessing the Transformative Power of a Writer’s Retreat

Deutsch: Retreat
Deutsch: Retreat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you read or listen to many coaches for authors, you might notice them saying the same thing.

The first purpose of inspirational writing is to change yourself.

You may or may not agree with that idea, but you probably have noticed that often when we teach something to someone else, we are the ones who learn the most.  Personally, I have always found any kind of writing to be transformational.  Even writing computer user guides can teach you something about writing.

The process of organizing our thoughts or simply writing them, at the very least lets us know what our thoughts are.  Sometimes when we’re lucky, our writing creates beauty and wisdom and inspiration for others.

Most of all, writing is a form of self-expression.  What else could we be put upon this earth to do, if it is not to share our best self?  If writing calls to you, why not see where yours will take you this summer in an even more concentrated way and take part in a writer’s retreat?

You may already be planning on attending a writer’s retreat or creating your own.  Whether your retreat is 15 minutes or the whole summer, give yourself the chance to learn, grow and explore your unique self that you’re expressing.

In the next few posts, I’m going to offer some ideas on how to increase the expression of your self in a self-driven writer’s retreat. You deserve something that goes beyond your typical routine with writing and you can do that on your own.  However, if you want to include other writers, that’s great too!

Had you planned on giving yourself the gift of a writer’s retreat this season or this year?

Related articles

Your Failure to Improve Your Life Could Help Your Writing

In the last few days, I’ve come across so many articles about the subject of letting go that Iwanted to address this topic in a slightly different way as it pertains to writing. 

When you and I have to let go of something, whether it’s a behavior, a person, a long held belief, or a lifestyle, don’t we think that I’m the only person in the world faced with this challenge, and somehow I’m not as equipped as other people to this process of letting go? Most of us feel alone in our dilemmas, when in reality there are so many of us who have trouble letting go.

Most of us like the idea of embracing something new that is good and pleasing, and we’re not so fond of letting go of our comforts and pleasures, and only do so when we’ve gotten to the point that we absolutely need to change. Yet, this whole letting go process is not a new thing. 

Moreover, the inability to let go is a key part of every great story that has ever been lived or written.  If you want to be a great writer, embrace your imperfections!

Consider Shakespeare, and how many of his great tragedies centered around the inability of one of the characters to let go in some way or form.  Hamlet, wouldn’t let go of being a helpless bystander.  Macbeth wouldn’t let go of the drive for power.  And it goes on with every story that compels us to keep reading,  every movie that is worth watching, there is at least one character that won’t let go of something to its detriment.  Sometimes that inability to change is funny, and sometimes it’s tragic.  In all cases, the inability to let go of an ineffectual way of living  is at the heart of why stories still fascinate us.

In our own lives, developing a skill with letting go is often a pathway to a better life.  However, if you’re writing a fictional story, make sure you have at least one character that can’t let go of unhealthy behavior.  Write at least one character who refuses the call to be a hero or heroine.   Stories that have no problems with letting go are not ones that most of us humans can relate to.

So, if you’re having problems with letting go of anything in your life, be happy about it. 

It is from that experience of failure to be perfect that you just might have the experience to write a masterpiece, or at least something worth reading.