On creating

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My writing space. Special mention, my almost 40-year old teddy bear. 

The countdown has begun again! In less than a month, National Novel Writing Month begins. NaNoWriMo is a contest where the goal is to write fifty-thousand words in a month. That’s 1666 words a day. Easy peasey. Sort of.

That is my future, but lately I’ve been working on other projects for myself. I recently completed a built-in bookcase that hangs above my desk. It’s mostly completed, but there are a few things I need to finish up before I can say I’m 100% done with it.

Next, I have to sew a costume for a friend’s Halloween party. I decided, in my insanity, to go as Severus Snape. The problem is that I can’t find a suitable costume. My solution, if you haven’t guessed, is to make my own.

That’s where creation and ingenuity come in. Although I did take Home Economics back in high school, and part of the curriculum was to learn to sew, it has been more than two decades since I took the class. Will that deter me? Hell no! I see it as a challenge. Bring it on!

The complication is that I cannot find a pattern to use, and that’s where ingenuity comes in. I don’t know how to make my own pattern, so I went to Jo-Ann, searched through their catalog, and I came up blank. The closest thing I could find was a costume jacket similar to the one Alan Rickman uses, but not quite. I decided to buy the pattern, knowing that I’ll have to make a few alterations to the pattern in order to make it.

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Found this a Jo-Ann in Lubbock. Not exactly what Snape wears, but close enough.

I’m actually rather excited for the project. I haven’t sewn in years. This’ll be my first since high school, and the fact that I rather loathe costumes isn’t enough to dampen my excitement. Actually, I can’t wait to get started. It’ll be interesting to see if I can pull it off. I have less than three weeks to actually do it. More than enough time for a tailor to make one, but I’m no tailor, no seamstress. I have almost no experience in something this ambitious. I also have to make the cloak, but that’ll come later.

I also have another project in mind. I want to build a couple of nightstands, again out of red oak, to match my computer desk and book case. I’m thinking about building a bedroom set as well, but one piece at a time. I’m not that skilled at woodworking, but I think I’m getting better. Experience really is the best teacher.

I still have my goal of publishing a book, but that’s only part of what I want to do. I like the act of creation, the art and the science of bringing into existence something that was not there before. It’s almost an alchemical transformations, bringing in several elements, combining them, and giving life to something new. Whether it’s a short story or novel, whether it’s cooking or baking, or even woodworking or crafts, it’s a subtle magic we can all perform.

NaNoWriMo is a great opportunity to give yourself permission to lose yourself in writing, but it shouldn’t be the only time to let your creativity flow. There’s all sorts of things I want to build and create. In this, Adam Savage is almost like a mentor, and I look up to him. You should check him out on the YouTube channel Tested, where he builds and creates anything and everything. While I don’t have his level of skills and ingenuity, why should I let that keep me from doing what I like?

Why I write

68b90b6835021f0ad6345f0be9a77b98The cold glow of the monitor beacons and I sit obediently, but nothing comes. I stare into the abyss, accosted by a million and one ideas simultaneously, each just out of my grasp, and grow frustrated at my inability to articulate a single one.

Resigning myself to a fruitless night, I start to type nonetheless. First a letter, then a word. Soon I have a sentence and moments later a paragraph. I don’t know if it’s coherent or not, I don’t know if it fits in the story, but I continue all the same. Like a waterfall, my thoughts cascade onto the page almost effortlessly. It’s like I’ve lost control and some otherworldly being, a Muse perhaps, has endowed me with that much sought after eloquence.

I type like mad, not bothering to care about grammar or spelling. They can wait. I type and then the page is filled and soon another. I type and I type, giving myself to inspiration, grateful for the gift bestowed onto me, conscious that inspiration is a fickle mistress. I create a world out of nothing, born out of my imagination and the need to say something meaningful.

I write because I must. I write because I dare not lose myself within my own creation. I write so that I can unburden myself. It’s the act of creating that fuels me. It’s the act of discovery, of wondering where my story with go, of where I will take myself that moves me. I have made myself laugh, and I have also made myself cry. I have moved myself and as I write I hope that I touch the reader, should I be lucky enough to find someone willing to read what I write.

But I have no readers yet, just a hope, and not a vain hope I pray. Even should I never find an audience, I fear I will still be compelled to write. I live though the written word. I have lived a thousand lives of men, or characters large and small, of men, women, and children. I have been the hero and the villain. I have seen both heaven and hell.

I write what I want to live, and I write what I have lived. I write of love and hate, of life and death, and I write of hope and despair. Writing is my therapy, my catharsis. I’m a personal writer, and though I may mold my thoughts to fit a certain situation, I can be found in the words that I have written.

So I continue to write, the warm glow of the monitor holding me captive. I write until I’ve been bled dry and I fall away, exhausted yet exhilarated. I leave a piece of me behind in the words that I have written. I want to be known by all, but fear that to be known I will know rejection.

But I will continue to write, to create, to bleed myself onto the screen. The blinking cursor prompts me to continue, but I’m unable at the moment. I’ve given my all for the sake of my sanity, and for sanity’s sake, I withdrawn into myself once more, only to heed the call of my mistress yet again.