A brain spark is akin to a brainstorm, but for me, it is more a flash, and inspiration, a sudden burst of clarity in the mind. A brain spark can hit you when you least expect it. Usually, though, it comes after a good pondering. Some might call it a meditation. A meditation is intentional, though. Brain sparks don't come through intention. You can't will them. They just suddenly flash in your mind. Everything is spontaneously combusting into ideas and motivators. They excite the conscious and reveal the unconscious. This is why I think it is extremely important to attend to them, to pay attention to the spark and maybe even metaphorical blow on it until it bursts into a lovely flame in the mind's eye.
I had a brain spark this afternoon while trying to take a brief nap. Not sure why it came as it did, startling me like a shooting star across my inner horizon, but it did. Perhaps it is because I have been re-directing my attentions and intentions inward and pushing them outward. I have stopped once again burning time and energy trying to change things I ultimately cannot change. What I can do is recognize that fun is important. Work, for example, can be the expression of talents and images through writing and photography and any other form of art, and it can be fun. Yipes!
For several years I have been wrestling with writing memoirs about the life and times of a certain self I carry with me. It is me then and the me I have become. I've started and stopped, in fits and spurts, but always lost my way or made creative u-turns, (returning to old thought patterns or inner critics that haunt my muse), to the point I thought as recent as the past few weeks, it just wasn't gonna happen. I surrendered to that possibility. Sometimes acquiescence is the best thing you can do before the brain sparks appear.
It was in this labile state of mind the answer flashed in my brain. Just tell the stories. Group them around a theme, a place, in vignettes, however they come. Create the armature to support the events of my life. In other words, pick a place and just write what comes up. Like, for instance, grade school. The incident with a bully. The feeling of carrying a sack lunch when you really want a hot lunch for a quarter with two cents extra for chocolate milk. Navigating through the subtle (and not so subtle) social circles of the playground. It all just begins to pour out.
So that is why I think it is important to pay attention to both minor and major brain sparks. You can choose which ones to act on. The important ones will be so compelling, you won't be able to think about much else until you act. It's God/Spirit/The Universe/Natural Selection/Serendipity...whatever you call it...jumpstarting what is normally a dormant, but intense, desire to create.
It was hot here So Cal this weekend. O-T-Hot, as my great aunt would say. Never figured out what the O-T stood for. Another question I should have asked while she was alive. Anyway, we have been in an ungodly humid, broiling hot wave of fire from hell (it seems) for about four hundred days (it seems). But it may have broken like a horrific fever. Fingers crossed.
As I wrote the above, I kept thinking about Hurricane Harvey, Texas and Louisiana and folded my hands and remembered how blessed I am. Godspeed the recovery for all those who have endured this latest rage of mother nature.
Have you notice we don't call it Mother Nature much any more? And I think Father Time left the building. guess it had something to do with sexism and equal rights?
On another note, I took an artist date today to the Redlands Glass Museum. What a fantastic place. I needed a receipt for some windows I facilitated donated on behalf of an estate recently, so I decided to tour the place. Glassware is utterly fascinating! All glittery and sparkle and sass. Beautiful shapes and cuts in utilitarian and art-for-art-sake design. Check it out: historicalglassmuseum.com/
After that, I delivered a photograph for the new exhibit at the Riverside Community Arts Association. www.rcaaarts.org/ It is of my Carnival Hibiscus . Quite nice, I'd say, but the real point was to stick my toe back into the sea of art.
Mostly it was a quiet weekend. With some help, I cleaned the gutters and swept up pine needles and sycamore leaves, only to have them fall again and fill the gutters once more in a sudden wind. Such is life, I guess.
A workshop with the Inlandia Institute I have been attending for several years, begins again this coming Wednesday. It really is a great opportunity to be amongst actual, for real, creating, writing writers. It inspires me to get moving on my projects and move along. I was sitting on the porch, trying to think what on earth I could get together in time for the midnight deadline for submissions tonight. The following poem "popped out" and, my friends, is what I will leave you with tonight...
Nothing At All
There are times
I sit in the dark,
thinking about nothing,
nothing at all.
The moon looks down,
all full and bright, not
saying a thing, nothing at all,
letting me know
it is just that, just
nothing at all.
Simon and Garfunkel sing
of the sounds of silence,
crooning hello darkness my old friend.
as if they put my words to song,
I’ve come to talk to you again,
I lean back into the deep dusky night
and am comforted in knowing
its all nothing,
nothing at all.
It's been very difficult for me to settle down and work on anything I call "creative" and "fulfilling" this summer. There is just too many things going on in the world both outside my door and inside my heart. The world has become so seemingly fractured. Love and hate appears to have become polar opposites. People are hurting everywhere. And I have buried myself in work that has taken up most of my time and energy that I used to have for pursuing the artist's way.
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron is a study book I have worked my way through a few times now. Each time I learn something new and discover something that has been hidden deep within that keeps me from being my highest and best self. That, I envision, is capturing photographic images and using them to create something like fine art. It is also writing. Not only this blog, but poetry, memoir and personal essay. Even some works of fiction might pop out on the page now and then.
This is September. Earlier today I looked back over my blogs on the first of this month and was a bit startled, but not really surprised, to discover the theme was always a "new beginning". September for me has always been just that. Back to school. New cars debuting. TV's new season. Choir returning to church. Routines re-established. Summer has had her fling. Time for real life again. And that, I is where I find myself again: back to real life. What is real life? Simply put, it is being real. Saying yes when you mean yes and no when you mean no. Simple, but not always easy. But no matter my early training and my years to the contrary, this is another September. Another chance to live a real life.
Here we go.