Sunday, June 15, 2014

Writhout creativity, no bibimbap

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” -Mark Twain

Imagination can nurture or destroy, depending on its direction.  It can cause anxiety by fooling us into thinking we know the future (see: panic disorder), or foster brilliance in art and writing. So how does one harness the imagination so that it works to our favor? Yeah, good question. I'll circle back to it.

I started teaching my short story class this week, and I've got to say, summer courses are the best. The students, for the most part, really want to be there and it shows in the writing. Even more exciting, they're turning in assignments early and eagerly. As a teacher, it's nice to not have to hunt folks down. As a writer, it reminds me of my own initial eagerness. I was the kid in the Internet course in college who would do all the assignments in the first two weeks, then spend hours revising before I turned them in. I imagined my teachers' hair blown back by my stories as I wrote them, and even though I never felt this way when I actually turned in the piece, I tended to do pretty well because my goals were clear and pretty big. I had an audience, and I wanted to impress and entertain that audience. 

When I do not write, even to this day, I get bouts of anxiety. The discontent will pop up randomly, and I'll find myself stressing about being late to an appointment, or I'll talk myself down before a big meeting. I'll even talk my previous writing ventures down, especially as I read, but then I actually sit down to write, and that energy is released. I feel better. I got my fix. 

I don't know who reads this blog, aside from a select few. My comments, from what I hear, only sometimes work, but if you're reading this and you're not a writer, I think the same theory applies to whatever you do creatively. Creative output squashes anxiety, if for a little while. It is necessary for many of us.

Accordingly, I've been challenging myself to get back in a serious writing routine. Last week, I posted a prompt that I wrote to (no final draft yet, but we have a draft and that's what matters), and this week, I'll do the same. I hope to continue this as long as I can, if nothing else but to get that fix. 

Old videos inspired this week's prompt. 

Find an 80s/90s song, the stranger the better.  In fact, to really bring this home, find a video. I'm picking Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight." Really listen to the song, the message (the more elusive the better), then think up a character who has lived the story told in the lyrics. Interpret it ironically or literally, and keep it to a thousand words. 

Speaking of anxiety, sometimes mine comes up around food. Thing is, I am allergic to a lot, my stomach inflates or, worse, I'll break out into hives; needless to say, I'm not very experimental.

Putting my imagination to good use this weekend (I already started on this prompt, and a good kind of crazy creative output ensued), I didn't over-think and tried a new Korean dish, bibimbap (also known as bi bim bop), and it just might be my new favorite thing (image below). 

This stuff is great, and now the challenge will be learning how to make it efficiently. The Food Network has a great recipe (though I'll omit the beef), but 2.40 hours? Yeah, maybe I'll go with this one. Either way, challenge accepted.  I'll let you know how it goes.  

In the meantime, have a great week! 

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