This video interview with colourful knitting designer, Stephen Be, is just too much fun not to watch. (As it says at the start, the wonderful interviewer, Kristy Glass, apologizes that the first half of the interview was in poor focus – but such good content she had to keep it – so she funkified it up with a variety of visual effects until the good focus kicked in at 13 minutes in.)
Stephen Roach, lyric writer for “Songs of Water” wrote about creativity on his blog “Words that Bloom” as he was on the road in Australia:
Creativity begins in rest,
in a moment outside of moments,
in a place where we may pause and reflect
on what has been and what is to be
or perhaps upon that which has escaped the entire notion of being.
We become an observer peering over the shoulder of our own bustling life.
But do we recognize her in the magnificence of this disentangled, free-verse prose?
Creativity is never hurried, for it perceives time in a manner much different than
the persistent ticking of wrist watches and on-time departures.
It knows her as a mother knows her child.
And if we are able to slip through the cracks of what must-be-done
and slow ourselves to the pace of eternity’s un-rushed sprawl,
we might glimpse ourselves in a way heaven has drawn us all along
– a bouquet of luminesce echoes-
From here, we can enter in again to the movement and the must-be-done
with a washed countenance,
a baptized habitation. “
Rick and Brenda Beerhorst, husband and wife, paint and collage together, with other people looking on. And how inspiring that is.
If you’re wondering where the rich blockprints come from – they make them, themselves. I have a humorous print made by them, which I completely fell in love with. It arrived from Studio Beerhorst in an envelope clearly reused and with the address written upon it in a child’s handwriting. (They have a large family, with the kids encouraged to express themselves creatively also.)
“There’s a powerful vibe that comes off of things that are handmade and having those things in your environment where you live, I think, is really important.”
– Rick Beerhorst
In this 4 minute video, Rick muses on the experience of failure and success, as well as what a big city (New York) gives and takes away from the artist.
Studio Beerhorst prints and sculptures are available to purchase on their Etsy shop.
Reader, if you are a wouldbe poetry writer, then get your hands on this book “Writing Poetry” by W N Herbert. It’s like having a writing tutor patiently helping you – because that’s exactly what is happening – its writer is Bill Herbert, Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Newcastle University.
Please do take that book token Christmas present, or lean over your local library counter and demand that they order it, or borrow the spondulicks from a pal, to buy this instantly useful and enjoyable book.
Whether you are a beginner, near beginner or have written a couple of hundred poems but still feel like you’re at the start of a writing apprenticeship – this book takes you through the process of developing the skills/craft and – more difficult to explain – the feel for, writing poetry.
Proof positive that when you’re writing a powerful poem, its shape can be something as simple as a twist on an everyday voice/situation, or the banal pauses between events. And yes, it can include humour. And it can be great in a video.
(Video by Faber & Faber to illustrate poem “Thank you for Waiting)
Creative Takeaway Prompt
Do you have a very ordinary, boring situation/conversation/speech which you hear everyday? Take that form and write it so that you make it talk about something else, something you feel passionately about. Increase the strength of your words at the end to the extreme. (As Simon Armitage does, in this video).
Advanced – time how long you think it will take you to read your poem, allowing an extra 5-10 seconds. Have a friend video you on a mobile phone in that banal situation, then do a voiceover of yourself reading the poem. Finally, have the courage to put it on Youtube and publicise it in social media (this could be as simple as your personal Facebook page or Twitter.)
More video work – look at your written poems so far – is there one whose atmosphere could be videoed in a setting which reinforces the message?
The now-defunct online magazine, Doubletake, printed a short but very good article on lyric writing, by Carly Simon, the hugely popular song writer.
Amazingly, at one point she was so discouraged about her apparent lack of success with songwriting, that she decided to give up on that career. However, on her ferry trip home, a song from George Gershwin kept playing on the jukebox – and she found herself writing a poem in response, asking George how it was for him in his life and work.
As if he could hear me, I asked questions: “Did you buy your house in the country? Did you wait for something that never came? Did you die still waiting for your train?” Every time I asked a question, the refrain “Embrace me, my sweet, embraceable you, embrace me, you irreplaceable you” kept hitting, and as it kept hitting, I repeated it in my letter. It became a quoted chorus in a bed of my questions and observations. At the end of the letter, I vowed to go home and sit at the piano and try to write songs again. “In honor of you, George, in honor of you . . .”
This eventually became her song “In honor of you, George”. The whole article on songwriting is still here to be read – and worth reading if you write lyrics. (Thank you, Doubletake, for leaving it online.)
- If you’re feeling like giving up because no one ‘gets’ you or your art – just keep on going – pushing though discouragement has been an experience for pretty much every achiever (with the possible exception of child prodigies)
- When you’re stuck and lyrics won’t come – write a response to someone who intrigues you, ask them questions. This automatically gives you a starting point.
Going back to Carly, one of the recurring questions asked about her was who she wrote her big hit ‘You’re so vain” about? Here’s the final answer….