life

writing notebooks

Never too old to begin writing career

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Josephine Corcoran

Read this and share it with anyone who thinks they’ve left it too late to be a published writer.  It’s not!  Never!  Write what is in you to write.

Click on link below to read an entire article by Josephine Corcoran, bursting with stories of writers who began a serious career later, mostly in their 50s – and who are still writing and developing further as writers, today.  There’s a sense of beginning, not ending.

via My started late, stop-start writing “career”

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Making art from a wheelchair

Chuck Close, in conversation,  describes his working process.  His interviewer is a particularly excellent interviewer and art commentator (and Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Arts) – the knowledgeable and always watchable Tim Marlow.

Chuck is known for his immense scale portraits, his work has sold internationally for decades.  Mid-career, he suffered a sudden catastrophic paralyzing physical event – but continues to work from his wheelchair, very successfully, in his seventies.

“Virtually everything I’ve done has been driven by my learning disabilities.”

Chuck Close

This is a quote from a note to his younger self, in a 5 minute CBS special video.

 

Creative Takeaways

  • “Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and get to work”
  • “Every great idea I’ve ever had, grew out of work itself”
  • “Sign on to a process and see where it takes you”
  • “No one gets anywhere without help.  Mentors – including your parents – can make you feel special even when you are failing in other areas. Everyone needs to feel special”
  • “The absolute worst thing in life can happen and you will get over it, you will be happy again….”
  • “Losing my father at a tender age was extremely important in being able to accept what happened to me later, when I became a quadriplegic”
  • “If you’re overwhelmed by the size of a problem, break it down into bite-sized pieces.”
  • “There is always someone worse off than you”

 

 

“Weather the Storm” Short Musical Animation

“Weather the Storm” by Trunk & Radish Pictures is just exquisite animation short set to  a song, examining a difficult time – in this case, bereavement, in under 5 minutes.  Unsurprisingly, it won an award in the 2016 British Animation Awards.

I heard the most wonderful quote recently from a TV presenter, Sandi Toksvig, almost a throwaway line as she chatted with a contestant on the Great British Bake Off: “Marriage is everything and nothing” meaning it’s made up of the seemingly insignificant daily stuff and yet it’s an important relationship which colours our life.  This video contemplates loss through a tiny part of daily life (toothpaste and toothbrushes) – gently observed and ultimately positive.

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Director Peter Baynton received 2016 British Award Animation for Public Choice Best Music Video

The song on the soundtrack is “Weather the Storm” by Benjamin Scheuer, from the album “The Lion”.  More about his work on his website here.

Director: Peter Baynton for Radish Pictures.

Producer: Daniel Negret

Exec producer: Richard Barnett

both at Trunk.

I love the gentle watercolour like textures and way it conveys the central figure as struggling to go forward despite a strong headwind against him, while other characters nonchalently and speedily bounce by, often in the opposite direction, through simple landscapes.  In this one still, shown below, you can see the contrast: the main character holding onto a bench arm for grim life, just to stay still in the storm of emotions, while another person sits nonchalently on the bench, reading a newspaper, chomping on a sandwich and drinking a cuppa.

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still from the film “Weather the Storm”

Calming words

Writer Anne Lamott before her 61st birthday sat down and wrote all the truths she absolutely knew.  They include the importance of radical self-care

“Being full of affection for one’s goofy, self-centred, cranky, annoying self is home; it’s where world peace begins.”

“Every writer you know writes really terrible first drafts – but they keep their butt in the chair… they do it by prearrangement with themselves, they do it as a debt of honour.”

“if people want you to write more warmly about them – they should have behaved better” (round of applause from the audience)

“Grace is spiritual WD40 or waterwings”

These are words specifically written for people feeling overwhelmed by complicated politics in their country, by rapidly changing world events.  Above all, they are humane and hopeful, positive and spiritual.

Float to stay alive

This RNLI brief video makes a point of what to do if you unexpectedly fall into cold water.  It makes me consider that some of this may also apply to sudden, shocking psychological events and swift changes in life – first float, steady, catch your breath before planning what next.

28,000 days

Enda O’Doherty (the gent fundraising for mental health help by carrying a fridge up Kilimanjaro) – lives life in challenging ways, as he is an alcoholic:

 

“I’m far more afraid of not living. I don’t want to spend my time just sitting eating take away pizza and looking at Netflix thinking that I’m living life. Given my hardships in the past, I’m so grateful for happy days, for adventures, and my good health. I really appreciate it.

 

“I told someone once that I live life like I’m terminally ill. And they reacted with shock that they didn’t know I was ill. But that’s not it. Of course I’m not. No more than anyone else. We all have 28,000 days on average. So, what are you going to do with them?

Fascinating.  There’s an old bit in the bible (somewhere around Psalm 90)  “Teach us Lord to number our days that we may apply our hearts onto wisdom”  – now, putting this with Enda’s quote is thought-provoking: what if each day we asked ourselves at the end of the day: what have I done today?  Anything positive counts: even trying something new, giving someone else a smile, stretching that talent I don’t use enough, finding something amazing and sharing it on social media, becoming a little more loving, helping someone, getting over that disappointment quicker, making a good health choice……. and then continuing this daily, living with the expectation that at the end of the day I will ask myself “So what did you do with today?”.

It may be wise.

A A Gill Quote: Pregnant is….

“Pregnant is the opposite of being a suicide bomber, it’s like being a life bomber, you waddle into an enclosed space and shout: “Don’t move, do exactly what I say, or I’ll produce more bodies.” ” – A A Gill

This outstanding and memorable quote comes from a Sunday Times food review by the food critic A A Gill.  It was so well written that I kept the pages, while ditching the newspaper.  And have now come upon it in the pile of papers I am currently attempting to reduce.