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J. J. Brown, Wordslinger

"I Sling Words As I Go Along."

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dance

So, I’m developing a Patreon page…..

……which will feature my creative work. Meaning, excerpts from my stories will be found on my Patreon page.

In fact, I’m working on a serial novel, where the readers will be given a determined number of choices (four) and whichever choice has the most votes, will be the next chapter.

Whether that will end up as an actual, hand-held paperback, I’m not entirely sure yet. I’m inclined to think that it will depend on the number of chapters this experiment will inspire and if it will even see a satisfactory conclusion.

There will be some other posts, as well, but I’m excited to see how this will work out. I love writing, I love seeing how people respond to what I write.

And now it’s time to make my words pay for themselves. When I’ve got it set up and running, with some posts behind it and the beginnings of the serial novel, I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, keep writing, keep singing, keep dancing, keep drawing, keep being creative.

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So, I’ve been having a difficult time with today’s post…..

…….and I’ve got nine minutes to get this one done. I’ve already started three and put them aside, primarily because I want to give them more thought and make sure I source the content properly.

Yeah, it’s that kind of day.

So, I’m going to dash this one off quickly and I apologize for the lateness of it. I had fairly full day – running errands with a friend, tap dance, trivia and horses took up most of it. Then the contrary blog posts and here I am, nearing midnight and this is the one that’s going to go through.

I finished a painting I’d started two weeks ago – I would have finished it the same day I’d started it, from the initial sketch to the final touches, but I needed a specific color that I neglected to buy and then life and play rehearsals happened and there the time went.

Four minutes left.

I hope all of you had a lovely day.

Best wishes to all of you.

So, it’s occurred to me……

……that many of my heroes, male and female, as varied and different and wonderful as they all are, had one thing in common – they had no fucks to give.

This is a huge and empowering attitude. It’s also incredibly freeing.

The opinions of others are like hooks in the mind, designed to keep you in your place, either real or imagined. I’m very familiar with those hooks – the ones that say you aren’t good enough, not talented enough, not worthy. Being trapped by those feelings is painful, but the thought of being free of those feelings is terrifying.

Because what replaces that?

Whatever you choose to put there.

This is not to suggest that you ignore your responsibilities (rent, bills, groceries, car) or any other obligations. We will always have those – they are a part of life and there is no getting around that. But it doesn’t mean you should ignore the hopes and dreams and aspirations you have for yourself. It doesn’t mean that you need to put them aside, neglect them, forget about them.

And for me, that was renewing my interests in drawing, painting and theater. It was choosing to take up the violin, something that’s been on my mind since I was twelve. It was signing up for tap dance lessons, even though the last dance class I’d had was ballet at six. I’m good at the first three, I’ve been practicing those pretty much my whole.

Violin and tap dance are things I suck at, mostly because I’ve never done it before. I’m terrified of sucking at it, I mean, really, who enjoys looking like an ass when trying something new? But the absolute joy in my heart when I strike a perfect solid note on my violin or the endorphin rush after an hour of tap dance are things I want to float on forever.

That means having no fucks to give.

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So, I just wanted to point out……

……that I’m aware that a few of my posts regarding women transforming their lives are primarily white. I intend to correct that – I’ve read several books by women of color, like Alice Walker, Amy Tan and Maya Angelou, but it’s been awhile. I also plan to read and share more about men of color, like Sherman Alexie and Richard Wright.

I believe that strength comes from diversity and that representation matters, but I can’t espouse that and not show it. So, with your patience, I will be presenting posts that hopefully will be more diverse and representative of the world.

I would love it if you were to offer suggestions on writers and artists that you feel need more attention and their work showcased.

Thank you!

 

Recommended*:
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Lone Ranger & Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie
Native Son by Richard Wright
The Color Purple by Alice Walker

*To be updated.

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So, Maya Angelou once said……

……“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.” If you go hiking in the woods, or sit at the beach (or wherever your favorite outdoor spot is), and you sit and be still, you can hear nature’s music. By music, I’m referring to the calls of animals and birds, the wind as it whispers through trees and the gurgling of rivers. That is the music of nature and it is that rhythm that grounds us once we stop thinking so much and just allow ourselves to be present in that moment.

I’m thinking about music as I write this. While driving along the freeway home from my favorite getaway spot, I had a CD of the Eagles’ greatest hits on. The last track on that CD is Hotel California, which was the inspiration for my writing a two-act comedy sending up the gods and goddesses of ancient mythologies. I hit Replay on that song several times, because in my imagination, I could ‘see’ the opening scene play out. Due to bits of dialogue and action later on in the script, I knew that these new details established immediately at the beginning would foreshadow what was to come.

Music has been a major source of inspiration for me – I would create soundtracks for my novels and screenplays. This helped me focus on what kind of story I was telling. Is it romantic? Scary? Funny? Dramatic? From groups like The Temptations and the Stray Cats to individual singers like Natalie Cole and Cyndi Lauper, I found my story’s voice. I would jump from rock and roll to jazz to blues to Big Band, searching for that right piece of music that fit the rhythm of my current writing project.

My most productive times as a writer is when I have music playing in the background. This is true for any creative endeavor, whether it’s cooking or sculpture or painting. Even musicians, I suspect, listen to music, to experiment on what they are hearing and give it their own interpretation.

Music is the muse that inspires. How do I know? The word Mus-e builds the word Mus-ic.

Find your muse-ical inspiration and go forth with art in your heart.

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Editor’s Note – this blog post is published concurrently on Citizens Journal VC

 

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So, one of my favorite creative past times…..

……is theater. I grew up acting in school plays, then college productions and local community theater, with an occasional dabble in building sets, costumes and make-up. I even did extra work on a TV movie, which is another story entirely. Theater, like film and TV, is a collaborative effort. You need each person to fulfill a role or task to make the final product work smoothly (technical, sound, lighting, effects, other actors, writers), even if it’s a one person show.

This is true of every creative endeavor. Granted, you are the only one doing your work (whether it’s learning lines or creating a sculpture or any other artistic expression), but the act itself is a collaboration of all that you had learned up to that point. Look at any acknowledgements page in any book and you will find the word “collaboration” or its sibling “collaborative”. There will then be a list of names or groups the author then gives his or her thanks to – because while the act of writing is solitary, the process of putting a book together (from research to final edits to publication) is not.

There is the stereotype of the writer as being an odd creature, solitary, slightly disheveled and not quite fully present in the moment. They are distracted by their thoughts and scribble madly on a pad of paper, relying on copious amounts of coffee (or, in some cases, alcohol) to keep the pace going, finally producing a perfect manuscript. What no one sees is the relentless edits, the hours of researching a particular historical incident, the mapping out of the plot and the creation and naming of characters.

None of this is done in a vacuum – writers groups, editors, beta readers, other writers are there to help give an objective opinion and offer support when the going gets tough. What theater teaches us is that in order for a production to work smoothly, there has to be teamwork. For an author to create her best work, she has to have the teamwork of her editor and beta readers and groups to encourage necessary changes within her story. The same goes for a photographer, her crew and the model. It is all a team effort.

The more creative endeavors you try, the more you’ll realize that it’s this teamwork is where you gain your greatest strength.

*****
Editor’s note – this blog post is concurrently published on Citizens Journal VC

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