Quote for the Day: October 24th, 2021

I don’t paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.

Frida Kahlo

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Poem for the Day: October 4th, 2021

For the young who want to by Marge Piercy

Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.

Work is what you have done
after the play is produced
and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking
when you are planning to go
out and get a job.

Genius is what they know you
had after the third volume
of remarkable poems. Earlier
they accuse you of withdrawing,
ask why you don’t have a baby,
call you a bum.

The reason people want M.F.A.’s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
body else’s mannerisms

is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall
like your optician, your vet
proving you may be a clumsy sadist
whose fillings fall into the stew
but you’re certified a dentist.

The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to
like it better than being loved.

© 1980, 1982 Marge Piercy and Middlemarsh, Inc.

Today’s poem is taken from the collection Circles on the Water: Selected Poems of Marge Piercy, which was published in 1982 by Alfred A. Knopf.

I love love love Marge Piercy. I was first introduced to her work as a high school junior via her poem “Barbie Doll” and since then I’ve been delighted with each new discovery. I hope you love “For the young who want to” as much as I do.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

5 Ways to Spark Creativity

People who write for a living, and really artists in general (regardless of their medium), often reach points where their well has run dry. We’ve all been there. Staring at the blank page before you. Open up the dirty window. Let the sun illuminate the words that you cannot find…looks like I’ve veered into Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield! But Natasha has a point. Sometimes you just need to get out of your own head (i.e. feel the rain on your skin) to get your creative motors cranking. There are innumerable ways to unfunk yourself but I hope these five help you to get started.

#1: Clean Out the Clutter

The time-honored image of the messy artist is as old as art itself. And I’d be lying if I said that most of the people I’ve come across who create for a living don’t struggle with keeping their living spaces in working order. After all, who cares about dirty dishes or piles of laundry when you have the next Great American Novel to write?

The sad truth however is that it’s hard to hone in on something like a tricky plot point when your living space looks like something off of Hoarders. So start by tidying up the area you spend the most time in. Pick up and throw away trash, take your dirty dishes to the kitchen, make your bed, and make liberal use of a can of Febreze.

Once your living space looks neater, there’ll be more space in your head for what matters most.

Once your living space looks neater, there’ll be more space in your head for what matters most.

#2: Take a Nap

It’s hard to do anything if you’re not well-rested, and sometimes the thing you need most is a good long nap. That poem, story, or blog post can wait until later. Turn off your phone, shut the blinds, and clear your mind. When you wake up, you’ll be ready to get to it. If you’re lucky, your dreams may give you ideas for your next project!

#3: Read, Read, Read!!!!

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.

Stephen King

Stephen King said it best. Although this advice applies primarily to writers, its applicability transfers to any creative endeavor. People who want to make great films need to be watching great films. You can’t become the next Scorsese or Gerwig by watching the same shitty Mark Wahlberg movies over and over again ad nauseam. You can’t become the next Picasso or Rembrandt if you don’t study the Masters. Art begets art.

You can’t become the next Scorsese or Gerwig by watching the same shitty Mark Wahlberg movies over and over again ad nauseam.

#4: Give Yourself Permission to Suck

God, this is a hard one, especially for perfectionists like yours truly. But anything worth doing well is worth doing badly at least 6,543,789 times in order to perfect your craft. If you’re afraid of failing and never allow yourself to clear your cache by putting vomit on paper, you’re never going to write anything worth reading. Now, I’m not saying to go out in the world and share your shitty Grey’s Anatomy fan-fiction, but I’m not not saying to either.

#5: Find Your People and Share the Burden

Everyone needs a sounding board. There are innumerable collectives for creatives to join and if you can’t find a group you like then make your own. Having another person or a group of people to share your work with and give you insightful critiques is invaluable. An added benefit is that by participating in just such a group, you also expand your network and become a node on the networks of everyone who’s in your group as well. You never know which contact will help you get agented or sell your first book or agree to exhibition your work. So connect, connect, and then connect some more.

Conclusion

I hope these five tips will give you a good starting point toward sparking creativity in your own life. The creative life is extremely rewarding for anyone who is willing to give it their all and I wish you nothing but success and happiness on your journey as not only an artist but a human being as well. Take care, my friends.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please follow, like, comment, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at thevoraciousbibliophile@yahoo.com or catch me on Twitter @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.