The Loss of Creativity

I’ve spent the majority of the last fortnight in a horrible place where I couldn’t even function with the world properly, let alone function in a suitable way with myself in order to be creative. I cried, a lot. I over-analysed everything and I spent most of my time in a fuzzy daze that I couldn’t even understand.

I shall blame that for my failure to blog because for the most part, I’ve done little by way of my writing/reading resolutions. But that’s okay, it’s one fortnight out of a lifetime, so now I can only write for a maximum of fifty weeks this year, that’s okay too.

Now to look at ways to draw creativity back out of me.

Musical Bunnies

Plot bunnies love to multiply. Let’s face it; bunnies generally love to multiply…apparently. Is there any proof of this? I suppose there must be, or else the phrases to do with rabbits and sex wouldn’t exist.

For anyone not familiar with plot bunnies (probably everyone outside of the fanfiction world), a plot bunny is:

“An idea for a story (usually used to refer to fanfic) that gnaws at the brain until written.”Urban Dictionary

Now as a long-time fanfiction writer, I’ve had many cases of plot bunnies biting me on the backside and gnawing all the way through my body until I give them some attention. I get ideas from everywhere, from the bathroom to television.

A popular source of plot bunnies is music, whom I shall dub musical bunnies.

Have you ever listened to a song and really related to it?

When I listen to a song and feel my relating bubbling, it’s not usually bubbling up with feelings about me (sometimes it is, but not always). In fact there are probably more times in the last few years where I have though ‘that would make a good story’ than ‘that fits my personality well’.

An example of my most annoying musical bunny is a song called ‘Woman‘ by Delta Goodrem. It’s got a powerful build and lyrics that really speak to me. I first listened to the song in about 2008, the year I bought two copies (a copy from Australia and one from America) of the album it was on, without listening to either for months (I was waiting for the album to come out here – subsequently never did).

I’m not sure why the musical bunnies in ‘Woman’ eat away at me so much, but from day one they’ve screamed at me to write. In fact, most times I listen to it; my first thought is ‘I NEED to write something to this’. Up until now, putting pen to paper has been unsuccessful.

Why are these bunnies being particularly frustrating? Who knows?

Unfortunately, I’ve come across another song that perhaps has as much musical bunny power as ‘Woman‘. It’s a song by Amy Macdonald called ‘Love Love’. There’s something there, something alluring that makes me want to write until I can write no more.

One day I will write something for both of these songs, whether that day is today or not we’re yet to find out.

This is a story about…

Have you ever commentated a race?

I have.

It wasn’t at a sports facility, commentating a group of people on a race track, nor was it on the radio or television or for a local organisation.

I commentated the race between a girl and a train. I commentated my morning commute.

You might question my motives behind the exciting story of one girl’s journey from bus to train in the hope of catching the earliest possible piece of transport.

I didn’t have any motives, I just thought it would be fun.

And my followers on Twitter were given a more exciting version of my travels than ‘stood at train station. It’s cold‘ which is what I normally tweet. I asked for bets on whether I would make the train and whilst I got no response, when I’ve done this in the past, my followers have always been happy to comply.

I don’t know how many people followed my pursuit, or even cared. But it was an exciting experiment.

I wonder what it would be like to commentated a whole day of your life. To act as though each and every action is an exciting moment. They have those animal shows on television where the presenter talks in that excited voice they have about a cheetah running and catching its prey. Perhaps more exciting than my walk to the kitchen or playful scuffle with the cat.

It reminds me in many ways of ‘Stranger Than Fiction‘. Have you seen it? If not, I recommend it. It’s basically a film about a  man’s life with a voice-over.

This is a story about a man named Harold Crick and his wristwatch. Harold Crick was a man of infinite numbers, endless calculations, and remarkably few words. And his wristwatch said even less. Every weekday, for twelve years, Harold would brush each of his thirty-two teeth seventy-six times.

And so the commentating of life resembles this somewhat, but instead of talking about the mundane actions in life in a mundane way. You could make it the most exciting thing in the world.

I plan to try this again…perhaps a whole day of commentating my life.

Here’s this mornings example:
It’s touch and go. Pegs and the train are neck and neck. But the train has a clear run. Can Pegs make it through the ticket office and get to platform 4? The ticket office appears to be empty. This is good news for Pegs who is almost there, but so is the train! Pegs has been held up by an awkward £10 note & a crowd of arriving passengers. Are they from platform 4? They are. If Pegs doesn’t run, she’s gonna miss her train. And oh my God, I can’t believe it, Pegs reaches the  platform as the train pulls away from the station. It’s 1-0 to the train. This is a sad day for Pegs. Had she had her money in her hand ahead of time, she would have made it, but her tweeting slowed her down.

I could have any job? I already have it.

If I could have any job in the world I would be a rhinoceros running through the grasses of Tanzania, or maybe a superhero, flying through the sky above a bright city rescuing strangers from minor crimes.

No, I wouldn’t.

My dream job isn’t weird, or ‘wonderful’, or glorious or adventurous. It is what it is.

I work for an anti-bullying charity on a part time basis and other than the odd ‘is there anything I actually have on my list that can be done today?’ moments, I love it. I love the organisation, I love working with the children and young people who come here.

Bully Free Zone saved my life; not literally (I wasn’t at risk of suicide), but without them I wouldn’t have the quality of life I have built up.

This has been the job I wanted for years and I have it.

What you don’t know, however, is that my lovely, small, local charity that has been my life for so long, is at the risk of closing. We’re £50, 000 short of keeping going for 12 months. It’s not just us, the financial climate is poor and the voluntary sector is struggling. But it hurts, it physically hurts (if I let myself think about it), that a place that helped me become me is probably not going to be here anymore. Come March there will be no volunteers, there will be only one member of staff and a laptop trying to help these children who have suffered from the effects of bullying.

It’s sad and as much as we try and find funding, there’s not a lot else we can do. It might work out, it might not. I keep hoping for some kind of miracle. Yet, in reality, it’s not a television show, £50, 000 won’t come flying in on the day before we’re due to close saving us from ending the work of this fantastic organisation.

So yeah, my dream job is here, it’s what I do…and it’s about to be ripped away from me.

Maybe my new dream job should be finding some way to become filthy rich, if only to fund this life saving organisation.

Creativity in a war-zone

These boys firing round after round into the sky – you can’t see anything, and after a while the noise and the guns and the slam bam, boom, over and over – well, you start to ride it, like skiing, down down down into the white, mindless, given up to it.” – ‘The Postmistress’ by Sarah Blake

I’ve never been in a war-zone and my worries and fears about guns and explosives mean I’ll probably never choose to willingly set foot in one.

Every day there’s people out there, foreign correspondents, for various newspapers, television companies and radio stations, who stand on the edges of towns and cities in war-torn countries.

I watch the news, I like to know what’s going on and I’m usually disappointed. I know the current protests in Egypt aren’t exactly a war-zone, but the reporting is the same. There’s a story to tell, fuelled with intensity and emotion and the reporters often seem to fall short. That’s my opinion anyway.

What they tell me, what the news reporters say on channels like the BBC, is minimal. It’s like someone is explaining what is happening, talking about people being injured and stating the facts. The news seems to have become facts.

I know that may sound nonsensical. News is facts. I certainly dislike the tabloid fodder that exists in this world. But I wonder where the passion is, where the love for the job is, the interest in the experience of the people on the ground.

On this occasion, the BBC reporter in question started off well and slipped in an element of emotion within the description, but I wonder whether it could be more. Perhaps my comparison of the actions of a real television channel in 2011 to a fictional radio broadcast in a novel set in 1940, are unjustified. Perhaps they’re not.

I’ll let you decide.

I transcribed the BBC reporter’s words so that you can see exactly what was said in one broadcast (and knowing the BBC well, they repeat said broadcast over and again) in order for you to directly compare it to another snippet of the broadcast made in the book I’ve been reading.

You can see by their reaction that for them it was not enough. Civilians and soldiers were hand in hand as they channelled the crowds through identity checks…more and more it looks as if they’re on the same side. The plan was to put a million people on the streets, in Cairo it was probably in the hundreds of thousands. But more than the numbers, what mattered was who they were; an old soldier with his uniform, supporters of the Muslim brotherhood and secular young men who wanted to turn it into a party. A lot here, though, didn’t feel like dancing.” – BBC News, 01/02/2011

Put yourself in the place of these men. Not a one of them wants to be the one who gets it. Still, there comes a wild, intoxicating rush where you take your heart in your hands and hurl yourself right into the teeth of danger, to forget the danger. So be it, you think, it’s all up to God – and some men. Over here, you close your eyes, do your job, and fling yourself toward it – whatever it may be.” – ‘The Postmistress’ by Sarah Blake.

The quote from ‘The Postmistress’ was the words spoken by a radio presenter in the Blitz. She spoke about what she saw in a way that is stark and descriptive and it’s got such emotion that it reaches up inside of my chest and tugs at my heart. She’s not just explaining what has happened, she’s describing it, she’s reliving it with every word that exits her mouth. She’s asking us to believe the experience of the men defending London during another night of bombs because her words are that realistic.

So I ask you, do the current journalistic skills of our biggest television channel ignite a passion for the stories they’re telling? Or is ‘The Postmistress’ giving you something to believe in?

I’m sat on the fence, about to land on ‘The Postmistress’.

I wonder if I’m missing the talent that journalism in the 21st Century has to offer. Perhaps comparing written word of a novelist with the spoken word with a television journalist is the wrong direction.

Tomorrow I plan to buy a newspaper…and there my judgements will be altered.

Or not.

 

*this is my alternative to January’s blog posts that I missed out on due to arriving late to #postaday2011.

I’m Posting every day in 2011!

In the words of TheDailyPost: “I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now.”

 

There was a whole example blog post I could be sharing with you right now, instead I will inform you, once again, that my intentions to blog regularly are sincere. I can’t promise to blog once a day, but I can promise to blog as often as possible.

 

Today will probably get half a dozen posts; it’s the start, it happens. I’m sure any other bloggers will understand. Especially since I have a month’s worth of Post a Day ideas to start with. I’ll peruse them and pick out a couple of my favourite ideas. Then I will finish up with today’s.

 

Again, in the words of The Daily Post: “I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can. If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.”

 

Let the party be started…

The World is Our Oyster

I’m recognised, in this world known as the web, as Miss Peg, I’m not called Peg, or Peggy and I’m not Fiona Peg either. In fact, Peg isn’t actually part of my name. But it’s the name I’ve gone by for years. It’s my pseudonym. To an extent I could call it my pen name, but let’s face it, I won’t be writing any novels under the name Miss Peg.

I like to read and I like to write, which is why I’ve spent the last month doing just that. Towards the back end of 2010 my writing dwindled and I found little motivation to do anything. I found myself stuck in perpetual writer’s block. Until January 1st 2011 when I decided writing and reading a little (or a lot) of something every single day would help me. It did. I also started blogging, about how I was doing with my challenge, over on Blogger. There should be a link for that somewhere around here, Read and Write a Day.

I am, what many would probably class me, a novice. I’m still learning and experiencing and expanding my writing. The only difference now, is I consider myself to be a writer. No long am I just another person out there who likes to write fanfiction about random television shows the world doesn’t even know.

I write. I love writing. I AM a writer.

As a writer, my aim for 2011 is to expand my creativity. I’ve constricted myself for too long with fanfiction and unperfected prose. I want to do more; I want to write about more.

So this is where we begin, resolution beginning part two. This time a month ago I promised myself to read and write every single day. Now I promise myself to keep up with this blog on a regular basis. We’ll see how daily goes.

I’m going to write about creativity, which really is my way of saying I have a lot of things that interest me that I may include. This can be anything from my writing, to taking photographs, to sewing.

I also intend to begin (if a little late) the Post a Day over at http://dailypost.wordpress.com.

What I love as much as writing is hearing about other people’s thoughts, ideas and even criticisms. I’m here; I want to know your thoughts and feelings, even if they don’t coincide with my own.

To contact me you can comment on this blog, follow me on Twitter or email me at missfpeg@gmail.com.

The world is our oyster, it’s time we started oystering!