Transformation Lines


I recently had the pleasure of taking Jack Grapes’ Method Writing class here in Los Angeles where I live. It was the first writing class I’d ever taken that focussed solely on process—not product. And, wow, was it helpful…. I learned so much about how to put pen to paper, “go with the flow,” and just “trust the process.”

Of course, there’s a great metaphor for life in there, too…

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Chasing Shiny Things

“When I sit down to work on a project, an idea comes to me that maybe isn’t completely relevant to the task at hand—maybe it’s theoretical or conceptual. And, it’s like this shiny thing off to the side. I feel like it’s important for me to examine it. And, so I do. But then I see another shiny thing, and I examine that. And, then all this time goes by, and the task I need to get done never gets done.”

Does this sound familiar?…

A client of mine was finding it challenging to stay focussed on a less-than desirable task she needed to do for work. She shared the above with me, and I’m sharing it here (with her permission, of course!…) because I think—especially for those of us who identify as “creative” folks—we’ve ALL experienced this at some point (if not, regularly). Heck, this giant, glowing orb of diversion caught my attention while sitting here trying to write this post:

If a blog post is on the internet, but nobody reads it,
does it exist?… 

[puts “serious mindfulness blogger” mask back on] 

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Devon’s Diary: The True Account of a Fictional Life


Written, Produced, Performed, Sound Design, Edit, & Music by:

Jennifer Howd

(with special recorded appearance by Tony Howd)

A gritty, 6-part audio fiction series taking place in 1990’s NYC, Devon’s Diary follows a young artist’s darkly-comedic downward spiral, initiated by her mother’s death—and the subsequent request by her girlfriend to open their previously monogamous relationship. Incapable of coping with her pain, Devon’s only method of dealing with it is by self-medicating—and her only way of trying to make sense of it is by turning it into “art.”

(Episode 1)


(Download Episode 1)

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Time to Reframe?…

As a multi-disciplinary artist who’s constantly in one phase or another of the creative process, I’m used to the point at which fear rears it’s gnarly head and roars ferociously in my face. It tends to show up right before I’m about to share a new creation with someone outside my inner circle. And, in the past (prior to my regular mindfulness practice…) this more often than not would halt any further forward momentum. I’d either stop working on the particular project, or I’d end up sabotaging it in someway.

Thankfully, I’ve learned how to mindfully persevere through challenges and keep marching my projects forward. My meditation practice has helped me build the necessary “muscles” to sit through the soul quaking fears that arise—riding them out and letting them move through me without destroying my work or myself in the process. And I’ve made it through this phase in my creative process enough times now that I didn’t think it was possible it could stop me again.

But the second I start getting cocky and stop paying close attention—I always get knocked on my ass.

Which is exactly what happened a few weeks ago…

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“If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.”
– Kingsley Amis

“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs, jolted by every pebble in the road.”
– Henry Ward Beecher

“It is only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte

“Literature is all, or mostly, about sex.”
– Anthony Burgess

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Organizational “Aha!” (Oh, the Irony)

I recently finished a novella that I’d been working on (and off…) for over a decade. One of my most daunting hurdles was trying to figure out how to organize the sheer amount of raw material I had—hundreds of pages in various scattered locations consisting of handwritten journals, digital diaries, random Word documents and saved emails.

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“If you don’t feel that you are possibly on the edge of humiliating yourself, of losing control of the whole thing, then probably what you are doing isn’t very vital. If you don’t feel like you are writing somewhat over your head, why do it? If you don’t have some doubt of your authority to tell this story, then you are not trying to tell enough.” ~ John Irving