31 December 2010

Offerings and Transitions

The Bird Sisters: A NovelNew Year's eve, and I'm wrapped up in a blanket feeling the stark combination of caffeine withdrawal and sore throat. I want nothing more than to tuck in a little longer and read The Bird Sisters while drinking the hot sahlep drink at my side sprinkled with cinnamon. I'm ready to say goodbye to 2010's roller coaster cold and flu cycle, but I had such an amazing year in other ways that I'm not quite ready to let go. Two big reasons include these:

Voice Lessons from a Hybrid Ambassador - a blog ring that took a stance on a polarizing book promotion on She Writes.
Dialogue2010 at expat+HAREM - the 10-person roundtable discussion that sparked a year of conversation, comaradarie, and creativity.

60 Secs of Holiday Cheer
With just a few hours to spare on this side of the world for the New Year, squeeze in sixty seconds to watch this little video interview I did for She's Next on Family and Traditions from Anywhere.

Compared to last year, when I did a big holiday dinner and had lots of guests, we had a very quiet Christmas. In some ways, it was kind of a relief not to try so hard this year and to enjoy new little traditions of our own.

My New Newsletter

I took the leap and created a monthly newsletter called The Art of Cultivating a Creative Life. Sign up here for the newsletter! Inside will be offerings on creativity, art, and writing, plus a section I'm calling Creative Life Picks with links to articles and posts like this month's list below:

Creative Life picks for December 2010

Moving On
In January, I'll be moving my blog from Blogger to my own site (yeah! cheers!). I've been moving my portfolio site to the same website, too, so it's been a learning curve in terms of bringing all these things together. I'll make the announcement soon, but www.rosedeniz.com will be the hub from January onward.

Wishing you and yours a healthy, creatively abundant new year!


19 December 2010

Conversation with Maggie Sutrov on Value, Story, and Ship

Grab a cup of coffee or tea, and listen to a great conversation I had with artist Maggie Sutrov on creativity, storytelling, and sharing your work! She's a painter in love with plein air, but has made a major shift and is working in more interactive and less object-centered ways.

I met Maggie on Triiibes after we both participated in an ongoing discussion on how artists can best market their work in a tight economy. We found that we both were moving away from a gallery model and gravitating towards storytelling and social media as a way to share and support an art career.

Listen to the podcast here!

16 December 2010

How art concepts apply to writing

Anne Wilson, Topographies, from Mouth to Mouth Mag
I remember piling into my intro art and design classes with other sleepy-eyed freshmen to learn how to draw, paint, and critique. We were taught how to see and to talk about a piece objectively, not just what we liked or disliked. We talked about craft and attention to detail. When it came to subjectivity, we were taught to point out what was or was not working, and why.

Laura Miller at Salon.com this week tells us Why we love bad writing, and one of her reasons is about flow:

Novels are praised for being a "fast read" and above all for having writing that "flows." "Flow" is an especially fascinating term because it's one that literary critics have never used, and it perfectly captures the way that clich├ęd prose can be gobbled up in chunks at a breakneck pace.

I'm interested in her attention to "flow" because it does get used in visual arts and design. It's how your eye moves, or how the line work or composition flows. To me, books that flow do not always equate cliche. As M. D. (Dom) Benoit asks, "Plot vs. quality. What a concept. Why not both?"

How does an art concept like flow apply to writing? There is something seamless and tight about prose that flows. It means something is working below the surface to grab a reader or viewer's attention and hold them tight.

So, what do you think, why not both

08 December 2010

One artifact

One of these three. Which one got broken?
It survived a tumble in a suitcase across the ocean. It managed to escape breaking at the grabby hands of my 4-year old. It also teetered on the edge of the bed one morning thanks to my 2-year-old daughter, but never fell.

The hand-painted statuette my mom made when she was a little girl, it's pastel pink dress and creamy white angel wings, was like the traveling gnome prank, always showing up somewhere new in our house. But now it's gone to artifact heaven, that place where all the little tchotchke's go when they're broken. Fitting that the word tchotchke is from Yiddish* - my mother's family spoke it, and I wonder if my bookish, clutter-oriented grandmother would be dismayed I have so few of them now.

At a time when I'm paring down stuff, it surprises me how hard it is to accept that the ceramic is gone.

How do you say goodbye to an object that is emotionally laden?

It's timely that the theme of the inaugural issue of MOTIF Mag is Nostalgia. It's cover is graced with a retro feel, but a quick peek inside shows nostalgia can take on a fresh look.

I'm proud to have designed the logo and title of this enticing and lovely free online magazine. Partnering with Lara Cory and Tegan Pasley, we created a motif, no less, for a theme-oriented magazine welcoming talent, skills, and ideas from readers related to the next issue. I hope you'll subscribe and seep yourself in the world of nostalgia. 

*The OAD says the first usage of tchotchke was in the 60's, Merriam-Webster the 70's. Regardless of when it came into parlance, the little effigy I moved from ramshackle apartment to apartment in the Midwest and then over to Turkey, was made in 1955, born just in time to fit the definition.

01 December 2010

Hello, Creative Block!

It started off innocently enough. A day or two of procrastination. Then stuff came up. And then more stuff. And then someone asked me about my book, and all of a sudden, I felt like a writer-impersonator.

It happens that fast, I marveled.

While the writer world tapped to the NaNoWriMo beat this past November, I wrote a scene here, a mock-interview with my protagonist there, my words moving at a trickle. I put everything I had into my first draft in August, but still thought I'd keep myself buoyed up by NaNo adrenaline. I know others, like MadMemoirist, could relate to feeling out of sync with the month-long no-holds-barred writing feast. We sent each other tweets of support - you go girl! aim for low word count! hang out on the couch and enjoy your TV over the roar of the NaNo crowd!

I have a parenting rule of thumb, though: when I want to retreat, get closer. Get down on the ground on my knees, pull child to chest, get closer. It almost never fails to soothe and stop a problem from getting bigger. Sometimes I don't know what I'm supposed to do - but I stop and ask myself about my reaction, rather than theirs: if I want to leave the room, I make myself stay. Creative types, especially if you are HSP like me, will understand why you'd want to shut out the stimulation, but it works.

Here are two posts this week that helped me get closer to why I was having creative block (hint: the ubiquitous internal editor), and helped me get back to the book:

-Judith van Praag's NaNoWriMo Editor/Devil - Git Friendly or Git!
-Chris Brogan's You Are So Stupid

How do you know when to get closer or walk away from a creative project?