Posts Tagged ‘self-expression’

Burghild Nina Holzer inspires us to write and discover who we are and what we have to say

August 20, 2014

When it comes to writing and creativity, one book I highly recommend is A Walk Between Heaven and Earth: A Personal Journal on Writing and the Creative Process by Burghild Nina Holzer. It’s all about finding your own voice, your own truth, that’s been building up inside you, waiting to be revealed, to yourself, to others.

I found it in a Women in Print bookstore in Vancouver, BC, Canada. This author and writing facilitator turns her book on the creative process into a journal thereby demonstrating what she is teaching. She shares personal observations about her life, the world around her, and how she encourages her students to write.

Read this book and you’ll be inspired to express yourself in writing. There is a beautiful excerpt on the back cover, edited down from the original, that reads:

Talking to paper is talking to the divine. Paper is infinitely patient. Each time you scratch on it, you trace part of yourself, and thus part of the world, and thus part of the grammar of the universe. It is a huge language, but each of us tracks his or her particular understanding of it.

Here is the full description under the journal entry 4:30 P.M. on page 55.

Talking to paper is like talking to the divine. It is talking to an ear that will understand even the most difficult things. Paper is infinitely patient. It will receive small fragment after fragment of a large network you are working on, without you yourself knowing it. It will wait out decades for you to put together the first faint traces of your own code, a code you might have understood as a small child but which you are now gathering on a new level of understanding. The white paper is waiting. Each time you scratch on it, you trace part of yourself, and thus part of the world, and thus part of the grammar of the universe. It is a huge language, but each of us tracks his or her particular understanding of it.

I’ve posted earlier entries on writing you may also find worthwhile: Writing—a poem on the writing process; INSPIRATION, a poem by Nathanael Chawkin; Elizabeth Gilbert—Some Thoughts On Writing; Writers on Writing–What Writing Means To Writers; and Words of Wisdom on Writing from Literary Lights.

Telling the Story of Silence by Ken Chawkin

September 13, 2012

Telling the Story of Silence
Yato vacho nivartante tad dhama-paramam mama*

That Silent place
From where speech returns
Is where Poetry begins

Scrawling across the page
It transforms itself
Into language

Standing up it walks
Straight into your heart
Singing its song

You have to emphasize
The nothingness
For something to be said

It speaks for itself

*From where the speech returns, that is my supreme abode.
Taittriya Upanishad 2.4.1 and Bhagavad-Gita 15.6, 8.21

© Ken Chawkin

This poem, What You May Not Know About Frankenstein, by Bill Graeser, was an inspiration! This poem by my son says it all: INSPIRATION, a poem by Nathanael Chawkin.

Related poems on this theme: Coalescing Poetry: Creating a Universe  Storytelling—a poem on the storytelling process | Poetry—The Art of the Voice | Silence | A Wake-Up Haiku.

Cliffhouse Deck at Dusk, 6th haiku in 13 Ways to Write Haiku: A Poet’s Dozen, brings our attention to a tiny soft sound, making us aware of the ‘loud’ vast silence, a point that enlivens infinity. John Cage would agree.

Just came across this 16-second introduction by John Cage to his composition 4’33” which says the same thing, in his own inimitable way. His literal truth and sense of humor come through.

The material of music is sound and silence.
Integrating these is composing.
I have nothing to say,
and I am saying it.

For the musicians who ‘performed’ the piece, and the audience who listened, the silence was palpable, as you’ll hear from Tommy Pearson’s introduction and concluding comments with Tom Service in this BBC Symphony Orchestra performance of John Cage at the Barbican. Towards the end he quotes Cage as saying, “Everything we do is music.”

You may also enjoy Writers on Writing–What Writing Means To Writers and the links at the end to other posts on writing.

ArtWords—poem about a creative awakening

January 7, 2012

Ever tried painting? I mean the creative kind, not just painting the walls of your apartment. During my last year (1998), living in Vancouver, BC, Canada, one of my friends gave me the gift of an art class with Anita Nairne, an intuitive artist and teacher. She had been studying with Anita and I was impressed with the transformation in her artwork. At the time Anita was promoting her classes as Paint with your Angels. I found her website and she now calls her Intuitive Painting workshops & classes Creative Awakening.

Painting From The Inside Out

Anita is like a midwife to your artistic instincts. It was an unforgettable experience. She gave me a large white gessoed piece of thick art paper stock, brushes, and acrylic paints, and told me to just cover it with paint, anyway I liked. Without realizing what was happening, I found myself freely, intuitively brushing blotches of paint all over the paper. I was having fun. At one point she took the paper and put it up on the wall under lights and asked me what I saw. She would outline those shapes with chalk, or erase them, depending on what I thought was there. Much to my surprise, the edges of those blotches looked like facial profiles. She returned the artwork and showed me how to accentuate and bring out the faces. At one point, I realized I was ‘painting’ a sort of visual biography of my life, ‘recognizing’ some of the people I had loved, and who had loved me, or at least attempts at loving.

Feelings Not Thoughts

During this process my active thinking mind was not involved—a rare occurrence for someone who’s used to working with words all the time to express himself. I was now creating from a deeper, quieter, more intuitive place within me. I was painting from my heart. I was painting feelings, and they were telling me something! That realization blew my mind. Automatically the words started to form in my mind to describe what had just happened. Below is a poem from that experience.

ArtWords

The artwork informs
The canvas reveals
The mind then knows
What the heart feels

The faces in the painting
The pictures of my life
Where love was a saviour
Where love caused much strife

This process uncovers
Those parts of our lives
To show us the truth
To make us more wise

It’s possible to know
It’s possible to forgive
I’ll never forget you
As long as I live

© Ken Chawkin

I returned for two more classes. I was taking a new direction in my life and was getting ready to leave town in a few months to join the Purusha group in North Carolina. During my last class, I guess that sense of impending movement and transformation, the anticipated travel and making a new beginning, was trying to express itself on paper. I ended up painting a brightly colored phoenix bird at the top, flying eastward. Prophetic!

Here is a related poem featured in a film about verbal vs visual creativity: A poem in a movie inviting you to be who you are.

At last—the truth about Frankenstein

August 19, 2011

This is one of my favorite poems, written by a good friend and a fine poet, Bill Graeser. The title links to his blog where the poem is posted:

What You May Not Know About Frankenstein

Although he had not the hands to crochet, the patience to build birdhouses or the nerve to push a hook through a worm in the hope of pulling a fish from the sea, he did write poems and wrote often and late into the night.  Was it pain that made him write?  The pain of all those stitches, of shoes that despite their size were still too small?  Was it psychological pain of social non-acceptance?  Or the electricity that years later still snapped between his fingers?

No, it was simply what his brain wanted to do, the brain they dug up and sowed into his head, it was just grave-robbing luck.  At poetry readings, where everyone is welcome, he read his poems sounding like a man who having fallen into a well and cried out for years was now finally being heard.

Like this there are many so-called monsters with poems to share.  The same is true of angels, of gangsters, shepherds, anyone who fits words together like body parts, revises, revises again, until magically, beautifully, lightning leaps from the pen and the poem opens its eyes, sits up from the page, staggers into the world, and whether it is seen as monster, or friend, it is alive, every word it says is real and it comes not from the grave, but from the sky.

© Bill Graeser

Also see Bill Graeser memorializes Ansel Adams in his award-winning poem “Magic Light”.

In an interview for the Fall 2001 issue of Paris Review, George Plimpton asks US Poet Laureate Billy Collins to describe what it takes to be a poet.

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