Mon. Aug. 19, 2019: Feng Shui for Inspiration — #UpbeatAuthors

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image by silviarita via pixabay.com

Monday, August 19, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

We’ve talked about using paintings to inspire us when we’re stuck. So many other art forms can also be used: any of the fine arts (sculpture, textiles, mixed media) or music or dance or anything else.

But sometimes nothing works.

That’s when applying the principles of Feng Shui to our creativity is useful.

There are two parts to this: applying it to the space in which you work, and applying it to the project itself. It might sound weird to Feng Shui a project, but I’ll explain how I do it.

There are multiple schools of Feng Shui. I like the Black Hat School, which Karen Rauch Carter details in her book MOVE YOUR STUFF, CHANGE YOUR LIFE. In my opinion, this is the best Feng Shui book out there, and makes the most sense to my life.

Feng Shui for Space
Draw a bagua, writing in the nine life areas: career, skills & knowledge, family, prosperity, fame & reputation, relationships & love, creativity & children, helpful people & travel, and health in the appropriate points, per the typical bagua. In this piece, the techniques I talk about are from the Black Hat School. If you use Compass School, or a different technique, you might have to adjust where you stand with your bagua to survey the space.

Holding the bagua in your hand, stand in the doorway of your workspace and look around the room. Look at the placement of furniture, decorations, windows, mirrors, etc., and see what falls into each area of the bagua.

Using advice from the Feng Shui School of choice, start moving around objects so that they fit into the correct area of the bagua. If there’s something that can’t be moved, or something missing, look up the “cures” to balance it out. Even more important, clean your workspace. Tidy things up. Dust. Vacuum. Wash the windows. Water the plants. Rearrange furniture if you can or want to. Change the curtains or tablecloths or throw pillows or pictures. Remove anything that is dead or broken. Remove anything that doesn’t serve you any more.

Look through the rest of the house or things you have packed away to see if you already own something that serves as a “cure.”

You don’t have to throw out items with sentimental value just because they don’t fit the space anymore. Pack them away, with gentleness and compassion. A time will come when you want to freshen your space again, and then it might fit. In lean times and sad times, items I packed away ages ago have come in handy on multiple physical and emotional levels.

I genuinely believe that all these organizers who try to get you to throw out perfectly good “stuff” are just trying to get you to buy more stuff. If it’s still useful and purposeful, even if it isn’t needed right this second, pack it gently away and save it for the future.

Take another look at the space. If something still doesn’t feel quite right, keep tweaking it. But I bet you feel happier just being in the space.

Often cleaning up my writing room helps get me out of the “stuck” place, or the uninspired place.

Additionally, looking at the areas in both my writing room and the overall house, and making adjustments in the relevant areas will help get my creativity moving again.

Stand at your front door, looking at your entire space. Where does your writing space fall within the bagua? Mine is in the Helpful People & Travel sector in this house. So I have power tools in the writing room that serve Helpful People & Travel in respect to the overall house, while also looking at the room itself and seeing where the room itself falls into the bagua. It can get a little confusing sometimes, and I find myself adjusting and readjusting after most big projects. I’m a nester, which means wherever I work — the desk, the reading/writing chair, etc. — I tend to pile up what I’m using.

Feng Shui for Projects
How the heck do you Feng Shui a project?

I bet there’s advice on that out there somewhere. At the time of this writing, I haven’t read any, but writing this piece makes me want to hunt it down, if it exists.

However, I’ve come up with a couple of techniques on my own.

Have Your Character Do Some Feng Shui
See what happens if you write a scene or sequence where your character does some Feng Shui on their own space. Sometimes rearranging the character’s space helps the writer push through. That doesn’t mean you have to leave the sequence in the piece, unless it works. You can always cut it.

Remember that nothing written is ever wasted, even if it’s cut from the final draft. You needed to write it to GET to the final draft.

Use the Bagua on Your Plot
Take a look at the nine areas of the bagua. How do they relate to your protagonist’s journey? What pieces are missing, and how do they serve as a catalyst to the protagonist’s journey? Are any of them healed during the course of the book?

Conversely, when you look at the bagua, is there any area you can think of making more difficult for your character, and upping the stakes on the story? Is anything going a little too well in the character’s life, and needs more complications for a more engaging plot?

The act of cleaning and rearranging gets you out of torpor and into motion. As your body moves, your brain starts to re-engage, and that helps get your creativity flowing. Plus, a beautiful space is a much more welcoming space for your work!

Change Where You Work on the Project
Where does your workspace fall into the bagua of your home? Is there another place that would work better? Perhaps the Creativity & Children sector, or the Career Sector? The Prosperity or the Fame and Reputation Sector? Trying working in a different spot, and see if that rattles the creativity loose again.

This Week’s Task
Read a book on Feng Shui (libraries usually have several). Compare different styles. Pick one area of your home to Feng Shui and work on it.

Have you used Feng Shui in your home or your work? What style do you use? What were the results? Let me know in the comments.

Also, in the comments, talk about your Artist Date, and what kind of paintings or other art you experienced, and how it helped.

Tues. Aug. 6, 2019: Life And . . .

Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot and humid

It’s been nearly a week since I blogged about daily life. I needed the break.

Today is Lucy’s first anniversary since she came to live with us. She’s grown from being a shy, terrified cat into a friendly, inquisitive lovebug. She makes every day better.

Late last week, I struggled with stress and motivation. My client kept telling me the check was mailed; it kept not arriving. It finally got here yesterday, just as I was getting ready to send a second invoice with a late fee. I’ve already cut this client too many breaks: didn’t require a deposit due to past work together; didn’t charge when one of the venues to which I uploaded the information changed and did it on my own time; gave 5 extra days past the 30 days before sending the invoice with the late fee. Needles to say, I won’t be cutting the client ANY breaks in the future. Deposit up front, late fee on the day it’s late. I no longer trust this client. That it’s typical of local clients doesn’t change the fact that it is unacceptable.

Work on both ELLA and GRAVE REACH was shaky. Had an idea that combined other ideas with which I’ve played for several years. Made some notes, but it’s the type of piece that won’t be done much faster than a page or two a day. I’m trying to combine themes from several other projects that haven’t quite worked. It’s percolating, but not really ready to be written yet, which is fine, since there’s plenty that HAS to be written at this point.

I’m having a lot of fun with the Upbeat Authors posts this month about inspiration. I’m playing with the #31Prompts posts, and it will probably take me a couple of years to write the projects inspired by them all. Having fun with the serial parable I’m doing on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Did house and hearth stuff. Have some worries on the home front, but we’ll see what happens.

Had a good meeting with a potential new client. I definitely have the skills and versatility they need, but it depends if they want versatility and skill, or merely a drone.

Went to a sound bath at the yoga studio on Friday night, which was good, although my back was giving me trouble.

Got my hair cut, finally, on Saturday. A totally different style than I’ve ever had, and it looks good. Fun, flirty, professional, a little retro. It goes with the way my hair naturally waves at this point (considering it used to be stick straight). It feels much, much better. Make-up updated, wardrobe freshened, new hair. Getting the changes started.

My hairdresser was an artist-turned-hair-art guy, and his boyfriend is an aspiring YA writer, studying for his MA. I reeled off a bunch of local writing resources. I always prefer to talk about my stylist than myself when getting my hair done. I’m not one to gossip about myself in the chair.

Read Soniah Kamal’s UNMARRIAGEABLE. Wow, is that a good book! Absolutely loved it. Will shelve it with the set of Jane Austen from my grandmother, and re-read it often. Soniah asked for a photograph of the shelf. Once I dust and light it properly so it photographs well, I’ll do it!

Started the book I’m reading for review. Started the next radio play, tentatively called “A Pier-less Crime.” It’s the next Frieda/Lazarus comedy.

Delved into art books for both the month of Upbeat Author posts on inspiration and the Canaletto play. Started re-Feng Shui-ing some of the house. Did more research on Caribbean recipes to incorporate into my writing. On the flip side of that, also made some more smoked trout pate, because it’s a good cool dish to eat on a hot day. And we had tiramisu, although I bought that. I’m not confidant enough to try making it — YET.

Read a couple of cozies (from two different series) by an author who always leaves me with mixed feelings about her work. There’s a lot of charm and warm detail. But her protagonists are too dependent on the men in their lives, cry too much, repeatedly get “tired” as a plot device to miss important information, and are always rescued by men during the climactic sequence instead of participating in their own survival.

Focused mostly on writing and reading on Sunday. I’m reading a mystery by a Spanish writer. Again, so different from the way US/British/Australian mysteries are structured. So interesting. With an unusual pair of detectives. I also read THE ABOMINATION by Jonathan Holt, set in contemporary Venice, dealing with the war crimes, especially against women, when Yugoslavia was split up. I couldn’t put it down. It’s a huge book, and I read it in one day.

Worked on my Llewellyn article, the play, GRAVE REACH.

Angry and heartbroken over the shootings in El Paso and Ohio. The Narcissistic Sociopath dances with glee that he can incite such violence, and his Russian handlers are delighted. The corruption in this administration is astonishing, although it’s been building since the Reagan years. None of this is a surprise. The lack of will to change it is disgusting.

Yesterday, had to go into my client’s early, so someone would be there to receive a shipment. Challenging day.

Meditation was much-needed.

But Sunday and Monday were good writing days, and this morning was, too. Onsite with a client for most of the day, before other appointments. Getting out some article pitches this week that I hope will hit their marks and create some additional income.

Back to the page.

Tues. March 6, 2012: Sunshine Sets the Mood

Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was one of those days when everything takes longer than it should. Got my materials out for Confidential Job #1 — and the next assignment showed up at my door that afternoon! Ran an errand in the morning, then made arrangements to get the car fixed. Thought it would be a quick in-and-out, but you know how that goes, so I wound up missing my friend’s talk out in Dennis. He said it went well — 100 people showed up! He’s a great speaker, so I’m not surprised.

Had more errands to run in the afternoon, which included a button hunt. Something I miss about NY — the button shops in the garment district. However, I finally managed to get to Tumbleweed’s Quilts, which is right up the road. What a magnificent shop! They didn’t have the buttons I was looking for, but I found some gorgeous material — a kind of an underwatery batik that I’m hanging over the fireplace instead of a mirror (feng shui — needs to be fire and water to make steam for best results in that space). Yes, it’s cloth, so one could argue earth, but it represents water. I also found some other beautiful pieces there that I’m using for this and that, and some humorous Day of the Dead fabric that compliments my Day of the Dead decorations and tiles.

Then, it was to Dennis (about three hours after my friend’s talk) to Ladybug, a great little knitting shop, where I found the perfect buttons for the current project — they look like silver snail shells. It will look nice against the pale blue yarn. And I rummaged in the discount bins and found some good stuff.

Worked with students, started Sensory Perceptions, wound up 5 in 10, worked with the year-longs and the private students. Sent off the article due. Comcast is being a bunch of lying, cheating dickheads as usual, so I will have to deal with them — again — later today. On my way to meditation now — lovely day to go up to Cobb’s Hill. A little cold, but that’s okay. Trying to get my feet back under me after last week, and preparing for my mom’s surgery on Thursday. But the sun is shining, and I’m looking forward to a good day.

Devon

Published in: on March 6, 2012 at 7:30 am  Comments (3)  
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Grassy Pond at Ashumet Holly Sanctuary

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and milder

Hop over to Gratitude and Growth, where I talk about patience and share photos of the crocuses and of the birdhouse.

Got some work done in the morning, set things aside as planned, and, in the sunshine, headed out to Ashumet Holly Sanctuary. It was beautiful — Grassy Pond was wonderful, I visited my favorite holly trees and the other favorite trees, and, basically, got to spend some wonderful time out there. I just adore the place. I hope, when the days are a bit milder, I can take a notebook out and get some writing done there.

On the way back, I stopped for gas, and then went grocery shopping — spent more than I wanted, but am stocked up for the start of Costume Imp’s visit. Unloaded everything, had a late lunch, started getting stuff in order for Imp’s visit. He’s going to have my room, so he can sleep in, and I’ll take the back bedroom, since I’ll be up and rummaging much earlier than anyone else in the house. I was making up the bed, and that’s when it turned to an I LOVE LUCY episode.

I needed a blanket — it’s still cold here. I dug through the boxes and found a lovely pink blanket. My grandmother gave it to me when I lived in NYC — she loved pink. It had been in storage for awhile, so I decided to run it through the washer and the dryer, finish making the bed, go back and spend time with my students, then start the moussaka. Sounds simple, right? Especially since I read the washing directions on the tag.

Well . . .

The washing machine sounded rather odd, and, when I came down, I found the blanket had entirely disintegrated in the washer, leaving about a foot and a half of pink sludge in it.

Scooping it out , scrubbing it, and flushing the lines took the rest of the day. Yes, I wore a mask. I have a garbage bag of pink sludge — they’re gonna love me at the dump — ahem “Transfer Center.” Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

This is what happens when you store non-natural fiber for too long! It’ll be in the landfill for damn ever, but it won’t stay in a usable form elsewhere!

The moussaka took longer than it should have to prepare, especially since I cut my finger and, well, it really IS rather rude to bleed onto the eggplant, don’t you think? 😉

We tried to hang one of the mirrors over the fireplace, but the shape and the size are out of proportion. The more we think about it, the more we’re going to look for a seascape painting to hang there instead. No, we wouldn’t put the TV over the fire place — the television represents fire, and to place it over a fireplace is AWFUL feng shui — practically begging for a chimney fire. Every time one of those faux “designers” does that, I want to toss ‘em off a cliff! The water imagery of a seascape will still be there for the feng shui, and it will look pretty. No, it won’t be a shipwreck — who wants that kind of energy in the space? And we need some sort of English country cottage-type landscape to go over the sofa. Maybe from someplace we’ve visited. Because the modern and abstract paintings I had in New York (yes, originals, by artist friends) just don’t work in this space. At some point, in some space, they’ll be perfect again — just not here and now.

And then — the day was over!

This morning, I have to be extraordinarily organized — catch up with my students, work on the play, prepare the materials for the dinner, do some stuff for the workshop, and get out the door by 10:30 AM. I’m going to a lunch/lecture in Cotuit given by an author who writes mysteries featuring one of my heroines, Nelly Bly. Then I’ll be back for about two hours, before heading out to a writers’ group dinner. And then, I have to prep for Thursday, where I’ll be out the door a little after 8 AM.

And so — to work!

Devon

Don’t forget to join Lori Widmer and me on March 26, 2011 for The Confident Freelancer.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

The alarm went off early, so I was out by 5 AM for the run.

I’ve been really lax about marketing, because I’ve concentrated so much on fiction and scripts over the past few months, but now that the theatre commissions are winding down (at least until the next round of meetings/commissions), I need to get back on the stick. The job listings have sucked the last few months — the content mills are pulling down a lot of the prices, and I’m not going to write a press release (for years my bread-and-butter) for one-fifth of my normal rate.

I looked at Media Bistro — LOTS of jobs, well over 1000, legitimate jobs at legitimate rates, but very few that interest me. One did, it’s a company I’ve looked at for awhile and something opened up I could definitely do, but the amount of invasive paperwork and “investigative rights” you’re supposed to sign over to even apply for the job pissed me off, and I decided not to. I don’t do drugs, but I’m still not going to pee into a cup on demand, nor am I going to sign paper work to let you delve into my personal life. My personal life’s not particularly interesting or salacious, but IT’S MINE, and it has nothing to do with providing copywriting for your frigging company. I could understand if it was some national-security type job for a government or research or medical or defense firm where people’s lives were on the line, but copywriting for this type of company? Give me a break. And, knowing what I do about this particular organization, at least 70% of the people administering the tests are cokeheads, so I don’t think so. Hypocrites. There was another organization that looks really interesting (and the application process less invasive), but the job offered isn’t really what I want. However, I’m going to do some research and send them a proposal creating the freelance position I want, and we’ll see.

The NYFA job search board has a lot of jobs listed — again, they’re good, solid, legitimate jobs, many with benefits, but not what I’m looking for, too much full-time; but I can pull information and do direct mail pitches. If I can get a mailing out by early June, that would be great. I’ve built an interesting prospect list over the past few months, but it doesn’t do anyone any good if it’s just sitting in a folder.

Got some work done on SETTLING THE SCORE. When I’m done with this sequence, some of these scenes will be darkly funny. The trick is to give the actors and director enough solid, specific text WITHOUT STAGE DIRECTIONS so they can explore and have fun and bring their uniqueness to the material, and yet make it precise enough so the layers of meaning are clear without everything being overly explained.

For some reason, I got very nauseous yesterday. It came and went all day. I have no idea why. I managed to get the grocery shopping done, and took a nap, but it wasn’t the productive day for which I hoped.

Cleaned a bunch of stuff. Literally wiped off all the papers that piled on top of my desk and stuck them in a box. I’m going to sort & file from that box for 15-30 minutes per day to get it all handled. I now have a clean desk, which, to Violet, means a place to perch and watch me while I work. I still have the old behemoth PC because I’m not done transferring the disks — yes, it’s taken over a year and I’m still not done — but there’s a lot more room to work. It’s been a long time since I had a clean desk. It’s a little intimidating, but hopefully, will lead to more productive worktime. Definitely better feng shui. I need to look up in my favorite feng shui book, MOVE YOUR STUFF, CHANGE YOUR LIFE, how to rearrange the desk.

“Organizers” say you “can’t” have “stuff” on the desk” — well, i can’t work without my “stuff”. It’s my creative fuel. I have my gargoyle and my dragon and my crystals and my Ganesh and other items that have personal creative meaning for me, along wiht the pens and the computer and the Rolodex and whatever I’m working on at the moment. Files are nearby, but not on the desk, and books are stacked in crates beside the desk by project, and office supplies in a bookcase against the wall beside the desk. Photos relevant to various projects are on corkboards, and I put the one I need up on top of the office supply bookcase where I can see it while I work. Works for me, and that’s what matters, right? I’ve yet to meet an “organizer” whose systems had any relevance to my life and work. Julie Morgenstern’s books come the closest, but then, she used to work in theatre, so she gets it.

Still haven’t heard back from the vet and am getting frustrated. I’m trying to hold Elsa steady, but we need to make decisions to move forward. If he needs to see her again (and wants me to dump more money at the facility) TELL me to make an appointment. Don’t just not get back to me.

Today is a day for dealing with scumbag landlords who are coming in to “make repairs”, but, in reality, coming in to snoop to see how they can continue to make lives miserable. Will also get on their case about the heat.

LOST just annoyed me yesterday, and that’s all I have to say about it. At this point in the story, I don’t care to learn backstory of anyone we’ve haven’t lived with a lot unless it takes 3 (short) scenes or less. Even if I did go to college with one of those guys. Again, no surprises, just the order in which they’re revealing stuff, and the length of time they’re taking to jerk the audience around.

I am looking forward to the day being over.

Hey, whaddaya know? 6:14 AM and the heaters are clanking. What do you figure, three, four minutes of heat this morning before they turn it off again?

Devon