Why We Need To Create.

“Sure. It’s hard to be creative when the world is a shitstorm. But that’s when we need good art to escape into.” Alan Baxter

I saw this tweet yesterday, and it resonated with me. I have myself, at times, been consumed with what is going on around us so much that it has drained me of all my creativity. But this tweet stayed with me, dug deep into my creative soul and pushed me to bare myself. To create. To write. 

As a writer, I can create wonderful worlds that both I and my readers can escape into when we need to forget about reality. Worlds we want to linger in forever, turning page after page, never wanting it to end. A world with no deadly bugs or power-hungry humans with deadly intentions. Or at least if I do create such worlds I can have solutions and an ending, and we can pop into such worlds knowing we have the power to close the book when we have had enough. Not stuck with ongoing pages of misery, fear, frustrations and inhumane actions.

I can develop characters that are flawed and real but who have hearts that make us want to connect with them, to cheer them on in their journeys, to be their bestie. Souls we long to have in our own reality where genuine connections are becoming harder each day. We can spend time in their homes enjoying cups of tea or glasses of wine over chats. My reader and I can be inside their minds, reading their innermost thoughts, knowing them as you would know an old friend. I can have them enjoy interesting events that perhaps I never will enjoy or perhaps I have experienced in my past. My characters can take on interesting challenges to build their personalities, to make them grow and learn. To make them better humans. Humans that I want to know and continue to have in my life, or humans who need to learn more, and with just a few of my words on a page, I can have them deal with the consequences of their actions.

In our real world, many of us feel more and more like puppets in a play where the puppet master is unknown. In my written worlds, I am the puppet master. I pull the strings even if sometimes it may feel like my characters are taking me on their journeys. But I always have the power to write THE END.

When I write, it comes from my mind and my heart. It gives me immense joy, but what keeps me going is knowing someone else may read it one day and have a moment of equal joy. It feeds my need to keep writing even when the world is a shitstorm.

Yes, indeed we need good art. More than ever. To heal our traumatised hearts, restore our faith in humanity and feed the hungry creative souls of both the writer and the reader. 

So go forth, my writer friends, and create. Today!

Lines In Life

When I started getting more serious about photography one of the first tasks in our class was to go find examples of lines around us.
I still sometimes gravitate towards seeing and capturing these lines.
Some bring a lot of joy like this weeks water/nature lines, but the lines in the PCR testing site was little joy. 4.5 hours waiting. But in the end all worth it to ensure we keep each other safe.
Hoping your lines are more of the admiration types.
Take care all.

HOW TO LIVE WITH FEAR AND BE OK

Do you experience that gripping feeling of fear that you can’t explain? Do you feel that heaviness and need to cry for no reason in the early hours of the morning when many of us are often alone. The world and the day’s business not yet distracting our thoughts and our fears.

I think many of us have experienced it, especially over the last 18 months.

It’s hard to block out the daily news of another lockdown, another virus strain, the tally of cases and deaths on top of the rest of the ‘normal’ bad news from around the world.
I have heard so many utter ‘will it ever end’, and understand how hard it can be to stay positive when there is so much uncertainty surrounding us all. In addition, the normal support and human contact with our family and friends taken away from us just adds the to enormity of the problems in our troubled minds.

But one thing will always be there. 

We always control our reaction. We can choose to curl up and give up, or we can choose to accept and make the most of what life throws at us.

I know, not always easy. 

Keep reading for some things that I do to help me stay calm and be in control of my reaction. 

JOURNALLING

Writing your thoughts and feelings down gets them out of your head and frees your mind up to be still and see any issue in a new light. Writing doesn’t give us a solution, but it helps. The old ‘problem shared problem halved’ is so true. Keep a notebook handy next to your bed for those mornings or nights when you feel anxious.

CONNECTING

Staying in regular contact with family and friends either via online, phone calls or in person if allowed. This is important for anybody living by themselves like me. You also may never know when your call may be just what the other person needs that day. Reach out. We all need to feel connected. It’s a human basic need, not a sign of weakness.

EXERCISE

Exercise releases chemicals called endorphins and triggers a happy feeling. Get yourself moving!

If you can’t get outside or to a gym, just do what you can inside. Put the music up high and dance. Do a yoga session. Get some cans out and do weights. Walk around your place. There is so much inspiration available online, just tap into it and get moving. 

If you can get outside, go for a daily walk or a bike ride. If you’re lucky enough to live near a beach, even better. The fresh air and sunshine will do your body and mind wonders. 

When Covid first hit and I had to work from home, I started a regular daily yoga routine. I have had no back issues since. I feel strong and it soothes my mind.

HOBBIES

Take time out for your existing hobbies or start new ones. Spending time on what you love doing is the best mood enhancer. 

I love being creative. My passions are writing and taking photos. 

Emerging myself in a fiction story is a wonderful way to escape the real world for just a few hours. I can bring characters and events to life with my imagination. 

Taking photos requires me to look at everything around me. My lens acts like a child’s eye, taking delight in the smallest details; a bright flower, rain drops on a branch, reflections in a rock pool, the shape of a cloud. 

HEALTHY EATING

What we put into our bodies affects both our physical and mental being. We all indulge, but I know if I eat too much chocolate or drink too much coffee, my brain gets that fuzzy feeling. It slows down and my body feels sluggish. But when I eat well, not only do I feel good about myself, my body also responds with additional energy. My problems and daily tasks no longer enormous obstacles. 

As long as I eat healthy most of the time, I can have the odd indulge. My body and mind are strong enough to accept that sometimes I just feel like chocolate and that is ok.

ACCEPTANCE

So much in life we have no control over. Especially now. 

But we can choose to accept our situation and we can control our reaction to it. 

I am a firm believer that we are all where we need to be at any moment in life. 

That does not mean we have to always just accept like a doormat. If we want change, then we can choose to change our lives. But if we do not have that control, we can accept and choose to be ok with our current situation. To still feel joy in some part of our lives. Maybe as simple as watching the rain outside dropping on the plants still living. Maybe it’s watching a good movie on Netflix, reading a brilliant book, preparing an enjoyable meal. So many simple things in life can bring us happiness. We just have to focus a little harder sometimes.

I hope, wherever you are and whatever your situation, this post has given you some helpful tips.

Stay safe and keep yourself well in body and mind. 

The Xmas Card

Photo by Danish photographer Rene Asmussen – https://www.pexels.com/@reneasmussen

Anna sat down to write on the multi coloured Christmas card she had spent over an hour selecting in the David Jones Xmas section. Baby animals jumping around the well known portly man in his red suit filled the front of the card. Anna was sure her new grandson would love it. Her first grandchild.

‘Dear Jacob’, Anna started, imagining her daughter reading out the words to the young baby who’s age was still being counted in weeks and days.

Anna wanted the card to be special. It was going to be Jacob’s first Christmas. She would much prefer to be there, to hold him tight and whisper ‘Merry Christmas my little one’ into his ear, but it was not to be this time.

She stared at the blank inside of the card. The words did not flow. Instead, wet giant silent tears formed and trickled down her cheek. Images of Jacob from the many photos and videos her daughter Lilly had sent rolled in front of her eyes. This tiny human that she had yet to meet in person had already taken up a massive chunk of her heart. He was not her own baby, but the feelings she felt for him seemed as strong as her feelings were for Lilly. It had taken Anna by surprise, and memories of holding her own babies had come flooding back. She longed to hold this baby, but it was too dangerous to travel just yet with the pandemic still raging.

She wiped her cheek and pushed the chair back, making it almost fall over. The heat in her chest spread like wildfire across her body, causing knots in her throat and redness in her cheeks. 

Damn flushes. Not now!!

Anna couldn’t control the tears or the hot flush, and raced to the bathroom, stripped down naked into the shower of welcoming cool water. While the tears flowed down her cheeks the tightness in her chest and throat eased. The roughness of the towel drying her body felt comforting.

She walked back into the kitchen and made herself a cool drink from the fresh mint leaves and soda, then pulled out the old family photo album.

Pictures of happy faces over the years, sleeping babies, birthday parties and picnics. And many Christmas’s; silver and gold adorned trees, tables laded with turkey and glazed ham, steaming pudding full of rich marinated fruit and warm creamy custard. 

Christmas in so many locations, most years in their old red brick home. But also the occasional Christmas spent abroad in the cold northern winter with snow and darkness outside, and smells of vanilla cookies, roast pork and pine needles inside. Other times with friends up north in the blistering heat, everyone in swimmers in the backyard under the tarp thrown over the Hills-hoist, and the kids playing with their water guns soaking wet and laughing.

So many memories in the photo album, but also in Anna’s heart and she knew in her children’s heart. No Christmas had ever been a sad event for the little ones, even if the adults had had their own problems to deal with. For the kids, every Christmas had always meant good times and lots of presents. 

Jacob would have many more Christmas days, and Anna knew she would celebrate with him one day. His parents would be with him this year. It would be their new little family Christmas. Their time to start their very own mesh of old and new family traditions filling albums of happy memories.

Anna sat down to write.

Dear Jacob,

You don’t know me yet, but you will soon. I am your Grandma from Sydney, where our Christmas is in summer, and the sun shines almost every day. We will meet one day, and I will read Australian books to you, and show you pictures from your mum’s homeland. Maybe one day you can visit me, and I can take you to places I am sure you will love; giant beaches and bays, shady bush lands with enormous trees reaching right up to the clouds, and so many wonderful animals that will make you squeal with delight.

Till we meet my love, I welcome you to life, and hope you have a wonderful blessed Christmas with your very own mum and dad.

Love Grandma xxx

What Makes You Smile?

These posts so far have always been around my own experiences and photos to match.

But I have to share this link today as it totally made me smile and feel good. Music and dancing is such a wonderful combination. It always lifts my spirit.

This guy’s guitar playing and interaction with people in the street is so heart warming.

I am his newest massive fan. Check out this video and more on UTube

Go Borja Catanesi!

What Makes You Smile?

Exploring my neighbourhood with my camera.

With Covid restrictions this year many Australians have missed their usual overseas trips. We are a travelling nation and frequent flyers. But 2020 and Covid-19 put a stop to that.

The silver lining in these travel restriction has been getting to know our own backyard. I have lived in this area for over 20 years, and today was the first time I actually crossed this walking bridge at Como.

I took my digital camera, first time this year , and took a few snaps. With everything going on around me I had forgotten how much I enjoy just getting out there seeing the world with new eyes. That’s what I love about photography. Seeing the details around us. The things we are too busy to sometimes notice.

Then to finish my photo outing having lunch with a good friend overlooking the water was just the icing on the cake.

Stay safe where ever you are, and don’t forget to keep finding reasons to smile.

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