The Practice of Creativity

Posts Tagged ‘art

Today is the beginning of my fifth full day in Portobelo, Panama and I have fallen into a great writing rhythm. I’m awake by 7 and I usually do a little bit of exercise and meditation. I then settle into writing for an hour or two and then go downstairs and have breakfast made by Soledad, a wonderful cook.

After breakfast and a bit of socializing with some of the other guests, I then get some more writing done until lunch which is usually served by 12:30.

 

With great food like this served daily, I am having to up my exercise game.

It’s the rainy season here so if it looks sunny then we’re pretty spontaneous about taking a walk or heading over by boat to a beach.

This was on a hill overlooking Portobelo on a clear day.

 

I couldn’t get a great picture of this heron but I was fascinated by it as I watched it go about catching fish. This was taken on a little beach that we took a boat to get to.

It is rumored that the famous pirate and sea captain Sir Francis Drake is buried on that little island. He was a scourge to the Spanish.

 

I’ve never actually seen an ant cutting leaves in the wild, but they were on this beach!

Wandering around town is also an option, if it isn’t too hot.

Writing prompt: There is great public art all over the town. Make up a story about this figure on the wall. Who is he? What’s he up to?

 

Writing prompt: There is a tradition of ‘the Black Christ’ in Panama, especially Portobelo. What does this image provoke in you?

 

Writing prompt: What is this wall made of? How would you describe the texture? Why does this wall exist?

 

Writing prompt: Who owns this monkey? What has been the monkey’s life up until this day? Tell a story about how the monkey escapes.

After that, I usually take a break from writing and do some reading and research.

If I’m lucky, I’ll catch a quick nap in one of the hammocks!

Another writer here has lent me James Scott Bell’s Conflict and Suspense which is packed with great ideas about building up conflict in one’s work. He suggests to make sure the stakes are high for your main character and that they face either physical death, professional death (“something on the line here that will make or break the Lead in the area of her life’s work”) or psychological death. It’s great if your character faces more than one type of death, especially in a novel.

After dinner, I usually get another few hours of writing under my belt. I love staying up late and either listening to a writing podcast or doing a bit more reading.

Over the weekend, I’ll be tackling some of the harder projects that I brought with me that need a lot of attention.

More soon!

 

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Greetings! I’m in Portobelo, Panama right now! I’m here as an artist in residence through Creative Currents Artist Collaborative. Creative Currents Artist Collaborative is an Atlanta-based, internationally focused arts organization whose mission is to widen and deepen public engagement with the arts and cultures of Africa and the Black Diaspora. I’m here with a university colleague of mine who helped to co-found CCAC. We’re collaborating on several projects related to Black Speculative Arts. When not working on that I’ll spend time on my own creative work.

I’ve written 5 tips on preparing and making the most out of a retreat/residency. As I said in that post:
“I’ve seen writers come back from a residency deflated because they had set unrealistic writing goals. Most folks are exhausted by the time they get to attend a writing residency. They’ve been juggling work, family responsibilities, community commitments, etc., often at a frenzied place. It can take a few days, during the residency, to decompress and reconnect to deep creative work. I’ve also known writers whose inner critics got the best of them and consequently didn’t get as much writing done. Or they got so intimidated by the other writers and instructors that they weren’t able to make enduring connections or contacts.”

I think the key for me is to let new rhythms unfold and to allow myself to be entranced by the sounds, smells and sights of Panama, a country which I have never visited before.

I’ve already fallen in love with the residence that I’m staying in.

 

There is art by local artists everywhere in the house.

 

I will have to find out more about this painting. It’s in my bedroom and I really like it!

 

Today, I am clearing the decks, doing some email, taking care of things and organizing my notes and materials that I brought with me. Unlike the residency I attended previously, this time, I am not taking any workshops. I can structure my days however I choose.

It’s fun and daunting to figure out which projects I want to work on while here. My challenge will be to not start too many new pieces but to finish some of the ones I came with.

I’ll be posting pictures and maybe prompts over the next several days.

I know that this hammock and I are going to get well acquainted over the next week! Good place for reading and incubating ideas.

Affirmations-366Days#347:  I grant myself permission to be an artist.

For new readers, here’s why I’m committing to writing affirmations, about the creative process, during the next 366 days.

Affirmations-366Days#306: I let my passion for pursuing a creative life show.

For new readers, here’s why I’m committing to writing affirmations, about the creative process, during the next 366 days.

Affirmations-366Days#247: As a creative artist, I cultivate the mindset of curiosity.

For new readers, here’s why I’m committing to writing affirmations, about the creative process, during the next 366 days.

Affirmations-366Days#218: I act as if I am already living my highest expression of a creative life.

For new readers, here’s why I’m committing to writing affirmations, about the creative process, during the next 366 days.

Affirmations-366Days#194: I embrace the term artist and all the possibilities it holds.

For new readers, here’s why I’m committing to writing affirmations, about the creative process, during the next 366 days.


Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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