#writerswednesday: Inspiration, Muses and Impulses

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#writerswednesday: inspiration, muses and impulses

Hey my dears,

one of the frequently asked questions I get asked is:
“What inspires you?”
or
“Where do you find inspiration in a phase when you’re absolutely not creative?”

Cliché would say: I find inspiration in everything, the world is full of wonders, you just have to open your eyes.

And although there is truth to it, I’m not cliché enough to let it stand like that without any additional information.
Besides that I think it’s time to give credit to those that spark inspiration and help me write.

So, yes, this life, this world offers so much that you can draw inspiration from, starting with a fresh wind in the morning transporting smells to you that set your memory in motion and make you think about an event, a person or a moment of your childhood for instance that you then reflect upon. Your cat jumping elegantly onto the sofa and moving in a dainty way and you observing her to learn. It can be the weather, a flower, the news, something you see, hear, touch, perceive with one or many of your senses.
Yes, the list would get really really long and the human mind is complex enough that probably you yourself won’t be able to trace back each and every spark of inspiration that just lit the lamp in your head, you know.
But sometimes you can determine exactly where the inspiration came from.
And I’d say there are several elements that quite frequently touch upon the creative corners of the mind:
* people
* overheard conversations
* emotions
* surroundings
* social observations

We’ll take it step by step: People

There are people that with their worldview, their attitude, their physical appearance and presence just make you stop whatever you’re doing and draw you into a sphere full of ideas and creativity. You just want to listen, to observe, yes, you want to inhale them, take a bite, devour this energy.
There is this notion that creatives are like vampires that suck out the creative energy from people and their surroundings.
Or these sweaters that state “Careful. You may end up in my novel.” (I always wanted to have one of these tbh, haha)
And it’s not too far off to say that oftentimes we draw inspiration from the encounters we have with other people.
What I don’t like is the idea of vampire in the sense that we take away from another person. We do, kind of, but I personally try to avoid leaving the table empty, so I make sure I bring something myself, that way, an exchange and a fruitful mutually inspiring place is created for both parties.
I’d like to take this moment to express my gratitude towards the people I was allowed to encounter that moved my mind and made me think, feel and explode into creative ecstasy.
I’m grateful and I want you to know that you are special.

Little excursion:
Oftentimes there would be two kinds of people: Those that think that what they bring to the table would never inspire anyone. And those that think they are so inspiring that you should have written a whole book for them already.
Let me tell you something: To those that think they don’t bring enough, when an artist sends you a poem, a text, a picture, they created because of the fire you or the interaction with you ignited, don’t take it as a compliment. Take it as the truth that you are special, inspiring and that you harbour more power within yourself than you probably know.
To those that think they’re giving so many great impulses: When you watch the works of an artist that you encountered, stop trying to read yourself into it and claim it yours, it will only end up in frustration once they tell you that it wasn’t you but someone else who lit that idea. And if you ever inspire an artist, know that this is something special.
I’m sorry to say that, but sometimes this cockiness drives me mad and raises another question: Would you also claim the inspiration for an artwork if it was ugly, rough, hurtful, nasty?
Everybody wants the flowers and the blooming blossoms of beauty, but you know what? Even if you encounter a critical, nasty poem full of pain, that was based on you, it’s an honour, cause you moved their emotions enough to make them write about it.
(I know it sounds weird, but let that just sink in for a moment.)

Back to gratitude: Are there specific people that you can always go to and be sure that you’re gonna go home with new ideas?
Yes and no.
There are people who have the tendency to inspire you again and again. These are the ones I’d call a muse. And I’m more than grateful to have been allowed to meet people like these.
Not many, one specifically, but it’s a precious treasure that I value a lot.
But it wouldn’t make me try to exploit that person for the sheer sake of inspiration.
Either it comes naturally or it doesn’t.
At least that’s my attitude towards it. And it is also connected to valuing and honouring your muse by not squeezing them like a lemon and leaving them empty.

Now, does that mean if some of my close friends don’t inspire me, that I love them less?
Obviously, yes! What are they good for if they don’t lit a lyrical lamp?!
Just kidding, of course the amount of poems I write for, to or about you does say something about our connection, but it doesn’t necessarily say anything about the intensity of love I feel for you or about the love I feel for others.
There are a million reasons and a billion ways to love someone, and yes, it is a special connection you have with your muse, but none of it takes away the love my heart harbours for someone I’ve never written a piece for.
Just like the saying “The beauty of another woman doesn’t take away your own.” or however it goes, it’s the same with inspiration.
So there is no need to compete or to compare yourself and the amount of works someone produced for or about you to the works someone else inspired.
It’s a process set in motion that sometimes the artist themselves can’t describe in every detail. It just is.
Nevertheless, don’t take it for granted, but also, don’t feel bad if there’s is none or just one piece of art you inspired.
This doesn’t mean you have no meaning, and it surely doesn’t mean you’re not loved.

There is this saying that you can learn from anyone, even if it’s only what you don’t want or how you don’t want to be or want to behave.
So, inspiration can be drawn from “positive” encounters, as well as from “negative” encounters.
But often we’d prefer the feel good vibe of the word inspiration than reflecting upon the possibility that even moments and people that don’t makes us feel like cakes and cherry pie can lead to a spark of inspiration. We like this idea of being a positive impulse for our surroundings, and true, it’s nice. But let me tell you something: De Profundis by Oscar Wilde would have never been written, had he not been betrayed and sold by someone he loved and thought of as a partner.
Does this now mean we need to search for struggle and suffering in order to be great artists like Oscar?
Well, we could discuss that and I have many thoughts on this topic, too, but this would rather be dealt with in a separate post or in an additional format.
Would you like to talk about it? Well, my answer is yes.

Now, before this post gets too long, I recommend you join me on my balcony to continue this chat.
I’ll announce when the random rambling and prolific ponder is on.

How about you?
What inspires you? What inspires you in people?
Can you pinpoint it down and put a finger on specific traits, expressions, movements that ignite inspiration in you?

Please let me know in the comment section below.

So long, my dears.

xx

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#sundaystory: Vergewaltigt

#sundaystory: Vergewaltigt

Für leseschreiberin
Die vorgegebenen Elemente waren:

a) Deutsch
b) Vergewaltigt
c) Theater, Luft, spiegelverkehrt
d) Komödie

Vergewaltigt

“Ich habe mir das alles nochmal vergewaltigt und denke, dass du viel zu wenig über Kunst und Kultur weißt, Dana.”, sagt mein Vater.

“Verge-was, Papa?”

“Na, ich hab mir die ganze Situation nochmal durch den Kopf gehen lassen, mir angeschaut, wie du so deinen Tag verbringst, ich habe mir das eben alles nochmal vergewaltigt.”

“Du meinst vergegenwärtigt, ja?”

“Oh, Frau Gymnasium macht jetzt hier einen auf superschlau und versucht den Alten nass zu machen, was? So nicht, Frollein! Ich sage dir, du lernst ja nix, immer nur Schminke hier und Freunde treffen da.”

Ich rolle mit den Augen und atme tief durch.

“Papa, in Anbetracht der Tatsache, dass ich seit Wochen für die Abschlussprüfung durchlerne und jede Nacht nur um die vier Stunden schlafe, glaub mir, es ist besser für uns alle, wenn ich mich schminke und nicht aussehe wie ein überfahrener Iltis, okay?”

“Jaja, lernen”, sagt er und setzt dabei das Wort ‘lernen’ mit seinen ketchupverschmierten Fingern in Anführungszeichen.

“Papa!”

“Dana,” sagt er schmatzender und mampfender Weise. “Du trifft deine Freundinnen faft jeden Tag und ftändig quatft ihr nur über die Jungf und jetf willf du mir daf alf lernen verkaufen…”

Ich rolle erneut mit den Augen. “Papa, erstens versteh ich nur die Hälfte, wenn du ne halbe zerkaute Kuh in der Schnute hast und zweitens, welche Jungs?!”

Er schluckt den letzten Bissen runter. “Aha, hast mich also doch verstanden! Na, die ganzen hier, wie sie heißen da… William und Oscar und dann irgendwelche Intrigen mit Virginia und Jane und was weiß ich, was ihr euch da für ne Seifenoper zusammenquatscht, wenn ihr da nächtelang zusammen Pyjamaparty macht.”

Ich. raste. aus.

Kurzer, ganz kurzer Einblick in die Situation. Jeden Sonntag im Sommer grillen wir draußen auf der Terrasse. Richtig hübsch klassisch. Also klassisch asi. Vatti in Fliegerseide und Mutti mit Lockenwicklern um den Kopf. Nein, kein Scherz, ja, leider wahr. Was soll ich machen. Wäre ja halb so wild, habe mich mittlerweile dran gewöhnt, dass meine Eltern noch nicht mal versuchen mich zu verstehen, aber die nächste Kiste ist einfach, dass jeden dritten Sonntag und der liebe Herrgott allein weiß, warum es jeder dritte Sonntag ist, kriegt mein Vater irgendeine Sinnkrise und meint mich belehren zu müssen. Dann sorgt er sich um meine Bildung und meine Berufschancen und all sowas. Wir erwähnen jetzt mal nicht, dass ich letztes Jahr Klassenbeste und Zweitbeste des Jahrgangs war, ist okay, kein Problem. Diese überväterliche Sorge hat mir im Laufe eines einzigen Sommers bereits die unsäglichsten Erlebnisse beschert: Das eine Mal, wo mein Vater mich zu einer Podiumsdiskussion in der Stadthalle schleppte, um mit den Lokalpolitikern zu diskutieren, was für mich persönlich gut lief, für ihn leider nicht so, als er aus dem Saal geworfen wurde, nachdem er den Oberbürgermeister gefragt hatte, mit wem er geschlafen habe, um diese Position zu erreichen, da er eine – ich zitiere – “Flachpfeife sondergleichen” sei. Jap.

Oder das andere Mal, als er sich um meine sozialen Kompetenzen sorgte und mich zu einem Hockey-Schnupperkurs anmeldete. Super Idee. Ich bin in Sportarten, die irgendwas mit Schlägern oder Bällen zu tun haben in etwa so kompetent wie besagter Oberbürgermeister in seinem Amt, also gar nicht. Immerhin lerne ich schnell und schaffte es zumindest, nur jeden dritten Schlag zwischen die Beine und vors Schienbein zu bekommen. Skurril wurde es, als mein Vater mich dann anfeuerte, die Gegner zu fowlen, was mich mitten auf dem Spielfeld zu der Frage veranlasste, wer von uns beiden eigentlich an seinen sozialen Kompetenzen arbeiten müsse. Immerhin hab ich mich beim Captain des gegnerischen Teams entschuldigt, nachdem ich ihn mit meinem Hockeyschläger ungünstig an der Schläfe getroffen hatte. Also, so ungünstig, dass er bewusstlos wurde. Wenn ich sein benebeltes Grinsen richtig gedeutet habe, hat er meine Entschuldigung immerhin angenommen.

Oder das andere Mal, als mein Vater die grandiose Idee hatte, ich solle mich körperlich ertüchtigen, denn – ich zitiere wieder – “in Sahne recko Korporo.” Genau, Papa, genau, Sahne spielt bestimmt ne Rolle hier. (Kein Wunder, dass ich schon seit frühester Kindheit Brille tragen muss, ich wette, ich fing schon früh an mit den Augen zu rollen, bei dem Senf, den dieser gute Mann manchmal von sich gibt.) Schwimmverein! Hielt er für eine prächtige Idee. Es würde alle Muskeln beanspruchen, gleichzeitig würde man nicht so eklig verschwitzt sein und so weiter und so fort, ellenlanger Vortrag. Nur als Randinfo: Ich habe meinen Vater nie schwimmen sehen. Also schwimmen im Sinne von Strecke im Wasser zurücklegen. Er treibt so mehr, wenn ihr versteht. Toter Mann mit Bier in der Hand. Oder wahlweise mobile Kinderhalterung mit selbst mitgebrachtem Rettungsring. Ihr versteht schon. Fand ich trotzdem ne ganz süße Idee, weil Papa anscheinend verpasst hatte, dass ich nach dem Seepferdchen auch noch die folgenden Abzeichen gemacht hatte, aber nun gut. Als sich alsbald zeigte, dass ich schon sehr gut schwimmen konnte – größte Verwunderung seitens meines Vaters –, meinte er, es sei sicherlich gut, wenn ich mich “auf dem Wasser” bewegen könne (Darf ich mich kurz vorstellen: Dana von Nazareth, Jesus war mein Cousin. – wie soll man denn bei sowas nicht mit den Augen rollen?! –), aber “unter Wasser ist auch wichtig”, meinte Papa. Ich holte grad tief Luft um zu protestieren, als er mich auch schon mit einer Hand unter Wasser drückte, mit den Worten “wollen mal sehen, wie lang du die Luft anhalten kannst”. Hustender Weise und schlumpfblau entließ er mich dann nach 3 Minuten seinem lehrreichen Griff.

Ja, das war ein kurzer Einblick in die lehrreichen Stunden im Unterricht meines Vaters.
Und nun das hier. Wohin das auch immer führen sollte.

Zurück zum Thema.

“Papa… das sind keine Pyjamaparties. Wenn Lotte und Chris kommen, dann lernen wir für die Abschlussprüfung! Und William, Oscar, Virginia und Jane sind Autoren!”

“Autoren, was autorieren die denn so?”, sagt Papa spitzfindig während er mit dem Zahnstocher an seinem Eckzahn herumpult. (Gott, ich wünschte es wäre ein Goldzahn, das würde SO sehr ins Bild passen…)

Ich atme tief ein, ziehe Luft durch die Zähne, stoße sie geräuschvoll aus.

“Sie schrieben. Präteritum. Sie sind tot. Verdammt Papa, Shakespeare? Wilde? Woolf? Austen?”

“Hm?” macht er und zieht eine Augenbraue hoch.

“Ach, schon gut.” sage ich resigniert.

“Jedenfalls,”, hebt er feierlich an, “habe ich mir überlegt, dass wir zwei ins Theater gehen.”

“Ins Theater?”

“Ja, ins Theater.”

“Ins Theater? Du? Ich? Ins Theater?” keuche ich.

“Sag mal, Dana, bist du heut schwer von Begriff? Hast du von Muttis Bowle genascht?”

“Ja, nein, hab ich nicht. Okay, ins Theater. Du willst mit mir ins Theater. Wann? Und was wird gespielt?”

“Na, heut Abend geben sie Romeo und Julia, ein klassisches Stück der Kultur.”, sagt er stolz.

“Ja, was für eine ausgezeichnete und außergewöhnliche Wahl.”, gebe ich zurück.

“Ja, nicht wahr?!”, sagt er mit stolz geschwollener Brust.

Ich schließe die Augen, um ihnen eine Pause vom Rollen zu gönnen.

“Okay, Romeo und Julia. Bitte, so sei es denn.”, sage ich. Widerstand war von jeher zwecklos gewesen, also durchatmen und über sich ergehen lassen. Einzige Lösung.

Mein Vater grinst zufrieden und sagt “Aber zieh dir was nettes an, ja. Immerhin ist es Theater!”

“Ja, daran bin ich schon gewöhnt..”, sage ich.

“Was?” brüllt er, während ich dabei bin mich in mein Zimmer zurückzuziehen.

“Ach nix.”

 

Punkt sieben steh ich gestriegelt bei uns in der Küche, wie es sich eben für einen Theaterbesuch gehört, Hosenanzug, Bluse, Lederschuhe mit kleinem Absatz, die sonst recht widerspenstigen Haare zu einem ordentlichen Knoten gezaubert.

Dann kommt mein Vater. Ich bin sprachlos.

Also ich bin mir nicht sicher, ob er “Der Pate” ein mal zu oft gesehen hat oder, ob er sich einfach direkt der Familie Montague oder Capulet anschließen will. Fast befürchte ich, er wolle selbst heut Abend auf die Bühne gehen. Der Anzug ist ihm zwar nur minimal zu klein, aber das Jackett kann er nur gerade eben so schließen, wenn er den Bauch etwas einzieht und ziemlich kontrolliert atmet. Die Weste darunter und die Fliege lassen ihn etwas zu pompös für das schnöde lokale Theater aussehen und die polierten Lackschuhe, die glänzen wie eine Speckschwarte sind nur noch von seinen mit Frisiercreme in Form gelegten Haaren zu übertreffen. Ich weiß ja nicht, wann das mal Mode war, aber sicherlich muss das vor meiner Geburt gewesen sein. Mindestens so lang muss auch der Kauf dieser Artikel her gewesen sein.

Mein Vater streckt sich, stellt den Arm in die Hüfte und spreizt ihn ab, sodass ein einladendes Dreieck entsteht. Dann grinst er mich an. “Na, was ist, kommste?”

Ich atme tief durch, hake mich ein und wir marschieren Richtung Theater.

Wir treten ein und die Leute glotzen meinen Vater an. Unwillkürlich versuche ich meinen Arm aus seiner Ellbeuge zu lösen. Vergeblich, er hat ihn fest im Griff. Alle schauen ihn an, als gehöre er zum Ensemble. Wir gehen schnurstracks durch und finden unsere Plätze schnell. Es wird zügig dunkel. Zum Glück.

Mein Vater ist voll drin im Geschehen und kommentiert mit heftigem Stöhnen, mit “Ah”s und “Oh”s, die Handlung auf der Bühne, was uns von unseren Sitznachbarn böse Blicke einbringt.

Als Julia den Trank der Tränke hoch hält, um ihn gleich darauf zu sich zu nehmen, friemelt mein Vater ein kleines Schnapsfläschchen aus der Innentasche seines Anzugs, hält sie der Julia in einer Bewegung, die ihrer spiegelverkehrt ähnlich kommt, entgegen und flüstert “Prösterken, wer trinkt schon gern allein, Jule, wa?” und kippt zeitgleich mit ihr den Trank hinunter. Ich rolle nicht mit den Augen, einzig und allein aus dem Grund, dass ich das Stück ungestört weitersehen möchte.

Der Rest des Stücks bleibt weitestgehend komplikationsfrei von Seiten meines Vaters, was sicherlich dem Konsum von zwei weiteren Fläschchen zu verdanken ist.

Als wir später in die laue Sommerluft aus dem Theater treten, meint mein Vater:
“Na, Dana, was sagst du? War das nicht viel besser, als mit den Mädels über Schnickschnack zu quatschen? Das war doch mal ordentliches Kulturprogramm!”

“Fragt sich nur, für wen.”, meine ich.

Mein Vater ignoriert meine zynischen Kommentare geflissentlich und zwingt meinen Arm wieder liebevoll in seinen Würgegriff à la Rocky Balboa.

“Aber du, alle reden ja von dieser großen Liebe und wie toll Romeo ist, ne.”, sagt Papa plötzlich nachdenklich.

“Hmm.” mache ich.

“Aber das mit dem Trinken muss der Jung noch üben, wa? So ganz helle war der wohl nicht. Die Jule war da ja trinkfester als er.”

Ich rolle mit den Augen…

 

 

 

Gina Laventura © 2019

#socialsaturday: Idols vs. Inspiring People

#socialsaturday: Idols vs. Inspiring People

Hey my dears,

there is something that I have had on my mind for quite a while now and I thought it’s about time to tackle the topic.
So, today we’re gonna talk about the concept of idols and inspiring people.

Why? Well, first of all, because I consider it interesting and as this is my virtual space here… but moreover, because I think it’s an up to date topic, especially in times like these, where social media is as popular as it is.

According to the Oxford Dictionary idol has the following meaning:

and according to the same source, inspiration has the following meaning:

As a creative you’re often asked “Who are your idols?” or at least I have the feeling that this question pops up from time to time. Or the other way round, creatives stating who their idols are.
On the flip side, the question “What inspires you?” comes up frequently as well.
And I can’t help myself but feeling the urge to make a distinction between both. (Which is also supported by the fact that the dictionary makes a distinction.)

To go a bit deeper, I personally have a slight rejective feeling towards the word idol, as for me, it has a connotation of wanting to be like one’s idol or even worse, being them.
And now taking the definition into account, it also has this aspect of God and worship, and yes, I know it’s said that humans were build in the image of God, but I don’t know…
Let’s take an example: I love Oscar Wilde’s works. I adore his writing style, his subtle social critique and I read about his personal life as well.
But would I call him my idol? No.
Because that for me would imply that I wanted to write like him, be like him, which for me includes a bit of being a copy cat or neglecting my own potential, talent and not searching for my own voice as a writer.
And sorry, Oscar, but I do not consider you a God. (Although we tend to say things like “Gosh, this man is a GOD.” and yes, colloquially everybody knows what’s meant by that, but in serious terms… no.)

Even if we take someone else as an example, maybe less male and less dead (God bless him), I wouldn’t call Elizabeth Gilbert for instance my idol. Sorry, Liz.
I really loved reading her books, some of her approaches caused a click moment in my brain, made me think and took my thoughts down other roads that I didn’t perceive before.
But that’s what I’d call an inspiration. Not an idol.
Because, with all due respect, I wouldn’t like to swap my life for hers.
And I guess that’s the greatest part within the process of distinction I’d make.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved meeting her on a reading tour in Germany for her book Big Magic* two years ago and I was really touched when my question was one of the last ones and she took her time and even asked a little more to understand my question correctly before answering.

*Hi, Liz, if you read this, I was the girl asking about how to know when it’s fear trying to take over and when it’s your intuition telling you not to do it because it’s better for you. (I took the leap of faith and did it, overcame the weird feelings, put myself through it and the outcome wasn’t as great, so my intuition was right, but I consider it a good lesson in many ways and I’m still more than grateful for your advice and words.)*

Okay, back to the topic, my friends.
I consider her an inspiring person, in terms of writing, in terms of being a person.

But with all the movements I perceive on social media, I get a little worried that these two terms get mixed up a lot and people call youtubers and influencers inspiring when they are actually treating them like idols, not questioning the actions of said person, but tending to follow their example and just do the same.
And this uncritical worshipping is what worries me a lot.

Suddenly, you get up at 5 a.m. because your idol does and you go to the gym because your idol does.
Which is nice. Nothing against early birds and gyms.
But did you question whether it fits your individual body type? Whether it fits your schedule?
Maybe you’re the type of person that is better at working out later, maybe you’re the type of person that needs to sleep 8 hours, but your idol just needs 6. And this doesn’t mean that you’re bad and your idol’s better.
It just means that you’re different. And guess what: That’s okay.

Maybe you start eating like your idol, but your body type is different and within a certain time span you realise that you have low or no energy and wonder why.
And one of the worst things that happens then is the comparison between you and your idol, leading to the assumption that you are weak, worse or incapable of achieving what your idol achieves.
So it leads to a negative self perception.
And isn’t that weird? Odd?
That’s why I say idol for me includes a bit of this aspect of copying.

If the same person I just called your idol, we now call an inspiring person. What would change?
Well, you’d watch your inspiring person get up at 5 and maybe you’d try it too and realise that 5:30 is better for you.
Your inspiring person starts their day off by going to the gym, you try it, too, but you realise you’re slow in the morning, need your breakfast, and working out in the afternoon after finishing work, is much better for you.
You read a book of an inspiring author and this takes your thoughts on different roads, you play with words like they do, but you take the inspiration you got from them and mould them into something that fits your personality, character and nature, instead of just copying.
That way you have a tendency to grow, to find something out about yourself, your body, your time management, your writing voice, which in turn has a high tendency to lead to a positive self perception. And there is no need for comparison between you and the person that inspired you.

Taking the above mentioned definitions into account, inspiration has a divine quality, as the divine influence is mentioned.
But this doesn’t mean that you worship the inspiring person like a God. But that you perceive the divine spark that they were maybe touched by and that they now radiate into the world.
It is also connected to breathing in, inspiration.
But you know what, breathe in. Through the nose.
Do you think you absorb e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g that is included in the air? No.
There are a million little filters, that do their job, before the inhaled air reaches your innermost parts.
And if you apply that onto inspiring people, it’s quite similar.
You inhale this inspiring thought, but it runs through your own little million filters before reaching the spots deep inside of you.
And these filters are your critical approach, your own opinion, your personality, character, tendencies, preferences, etc.

So, don’t get me wrong, I don’t dub anything as good or bad, I just came across this topic and it has been lingering on my mind for quite a while and after having had a conversation about this topic, I decided it was about time to let this be my first #socialsaturday post. Thanks for the inspiration, mate.

As long as you keep your critical perspective, it might be okay to have an idol, I just worry about this copy cat components that I perceive sometimes when scrolling through social media.
I myself am more than grateful for all the inspiring people I was allowed to meet on my way, be it in person as Elizabeth Gilbert, or on paper, like Oscar, be it my closest friends, my creative crew, or just a stranger I had an inspiring conversation with.

As these thoughts are just thoughts and not set in stone perspectives, please let me know your thoughts on this topic!
You already know my creed inspiration through communication, so please delight me with your divine sparks.
Feel free to comment or send an email or slide into my DMs on instagram.

Enjoy your weekend.

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

#writerswednesday: Tips for Creativity & Inspiration

#writerswednesday: tips for creativity & inspiration

As there are many creatives out there in different fields, be it photography, film making, writing, singing, acting, modelling, dancing, painting, whatever, I realised that often they are confronted with the same or similar problems.
Some of them being in the direction of the following:

* I’m not in the mood, I don’t know where to go with my art, it feels useless what I’m doing
* I have the feeling that I’m just repeating and reproducing what I’ve already done
* I have too many ideas and my mind is all over the place so that I feel like getting actually nothing done

These and similar thoughts I myself have encountered, but I also heard them quite frequently from other creatives, as by now I know quite many of them.
That’s why I’d like to share some advice with you. And this is not just for writers or photographers or other creatives.
Creative comes from create and therefore, any task that creates something can be seen as a creative task.
Be it gardening, redecorating your home or something else.
To cope with all these negative, limiting and blocking thoughts, I’m gonna share some tips with you that helped me all along the way of my creative path.

1. Take a break, have a coffee*. Consume art.

* can be substituted by anything you like, tea, whiskey, chocolate, cake…

When you feel like not being in the mood, like having all these ideas in your mind but they don’t mould into the next great piece of art, leave it. Let it take a rest. Don’t let inspiration run away, but give it a little time.
If you feel like being really blocked from it, it can also help to consume a lot of art to get into your own flow again.
As a writer, read. And read a lot.
As a photographer or model, watch a lot of pictures, follow other models/photographers and get your inspo board refreshed.
As a film maker, watch a lot of movies.
As a cook, read recipes, watch cooking shows or youtube videos.
The list could go on like that now, but I think you already got it.
This is not to say consume a lot in order to copy, but in order to get your inspiration back on track.

2. Sit down. Turn your phone off. Produce.

When your mind is so overflowing with ideas that you’re loosing track and you always think “I don’t know where to start.” this is gonna be lethal to your inspirational flow.
Instead, sometimes, although it feels like sh*t, just take the next best thing on your list (or if you already prioritised, take the top priority), sit down and get something done. Just start.
Or if you feel totally lost, like nothing great is coming out of your mind, take one thing that has been on your to do list for a quite a while or take a small creative task and push it forward.

As Picasso said “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

So, if you’re missing inspiration, it’s not necessarily gonna come while you’re contemplating about not having inspiration, you know.
In most cases, negative thoughts create a negative environment, so why should inspiration feel invited?
Create an invitational environment for inspiration and keep on working!

3. Try something new.

If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut and you’re only reproducing and repeating things that you already did and you tend to be bored by yourself and your art, just try something new.
Again, this is not to copy someone else, but if for instance you’re a writer of romantic stories and you’re completely stuck, try to write, dunno, a detective story or something from a different genre. Just to see whether you like it or not, to challenge yourself and to keep your mind in your creative field but with a different perspective.
This can also add to your own authentic voice, because maybe you find out that you actually like this genre, or parts of it or even that you don’t like it at all. It doesn’t matter. Either way it’s gonna show you something about you and your art and work.
For me, I realised that the #sundaystory helped a lot with this. It is challenging to combine the prompts to something coherent and as the mood or tone or genre is given as well, sometimes they are completely off my normal field of creative work. But I consider it exciting and really refreshing to use my skills in a different genre and to learn and grow with it.
Of course, this also works in other fields, cook something new, wear a combination of clothes that you haven’t worn before, style yourself in a manner that you’ve never styled yourself before in, take photos of things that normally don’t attract your photographic attention, etc.
Just try something new. It’s refreshing and helps you grow and learn.
About you. About your work. About your art.

4. Communicate. Meet friends. Chitchat. Share. Exchange.

One of my creeds and believes is “Inspiration through communication”.
Oftentimes while chatting with close friends, business partners and strangers, this exchange gives me impulses that hit a spot that was untouched before. And sometimes a good conversation is all you need to get you back on track again.
More often than not, when my mind is overflowing with ideas and I don’t how to prioritise them or whether they make sense or not, calling my best friend and chatting with her over a nice cup of coffee is the best thing I can do.
It’s not only her input, although it’s a beautiful input and I feel blessed to have such great friends, but it’s also that while you’re talking to someone else, you’re also talking to yourself and in that moment you shape things in a manner that you weren’t able to when everything was just in your own head.

5. Take yourself on a date.

As much as communication and conversation with people can be inspiring and give you impulses, as much is it important to take some time just for yourself. And no, darling, I don’t mean you on your own, glued to your phone, having a ton of chats open and still communicating with others.
I mean you, yourself and you again.
And when I say take yourself on a date, I really mean it.
Don’t go to the laundry service alone with a cuppa to go and call it a date, ok?
Don’t cheat!
I really mean, if you were another person taking yourself on a date, what would it look like?
Would you go to a restaurant? A cafe? To the cinema? Taking a long walk in a park?
Whatever you consider your dream date to look like, don’t wait for anyone, treat yourself to it.
Sometimes you would find me in a cafe with a cup of coffee and a piece of cake, mostly with my paper notebook or my laptop or a book to read, enjoying some time alone, just doing things that I love and that inspire me.
And no, no, no, I don’t do it to have a cute picture to post on instagram.
I mean yes, you caught me, that happened too, but I don’t go there in the first place to promote and advertise dating oneself on social media, you know. If I do so, I do it because I’m in the mood.
One of the things that I also love doing is getting up early in the morning, when the streets are still quiet and drive into a city, any city that I like, and walk the streets, watching all the details of architecture for example, taking pictures of the rising sun between houses or a beautiful flower on a wall or anything that captures my attention and that I therefore want to capture too. It’s really an intensive feeling taking a walk alone and watch a city waking up.
Sometimes I also take a walk in a forest or in a park or at a sea, whatever I feel like. And yes, a lot of the times I’m talking to myself.
I mean, hey, this is a date, huh? And normally we do talk on dates, don’t we?

General advice: Disconnect.
In many cases it’s a good choice to enjoy these moments disconnected from emails, social media and chats.
This is not a necessity, but it helps you refocus on what’s important to you without comparing yourself and your art to others and their work. And this gives you more freedom in your mind to work on your very own business.
You can still share the pictures you took, the things you’ve done, the experiences you made later on, but grant yourself a little time to really feel them inside of yourself.

I hope these tips and advice gave you some impulses on how to get yourself and your creative energy flowing again.
Of course there are many more things that I could put on this list and I might make a series out of it, but right now, I don’t want to bore you until the last spark of inspirational flow ran out by reading a blog post that was waaaayyyy too long.

Plus, guess what I’m gonna do? Yup, I just heard some coffee call my name. Can you hear it, too?

Blogwarming Party

Hier Beitrag auf Deutsch lesen

norbert josefsson

Welcome!

Grab a drink, take a seat or join me on the dance floor and let’s celebrate together.
The sofa is already there, decoration is not yet complete, table and chairs are ordered but not yet delivered, so take some cushions and make yourself comfortable in my place of creativity, my new virtual home.

Just like a housewarming party where not everything is 100% ready and perfect, I throw this blogwarming party today, where the frame is set, new layout plastered on the walls, but some details might still be added or removed in the course of the coming weeks.
Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy it here and that you come over and visit me often.

After two years of not blogging, many months of planning the new layout, structuring ideas and setting up a whole strategy and subject schedule, pulling all-nighter after all-nighter in order to progress and proceed here, my fingertips are still covered in colour, my hair’s a mess and I’m still sweating.

But you see me with a smile on my face as it feels good to be back.

Let me give you a quick “room tour”. – Everybody should know where the loo and the fridge with fresh beer is, huh? –
On top you find the different topics.
The portfolio offers you an insight into my photo and video repertoire.
The about section offers you information on me, this blog and my work. Same in German below.
The services section gives you an overview of the services I offer on this website, including modelling and writing with the specific services of poetry & prose for special occasions and professional storytelling.
Contact & booking explains itself, I guess.
The Creative Chaos Cloud shows you all categories which you can find blog entries about, so that you can quickly get to the topics you’re interested in.

So much for the room tour, I hope you’re gonna find your way and if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to ask me. I’m trying to be a good host, you know.

What are the plans for the next weeks, what do I offer and why should you come back?
First of all, I’ve worked hard on a concept and contents that might be of value and interest for you.
So, here is what I came up with:
I will blog four times a month, so once a week about topics connected to the different fields I’m working in. One topic a week, that is.
Thus, what you gonna get is this:
#modelmonday: Information for models and photographers, funny anecdotes I experienced during 10 years in front of the camera and other info connected to this field.
#writerswednesday: Information for writers and readers, food for thought, inspiration and impulses revolving around writing and reading.
#socialsaturday: Random topics connected to us humans interacting with one another, social phenomenons, questions, perspectives, impulses on social topics.
#sundaystory: Yes, the sundaystory will be back and we gonna play again. If you don’t know what the sundaystory is, please click here. I will announce the next round early enough, but this won’t be before August probably, as I still owe two of my readers their stories.

After this blogwarming party, where you can take your time to stroll around and look at the redecoration, the new furniture and features, there will be a special series on the balcony, a.k.a instagram. So, don’t forget to check out my plants on the balcony, too.
Plus, I will also take you with me behind the scenes of creative productions in the insta stories.
The special series has been a production with Norbert Josefsson, which we produced last year, but I considered it so beautiful that I kept it for a special moment.
And I think that moment has come now.
So every day, starting on Friday, 15th June, I’m going to post one picture with text on instagram and facebook, which will add up to a series of six. On Thursday, 21st, you will get the complete series here on the blog as well as on instagram.

After the special we will start off with the first sundaystory on the 24th, as it has been two years of me owing these stories to two of my readers.
I hope you’re still there and I hope you still gonna read it.

Which leads me, after the organisational part, to the speech I’m supposed to give on such an event before everybody starts popping bottles like crazy – or at least that’s what I’m gonna do –.
Ahem, clink clink, ladies and gents, may I have your attention please: (you better grab another shot and drink, this is gonna take a while – or just skip the part written in italics – the perk of being here virtually and not in reality)

Thanks for being here tonight, for sharing this moment with me, for taking some time out of your busy day to join this celebration.
I’d like to thank all of the followers here on WordPress that stayed although I haven’t blogged for two years, which, in nowadays time is like an eternity.
Also I’d like to thank all the followers on instagram that didn’t unfollow when I didn’t post for six months, which is close to social media suicide.
I’d like to thank the virtual community for staying with me, supporting me and being patient with me.

Most of all, I’d like to thank the people, especially my closest friends, who virtually and in real life sent me their positive vibes and words, who encouraged me to keep up the work, who relentlessly kept asking about my work, my art, my blog, my writings and my poetry, who invested their time and energy to provide me with tipps and tricks, good advice and knowledge about social media, who gave me input and impulses for new content, who were patient with me when I asked for advice and feedback and who were loving and caring when I had to say “no” to events and instead had to sit down and work, who shared their nurturing positive energy with me and who knowingly or unknowingly inspired me and fuelled my motivation.

Without all of you, your patience and support, we probably wouldn’t be celebrating today.
It wasn’t an easy time and task, but now we’re here and I raise my glass to all of you. I’m forever grateful.

martin zethoff

Now enough of the talk and enjoy your time here, I hope you gonna stay a little longer and come back frequently.
If you have any questions, let me know.

xxx
Gina.

My Catalyst for Creative Impulses

My dears,

It’s already been a while since I’ve been blogging.
But I’m on it, working on it.
But here’s something, I wanted to invite you to:
Follow me on Instagram!
Why?
Because, you know, sometimes, when it’s just too busy a time to sit down and write a blog post (including obsessive paranoia about spelling mistakes resulting in three circles of proofreading..), but still inspiration hits you hard, you need to find a way to release that creative pressure.
And I found a catalyst for those inspirations that jump on me in moments when I’m most busy and in the flow, mainly when I take a short coffee or tea break from working.
Well, that catalyst is Instagram, because with the app InstaQuote I can create neat little pictures with texts on it and upload them on Instagram and Facebook with just one click.
So, if you don’t want to miss out on anything, I invite you to follow my Insta profile to stay tuned.
Of course this doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop blogging, it’s just a way to release the pressure that builds up when inspiration strikes me, but I don’t find the time to create a full blog post here.
Here are some results that I’ve created so far:

This one was the first one I created and I felt so released afterwards
gina-laventura-remaining-scars-victory-memory-free-set-me-free-

The following one was my contribution to Valentine’s Day (for all the cynics out there 😉 )
gina-laventura-valentines-day-cynics-my-hail-to-love-storm-wind-compass

The following one has the caption:
“Talent is fine, but in order to live up to your full potential, passion is essential. Passion and the will to pursue and to persist. To pursue your dreams and to persist on your goals. And to persevere when it gets hard.”

IMG_3699

And of course I use it for funny things as well 😉
gina-laventura-workout-selfies-gym

Please tell me what you think?
Do you have any recommendations for other apps that might be helpful?
You can comment here or on Facebook or on Instagram.

I hope a wonderful and joyful Easter weekend is ahead of you.
All the best and stay tuned. 🙂

xxx

Happy (Chinese) New Year and Thank You!

Dieser Beitrag ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar

IMG_0445
Photo & Editing: freshandjuicy

My dears,

I am utterly, utterly sorry for not having posted for so long.
And I know I have said that a hundred times before, but as plain as it sounds: sometimes life comes in between!
I had planned so many blog posts and thoughts I wanted to share with you and I am well aware that I still owe you two sundaystories.
But I hope you will be kind with me and understand that I was just too busy and too many things happened all at the same time, so I had to set priorities and work my way through a whole lot of to-do-lists and tasks. And although art and writing is definitely a priority in my heart, other matters had to be put first.

I felt terribly sorry and even told a friend “now that I have gained some new readers who even show interest in my blog and interact with me, I let them down” and he said I shouldn’t worry and that my readers probably would be patient and understanding and caring and kind and that they would be happy when I finally post again.
So, I hope he was right.

I won’t promise to publish a bunch of blog posts right now, because I prefer making promises that I can keep and as it is still a turbulent time for me with loads of things to do, I don’t want to disappoint you by not finding the time to blog.
But I promise that all the posts I had planned will be published bit by bit and I hope you find something interesting, enjoyable and inspiring in it.

Well, I haven’t made it to post at New Year to wish you a wonderful start into a hopefully successful and amazing new year, but at least I made it to Chinese New Year, which started on the 8th February.
It will be the year of the Red (Fire) Monkey and is said to become an interesting, adventurous year with many chances to achieve goals.
So, I wish that this year will hold its promise for you and that you find the strength to set out and achieve the goals you’ve set yourself!

Remember when in my Christmas Post I invited you to count your blessings on Christmas Eve?
Well, of course I did the same and I think it is a beautiful way to end one year and step into the next: Being aware of and thankful for one’s blessings!
This is why I’d like to say a big

to all of you.
To the ones of you, who have followed and accompanied me from my first blog steps to the relaunch, through texts and videos and photos to the publishing of Labelled Love.
I am thankful for my family and friends who support me in all my endeavors.
I’m thankful for all the inspiring people I was and am allowed to meet and for the remarks and moments that brighten my days and keep me going.
Some examples (as shown in the picture):
Once an acquaintance wrote me a message, saying something along the lines of “I’ve just read your blog and I love your story Reflection” followed by one of the remarks that has stuck with me ever since: “Your art matters.”
Or when I was having a really bad phase and a million things happened at once and I was struggling and one of my closest friends asked what was wrong with me and I answered something like “Everyone reaches their limit at some point” and she replied “My free spirit Gina has no limits!”.
Or when another one of my closest friends bought my book and when I said that she doesn’t even read in English, she said “but it’s written by you and I want to display it on my shelf because I’m proud of my friend”.
Or the moment when I advertised my first book being published on social media and a former close friend hit the ‘like’ button and I had to smile, because we had known each other eight or ten years before “One day” (the day I published) and I always said “One day I’m going to publish a book”; it was as if my words were remembered and hitting the ‘like’ button somehow said something like “Well done, girl, I knew you would.”. Despite my critical point of view of overrating ‘likes’ and the like, this was a moment it actually meant something.
The moments when someone says that they read my blog and liked it or when people send me inspiring and motivating quotes or ask for more entries to keep me going; the moment one of my favorite poetry slammers (Patrick Salmen, the first slammer I ever saw on stage and the reason I still go and watch slams) started following me on instagram; the moment I was allowed to see Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Big Magic, a book I love, live and even ask her questions; the moments I’m able to collaborate with other creative people, like writers, dancers, actors, directors, photographers and videographers; the moments you guys read and like and comment and interact with my work; the moments I’m allowed to be connected to creativity and experience inspiration.
I could list at least twenty more examples, but I’m going to leave it at that.
Thank you!

What is it that you are thankful for?

I think it is important to sit down once in a while and really take the time and list the things we love, appreciate and that we are thankful for.
And to communicate them.
That is what I’d like to invite you to: Think about it, count your blessings, list them (in mind or on paper), communicate!
Tell someone what you appreciate in them, tell someone that you love them, tell a stranger that you find their aura astonishing, tell yourself something nice.
Life is too short not to spread the love.
Namaste.

To provide you with a sweet little appetizer of what is planned for the next blog posts (please, give me some time):
* Two book recommendations
* Some tipps for creativity
* Two sundaystories I still owe you
* Another game of #sundaystory
* At least three further blog posts on diverse topics
* Text and Image collaborations telling stories through visuals and lyric
* Further projects, still to be planned in detail 😉

Any preferences how I should prioritize? Any other ideas?
Hey, it’s New Year with goals to be achieved: Let me know, is there anything you’d like to see here and what you’d be interested in?
Comment here or send me an email or a message on Facebook.

All the best and loads of love.

Gina.

Creating Controversial Content

Gina16Oct12-192
Photo & Editing: Dave Greensmith, 2012

Controversial content can raise awareness, right?
Often it does.
A “Fuck” in the title is almost a guarantee for clicks and reads, isn’t it?
And when you utter a controversial sentence, you can assume that a huge discussion will break loose, right?
Controversies polarise and that’s why they often gain attention.
That’s why many people use controversies on purpose.

I once created controversial content.
But not on purpose.
I created content. The story Underground.
And back at that time (still on the old blog) I got a response to it.
A response that showed me that I actually had created controversial content without being aware of it.
Suddenly, when reading this comment, I was confronted with a critique of this story, because the comment criticised the headscarf that is mentioned.
It was said the headscarf was a sign of oppression through the patriarchal system.

My first reaction to that?
“Sh*t, I need to delete this story, it’s controversial and bears the potential to polarise.”
I was shocked because I didn’t expect this controversy to arise from this story.

But you know what the good thing about a critical comment is?
It makes you shift your perspective onto the very thing you created.
Because what happened next was that I started arguing for the story, like I would defend my argument when it comes to literary analysis.
So I was wandering through my room with a cup of tea in my hands and hold an imaginary dialogue, or monologue, and said
Well, first of all, neither is the headscarf condemned nor is it glorified in this story, second, don’t read too much of the author into the work, as it’s only the character’s perception described, thirdly, take a postcolonial reading to it and you will see that Orientalism is at work here, as the character associates exactly the attributes to the woman that can only stem from an Orientalist point of view, like “I smell a thousand scents of the Orient, spices and perfumes, bodies and wood, sand and the sun.”. Furthermore, this aspect is even criticised in the story when it is said “[…] I want to listen to two thousand and two stories told by her.”, which aims at showing that still the stereotype of “1001 Arabian nights” is at play here, because although the amount of stories is doubled they are still limited, which shows a critical claim that the Occidental point of view is limited and doesn’t grant the woman of Oriental origin an unlimited number of stories. On the other hand, the story also shows a disappointment raised by the fact that the perception is shaped and therefore somehow limited to a certain extent, when in the end it is said that “And I will never know her stories. And she will never know that I wrote one about her.” after the two characters separate. So, it shows the sadness that those two characters and their perception of each other and of themselves will never be as close as they could have been.
This was just a little excerpt of the monologue, but I hope you can see what I mean.
Had there not been this critical comment, probably I would never have changed my perspective on the content that I myself created.
Because, to be honest, everything mentioned in this monologue had not been in my mind while creating this story, only after receiving the critical comment and when I started arguing and discussing my own work was it that I could read more into my own work and engage differently with it.
And today I’m glad that I didn’t delete it, and I’m thankful for that critical comment, because it opened my perception towards a new perspective.

It still didn’t make me want to create controversial content on purpose, but I think it helped me overcome the fear of putting something out there that might be controversial or have critical comments as a result.

It was a perfect example of inspiration through communication and I invite you all to think about it.
I invite you to overcome your fear of putting yourself or your work out there because someone might criticise it.
Critique can be a great chance to change perspectives, to see more, experience more, and it is an interaction between you and your audience, but also between you and your work.
I’m not saying “try to take sh*t from the naysayers as something good”, no, please don’t.
But if it is a constructive critical comment, don’t be afraid of engaging with it.

So long, my dears.
Be kind, spread the love.
Be creative. Be yourself.