Ruffled Feathers

© 2012 The Daily Creative Writer
© 2012 The Daily Creative Writer

Writing on a Desperado Monday
By Elizabeth Cutright

We’ve all had those days…times when just about everything and everyone annoys us.  Perhaps we find ourselves getting unaccountably or irrationally angry over little things – a Facebook posting, coworkers gossiping loudly about the weekend, a cold and cloudy atmosphere where, in the words of the Eagles, “the sky won’t snow and the sun won’t shine, and it’s hard to tell the nighttime from the day….”

It’s a Desperado  kind of Monday.

So what do you do when you’re suffering from a 24-hour news-cycle hangover and the growing realization that the while the holiday season might be in full swing, you have yet to complete any meaningful Christmas shopping?  Even more importantly, how do you find time to write when your feathers are ruffled and the world seems too much with you?

Over at CreateWriteNow, blogger Mari L. McCarthy suggests creating a collage journal when “you life’s out of sorts.”  By trying the “Collage Journal Method,” McCarthy believes you can suss out what’s got you feeling down-and-out, and maybe even inspire you to readjust your perspective.

“It helps to find creative ways to overcome your hurdles,” writes McCarthy who goes on explain that a journal collage is “about piecing together the picture of your heart, soul, and emotions.”

Christy Goldfeder, writing for 2BeEmpowered, suggests that you focus on self-care and “filling the well.”  We’ve talked about filling the well (a topic discussed at great length by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way), but in here blog, Goldfeder expands the notion to all aspects of creative and physical energies.  A well that’s run dry, according to Goldfeder, can manifest itself physically (you catch one too many colds, or fall to the flu or other illnesses), mentally (you’re brain starts to feel fuzzy and scattered) and emotionally (you’re anxious, frenzied and depressed).  Goldfeder also calls attention to the Catch-22 of any emotionally drained writer/creative – lacking the energy your need in order to refill the well.

“If you’re always running on empty, how can you have the energy to do everything you want and love to do?” she asks.   “How can you have anything to give to others if you can’t find the time to nourish yourself?”

Goldfeder adovocates a sort of self-health diet that I’ve seen promoted by many other enlightened folks (including Cameron and writer Sarah Ban Breathnach), that includes rest, relaxation and creativity.  To replenish your well – and therefore find the inspiration and energy to continue your creative projects – you must practice the art of self care, including eating right, paying attention to your body’s physical cues, and taking time to treat yourself with activities or foods that sooth and restore (less tequila shots, more hot tea and bubble baths).  Goldfeder also reminds readers to let things go and endeavoring to reduce stress whenever possible.

And of course – you knew this was coming – write.

“Love every day you have by writing about everything that’s good in your life,” advises Goldfeder.  “Be sure to include things that make you feel grateful, positive affirmations, and appreciation for yourself”

To that I would add, write a little about something you know and love.  Write a paragraph describing a favorite meal.  Write a two-sentence summary of the last movie you saw.  Write a poem about your pet.  Write a song about your grandmother.  Figure out the one word that describes your current city, your little brother’s fashion sense, or your father’s favorite pastime.

Little creative projects, easy to complete in 15 minutes or less, will help you dust out some of those doldrums, counteract some of the negativity you’re absorbing, and give you a sense of accomplishment than can, at the very least, stave off self-loathing and at the very best, trigger a creative jag what will leave you amazed and invigorated.

Below, my 15-minutes-or-less exercises:

Political Plotters – A short phrase that describes my father’s favorite pastime, which involves reading basically every nonfiction article and book about Watergate.

Indulgent – The best word (at the moment) to describe my current city.

Last Movie I saw:

A young girl and her horse, both maimed in a horrific accident that killed another rider, journey with the young girl’s mother to Montana for a chance with a man who has a way with horses.  This Horse Whisperer takes on more than he bargained for as he ends up counseling the daughter, healing the horse, and falling in love with the mother. (Yes…I stayed up late last night watching Robert Redford tool around in denim and cowboy hats, seemed like a nice antidote to all the world’s latest horrors).

A favorite meal:

A croissant so substantial, you attack it with a knife and fork.  The pastry seems unable to settle on a flavor, at points sweet and crunch, other times warmly bland and comforting.  Paired with a short cup of bracing coffee, a thick layer of whole milk steamed into clouds sitting on top, and eating slowly and methodically at street side café as rain falls rhythmically on a faded red awning and the cobbled streets of old Madrid.

And, finally, a poem about my cat


Inconsistent and Insolent,
You purr when you feel like it
And scratch when we’ve crossed the line.

Stingy and solemn,
You’ll cuddle through the dawn,
And yowl at the sunset.

Pretty and Vain,
You’ll pose like Mona Lisa
But scamper off before the camera snaps.

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