The Beardly Writer

Some write from the heart. I write from the beard.

Month: January, 2015

Kidnapping the Muse

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They say inspiration can’t be taught.

But that isn’t to say it can’t be learned.

You never know when true inspiration will strike. It can come in any form. Sometimes it’s the way a person walks or the way a woman’s hair falls in front of her face. Sometimes life throws curve balls. Swing and a miss, our game and balance are gone.

When inspiration reveals itself we must be ready. As writers, we carry pen and paper, a tablet, anything to jot down notes or scribble madly to nudge the floodgates open a little wider. Inspiration can be fickle, fleeting. We have to be awake and attentive. Ready at a moment’s notice.

But is there another way?

Yes. And no.

You can’t bypass the waiting. The watching. The long stretches of nothing. The missed opportunities. These come with the territory. Part of being a writer. And being human.

But, given enough time and practice, and one other ingredient, it can all give way to a second approach.

What’s the missing ingredient?

Honor.

When you honor something, you respect it. You show respect by paying attention to it. You allow it to lead you. You show deference. You study it in order to be more like it. You defend it. Value it. Treasure it, even.

If you honor inspiration, and as an artist you absolutely should, you become better and better acquainted with it. You know its habits. You know where it’s likely to appear. Honor it and it will allow you into its inner circle. Instead of waiting for inspiration to find you, you will know where to find inspiration.

Pay attention to when and where inspiration strikes. Don’t just write down the new inspired idea, write down the contextual details. Where are you? Who are you with? What time of day or night? What are you wearing? Smelling? Hearing? Feeling? Learn as much as you can about your muse. Everyone’s muse is different. What is yours like? Honor it by paying attention to it. Acknowledging it. I promise, if you do this, your muse will appear more often.

I can’t teach you about your muse. No one can. But you can learn about your muse by honoring it. Honor your desire to write by writing. Honor your muse by being aware of what inspires you. Surround yourself with that inspiration and watch your writing grow.

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Beauty in the Common

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There is beauty in the common.

The commonplace can be anything but. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Do you know what that means? It means beauty isn’t on the canvas. It isn’t on the stage or screen. It isn’t in a book, or a face, or the horizon, or anything you can touch with your hands. Beauty isn’t seen. It is experienced. It is in your eye because it is in your perception.

Philosopher Edmond Burke suggested that the sublime, the quality of beauty or greatness with accompanying spiritual sense of awe, is most poignant when experienced alongside or through pain. He wrote that it isn’t in the presence of great beauty but great trauma that the ultimate level of the sublime is experienced.

What is it about pain that changes our perception, that prepares us for beauty? And is the common a painful place?

Good is the enemy of best. Banality is the enemy of originality.

We live in the common but are wired to want more. To see more. To perceive more.

There is little or no conflict in the common. It is a balance of forces. Entropy is high in the common. There is little to do and little energy with which to do it. This goes against human nature.

We are creators. Explorers. Inventors. Pioneers. Artists. At our best, we repel stagnation. We turn boredom to ingenuity. We find beauty in the common as a source of inspiration.

There is beauty in the common because there must be.

My friend is writing a book. Won’t you help him by including your story?

beautyinthecommon.com

#beautyinthecommon

Unrequited and It Feels So Good

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I finally did it.

It’s not a big thing. Happens all the time. Hundreds of Thousands of times.

But this was my first time.

I was nervous. I was scared.

But it was beautiful.

I registered a script with the Writers Guild of America, West.

A teleplay, to be exact. A spec script of the television series Longmire. Episode title, “Unrequited.”

I registered it because I entered it into a teleplay contest. This one.

Do I hope it wins? Of course.

Do I think it will? I’ll be over the moon if it makes it to the quarter finals.

I’m just happy to have written something that someone else, someone who knows what they are talking about, suggested I submit it to a contest.

Because it’s registered, and because I want to, I’m posting it here for anyone to read.

Enjoy.

Feedback welcome.