giveaway: Daisy Yellow Zine #8

I’m super-excited to announce a giveaway of Daisy Yellow Zine (Issue 8). This digital art journaling zine is full of inspiration, including blogging ideas for creatives and journal prompts. My article, Embrace Imperfection, also appears in it.

Daisy Yellow Zine #8

Tammy, the awesomely creative person behind the zine and the site, has graciously offered to give away TWO copies of Issue 8 (available only in digital format). Please leave a comment if you’d like to enter. Giveaway is open until Monday, July 29th, 10pm EST. 

If this is your first introduction to Tammy and Daisy Yellow, check out some of my favorite parts on her site, such as the Index-Card-A-Day Challenge she runs every summer. If you’re stuck for ideas, check out Tammy’s post on What Can You Do With an Index Card? She also introduced me to the delights of drawing mandalas and the fun of practicing fonts.

If you art journal–or have ever thought of doing so–Daisy Yellow is a great place to go for ideas, tips, and inspiration.

30-minute creativity

I have a hard time working on a big creative project during the summer.  Maybe it’s because I’ve spent more of my life in school than out of it, and summer whispers vacation to me. Or maybe because summer is such a short season where I live and we’re eager to cram in as much pool, park and yard time as we can. Summer fills up with camps and cookouts, gardening and berry-picking and hiking. It’s time for play, not for marathons.

I doubt I’ll get a novel written in the next two months, but I do have some creative projects planned. I want writing to be fun again, so I’ll be experimenting with new ideas and new forms. Sir I. and I will (hopefully) start taking piano lessons. The kids and I will draw, color and paint. Then there’s that easy-to-make skirt I want to sew for Miss M.

So I put together a list of low-prep creative ideas for the busy person, things to do in thirty minutes or less:

  1. Play a musical instrument. Our piano lives in the hub of the house, it’s always available (no taking it out of its case), with my lesson book open on the music rack.
  2. Doodle, either using a book of drawing prompts or a pen and a sheet of paper.
  3. Freewrite. I do ten-minute sessions on a theme of my choice.
  4. Journal.
  5. Do an art or craft project with a kid. Don’t have a kid available? Do it on your own. Kid projects are unintimidating and simple, perfect for beginners and those with little time or few supplies. Check here and here and here for ideas.
  6. Journal in visual images for a change. Draw or make a collage. Here are some tips to get you started.
  7. Go on a walk with camera in hand and take pictures that interest you. You get to be creative and exercise.
  8. Sit out in your yard, the woods, or a park and sketch. I like to draw leaves. My kids like to bring me leaves to draw. Win-win.
  9. Do some mind-mapping.
  10. Write flash fiction.

Any other suggestions?

birth story

I haven’t written any fiction since I finished short story last week. I’ve been trying to get some other personal projects out of the way: emails and letters to people, (slowly) cleaning and organizing the study so I can write there again, and oh yeah, scheduling enough sleep into my daily life, especially with the guaranteed night awakenings with the baby and the certain early mornings with the older two.

One writing project that I did manage to complete last night (at 2400 words) was Aaron’s birth story. It was longer than I would’ve liked since I kept comparing this experience with the labor & deliveries of the older two–who never got their birth stories written, so I was (over)compensating there. Part of the urge to record this experience was a sense of completion, the desire to add closure to a part of my life that I am pretty certain I will not revisit. Another motivation was to fix on paper some of those little sensory and emotional details that I may otherwise forget–the sting and burn of penicillin through the IV, a livid purplish-blue bruise on my forearm from a needle-poke that didn’t work, the post-delivery euphoria (forget exhaustion, I just wanted to call up everyone and yell, ‘I had a baby!” at them), the wandering wondering eyes of a newborn. The birth story ended up being a strange mixture of facts and numbers (times, dates, centimeters dilated, inches and pounds) and those vivid details that are unique to my experiences (crickets chirping on a wet, foggy night, for instance).

For those interested in birth stories, Real Birth: Women Share Their Experiences by Robin Greene is a good read that showcases a whole range of childbirth experiences; hospital and home births, single and multiple births, complications, unusual circumstances (like the woman who planned to give birth in a motel??) and more.