Poetry: Idea Like a Cloud

Poetry: Idea Like a Cloud
Our ideas can be like clouds in the sky being shaped by the currents of thought within the mind. They form unique shapes, but those shapes are ever changing, even if in the most minute details. Every second brings change and the cloud that once was will never be again. Unless recorded, the unique form is lost forever.
A Lost Idea
By: Daniel Derasaugh

It was there.
Swirling inside with everything else.
Radiant in unique yet brief flare.
Notice was drawn to its beauty.

I had it!
Undeveloped, yes, but it was there,
Standing out, shinning with potential,
Yet only for a brief moment.

A morphing shape.
It changed to something similar,
But not the same. What was it?
Now just a shadow in my mind.

I chase it.
The ever-changing cloud drifting across the sky.
I have not the tools to catch it;
Remember it, record it, mold and craft it. 

Its gone now.
Never again to return exactly as it was.
Words scattered into the breeze of other thoughts.
A lost idea.

I think I’ll start carrying a journal and pen.

The subject of my previous post was about the importance of morality in the way our ideas can impact the world. I am at this time focused on the first act of creativity, and since I seem to be fixed with exploring my interests poetically, a particular thought came to mind.

I have recently began to wonder how many poems (published and unpublished) have been written. The answer is likely in the billions throughout history, far more than any of us could read. But then I try to add to that the number the poems people have composed within their minds, yet for whatever reason, failed to write down.I find it a sort of tragedy that such creativity should disappear into the void of forgetfulness as if it never existed to begin with. Chances are that such an arrangement of words will never again come together precisely as the initial creator had crafted them.

Our minds can unexpectedly and spontaneously create amazing organizations of words with meaning. There were times when that happened to me and I struggled to remember lines that would have been great for poetry, stories, or quotes. There was nothing available for me to use to write them down, or record in some way. As I went over them in my head, trying to memorize the lines I discovered that the organization of the words would often change, and sometimes degrade in their quality until the initial meaning was lost.

So now I try to carry a little journal and pencil or pen wherever I go to record and catch them when they appear in kind of my own personal version of Pokemon Go.

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The Terrapin Poem

The Terrapin Poem
A hatchling eastern box turtle cautiously crawls along the ground looking for food, and exploring the world.

Another poem post. Now, this is not about anything historical, its actually my first non-history related post since my first one. Nor is it looking at an artifact in a different way. “The Terrapin” is just a fun little poem I recently wrote at my girlfriend’s house, after finishing painting with her. It was a sort of challenge. We were trying to see what kind of poem I could just write out in my little notebook without much thought or planning in a short period of time. Below is what I got. I also did one about a sea horse, but that will take lots of work to polish up. I hope you enjoy!

"The Terrapin"
By: Daniel Derasaugh

A rock?
No, a nice smooth stone.
Rounded and painted by God.

It moves!
A small, cautious step.
It looks around after a pause.

It sees me!
Don’t be scared.
In its head and legs go!

Now again;
a round, painted stone.

Treating Writer’s Block

Treating Writer’s Block
Imagine a person standing in front of a wall of trees at the beginning of a vast forest. They are either going to have one well defined path to take into the unknown wood, multiple paths, or no obvious path at all. If this person represents the direction which your project is going, it will be up to you to decide what path the person will take. Writer’s block would be having no obvious path for them to take, or even multiple paths, but with indecision on which path would be the best for the narrative.

It is appropriate that my blog’s first post would be dealing with the problem of writer’s block. Appropriate because I started this blog as a means to keep writing something while enduring severe cases of such creative stagnation. I say “severe cases” because minor ones may be easily treated with the methods that I will discuss here. I am no expert. I am just sharing what has been effective for me and it is my hope that at least something will work for you.


Mild Cases

All the remedies here will address minor blockages and can be done at your computer desk and help get you back to writing in a few moments.

Sensory Stimulation: Music and Images

Music

I listen to instrumental music while I write. I tend to see the movie in my head with the music in the background as the soundtrack, and it helps my imagination flow with images rich with detail. However, music can also activate inactive creative neurons. When I am stunted, I have found the best music to recharge imagination and get the mental movie playing again is lyrical and poetic, such as the example below.

The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes and hauntingly performed by Loreena McKinnett has on many recent occasions unlocked a flow of imagination from a well once thought dry for the day. Poetic lyrics will craft images in my mind, and this is the key. You need to have those detailed images being weaved in you mind so you can then forge them into existence on paper or the screen. It is best if the song matches with your personality and also the type of project you are writing. The project I am working on now can be described as gloomy and melancholic so this performed version of The Highwayman works perfectly for me.

Find a song that fits with your project’s mood and your personality, and play it. Pay attention to the lyrics, allow your mind to wander and then when you begin seeing those images try to connect them to your story. Let the poet’s words spark new and creative ways to craft your writing.

Music can also encourage you to keep going. Another song that I often listen to for creative encouragement is Kerli’s Walking on Air.

While Kerli certainly has a unique style, Walking on Air is a great way to prompt your writing and creative aspirations.

Images

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Music can stimulate your creationist energy, and so can images. A good set of photos taken of an area that evokes the same ambiance of your story, or that represent a setting in your project, can help. Observe the elements in them. Make a list of all the visual details you can and then imagine your character within such a setting, or just write something new and unrelated to exercise your mind.

Give it a try: Click on the photo, list the details you see. You can describe how the creek is cutting through the forest. Even if it is not related to your project, it makes for good practice.

Add to Your Schema

“Our dreams are the sequel of our waking knowledge.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson’s finely crafted quote is one of my favorites as it so profoundly speaks to the mindset of the creationist. We have dreams of what we wish and strive to create, but those dreams are formed by a mixture of what we know and experience and then forged by the strength of our God-gifted talent.

I do not know who originally said it, but I have heard this repeated many times: Great writers are also great readers. If you find yourself stuck, grab a book of a similar topic to what you are writing and read random pages of it. Doing so exposes yourself to the talents of another author and the way they crafted their words together. Pay attention to their techniques in areas you’re stumped. If you are stuck with a transition then focus on how they transition. If you’re struggling with action in a scene, then pay attention to how they describe action.

It will also expose you to a broader scope of ideas. The more you read the more you add to your waking knowledge; your schema.


Severe Cases

If you are suffering from a prolonged case of writer’s block, I have found two remedies that work, though not quickly as those described above.

Go Places and Just Write Anything, Even if its Stupid

Go Places

This can also go with adding to your schema. One way to get over a severe case is to go somewhere; ideally a location similar to the setting in your project that has you stumped. At this time I am writing a story that takes place in a forest. When listening to music or looking at images does not solve the problem, I find a wooded area to explore. I am then surrounded by sensory stimuli that will usually reactivate my creativity.

Take a notebook and record your thoughts as they come to you.

Just Write Anything, Even if its Stupid

Which is what I am doing here, I just hope it’s not stupid. (Although, I have written some fairly peculiar things in the interest of rekindling dormant aspirations.) This method does not usually help me as much as going somewhere, but I have had some success, and I know people this works for. I took a creative writing class in high school in which I have fond memories of the teacher making us write for ten minutes nonstop. We were told to write any thoughts that come to mind, even if they do not make sense. I certainly exploited those instructions. I still have many of those practices which I will occasionally read or share to close friends for entertainment and shock value.

Now go write something!