prompt: a way of easing back into writing after taking a break

A blank page can be rather daunting, can’t it? When you want to ease yourself back to writing again after taking a break, there’s often no better way than by responding to a creative prompt. It helps that someone else has done the initial thinking work for you! Though Holy Spirit inspired listening to life is invaluable to me too.

One of my favourite creative prompts to dive into after resting my words for a while is the Twittering Tales series—where we write within Twitter’s character limit restraints in response to a photograph—hosted by my delightfully eclectic poetic friend Kat Myrman, especially because images so often stir creative juices in me.

Today’s offering is more light-hearted than usual and has veered in the direction of both poetry and prose. I hope it inspires you to have a go yourself….

photo by leoperezwildadventure – courtesy of pixabay.com

Few stopped to savour the glorious view spread out before them, or note the delightful sounds of wildlife in the dense vegetation, intent instead on clicking their cameras, thinking only of how they would share some stunning images on social media to impress their friends with.

(278 characters)

cameras poised and eyes peeled
they had no inkling of how their
canoe was sinking, letting in water
enough to pool and wet them well

they were so enchanted by the scenes
before them, and those to come, that they
ignored the feeling of soggy feet until, too
late, it became waist deep at least

(280 characters)

Bearded hipster Harry sat in the back with his face set and grim. He didn’t want to spoil their fun but he knew his situation was getting desperate. As the vessel keeled this way and that as they turned excitedly, he felt his stomach contents protesting with their every movement.

(280 characters)

What helps prompt you to write or helps you to restart after a creative lull? I’d love to hear in the comments below. If you would like to join in you can find Kat’s beautiful blog here and this week’s Twittering Tale prompt here* Enjoy!  🙂

slant: how changing our perspective can alter the way we think

 

When you spend a fair amount of time in bed it does tend to skew your visual perspective. Especially if you are lying in a tilted downward, minus 10 degrees angle for a fortnight, as my husband was while recovering from his last spinal operation.

Granted, his view of things was also affected by the general anaesthetic and the somewhat delusional mental state it engendered in him for a few days post-op. Not to mention having to make do without his glasses, of course. That didn’t help much. 😏

He began to have an altered reality perspective, including a mathematical slant on the room he was in, seeing swirling patterns on the white-tiled ceiling, odd shapes in corners and strange angles everywhere. Only they were invisible to everybody else, which was most frustrating for him. But it certainly helped pass the time!

Sometimes I think it helps to see life differently, though not necessarily in a tilted down state like my husband was, discombobulating as that can be. Rather, it can be an advantage to let our imaginations fly, give them free rein, in life and in faith.

Because when we have our eyes open to wonder, why we tend to see it everywhere. I particularly love clouds and obscure window views for the way they stir me creatively and spiritually on to thoughts of freedom.

Our days may seem pretty mundane on the whole but a capacity to anticipate holy joy and awaken to wonder in the everyday can alter our perspective in the most delightful ways. I’m so thankful for supportive, praying friends and the wisdom in God’s word that lifts my perspective and puts me back on track whenever I get derailed, especially by discouragement.

The poem below was inspired by an angled window view. I hope and pray it will stir a desire in you to try looking at your life from a renewed, slant perspective and readying yourself to be surprised and inspired by what you might see.

Let me see life slant

Let me see life slant, ready to be tilted
into a fresh perspective, as new angles
present themselves to the eyes of my heart

like lessons in geometry, wrought from
passing scenery. May I form irregular
lines, make shapes from clouds and

trees, let my imagination fly, unfettered
while I thrill to mathematics in the sky

filling my soul and mind with unfiltered
possibilities, limitless boundaries
©joylenton

splash: your creativity is waiting to be released #thedailyhaiku 13

 

Inspiration strikes us in numerous ways. For me, it’s more of a gentle, mellow listening to my life and the things I read than having striking eureka moments. Suddenly, a situation, word, line or sentence will create a response, often drip by drip or with a welcome splash.

Creativity is latent in us all, waiting to be ignited, fired up and ready to go. Though the triggers may vary, the process usually excites, stirs something recognisable in us, makes us feel alive and energised.

That brief spark, immersion or gentle splash are all welcome. All play their part in encouraging us to create, unleash the God-given abilities deep within. On the inside, I’ve always been a scribbler, storyteller and poet. But there were many years when you wouldn’t have known it. My abilities lay dormant.

I doused the flame of creative enjoyment and enthusiasm with my own insecurities. Life’s trials and tribulations (later providing great creative fodder) were like a huge boulder pressing down on me, squashing any faith I had in being able to create.

What changed? I did. On the inside. Or rather, God changed me and transformed my thinking, gave me courage, confidence and strength to share my words publicly. Yes, the negativity still shrieks at me on my worst days. I feel inadequate for the task. But even a small splash of grace can set me back on my feet again. And He will do it for you too, my friend! 🙂

splash of words

there’s a splash of words

ready to be harvested

in my consciousness

©joylenton

seeing: thoughts on art, life and poetry

seeing-thoughts-on-art-life-and-poetry

 

It is said that seeing is believing. But what if those things we’re seeing are obscured somehow? Can we trust our eyes? Or do we require an inner knowing, a new perspective to override our senses?

The image above is my attempt to take something prosaic and make a new form of it. Would you believe that hidden beneath the vivid colours are some faded sweetpea flowers, a wire fence and a recycling bin? Yes, really.

We’re all artists at heart, creatives to the core. Because how could we not be when our Creator God made us that way, to reflect His ability to take, shape, mould and make something from nothing?

Though sometimes we don’t consider ourselves as such. But with the right type of media that suits us, a hefty dose of courage, encouragement, faith, patience, persistence and perseverance we can all discover just how to be our uniquely creative selves.

And even if that is restricted to our own pleasure in the process, it’s absolutely fine. I happen to love messing about with photographs and creating word art. If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you are treated/subjected to my imperfect attempts in those areas!

We have a choice to share or not to share, to tear up and try again if need be. We also have a choice on who gets to view our work and if we feel able to cope with a degree of public scrutiny.

With today’s #magneticmonday magnetic poetry offerings, I hope your seeing will be more than simply absorbing the words as they come. I trust the creative spirit in you will find some resonance with the poetic storyteller in me. There’s no pressure, because like all works of art, there is no single way of interpreting them. Let’s compare notes when you get to the end, yes?

A swim of light

You ask why these pictures

lie and have languid,

lazy, elaborate lives

Watch through blue fingers

as the urge is all

You never cry time 

on sweet sleep symphony

and summer forest trudging,

as those red bared rose

petals crush luscious as honey

and a swim of light shows

©joylenton2017

magnetic-poetry-a-swim-of-light-art-seeing-poetry-pj

 

Our shady peace

Gentle winter-wet breeze

and dark moistened air

cycle soft above pure

love’s moon, and wild

grass grows like a sweet

blanket between lonely tree

Behold, earth is our shady

peace, as we relax beneath

and feel more alive here

©joylenton2017

magnetic-poetry-our-shady-peace-seeing-art-poetry-pj

 

I love how photo editing apps can make such a difference  with their ability to completely alter an image into a new work of art.  Here’s a selection of some of the best editing apps for i-phones and these are great with an android device. I use picmonkey and canva to help me create blog post images. You probably know of more inspiring apps and editing sites to explore.

How do you express your creativity best? What apps do you use to aid your artistic ability?  I’d love to hear in the comments below.

every picture tells a story – twittering tales #12

arty-photo-every-picture-tells-a-story-pj-pyjama-pattern

 

Every picture tells a story, doesn’t it? The one above is what I call an arty photo. It’s basically an altered image of my pyjama trousers, made into an abstract pattern. Like many a photograph, it is open to creative interpretation and imaginative storytelling.

As regular readers will know, I love to see what I can do with a prompt. The photograph below is for this week’s Twittering Tales prompt #12, as set by my lovely creative poet friend, Kat Myrman.

Basically, a story is told (poetically or otherwise) in response to a new weekly photo prompt, with the goal of keeping within the 140 character limit of a tweet. Please click here to see how it works and to join in if you’d like to.

I’m joining in here for the first time, with two poems and a tiny twittering tale story inspired by this image.

twittering-tales-image-jan-10th-2017

First the story…

He saw them framed by sun’s dying rays, knew it might come to this. He’d already lost wife and child; now they wanted his canine friend. (137 characters)

Poem One…

A dying sun’s rays bathes inky figures

The river ripples with golden glints

Time and tide wait for no man

His canine friend beckons

But he wants to run

(140 characters)

Poem Two…

All is solemn, still, a place

now steeped in silhouettes 

Bathed in liquid gold, they wait

His dog moves forward eagerly

But he pauses, hesitates

(140 characters)

While my circumstances remain challenging and I feel stretched enough by them, I am welcoming the opportunity to relax a bit creatively and try my hand at different things. Because it’s good to break out of routine sometimes and stretch ourselves in a new direction. You may like to see my attempts at magnetic poetry too. If so, you can check them out here.

Have you been inspired to try your hand at a new form of creativity, maybe a different writing medium or style? I’d love to hear how it’s helped to inspire or relax you.

find joy in being true to yourself

write31days-journeying-into-joy-find-joy-in-being-true-to-yourself

 

Be bold. Shine out God’s glory. You were made for more than ordinary. You are created for such a time as this, a time to be all you’re intended to be.

You may feel fragile, weak and weary, fearful and hesitant, wanting to hang back from the crowd. Others may consider you to be of no significance, but God sees the beauty, potential and promise within.

Let your head be lifted high. His desires for you won’t outrun His capacity to give to you. God doesn’t leave us defenceless. He provides for every contingency.

Maybe you’ve been used to cowering, hiding away while others take the forefront. Maybe you’ve ruled yourself out on some pretext or other, convinced yourself you’re no use to God or others, have nothing of value to offer.

Please don’t buy into that lie! You are of great worth and value – right now, Just As You Are on the way to all you are becoming by God’s grace. You don’t have to take a course, pretty yourself up, make a recognisable mark with your art, perfect your prose or poetry.

Your own unique version of creativity will bring a measure of joy to this world, if you are willing to unleash and unfurl it little by little, one small bit at a time. Trust in God. Trust in the process itself.

Find joy in the journey by being true to who God created you to be. He doesn’t make mistakes. No-one else can create in the exact same way as you can. And that’s a freeing thought. Only you can excel at being you. Failure is a word others may choose to judge us by; it’s not a measure of our ability, but rather a stepping stone to improvement and change.

Your circumstances may have drained and depleted vital energy but they cannot steal the central core of who you are. Stay true to the way you do things, while you learn and grow your expertise and lean on God for everything.

Because guess who is continually cheering you on from the sidelines (apart from me and a whole host of unseen witnesses)? It’s none other than your loving heavenly Father who gets excited every time you decide to trust in His leading and guiding. He’s beaming proudly at His beautiful daughter, saying, “that’s my girl!”

Here are a few life lessons to aid your progress:

  • unleash your art
  • trust your heart
  • make and create
  • it’s never too late
  • listen and learn
  • grow wise and discern
  • enjoy all gainful employ
  • keep journeying into joy

God is right there with you every step of the way, every single day. Take holy courage as your badge of belonging to Christ.

31-days-of-journeying-into-joy-badge

Welcome to #day11 of #31days of journeying into joy. I want to offer you a fresh infusion of encouragement today as we continue this journey, because parts of it are hard and challenging to traverse.

I also want to remind you of just how much God loves, approves of and celebrates YOU! ❤

write31days-journeying-into-joy-be-true-to-yourself-life-lessons

It’s time to start again

begin PJ FMF file image

A blank space. Yawning gap. Untrod pathway. Virgin page.

How to fill it.

How to begin.

How to create again.

A mind can seize,  thoughts stall and falter at the first hurdle.

A break has been taken and getting back on the horse feels scary.

What if…

I fall flat on my face?

Slide into mud and slink away ashamed?

Only…

Here there is grace.

Here I can breathe soft and easy,  inhale deep of Holy Spirit inspiration and pour it out, exhale slow.

We canter into this race against the clock but we leave our reservations behind.

This isn’t about coming first or even putting on a good show. No perfectionist preening allowed. No ribbons, medals or honours given.

This is about being available. Showing up. Being ready to participate.

And I know the audience will be kind. Will cheer any effort to join in, even if I’ve been out of action for a while and limbs are stiff.

So here goes, five minutes of unedited, as it comes, straight from the heart to the page writing.

Are you ready for this slow runner, this outsider to start, to begin again?

‘Begin’

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Leave your yesterdays behind

rise bold into a dawning day

As sun tips its filtering rays

over the horizon and grace

drips long and slow into

every crack and crevice

this is opportunity…

To begin again

To be set free

Forgiveness covers all our sin

and hope and joy are found in Him

We’re slowed down, stalled,

stuck fast, sidetracked,

but will never claw

our yesteryears back

Let dreams be birthed

Let sighs escape

Let creativity be worth

the effort it may take

Scrap and crumple

scrimp and save

but get those words

down on a page

For they are barren

inside your head

and what’s been dreamt

should now be said

Give them life

ignore the pain

It’s time to write

Begin again…

©JoyLenton2014

Linking here with Lisa-Jo and all the other brave and beautiful writers for #fiveminutefriday You are very welcome to join in. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Taking time out

PJ file image ~ Time for a break

This is a season to set free. Unplug. Let loose. Chill out. Relax.

The world’s weight can sit heavy. We can drown under its load.

We need room to breathe. Be still. Listen to the still small voice Who brings calm to our souls.

I haven’t been doing much of that lately and I sense a Holy Spirit nudge to make more space for God.

The poem below was written a few months ago but its sentiments are my heart’s cry now.

The important can so easily get swallowed up in the urgent.

Creativity can get stifled in clamour.

Peace can become stolen by pressing purposes.

Joy can feel elusive when we join in too much with all the activity around us and don’t allow time out for our soul’s sake.

I need time to ponder and pray.

A space to hear holy whispers.

Room to read.

Time to write with no specific end result in view, just for the sheer pleasure of penning poetry and prose.

Maybe you do too?

 ‘Today’

Today…

I cannot connect with the world

Its noise

drowns out His voice

Its chaos

collides with His calm

Its clamour

presses into His peace

Today…

I choose ease and rest

To breathe

His Divine essence

To begin

sensing His Presence

To listen

while seeking His best

Today…

We have choices we need to make

Would you

decide or decline

Could you

sift hard and refine

Will you

chase after God’s way ~ this day?

©JoyLenton2014

Linking here with Beth and friends for #ThreeWordWednesday

**NOTE** ~ As I seek more #spiritualwhitespace to listen to #SacredEchoes I am joining with like-minded souls over at Margaret Feinberg’s place this week.

To find out more about why I need this space, check out this post on ‘Words of Joy’.

I’m looking forward to catching up with you in a week or so.  Please grant grace for a delayed reply to any comments left here. Thank you!

May God bless you and meet with you in a special way as you follow after His heart this Summer.

Today poem PJ file image pin

Missing the Muse

cocktail ~ missing the muse file image PJ

Creativity of any kind is dependent upon a cocktail of inspiration, mystery, application, mastery and perspiration.

We shake the container on a daily basis hoping a refreshing drink will appear without too much effort.

Some days there is scarcely a drop to be found.

On others all flows free and easy and we lap it up quickly before it disappears.

Writing takes sheer grit and determination as much as gift and imagination. Showing up and shipping out is a given.

Though our family responsibilities and other commitments, plus health problems, can cause us to have to draw back for a while. And rest and relaxation are essential too to avoid burnout.

When there is a world of words at our disposal, then it seems a wonder when all is dry and stale inside as they hide and slide away from our grasp.

Though much can stir the creative juices and enhance its processes, there are just as many internal and external factors affecting the outcome.

The poem below was written a few months ago during one of those dry periods. I had tried a few things to help myself get into the mood to write, all to no avail.

Struggle and striving were not going to cut it. This was a day to give in to rest. My weary body and mind needed a break.

And then, as I lay on my bed aimlessly thinking of nothing much at all.. these words began to stir within. I grabbed my pen and paper and wrote them down.

I watched it form, marvelling in amazement as words gathered momentum and dropped onto the page, one by one.

Then heaved a huge sigh of relief before tucking it away in ‘draft’ form to save for a rainy day when it seemed right to release it.

It is no surprise to me that my best source of inspiration is Holy Spirit breathing thoughts into my head, encouraging me to take note of things seen, heard and said.

If I relied completely on my own efforts then I would fall flat on my face ~ Every Single Time.

Limited energy and poor health will only get you so far, even when a strong desire is present. I am so grateful to God for whispering words to inspire creative outpourings when I am flat on my back with an M.E relapse.

And it encourages me to turn all creative endeavours over to God’s will and ways as I pray for daily guidance, help and inspiration to write.

Then, having decided on a piece to use, I pray once more before pressing ‘publish’ that the post will speak to and be a blessing to those who read it.

For if I forget to do that then I’m not just in danger of missing the greatest Muse of all, but of missing the point of being a Christian poet and writer ~ to bring honour and glory to God through the works of my hands.

So here we go again. No perfection here, just one heart sharing with another. Enjoy!

‘One of those days’

Some days the Muse speaks low

in tones we strain to hear,

soft-spoken words that come

and quickly disappear

We know not where they flee

or go, as we stretch our body

in the chair and wriggle toes

We know not why thoughts

fly swift and quick

then scrambled up they get

snuffed out as candle wick

and prove elusive to

pin down, making hearts

sink and faces frown

Returning to our chair we sigh,

with snack, sandwich, drink

and chocolate close by

For brains need fuel

and food to function well

and do their bit ~ and we

need all the help that we can get

Inspiration comes in myriad ways

we console ourselves, and return

our gaze to window watching, TV

viewing, social media screening,

all renewing sudden interest in

life calling loud in all around

when every creative thought lies bound

Best to get some exercise

with fingers lying idle, so we rise

and seek another occupation for a while

to entertain our weary minds, until we find,

relaxed at ease, thoughts surge and flood

the brain ~ quick! ~ get them down

before they stop and shut up shop again

©JoyLenton2013

missing the muse PJ file image pin

Making connection

It’s often hard to analyse the creative process.

There are probably as many reasons to write as there are writers.

In thinking about why I write, several ideas sprang to mind.

The most important one for me is that I sense God is asking me to express myself this way, and all the more the longer I live.

Other reasons?

Well… here are a few…in no particular order of importance.

1) I just can’t help myself ~ It’s an urge deep within that cries out to be addressed and cannot be ignored.

2) I love to make connection points with others ~ soul to soul ~ to offer encouragement, support and hope.

3) It makes me come alive on the inside ~ enables me to feel free in a life that’s otherwise limited and constrained by illness.

4) To leave a heritage ~ a footprint in the sands of time with memories and memoir.

5) To communicate my voice and viewpoint ~ to hear and be heard.

6) In the process I discover more of who I am and what makes me tick ~ it reveals all that previously lay hidden.

7) It makes me listen more closely to God and observe the world around me with greater clarity.

8) To share my story as part of God’s greater narrative ~ give testimony to His goodness and grace.

9) I get to make friends with like-minded people in the supportive writing and blogging community in which I move.

10) Because it is a world of beauty, love and joy I can share in and be a small part of.

No more ado..here’s a poem to express much of what I feel about making a connection through the medium of words…

“Tears are words that need to be written” ~ Paul Coelho

‘I write’

I write..

mainly poetry

because of its great ability

to connect succinctly

communicating deep and whole

engaging soul to soul

and because, for better or for worse,

my life has been circumscribed by verse

I write..

because I cannot

resist the tug and urge

of emotions pressing to be heard

as they flood and surge within me

to spill and splurge their way

upon the printed page

with passion, joy or rage

I write..

for an audience of One

who gifts me from above

courtesy of His grace and love

with a calling to reveal and share

memories, life and story

threaded with hope and mercy

to encourage those in need

I write..

because I desire

to express myself like this

be it creative agony or bliss

and find catharsis in release

of feelings that are healing

in enabling seeds of recognition to be sown

to show others they are not alone

©JoyLenton2013

“Always be a poet, even in prose” ~ Charles Baudelaire

I am grateful to Jeff Goins and Bryan Hutchinson for inspiring this post.

You can stop by Jeff’s blog to find out why others like to write too.