Old Haunts

Today I decided to go back to one of the cafes where I was Cafe Poet in residence a few years ago. The Annex Cafe, which is much different now, with new owners, a more open space and new menu, yet the vibe was familiar. Perhaps it was my memories that haunt me and make it feel familiar?

Sometimes it’s nice to visit new cafes, but then again it’s just as inspiring and good for the muse to write in one of my old haunts.

A productive morning writing, not bad for the start of the weekend. And I’m sure it’s got everything to do for visiting a cafe where I used to write a lot, and to re-connect with my muse who lives here.

This old haunt might just have to become a regular once more.

Lilliana Rose 🌹

www.lillianarose.com

Let it be

I have a Moth Orchid sitting on the corner of my kitchen bench. It flowered ages ago, sometime at the start of the year. I bought it spontaneously as a treat for myself. I kept it because I liked the large green leaves and the white round pot it was in. I’d occasionally empty the dribble of water left in my water bottle at the end of the day after work. I can’t remember when I last watered the plant. It gets no direct sunlight and I doubt any indirect rays either. I was thinking maybe the time had come for me to dispose of the plant for it’s unlikely to flower again – especially since I’d been ignoring it.

I went to pick it up. Then noticed two new stems full of little buds. Instead of throwing it out, I gave it some water, and left it to stand on my kitchen bench. I can watch the buds bloom and be reminded of how I was too quick to ride-off the plant when nature was doing it’s thing and the orchid was blooming where it was planted, and making the best of the situation it was in. A situation not as bleak or as final as I had thought.

buds-on-a-stem.jpg
moth orchid buds

It just goes to show the importance of not giving up, and how by taking a step back, providing some space, the flow of life, and of nature, are able to do their thing more productively. I can’t help think there are numerous aspects in my life where I could benefit by taking a step back. For example with my writing. By taking a back step, I allow my mind the space it needs in particular my sub-conscious to come up with new story lines, characters and ideas. Like the plant, my art work needs space to breathe, to grow, to bloom. When painting a still life, I often step back to look at the still life and what I’m painting from a greater distance to see if I need to adjust my perspective and approach.

the wrong vase painted
the wrong vase painted

It’s hard to do, risky even because there’s a chance I might no come up with new ideas to write, or I realise I’ve painted the vase completely wrong (which I have done, and is the photo here). But it’s not the end of the world. No new ideas? Well I can write a different story, or have a break, the ideas will come in time. And so what if the vase is wrong, it looks fine in the painting. The Moth Orchid could’ve died. It didn’t. It thrived.

Sometimes nature and life flow need to be given space in order to have influence. I’m learning that sometimes it’s best to let things be so they can develop in their own time.

What times have you left things alone, and repeat the unexpected benefits? Please share them below in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by,

Lilliana Rose

www.lillianarose.com

Where to Start?

Where to start a story may seem a stupid question to ask. Of course you need to start at the beginning when telling or writing a story. It’s important because this is when you hook your audience. The problem is, the beginning may not always be clear, or there could be multiple places where a story can start.

Writing isn’t like drawing or painting, where you can start at the top, middle or bottom of the canvas. On a canvas, you can see where you are going, and the space to be creatively filled is clearly defined. It doesn’t work like that with writing. With a story, there’s the start, middle and end, and you can begin at any of these points and write out of order. Sure, writers usually start writing at the top left hand side of a page, moving across to the right (when writing in English) then down to the next line and so on. But this top of the page could be in the middle of a story, or a new scene, or the start of a chapter. There are so many more choices when constructing a story, many which are hidden. The writer is working with the unknown, and may have an idea where to go, but there could be multiple ways to get there.

At some point, the only decision that can be made is to choose a point in the story and write. The structure will become clear the more that is written. Like all good travellers, the writer might get lost, have to back track and take another path. I’ve thrown away 30-40,000 words before in a story and re-written those words, and now I’m planning on doing a complete re-write of these 70,000 words. What a waste?! Not really. I needed to write in order to find the start and I was learning about my writing style that was best suited for this particular story (I have a different one for each story). It had to be done. This is going with the flow, my inner creative flow, and writing to see what takes shape. If the story ends up not going in a direction I feel is suitable for the story or characters, then I change. I may even abandon the story for a while to retrieve later, or use some parts in a different story.

That’s writing, a lot of hard work, persistence, trying new approaches, changing direction and not giving up. There can be times to persevere, but if it begins to feel like a block then I might jump ahead to another scene, or write another story, or take time to journal, or have a break. I never know what creative paths I’ll end up going down if I let go (just a little) and relax, trust myself that I’ll find a creative solution.

The more I write, the more I become aware of my journey, what is working, what isn’t and then I can adjust accordingly. Some loose suggestion of where to start will involve emotion, action, and a hook to draw in the reader. Once I’m writing, then I’ll begin to connect to the setting, characters, and emotion, then I will have a better idea of the direction the story is going in. At this point, I can reflect if this is the best place for the start, or if there’s somewhere else. The story can be re-structured when editing, but first there needs to be words on the page.

Finding the best start to a new story becomes a matter of jumping in, get writing, stop thinking of the outcome, and don’t question yourself. And that in itself is a very good place to begin a story.