Inspiration Shot: Quote by Juan Gris

You are lost the instant you know what the result will be.
–Juan Gris (1887-1927), Cubist painter and sculptor

SandyInspired Comments: I discovered this quote this week (week 11) of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. This week is about recovering a sense of autonomy and creating work that wants to be created. This is a concept I have been grappling with.

When I let my imagination lead me wherever it needs to go, characters and stories write themselves, and doodles become interesting explorations of patterns and unexpected subjects. However, I am such a control freak that I keep catching myself strangling creativity with guidelines and predetermined destinations. I find that story snippets or fledgling sketches are thrown out because I decided before sitting down in front of the page what the result would be. Nothing kills a story or a drawing like a master plan does.

So I agree with Juan Gris. As an artist, knowing the final destination defeats the journey. You will most likely stop before you get there; or if you manage to power through, your result with be but a pale imitation of what you so intricately planned out. I am going to follow the same piece of advice from this quote and my fiction writing course instructor: I am just going to show up at the keyboard with a good sense of who my character is, but let him tell his own story in his own words. I will open up to a blank page in my sketchbook and let the pen cut its own path across the paper. I hope that you will let yourself do the same in some small area of your life, and I hope it leads you somewhere delightfully unexpected!


Inspiration Shot: Block Beatdown #1

A Poem by Sandy Phan

Writer’s Block.
We meet again.
Old friend and fearsome foe,
you know as well as I,
I’ve no time to rhyme away
your wicked, willful sabotage—
the Critic lodged
between idea and action,
amidst my faith in fiction.

I believe the story’s spiraled up inside,
just waiting to unwind
and find its life upon the page.
Each letter waged upon your war
means more moments marching
across my screen,
scenes mingling in dense detail,
dialogue dueling to trade a tale,
roles ripening in twisting plots
and shifting shots at crafting characters
who long to breathe beyond this bookish brain.
I’ll train my muse to pry prose loose
from bouts of blockage…
besting you.

SandyInspired Comments: I have a short story due in my fiction class this week. And each time I sit down to write, my inner critic cries, “Too trite!”, “Not quite right!” and “Give it up, already!” Except, I’m a hopeless nerd who can’t stand the thought of getting a bad grade–even if it’s in a class I’m taking for my own edification. So I’m plodding along to meet this deadline and make the grade. I’ve sucked all the joy out of getting to know a new character and fleshing out a subtle scene.

Writer’s Block has me surrounded at the edge of surrender. But I’m standing my ground and parrying with poetry. There’s a zone I enter when writing a poem, a place where words are luscious morsels of mystery and delight, rapping out a rhythm of unexpected revelation. So here’s my strategy: To bring prose into this spawning space of wordworking wonders. Take that, Writer’s Block!