by Cesar Moran-Cahusac
How did this poem come about?
Well one night I walked into Paddy’s, the Irish bar in Cusco; the one the proudly says it’s the highest Irish owned bar in the world and sat at the bar. As I ordered a bottle of beer and a glass I saw that the bar was packed with thirsty parishioners, all rowdy and telling each other of their adventures while visiting Machu Picchu or maybe celebrating their Salkantay hike. There was laughter and a lot of clanking.
The bartender, a young woman, was running back and forth serving and talking with a big smile that shone more with her dark black curls. But the peacefulness was interrupted by one customer who insisted in inviting her to partake in shots. She laughed and kindly rejected his offer, but the man insisted and got her to have a shot or two with him.
This individual was quite drunk and behaved as a continuous and persistent whirlwind that was full of heat. or of himself. and wanted her to drink more while boasting out loudly that he would take her with him that night. As the young woman moved about I got a glimpse of a phoenix she had as a tattoo on her back that swirled as she was serving and bringing drinks.
This interaction made me feel like I was in the middle of a windy day where the leaves are blown carelessly and the feathers of the fire bird flew with them. In fact every time she said NO, this man blew a fit that sent his frustration all over the room like those colorful leaves and feathers.
In a brief moment she turned; we exchanged glances and she smiled at me as if to say: “No worries I have this under control. I am used to taming ferocious winds that don’t bite." And as she turned her head back to him, the gentleman left tumbling away with a breeze.
Now enjoy the poem!
She Said No To The Wind
Wuthering wind came and blasted her with words and she said No.
The wind was bringing up storms, chasing her with arrogant bluffs and she said No
In doing so she rode them like an acrobat, a barefoot fire dancer.
As she hovered she swiftly looked at me, her gaze had beaming sparks.
In an instant the wind dumped air all over the place and she said No
Delivering vanquishing thoughts the wind smirked; stomping hurricanes on the walls and she said no.
She turned around and the phoenix on her back, brushed its tail on my face.
The event drove me to serene incantations; into a land of imaginary constellations.
In her move a myriad of colorful feathers flew through the room as she said no.
The wind left howling; dragging a breeze and with her eyes said: “I like your energy.”
I slid on her grin, fantasizing that one could see the sun, the moon and stars through her dark curls.
I said: “How so?”
She: “When your eyes crossed mine I read fantasy, a will for care.”
I held her hand and we danced to courageous tunes leaving a trail of happiness over the wooden floor.
In the affair the solar bird was flicking its feathers; creating a maze of delight.
Cesar Moran-Cahusac is an ecologist, peace advocate and martial artist whose poetry weaves an expansive range of exotic, sensual and surprising life experiences into a dance of verbal refinement. From pig farmer to poet, from Sensei to CEO, from dreamer to truth-seeker, a man without energy and enthusiasm, he certainly is not. After gaining a master's degree from the Yale School of Forestry, Cesar returned to his native Peru to lead the Amazon Conservation Association, an international NGO spanning three countries: the United States, Bolivia and Peru. Cesar is a third-degree black belt in Aikido, a Japanese martial art known as "The Way of Peace," and the students at his dojo in Cusco, Peru, lovingly know him "Sensei." She Said No to the Wind is Cesar's first full length publication.
By Debbie A. McClure
People ask writers and other artists all the time, “How do you do it?” I have to admit, I don’t know. When I think about the hours a writer, musician, visual artist, clothing designer, interior decorator, architect, basket weaver, whatever, spends on his/her chosen craft, there’s this huge mystery around the how of it all.
So let’s tackle the “why” question then. We create things because something, anything, sparks our imagination. We see or hear something that resonates with us, inspires us and puts a mental picture in our heads of what that something means, or could mean. It’s different for each person. A painter will see it in terms of paint, a musician will see and/or hear it in terms of notes of music or song, and a writer will see it in terms of words on a page that tell a story or impart some sort of information.
Because we are moved by these experiences, we want to capture them. We want to bring them to life – much as a parent who is pregnant and wants to bring their child into the world and hold it. Creation is actually a very selfish act. We need to bring it out of our heads and into a medium we can manipulate. If we don’t, it won’t let us alone.
Ever had an idea that just keeps repeating in your brain? Yep, that one. You know it won’t let up until you do something about it. A business person who creates a new business to service a need in society is driven to make it happen. He/she eats, sleeps, dreams about this new idea until it just about drives them crazy. Same with the creative artist.
An inventor or scientist is driven to bring their vision or hypothesis into being, sometimes to prove that they aren’t crazy. Sometimes it’s to prove they’re right and everyone else is wrong.
In the beginning, the creator doesn’t care what others think. They do what they do because of an internal drive that has nothing to do with other people. It’s only after the creation is finished that our thoughts turn to showing the rest of the world what we’ve brought to life. Talk about visions of grandeur, but oh how beautiful it is!
What about when we fail though? Well, that’s okay too, because failure is part of the road to success. Can’t have one without the other. In fact, people learn more from their failures than we ever do from our successes. That’s why we do it over, and over, and over again. We want to make the finished product fit the image we carry around in our minds. We are our own most ruthless critic.
Of course we love to hear other people tell us how much they adore our newest book, play, movie, piece of music, building, clothing line, or room design, but if we aren’t satisfied, nothing you can say or do will convince us that it’s perfect and couldn’t use a little tweaking here or there. That’s why each creation is slightly different that the last one. As creators, we are forever perfecting our craft. My father is a retired building contractor, and I remember him telling me years ago that whenever he finished a project, he could always think of ways he’d change this window, or move that wall the next time. Now I get it.
As to the how of creating something new, well, that’s as easy, and difficult as you can imagine. For me, it’s about setting routines and sitting down to write five days a week, from around 9 or 9:30am to about 4-5pm. I’ve worked at this writing gig full time for the past three years now, and I’ve made some serious sacrifices to do that. Doesn’t make it right, or easy, but it’s right for me right now. I typically sit down at my computer and begin with a to-do list of things to tackle each work day. I don’t worry about prioritizing, but I usually have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done first and last. As I do each task, I cross it off my list. This gives me the illusion of control. Every creator has his/her own flow and schedule. Life also gets in the way, and allowances are made for life, because in the end, it’s where we draw our inspiration.
I’m a novelist, so as for the writing part, I don’t let myself focus on what isn’t there in front of me. I just re-read the last page of what I’ve written the day before to refresh my memory and pick up the threads. Then I start typing whatever comes to mind about what happens next. I don’t edit as I go when writing the first or even second draft. I don’t worry about what works and what doesn’t work. I don’t concern myself with plot or character development at this point. I just let myself write, and the time flies. I see the story roll out like a movie in my head. I’m just recording it. I do research of course, some of it before I begin to write the story and some of it once I’m writing the second or third draft. I’ve discovered that research is a great boost to the imagination, because it gives the writer more information to play with. In addition, you just keep writing, and reading, and writing, and reading … You get the picture. Practice makes, if not perfect, then at least eventually, better.
I’d have to think the same is true for any creative expression. When you’re in the “zone”, it just takes you away. When you’re working on the craft, you learn more about what you love, so it doesn’t feel like work. When you practice, you sloooowly get better. You also gain a small measure of confidence. Through research and study of your chosen field, you learn what’s been invented before so you don’t have to go down that road. You also start talking to other creative people, and begin to realize we have many things in common. There’s also an energy and strong vibe among like-minded creative people.
Entrepreneurs fit in here too, since they have a vision of what kind of product or service they want to bring to others. Don’t believe me? Just go to any industry conference or workshop and you’ll hear and see groups of people gathering and talking about what brought them together – their work! I’m not talking about the company employees who could care less and are there for the drinks and socializing; I’m talking about the visionaries, the creators, behind the businesses. They have invested in their creations whole-heartedly, with every fibre of their being and every resource at their disposal. That’s not to say that employees can’t share this buzz, if they too have a vision for the future. After all, leaders learn by watching other leaders.
Here’s the thing though; creative people aren’t just dreamers. We express our thoughts in concrete ways, then move heaven and earth to share it, in the hope that the creation will have a positive impact on others. If we fail to hit the mark, then it’s okay to rant, rave, and howl at the moon! Decry the unfairness of it all, and the stupidity of the fates. Then it’s time to suck it up, buckle down, and go back to square one. Creativity will always find a way to express itself. Your job is to help it accomplish the task.
Contact Debbie A. McClure at:
By Christina Hamlett
Have you ever wondered if the characters in your unfinished screenplay will finally get so tired waiting for you to wrap up their story that they just write the rest themselves? Real life, alas, has a pesky way of encroaching on the time you need for your “reel” life. If you’ve ever caught yourself saying, “But there aren’t enough hours,” consider this article your wake-up call. You actually have all the hours you need to keep on schedule with your writing; you simply need to allocate them more efficiently.
By the Numbers
If your boss gives you a task, there’s probably a due date attached to it. Writing, however, is a solitary craft that often embraces a “get-to-it-when-I-get-to-it” mindset. Unless there’s a specific deadline looming, it’s too easy to let a project slide by falling back on the excuse that your muse just isn’t cooperating. Well, it’s time to readjust that attitude, put on a “boss” hat and become more accountable for product delivery.
Let’s say you’re writing a 100-page script and you’re set on a 4-week deadline. In order to meet this goal, you need to produce 25 pages a week (5 a day if you take weekends off). It’s really not that much but where most writers err is in editing as they go. Don’t do this. Just write. Edit when you’re finished. If you edit as you compose, you’re going to spend way too much time agonizing over the perfect first line and never get to the second one.
Another approach is to commit to writing one page a day for 3-1/2 months. Even if you have a wild spurt of creativity and write 10 pages in a single afternoon, it doesn’t let you off the hook for the next 10 days; it just means you’re that much farther ahead. We’ll still expect the mandatory one page from you tomorrow. Psychologists say it takes 21 days to incorporate a new habit into your behavior. If you steadfastly apply this to a daily writing schedule, you couldn’t not write on Day 22.
When I was penning romantic suspense novels for HarperCollins, I worked with several women who were voracious readers. Rather than join a critique group of fellow writers, I found it more valuable to test-drive my material on people who represented my target demographic. Every Friday afternoon, I’d distribute copies of my latest chapters. Since it was my style to end each one with a cliffhanger, they’d usually accost me first thing Monday morning and demand to know what happened next. I dared not show up empty-handed.
Whether you recruit your own readers or work with writing partner(s), engaging others in your writing process is a powerful motivator to impose stick-to-itiveness. If you don’t have access to supporters to push and prod you along, the next best thing is to never end your writing day at a point where it’s too hard to restart. Finishing a scene, for instance, makes you feel less inclined to begin a new one than if you end in the middle of a line: “Oh, Jeffrey, I know it’s bad timing but there’s a—” There’s a what???? Yes, you know what “it” is and it’ll drive you crazy to have to wait a day to type it.
Finding the 25th Hour
Could your writing schedule use an extra hour? Of course it could, but to paraphrase Captain Jack Sparrow, “The Isla de More Time cannot be found except by those who already know where it is.” If you want to keep to a code of high productivity, it starts with aggressive decluttering. For a single day, record how much time you spend checking email, surfing the Internet, reading TMZ gossip, looking for lost notes, playing computer games. Yikes! Who’d have imagined how it all adds up!
* If you live with others, how often do they interrupt and derail your train of thought? Writing is your job. Insist on respect.
* Learn keyboard shortcuts to save typing time. (http://www.microsoft.com/enable/products/keyboard.aspx)
* Consolidate/delegate your errand-running.
* Identify your most productive writing zone and consistently stick to it.
* Remove distractions from your workspace.
* Get up earlier; go to bed later.
* Read Laura Vanderkam’s 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, Kenneth Atchity’s A Writer's Time: Making the Time to Write, and Pilar Alessandra’s The Coffee Break Screenwriter: Writing Your Script Ten Minutes at a Time.
* Invest in electronic programs such as NewNovelist.com, StoryCraft, Quick Story, Writer’s Café, Writer’s Blocks as well as voice recognition software.
* Use rewards – a spa day, chocolate, new shoes - to stay motivated. (Didn’t you always do your homework faster when you knew you could go play afterwards?)
Inspired? Great! Now go get back to your characters. They’ve missed you.
Former actress and director Christina Hamlett is an award-winning author, professional ghostwriter and script consultant whose credits to date include 31 books, 157 stage plays, 5 optioned feature films, and squillions of articles and interviews. Learn more at www.authorhamlett.com.
When I was at school I wanted to be a writer, I imagined myself as a combination of Jo from Little Women and Jane Eyre, writing every day while sitting under an apple tree.
As sometimes happens life got in the way and I did various things including nursing, having some wonderful jobs in the corporate world and then after becoming a mother I moved into the community and disability world.
Of course I wrote reports and funding submissions, however something inside me yearned to write so I finally did it.
In 2009 I wrote a short book on relationship tips entitled "How To Have A Great Relationship: 96 Tips For Turning A Healthy Relationship Into The Perfect Relationship" and had it published on Amazon both as a soft cover "real" book and an e-book.
I was so excited and pleased with myself but I only told my husband and son and a couple of close friends. Looking back I think it was about not feeling comfortable "blowing my own trumpet".
In another way it was a delicious secret I carried around with me.
Eventually I told a few more people, meanwhile without any promotion whatsoever I was selling a few copies of both the soft cover book and the e-book each month.
The excitement of having people that had never heard of me buying my book was thrilling.
I am looking forward to contributing to Michelle's latest project "Love Alters" - my journey as a writer continues.
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