Forced to Write

I have been writing regularly since I was about 13 or 14 years old. bitmoji-20190328072744

I remember how it started. I had been told by an authority figure – a teacher or a therapist – I can’t remember which one — that I needed to start writing every day.  They were trying to force me to write about my feelings so I would deal with my mom’s passing because I wasn’t dealing with it at all.  I was just rehearsing all the time.

[Enjoy the rest of the transcription by reading below, or click on the podcast]:

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In a lot of ways it was bad that they were trying to force me to write because, as with anything, when you force a kid or actually an adult as well, to try to do something – the first thing you want to do is be defensive and not do it at all.

But what it did do, is exposed me to a possibility.  And that possibility to get up every day and write in a journal – has been my saving grace.

Now I’m not an advocate of forcing people to write every day, or to do whatever it is I think works for me…

I do think being able to take time out for yourself every day is really important – especially in this world and in this time where everything seems so stressful.  We have so much technology around us — and you know — I always kind of giggle at people who pay so much money to do yoga, and meditate —  we’re actually paying for quiet and silent sometimes.

So, for me at 4:30 or 5 O’clock in the morning, I’m having my coffee and I have my sketchbook out and I hand write because that’s what I do.  That’s how I start my day and I rarely ever missed that no matter what.  Even if I’m traveling.  I tend to like to “hand” write because I like the texture from the paper and a pen.

I have a kind-of system that every year around my birthday I shred all of those sketchbooks or documents or whatever I’ve been using.  That’s just been something I’ve always done.

I think it’s harder for me to write on a computer in a “journal-entry” kind-of form.  If I switch gears in my head and call it creative writing then I’m able to do it a little bit better.  But it’s not the same thing.  It’s not the same therapeutic kind-of process that I do every morning.

The reason why I shred journals every year is because sometimes when I sit back and read them –  they are just horrendous, or bad, or just they’re kind-of gibberish.  And there just kind of process…

Sometimes I’m working through problems, or anger things, or happy things that I never would want anyone to know about.  And there is also that — there is the ability, and the want to make sure that it’s always private.  It’s just for me. It’s not for anybody else unless I choose to share certain things about it – and I have in the past, taking pictures of my journal entries at times and posted up as a journal.  You can find them here in my blog post – but that also takes a lot of work too because I have to go back and reread it and I’m very careful about how I’m writing it.  Yeah it’s just a different mindset.

As always, I just like to share these things. I would love to hear how you go about giving yourself time every day — that would be fantastic to know – how some people make sure they find time throughout the day to meditate,  to think,  to create or to just “BE”.

As always, I hope you have a sweet day. I appreciate you stopping by, and I’ll be back again real soon.

Bye,

Carmen

Ten Things That May Surprise You About Me

Ten things about me that may surprise you:

  1. I’m a stutterer. I have been since I was a kid. Most people don’t notice.  Only those that KNOW may see how I work around it.  I remember being so sad in grade school and then being told that “…even James Earl Jones stutters and he’s the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars…”.  Well, that changed everything! I became okay with stuttering. Maybe even a little proud of it because you know, Darth Vader stuttered too. I worked hard to get through it with therapists and such, but knowing someone else stuttered and “made it” — that was everything!  How cool was it when I actually got to meet him on set and talk about our stuttering issues over a meal?  Yeah, priceless!
  1. I’ve never eaten Lobster in my life. I don’t eat shellfish, no sushi, rarely eat seafood at all.
  1. I’ve run three marathons. I’m not a fast runner by any means, and my last marathon was in 2004, but it was on my bucket list and it was GREAT to scratch that off the list for sure!
  1. I write in a journal every morning. I write – not type – with a pen and sketch book. I’ve done this since I can remember.  It’s as normal to me as brushing my teeth in the morning.  It’s my therapy/meditative time.
  1. I’ve gone Sky-Diving and would do it again in a heartbeat! I used to be afraid of heights and thought this would help. It did quite a bit, though I still have a little fear of it. It was quite the adventure for sure! (Check out the Video here!)
  1. I don’t like cut flowers. I love flowers, trees, plants – I don’t like that people cut flowers and put them in their home. I don’t like real Christmas trees for the same reason. Fake trees and flowers can be just as lovely and last forever!  One of my pet peeves is seeing Christmas trees lined in the alley way near the dumpsters discarded and dead a few days after the holiday.  Who knows how long those trees would have lived!  I feel the same way about flowers (sorry Oprah). I know, it seems a little crazy, but I said “..things that may surprise you…”. Side note: yeah, never bring me flowers – chocolate YES, flowers NO.
  1. I was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, but I do not have a Boston accent and never really have. Part of that is because I traveled the states so much as a kid, but get me around a Bostonian and I can, just as easily, drop a few “R’s” here and there.
  1. I have always been a Sci-Fi “aficionado”. STNG over the original. BSG. Scully over Mulder. Only the original Star Wars…Eureka, Stargate SG1, Atlantis…you get the point if you enjoy the world.  I’m also a fan of most fantasy – Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings…  Oh and don’t get me started on Marvel, DC Comics. Yes, I love all of it.
  1. For whatever reason, I cannot break eggs without a piece of shell landing in the mix. So, years ago I started breaking eggs in a separate bowl first so I can pick out any shells before adding it to any pan or recipe.  It really kills me that I can’t do it. Oh, and chefs who break eggs with one hand? I think are genius!  It’s a skill that secretly fascinates me! Ha!
  1. And this is NO secret to most, but just in case any newbies are visiting: I published my first book CANELA this past June and I’m now working on the beginnings of my second book. Wow. I’m now an “author”. I’m still getting used to that! 

I love reading about people’s “isms”.  We all got’em. It’s what makes us all unique.  Sometimes, it takes a long while to realize that.  But once you do and embrace all that you are, it can be helpful, liberating and kinda cool!  Being unique, or different, can be a GREAT thing! Sure, it can be challenging at times, but hopefully, always fulfilling – in the most positive ways ever!

Sweet day to you!

Carmen

My Creative Process – What’s Yours?

My Creative Process  (Enjoy the podcast or the transcription below)

 

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I was asked this question the other day when I was speaking to a group of women.  The question was:  What is your creative process?

I don’t know why I was so taken aback by the question.  It’s a valid question,  but I guess I hadn’t really thought about it as a creative process.

I think one of the most important things that you can do as an artist, in any way shape or form that doesn’t get enough credit, is daydream.

I go running in the morning down to the beach and I have a bench that I sit at that I absolutely love – and there are times when I’ll drive down to the beach even after I’ve gone for a workout or whatever and I’ll just sit on that bench and I daydream.  The process of being able to sit quietly and just think things through — this is probably the most important thing that I do as an artist especially when it comes to writing and especially when it comes to writing my book.  Those stories are pretty much real true stories that happened to me, but I had to decide how to tell the story.

So one of the things  I would do, is kind of see that story in my head and imagine myself back there. And sometimes that’s a really good thing, and sometimes it’s a hard thing, but that’s the first part of my process.  And I think sometimes we’re really mean to ourselves about daydreaming and about just having time to imagine, imagination and story-telling.  In our own heads we kind of think we’re being lazy or you know that we should be automatically writing everything right now…  that’s not how it works for me.

I spend a lot more time thinking about what it is I’m going to write — and then I am someone who writes in journals.  And I prefer that texture of actual paper to pen — pen to paper —  so I will write out those stories and I write every morning and it is long hand and sometimes it’s cursive sometimes it’s printing sometimes I’m just doodling, sometimes I’m writing just the name over and over and over again – Like you did in high school or whatever.  Some people who follow my blog have seen some of my Journal entries.  The reason why I don’t do them all the time is because I’m not always “journaling” about one subject and you know sometimes I’m venting or trying to process things because it is a Journal.

But I do enjoy that long-hand part, so once I write down that story or that part of the imagination or day dream that I had,  then I go and I put it on the computer.  I just basically try to put it into some type of form on Word and then I leave it alone.  I leave it alone for a long time. And then I come back to it.  It could be a month later, or it can be 2 days later, but I come back to it and make a decision on whether or not I’m gonna keep that or not.  Then once I keep it, it is sent to an editor.

I tell people when I first wrote my book it was 664 pages. Now it’s not that at all, I think it’s like 160 pages now — but I wrote everything and then I went through the process of having three different people — that I will call editors – they were people who know me and who don’t know me – and I wanted them to just look at it for clarity.  And then I had an actual editor work on it before it got published of course.

That’s the process of how I went about doing my book and that is the process that I’m going through right now with the second book that I’m writing as well.  And in everything I’ve ever done, dancing, acting, any of these things —  I do kind of the same thing: I daydream.  I imagine, I dream and I try to conceptualize it in my head.  And I honor that process — I honor the process of being able to sit quietly.  And sometimes I think about nothing! Because sometimes, that’s when something pops and something makes sense, and something comes together is when you take the time to just BE.

So I wanted to share that. I thought it was kind of a cool question and maybe it’s odd, but maybe there’s a lot more people out there that do the same thing I did.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a sweet day and I’ll be back again real soon.

Carmen

 

*Music – “Prelude No. 23” by Chris Zabriskie

We All Fit Somewhere – Journal Entry 10.22.15

Enjoy listening to my journal entry from today, or just read it below — either way, thank you for stopping by! 


Baseball CarmenWhen I think of my life I feel so disappointed.  Stuck. Unfulfilled.  I see a lot of loss. Sadness.  I remember the good and that I had moments of joy, but what resonates with me is mostly the loss, the heartache, the unfulfilled dreams.

And here’s the strange part:

I feel like all of that may be a good thing.  I mean, I wish I had already accomplished my goals, but I think if life is completely satisfying and all your goals have been met, then maybe you’re closer to death than you realize?  So, it’s a good thing. Or it can be?  My frustration is that it feels like it’s taking forever for me to accomplish some basic things, that’s all.  But, I also realize, that my journey is something I need to embrace.  I’m choosing to embrace it. All of it.

For what it’s worth, I never thought I’d make it this far. My past says I shouldn’t have gotten this far. I should have been dead by my early teens.  Simply, I know I should’ve been a statistic.  And honestly, with all the obstacles along the way, I’m surprised I’m here too.  Grateful.  But completely-totally surprised.

I used to think death would be a welcomed relief.  I felt so alone, so daunting in my struggles, so helpless.  But the truth is I also love this life. I do.  No matter what I’ve been through as a kid, no matter what I go through now as an adult, I find myself in a place of joy – loving this life.  No. Matter. What.  And I started to wonder, why?

I love people and I their moments of pure kindness.  I love their thoughtfulness.  I love that no matter how bad a day can get, you can find a silver lining even in the worst of moments.  I love that the that essence of good, always outwits even the most evil of situations.  It does.  Good does trump bad. All the time. It may not happen as fast as I’d like, or as clearly as I’d like, but at the end of the day, goodness does always win. I see it.

And I love who I am. I know – its so weird.  But inspite of it all, I always have.   My body changes, my fears grow, my pain is deeper, my frustration – lengthy and yet, at the end of the day, I am so good!  I know I’m smart – even if it’s just street smart and not book smart, it matters so much to be intelligent this way.   And I love that I care.  I care so much about the world and about others. And as much as I feel pain deeper, I feel joy extraordinarily!   My frustration is because I know I’m not being the BEST me I can be – and when that happens, when I’m being my ultimate best, I know I can help another person.  I can change the world when I’m at my full potential.  And not being at my full potential scares me.

I turned out amazingly brilliant.  Of this I’m sure.  Normally I wouldn’t toot my own horn, but I need to do this. I need to remind myself of how great I am.  And that ultimately I’m doing okay.

I love this life.  And although I’m not great at puzzles or figuring out formulas, I know I fit somewhere in this maze.  More importantly, I know we all do.  We all fit somewhere.  And even though we all have these goals that sometimes feel so daunting and so unreachable – the fact is that life may just be all about the process of walking through.  Always searching for the light even in the loneliest of moments, even in the most extraordinary moment of pain –  finding the light must be the thing. It’s my only constant.

It may be cliché, but I truly believe that getting knocked down is normal, but finding your way back up is courageous.  There’s no doubt that I feel knocked down more days than I feel courageous, but  once you get up after falling – it doesn’t get easier, but you do get sort of used to it.  So I’m starting to view my “failures” my “knocked down” moments as “just another day” and I don’t dig the hole deeper – I just let it be what it is.

And then I get back up.  I brush it off, and I get back up.

So here’s the glorious part of what I know for sure:  Getting up, gives me more moments of SHINE.  Getting back up and brushing it off makes me feel like “it” didn’t win.  And like the lottery, you can’t win if you’re not playing – so getting back up, makes me feel like I’m back in the game.  And damn it, if I’m not going to win eventually.

Pen to Paper

It’s so much easier for me to write long-hand than it is to type my thoughts and feelings on a computer.  Although I’m a lover of technology and a consumer of most gadgets, the truth is, there’s something soothing and rhythmic to having a pen between your fingers and tracing across a smooth sheet of paper.

I think what I hate most or find annoying with typing on a computer is the constant need to mentally “re-check” and “re-do” everything.  Then there’s spell check automatically changing the words you might have spelled incorrectly or “fixing” what sometimes need not be fixed! It automatically switches letters or corrects your words – oh, it bothers me something fierce!  And I always notice the movement, the “correction” and on top of annoying me, it knocks me out of my rhythmic moment!

The uniformity of words and the letters on the screen also somewhat bore me.  The black and white-ness of it all.  I’ll type one line and stare at it blankly forever.  There’s no character, no true physical essence of  ME – all that remains is the UMPH of the words, how they sound together, and all that “suppose-ed” MEANING.  For me, writing on a computer assumes it’s for someone else’s consumption.  I’m always editing, thinking about structure – all of sudden “meaning” to others matters so much more. . . So much pressure!  Do the words make sense or ring true?   Did I say it right? Is it smart enough? Did I use the right words?

Yeah, I could write it by hand and then re-type it. . . oh, but who has the time?  And still, once you start transferring the words, all of a sudden changes need to be made!

When I write in my sketch book or what others may call a journal, it’s mine, completely MINE.  It feels personal and it’s NOT for anyone else’s consumption.  I love that!  It’s all about ME and it’s doubtful anyone else will ever see it.  My writing can be messy and jagged or beautifully cursive.  I can print or doodle – one never knows when writing that day, but when you look back, if you choose to look back, it has character, flavor, so much more of ME than just the words – there’s style, character, flare and yes, the UMPH of the words too.  Just by looking at the physical-ness of the entry, you get a sense of what it might mean.  And you can get a feel of the entry just by glancing —  You can tell what kind of mood I might have been in, just by the LOOK of it all. Did I block print? Did I scribble?   Did I use blue or black ink?  Was it really important so I underlined, starred it, or circled?  Did I write all in red ink to signify a GREAT day?  Or did I just run out of blue ink pens?

Maybe this explains why I find screenwriters and speechwriters so fascinating.  The great ones produce rhythmic and meaningful lines across a page that invoke meaning and purpose all by themselves. They don’t need my colored pens and doodles to enhance the meaning of the words.  And, if we’re lucky, the right talent comes along and gives the writer’s words texture and adds another facet of life into the work – hopefully, without losing the writers intent, of course!  It’s why I love acting so much, bringing life to the scripted words…just the collaboration of it all.

For me, I’m good writing in my personal sketch book every single day.  Doodling, free writing, playing around with ideas.  There’s no doubt it’s a kind of therapy of sorts, at least for me anyways!  And yeah, sometimes, like today, I’ll take the time to re-type it all…cuz it just feels right and I actually do have the time. 😉