This week’s creative is young, talented, a writer to watch, and she happens to be my niece. Amanda has been published in several literary magazines along with a study gig writing for Courthouse News and Westword. Her talents extend beyond the writer into translating and editing. Here is her creative process:
“If you haven’t written a word since your last school assignment, you probably think writing is a magical thing that happens to a few gifted people with great grammar. Truth is, I would be lost without spell check and muses are a lot like lightening, if you’re waiting to be struck, you’re probably still waiting.
My process is slow and tedious and involves countless hours of going back and crossing out whatever I finally managed to write down.
On a good day, I’ll wake up a good hour or two before everyone else in the house, make a French press, and get to it. On a bad day, I sleep in and spend the afternoon lying to myself about how I will make up for it later then inevitably go to bed early.
For me, the two most important parts of the story are the ending and the twist. Without those, my character is all dressed up with nowhere to go. In the case of “Two Soups for Table Eight,” I began with the idea that I wanted to write something that might be seen differently on the second reading—either Jean’s a bored waiter with a big imagination or he really is a reporter. I also wanted to capture that angst of being stuck at a day job, when you (feel like you) have more important things to do.
I try to put some truth in every story and challenge myself to experiments with new techniques.
I figure if I keep grinding away like this, the muse just might strike day and I will be ready for it with a kite and a key.”
“Two Soups for Table Eight” is in the August issue of ArtPost. Amanda also has had fiction on the Write Launch and Menacing Hedge. She writes true stories for Courthouse News and Westword.
Greetings and apologies for missing a few weeks. I could fill in some of the excuses my student’s favor, yet I will not. Instead please allow me to introduce this week’s creative, Steve Patarini, also known as the hubz. Our household is creative. Both hubz and the offspring possess musical talents. I write. Together we inspire each other.
Finally, after asking many a times I will discover, with you my readers, how hubz creates.
I hope you enjoy.
“I am a person whose mind races constantly and the voices in my head seem to never shut down, even when I try to go to sleep at night. As a middle school teacher my day starts early with a 5:30 wake up to complete my morning routine in time for my commute to work by 7:30 am. As I speed up a relatively lightly traveled highway at 6:45, I find myself in a uniquely altered state of both sleep deprivation and high caffeination. The six and a half hours of sleep I routinely get, or less, is insufficient for me. I compensate by gulping down 2 cups of sugar laced coffee by 6 am so that as I drive to work I am practically vibrating.
It is in these state that I find my subconscious mind is enabled by the caffeine and my conscious mind is suppressed by my drowsiness. This is a fertile situation for both verbal and musical creativity. I will get a melody or rhyme in my head and in the interest of safety I will pull out my handy voice recorder to preserve my inspirations.
I often dictate the lyrics to an entire song in one session. I often compose a carefully worded work email, letter, or classroom activity to a degree that very little editing needs happen afterword.
My auditory style of thought basically narrates my daily life like a noir detective novel (“he went to the fridge and poured the iced tea as little droplets of condensation rolled down the side of the pitcher…”). Using a voice recorder to capture those thoughts and preserve them is crucial since they will soon be pushed from my mind by the next “chapter” of my consciousness.
While I don’t usually recommend sleep deprivation; a combination of lack of sleep, huge quantities of a favorite caffeine source, and a lengthy car ride in silence with a voice recorder nearby can produce interesting creativity.
There is no telling what the voices in your head might inspire.”