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Creativity-Portal.com Multicultural Muses Series
Multicultural Muses : The Story as Muse : Page 2 of 2

Multicultural Muses

The Story as Muse

continued from page 1

Creative License

View stories as a jumping-off point — or, better yet, a rock dropped into a stream. One by one, they build an awkward bridge you can hop across, landing in a place beyond your wildest dreams — a place where you can finally tell your story… a place where that is honored and understood, and passed along to inspire the others, who will come later, with a hunger to tell stories of their own.

The courageous, raw, truth-telling style of Mary Karr may inspire you to write your own explosive memoir — or, perhaps it will inject your stories with a few down-home truths about the hard, dark, and ugly parts of life. Janet Fitch's masterful White Oleander may help you to find beauty, strength, and grace in the most unlikely places. The wild imaginings of authors like Allende, Atwood, Braverman, and Hoffman may lend a hallucinatory quality to your fictitious landscapes; awaken you to the little bits of magic in everyday life, and give you the freedom to dream.

Jennie Nash's newest novel, The Only True Genius in the Family, due for release in February 2009 from Berkley Books, is an especially inspiring and enlivening work for artists who are struggling to have faith in their gifts and their work, and are attempting to create within an environment that does not support their creative vision or nourish their dreams. The message of this book is that each of us is marvelously gifted in different ways…but these unique gifts can be stunted, dwarfed, and amputated if you lack belief in your own talents, and have no friends or family who support you as an artist.

If, as in Nash's work, an artist is not given the proper support, the creative fire can be completely extinguished; or grow so dormant that we wonder if that spark was ever there at all. Even more important than reading the stories of others is the courage to tell your own story, any way you can.

Printable Creative LicenseIf courage you lack, I hereby give you creative license to speak your own truth; to tell your story, as my fourth grade teacher used to say, "in your own words." I give you permission to create indiscriminately, just as you wish — wildly, freely, and without asking permission from anyone. Tell your tale, paint your masterpiece; sing your song. Tango with the Muses. I send you inspiration, strength, creative energy, and my wildest hopes and dreams.

(Print your own copy of this Creative License right now to hang in your creative space!)

Try This!

The following are some projects I've designed to help you draw inspiration for your artwork and writing from stories:

  • Create a sketch, painting or collage of your favorite fictional character. It can be representational or abstract; the important thing is to capture the essence of the character in a new way.
  • Use a poem or short story as the base for a collage or painting, layering images and words to create a new visual interpretation of the work.
  • Write an alternative ending for your favorite book, short story, or fairy tale.
  • "Borrow" a secondary character from your favorite novel- someone who intrigues you — and use this as the basis for a writing exercise — interview him, put him on the witness stand, give him his own talk show, or put him into a new story, just for fun. It's not kosher to publish something like this without permission from the original author, but it can be a fun exercise to include in your journal or writer's notebook.
  • Write your favorite character a letter, and then write his/her response to you.
  • Design a new book-cover for one of your favorite reads.
  • Connect with authors who inspire you. Send an email, if you can find a website — lots of writers maintain their own sites and fans can connect with them there. Alternately, you can also send a letter, card, or story-inspired artwork to your favorite writer in care of his or her publishing company. Most writers (myself included!) agree — putting paper to pen can be a lonely life, and many of us would appreciate a sincere letter from a fan. Even a quick email letting them know their words inspired you can make a writer's day.

© 2009 Molly J. Anderson-Childers

Molly Anderson-Childers is a a highly creative writer and artist from Durango, Colorado. More »

1/27/09