Monday Mayhem: On Writing & Magic!

“At its most basic we are only discussing a learned skill, but do we not agree that sometimes the most basic skills can create things far beyond our expectations? We are talking about tools and carpentry, about words and style…but…we are also talking about magic.” Stephen King, On Writing

In 2018 I will be focusing on this notion of creativity. Writing, yes, but also creativity broadly speaking, because I believe that all of you out there reading this can identify in some way with this idea of making something out of nothing. You can appreciate the beauty of a song, a poem a painting or a well-turned verse, and perhaps you’ve tried your hand at creating one or more yourself. Yet, you also know that while we are allowed to admire beauty we are, too often, discouraged from creating it unless it’s in our spare time, on the weekends or after we’ve done the “serious work” first.

In other words, creative work is often not taken seriously. It is mere trifle. Entertainment. Distraction. Relegated to the margins of the mainstream day-to-day work that everyone else is doing.

Well, I would like to move it from the margin, to the middle, if I may. Because, for some of us, creativity is a calling. Dare I say? Serious work, in fact.  So, I want to talk more about creative work.  Believe it or not, that’s not an oxymoron. In fact, the value of creativity has proven to be more important in recent years on the heels of the sterilized, standarized sameness of industrialization and technology.  According to Daniel Pink author of A Whole New Mind, “our country has entered a “conceptual age” where “right-brained skills such as design and storytelling” are “more crucial than traditionally left-brained skills such as accounting and computer programming”. (CNN) It seems there might be a place at the table for us after all.  For those of us who live in our right brain anyway, Pink says the world may become a more welcoming place! But, will it?

Will moms and dads support little girls and boys who say they want to be artists, writers, and dancers instead of engineers, scientists and doctors? Will the world only accept creative types if they use their creativity in the service of technology and engineering?  We certainly need both scientists and artists, but I fear that we still value one more than the other. In this economy with jobs in demand and healthcare in decline, it’s the bottom line that matters more than the poetic line. When there are budget cuts in education, the arts are always the first to go, but is that okay? STEM is all the rage, but I don’t hear nearly enough about STEAM.

So, I guess it’s up to me, here in my little corner of the internet to defend creativity, to keep it alive and to declare its value.  I’m committed to convincing you, if you’re not convinced already, that creative work is important. That creative work, is work. So, here I am with my top hat & bunny in hopes that you’ll be impressed.


“Look everybody! It’s not just writing…it’s magic!”  I know I have my work cut out for me, but happy Monday, anyway!



Be Brave!

I was clicking through the audio files on my computer when a soft, sweet voice caught me by surprise! The timid and airy voice of my daughter drifted towards me.

“What in the world?” I wondered.

She was singing. Softly. She did not want to be heard. Yet, she had recorded her voice–on my phone, no less–so, on some level, I suppose, she did want to be heard. She merely did not want to be seen and heard in that moment. She was too embarrassed to sing in front of an audience, yet her heart held a song. So, in some quiet moment she had snuck away with my phone to record every raspy, airy sound that emitted from her heart. I wonder if she played it back and listened to it or if she pushed the phone aside afraid to hear the sound of her own voice.

What now?

You slip the recording device back in its proper place and you go on as if nothing ever happened. Until one day someone stumbles upon that sweet little creation and says, “that is beautiful.”

Heart work takes courage that most of us do not have. Mind work merely requires that you get it done. Heart work requires that you give yourself, that you be completely vulnerable to the process and the product. Heart work can’t be shrink-wrapped and set on the shelf. It’s custom-designed, one-of-a kind. There’s so much more at stake.

Maybe that’s why some of the most brilliantly creative people were (and are) also the most troubled. They give everything to their craft and risk getting nothing in return. The little girl who steals away to sing into her mother’s phone is afraid to take that risk. I wonder how many more little girls like her are out there…

One day we’ll either become better at our craft or brave enough that it doesn’t matter.  Let’s keep working at it!

Daily Prompt: Overcome

Happy Monday!


photo credit:


Revamp Monday: God is in the Gym!

Every year Writer’s Digest comes out with their “101 Best Websites for Writers” and I LOVE flipping through the pages of those issues then surfing the web for the latest sites and resources. There’s just so much fantastic stuff out there for writers! There’s the traditional stuff like critique or discussion forums and “everything agents,” job listings and writers’ conferences.  But then there’s the non-traditional, inspirational, stuff, like the creativity portal which offers a slew of brain teasers and visual prompts to spark the imagination, or, a site that provides the background noise you would hear in a coffee shop–you know, in case you can’t get to an actual coffee shop to do your work!

My point is that Writer’s Digest has the same idea that I do.  We recognize that writers need all kinds of resources. Yes, we need to talk about writing, but we also need inspiration that will motivate us to write! That’s what Mayhem Mondays are all about! I’m trying to get us motivated to do the work that we were meant to do!  That’s also why I’m glad to have Tanzy back again to inspire us to keep pushing–whether it’s pencils or power squats!


 In my experience, I’ve found that physical activity has the ability to mimic many of my personal spiritual experiences. My intangible journey of faith suddenly takes on shape, form and weight, when I’m in the gym.

The heaviness of the bars I press, remind me of the heaviness I feel at times when raising my arms to praise God. Struggling against the burden of complacency to honor Him through worship.


Running miles, up and down hills on the treadmill as my heart aches in my chest. Step after step in agonizing fatigue, mirroring the deliverance I’ve been desperately pursuing. Pleading for the finish line to come into view.

The rope I grasp to pull my body vertically against gravity, is not unfamiliar to the ditch of depression I’ve tried to pull myself out of, time and time again. Muscles of hope burning as I grip tighter and pray harder that I can make it out this time.

The delicate yoga poses I hold are identical to the moments that I am expected to be still, and know that HE IS GOD.  Breathing deep and slow, as I patiently wait for God to instruct me to change position.  But until then I am forced to make still my anxious thoughts and trust in my creator.

For me, physical movement is capable of materializing my walk with Christ. God is indeed present with me in the gym.

Speaking to me on the bike trail.

Whispering to me with each lap in the pool.

Lifting with me rep after rep.

He helps me as I battle against the voice that says, “You can’t do this”. The spirit reminds me, “I can do all things”. In my world, he resides not only in the church, but also in the gym and Exercise is my reasonable act of worship. It’s my way of giving God praise for the gift of my body. It’s His way of  teaching me that I can overcome any challenge he calls me to face.

Physical fitness is the language God uses to save my soul.  A strong body is simply a side effect.

Tanzy Chandler


Thanks, Tanzy!

Tanzy Chandler joins us on the first Monday of every month. Check out her article “Demote the Scale” and her YouTube channel! Also, for more Mayhem Monday Madness, check back every Monday and throughout the week for writing and word play.  Also, check out my  recipes  (I have a new kale salad that’s yum!) and energizers, ’cause you can’t write–or exercise–on an empty stomach!