Creativity

My minister spoke about creativity on Sunday, which inspired me to do a post on it. His message was how to win people to the Lord using our creativity. Mine, while touching on faith, is more about tapping into the gifts that God has given us. So this post is a juxtapose on what he said and what I feel about creativity.

God is creative. The word “created” is used three times in Genesis 1:27. All you have to do is go outside and marvel at some of His creations. He is the great artist.

We are created in God’s Image. We have value. No matter what anyone tells you, you are not a mistake. You are loved and were created for a reason.

Since we were created in God’s Image, we are creative. He instilled in us our creative nature. The urge we have to use our hands or that talent we have, it comes directly from Him.

Every person is a creative person. Maybe you don’t see it, but you are. Some creative talents are buried down deep and requires a little investigating to unearth. This means trying something new. It can be frightening at first, but it is worth it.

God expects us to use our creativity. He doesn’t want to stifle us; He wants us to live life to the fullest. For some it is writing, others paint…teaching, crafts, public speaking, gardening, singing…whatever it is, He knows it brings you joy and He gave it to you for a reason.

What does it take to be creative? Confidence, observation, humility, mindfulness, curiosity, resourcefulness, energy, action, perseverance, and faith. All of these qualities are gifts God has bestowed on you.

So, whatever it is, give it a try. You won’t regret it!

God bless!

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Publishing Drought

I have had not one – but two fictional stories accepted for publication in the last few weeks. Not only am I ecstatic, but I was also stunned. I hadn’t had anything accepted since July 2017. Eleven months. I call that period my publishing drought.

Eleven months of story submissions, rejections, crying, begging God, tearing my hair out…I was beginning to doubt I’d ever get another story accepted. I began to wonder if all of my previous publications had been sheer dumb luck. I’ll be the first to admit that I can only write the story that’s burning within me. Never mind trying to figure out what an editor might want, let alone an audience. I can’t compete with the professionals.

I have to continue on as I have been, writing where the muse leads me. Right now, it is speculative stories. Each is personal to me though.

The point of this post is not to give up. It’s simple: if you give up on your craft, then you will never achieve your dreams. But if you hope and continue to persevere, I truly believe something will come of it.

To celebrate the publication of these stories, I hope to host a giveaway. Stay tuned for more details!

“Without the Veil Between,” by DM Denton

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Book Description:

“Without the Veil Between” follows Anne through the last seven years of her life. It begins in 1842 while she is still governess for the Robinson family of Thorpe Green, away from Haworth and her family most of the time, with opportunities to travel to York and Scarborough, places she develops deep affection for. Although, as with her siblings, circumstances eventually bring her back home, she is not deterred in her quest for individual purpose and integrity. She stands as firm in her ambitions as Charlotte does and is a powerful conciliator in light of Emily’s resistance to the publication of their poetry and novels. Halfway through her twenties, having lived most of the last four years away from her family, she was finally fully-fledged, the nature she was born with at last standing up for itself, wanting its voice to be heard, with the courage to admit she was meant to wear truths not masks. To purchase “Without the Veil Between,” CLICK HERE!

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DM Denton is a native of Western New York. She finds her voice in poetry and prose, in silence and retreat, in truth and imagination. Through observation and study, inspired by music, art, nature and the contradictions of the creative spirit, she loves to wander into the past to discover stories of interest and meaning for the present, writing from her love of language and the belief that what is left unsaid is the most affecting of all. Her educational journey took her to a dream-fulfilling semester at Wroxton College, Oxfordshire, England, and she stayed in the UK for sixteen years—in a yellow-stoned village with thatched cottages, duck pond, and twelfth century church and abbey turned Jacobean manor house. She lived, for better or worse, right off the pages of Fielding, the Brontës, Austen, Hardy, DH Lawrence, and even Dickens, surrounded by the beautiful hills, woods and fields of the Oxfordshire countryside, and all kinds of colorful characters. This truly turned out to be a life-changing experience that resonates in her personal and professional endeavors to this day. She returned to the US in 1990, to a rural area of Western New York State where she still resides in a cozy log cabin with her mother and a multitude of cats. DM Denton also is an artist and has done the illustrations for the covers of her own novels and others, as well as interior illustrations. To learn more about D.M. Denton, CLICK HERE or visit her blog, by CLICKING HERE.

 

My Thoughts:

I was ecstatic when I learned that someone had written a novel about my favorite Bronte, Anne. The younger sister of Charlotte and Emily Bronte, history has overlooked the youngest Bronte sister. Her two novels had been panned by Victorian critics, from being too vulgar and scandalizing. Even Charlotte was ashamed of “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” and after Anne’s death, prevented it from being re-released. In the last twenty years or so there has been a revival in her popularity and she is now considered an early feminist icon.

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I won a copy of “Without the Veil Between” (as well as a beautiful illustration of Anne) and quickly devoured it. A faithful portrayal, the story follows Anne from her early days as a governess, to her literary collaborations with Charlotte and Emily, to the devastating downfall and death of her brother Branwell, and to the death of her beloved confidant Emily. Anne’s life was tragically cut short by consumption, which seemed to plague the Bronte family. It was refreshing to come across a biographical novel that beautifully portrayed the sweet, devout, and sensitive Anne, that clung close to fact. Those familiar with this blog, know how irritated I get when I read a historical novel riddled with inaccuracies. Anne begins as a shy girl and evolves into a strong, capable woman who refuses to be silenced, no matter the opposition.

Special thanks to D. M. Denton!

Fact versus Fiction

I did it again. I read another novel about a historical figure and was left feeling disappointed. Not by the prose, story structure, or the subject matter. The author is clearly talented. But what annoyed me was that the author chose to manipulate well documented facts to fit her agenda. What remained barely resembled the truth. Yes, I’ve complained about this before (Pet Peeves) and by now I should know better. And yes, I know, no matter what form of entertainment (novels, tv shows, movies, etc) there will be a certain amount of fiction in it to captivate the audience.

But there has to be a fine line somewhere, right? We have to draw the line at changing the narrative to suit ourselves or adding something horrific for shock value.

I’ll get off of my soap box in a minute. You don’t want to hear me whine. It won’t change what has been going on for decades. Instead, I’m going to try and use this pet peeve of mine and strive to do better. Rather manipulate the truth, in my WIP’s, I intend to adhere to the facts the best that I can. Because in my opinion, facts are far more compelling than baseless fabrications.

Until next time.

Writer’s Block

“April is the cruelest month…” – T. S. Eliot.

April was a bad month for me and my family. A loved one was in the hospital and was seriously ill; she is better now, thank the Lord! I had to put my dog to sleep. April is also an anniversary month; we’ve lost many friends and family members in April. I was relieved when we finally entered the month of May. I’m really not trying to complain, though I would appreciate continued prayers.

My point is for most of April, I couldn’t put pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard. It just wasn’t possible. Call it writer’s block, if you want. This has happened to me before. I imagine it happens to many writers. We’re a moody bunch. And often enough, my creative output depends on my moods.

Some experts say to push on through, that you must continue writing no matter what. If that works for you, great. By all means, push on through. But if you’re like me and if you can’t write because everything in life seems to be falling apart, I say wait it out. Your muse – whatever you may call it – will return. Probably when you least expect it. And it will return stronger than before. Maybe this writer’s block is a sign that you need to rest. Do something else for a while. Read, watch movies, go for walks, take up hobby.

I’ll leave you with a piece of advice that my grandmother lived by, and I apply it to various aspects of my life: This, too, shall pass.

And it will. I promise.

Book Review: “Courageous Women of the Vietnam War: Medics, Journalists, Survivors, and More” by Kathryn J. Atwood

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Book Description:

One of just a handful of women reporting on the Vietnam War, Kate Webb was captured by North Vietnamese troops and presumed dead—until she emerged from the jungle waving a piece of white parachute material after 23 days in captivity. Le Ly Hayslip enjoyed a peaceful early childhood in a Vietnamese farming village before war changed her life forever. Brutalized by all sides, she escaped to the United States, where she eventually founded two humanitarian organizations. Lynda Van Devanter was an idealistic young nurse in 1969 when a plane carrying her and 350 men landed in South Vietnam. Her harrowing experiences working in a combat zone hospital would later serve as inspiration for the TV series China Beach. In these pages readers meet these and other brave women and girls who served in life-threatening roles as medics, journalists, resisters, and revolutionaries in the conflict in Vietnam. Author Kathryn J. Atwood presents a clear introduction to each of five chronological sections, guiding readers through the social and political turmoil that spanned two decades and the tenure of five US presidents. Each woman’s story unfolds in a suspenseful, engaging way, incorporating plentiful original source materials, quotes, and photographs. Resources for further study, source notes and a bibliography, and a helpful map and glossary round out this exploration of one of modern history’s most divisive wars, making it an invaluable addition to any student’s or history buff’s bookshelf.

To purchase “Courageous Women of the Vietnam War,” CLICK HERE.

 

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About the Author:

Kathryn J. Atwood has written multiple young adult collective biographies on women and war for the Chicago Review Press. She has been seen on America: Facts vs. Fiction; heard on BBC America; published in the Historian and War, Literature & the Arts; and anthologized in Des Plaines River Anthology. Visit her online at http://www.kathrynatwood.com.

 

My Thoughts:

Okay, first of all, let me say that before this book I knew next to nothing about the Vietnam War. For the past three years, Kathryn J. Atwood has sent me each of her books to review. (If you would like to read my past reviews, click here.) So, after I received this book in the mail, I dove right in, eager to fill in the gaps.

Reading “Courageous Women of the Vietnam War” has been quite an education for me. Not only did it recount how America was drawn in and why, it went all the way back to the roots of war. Reading the stories of the Vietnamese girls and women, who yearned for nothing more than to be free, touched my heart. They simply wanted to live in a world untouched by war. Then learning how many American women voluntarily went over as nurses and even journalists, was extraordinary. Not only did they set foot in an uncharted territory, they did it knowing that some back home did not support them or their sacrifices. But it was the story of Phan Thi Kim Phuc and her journey to freedom that has stayed with me, and inspired me to do further research. I had seen the photo of Phan Thi Kim Phuc before without realizing it. I really highly recommend all of Kathryn’s books, but especially this one, because the Vietnam War is an important part of history and it should never be forgotten.