The Simple Joy of Elemental Creativity

MATISSEAndrea here, Just the other day, I was brainstorming with a good friend about about her elderly mother and the challenges of keeping her spirits up as aging restricts the things she can do. Her mother is an artist, who did very meticulous and detailed (and wonderful!) collages out of found paper throughout her career. But her eyesight and manual dexterity are not what they used to be, and so she doesn’t get up with the same verve to embrace the day as she once did.
Figure-blueIt got me to thinking . . . and an idea occurred to me. I’m a huge fan of Henri Matisse’s paper cut-out collages, which he began in later life when the rigors of painting became too much of a physical challenge. Their bold colors and exuberant simplicity are wonderful—he called them drawing in paper. So I showed them to my friend and suggested that a simple pair of big scissors and an assortment of bright colored paper might rekindle her mother’s artistic eye—and be easy enough to handle that it wouldn’t be discouraging.

Read more

Sleeping, Dreaming, and Creating


Me, sleeping creatively

Joanna here, talking about one of my favorite things in all the world, aka sleeping. Writing is another thing I’m fond of. There’s a bit of an interconnection between these.

I tend to generate new material when I’m relaxed in the bathtub or lying in bed. I even get good work done in dreams. If I were talking about the creative process I might say I try to sleep a lot.

Let me talk about Coleridge who is a more interesting topic than many of those going

Screen Shot 2021-01-11 at 9.24.25 AM

Coleridge in 1795

through my mind these days. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, of  course, is the English poet who gave us such popular thrillers as The Rime of the Ancient Mariner which many of us read in Middle School. It includes the poignant lines

“Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide wide sea! 
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony.”

As I say, Middle School. This is stuck in my memory forever.

Read more

The Price of Creativity

ReadingAndrea/Cara here, just back from RWA and four days filled with workshops on the craft of writing and the business aspects of marketing the books that result from our labors of love. (Though the best part of the conference is just hanging out with other writers—not only were Mary Jo, Joanna and I presenting a workshop together, but we also got the chance to just kick back and spend hours together yakking about everything under the sun. That was incredibly special.)

Mj-J-ACreativity crackled in the air throughout the whole conference—the excitement of imagining new stories, the stresses of putting them into words, the uncertainties of the publishing business…

Which made me really stop and think about an irate letter I received from a reader on the day I returned home. In it, she expressed how upset she was that my latest book, Murder on Black Swan Lane, costs $11.99 in e-book, which she thought was was FAR too much, and that I should tell my “greedy publisher” that she would never, ever buy it.

Read more

The Age of Creativity

1280px-Turner,_The_Battle_of_Trafalgar_(1822)Cara/Andrea here, musing on creativity . . . and, well, the A-word. Ah-ha! (No, it’s not Ah) now that I have your Attention, I shall explain. But first, a bit of backstory. I am excited about an upcoming lecture I’m going to attend in a week on the painter J. M. W. Turner. Mike Leigh, the director of the movie, Mr. Turner, will be discussing the making of the film and the artist, who is credited not only with being one of the great luminaries of the Romantic era, but also with being one of the pioneers of modern art.

Read more

Are We Writers Part Deux

AAWGraphicWe're back today with the rest of wench responses to the question When did you first think of yourself as a writer?


Maybe I always knew, at heart, that I was going to be a writer. At age five, I spent hours writing and illustrating books. (Art is still a love, and bad spelling still plagues me. Alas, my crayolas did not Andrea-4 yrs. oldhave spell-check!) And I still distinctly remember my sixth grade teacher stopping me one day, after we had all stood up to read our wriitng projects, and telling me that I had a real knack for telling stories.

But the left brain-right brain tug of war in me pulled me to the visual arts in college. Graphic design is also all about communication, that is to say, combining word and images to create compelling messages. I loved  it . . . but I think I slowly realized that I wanted the words to be MY words. I missed storytelling—not for a client, but for the sheer fun of letting my imagination run free.

Read more