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INside Scoop
IN Turns One
By Rowdy Rhodes
January, 2006, 08:01

ellow INsters let's get this party started!

Permit me to invite you to leave your internal editor at the hat check when reading this month's column because I'm not using an editor, grammar checker or any other tools.

In this writer's veins is the creative spirit. I've never wanted writing to become work -- a barnyard chore of checkin' this and checkin' that. Today IN is having its first birthday and without sounding too proud I must say that our publication is a rare example of creativity at its best.

I was never much for structured education, never got into the idea of following rules telling me how to do this or that by "masters" long since dead using antiquated English and outdated writing. "To be or not to be" is a cliché and as writers we're not suppose to use clichés. It displays a "weakness of mind." or so it is said.

For a moment I'd like you to take the red pens, the highlighters, the auto-spell and grammar checkers and toss them out the window.

Writing is supposed to be a joy. The type of action that reminds us that deep within our souls there figuratively lives a feathered quill and a bottle of ink residing near a blank page waiting to be filled with harmonious words.

Today I offer you a personal glimpse into my own creative insanity with the intent to remind you that writers are allowed non-lineal thought flow. Forget about self-editing, second guessing, writing for the audience, even thinking about the words. It's all about an internal cascade effect.

The words represent life's flow of pent up emotions, observations, and the sub-conscious muting of the incessant racket that is society at work -- a moment of communication in a way that is not necessarily "correct."

For years I've heard about the way writing is "supposed to be done." Now I allow myself the time and space to do "it" the way that I want it done. Why? Because somewhere I've lost much creative spirit. But don't mourn, feel pity or email me on this.

Cynicism seeped into my world, judgmental in its very nature, stealing away creativity with linear thought. Be wary of linear thought. Somehow the idea of being non-lineal was replaced with being structured and that just doesn't cut the creative grade.

Sometimes we just have to be allowed to jump out of ourselves and to Hades with the rules and regulations. I put forth that we set aside the established ideas. I further put forth that measuring your work based upon others is masochistic.

I don't know when, or what, it was that you started off writing but I recall the very first piece I wrote was a song, six-string in hand, at the grand old age of 10. In retro-reading it sucks. In essence it's a beautiful depiction of a creative soul being released.

Years flew by, people came and went and bit by bit my creativity was dampened by external effects -- business, money, responsibilities clouded my spirit. I began searching for the "proper" way to be creative, yet I was creative long before these events.

Over the years I've written 100+ songs and poetry, so many short stories I can't recall them all, articles galore, even fleshed out four different novels, and drew hundreds of ink drawings. Is that not creative? Yes. Talented? Maybe. Who's to say? It's when I began asking why that I began torturing myself. Why wasn't this being published? Why is that being criticized? Why won't this piece, or that drawing, be taken seriously?

Asking "Why?" almost killed my creative spirit. Over time it occurred to me that I couldn't answer the question. "Why" is actually an attempt to please everyone, all of the time, with everything I create. And quoting Bill Cosby, "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everyone."

Am I talented? I think so. Does it matter if anyone else thinks so?

Seeking an answer to that is either in your ego or your bankbook. It doesn't matter if anyone else thinks you are creative, witty or talented, unless of course you need to massage your ego or pad your bank balance.

If there's nothing wrong with Dali painting surrealistic clocks, Warhol soup cans, or Disney drawing a sickeningly cute mouse, and, all of them ultimately lauded for it, then how can anyone creative allow someone else's judgement undermine their spirit? "Why" allows "them" to bust you in the chops and then tell you "this is how it's done."

Feel free to allow the "masters" to make suggestions if that's what you want to hear but don't let anyone tell you whether or not you're creative. Only you, in your heart, know whether it's any good.

In closing though, it might not be a great idea to throw caution to the wind and start firing everything you write onto a public platform, such as this column. Doing so opens the doors for the "judges." Sometimes it's just best that you write for yourself, for the sake of writing.

Happy New Year to you and yours and Happy Birthday IN!IN Icon

General Manager
Inkwell Newswatch (IN)

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