5 comments on “My Creative Process: Art Making and Memoir Book Writing”

My Creative Process: Art Making and Memoir Book Writing

Ananda writing at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts

I am in the middle of writing my second memoir, Digital Sisterhood: Fierce Living Online for 25 Years.  It’s my third book in five years!

My creative process is magical, messy, and SLOW right now.  I am struggling with the fear of writing a new book and wondering how it will be received.  I have turned to my artwork for comfort.

My creative soul has found sanctuary in Collagetry.  Collage + Poetry = Collagetry.  It is a technique I developed while working as an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts at Howard University Hospital.

Ananda's art supplies
Ananda's art supplies
Ananda's art supplies

A few weeks ago I created several Collagetrys (my made up word) for patients I was working with at The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  I took photos of the collages because they spoke to my writing fears and life as an artist.  See below.

Collagetry

This Memoir Collagetry reminded me to own my story and voice in my writing process.  It also reminded me of the collages I made during my first memoir writing process and the energy and inspiration I received after creating them.  So I made a mental note to make more time in my writing process for collage.

Healing Artist Collagetry

The message of this Healing Artist Collagetry really touched me: Self-expression.  This is you. This is now. Healing artist. Your heart. Watercolor landscape.  It offered me permission to use my healing artwork as a path back to my  memoir writing.

Six-word memoir Collagetry

I adore six-word memoirs and have used them in my work as an artist-in-residence.  This six-word memoir’s message states: The Creative Kingdom. Healing Ways Soothe.  It led me to do a Google search for blogs written by collage artists who use words in their work.  My search introduced me to artist/blogger Kelly Rae Roberts and her book, Taking Flight: Inspiration And Techniques To Give Your Creative Spirit Wings

Taking Flight: Inspiration And Techniques To Give Your Creative Spirit Wings by Kelly Rae Roberts - photo credit: Amazon.com

After reading the book’s description on Amazon.com, I ordered a copy.  I started reading the book and have enjoyed the journaling exercises which are forcing me to confront my writing fears.  One of my fears is running out of inspiration.  So I have turned to Pinterest. I created two inspiration boards for my art and writing.  I use them on a regular basis to stay energized.  Check out the links below.

I also started listening to TED Talks about writing and creativity.  Two of my favorites include author Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk on a new way to think about creativity and novelist Amy Tan’s talk on where does creativity live.

Photo Credit: Poets and Writers, February 2012

I returned to reading Poets & Writers on a regular basis.  The February issue focused on inspiration. I have been rereading Frank Bures’ article about creating inner space for inspiration.  It reminds me to UNPLUG from technology, my to do list, my writing deadlines, etc.  Unplugging creates more time to relax and recharge.  When I do it, I am able to surrender.  SURRENDER is the key that unlocks the door to my creative process.  So wish me luck as I practice the art of surrender from now until the fall season, make Collegetrys to overcome my writing struggles, and complete my  fabulous Digital Sisterhood book!

0 comments on “Smith Magazine Names Ananda as April Member of the Month for”

Smith Magazine Names Ananda as April Member of the Month for

Photo Credit: http://www.smithmag.net

Great news! Smith Magazine selected me as member of the month for April.  Click here to read Smith Magazine editor Vivian Chum’s blog post.

If you recall, Smith Magazine is one of my favorite online destinations. Why? It’s simple. Six-word memoirs.  Click here to learn more about the six-word memoirs movement.

Six-word memoirs have been creative lifesavers for me, especially when I was writing my book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery ( 2009).   have also used them in my creative coaching practice.  Click here to watch a creative coaching session (15 minutes) I hosted on UStream.tv  last year about six-word memoirs. I am also using them in my current book project, Digital Sisterhood, a memoir.

My six-word memoir for today is:  rainy skies don’t stop rainbow news.

Do you have a six-word memoir you would like to share today?  Include it in the comment section of this post below.  Thanks.

Enjoy your day!

0 comments on “Day 8 of 30 Days of Poetry, Jazz & Earth Day Awareness: Celebrating Poetry as a natural medicine”

Day 8 of 30 Days of Poetry, Jazz & Earth Day Awareness: Celebrating Poetry as a natural medicine

Photo Credit: http://njculibrary.wordpress.com/2008/04/page/2/

Greetings,

It’s day 8 0f my online campaign “30 Days of Poetry, Jazz, and Earth Day Awareness.”  It’s turning into quite a journey. I am falling back in love with many of my favorite poets, jazz singers and musicians, and green living tips.  I am also using this 30 day process to deepen my yoga and physical fitness practice.

What are you doing this month?

Anything fun planned?

Any new projects?

What about travel plans?

This morning I got up early to prepare for my author talk about “Poetry as a natural medicine for the soul” on Ananda Leeke Live via UStream.tv at 9:00 p.m. (EST) tonight.  John Fox’s amazing book Poetic Medicine kept me company.   Fox is the founder of the Institute of Poetic Medicine. I discovered his book and work during the 15th Annual Society for the Arts in Healthcare Conference held in 2006 at Northwestern University’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.  Both have mentored me as an artist-in-residence at Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts over the past four years.  Last year, Fox visited Smith Farm and facilitated a poetry healing workshop for the artists-in-residence. It was so powerful.  That experience convinced me to include a section on the power of poetry in my new book That Which Awakens Me.

After I ate breakfast this morning, I recorded an audio blog featuring an excerpt from Poetic Medicine.  I also read a Navaho blessing poem and my poem “Poetry Thursday” from That Which Awakens Me.  Click on the Cinchcast button below to listen to my blog.

Do you think poetry is a natural medicine for the soul?

Here’s my six-word memoir for today: Poetry. Jazz. Earth. Phrases dance naturally.  Please share yours in the comment section below.

Thanks for stopping by!  Enjoy your day!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for the healing power of poetry,

Ananda

0 comments on “Watch video of Ananda’s 2/11 creativity coaching session on how to use six-word memoirs to discover who you are in the present moment and creative process”

Watch video of Ananda’s 2/11 creativity coaching session on how to use six-word memoirs to discover who you are in the present moment and creative process

Greetings All,

Check out the video of my creativity coaching session (15 minutes) that aired on Ananda Leeke Live! UStream.tv on February 11:  http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/4654453.  It discusses how to use six-word memoirs to discover who you are in the present moment and creative process.  During the show, I give an overview of six-word memoirs. For more information about six-word memoirs and Smith Magazine (folks who created the six-word memoir movement), visit www.smithmag.net/sixwords.

Writing exercises from my new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (available on Amazon.com – http://tiny.cc/7uFsg) are included. So get your pen and paper ready! Let me know if they helped you.

FYI – I am hosting another creativity coaching session on what creativity looks like in your life on February 25 at 9:00 p.m. EST on Ananda Leeke Live!: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ananda-leeke-live.

I hope you can join me for the live class. If you miss it, don’t fret.  You can watch a video recording of it.

Enjoy your weekend!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Enthusiasm for Writing Six-Word Memoirs,

Ananda

0 comments on “Celebrate February with Ananda and her online yoga classes, author chats, and creative coaching sessions.”

Celebrate February with Ananda and her online yoga classes, author chats, and creative coaching sessions.

Happy Early February!

February is one of my favorite months. I am celebrating February by offering online yoga classes, author chats, and creative coaching sessions.  See my schedule of online events below. I hope you can join me.  Please share them with your network.

If you like or learn anything from these online events, please consider making a donation to support Doctors Without Borders’ work to improve the lives of Haitians impacted by the January 12th earthquake.  Click here to learn more and make a donation: www.doctorswithoutborders.org.  

1) YOGA FOR WOMEN’S HEART HEALTH AND PEOPLE OF HAITI ON STICKAM.COM

I will be teaching a series of online yoga classes on February 5, 12, 19, and 26 to honor women’s heart health month and the people of Haiti on Stickam.com:  www.stickam.com/anandaleeke.  Each class will be held from 7:00 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. EST.  

If you miss the classes, you can watch the videos. They are all free! Click here to watch them: http://stickam.com/anandaleeke.

Click here to learn more about women’s heart health month and the Heart Truth campaign: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/educational/hearttruth.

2) AUTHOR CHATS ON BLOGTALKRADIO

I am hosting three author chats on The Ananda Leeke Show, my new BlogTalkRadio program, on February 8, 15, and 22 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:15 a.m.  EST: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/anandaleeke.  During the author chats, I will read excerpts from my debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One and share reflections that answer the question of the day.  See the list of questions of the day below.   

1) Who are love’s troubadours? – February 8

2) What does love look like in my main character Karma Francois’ life? – February 15

3) What is love mentalism? – February 22

3) CREATIVITY COACHING SESSIONS ON USTREAM.TV

Join me for two creative coaching sessions on Ananda Leeke Live!, my UStream.tv show, on February 11 and 25 from 9:00 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. EST.  Click here to watch the show: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ananda-leeke-live.  Don’t worry if you miss the live recording. A recording will be archived on the web site.

My online coaching sessions will utilize creativity exercises included in my new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery.  See the list of topics below.

a. How to use six-word memoirs to identify the many parts of yourself – February 11 

b. What does creativity look like in your life? – February 25

Enjoy February!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for Love,

Ananda

0 comments on “What is your definition of service?”

What is your definition of service?

Greetings All,

Today I listened to NPR journalist Michel Martin’s conversation with James Braxton Peterson, assistant professor of English and Africana Studies at Bucknell University, about the meaning of service and its connection to Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.’s legacy of service.  It was aired on Martin’s NPR show, Tell Me More on January 18.  Click here to listen to the conversation (11 minutes): www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122626581.

Michel Martin

Professor James Braxton Peterson

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I was really moved by Professor Peterson’s definition of service:

“Service has got to be not just the action but also a mind state and that’s something that’s got to be sustained over the course of the year, throughout your life. It’s a very, very important act, particularly people of color and people who come from certain circumstances understand that service is what helps folk who are underprivileged to rise above and transcend their own circumstances.”

I totally agree with the idea that service is a mind state.  My mind state of service started when I was growing up in my parents’ home.  They both believed in service to their family, friends, local neighborhood in P.G. County, Maryland, and St. Joseph Catholic Church.

My mother exposed me to the meaning of service through her active membership and participation in Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.  Sigma’s motto is “Greater Service, Greater Progress.”  It became my personal motto when I joined Sigma in 1983.  It also helped me develop my personal plan on how I contribute to my community and the world.

During Martin’s radio show, Professor Peterson also shared the following remarks:

  • “Remember, the idea around service is that it’s grassroots so that if everyone does a little bit, then actually that’s where the movement comes in. So, every small contribution does count. And listen, if you don’t have time contributing a few dollars to particularly service-oriented organization, it’s very, very important.”
  • “Part of community service is being an outstanding, contributing citizen within your community. That’s the first step, that you actually are someone who handles their own economic business, their family business and is responsible as a citizen in the United States.”
  • “So if everyone helps the elderly person to cross the street or if everyone goes into a school and tries to mentor one child even if it’s for one day, that’s going to be very, very powerful. That’s going to be extremely powerful. So, every little bit counts. We’re thinking aggregate here. And we’re thinking and hoping that everyone will rise to the challenge and the responsibility of service in our society.”

WOW! Professor Peterson’s really hit home with me.  They made me go back and read my path of service discussed in my new book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (available on Amazon.com – http://tiny.cc/7uFsg).  I have included an excerpt below.

Excerpt from Chapter Seven: Service. Vocation. Answering Your Life’s Calling. (one of my favorite six-word memoirs – www.smithmag.net)

Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke

The Birth of Service

A thousand thoughts ran through my mind as I tried to trace the birth of service in my life.

Three thoughts cemented themselves into my psyche.

Thought #1 – My parents taught me the more you have, the
more you are called to give through service they provided to
their neighborhood, church community, and membership
organizations.

Thought #2 – The Catholic Church reinforced this teaching by
promoting charity to others.

Thought #3 – Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority required its
members to perform community service as an extension of its
motto: Greater Service, Greater Progress.

One question followed.

How did these thoughts shape my ideas and commitments to
service?

My journal opened itself and soul searching unfolded onto its
pages.

Each page was decorated with one sentence.

I read them out loud and realized they were affi rmations I can
use to create a service creed for guidance and reminders.

I serve because I want to honor my ancestors by leaving Mother
Earth better than I found her.

I serve based on a family legacy that cherishes giving back through
volunteerism.

I serve from the center of my spirit which is rooted in sacred
teachings that promote charity, compassion, and contemplative
practices.

I serve individuals, communities, and organizations that connect
to my deepest passions: creativity, healing, yoga, meditation, Reiki,
green living, people of color, and women.

I serve because my work contributes to greater service, greater
progress.

I serve because giving creates a vacuum for receiving, completes a
cycle of abundance, and says to the universe I claim my oneness
with everyone and everything.


What is your definition of service?

How do you serve in your life?

Enjoy your day and week!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Service,

Ananda