Manifesting the Ghost

They hide behind corners, slipping away as you turn your head and stare at the spot where you could have sworn something was. They crawl through the roof spaces, making soft scuffles as they dance over the insulation and under the wiring. They flit about at night above your head, just out of reach, disappearing in the morning light only to reappear in the next evening.

They are always there, always snapping at your brain, whispering as loudly as they can, vying with each other for a few seconds of your attention. You can entertain them or ignore them, it doesn’t matter, they will persist, for there is nowhere else for them to be, nothing else for them to do.

Then you pick one. You sneak up on it while it shies away, corner it. Sometimes you are scared of what you see, what you feel. It’s a blasphemy, a curse. It’s hideous. It’s ugly. It’s downright sinful. Other times you find a curious, almost enlightening sense of wonder. There’s something different about this one. You hold onto it, teasing it, ignoring the others that hiss jealously. This one, you think, wanted to be caught because it’s special.

You don’t know why it is special, it just is, and you know it. You couldn’t pick it up and show it to anyone and ask them, because as soon as you did so, it would melt away in your hands and you’d be left with nothing but shadows. How many have gotten away like this? How many are so swift as to erase themselves altogether, never to be seen again.

They can come back, though. Not often, but they do return. Like an old friend, you feel emboldened to dispense with the usual superficial nonsense and let it do the same. It envelopes you, moves through you, becomes you. It shares secrets and steals yours. Such familiarity is dangerous, dangerous yet necessary. Once you have it in your power, or the other way around, you can bring it into this world.

There’s the necessary groundwork. Rituals, incantations, sacrifices – oh, so many sacrifices! You do it in the dark, in quiet nooks where no one disturbs you, late at night, cheered on and jeered at by the others. You emerge, each morning, with bloodshot eyes and raspy voice, stumbling and weak. Yet you persist, because you have a purpose and you must finish it. Even if it all turns to dust, you must finish it.

But why? Why go through the pain? To what end? To the end of so many human pursuits – to create. To make something where there was nothing. To share with others a discovery, a riddle, a joke. To do, to be, and let it, too, do and be. For to ignore it would be akin to murder, only that which never lived can never truly die. By symmetry, perhaps that which has died may yet live?

And once you have brought it forth, you are responsible for its welfare, for it did not ask to be in this world, that was all you and you must be prepared for everything it will do, everything it will be. So your destinies are entwined from that point onward. Don’t be scared, it’s yours to command, within reason. That is the reward for the price you pay.

When Too Much is Too Much

Ooh. Oh, man! You’ve copped a whopper of an urge to write. Your Muse has gotten stuck into the coffee and now there’s no shutting up. Ideas are flowing out of your head like water from a hydrant – unrestrained, spilling out all over the place.

What you’ve got here is the opposite to the accursed and often lamented ‘Writer’s Block’. Rather than being starved for ideas, you’ve got too many. So you should be stoked, right?

Take it easy

Yes, be thankful. It could be worse. Hella worse. If you’ve never had a bad case of Writer’s Block, then just trust me on that.

It’s a fine thing, having ideas oozing out of your pores but wait! Wait!

Actually, don’t wait: be mindful that once the oil well has finished spewing its contents about, you’ll be back to the ol’ pump and distill routine. The stuff that’s coming out now, though, is unrestrained ethereal gold so don’t let it get away!

Write whatever you’ve got down. Or record it on your telephone’s dictation app. Or video yourself. Email to yourself. Do whatever it takes so that you can look at afterwards.

After? After?

Yes, after. You know, when you’re writing your book.

Jez, you’re kidding, right? I want to use these ideas now! I gotta capitalise on this opportunity!

Patience

Don’t make them into a book, please. Make little points or scribbles or sentences. You can make them into a book later. Trust me on this.

The problem, and it is a problem, is multi-faceted:

  • All the ideas that come at once don’t belong together – do more with less
  • Ideas that sound wonderful now might sound absolutely awful in the cold light of analysis (Been there, done that… too many times to count)
  • A good idea can become great with a little cultivating, otherwise it could be wasted
  • Chase all the ideas at once, and you’ll likely follow one and neglect the rest
  • Writing a book takes time and patience, not just a bunch of ideas.

It would be a tremendous mistake if you stifle your own creativity for the sake of trying to put it all into a structure, plot it out, etc.

Sure, you might have a moment of crystal clarity where you know exactly what you’re going to write and why. Great! That hardly ever happens, so run with that but, when you come up for air a few days later, the other awesome ideas have gone. They never were, and never will be again.

Here’s the thing: Ideas are like wild rabbits. They come out of their burrows at any time, and pop back down just as fast. You can seek them out, traveling down after into their warrens. You can attempt to coax them from their holes. There are many techniques that can help you do this. Once you have these ideas, though, you need to be ready to catch them!

And ‘catching’ an idea can be as simple as a little ideas book. Jot enough information to remind you of what the idea is, release it and grab the next one. Catch, tag and release. Catch. Tag. And Release!

If you tag it right, you don’t need to go hunting after it again. After you’ve exhausted your quarry, job done, relax, and know that you’ve got a pool of ideas sitting there, waiting for you to pick them up when you are ready. Oh, how the tables have turned!

Then, when you’re stuck, have a look at your little book of tags (or emails, recordings, whatever you’ve used) and scan through your list of critters to interrogate. And you know what? Those little idea-critters sure can multiply when left to themselves!Mini Jeztyr Logo

 

Easter Eggs -Triumphs and Failures

Running with the purple and gold theme, I made up a few more eggs and painted them blue, graduating to white at the bottom. Then came the white vine squiggles, with round balls on the ends of white flicks.

Finally, the balls were filled with white, gold and rose gold, just to mix things up again. Gloss up with several coats of polyurethane and we’re ready for Easter.

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Almost.

There are two big rules that go with making Easter Eggs.

  1. Always make more eggs than you will need and
  2. Never let little boys with curious fingers anywhere near your eggs otherwise:

BrokenEgg.jpg

This guy was only three coats of gloss away from finished! Oh, the humanity!Mini Jeztyr Logo

Mummy Egg

Keeping with the spooky, Halloween feel, but a whole lot less creepy, is the Mummy egg. Rather than polarizing, everyone, young and old, seems to like this one.

Preparation

There’s not a lot to prepare for this one. You’ll need some boggly eyes, some muslin or rough cotton cloth, some coffee and paint.

Cut you cloth into long strips. Get your coffee – instant, espresso, percolated, turkish, doesn’t matter so long as you haven’t added milk. What? You added milk? *Sigh* Drink that, then make another, and this time don’t add milk. Black Tea also works.

Soak your cloth in the brew for a few minutes to let it penetrate. Now rinse and squeeze it out. You should have soggy, bashed up, ‘aged’ cloth.

Method

  1. Paint your eggs a mustard yellow then, with a sponge, a rough brush or even some tissue, scrape on some green, grey or brown in blotches. Your Mummy has spent a lot of time in a sarcophagus!
  2. Don’t bother glossing it up: matte texture is fine. It’ll help with the wrapping as well.
  3. Stick your eyes on just above centre.
  4. Using craft glue, attach the start of the piece of cloth to the base of the egg.
  5. Wrap haphazardly. Don’t be shy going in all different directions. If your cloth is too thin, fold it over in half.
  6. Daub glue on to hold it in places, especially since eggs don’t like to be wrapped up.
  7. Finish off leaving a trailing bit of bandage.
  8. Find a proper egg cup to stick it in. I found the ones in the picture from Home – a Maxwell and Williams creation.

Mummy

For extra points, instead of an egg cup, try making a paper-mache sarcophagus!Mini Jeztyr Logo