Waking Up the Muse in 7 Days of Meaningful Creativity

Day (or Week) 1.  When was the last time you made a collage?  Collages are great brainstorming tools for creative communicators.  Whether you're a writer or visual artist, there is something about taking a jumble of old magazines, their pictures and headlines, and putting them together with randomness or precision to tell a unique story.  Images ripped or cut, sorted, and assembled can reveal so much from your inner daemon or others.  Sharing about what you found and created can be a great source of connecting, healing, inspiring....  Time for a little collaging today?   (This is also a great way to recycle some of the old mags and art catalogs you've been meaning to go through.)

2.  Paper beads.  These go back to the '60s, as far as I know.  I have used them in my social justice courses.  Paper beads, simply, are beads made from cut up magazines.  If you do an Internet search you can find various ways of making and using them.  For my twist, I've encouraged students to choose papers, their colors, even the articles and magazines they use to make them, with an eye towards themes they wish to employ for constructive or beautiful purposes.  Some of my students have chosen all-nature scenes in colors that have symbolic meaning.  Some have chosen bitter, even angry and socially unjust articles and "re-cycled" them into works of beauty and art.  Some sold the necklaces and other things they made and used the funds they raised to support social justice works.  It's a great rainy day project if you teach or have kids at home.  It's also a soothing way to spend an afternoon, looking through magazines, making something with your hands that has beauty and meaning.  If you go to a craft store or find one that teaches beading, there are some great glazes on the market now for preserving your masterpieces.      

3.  For your journal/creative writing:  Write about a place from your childhood, or from stories one of your parents told you.  Go back in your mind and visit.  Set the scene using all your senses. 

4.  Artist's excursion or field trip:  Been to a second-hand or recycled-things store lately?  Antique stores and tag sales are great places for pondering about different lives, mysteries in artifacts, treasures saved...lost...found...given away?  Tell the story of one jacket or painting...the lives it touched...the journey.

5.  Paint a picture with words of someone you love.  Watch them when they don't know you're watching.  Describe them with eyes that honor...admire...adore.  Formally write up your sketch...even paint it.  Give it to the one who inspired it one day...tie a ribbon around it. 

6.  Choose one critter-friend.  Photograph them in various typical poses...sleeping, eating, waiting for a treat, waiting for you to acknowledge them, being silly, obnoxious, sweet.  Now write about them...what they're thinking...observing you and your world, from their perspective. 

7.  See what a history...folk museum will do to wake up or shake up your creative muse.  Want to see some creative collaging in "ACTION"?  Watch "Night at the Museum -- War of the Smithsonians."