Broken Compasses

Creativity Challenge Heart Map from Broken Compasses Blog

If I were a magician, I’d hand out broken compasses. It’s all about misdirection. – Jarod Kintz

Taos creativity retreat. Years ago. Stashes of colored craft paper, newsprint, crayons, markers, glitter, scissors and glue spread out over a large table before 40-plus participants. Our challenge? Make a map that depicts your life. Your journey. Where you came from. Where you are going. And plan to share it with the group after lunch. The room burst into a flurry as we gathered our map charting materials.

Back at my table, I waited for the green and pink colored craft paper I selected as my home base to speak to me. Army brat. Gypsy wife. Detroit. New York. Los Angeles. Atlanta. Hopes. Dreams. Betrayals. Celebrations.

My left-brain was the first to speak. “Well, you’re screwed. How you gonna map out your mess?” My right-brain rebelled against flashes of intersecting points created by lines and pictures that stated, “You are here. You were there.”

I started tearing the green paper, trying not to look as lost as I felt. Maybe a Read more

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Does Happily-Ever-After Have a Shelf Life?

Torn Pages from The Artist's Way

Ever find yourself in the place where you thought happily-ever-after would be and it doesn’t remotely resemble your imaginings? Did you shop the wrong store? Miss an expiration date?

What do YOU do when your happily-ever-after package does not look, in hand, the same way it looked on the shelf?

I am inspired to tear up books. Okay, I hear you book lovers gasping. I love books, too, so let me explain. Read more

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Cloth Paper Scissors Challenge: #4 of 121 Ways to Tear Up that Book

Tunnel book mock-up for Cloth Paper Scissors challenge

Imagine This …

You write a book. Publish it. Then, years later, hear the words;

“Tear it up. Tear up your book and make art with it.”

Would you? Would you upcycle it? Repurpose it? Alter it?

This Cloth Paper Scissors challenge to create a tunnel book became #4 in my “121 Ways to Tear Up that Book” series. What you are seeing above is the mock-up I did – before proceeding to make my mess – to test my idea and Read more

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121 Ways to Tear Up that Book: #1 through 3.

Tear Up That Book Studio Desk

Imagine This …

You write a book. Publish it. Then, years later, hear the words;

“Tear it up. Tear up your book and make art with it.”

Would you? Would you upcycle it? Repurpose it? Alter it?

I was curious. What would it feel like for the writer-me to take a back seat and let the artist-me play?

Rebellious? Irreverent? A little exciting, maybe?

What would it feel like to tear up my book and transform its journey with betrayal and forgiveness to a new forum?

Forum as in ongoing. Not form as in static.

An image pops into my head.

“Tear out a page. Grab some charcoal. Call it Surrender.” whispers the muse.

Wow. I’m loving this one.

Read more

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Blue Angel: forgiveness is freedom

Blue Angel

A hurried back porch morning.
Thrift store bowls sound clinking calls.
Rescue strays greet their meal ticket with circle-eight purrs
around her feet
and get down to the business of a ritual feed.

Her eyes cast up.

Bright blue innocence contrasts a stark winter sky.
A blue angel bobbles high on a breeze.
Let loose, perhaps, by the child of an early morning shopper
in the Kroger lot down the street.

Caught in a downdraft the blue angel dips to the neighboring yard.
The woman smiles a goodbye
and turns to go inside.

She later returns to gather empty bowls.
Bright blue innocence contrasts slumbering branches of the fig tree
in the corner of her yard.

Impossibly deep.

Kodak clicks document the angel’s plight.
Metaphor flashes of figs uneaten, branches unpruned,
dead limb alongside living.
Clicking. Clicking.
Exhaustive angles flicker freedom, flights of fancy,
forgiveness.
Gifting. Gifting.

She cannot bear a slow latex death through hurried days.
Camera down.
Ladder in hand.
She returns, she thinks, to free it from its prison.
But a turn from the garage by stands innocence
open-winged lift out.
Not cage but cradle.

Forgiveness is freedom.

Bernadette Rose Smith

Blue Angel Horizon

Inspiration is unpredictable.

That’s what makes it so magical. When it strikes it has that first time freshness – like falling in love – that defies the dull, deadening impulses of the mundane. We might yearn for inspiration. Even create an environment that encourages it. But, in the end, inspiration will not be bought nor controlled. That we might take delight. Read more

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