Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Art of Friendship

Prairie Eydie is off on a family vacation.  She left this post in my capable hands.  Honestly, I didn't touch a thing. 

I believe that the artistic process is meant to be shared.  Sometimes I need to be squirreled away with my writing, and many times it needs to be just me and my rick-rack. But the creative process is more fun when friends are drizzled in.  Especially when you can spend time with Prairie Sherry.  When you work in the same space your energy, creativity, and hearts combine.  Awwwww.  (((Hugs)))  You'll end up with a fresh idea, a new direction, or the courage to scrap a piece of "art"  (or at least what you fervently wanted to call "art", but wasn't).  Added bonus?  You have someone to help you clean up the creative spew. Only Eydie would come up with "spew."  I wonder what would happen if I start calling some of the crap my students turn in "spew?"

So here is what you can do.  Call a friend and meet at a local coffee shop.  Make sure your friend buys the lattes.  Bring your journal or the notebook that your tween only used seven pages of (or your true teen--I have a stack of 14 half-used notebooks that I have accumulated) .  (Be Green, Prairie Friends) (Prairie Grlz are so socially aware.)  

Now you are at the coffee shop and have absolutely nothing to write about.  So spend 37 minutes gossiping about co-workers and Paula Deen.  I would prefer to discuss the world energy crisis, but I gossip to make Eydie happy.  Then refer to Natalie Goldberg's Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life(or People Magazine)  to kick start your writing.  (I first encountered this book on my Grandma's kitchen table when I was 22 and have never been without a copy since.  My copy is bloated and autographed since it was rained on during a Pacific Northwest camping trip. You can see the black mold on this photo.)  I don't remember my grandma ever having a book on her table.  Sometimes she had a plate of fried headcheese. Yuck!  

Personally, the first book that ever made me want to become a writer was Valley of the Dolls.  My friend Mary and I pinched a copy from one of our mothers.  Whew!  Steamy!!    
The "bloated" copy.

Here is one of my favorite prompts from Wild Mind.

Do a timed writing for ten minutes. She does have a timer.  Begin it with "I remember" and keep going.  To begin with "I remember" does not mean have to write only about your past.  Once you get going, you follow your own mind where it takes you.

Being a teacher, I wrote an example for you. 

"I remember collaging with Sharon for an extended weekend up North.  We brought so many supplies and a huge stack of canvases.  All the tiny bits were neatly organized into manila envelopes and plastic bins.  By the end of the weekend we had run out of canvases.  Paper, buttons, and stickers littered every surface. 

We didn't know what to do without canvases.  Totally lost.  Our t-shirts were stained and we were wearing droopy pajama pants.   We had been living on crusty bread, imported cheese, and bottled water for two days.  Since we were in Northern Wisconsin, we decided to brush on a little mascara and head out to a fish fry.  No one would ever see us again.

We returned to the cottage reeking of grease.  Feeling energized, we decided to move on to making wreaths.  We hot glued vintage Christmas tree ornaments to grapevine wreaths.  Visions of shabby chic mantles were dancing through our heads.  We soon learned that you can't hot glue glass ornaments, because they WILL fall off.  We frantically reglued and stressed out as ornaments fell off the wreaths faster than we could reglue them.  Finally we threw the wreaths and horrible ornaments away.  It felt so good to be free."

In reality, we were drinking Malbec. Don't let Eydie kid you.  We collaged for 48 hours straight.  I can't even describe to you how bad we looked (and smelled)--unwashed, blurry-eyed, dehydrated...

If you're not the writing type, you can always collage with a pal.  Below is a collage that Sharon and I made together.  Actually I think she did most of the work and I just added some flowers and buttons. Eydie thought that it didn't have quite enough bling.  Pretty typical some might say. Yup, Eydie is the blingy one.  But it remains one of my favorite collages because we created it together. Sniff. 
This would be Eydie circa 1956.

Prairie Eydie (and Prairie Sherry)

A literary classic.


  1. I remember lots of laughs as you two blinged-up that collage while we were waiting patiently for Thanksgiving dinner! You always make me laugh, in print or in person!

  2. Not all of our Prairie Readers know us in person, but those who do (like you) will attest to the fact that we are as dangerously kooky and crazy in person as we are in print. Prairie Sherry