The Art of Tireless Pursuit: The Expression of Faith in Creativity pt 3

Faith is not only defined by giant leaps but is often reflected in the tiny steps.” ~Candice Coates

A few years back, I was sitting in front of my television, watching some show on HGTV, eating a plate full of room temperature leftovers (good leftovers nonetheless,) when a thought popped in my head:

You will never know where you are going if you never take a step.” ~Candice Coates

The thought seemed simple enough, for, as I was watching HGTV, eating room temperature leftovers, I was also thinking about this creative platform, my writing career,  my art, and all the other things I had planned to do in that year which seemed to have been getting derailed from every angle. Truth be told, I am still thinking about all of these things.

But when I first had these thoughts, I was thinking about my serial-blog-novel, ASCENSION GRAVEYARD. I will be honest, AG (for those of you who are just now tuning in, AG is my blog novel that I started writing in June of 2014…it is still a work in process and progress,) had given me some reason for creative pause.

I felt like it might have turned out to be a far longer novel than I planned for it to be, and coming to terms with that had been difficult. I have said this before. But even with my previous mention, I felt like the thought alone had caused me to stop my creative motions.

Even now, I am planning to charge at this unfinished body of work with full faith and force this summer. This will be my fourth attempt at writing this novel. If that is not fighting tirelessly, I don’t know what is. But still, there are some questions that remain unanswered, that need answering, as I continue on with my creative pursuit.

What do I want for this novel? What do I want for this creative platform, for my art, for myself? Where am I going?

I want a lot and sometimes I feel like the chasm between here and there is just so wide. But that only leads to the next question.

How do I know it is wide unless I take a step? 

It’s like looking into the rippling waters of a pool and trusting my first impression that the waters aren’t that deep when in reality they might actually go twelve feet down.

The realization that I have come to, is that none of it really matters, the true depth or my perception if I never take a step forward at all. And how will I have the faith to step? I have to want it enough and be willing to fight for it until I get it. I have to be willing to count the cost and press until I have a breakthrough. (Luke 14:28)

We all must step forward. We all must have the faith and tenacity to pursue our dreams even at the risk of error. Sure, we will reach moments where we look at how far we have come, scan over our maps and wonder if we have gone the wrong direction. That is part of the faith process.

But even if we have gone the wrong direction, that is not a cause for us to cease proceeding forward, to set up shop in the place of the unknown just for fear of having lost our way. It is all about recalibrating, getting your bearings and then stepping forward in the right direction, again.

So what you may not know where you want to end up exactly. Maybe the answers will only come once you start walking.

So many biblical pictures come to mind; Abraham being told to leave his home by God and go to a place  He (God) would show him (Genesis 12:1). God didn’t tell Abraham where exactly he was to go, he just said go, take a step of faith. Believe.

Then there is Psalm 119:105, which says, “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” That to me indicates that more times than not the steps ahead of our current footfalls are shrouded in the dark, but we have got to take another step to discover that which lays hidden from view.

For me, I have just got to keep pressing forward, keep stepping through the darkness and trusting the Light to make my way plain. If I want ICFTS to flourish and to nurture the creative growth of myself and others, then I’ve got to keep seeking the Lord for answers to creative questions and sharing what I find.

If I want my art to stretch itself out and grow, then I have got to give it a platform to do so. If I want my writing career to take off, then I have got to keep writing. I have to take steps and keep stepping after that. And I have to have the confidence in the Lord that HE is guiding me and has made room for me for the times that I stumble.

 “Do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” ~HEBREWS 10:35-36

No matter how big or small the step you take toward accomplishing your dream, celebrate the courage that you displayed in the step that you took and the ones that are sure to follow.

Each stone you put forth is one more to add to the foundation of your future. Be grateful for your progress and keep moving forward no matter how long it takes! Keep stepping, tenaciously in your creative journey and see how the Lord honors that faith.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow wearyand lose heart. ~HEBREWS 12:1-3

So getting back to the original thought I had, it is true that we will never know where we are going if we never take the first step…but that is only if you plan on going nowhere.

Press forward. Keep dreaming. And keep seeking.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

 

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Woven: A Word and Musical Interlude

This month, this new year of my life has been woven with many different and new threads. Some of them have been pulled so tightly against my being that I have thought I would be cut in two. Others have glided around my soul with the Grace of silk, or the finest of cotton.

In His hands my ashes become beauty, a beauty formed and woven in a magnificent tapestry.

So many threads, so many different colors and textures. Some I care for and others I loathe, but I have learned that in the hands of the Heavenly Father, every thread, every thread, forms the miracle of a life filled with His glory.

Psalm 56:8 You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?

He has woven me (Psalm 139) and He has done so acknowledging ever tear I have cried, ever ache I have felt, every lilt of laughter that has escaped my lips.

Yeshua Jesus is a God of excess but He is NOT a God of waste. All things work for my good (Romans 8:28). In His hands my ashes become beauty, a beauty formed and woven in a magnificent tapestry.

In Isaiah He first made the promise, and then standing in flesh Christ reminded us with His own lips of the weaving He had begun, reclaiming tattered threads and making them into something beautiful..again. (Isaiah 61:1-3) (Luke 4:16-21)

“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

There is still an aching tenderness within me and upon me, as the stretch and pull of the Weaver’s threading continues on, but oh for His glory and to His glory do I wait and trust in Worship!
I thank Him for ever song He has give that ripples through every tear of sorrow transformed into rejoicing. And now…I rest in Him.
~Poiema, Poetry in motion…

What’s With All The Romance, Candice?!: My Humble Explanation For My Amorous Expressions

If you have been following my blog for a while, I am sure that you have noticed a slight shift in genre expression. My usual subtle ways of thrilling and suspense, woven in threads of science fiction and fantasy, have taken a sabbatical, yielding the floor to Romance. 1390929787av6ku

For a long while now, I have had the desire to try my hand in genuine, Clean read romantic fiction. I had jotted down a plot line , a word or two in the past, but I had never quite allowed myself to fully submerge in the expression. I never allowed my self to really feel it.

That is until recently and I have two fantastic bloggers to thank for that!

First, I would like to thank Blonde Lucy, the creator of the blog, Blondewritemore, for hinting that I should add “electric fan” moments to one of my manuscripts. (Follow her blog. I assure you your joy levels will double with each post of hers you read.)

Electric Fan Moment: To be immersed into a moment via literature where romantic tension causes you to blush, and or your temperature to rise, requiring the usage of an electric fan; generally a pG 13 moment of pining and longing; Moment where a passionate kiss is shared…

After Blonde Lucy’s recommendation and commendation for my having achieved “said” moment(s), I began to think more pointedly about the genre.

Thoughts took form and became action after having made the happy acquaintance of fellow blogger, Ottohandling, creator of ottohandling.wordpress.com. (You would be better for having followed his blog as well. Excellent writing and poetry, fashioned in raw emotion and expression. Brilliant!)

By conversing with Otto, seeing the bittersweet motions of romance from his evolving points of view, we engaged in a conversation. In one conversation in particular I experienced a spark that set off a fire of creative freedom.

What was said, you ask? What were those wise words that set your romantic freedom soaring?

Admiration doesn’t have to lead to flirtation or a romance. I think we have left this zone of healthy appreciation for beauty…” ~Otto Handling

Now if those words aren’t the catalyst for something magical, I don’t know what is.

He also talked about (the possibility of) being attracted to someone without desiring to be with them romantically. This thought is far deeper than we realize. To me, it means ignoring our base desires for physical sexuality while still acknowledging the splendor of that which is visual.

Romance for me means possibility. That possibility does not have to be married to physical sexuality, as some have taken romance to mean. Sensuality, amorous expressions, are not solely defined by what happens when passions are at their highest. There is so much more to it than that.

Truly, romance, sensuality, things of amorous nature are far more sacred than that.

The beauty of ROMANCE is birthed from the thought of what COULD be!”~ Candice Coates

Otto’s words (from my perspective) mirrored the view I have held when admiring the opposite sex. I have treated those who I have pinned over as fine pieces in a museum. I was free to look and admire, but not touch. Even my thoughts of them remained in an arena of classic admiration.

There need not have been a collision of mutual emotions in order for the light of “romantic” energy, and the delight of appreciation for someone else, to be experienced.

Think of it as walking outside for the first time in a day only to be greeted with a gentle kiss from the sun, the whisper of the first morning’s dewy breeze, and the caress of large, fluffy clouds moving across your face upon a crystal blue sky.

What do  you feel? What happens to your senses in that moment? Isn’t that ROMANTIC? Isn’t that sensual?

I would say so!

Ruminating further on Otto’s words and my own, and pairing them up with Blonde Lucy’s encouragement, I took the ball and ran! I opened the door and let the caged bird soar freely and unhindered and now…here we are, experiencing, if only just a little, the glory of romance and the delight it brings.

Now that the gears of my romantic heart are well oiled, I am allowing the machine to run. This does not mean I will forsake my first love of Science Fiction, (never that!) but it does me I will allow myself to experience, even if only in my imagination, the beauty that is romance and the love for another.

That is the glory of being a writer, we get to experience so much of the world without ever moving a muscle.

Til later, lovelies. I am off to pine on with a smile, and imagine the possibilities!

Cheers!

Ambitious Boots: Part 2 Of An Ugly Shoe Journey

Today is Thursday, folks. One day til Friday, and several days away from the day that I published the post called Ambitious Boots. (Click the title if you haven’t read it.)

BootsFor those of you who have been reading along, you know that I set myself to achieve massive goals this week; to finish painting a painting as large as I am, and to finish the first draft of my blog novel, Ascension Graveyard, before weeks end.

I am fiddling with cover ideas...this is my recent attempt.
I am fiddling with cover ideas…this is my recent attempt.

WELLLLLLL let me tell you!

First, the painting: It looks fantastic! It’s not quite finished…but then its only Thursday. I am very confident in the level of work that I have completed thus far even though I have to say I think it will take a few more days before it is no longer a bleep on my things-to-complete radar.

So verdict: Its not finished, may not be tomorrow, but I am satisfied.

Secondly, the Blog Novel, Ascension Graveyard: I have great news to report! I have written THOUSANDS OF WORDS! Grand words, great tension, beautiful fleshing out of characters. Hooray! Hooray to me! And Hooray to you for believing with me! And Hooray to Yeshua Jesus, from Whom all blessings flow!

I am BEYOND happy…the thing is (Yes there is a “thing”) none of those lovely, awesome, delicious words were written for Ascension Graveyard.

1425457267g4njkI know what you are probably thinking (actually I don’t, but let’s pretend I do.) “What in the world is that woman doing? I thought you had your “Ambitious Boots” on.

Well, I do. I am still walking, just not in the planned direction.

The thing about these boots is that they can sometimes have  a mind of their own. Its like Doctor Who’s Tardis, the Doctor sets a location with the intent of going to a specific place, and somehow he ends up WAAAAAYYY on the other side of the universe and time, in a destination either unknown, or slightly off form his intended target.

Does the Doctor mourn the change in plans? NO! Never!

Actually, he always makes the best of the situation and enjoys the new and unexpected moment that his “straying by chance” has created.

So, that is where I am. That Romance Novel that I mentioned in the other post just shot right out ahead of the race, and took the lead and priority over and above Ascension Graveyard…Sorry, Etta.

I couldn’t let those words and scenes slip away in my attempt to keep to the set path. I have never been a romance reader or writer, really, and this has been a challenge for me to try this genre, so off I go. (It is a Clean read PG, PG-13 at its most novel in the making.)

Anyhow I totally put on those boots, but they walked me in a completely different direction, one that I am super excited about. Lots of work has been done to that end and that brings me much pleasure.

Ain’t it grand?

I currently have no idea when Ascension Graveyard will reach its conclusion, and then slid its way into revisions, BUT I am confident that it will be soon. I can’t begrudge Etta and her story for needing a bit more time. All children are different. Some need more attention than others. That is just the way it is.

I leave you with a scripture, one that I know and love and tend to somehow forget more often than I should:

Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

Basically, make plans, have a destination, but know that God has plotted a course and His way will ultimately win out. And honestly, I am okay with that.

Cheers! and Happy Creating!

I came for the soup.dpp widgets

Except for You: A poem

I make mistakes

Even though its not something that I like to do

And I break my heart

Even though its not mine

It belongs to You

And I give my all

Even when it seems like zeros across the board

And no one else sees

the Worth that’s left of me

Except for You, Lord

Except for you Lord

I am nothing

Except for you Lord

I’m a well run dry

Except for you Lord

I am hardly all that I could every want to be

Except for when I find myself in You

Lost in Your peace

 

I actually sang this as somewhat of a lament, filled with equal parts repentance, revelation, and the utmost gratitude unto Yeshua Jesus. Trials are often met with disdain, but there is no purity to gold without fire. No matter how long I walk with Him, I will ever be the student, having to re-learn this truth on different levels of understanding. I thank Him nonetheless for His goodness. 

Cheers!

 

I came for the soup.dpp widgets

The Important thing is the Story

I remember when I first started getting serious about writing, around the age of 14, how when I would find myself trying to figure things out for whatever genre I wanted to tackle, I would have a dream about Stephen King.

The important thing is the story…”~Stephan King

The first time it happened there was an avalanche. and he and I were hanging on for our lives and I only had time for one question before we both fell to our deaths. I asked him, “How do you write really good horror?”

After watching this video that is posted below I have come to realize the meaning of the question. What is the meaning? That in all the things surrounding us, with all the changes that we have no control over, the important thing is INDEED the story, as Stephen King explains below.

The important thing is the story…Our words are important. Our actions are important. The messages we leave for generations are extremely important. Our stories are important, whether we are writers or not.

The other thing that I take away from listening to this short interview is the fact that Stephen King has allotted time for his writing, he has a system. He calls it “writing hypnosis.”

Hearing this gives me a level of peace. For those of you who are also artist and writers, you understand how “odd” or awkward you feel when we get in the rut of comparing the system of our lives to that of those closest to us.

If we are the only writers or artists in our family, we come of as bizarre. Our routine is often question as if we have clinical issue.

The refreshing reality that comes to me, hearing that Stephen King and other famous authors who I have read have similar systems, is that although we may find ourselves buried under mounds of post-it notes, or have piles and piles of unfinished paintings brewing in our minds, we are indeed people of order and consistency.

We can be trusted to tell the story and honor the time that is needed to hone the words.

Here is a link to another interview where Stephen King gives a lot great advice to writers. Click HERE and enjoy!

Cheers!

I came for the soup.dpp widgets

 

I think I am on to something: A continuation of thought from last year

If you have taken the time at all to read through the posts found under “About” on this blog, then you are aware that I created this blog in order to do one thing, and that is grow as a creative voice.

I have taken the time to break down how I would like to grow, where I would like to grow, and what kindled this desire. I am not going to go into that right now, but you are free to take a read through (just click the word “about” and also hover over “about” to read other things) whenever you have the time.

ON GROWTH AS A VISUAL ARTIST:

As I leaf through my sketchbook the images that draw me the most are the ones that I have done using colored pencil. I fell like, and this may not necessarily be a GREAT thing but it sure ain’t bad either, that the instant gratification that I get from doing a drawing in colored pencil is far more satisfying than any other medium that I have used over the past year. colored pencils

Not only that, but more ideas jump into my mind about how versatile colored pencils are. Mixed media work is something that I love to toy with and lately I have been wanting to do some illustration involving oil washes, acrylic, and colored pencil.

As it comes to available time, colored pencil are perfect because I can get the mental result and clarity in an hour with them, whereas with just straight oil painting it could take days, weeks, months, and depending on the painting…years.

Ink, especial medium size ball point pen, is nice too, but its not archival. 1367526801v08km

So with that in mind, I am heavily considering focusing my future works on colored pencil, while also throwing in some other mediums. Recently I found out about Winsor & Newtons Watercolor markers, and my goodness how I would love to use those. I shall as soon as I purchase them.

ON GROWTH AS A WRITER:

You guessed it. I have more to say about Ascension Graveyard.

I have a confession of my own error with this book.  Here it is; SOME OF MY CHAPTERS ARE WAAAAAAAAAY TO LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG! I mean, 4,000 words to a chapter, really?!

Having that many words in ONE chapter is acceptable, maybe even three, but I think I have done it 6 times and that is just too much. So of course I will be fixing that during revisions.

I think the cause of my long winded chapters has to do with the inclusion of Etta’s journal entries. What I realize is that I can totally have two or three chapters under the same journal entry. They don’t have to embody one chapter alone.

Heck! I could even go as far as three chapters per one journal entry if that is necessary. So I intend to fix that during revisions as well.

Yes, that will change the flow and tone of the story, but that is to be expected. After all, this is a free flowing first draft born out of a NaNoWriMo experience from the month of June 2014.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE?:

Possibly. I really just want to flow with more purpose and order. Be more consistent. Let’s face it, we all have busy lives. We all have other people, tasks, family happenings that draw on our precious time, but we still need to stay in the game. We created our blogs for a reason and that was to be a blogger.

I kind of feel like if I get a proper drafting/art table I will be more purposeful with my art as well.

We shall see.

I do have a question for all of you superheros out there, how do you manage to keep to your craft and balance the other duties in your lives?

And before I forget, here is a video I found on youtube about the watercolor markers, should you care to try them yourselves.

Cheers!

I came for the soup.dpp widgets

Steps towards home: A Free write exercise

“Just a few more steps, and then, then you will be there. We will be there.” The light in his eyes was almost too much to deny. It lit the embers in her soul that had all but fizzled out; stomped out with each painful step her swelling feet took forward.

“We should have never left this place to start with.” He continued. “I left long before you did. I was hardly a man and you, you were nothing but a girl, but still. Our desertion was foolish. Don’t you think?” He turned back towards her after hefting himself over another large rock.

She tried to scale the rock face herself, should have been able to, but even with the new spark of hope for home, she was still terribly exhausted, stiff and sore. He extended his hand to her and with a level of ease, pulled her upward.

“Well?” He asked again. “What do you think?”

She rested her hips on the sun kissed rock face and closed her eyes, grateful to have been seated. “About what?”

“Us having made the mistake of desertion. We shouldn’t have done it, followed everyone else for whatever reason we followed them, and left home.”

She opened an eye in time to see him fanning his hand back and forward as if that would shoo away his past mistakes. He shielded his eyes with the other and waited for her answer.

“I suppose you want me to agree with you, that we should have never left,” She fixed her skirt and crossed her puffy ankles, a telltale sign that she was taking a much needed break. “But I have to tell you that I don’t. I have no regrets, none at all for leaving.”

He turned his shielded face towards her, his expression a little short of befuddled. “Honestly?” That was all he could manage to say after a long, awkward stare down at her. The sun had even had enough time to warm a trickle of sweat from his hairline.

She watched it trickled down the sharp slope of his jaw and disappear into the folds of his collar right before he could swipe it away with his handkerchief. He was such a neat man when she had met him. He was still orderly now in the blistering sun, after days of seemingly hopeless effort and walking.

“Honestly.” She finally answered him, allowing a smile to bloom across her face. She then patted the area beside her and invited him to sit. He was so different from her, so orderly in his mannerisms and dress and yet free as a feather on the wind in his ways. She on the other hand wore the guise of such loose ambitions but on the inside reservation and conservatism ruled over all.

But now the two sat together, the perfect complement of one another, headed back home to the place they had always belonged.

She nudged him with her shoulder and scooped his hand into hers. “Sure, it seems we lost time, lost our way, lost our dreams way out there in the great unknown so far from home, but we found each other out there. We have found our way again.” She let her smile brighten before she kissed his forehead and rested her head on his shoulder.

He kissed the crown of her head and smiled in turn. “I could not agree more.”

THE END

There is somewhat of an underlining theme that has come forth from my recent entries. The theme has to do with “return” or “starting over.” I have felt like I have lost my way with my blog over the last few months. The misdirection on my end has come from the whirlwind of life circumstances beating down on me from every side, my failed feeble attempts to regain control of, and salvage what was surviving my storms, and my need to see growth and order where there seemed to be little.

All of my intentions were good, but it was out of these intentions that my “creative motor” seemed to run out of gas. The light that is the catalyst for this blog began to dim as my attention drew further away from it.

Like the two characters in this 15min Freewrite, I recognize that I have strayed from home. Its a struggle to get back there, hence the swelling. But I also realize that wondering away has brought a new value to what I once had. Sometimes I feel discouraged, but there is also that energy and hope that all I have to do is start walking in the right direction and everything else will fall into place. And so I walk.

For those of you with similar struggles, be they with your blogging experiences or other matters in your life, hang in there , and just keep taking the steps in the right direction. You will arrive at your proper destination in time. You just have to keep walking.

Cheers!

I came for the soup.dpp widgets

Rules versus Mighty Revelation

Rules vs Rev
Original vector Art by Candice Coates

I have, since I can remember, held firm to the belief that in any form of art, one must know the rules before they can properly break them. Being a person that is still learning to go through the process of things, I find that I often remind myself of this truth; learn the rules and then break them. Break them through revelation.

In art, in writing, there are set rules for the ‘how’s’ and ‘why’s.’ Why does this color go with this one? Why must I tone my canvas before starting to paint? Why do I need to be concerned with first person narrative verses third person?

You get the drift.

Creating, and being good at it, involves knowledge but it also includes a great level of instinct. Both go hand in hand. Rules will only take you so far but instinct powered by Revelation can take you to heights you never dreamed of.

So what is the difference between the two; Rules and Revelation?

RULE:

  1.  principle governing conduct: an authoritative principle set forth to guide behavior or action the rules of the game
  2.  usual condition: a prevailing condition or quality

Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2003. © 1993-2002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

REVELATION:      

  1.   information revealed: information that is newly disclosed, especially surprising or valuable information
  2.  surprising thing: a surprisingly good or valuable experience
  3.  disclosure: the revealing of something previously hidden or secret

Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2003. © 1993-2002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

In  short, Rules are there to set safe boundaries, make sure you are building on a firm foundation.  Revelation comes to show us how to safely go beyond those boundaries into depths we have not known. (Come on, be honest, how many of us really follow the rules when we play Monopoly? My point exactly! Each family has their own fantastic revelation on how to play the game despite the written rules.)

For the last three years, I, as a rule, have set June aside as a month to push myself beyond my limits and write like a mad person to reach a goal…have a novel within 30 days from start to finish. RULE.

The point of this Blog, however, is  to flow with the Revelation that I can create and I can do it well through faith in Him. That even though striving to honor the rule is “honorable” for lack of a better word, following instinct and thus taking hold of greater Revelation, is far more valuable. More beauty comes from my craft through the vehicle of Revelation.

The beauty of both is that the Rule of June births Revelations about the abilities inside of me.

I like to think of the Rule as Gravity while Revelation is Aerodynamics: gravity says what goes up must come down or stay grounded and tethered. Aerodynamics says take flight and only land when you are out of gas! One law is greater than the other even though both are relevant.

So why is this relevant?

For me, I started June with this grand goal of writing “Ascension Graveyard” and having her done by the end of 30 days (or at least mostly done.) I had a rule of a certain amount of words daily, same as the process that I used in the other years that I embarked upon this venture. BUT with the revelations that I have come upon I feel instinctively the drive to just slow down, not to push this story so hard to fit into the rule of the 30 day month of June.

I am confident in what I am working with, and I feel like not only does Ascension Graveyard deserve the time, all the time, that it needs to develop into the novel that it is meant to be, but you the reader, deserve a work that is worth your time. I intend to give you just that.

Does this mean that I am completely trashing my goal for this month? Not necessarily. I will still continue in making genuine efforts to produce a body of work worth publishing and worth reading by the end of June should the worlds flow towards the original goal.  I am just not going to let the rule make me rigid when I have such a clear revelation in front of me, and that is to let this story take its time and tell itself.

I hope you too will find yourself moving towards the beauty of Revelation and breaking beyond the boundaries of rigid rules.

Cheers! And look for Part 2 of this blog, exploring the spiritual aspects of Rule versus Revelation, coming sometime this week. 🙂