Posted in on-writing

Musings: Creativity, Order, & The Creative Process

Creativity is the child of chaos. Art is the child of order […but] in instances of great fortune, we hold the magic long enough before our conscious mind’s eye long enough to capture [inspiration] on paper. In those moments, what we are struggling to do is bring order to chaos. We are taking the most ephemeral panting of the mind and confining it to the physicality of paper and ink. We are hammering them to the tiny, ever specificity of words. What begins as only the electric firing of our brains now becomes[…]stories. ~K.M. Weiland

I’ve been a regular listener of the podcast Helping Writers Become Authors by K.M. Weiland for about a year now. She’s written fantasies, young adults, writing workbooks, and has a wonderful database breaking down story structures. Although her blog and podcast focuses on longer wrong, her fundamentals and writing process really speak to the way I think about stories.

What I love about this quote is that it captures the experience of that moment of inspiration until it is tamed. Sometimes the transfer process is full of gaps (it sounded better in my head) or sometimes it comes out closer what desired. It also works for any kind of art. Whatever your medium of choice is, you are confining it to that physicality.

The other reason I like this quote is because it reminds me that living a creative life can be a labor of love. When you read, see, view, hear finished works of art, it is easy to forget that it most likely didn’t come out that way. However, it all starts the same way, in a blue blaze of a firing neuron. From that spark of inspiration , our art is formed and carved from the chaos.

Posted in book-review

Book Review Friday: Maxwell the Monkey Barber by Cale Atkinson

Today’s post is on Maxwell the Monkey Barber by Cale Atkinson (2016).


Maxwell can take any wild beast’s hair. But one day, Maxwell meets an elephant with a big problem, he has no hair…not even one single strand. Can Maxwell help his friend out of this hairy situation?

Why Read It

Why kids might like it? Kids love to pretend to give haircuts, so this book imagines zany animals with the craziest hairdos. Laugh-out-loud illustrations and a Maxwell’s a go-getter monkey. Also, the ending has a funny twist!

Why parents might like it? If you need to have the talk about getting a haircut, this is a roundabout way to do it. Also, the illustrations add another layer of story that makes rereads even more enjoyable.

Why It’s A Mentor Text

Even though the author/illustrator combination gives Atkinson latitude in visual and narrative story’s telling, the economy of words and wordplay is something any author can appreciate. It is a simple story and presents a problem that seems impossible, but the answer pulls all the pieces together in a perfect package.