Pyramids – visions and real – #ICAD2016

Today’s prompt was pyramid and I had this idea in my head of an Egyptian pyramid and I was going to write about how I decided (at age 7) to become an archaeologist because of the Nancy Drew book ‘Secrets of the Forgotten City.’* The book is about an archaeological dig (although not in Egypt) and for me it tied archaeology in with detective work and drew me in. I remember telling my Mom that she shouldn’t count on me having her grandkids because it would be too dangerous for me to having them crawling around in tunnels with me on my digs.*

Meanwhile, it turns out that I could not reproduce the image I had in my head and instead I ended up with this odd shape that I couldn’t do anything with. Sooooo, I started thinking about other types of pyramids and came up with my hierarchy of needs.13325648_10157054710345232_824833378574359367_n

Ever since I was introduced to it in university, I have been interested in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. And I find it weird when people expect people who are unable to get enough food to find the mental space to be philosophical. I am grossly oversimplifying it, of course, but it is good to remember that humans have very real physiological needs that MUST be dealt with before we start branching out into other areas. That’s an oversimplification, obviously, but still.

Anyway, a few years ago, my friend Megan Francis posted a mother’s hierarchy of needs  which borrows from Maslow’s but adds some things very specific to parenting. That was a really huge connection for me. OF COURSE, we can’t function well if we haven’t slept well, if we aren’t eating properly, but until she laid it out, I had been expecting myself to just function the way I wanted to, no matter what the circumstances. Once I saw her pyramid, I stopped being so hard on myself about quite a few things.

So, today, when I messed up my pyramid vision, my mind wandered to the hierarchy pyramid and I started thinking about the things I need for my own personal satisfaction. There are lots more things I want and need in my life, of course, but these are the things that popped up for ensuring my own satisfaction with how my life feels from the inside.

I’m curious now, though, what would be in your hierarchy of needs?

*As an aside, one of the most fabulous gifts I have ever gotten was a copy of that very book. My dear friend Krista remembered that I had lost my copy years before and knowing that it was important to me, she picked it up on her travels somewhere.

**Funny how my 7 year old self assumed that 1) I would obviously work after having kids 2) the kids would automatically be with me all the time 3) all archaeologists spent a lot of time crawling around in dangerous spaces.

Mixtape. Something About You. #IDAC2016

I’m doing another challenge!

This time, it’s the Index Card A Day challenge and basically, all you have to do is produce something creative on an index card every day until the end of July. I love index cards and I love having a reason to doodle so I am running with it.

I’ve decided that I’m going to use each card to tell a little story. Some of them will be fiction, some with be true stories about things I remember and some will be based on stories I like to tell when I perform.

I may or may not use the prompt each day (or the weekly theme) but I did use it today.13325483_10157050390550232_1623327644707398414_n

Here’s my ‘mixtape’ index card.

And here’s the story.

I know that some people used to make a VERY BIG DEAL out of creating and receiving mixtapes. That wasn’t a thing for me per se but there was one tape that was very important for me.

Before The Man and I are starting seeing each other, we were just friends. I had gotten out of a horrible relationship that took a huge emotional toll on me and it was a bit of a struggle for me to remember who I was outside the context that my ex had constructed for me.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Man’s company though and we would drive around for hours most evenings with me lying down in the passenger’s seat, looking through the sunroof at the streetlights zipping by and pouring my heart out about how hurt I was, how empty I felt, how much I felt cheated by the time I had lost in that relationship. The Man listened, reminded me that I was kind and good and not at all at fault, and when I had cried it all out for that evening, we would turn on the music and just listen and drive.

We listened to all kinds of stuff. I remember listening to Tom Petty, to Concrete Blonde, and to hours and hours of radio. Then, at one point, a couple of weeks into this routine, The Man puts a mixtape into the machine in his car and lets it play.

Now, to be fair to me, I was never the kind of dame that guys made mixed tapes for. And the songs on the tape were playing on the radio on a fairly regular basis. And we listened to all kinds of tapes both of us had already owned – stuff recorded off the radio, stuff from other tapes at home – so it didn’t occur to me that this tape was special in any way.

In fact, we had a little routine of jokingly arguing about one song from the tape. I don’t remember the whole list of songs but I remember enough for the argument to make sense.

In my opinion, Level 42’s ‘Something About You’ didn’t belong with Sting’s ‘I Burn For You’, U2’s ‘All I Want Is You’ and Bryan Adams’ ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You’ because it was a whole different tempo, a whole different style of song. There was fun, but no yearning, in that one – at least in my mind.

After a while, The Man and I stumbled into a conversation that led to THAT CONVERSATION and we realized that our friendship was something more than that. Something a lot more. Something that is, to this day, one of the cornerstones of my life.

It was years later, when we were driving across the country to move to Winnipeg for me to go to grad school and we were listening to every tape in our collection, that I finally heard the message that was in the mixtape.

He was right, of course, ‘Something About You’ fits in perfectly.

I may not have gotten the message from the tape, but, luckily, I got the message very clearly from the man.

And, there is still ‘Something About’ him that makes this whole adventure work very, very well.

Maybe…May. Be.

I have two challenges for myself in May.

I am learning to take better care of myself and I am doing the Story-a-Day writing project.

I already know that I CAN write a story ever single day – I have written 2000 words per day since January 1 – but what I want is to complete those stories and get them ready to submit for possible publication.

Here’s the image I am using to remind myself of my priorities this month:

Yoga mat and notebook – tools of the word warrior.



I wrote this a couple of weeks ago and I thought I had posted it. I also thought I would get back to the A-Z challenge. Things don’t always go the way I hoped. I am getting better at being okay with that.

So, on Tuesday past, my oldest son, a.k.a. The Boy, was diagnosed with diabetes and we spent the rest of the week in hospital learning how to manage this new part of our lives.

Obviously, the A-Z challenge took a backseat to that.

He is okay, we are home from the hospital and getting used to our new normal.

I is for Ideas

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge. So far, so good.

I always find it a bit puzzling when people ask me where I get my ideas because I am never really conscious of looking for them, they just kind of tumble out.

That doesn’t mean that I can’t help someone create the conditions for coming up with good ideas themselves, though. I *am* a creativity coach and ideas are usually the first step.

Personally, I think that people generally have a lot of ideas but they have a mental filter in place so the ideas are ‘caught’ before they make it to the conscious mind. So, the trick becomes in teaching yourself to let those ideas make it to a part of the brain where they can be recorded – giving yourself permission to have all kinds of ideas, silly, serious or anything in between.

It’s a bit like when I took a drawing workshop a few years ago and my instructor mentioned that step one in learning to draw is learning to SEE. What she meant by that was they we need to see objects as made of lines, and shapes and light, not just as a solid unit. When we are trying to be creative and find ideas, we have to learn to break down ‘units’ of thought into their component ideas. Then we can take those pieces and look at them different ways and see where they lead us.

ANYWAY, about me and my ideas…

(yes, it’s always me, me, me, it’s like this is my blog or something!)
I have always had a strong imagination, firing off elaborate mental scenarios for the tiniest thread of evidence and when I get started with ideas I ‘chain-smoke’ them – each one is lit from the idea before.

Pulling one idea out of my oddly connected brain is like pulling on one piece of a net – you may get one string of ideas or you may get all kinds of offshoots and interconnected pieces. It might be hard from the outside to see how they are connected, but I know.

For example, when I said chain-smoke above, that reminded me of my friend Jason because we used to say he chain-smoked conversations, lighting one topic off the one before so the rest of us could barely keep up. Mentioning Jason reminds me that he used to have blue glasses, and that reminds me that my youngest kid wants his hair dyed blue and that reminds me of how my sister Ange used to dye her hair with kool-aid and the stench of kool-aid would permeate the house.

Now, I might not say all of those things aloud to you. You might mention chain smoking and next thing I am talking about the smell of kool-aid, it’s not obvious when you are outside of my head. 🙂

And you might be thinking ‘Okay, Christine, that’s a flood of associations but where are the ideas?’

Well, from that net of connections, I thought about including smells of childhood – playdoh, crayons, kraft dinner, and kool-aid in a story and how those things can bring back such vivid memories, both good and bad.

And I had the idea of writing a story in which someone’s hair colour reflects their magic ability, or perhaps it makes them stronger – kind of like an update on Samson.

And I thought about writing about someone who is brave enough to be who they are, no matter what anyone thinks of them -their own opinion of themselves is far more important to them than anyone else’s.

And I thought about why someone might talk a lot – are they excited? Nervous? Do they just have a lot to say? Sometimes a lot of talking seems rude but it doesn’t always have to be. So I could write about all the different reasons around talking a lot. That could be for a fictional character or someone real.

So, now that I have told you all about how my brain churns out ideas, I am going to turn the question to you…

Where do you get your ideas?

Also, what does the colour blue make YOU think of?