Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tour: The One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (Guest Post)

I am so excited to be a part of this blog tour! When I was asked to be a part of the tour, I hadn't realized how many awesome, well-established bloggers were involved with this tour. It's such an honor to be on this tour with them. For this stop of the tour, I have Mariko Tamaki talking about how to start something. I hope you'll find it enlightening. ;)

How to Start Something

One of the hardest parts of the creative process comes at the beginning of the artistic “journey,” the part that starts with a blank piece of paper and a sense that you have no idea what to do with that piece of paper. This is to say that, at least for most of us, there comes a time when we have to start something and we’re not sure WHAT exactly it is we’re about to start or HOW to start it.

This part of the artistic process can be very upsetting. I’ll tell you now that a lot of artists that you see in the public eye who appear to be very happy people CRY when they hit this point, most especially when they’ve already finished something and now must begin AGAIN. If you read these artists REAL online journals you can practically hear the glass breaking in the background as wits snap over the first all important sentence.

So, okay, it’s very stressful and so, in the interest of avoiding stress, and being organized, if that’s something you can see yourself wanting, here are a couple of ways to get started, a couple of ways of starting SOMETHING, whatever that may end up being.

APPROACH #1 The “I CAN DO BETTER” Inspirational Method 

One of the easiest ways to start something is by hating something else that already exists. This particular kind of hate could be aesthetic, like you hate the way something sounds or looks and you want to fix it and make it better (by remixing it, painting it yellow, or cutting it up and re-assembling it -- a la Pretty in Pink), or political. 

Within this particular method of getting something started you can get to work either playing with a stereotype that exists out there in the social world, in which case the first thing that appears on your page is the stereotype itself, say, the fat suit Eddie Murphy wears to rejuvenate his career every three years, or the anti-stereotype, that creature/possibility that you know society is ignoring. 

One thing to do is put the stereotype and counter stereotype on the page and have them duel. This duel can be verbal or physical. See who wins. 

Either that or list the things you have to say to the perpetrators of the stereotypes in question. A lot of stuff started by me began with letters to TV networks.

Generally speaking, it is not wise send these letters.

They are part of the creative process. Rarely a final result.

This method can be both cleansing and an easy way to get started.

Method Number Two


It’s kind of an open secret that artists, most particularly writers, often hear voices in their heads. 

In a controlled environment, a voice may very well be your next character. This is not to say that you must necessarily become some sort of scribe for the voice in question. You can, and a lot of people do, just take dictation from the voice in question, if you want to light a candle and sit in front of a mirror to do this, that is your business.

Alternately you can just sit down in front of your computer and think about the character that goes with that voice. This exercise, you will note, is a lot like the previous exercise in that the goal here is to write down as much as possible, knowing that more than likely you will have to get rid of most of what you first put down. Even if you get only one detail from your first writing spree, that is a start.

Method Number Three


Not hearing a voice, is of course, not necessarily a sign that you yourself have nothing to say. Writing is as external, about observing, as it is internal, bringing that thing from the inside out. And in fact the best way to get something started is just by looking around you and writing what you see DOWN.

The key to this method is to avoid worrying or thinking too much about what it is you are putting down on the blank piece of paper in question. What you put down on this piece of paper is probably not going to be any part of your final project. The idea here is not to CREATE something per se but to START something, and sometimes the best way to get started writing, painting, filming or drawing is to write paint or draw ANYTHING.

So take a piece of paper, which could be this piece of paper, and do one of the following:
Make a list of everything and everyone you see.
Write a set of directions of how to get from your house to your parent’s house, best 
friend’s house, and favorite restaurant. Then write out what to order.
Categorize and describe all your shoes, socks, and pants.
Write out your lunches for the past three weeks.
Make a diagram of every mean or nice thing anyone has ever done to you.
Follow around your cat and document what you imagine he is thinking.
Make a timeline of fake presidents and explain how each one was elected.

The point of this exercise is the ANYTHING part. Don’t sweat what exactly it is you are going to do or document. This is not your grand slam, this is you putting all your bats wherever it is bats are supposed to go before the big game.

More than likely after you finish this less than functional exercise your brain will click into something more interesting. It’s like changing the topic of conversation so you can remember the name of that movie where the guy got in the elevator and pressed all the buttons? Still can’t remember what that’s called. Anyway the point of this project is to be mentally distracting and spatially productive. Fill the page with whatever you can think of. Nine times out of ten, I promise you, this will snap your brain into something else, something more interesting and with potential. One time out of ten the exercise itself proves to be somewhat interesting when it’s done and then you have that.

And you can feel good about yourself.

So it must be worth while.

Ok. Ready. Go.

(Elf! It was Elf. FINALLY.)

This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: May 6th, 2014
Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It's their getaway, their refuge. Rosie's friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose's mom and dad won't stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It's a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it's a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.
For links and other information, please check out MY REVIEW for THIS ONE SUMMER. 

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