Category Archives: Blogging

Kate Arms-Roberts is Moving!

It is official. My new site is now live. 

What you will find there is an expansion of what I have been doing here.

  • An ongoing blog about InterPlay, writing, play, story-telling, and finding meaning in the world – continuing what I began here
  • Information about classes I am leading. These include InterPlay-related classes, writing groups, and acting classes
  • Information about the Creativity Coaching I am offering
  • Information about writing and editing services I am offering

Please join me over at www.katearmsroberts.com

If you subscribe to get the blog by email from the new site, there is an audio-recording of an InterPlay warm-up as a thank you for moving with me to my new space. It is a 15-minute introduction to InterPlay, and I hope you will subscribe and listen to it.

Please come on over to www.katearmsroberts.com and check it out.

 

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Do it Now or Have More to Do

Photo by Justyna Furmanczyk  www.janedoephoto.co.uk

Too many hours at the keyboard and I need my coffee companion.

I am moving my blog from this WordPress site because I am growing. My online presence needs to reflect that, and I want to expand in ways that make more sense if I move the blog to a self-hosted domain.

It is not technically challenging to move the content of the blog from a wordpress.com blog to self-hosted blog using wordpress.org. There are many great tutorials out there to walk you through the process. I used this one.

The challenges I have faced are these:

  • Choosing a theme. There are so many themes to choose from, even if you only limit yourself to free one.
  • Customizing a theme. One of the challenges with the theme I chose for my new blog is my name is too long for the Blog Title space on the template, so I had to modify the size of some of the elements, which required hacking around in the theme editor. I am not a serious programmer, but I have been playing around with code since the late 70s, so this has been fun, but has taken time from my writing.
  • I am adding new pages and additional content to the site to reflect the changes in my work.
  • Every link in every post that linked to a different post in my blog must be changed to refer to the same post in the new location. This is not necessary, but it will keep the experience of browsing my blog cleaner. Without taking this step, links from old posts to other posts on my blog would take visitors to the wordpress.com site and away from the new site.

I am going through all of my old posts and checking links. This is a time-consuming process. I want to be writing new posts, not editing old ones. But, I know that this is a one time project. Once I have done this, the new site will be ready to become my primary home online.

I will still be making changes to the blog, of course, as circumstances warrant. But, I will never again have to transfer this blog to my own domain.

I have put off this move for over a year. The result is that I have a lot more links to fix and the transfer is taking longer than it would have done when I originally planned to do it.

I could give myself grief for this, but I choose not to. I am merely reminding myself that, as is so often the case, delay created more work.

The only good thing to come out of the delay is that my theme, which I love, was not available a year ago. But, even a year ago, plenty of good themes were available.

Are there projects of yours where delay has created more work? Share in the comments and we can use them as reminders to just get on with the things that need to get done.

New Year, New Everything, Almost

Just a heads up. I am in the throes of transferring this blog to my own domain and away from wordpress.com. I hope that you, my readers, will follow me there. I promise that I will have a little something for you if you do. But none of it is quite ready yet. Until it is, I won’t be posting here very much. I had hoped to have the transfer done this week, but it is taking longer than I planned and I’m not sure I’m going to make it.

In the meantime, I am getting ready for my new drop-in InterPlay classes starting on Friday. If you live near Oshawa, Ontario, please come by and check us out.

And, if you know anybody who is looking to have some more fun in life or reconnect with lost creativity, I am taking on clients in my new Creative Living Coaching Programs. Details will be on the web soon, but in the meantime, direct any inquiries to kate@improvliving.com.

I hope 2013 is treating you well so far and I look forward to fabulous creating as we go through the year.

Cheers,

Kate

Giftedness, Creativity, and Storytelling – and Imposter Syndrome

It is the International Week of the Gifted 2012. Around the blogosphere, advocates for gifted adults and gifted children are writing about giftedness with a particular enthusiasm and energy. The World Council for Gifted and Talented Children is encouraging the use of International Week of the Gifted to pave the way for the International Year of Giftedness and Creativity 2013 with the theme “Stories and Story Sharing”.

Giftedness, creativity, and the power of sharing our stories are three of my passions. I feel compelled to do something, organize something, create something.

If I had my druthers, I would organize a series of workshops, offered to gifted children and their parents, using the storytelling tools of InterPlay to help them tell their own stories, hear each other’s stories, and share them through a public performance. I have the training to do this, but I am not sure I have the time, and I definitely worry about whether I have the gumption.

You see, I suffer from the great gifted woman’s disorder: Imposter Syndrome. Essentially, Imposter Syndrome involves constantly feeling like a fraud, like you are not as competent as people around you, and as they think you are. There is an accompanying fear of being “found out” and a lack of willingness to put oneself forth as a resource.

In my case, it manifests as a reluctance to set up workshops because I fear no one will come and that if they do come, they will feel like they have wasted their money. But, I know from past experience that I am a good teacher and a good director. When I lead InterPlay workshops, people enjoy them and many folks want to know how they can experience more.

Lisa Rivero’s article Who Do You Think You Are? Re-Thinking the Imposter Syndrome introduced me to the idea that the feelings of being an imposter may be a sign that one is heading in the right direction and that one should lean into the fear and work through it rather than letting it stop you. That idea resonates with me.

If you had asked me when I was 14, what work I wanted to do when I grew up, I would have said I wanted to run a theatre and associated theatre school. A few years later, I saw a performance by teenagers of monologues they had written about their own lives and was struck by the immense power of people telling their own stories in performance. I spent the next 15 years working in theatre, remembering the power of the autobiographical performances, yearning to be part of such things, and yet not doing any work in that area. Until I found InterPlay.

When I discovered InterPlay, I was teaching a class called Sacred Bodies, Sacred Play at Starr King School for the Ministry. I had developed a collection of tools for triggering spiritual experiences through physical play and creativity and was sharing them in the class I was teaching. The overlap between the forms I had discovered myself and was teaching in that class and the forms of InterPlay were uncanny.

But, I had not been formulating my system into a teachable tool for very long and Cynthia Winton-Henry and Phil Porter had been working on InterPlay for decades. InterPlay was in many ways simply further along the path than I was. More than that, InterPlay had developed the tools for combining the physical body, the spirit of play, and improvised performance into truth-telling performances sharing deep stories, thereby joining my play-based work with the power of performance autobiography that I had witnessed so many years before. It is no wonder that I started the InterPlay Teacher Training Program immediately after finishing my first class.

After completing the training, I didn’t dive right into teaching. For good reason. I was moving internationally while pregnant with triplets. I was otherwise occupied.

It is now time for me to start offering classes and workshops.

And, I feel the fear of the Imposter Syndrome surrounding me, telling me I am heading in an important direction, considering a meaningful path, and must take action.

I am not an Imposter. I am well trained for this work. But, sometimes, I have to remind myself of these facts.

  • I have been leading rehearsals and teaching performance as a director for 25 years.
  • I have been organizing rehearsals as a stage manager for longer.
  • I have organized events with substantial budgets.
  • I have produced theatrical productions and special performances for half-a-dozen theatre companies.
  • My InterPlay training was with the founders of InterPlay, including performance classes.
  • I have performed in several InterPlay performances as a dancer/storyteller.
  • When I participate in InterPlay Leaders Events, I am recognized as a peer by leaders with all levels of experience.
  • My understanding of the power of InterPlay as a storytelling tool has deepened through my writing about InterPlay.

I am hopeful that I will have time in 2013 to lead workshops for gifted children and their parents to share their stories. My family is going through some changes that will take some months to settle out, and until they do, I will not know what 2013 is going to look like.

But, I am committed to being a part of the world-wide community of people telling the stories of gifted people, sharing what our experience is. If the performance project looks too big, I will focus on telling more of my story through my writing.

Gifted people are identifiable because we are outside the norm. Sharing our stories helps us connect in a world where we too often feel isolated. I can be part of enriching that connection by sharing my own stories. One way or another, I will be creating work supporting the International Year of Giftedness and Creativity 2013 on the theme of Stories and Story-Sharing.

I hope you will join me in 2013 by either telling your own stories or finding other people’s stories to witness.

For a list of other posts related to International Week of the Gifted, click here

Rethinking My Blog Themes

I’m playing around with themes for the blog. I have been unhappy with the old layout for some time, but haven’t had any inspiration about what I wanted instead.

I expect things will change around here several times before I settle on something new.

The purple picture is a photograph of water I manipulated using techniques Samira Emelie taught me. Samira is one of the stars of my Mixel community. She makes rich, textured images by layering transparencies. Often, each transparency is a different series of manipulations of a single image. Layering the transparencies creates a sense of depth.

This theme is Mystique. I like a lot of the default elements, but not all of them. I’m still thinking. For now, here is this change.

The Danger in Blogging About Your Growth Processes

A recent Mixel thread involved presenting collages of what we do when we aren’t making Mixel art.

Hey, look! I’m back!

If you have been around for a while, you know that I take unscheduled breaks from time to time. Part of the reason for these breaks is the nature of my creative process. Part is the fact that my four children come before my writing, and children have irregular needs. And, part comes directly from what I have chosen to focus on in this blog.

The posts that seem to resonate most with my readers blend theories about writing and creativity with reflections on my personal journey. In writing these posts, there is an element of self-disclosure, and often related self-discovery, but also an element of analysis.

Sometimes, I am so busy living my inner transformations that I have no time to reflect upon my recent experience in a way that might be meaningful for my readers. And, when there is a lot of transformation going on, I can be so deep in trying to understand what I am going through that I find I cannot write meaningfully about anything other than my current experience.

During those periods, I often find myself struggling for cohesiveness in my writing and my blog goes dark for a time while I go through whatever life experience I am going through.

There is big stuff going on with me right now and I don’t have a handle on it.

Pushing myself deep into my emotions and imagination to improve my novel is awakening feelings and ambitions that have been suppressed for decades. I feel a need to honour these awakenings, but determining how to do that in the context of my current life (as opposed to the life I was living when I suppressed the dreams) is challenging.

At the same time, our new house is calling out to be transformed into a home that truly reflects who we are as a family. It is a unique house, perfect for a nonconformist family – and we are all nonconformists in this family. I speaks to me, “make me yours,” and I find myself wondering which aspects of me and of us should be reflected in the decor, furniture, use of rooms, etc.

I have been hiding in plain sight for years, acting like a pseudo-normal suburbanite, and delving deeper into my writing, choosing a house that reflects my unwillingness to look and act like my neighbours, and writing about giftedness for An Intense Life have all pushed me into an existential quandary.

Who am I?

Once upon a time, I knew I was in training to be an eccentric old lady. I think I am back in training.

But, I have been feeling adrift, without anchor, unable to encapsulate any of this experience in blog posts.

When I read Suzannah Windsor Freeman’s post Don’t Quit! Help for Burnt Out Bloggers on Write It Sideways today, I knew I had to write something about what I have been going through. I don’t want to disappear.

But, I can’t. Not clearly.

All of my past identities are vying for attention: artist, activist, intellectual, parent, wife, home-maker, preacher, existential philosopher, lawyer, biopsychology student, writer, actor, director. A desire to dream big and change the world has been awakened and is raging through me without direction.

My battles against petty fears have given me courage. My struggles with writing have given my sources of inspiration hope.

I feel like I’m on the verge of something, but I don’t want to jump too soon. I need to let these stirrings grow and coalesce without forcing them into an intellectually selected box.

There are passions rising within me. They need channeling and I have never yet succeeded in channeling them into productive projects that satisfy the big dreams.

I’m positively disintegrating.

I have been through periods of positive disintegration before. I am familiar with the feeling of not knowing who I am becoming – of my emotions and cognitive self-understanding trying to rearrange themselves in a more effective manner.

I know that my tendency is to force a  solution that only accommodates some of the crucial elements of my personality. Being adrift in all one’s potential is scary. Making meaning from so much richness is not easy.

I will try to keep blogging as my inner life reorganizes itself, but I expect that all of my theories will be tentative and all of my understandings limited for some time.

I’m okay with that.

I hope you are, too.

If these words resonate with you in any way, I would love to hear about your experience or get any advice.

New Growth: Editing and Gardening

I want to thank Sharon Overend for republishing my post from April of last year4 Ways Gardening is Like Editingon her blog about writing. Sharon has published short stories and poetry and is currently working on her first novel.

When Sharon asked me to contribute a guest post to her blog, she wanted something sooner than I could get her something new, so we discussed republishing an older piece of mine. The piece comparing editing to gardening came to mind immediately as it had been on my mind a few days earlier.

My new house has a pool, and although the pool was kept up well by the previous owners, my guess is that it had not seen frequent use over the recent past. Nearby evergreen shrubs had spread, encroaching onto the pathway next to the pool.

My kids are young and I expect them to tear round the edges of the pool at high speed; shrubs in the path are dangerous. So, I spent a day hacking at the shrubs, trimming them back to behind the edge of the path.

To clear the path, I had to saw off limbs that must have first been allowed to break the confines of the flower bed years ago. If you look at the shrubs now, you will see exposed, raw edges of many small and medium-sized branches, and it is ugly.

Ugly with potential.

Once the plants grow to cover the wounds, they will look fine. Nature will take care of the growth.

I have to be the force of Nature with regard to my novel. I have spent the last year pruning and shaping the large scale edits of my novel. I now have some spaces in the book that need filling, places where I need a scene to complete the picture. The gaps are more obvious after the pruning; the novel has a more unfinished feel than it did a year ago. But,the gaps are intentional, spaces of potential, waiting for the new growth that will give the complete work a more pleasant shape.

In the meantime, I am enjoying seeing a past blog post have a new life on Sharon’s blog. If you missed what I had to say about location, dormancy, treatment, and facing reality, click here and have a look.

Say it Loud: I am a Writer

Jeff Goins is leading a 15-day challenge he calls “15 Habits of Great Writers.”

15 days is not long enough to form one habit, let alone 15, but I am curious to see what he thinks, so I have signed up to get the daily challenge e-mails.

Today is Day 1.

Today’s challenge: Declare Yourself a Writer.

His point: If you write, say you are a writer. Say it loud; say it big; say it often. If you say it big enough, you will believe it.

His challenge to his readers for today:

Declare you’re a writer.

Not just to your wall or computer or notebook, but to an actual person or institution. Someone or something you’re scared of — this could be a person who might reject or judge you, a family member who may misunderstand you, or a publisher who could discredit you. But tell them and tell them now.

I grew up believing I could neither draw nor be taught how to draw. I am learning I am teachable.

So, I figure that makes today as good a day as any to tell you about my new Facebook page. I have

been on Facebook as a private individual hanging out with my friends for years. Last week, a little latte mug with a link to Facebook appeared on this page. That link, my friends is to my public page; the page where I present to you Kate Arms-Roberts, Writer.

On that page, I expect to post about the things that make me the writer I am.

  • Books I read
  • Books I want to read
  • Things that inspire me
  • Creativity
  • The genres I write in: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, Middle Grade
  • Things that make me think
  • Information about the craft and business of writing

Please come on over and Like my page.

When Something Has to Give

Have you missed me?

I have missed you.

I didn’t mean to disappear, but my priorities have been away from this blog during April and I couldn’t bring myself to post the dreck that I was writing when I did sit down to write for this site.

I did improvise poetry for 24 letters of the alphabet for A More Playful Life during the A to Z blogging challenge. W and X are still waiting for their moments. Putting unpolished work out on the net was odd. I felt extremely conflicted about whether I wanted people to read them poems or not. When I have performed improvised poetry in classes led by poet Alison Luterman, I have frozen. I loosened up somewhat writing these poems. I think it was a good exercise.

I have been busy revising my work in progress for my novel-writing class. We submitted the first 20 pages this past weekend and will be pitching the novels to a panel next week. With the excellent comments on the opening that I received from Charlotte Rains Dixon and feedback from my class on the synopsis, I had some significant changes I wanted to make. I am pleased with the current state of things, but not complacent.

The panel next week is going to choose one package to share with the chief acquisitions editor of a major publisher. I think I stand a reasonable chance of being selected and want my work to show me in the best light possible. The novel had to take priority over the blog.

My other priority has been celebrating my triplets’ fifth birthday. They are old enough to take the birthday adventure seriously and getting things right has been a challenge.

My favourite part of preparing for the birthday celebrations was the evening before their birthday. One at a time, I took each child into my room to wrap presents and sign cards. Each child had a fit of jealousy that their siblings were going to receive these cool gifts, and I had to help them understand that they would also be getting gifts. The moment of understanding was different for each child, but in each case, I got to witness a glow of excitement and anticipation as they realized what their siblings were doing when alone with me.

The actual birthday was fun. The birthday party was more of a relief than anything else. I wrote about getting ready for the party for An Intense Life today. In that piece I describe the intensity of the kids by comparing them to small monkey pumped full of amphetamines. It was wild.

But, I am back.

I pushed myself too hard in March, blogging every day. I needed energy I had already used for getting through April, and there was too much going on at the end of April.

So, I am doing myself a favour – or at least I think it is a favour. I’m not deciding how often I am going to post here in May. Suffice it to say that I plan for it to be more than April and less than March.

There was too much going on in March and April. I need to strike a new balance, a balance that puts my priorities where they need to be – on getting the novel finished.

Rest: Giving A Body A Break

For those of you who missed my regular post on Monday, I apologize. I have been doing something important since Saturday.

I have been resting.

After months of not only burning the candle at both ends, but also looking for extra wicks to burn that same candle more brightly, my body has been saying “enough, slow down,” for the last two weeks.

I haven’t been listening.

And, so, on Saturday, my body took control. Without plan or forethought on my part, I napped. In that “I lay down to read a book and woke up several hours later” way, I napped. And, I napped on and off for the next four days.

My ‘to do’ list is too long, my commitments are more than my time available. Something has to give.

These naps have been my wake-up call.

If I won’t take care of my body, my body will take care of me.

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