Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Improv Storytelling & Creative Writing Workshop in Santa Fe

Friday, February 21st, 2014
My Saturday Improv Storytelling & Creative Writing Workshop in Santa Fe has filled up!
 
Now we are adding a Sunday workshop 3/16/2014- who is game? Contact me at b mayfield media at gmail dot com and I will send you the PDF with all details. Space is limited. Hope to see you in Santa Fe soon for this epic adventure.
 
And Peggy Pfeiffer of BadDog Design has 3 excellent social media workshops coming up. I’ve taken them. They are great.
Here is the link:
http://e2.ma/webview/qy7xh/95de554579c92f665f71f8de9183b629
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Improv Storytelling & Creative Writing Workshop, March 15, 2014

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
Let's tell stories that won't be forgetten.

Let’s tell stories that won’t be forgetten.

Barbara Mayfield’s  Improv Storytelling & Creative Writing Workshop is coming to Santa Fe.

 A Day of Productive Play! Time to get out the way, tune in, and harvest the stories that are waiting to be told. Saturday. March 15th. 2014.

10am – 3:30pm. A creative lunch break from noon til 1:30.

Location: BadDog Design, 901 West San Mateo, Studio D, Santa Fe, New Mexico  87505

Barbara Mayfield:  505-231-4774 ph/txt and/or bmayfieldmedia@gmail.com

Improv storytelling is a way of accessing stories you didn’t even know where there.

Stories are upstream from everything. The Story is where all our joy, heart, power and successes, where all our creative projects, efforts, and enthusiasms originate. Mayfield has drawn from her years of training and experience working in the arts and put together a new workshop for Creatives and for those who think they are not. Barbara Mayfield is a multi-disciplinary award-winning author-actor-comedienne-storyteller-puppeteer. Visit http://ThePowerofPuppets.com.

Would you like to have a new workshop experience? Perfect for writers, storytellers, story-slammers, songwriters, screenwriters of any genre and level, wanna-be’s, and anyone who wants to experience the mystical power of the spontaneous. In a safe supportive environment, of course!

Peggy Pfeiffer, Creative Director of Bad Dog Design, is hosting this event in the Bad Dog Design studio. Some of you may be familiar with her gorgeous, rockin’ design space – an inspiring place in which to be creative.

About the workshop:

What won’t be happening: We won’t be doing any fixing, figuring it out, marketing, planning, publishing, worrying, fretting or struggling. We won’t be doing scary standing-in-front-of-an- audience solo public speaking (not this time anyway).

What will be happening: We’ll relax, listen, take fun and funny risks. Learn new ways to access stories you didn’t even know where there. Explore new creative territory. Work with fabulous prompts. Speak out loud a bit. Write to capture & harvest the goods. Let new stories float in. I’m bringing my bag of tricks from years of theater, improv storytelling and creative writing, to lead you in a creative process that I have found to be thrilling and unstoppable.

Cost is $55. Payment accepted by PayPal (I’ll email you a Paypal invoice). Credit card payments accepted by phone on my new fabulous Square account. Call me up. Or email me about sending a check.

To hold your place, please pay in full before Feb 28th. Space is limited. No refunds, but rain-checks will be issued.

On the Day: Bring a bag lunch and your beverage, or plan to eat at one of the great bistros in the neighborhood. You’ll have an hour and a half because art-making requires fuel, digestion and camaraderie as part of the day. Bring a notebook, and the writing instruments of your choice.

Wear comfy no-stress clothing that you feel good in. I’ll bring everything else.

Contact Barbara with questions, more details and to claim your seat.

bmayfieldmedia@gmail.com           http://ThePowerofPuppets.com

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Henry Miller and his Writing Schedule

Thursday, December 26th, 2013
Writing desk

My desk, given to me by Kate Van Roeken, the first “Mrs. iptweet” I’d ever met.

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/02/22/henry-miller-on-writing/

In preparation for the new year ahead, I share this link to Henry Miller’s list of best writing & life practices. I find it inspiring and it can applied to all art forms. The great power of focus.

As always, the motto is “Tell me a story I won’t forget.”

Write well,

Barbara

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Character: a prompt through example

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

 

When she got to where they were she turned her face on the bander log and spoke. They scrambled a noisy “good evenin’ ” and left their mouths setting open and their ears full of hope. Her speech was pleasant enough, but she kept walking straight on to her gate. The porch couldn’t talk for looking.

The men noticed her firm buttocks like she had grapefruits in her hip pockets; the great rope of black hair swinging to her waist and unraveling in the wind like a plume; then her pugnacious breasts trying to bore holes in her shirt. They, the men, were saving with the mind what they lost with the eye. The women took the faded shirt and muddy overalls and laid them away for remembrance. It was a weapon against her strength and if it turned out of no significance, still it was a hope that she might fall to their level some day.
But nobody moved, nobody spoke, nobody even
–Zora Neale Hurston, When Their Eyes Were Watching God thought to swallow spit until after her gate slammed behind her.

“Won’t you come in?”  She led them into an immaculate sitting room, antimacassars set with grim purpose as though aligned and placed with a template. Everything was exactly as it should be–china lined up in the cabinet, dinner dishes all washed and put away, the faint whiff of lemon oil and disinfectant in the air. It was a space that seemed to Ward essentially and inordinately female, as though it had never been contaminated by a man’s presence. Everything reeked of cleanliness and decorum.

–Erin Hart, Lake of Sorrows

He was most fifty, and he looked it. His hair was long and tangled and greasy, and hung down, and you could see his eyes shining through like he was behind vines. It was all black, no gray; so was his long, mixed-up whiskers. There warn’t no color in his face, where his face showed; it was white; not like another man’s white, but a white to make a body sick, a white to make a body’s flesh crawl – a tree-toad white, a fish-belly white. 

–Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

She had one of those guilty smiles, where the corners of the mouth turned upward just in time to keep the lips quiet — leaving a man to wonder if she’d wrecked his car, slept with his best friend, or given all his clothes to the Salvation Army.

She was the kind of woman who would have dated Lee Harvey Oswald in high school.

–Linda Bloodworth Thomason, lines from Designing Women, Dash Goff the Writer

The salesman lifted his gaze. But two boys, far up the gentle slope, lying on the grass. Of a like size and general shape, the boys sat carving twig whistles, talking of olden or future times, content with having left their fingerprints on every movable object in Green Town during summer past and their footprints on every open path between here and the lake and there and the river since school began.
“Howdy, boys!” called the man all dressed in storm-colored clothes. “Folks home?”
The boys shook their heads.
“Got any money, yourselves?”
The boys shook their heads.
“Well –” The salesman walked about three feet, stopped and hunched his shoulders. Suddenly he seemed aware of house windows or the cold sky staring at his neck. He turned slowly, sniffing the air. Wind rattled the empty trees. Sunlight, breaking through a small rift in the clouds, minted a last few oak leaves all gold. But the sun vanished, the coins were spent, the air blew gray; the salesman shook himself from the spell.
The salesman edged slowly up the lawn.
“Boy,” he said. “What’s your name?”
And the first boy, with hair as blond-white as milk thistle, shut up one eye, tilted his head, and looked at the salesman with a single eye as open, bright and clear as a drop of summer rain.
“Will,” he said. “William Halloway.”
The storm gentleman turned. “And you?”
The second boy did not move, but lay stomach down on the autumn grass, debating as if he might make up a name. His hair was wild, thick, and the glossy color of waxed chestnuts. His eyes, fixed to some distant point within himself, were mint rock-crystal green. At last he put a blade of dry grass in his casual mouth.
“Jim Nightshade,” he said.

–Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

The Tired Minstrel, by De Chirico

The Tired Minstrel, by De Chirico

Character description is so much richer if it includes something beyond the physical, that points to some hint of who that person is beyond hair, eyes or height. These are some of my favorites. Think of the interesting ways these descriptions work: third person observation, juxtaposition of words that give an opposite underlying meaning to what’s on the surface, the use of metaphors so unique they immediately become attached to the character and could never be used to describe someone else, and action as description. Bradbury goes full out and changes the weather, the setting and the entire feel of the day for the salesman when he first sees Jim Nightshade.

Some of these characters are protagonists, but not all. Rich character description, crafting even one devoted paragraph to a secondary character (like the above Erin Hart example), is a way of making flesh out of cardboard.  (These few lines were enough to put her on my personal list of bona fide suspects.)

Is there a secondary character (or two or three) that you need to flesh out? See if any of the above descriptions inspire you to richer characterizations.  (This is also a great starter prompt if you’re having a hard time getting going.)

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The Dwelling Prompt

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Hi Gang,

We just finished up Writers Group and today was my turn to bring the Prompt. So we Skyped me in and here it is:

Location and dwellings can be important characters in a story.

Before looking at the list, choose a number from 1 to 10. Then look at your number and let that dwelling style inspire a new story or a new bit for the book you are working on. This prompt yielded fantastic writings today. Deb says she will post her piece very soon.

Ok, below this photo is the list. GO!

Casita by the River, mixed media dwelling painting by Barbara Mayfield. 2013

Casita by the River, mixed media dwelling painting by Barbara Mayfield. 2013

 

  1. cave
  2. teepee
  3. airstream mobile home
  4. treehouse
  5. gazebo
  6. yurt
  7. seashore bungalow
  8. condo
  9. palace
  10. apartment in Paris

Write a story we won’t forget.

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Two thousand miles east

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
Giganto yard sale was just part of the dismantling.

Giganto yard sale was just part of the dismantling.

This essay was written in response to Nadine’s most recent prompt: Treasures We Cannot Let Go:

Recently, I moved. Packed up and drove across Interstate 40, two thousand miles to the east.

I dismantled twenty years and twenty-two hundred square feet of house and belongings. Hint: I love my stuff. I do not have any Zen bones in my body. But for this move, I had to seriously let go of a lot of goods.

I sold two refrigerators, two wood stoves, an oven, a front-loading Sears washing machine that they don’t make anymore. Beds, cupboards and bookshelves, a vintage yellow kitchen table given to me by an old friend who had taste. Many rustic outdoor items – a Mexican table, an antique food warmer contraption, a heavy blue bench that has been in my studio since 1981. Four solid oak schoolroom chairs – antiques! -given to me by an old boyfriend in 1985.

I sold half-full gallon cans of my favorite colors of house paint – the colors in my adobe house in the Ponderosa woods, perched on the upward slope of the second largest mesa on earth.

I trimmed my holiday decorations from ten large boxes to six, and let go of my extra Christmas tree stand. Someday, I know I will need it because I have been wanting to have two trees for years. I sorted through my collection of rubberstamps and out of five thousand of them, I found twenty-five I didn’t need or want anymore.

I sold a blender and a juicer, and all my old sets of dishes and two tea kettles, and my five teapots.

I sold my 16’ ladder, my orange wheelbarrow, all my hoes and rakes – even the ones I’d painted in stripes and colors….and five boxes of tiles for mosaic-making. AAARRRGGHHH.

I sold off all my artist stretcher bars! My easel made in Italy that I bought in 1983 when I graduated from the Academy. I gave away and sold off oil paintings I’d done early in my career, that showed my first apartments and gardens, and paintings that featured my first tableware as a married woman. I have a thing for beautiful tableware.

I had a professional closet-raider come in. I traded her a vintage fiesta skirt that never fit me but was given to me by my dearest friend, who lives far away now. Ms. Closet-Raider insisted I consign and give away easily one-third to one-half of my clothing and about a dozen pairs of shoes I wish I’d kept to make shrines out of. And the hats! So many hats – feathers, straw, velvet  – from so many places I’ve been, and I look great in hats, and I looked really good in all of them.

The professional made me go through my cedar chest with the lifetime memory clothes in it, and this is where I drew the line in my own sandy mind. I pretended to agree with her advice and made piles to give away or sell. The satin maternity top my mother made me using a fabric printed with images of Chinese courtesans. All my cowgirl dresses –  small, flowery prints, long to the ankle –  that I bought when I first arrived in Santa Fe from the East. They haven’t fit me since 1997, so, of course, it would be best to let them go – what’s the point? My senior prom dress! White organza, made for me with hand-stitched pearls on the hem and the empire waistline, by a high school mentor (long story). My pink velvet junior prom dress! What’s the point of holding on to these things? They are not even costumes. They don’t fit now and they won’t ever fit me again!! She was so right.

Then we came to The Dress. The most important dress in the world, my world. The dress that is the color of the sea in Bora Bora. The dress I spent the most money on that I had spent on a garment, ever. The dress I bought in Italy, in Venice.

I would not even lie to the professional closet person about it. This dress stays with me. It fit me once; does not fit now; not likely that it will fit me ever again…I do not care!!

I was traveling alone in Europe and I had never travelled alone. I was there on the scholarship money I’d won upon graduation from the well-endowed Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The only string on that prize was that I had to travel for ten weeks anywhere in the world I wanted to go. Everybody should be granted in this way, at least once in a lifetime.

At the time, I was the 31-year-old mother of two young sons. I dropped the boys off at their dad’s house on my way to the airport heading to Paris, first.

I was three weeks into my trip when I spotted the Aqua Dream in a tiny shop on Piazza San Marcos, Venezia, Italia. An angora knit, it fit me like a glove. Long sleeves, a double skirt just to the knees. So incredibly classy, sexy, Italian.

That I bought that dress – and I knew I would buy it the moment I saw it – so beautiful, so expensive, so sensuous – after years of shopping the racks at Goodwill Industries and “don’t be silly” and “where will you wear it” and “what do you need that for” and “later, later, maybe someday”…….. it was a turning point, a landmark.

I’ve worn it a few times. Mostly in the house alone. A few times with a lover. A few times out into the world when I felt very glad to be alive.  If I live long enough to get very frail and I die in one piece, perhaps I can be buried in it.

After the Closet Person left, I waited 3 days, then put all the other life memory clothes back into the cedar chest and the two strong mover guys easily carried it into the truck.

——end——-                                        Copyright 2012  Barbara Mayfield  All rights reserved.

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Waiting for Oprah

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

 

IMG_0648 IMG_0645Writer Pals, Please do not fail to read the article today on Huff Post by Candace Walsh, author of Licking the Spoon: “10 Fun Ways to Market Your Book While Waiting for Oprah to Notice It”.

Brilliant.

But let’s face it, Fun is always brilliant.

Onward,

Barbara

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Author Blog Hop – “Your Next Big Thing”

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
From one of my new paintings - write a story that has a magical blue bird in it.

From one of my new paintings – write a story that has a magical blue bird in it.


Barbara Mayfield here. Thanks to author NancyKay Wessman for the invitation to join the Author Blog Hop: “What Is Your Next Big Thing?” interview series.

Who will play Mrs. Iptweet in the film????

The question is answered in my post today on my blog.

 

With links to all the author blog hoppers, and to the stars I intend to book for the movie….

Here’s a wonderful article about Mrs. Iptweet on Children’s Retail today.

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Writer’s Questionaire: Jill Koenigsdorf

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
Phoebe and the Ghost of Chagall, by Jill Konigsdorf

Phoebe and the Ghost of Chagall, by Jill Koenigsdorf

SFWG REVIEW  “I just finished it. It was great fun to spend time with Phoebe and Chagall. I especially enjoyed biking through the Provence countryside and meeting Bernadette and the Bion sisters. I agree with Nadine that reading this book is like taking a trip to France.” —-Catherine Coulter, author, member Santa Fe Writers Group

 Jill Koenigsdorf , author of Phoebe and the Ghost of Chagall, answers the tough questions:

SFWG: Oliver Stone once said the secret to completing a script was “ass-meets-chair.” How do you get your a-s in a chair?

JK: I had a teacher who once said: even if you write only fifteen minutes each day, you get to feel good all day. That feeling of self-loathing when I DON”T write is a great motivator!

 

SFWG: Is there a food you write by?

JK: Lots of tea.

 

SFWG: Do you have a favorite writing spot?

JK: Wherever my desk is, I have to be able to look out a window. If there is a bird feeder in view, even better.

 

SFWG: People say there are two kinds of writers, those who outline and those who wing it.  What’s your process?

JK: Hmmm: I do a very loose outline if I am working on a novel. But most of my short stories and longer stuff springs from and image or a character. I usually have a dozen chards of paper with ideas/images that I scribbled down in the middle of the night surrounding my keyboard at all times.

 

SFWG: The best thing you can do for any writing project is…

JK: Turn the light on in the middle of the night and write down that idea. No, you won’t remember it in the morning.

 

SFWG: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

JK: I owned a flower shop for 24 years in Berkeley and that is my other love. It is important for me to do something physical that earns a wage. Too much sitting and I get whacky.

 

SFWG: What is your favorite word?

JK: Murmur

 

SFWG: What is your least favorite word?

JK: Fraction

 

SFWG: My favorite thrill is….

JK: …snorkeling and making out in cars.

 

SFWG: What’s your favorite shower song?

JK: La Vie En Rose, Cabaret, and You Don’t Know Me by Ray Charles.

 

SFWG: I wish I understood why…

JK: …..the banks are not getting into trouble for how they have screwed homeowners.

 

SFWG: I need to learn how to…
JK: …give the good stuff way more weight than the bad

 

SFWG: I’m often puzzled by…

JK: …the opposite sex

______Thanks, Jill!!_________

MacAdam Cage Publishers

AMAZON

Barnes & Noble

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Letters Written, Not Sent

Friday, February 8th, 2013
Prudy about to smack Oscar

Prudy about to smack Oscar

Am Skyping into Writers Group right now, and secretly posting because I have finished writing my piece and am avoiding starting another one.

Hope has brought the Prompt and snacks today. Because of the Skype thing, I do not know what the snacks are, but here is the Prompt:

“Have your character write a letter (or email!!!) they would never send; or they write one not intending to send it, but it is sent. OR a letter that was intended to be sent, but was somehow waylaid and never received.”

Have we not all done that dangerous thing and vented into an email and somehow the send button is pushed??!!! Agony!!! And movies have been made about letters never received.

In my piece today, Prudy has written a letter she will not send to her dad, while sitting in the school cousleor’s office after she smacked Oscar in the head.

Ok. Write your letter now.

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