How Dalí Helps Me Create

Dali quote, art and dreaming
Salvador Dalí quote on Dreaming

Yesterday I searched for a gift for my son whose birthday is coming up. He’s an artist who favors surrealists and abstract expressionism.

I came upon some Salvador Dalí paintings which made me remember a trip to London with my son where we visited “Dalí Universe.”

I read that much of his artwork came to him in the few seconds between sleep and wakefulness. I imagined Dalí dipping into his dreams while creating his artwork. He referred to his art as “hand-painted dream photographs.”

Dali called this “method” his “secret of sleeping while awake,” or the hypnagogic state.

This captured my attention since I frequently find that dawn is when I feel most creative. 

Today during those seconds between waking and leaving my dreams I found a poem. 


Sleep State

 In the depths of the morning

I touch heaven,

the dawn rises

in ribbons of blue, 

in the quiet

before the hum

of living.



In the depths of the morning,

when light creeps through

a flutter of lashes,

I reach back into a dream

to salvage a memory

relive a feeling.


In the depths of the morning,

in the silence

where there is only me,

I breath life 

through a yawn

and decide

to try another day.

Luckily, I have my cell phone on my nightstand and use it to record notes, including this poem. I find if I turn on my lamp to use my pen and jot words down on paper, the bright light distracts me.

Maybe this technique of “sleeping while awake” will help you as a writer, artist, or poet.

Or you can try sleeping more, 😴

What prompts your creativity?

#WeNeedDIverseBooks, Writing

NaNoWriMo Madness or The Only Way to Write A First Draft

Yes, I’m slogging through the madness of NaNoWriMo.

The video above is a good indication of how we NaNo-ites or NaNo-etta’s feel about now.

I could only take three minutes of the video. She’s a good singer–sorta.

I’ve been typing words upon words,

compiling hundreds, then thousands.

Fifty thousand words is the goal; 1,667 words per day.

And I have a head cold. Been in my house for the past three days.

My oldest son feeds me cough drops, meds, and ginger ale.

I’m forcing myself to write. It allows me to not think about the 21 people I’ll have to prepare Thanksgiving for in a couple of weeks.

I’m writing a novel with multi-cultural characters, three generations of women and men, the Mexican culture of curanderismo (that means healers), and a love potion that goes awry.

By this time, I should be at the second plot twist, according to Storyfix. (give or take five pages).

I double checked my pages and yes, I’m close to that point.

Here’s a screen shot of my NaNo page—I don’t know about that novel cover increasing my odds, but could be, it is part of visualization— And, lest I forget, I do have some empty badge area sections:

Writing partner and halo. If anyone wants to be a writing partner, hit me up. I really don’t know how to do this step but I’ll figure it out.

Mona AlvaradoFrazier-New Adult Novel NaNoWriMo 2014
Mona AlvaradoFrazier-New Adult Novel NaNoWriMo 2014

Participating in NaNoWriMo is a great way to a first draft. Far from perfect yes, but useful.

And don’t refer to it as a “shitty first draft,” because it’s not. It’s raw, you put in some effort, yeah, it’s imperfect, just like your first time at bat, or your golf swing, or the first time you made a casserole.

Remind yourself that you started with a goal. You accomplished it. You now have something to build on.

You have words, lots of them, to play with after the first draft is completed.

Well, you probably won’t play with them, you’ll do the edit, delete dance. Then you’ll pull your hair out a few times, and laugh your head off while doing said hair pulling, because you’ll remember—‘member this now—it’s your first draft.

It’s okay.

It will take time and hard work to shape it up, revise, plug plot holes, revise, and love it into being better.

Remember, first drafts can be powerful. Remind yourself that you carved out time for your writing, you set your creativity loose and you were courageous until the finish line (whatever that is to you: 50K or 25K words).

Only 24,610 more words to go.

Write On!

(Please excuses any left out comma’s or other grammatical errors. I’m partially delirious now). Thank you.

Books, Encouragement, Health, Wisdom, Writing

Is Your Well Dry?

Dry Bucket-Marco Vacca gettyimages.com
Dry Bucket-Marco Vacca gettyimages.com

Feeling a little dry today?

Burnt out, used up?

I am. It’s been a full week.

Maybe you feel like this, too.

This morning I woke up too early, barely four o’clock. I fumbled for a book from the eight on my nightstand. I didn’t particularly care which one, I just wanted to fall asleep again.

My fingers chose Julia Cameron’s book “The Right Way to Write.” I hadn’t read this book for a few days. I had used the book cover as a marker, so I opened it to the last place I had read.

The title of the chapter was “The Well.”

“As writers (insert your word choice: mom, dad, student…)we draw on an inner fund of images that I call ‘the well’…an inner pond, one that must be kept both stocked and free flowing. We have simply overfished our inner reservoir…”


“YES,” I blurted out, there in my bed, and waited for a second wondering if I had awakened my son in the next bedroom.

“Yes, I’ve overfished,” my words now in a murmur.

There is no more fish, and the water has evaporated much like that in my beautiful terracotta fountain in the patio, neglected during this cold season.

Imagine your mind, body or soul emptied. Not a healthy picture.

To restock the pond, Cameron suggests an “Artist Date.” You can name it a “Mom Date, Me Date, Dad Date,” but whatever you call it, it’s for you alone. It’s a once a week date for one hour. Your AD or MD must be a solitary expedition to some event or place that interests you: a museum, the garden nursery, a movie, etc.

Go alone, that’s the deal.

You are to romance, flirt, court, woo your creative consciousness. Allow yourself to soak up the images, aromas, colors, textures, sounds. This is self-care, nothing to feel guilty about.

You don’t have to document anything on paper. Just BE THERE. 

You are there to fill up your well, not fish from it.

Makes sense to me. I fell back asleep for 90 minutes.

In the early morning I peeked into my backyard filled with shadows of slate grey sky and flicked on the patio light. The wet flagstone surrounding my triple fountain brightened up.

After an hour, with hot coffee in a gloved hand, bundled in a bathrobe with my tennis shoes on I visited my fountain. Rainwater filled the smaller bowls up with some in the largest bowl.

I hit the switch, sat down and listened to the water move up the center, over the top spout, trickle to the mid bowl, spill into the last. I sat for half hour, just listening to my well filling up. The air chilly, but it was worth it to be out there. (I’ll go back for another half hour later on today).

Right now I’m reflecting on the sound and image of one of those old-fashioned wooden waterwheels, its baskets dipping into a slow running river, scooping up water on a bright blue skied day. When the basket moves to the top it sprays cool water over me. My dry skin turns moist. My emptiness fills. I feel replenished. So much so that I’m now a mermaid.

Mermaid-Maria Bell gettyimages.com
Mermaid-Maria Bell gettyimages.com

Now go find some place to fill up your well and have a delightful weekend.