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How To Live A Creative Life
New Alliance Records
by Kathi Martin Flood
"The title of this CD is a tricked-out cluster of clues describing the effort and rewards of living a creative, expressive life. Rocky Road refers to the tribulations of breaking with tradition and inventing your own lifestyle. Peep Show, that old fashioned box you peek into, means that this project offers the listener an internal view of artistic motivations. Paperhangers’ Directory refers to taking risks; to hang paper is to write a check before your money is deposited into the bank. Point of Purchase is the place where you have made your decisions and you lay your money down, your reputation. Dreams refers to a caution that if we get too caught up in survival and comfort issues, our dreams can be put off, stale, and fade away unexplored. Even though it is a struggle in this culture to live in both the practical and creative worlds effectively, I want to cheerlead people to cherish their individualism and express themselves in any constructive way that satisfies them."
Excerpts from The Process:

1. Spread mystery pins around your workspace to restartle your smug, droning work rhythms. Play Swedish garage bands and sped-up piccolo jingles. Eat Sweet-tarts with dry pickles. Wear Halloween costumes fashioned for wimps. Wake yourself up to the point where nothing is based on fear, everything on curiosity and abandonment...

2. You must be patient. You must allow random meteors of goofy thoughts to interrupt your simple intentions. If you wonder about black jello or porcupine quills, you must sit very still and consider their place. Stay on the right side until you smell something burning.

3. You will itch to know if something works, darting your hand forward to clutch that test paper with scribbled red numbers. But like your defiant falling in love with Johnny-Be-Good or your passion for stale Good-N-Plentys, your approval comes from the last fourteen thousand, six hundred and first days of experience. Trust yourself.

4. Fight that urge to turn away from the body odor of those who hold wisdom. People who stride toward you with The Squeal of A Tired Pig are to be dodged. But trust those who empty ashtrays at carwashes and those who cornerclip indexes at libraries. These meetings will be rare, so don't ever forgive yourself for passing up a sparkling soul moment on this planet. Unpeel as you go, and thank them for life. Sidestepping them will turn you into a glazed, empty, apathetic, deadmarching, retard ghost of your top-favorite TV spokesmodel.
Excerpts from Polarity Polka
How To Embrace/How To Isolate

Lick all the glue off stamps and carry Introductory Offers around in your nightbag.
Match eye contact with those who hold questions, even if they squint and lack eyelashes.
Spread jellybeans on tables around your house in easy-to-reach piles. Never count them.
Let shoulder straps slip down and hair grow back in tough clumps.
Take Occupant letters to heart, and feel a blush of pride at your name in the phone book.
Fondle your wraparound telephone cord, holding back a motion sickness born of too many sweetvoices.
And, still waiting, swollen palms exposed, expect Rooftop Serenades.

Mumble that your callwaiting is on hold, that the twilight pudding is boiling over, and that you'll do-si-do when the holidays are over.
Glance over shoulders and purse your lips, hands on hips; become a Toetapping Stressball with an Overdue Deadline, Hot to Trot at the Paperhangers' Ball.
Crouch low behind glass doors, neverminding small muscle cramps, to spare yourself from future bruises along your What-Me-Worry Stakeout.
Cup your hands to the wind, offering yourself a solitary barbeque to welcome yourself back from being sent to the end of the line.
Pigeonhole the masses into heartfelt categories and set yourself up as an absentee understudy with a tardy excuse and a trapdoor escape route.
Generalize excuse-me's on sudden elevator rides, butt to butt against your neighbor, absorbed in a threadpulling trance.


Hot Words, A Student’s Guide to Writing Truth

By Kathi Flood
Royal Fireworks Press, PO Box 399, Unionville, NY 10988
Table of Contents

1. Motivation: Gathering Fuel
2. Warmups: Creative Combustion

40 single-day assignments
80 journal entries—dispatches and assignment triggers

3. Mechanics: Striking the Match
Fresh Words, Colorful Word Choices, Describing an Object, Describing A Person, Sentence Structure, Organizing Your Thoughts, Paragraph Structure, Punctuation, Clarity, Correspondence, Common Spelling Errors, Who Is Telling The Story?, Mechanics Checklist
4. Formats: Belly of the Fire
Exposition Formats: Organizing Information
1. Information Report
2. Cause and Effect
3. Compare and Contrast
4. Critiques
5. Autobiography
6. Authoritative Voice
7. Defining Issues

Narration Formats: Creative Writing
1. Humor
2. Multiple Points of View
3. Character Descriptions
4. Scriptwriting
5. Poetry
6. Reaching Your Goals
7. Off the Page
8. The Very Short Story

5. Appendix: Afterglow
Evaluations and Rubrics
Ready to Write

6. Teachers’ Manual

"I wrote this book in an upbeat, conversational tone to cheerlead creative expression. This book includes 80 contributors, from art critics to disaster survivors to scientists, all describing their efforts and adventures in life. Hot Words includes writing prompts, interviews, writing samples, worksheets, assignments, rubrics, and other evaluative tools to help writers bust out and amaze themselves."

1. Be receptive. Gather information from every gypsy and crossing guard you can corner; eavesdrop at the cigar shop and quiz yourself on calorie charts and almanacs and movie star maps. All this information adds up and turns you into an electric, eccentric, whizbang soul.

2. Be authentic. Fight that kneejerk response to lockstep your hungers, for there is no satisfaction in sterilized, quantified adventures. Remember that corporate choices distract you from the glory of your own hysterical laughter, triggered off by the quirkiness that makes you tingle at the sound of your own name.

3. Be patient. Run your route gracefully, expecting nothing more than fluffy pillows and a good taste in your mouth in the morning. Stay in limbo until you turn blue, and respect those foregone conclusions made on your midnight bladder-drain-runs. Press your palms together at traffic lights, knowing that the Zen bliss you have achieved far surpasses a roll in the hay on the Good Ship Lollipop.

4. Be proud. Employ state-of-the-art craftsmanship to everything you touch. Be considerate and divergent and experimental. Do not flinch when presenting your handmade cheeseballs to the Queen, and surpress that urge to flip pancakes in the rain with the radio on. Practice your techniques faithfully, be it air guitar or tongue-in-groove interviews.

5. Be focused. Practice opera scales on earthquake faults surrounded by people who live alone. Disregard examples of happiness portrayed in slick periodicals, and rub your tastebuds with licorice while walking past the bakery. Be faithful to your chosen task.

6. Be resourceful. Be a tourist at home, using cameras and scrapbooks and short-term memory banks to access your whims. List movies to see, cardgames to practice, and highrollers who know treelined backroads by heart. Cover your walls with flow charts and take naps with the weatherman.

7. Be self-encouraging. Invent a whispering soulmate who will puddlejump for distance with you. Stop your work at odd intervals and celebrate your bravery. For by this time, you will never be seen at the local bingo parlor doing the hokey-pokey in harmonizing shades of grey.

Copyright © by Kathi Flood. All rights reserved.