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9/17 Weekly creativity contest winner & new prompt

Ah, the sweet sound of creative women at work! Terrific entries for this week’s creativity contest prompt: “the guitar.” We’ve branched into new media here — audio and video! Wow. Hard to select a winner, but we had to go with Carrie Lowery, because her video is extremely creative — and made me laugh my head off. (Oh yeah, and I have a Napoleon Dynamite fetish — what can I say.) Carrie writes: “It is a strange coincidence that I ran across your contest post today, having just finished this short and silly movie after a request from my son, niece and nephews to make a movie starring ‘Guitar Hero’ (as well as a princess, a jester and Napoleon Dynamite). If you’d asked me a few weeks ago whether I’d be a movie director, making G rated movies that only star people under 14, I would have laughed. Now I’m having a great time. Creativity rules!” Carrie, your $10 gift certificate has been sent! Welcome to Creative Construction.


From Cathy Jennings: “After a long hiatus getting my son ready for Kindergarten, I finally found the time to be organized enough to do something creative. I enjoyed this prompt a lot.” Cathy’s medium is Dr. Martins watercolors on real paper.



From Cathy Coley, a haiku and photo pairing. Cathy writes: “Honey rarely picks his guitar up these days. I think he appreciated my sticking it in his hands for his creative outlet and mine!”


Lifetime working with
rock stars, my husband, forty,
late to his guitar.


From Kelly Warren:

Lessons from a 50-Year-Old Hippie
I had an interesting conversation with my guitar teacher recently. I take guitar once a week, and because I typically can’t find any other time during the week, Gary and I call my weekly lesson my “once a week supervised practice.” What the hey, at least I’m picking up my guitar once a week. I really enjoy my lessons, as much for hanging out with Gary as for the musical development. He swears we were separated a birth, we think so much alike. I always joke with him that I’m his favorite student, and he’s admitted I am, though I realize he may say that to all the girls, um, I mean students. 🙂 We were working on a new song, Sugarland’s “Stay,” and I was picking it up pretty easily. He felt this was a great song for me; it’s in my vocal range and it has minimal accompaniment. Most of the song just has a simple guitar strum background, so it would be truly easy for me to perform in a solo acoustic setting. So here’s the thing. I have no trouble sharing my jewelry, my art or my writing with people, all creative pursuits. I think I’ve developed a good eye for jewelry design and color blending, I’ve been having fun playing around with mixed media, and I know I’ve always been a very strong writer. Yet, I have terrible stage fright when it comes to sharing my music, another creative pursuit.

Before taking up guitar, I had years and years of piano training, classical mainly, but I loved to branch off into blues and Broadway. When I can warm up my dusty fingers and play at the top of my game, I know that I’m still pretty good. Yet I really don’t like to play for people, not even my family, but my cats and dogs have enjoyed numerous concerts! I think I actually have a much easier time playing for strangers than I do for my friends and family. I’m the same way singing and with the guitar. I’ve sang in public a few times for very special occasions, three or four times on campus for special events and several times for my statewide student government buddies, accompanied on guitar by my good friend Jim Phillips. I’ve also sat in on a couple gigs with friends who are professional singer/songwriters. And every time, I’ve had numerous people come up to me afterward surprised that I can sing. Yet, other than my DH and the girls, who I truly haven’t played much for, the only person who has really heard me play guitar and sing is Gary, yet even he hasn’t heard me truly belt it out vocally. And I’ve been taking lessons from him for at least six or seven years now.

So back to that conversation we had. I was talking to Gary about my stage fright, and he told me a story about when he was asked to play drums to accompany a woman who was recording some new songs. The person making the connection asked him what he charged, and he gave her a ridiculously low fee for both rehearsal and studio time. She told him, “Oh no, I can’t tell her that. We’ll tell her $50/hour for rehearsal time and $100/hour for studio time.” She told him that he was very talented with years of training and experience and should not be afraid to charge a much higher rate for his talent. He used this as an example to get me to see that I have a gift, a talent that I should not be afraid of sharing, just like I have no fear of sharing my jewelry, my art, and my writing. In his opinion, I am musically gifted both vocally and instrumentally, gifts many people don’t have.

So that said, to try to break out of that stage fright a little bit, I have decided to start small by sharing some of my music with you here. If you’ve read some of my previous creativity prompt entries, you know I lost my mother to suicide in December of 1999. It’s hard to explain what that does to you, other than the huge sense of abandonment and loss of self-worth you feel when someone that close to you chooses to end her own life. It’s very different from losing a parent by natural causes like cancer or a heart attack. At only 54 and going through a nasty divorce from my step-father, my mom thought she had nothing to live for, yet she had me and my sister, and in my case, grandchildren on the way. So, of course, DH decided I really needed to go to therapy. I really didn’t want to go to therapy, just didn’t think that was for me, but I went just once to appease him. I was right; it wasn’t for me. I deal with things better working them out creatively, whether it be by writing, creating something physical like art, or as in this case, creating music. So as my therapy, I recorded a CD and dedicated it to my mom. I gave a copy of it to my closest friends when I finished it, but other than that, not very many people have heard it. So, you want to hear some of it? I’ve uploaded a few of the songs off the CD. Be gentle; I can carry a tune but I’m no Faith Hill. 🙂 They’re a mix of country and blues. I’ll hold my breath now…

Kelly’s recordings


From Brittany Vandeputte, a prose poem:


When I was eleven, I discovered the tennis racket in our storage shed. I don’t know why it was there, no one I know plays tennis. To my eleven-year-old eyes, it was not a mere tennis racket, but the most glorious faux Fender I had ever seen.

At about this time, I discovered Madonna and spent many an afternoon rocking out in front of my mirror, tennis racket in hand. There would be no air guitar for this wanna-be rocker chick. Only the finest one string would do.

And then my next door neighbor and I decided to create a garage band. His drum set? A metal trash can.

And to think we didn’t make it big…


From me (Miranda), a haiku and photo pairing. You’ll notice some echoes with Cathy Coley’s entry above! I took this photo of my son last year. The poem is new:


My Son
Strange realization:
He knows a world apart from
the one I gave him


This week’s prompt: “Dinnertime”

Use the prompt however you like — literally, or a tangential theme. All media are welcome. Please e-mail your entries to by 8:00 p.m. eastern time (GMT -5) on Tuesday, September 23. The winning entry receives a $10 gift certificate to Writers should include their submission directly in the body text of their e-mail. Visual artists and photographers should attach an image of their work as a jpeg. Enter as often as you like; multiple submissions for a single prompt are welcome. There is no limit to how many times you can win the weekly contest, either. (You do not have to be a contributor to this blog in order to enter. All are invited to participate.) Remember, the point here is to stimulate your output, not to create a masterpiece. Keep the bar low and see what happens. Dusting off work you created previously is OK too. For more info, read the original contest blog post.

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. I agree with Miranda! That video cracked me up! Congrats, Carrie! I have to learn to make videos. I have video camera and can’t figure out how to get the videos out and edit them. I’ll admit to being technologically challenged when it comes to those things!

    Really love the water color too, Cathy J, and Cathy C, looks like your hubby has a most awesome guitar there. Neat shot with the hand movement.

    Brittany, I did the same thing! But mine was to Micheal Jackson (showing the age difference here 🙂

    Miranda, glad to see your musician son starting young, and I’m jealous of that capo. My guitar teacher won’t let me use one.

    Great job everyone!

    September 17, 2008
  2. Kelly, I have one question for you: Is there anything you CAN’T do? (Aside from make videos, perhaps???) Well done, you 🙂

    September 17, 2008
  3. Cathy #

    OMG, Carrie, that was hysterical! my son s likes to make his own videos and post them on youtube, but not this sophisticated production.

    i have to agree with miranda – kelly what’s left that you can’t do?! pat your belly and rub your head? (or is it the other way around) BFD is very funny and fun.

    cathy j, i love your style, there always seems to be an alive quality to your ‘still lifes’. that guitar is dancing!

    brittany, i can totally relate, although my insturment of preference was the removable top of my bed post for a microphone. and i aired the whole band, too.

    miranda, you and i are definitely on the same page this week!

    thanks, kelly. it is a beautiful guitar, lovely tone, too. he’s very self-taught, but being an old sucker for a musician (see college years and after – oh wait, maybe you better not!), when he plucked out a few little brubeck and coltraine phrases, on an early date, i was done for.

    September 17, 2008
  4. very funny, miranda! yes, there are tons of things I can’t do!! there’s just very little I won’t ATTEMPT. I am blessed with the gift of not caring if I make a fool of myself. 🙂

    September 17, 2008
  5. and yes, cathy, a guy with a guitar, singing a nice song, will get you–and me!–every time!

    September 17, 2008
  6. Cathy #

    lol! for me, even if it’s standing in a corner of the bedroom collecting dust…

    September 17, 2008
  7. I just logged back in to wordpress and discovered I won something! Having now seen and read the other entries, I’m especially honored, and glad I found such a creative bunch of folks!

    Thank you Miranda for the contest, and thank you everyone who enjoyed my silly movie!

    @Kelly: I promise you that I’ve got very little technical or computer savvy — the above film (and my other few on youtube) were all done with a regular Canon Sure Shot digital camera that does video clips, and the “Windows Movie Maker” program that came free with my PC. If I can do it, I know you can too!

    September 18, 2008
  8. Ben McClymont #

    That is so cool!!!! (by the way…. I am the jester in the legend of guitar hero) It was so fun to make!

    September 18, 2008

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