Marketing Mojo

So busy this weekend. Working and sweating over marketing plan for the new book. Actually, working on revisions to the plan from my agent. Going great, but little time to blog. Carry on.

Tim Kane

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Creative Starvation

I recently read an article on io9 about how the body can survive up to 70 days without food. It goes through several stages where the body cannibalizes muscle and bone to keep the brain alive. As a writer, I wondered if this process could happen creatively.

Somehow dying creativity made me think of Hemingway and his shotgun.

I just exited a two month funk. I had just finished edits on a manuscript, but wasn’t due to hear from my agent for a while. (I’m a deadline person. Without one, I’m lost.) I worked up a new novel idea, but the routine of churning out pages each day wasn’t there. I felt starved.

Here’s how I think creative starvation might work on anyone art-minded.

1-2 days after finishing a project
You feel that high that seems to never go away. It’s like creative adrenaline. You feel pumped.

3-7 days after finishing a project
This is the hot spot. You either start something new (I mean just dive in) or you don’t. In physical starvation, the brain takes 25% of the body’s energy. In creative types, imagination takes the largest share. During this time, it’s spinning out of control because it doesn’t have a clear direction. It’s a wet paintbrush searching for a canvas.

1-3 weeks after finishing a project
This is when your imagination starts to cannibalize other ideas. You might find the novel you’re reading an incredible inspiration. Maybe you could mimic it somehow. Or perhaps you dive into blog writing. You convince yourself that it’s also creative and just the same as fiction writing. Yet all these endeavors further drain and weaken your creative spirit.

Onward past 3 weeks
There are a few options here. Unless a deadline or some event propels you back into writing, your imagination might perish. Without the fresh nourishment of routine and a clear project to work on, it starves.

Treatment: Take one chair. Apply butt. Type.

That’s it. Even if garbage comes it. Because it probably will. You need to type. Wake up the creative muse that’s comatose inside you.

Write on.

Tim Kane

Junk DNA of Your Soul

I was reading about how scientists are now reevaluating junk DNA. It’s all that DNA that doesn’t build proteins. Instead, they now are finding that these “non-coding” DNA are controlling the rest of our genes.

It makes me wonder if there is some junk DNA in our everyday lives. Maybe there are things you do all the time that don’t produce anything. Habits. You know, the way you prepare your coffee or make your bed. These routines serve no useful purpose. They don’t contribute to any work that you do. Yet are these habits totally without merit? Imagine if all your habits were gone? You don’t eat the same, sleep the same, or dress the same? Would you be productive? Probably not.

It’s the little bits of your life, these “non-productive” habits, that oil the machinery of your soul. They bring you bliss. Mostly because they ease the mind of thinking. You can’t be “on” your whole life. Your brain needs down time. That’s what habits are for. As you stroll through the routines of your life, they give your soul time to cleanse and your brain time to work out problems. Then, when it’s time to get to work, you’re ready to go.

Don’t shun the little things. Those habits you’ve built up, may actually make you more productive.

Tim Kane

Unearth The Dark Places

So you write, or paint, or perform music. You’re an artist (I hope without the sarcasm). What’s the difference between a masterpiece painting and hotel art? Secrets.

Imagine you’re walking in a tranquil meadow. Birds singing. A copse of trees in the distance. A gentle breeze ruffling the hair on your arms. Yes, this is beautiful.

The hotel artist would simply paint this as it. I often recall Bob Ross, who often painted gorgeous paintings of landscape on TV in a matter of minutes. Yet they lacked depth. They were a well composed and professional picture. What’s missing?

Imagine you’re in that meadow again. Instead of looking at the obvious beauty, think about the hidden. Kick over a rock. Are there worms wriggling down there? How about that fallen tree? Are there grubs burrowing in the rotted wood? These are the secrets that will transform you as an artist.

But you know you’re not done, right. It’s the rocks and rotted wood in you soul you need to delve into. What makes you scared, frustrated, angry? You need to find these emotions. Dig them up and expose them to the light. Then, you have to show them off to the world.

Scared? You should be. It’s not comfortable. But art shouldn’t be. The more uncomfortable you are, the closer to your own personal truth you’ve come.

Tim Kane

Wonderland

I am an Alice in Wonderland nut. Strange to say, coming from a guy, but I think it’s a terrific world begging to be explored. Most of my love is visual. I’m excited by the fantasy and, well let’s say it, the wonder of it. My recent manuscript echoes this in that I strive to create a magical world with it’s own rules.

As inspiration, I continue to snatch up images that speak to me of Alice.

A wonderfully creepy image of the dormouse drinking tea. This is from a series called ‘Almost Alice’ by Maggie Taylor. There is a whole series of illustrations you can view at Retronaut.

I have no clue where this image came from (I found it here). I simply love the gritty, almost textural feel of the walls and stockings. I also love that we only see her legs. She’s that tall.

Look at the detail in this queen. This screams “pissed off.” This is created by character designer Michael Kutsche.

Finally, I just finished watching Face Off on Sci Fi channel where the effects artists created zombie versions of Alice in Wonderland characters. The concept was Alice in Zombieland. Few photos were available.

This was the winning design. It showed a mutated Red Queen whose bones are growing into a crown.
What a fabulous movie this would make. If only.

Tim Kane

As eBooks Grow, Will the Printed Book Become Art?

Book art by Lisa Occhipinti

Think back, if you can, to a time when you might have learned calligraphy. You know, that fancy formal type writing that went out with the advent of the typewriter. I know I loved writing that way, but only for special notes or letters. It took too much work. Printing or cursive was faster. Plus, calligraphy had taken on airs. It felt it was better than everyone else. It was art.

Will the printed book slide into this pretentious slot? I think it very well might.

Think about it. Printed books won’t vanish. In the near future, at least, they’ll be plentiful. A fellow writer of mine just had his backlist bought up by Amazon. I asked if they would create ebooks, and he said no. The backlist is all Westerns, and these are older readers who still prefer print.

Yet as the generations march on, much of the printed books may vanish. Leaving splendid coffee table tomes and specialty volumes to remain. These will become aesthetic icons.

Even flimsy paperbacks will be enthroned in museums. We love nothing better than the deification of pop culture. Think I’m spinning a yarn? It’s already happening.

Look at this art installation for the 2012 Olympics in London by Brazilian artists Marcos Saboya and Gualter Pupo. New and used books were stacked up in this shape of a fingerprint (the late Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges, to be precise.)

Jan Reymond is another artist, who lives in the small Swiss village of Romainmôtier. He’s created multiple installation pieces where he suspends used books to create sculptures. Here he created a tree called, Le Thésarbre, in the courtyard of an abbey.

Finally Lisa Occhipinti is a mixed media artist who creates art projects out of books. Below is “Circulation” which binds together some rather beaten volumes.

You need look no further than your local Anthropologie store. Their window displays make copious used of old dusty books.

These may be the future of books. I certainly can’t see anyone preserving ebooks in the same way. Someday there might be artists who create art from the copious ereaders we use. But there’s something so tactile about a physical book. I’m fascinated by it and would gladly peruse art installations that showcase the tome.

Tim Kane

Wound Man

Think you’ve had a bad day? Check out this guy. He’s had everything thrown at him, including the kitchen sink.

This is Wound Man. No, he’s not some new variety of zombie. Though he reminds me of Julie Walker from Return of the Living Dead 3. She staved off her flesh eating desires by sticking bits of glass or metal through her body. Sort of a piercing party gone wild.

No, the original Wound Man appeared in medieval surgical books. It was intended to show doctors the types of wounds soldiers might acquire. The poor figure suffers from it all. Beatings. Stabbings. You name it. There were only three key illustrations that were reused from book to book. (Why carve a new block if you can simply grab the old woodcut.).

Just remember, your day could always be worse.

Tim Kane