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Saturday, 5 January 2013

What to do when the creative juices become constipated.

by Julius Bowman from the book the thing of feathers 

Anne Sweazy Kulju

My name is Preacher Bowman. I am a widower, a father, and a town preacher, by proxy, of a small Baptist Congregation in Cloverdale, Oregon. I am a devout follower of the Holy Bible…unless I am temporarily lead astray by the Marquis de Sade. But I doubt I was chosen for this assignment because of my sterling character, or lack thereof. I suppose I was delegated this duty because I am the only writer who exists in the book. Of course, I am not a writer of fiction, per se. What serious man has time for such fal-da-rah? Nay, I write Sermons for the benefit of my flock. But now, if I were to consider things pragmatically, I am not really a man of God at all; you and I both know I am merely a poser who has duped a congregation. So, I suppose the argument could be made that all I write is fiction. Bah! Either way, we are all writers, whether our tomes hail from God, or from Halls of Knowledge, or from, Heaven help us, the fancying’s of the hapless daydreamer, are we not?

When we speak of artistic inspiration, we know that for the true writer, it always abounds. Oh yes! It waits to be dipped from bottomless wells, or scratched from old growth forests, or plucked from severe winter peaks. Now, if for whatever reason your mind is unable to travel such lengths on any given day, I might advise a leisurely flip through a monthly periodical, perhaps one of whimsy, maybe of fashion or of the entertainment stage. Or maybe a more measured glean through the daily news is called for. Why, there is always someone who has done something, somewhere; if his deed tugs at the heartstrings, or say, makes you scream for justice, there may just be a story there. Or perhaps inspiration waits in the attic, in the photo of a girl…in the sadness of a young girl’s eyes…Bah! I have digressed. The point is, inspiration is all around, and the writer knows this inherently, just as he knows a brisk walk around the block, or cautious imbibing in spirits--limited to only a nip or two--couldn’t hurt anyone, and is wonderfully liberating. I find that singular measure works quite well for me--just a nip, mind you, whenever my creative juices become, er, constipated.

I am told by my Creative, that an inspiration-excursion works best of all--one which involves people-watching, a creative game, and a split of champagne with orange juice. She zeroes-in on interesting strangers. She makes conjecture about the different people’s beginnings, likes and dislikes, and perhaps most importantly, what possible chain of events landed him or her squarely in the Creative’s path on that particular day. This, my Creative assures me, is a rich exercise which develops the creative mind, and often results in at least one tale that can be mined for story-gold.

It is as another writer, the inestimable Jack London, once said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” He did not believe inspiration would simply sidle up beside him or drop in his lap. Bah! It rarely does! And in my own personal experience, when it does, one should be mindful from whence it came--or from whom.

the thing with feathers

It was the ugliest photo he had ever seen.
And nothing would be the same again.

As the inhabitants of Cloverdale, Oregon, welcomed in the twentieth century, they were not unaccustomed to hard times and thorny situations. Small communities banded together for protection and hope. Heroes and villains were often difficult to decipher.

When an itinerate Baptist preacher arrived with his baby daughter and a wife lost on the trail, there was no one prepared to suspect what lurid secrets and heartbreak he might be concealing. As the preacher sets his sights against those who might oppose him, the names and the lives of the good people of Cloverdale may not be spared.

Yet in the midst of the machinations of a mad man, virtue and valor can persist. The Thing with Feathers is known to fly through wars, depressions, and natural disasters. Will the Marshall clan and the good people of Cloverdale find it in time?

Author Anne Sweazy Kulju

Anne has won awards for editorials and honors for short stories, but now she focuses on historical fiction adventures. Her d├ębut novel, “the thing with feathers,” was released by Tate Publishing in September 2012. “Bodie" is expected to be release in early 2013, and she is currently busy on her next book, “Grog Wars,” set in 1850’s Portland, Oregon, the Shanghai capital of the world. 

Anne lives near Pacific City, Oregon, and divides her free time between the beach and Mount Bachelor.


  1. Awesome and creative post! Loved it...and the inspiration-excursion sounds like a keeper idea...thanks for sharing:O)


    Pit Crew

  2. I loved the post. I'm really enjoying this tour. Thanks for hosting :)