Tag Archives: Creativity

Indulge Your Writer’s Cravings!

Snip20150702_48Of course, you want to write.  Everyone wants to write.  But there’s a difference between wanting to write and actually doing it.  There are a thousand excuses why we don’t start writing projects, and a thousand more for why we don’t finish them.  More often than not, the easiest way to jump start a writing routine is to indulge one of your writer’s craving for the things that writer’s love most: pens, papers, books….coffee.   Here are some of our staff’s best picks for indulging your dangerously creative self.


 

133744_411_2Of course, this list is going to start with a pen because of course it is.  And not just any pen.  One of the most sassy writing pens you can get.  Made by kate spade new york, the Nom de Plume ball point pen will set you back a cool $36, but it’s worth it.  Besides, that won’t like very much at all when you are sitting on top of the New York Times‘ bestseller’s list.  (Also, when you get to the number one spot, don’t forget who told you to pick up that lucky pen.)


il_570xN.494221209_pbw3There is nothing quite like beautiful stationary to get you excited about putting pen to perfect paper, especially if that paper is wonderfully illustrated.  Get in the mood to explore the realm of fantasy writing with this lovely stationary set that features all the whimsey of a magical faerie folk, and at just $15, you can travel to the other world without stopping at the ATM along the way.


5b0e7efffb47f77094df3370f872d59e.f4f4967b4463258f8415f3e665aa0ac6While there are journals of every shape and size, the Classic Travel Journal from Rouge Journals will make you feel like you have just stolen a magical adventuring book from Biblo Baggins library.  Whether you are stealing magical rings from wicked creatures or burgling the treasure hoard of a fearsome dragon, this leather bound journal will make sure that all of your adventures are kept safe there and back again.  (Also, for only $50, you will still have enough of that dwarf gold to buy a much bigger hobbit hole.


o-WHATWOULDJANEDO-570If you find yourself sitting along in your study, thinking about which suitor (if any) would be most socially acceptable for your polite if eccentric heroine should settle on, then this aptly titled book What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen is exactly what you need for your book shelves. “My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.”


il_570xN.791965194_1bjcWriting is half inspiration, half coffee.  Satisfy both the cravings of your imagination and your body with this mug.  Whether it’s coffee, tea, or a delicious mug-brownie, grabbing a cup of inspiration will certainly make the difference between thinking about finishing that last chapter and actually doing it.


il_570xN.682157818_o70qFor most writers, where they do their writing is just as important as what they’re writing about.  Having a comfortable, ‘noise free’ space allows you to focus more on the page and less on the piles of excuses sitting on your desk (and probably also your floor).  Removing these distractions with something like this lovely, literary inspired piece will make sure you hit those daily word counts.

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The Central Pen Staff

[Images from featured vendor’s websites.]

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$100.00 to go to Poetry Slam Champion – Sign-Up Today!

The 3rd Annual Poetry Slam will be held on Thursday, September 3rd in the Capital BlueCross Theatre on Central Penn College’s Summerdale campus. This event will be hosted by the Central Pen Literary E-zine and Professor Maria Thiaw’s Contemporary American Writer’s Of Color class. The first place slam-master will walk away with a cool $100.00. There are second and third place prizes as well.

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The Slam will be judged by students, faculty and Baltimore spoken word powerhouse, Ladi Glori. Central Penn alumna, Shonyah Hawkins will M.C. the free event.  Performers must be students or alumni of Central Penn College and can sign up by emailing thecentralpen@centralpenn.edu no later than August 15. Spots are limited, so don’t delay.

What’s a Poetry Slam?

A poetry slam is a contest in which poets are judged by both their writing style and performance ability. Poets don’t merely ‘read’ their original work, but they deliver it with dramatic flair. Since no one sees the work on paper, slam poets don’t have to worry about being grammatically correct or holding to a traditional form. Poetry slams are a national pastime that has brought the art of poetry off the page and out of the classroom for regular people to enjoy.

Are there rules?

Although the rules of grammar and form are relaxed in a slam, wordsmiths must remember these tips for success:

No props but the poem and the mic!

The first rule of a poetry slam is that there are no props allowed. You can’t talk to an empty chair, hold a dummy, or throw a paper airplane. It is just you, the word and the mic.   For this particular slam you are allowed to have your poem on paper, however most slam champions memorize their pieces and perform them with power.

No disclaimers!

Do not explain your inspiration, apologize, or give a soliloquy about the piece you are about to perform. You only have 3 minutes and the timer starts when you open your mouth.

Respect the Mic!

Although a vast array of once taboo subjects are welcomed in poetry slams, hatred, misogyny and homophobia are not. Please stay away from racial slurs, anti-gay rhetoric or religion bashing. This is a multicultural event. Let’s celebrate the art of the spoken word together!

How Can I Be Down?

So you want to watch the slam? Show up to the Capital BlueCross Theatre in the Underground on the Summerdale campus on Thursday, September 3 at 7 pm to support your friends. Give them lots of love, snaps and claps when they’re on stage.

Oh, you want to walk away with $100.00 and some Central Penn swag? Sign up to perform by sending an email to thecentralpen@centralpenn.edu by August 15. Send us your name, contact information and the name of your poem.

Got Any Tips?

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Writer’s Profile: Bronwen Carlyle Talks About Season of Shadow

unnamedOur writer’s profile focuses on Bronwen Carlyle whose new book, Season of Shadow (The Equinox Chronicles Book 1), was recently published through the Amazon Kindle store.  Carlyle was born in Augusta and grew up in North Georgia. As a young girl, she spent time with the creatures, gods, warriors, and sages found in the pages of Irish mythology and fairy tales, and has been weaving stories ever since. She currently lives near Pittsburgh, where you can find her dreaming up worlds and writing them down.  You can visit her website at www.bronwencarlyle.com, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter @BronwenCarlyle.


unnamed-1First, tell us about your new project.

It’s a young adult novel that takes place in both Georgia and a fantastical realm connected to our own. It follows the story of sixteen-year-old Everly Cotton, who has grown up in foster care, as she is caught in a battle between light and darkness.

[You can watch a trailer for it here.] Continue reading

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I’m bored! : How Boredom Can Boost Creativity

Want to write like Ginsberg? Take a shower.

Like most writers, I get my best ideas in the shower–one fist full of soap and the opening line to the next great American novel. ‘Shower thoughts’ have become such a cultural phenomenon that you can now buy waterproof writing pads. You can also watch your favorite celebrity, like Nick Offerman [warning: explicit language] or Anna Kendrick [warning: explicit language], talk about their most profound shower thoughts. [You can read more about the benefits of being bored at Bored, Brilliant and… Counterintuitively Interesting: A Reading List by Manoush Zomorodi and even try some of the boredom challenges.]

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But why are you history’s greatest philosopher or the next Mark Twain when you’re in the shower? Recent studies look at the psychology of boredom to understand what your brain is doing while the shower is running. For you creative cleansers, the research suggests that your next novel might just be sitting in the suds.

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Five Ways to Jump Start A Creative Writing Routine

Sure, you want to write.  You have a great hook or character.  You have your whole first novel mapped out or the next slam-winning poem…the problem is that you have them all in your head.  Be don’t be discouraged.  You’re not alone.

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 Moving from brain to page is no easy task, but with these tips, you help kick start that process.


1. Start a blog: A blog is a great way to get your writing everyday, and you can write as much or as little as you want.  A blog will automatically keep track of the days and times you write, which will help you as you take on more serious writing projects. One word of caution: if you are considering publishing down the road, you should be refrain from posting it on the blog since some publishers will consider it ‘published.’  Check out The Pen’s own post on the subject!

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2. Use a creative writing prompt: Hate staring at a blank page?  Writer’s block giving you the writer’s blues?  There are dozens of website that offer writing prompts to get you inspired.  Some of our favorites are Language-is-a-virus, First Line Generator, Creative Writing Ink, and The One-Minute Writer.

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3. Keep a journal: Sometimes the easiest tool is also the best one.  Journaling can help you keep track not only of your everyday experiences, but can also be a great place to sketch characters, write a plot summary, or record an idea that just won’t let go of you.  Journaling is particularly alluring for you pen and paper types, and it gives you an opportunity to splurge on those fancy fountain pens you’ve been eyeing!

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4. Join a creative writing club: Clubs are an excellent way to get yourself motivated to write and keep you accountable to your writing goals.  You can also get immediate feedback on a particular character, scene, or subplot, which will be invaluable if you decide to take your writing to a publisher.  Clubs meet both in person and online!

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5. Use your tech!: Sometimes, we forget that our most powerful writing tool is the one we have in our hands (laps or palms!).  Use your favorite tech to set writing reminders and to schedule yourself time to write.  You can also use apps to keep you on pace: Mindly, Mind Node, Help Me Write, and Write-or-Die.  There are dozens out there, so find your fix!

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Why We Need Creativity In Higher Education

When President Barack Obama launched Educate to Innovate in 2009 and shifted the conversation in education towards science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), higher education interpreted the administration’s new initiative as a clear, distinct, and in some circles, long overdue, headshot to the liberal arts. Such concerns were perhaps only intensified when President Obama made an off-the-cuff remark about the lack of value in art history degrees when compared to skilled manufacturing jobs. While the President did indeed apologize for an ill-considered comment, the sentiment it conveys represents an increasingly popular belief that in the modern global economy, the need for technical instruction trumps the need for creative expression. Perhaps this is my own liberal art bias talking, but the name of the initiative itself—Educate to Innovate—certainly begs the question: how do we become the ‘innovators’ of this new century without teaching, practicing, valuing, and rewarding creativity?

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Poetry Submission: Deje Butler

Poetry is the music of our soul here at The Central Pen, and we have a fantastic community of lyrical artists. From free verse to spoken word to slant rhyme, we love it all, and we are here to share our creative energies with you.  Enjoy this submission from one of our homegrown poets.


About the writer.

Deje ButlerDeje Butler is  19 years old.  Born in Washington, DC, she was raised in Dale City, Virginia. She has recently changed her major to criminal justice (originally business administration).  At CPC, she volunteers at the writing center and will be a part of the college’s new drama club. She loves writing and art as well as meeting new people. She also enjoys going to museums of any kind and reading.  She says, “I feel like I’m going on a adventure when I do so–its exhilarating!”


Summers End

Its ending…
As the sun kisses my face goodbye,
feeling its embrace.

 

Its ending…
This firery relationship between us,
is slowly becoming memories,
memories that once was reality.

 

Its ending…
The laughs, the smiles,
the love for the blaze.
Rubbing my bare feet on the grass,
watching the leaves changing colors
like an adaptive reptile.

 

Its ending…
Feeling the greet of a cool breeze.
Here you are again, stepping back in my life.
Fall,
We meet again.

 

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(I) Read Banned Books!

The Central Pen joins the American Library Association (ALA) in celebrating Banned Books Week (September 21-27, 2014) where we pull out all of those so-called ‘naughty’ books that have been challenged, banned, defaced, and sometimes even stolen from our nation’s libraries because of what some view as contested themes, depictions, or characters.

Banned Books

Banned Books Week is an opportunity to celebrate free speech, literacy, and creativity.  It also is an opportunity to focus our attention on an issue that is rarely discussed when we talk about education: censorship.  Literature and censorship have a long, fraught history precisely because the written word is so incredibly powerful.  It can shape ideas and narratives.  It can push political and social issues and opinions.  It can persuade and inform.  It can be used to uplift people and ideas just as easily as it can be use to destroy them.


Here are some of The Pen‘s favorite banned books from the 21st Century:

  1. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    • Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    • Reasons: offensive language; racism
  3. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
    • Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  4. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
    • Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
    • Reason: sexually explicit
  6. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
    • Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
  7. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    • Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  8. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    • Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence
  9. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    • Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  10. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    • Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group

Don’t just read banned books–share them!  Leave your favorites in the comments.

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Writer Spotlight: Dezmyn Edmond Talks The Saving Grace of Creative Writing

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Edmond (far right) with TJ Blackwell (center) and Khaleef Fields (left)

Creative writing has actually saved my life.  Before creative writing my life was horrible, and I had unexpressed emotions that only manifested itself into tears. I soon developed depression in high school, but very few believed I actually had it, more specifically my family. The more they did not believe I had it, the worse it got. Creative writing, more specifically poetry, was my outlet so I would not cry myself to sleep at night. When I started writing poems I started feeling better about the events that have happened in the past by simply writing about them in my poems.

 Quotation-Fierce-Dolan-depression-best-Meetville-Quotes-18732From my family to the fake friends I made in high school, they are all written in poems so I can creatively express my feelings toward them without actually expressing those feelings toward them in reality. However, sometimes I feel like writing about these individuals in my poems just is not enough. I still don’t sleep at night at times because when I think I’ve gotten rid of those awful heart aching memories, they come crawling back when it is the least convenient, which is when I am trying to sleep. I would try to write my feelings out, but so much is going through my mind at once that I would develop writing anxiety and lie awake at night wishing the memories would just go away and never come back into my mind.

When I could sleep, nightmares occurred, making sleeping worse and worse as the nightmares felt more real with every passing night. Now that I have depression, writing anxiety, horrible memories, and on top of that the nightmares worsening, it is no wonder I cannot sleep. Soon I realized I was still harboring leftover feelings that never escaped from the prison that is my subconscious.


When I started attending Central Penn I started to develop a whole new perspective on my life.


By talking to the college’s counselor and various professors I came to the realization that I have to try and come to grips with my past and not let it control my life. Using the advice, the techniques provided by the counselor, and creative writing as an outlet for whatever mood I’m in, I have better control over my pain from my past than I used to, though I still struggle with it from time to time, but I have control over it a majority of the time. To this day I still struggle with it, but I’m managing it the best I can and hopefully soon, with the support of the people that have helped me before, I can overcome my anxieties, depression and various nightmares so that I can have a good night’s sleep I really need. Until that time comes, however, I will continue to seek help from those same people, but not so much I become dependent on them.


 All in all, believe it or not, I’m happier than ever and living life the only way I can.


[image from the author and from meetville.com]

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DELiving in New Jersey, I spend most of my time out with my girlfriend. I enjoy doing Sudoku puzzles and word searches in my spare time. I also like bowling and I’ve gotten quite good at it, but I still aim to be better than my best. Poetry’s been my main focus, but when not doing those activities I’m playing fighting and adventure video games, like Pokémon; unlike some I’m not ashamed to say it. I like listening to real hip-hop music unlike the rap music nowadays that’s only about sex, drugs, violence, and money; everyone’s entitles to an opinion.

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Creative Writing and the Job Market: Part One

In a career-focused college, some may ask: how do outlets like literary magazines contribute to college students’ professional goals? how do they provide students with intellectual and professional advancement opportunities? and why do we need venues like literary magazines?  This post series looks at each of these questions in-depth and offers advice to college students who are looking to navigate an increasingly challenging (and rewarding!) job market landscape.

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How do outlets like literary magazines contribute to our student’s professional goals?

A 2013 survey of 318 employers revealed that writing and related skills are at the top of my employers’ and recruiters‘ “must have!” lists:

93% of employers said that a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly and solve complex problems is more important than a job candidate’s undergraduate degree.

95% say they prioritize hiring college graduates with skills that will help them contribute to innovation in the workplace.

80% of employers agree that regardless of their major, every college student should acquire broad knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences.

95% of those surveyed say that it is important that new hires demonstrate ethical judgement and integrity, intercultural skills, and the capacity for continued new learning.

So, how does a literary magazine help students to gain these skills?  Let’s look at them individually.

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