A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

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Friday, October 25, 2013


Creativity is one of those slippery terms to define, but generally includes words like “new” and “innovative.” Do you see creativity as something you were born with – one of those innate talents like athleticism? Maybe, but just like that “natural” athlete works at refining skills, an author – or anyone working in a creative field (oops, there's that word again) – can strengthen creativity.

I'm working through The Artist's Way (Julia Cameron), and loving the insights from this creativity guide. In addition to dealing with the ways we shoot ourselves in the foot and learning to recognize the (ahem) less than supportive people around you, it also recommends … well … play dates for your inner child artist. Remember how much fun art was before someone told you to stay inside the lines and the sun must be yellow and the grass green?

While I do occasionally haul out the watercolors, I look for other ways to amuse that inner child. I had a free afternoon on a recent business trip. 

Rather than hang out in the hotel, I took a walk. 

C'mon, walk with me through Portland.

I knew Portland had lots of pocket parks, but didn't know about the linear parks in the downtown core. People read, napped, skateboarded, chatted, played chess, knitted – you name it. The parks were more than the area's backyard, they reminded me more of a community gathering spot.

Now as I got further into the park, I admit I was highly amused to discover that Southerners aren't the only ones who put up statutes of mounted men. No clue who this guy might've been. Even more amusing when you consider the laissez-faire attitude of most of the Pacific Northwest.

Other elements take time – slow down, let your gaze wander. 

This church is nearly hidden by the trees, but isn't that a gorgeous bell tower?

Or ooh, what about the gingerbread detail on that house?

And can you go anywhere in the Pacific Northwest without stumbling upon a flower market?

So what about you? 

What have you done lately to “feed your Artist Child?”


Anne Marie Becker said...

Love the pics, Cathy! Looks like you had a beautiful walk. :)

I'll admit I probably haven't been feeding the inner artist enough lately. And she's been throwing a temper tantrum and holding back as a result. Lately, I've given myself permission to just notice life more...and read more. Getting lost in (or taking a walk in!) other characters' and other authors' worlds is a great escape for me and refills that well.

jean harrington said...

Beautiful pictures, Cathy. And I agree that Julia Cameron is amazing. Her The Vein of Gold is one of the inspiring moivators that gave me the courage to write.

Rita said...

The sunrises here have been spectacular. Since they are around 7am I can be up to see them. The sunsets off the dock are almost as good. The beach is crazy beautiful this time of year and the sound of the waves…. The bouganvilla in my back yard is outdoing itself. The migrating birds fill the back yard some days. There is too much around here. I could sit and stare all day. I’ve also been connecting with people who were also born and raised in Florida. Sharing pictures and memories of the ‘old’ Florida. Gives me lots of smiles.

Toni Anderson said...

Portland looks beautiful. I'm all for nurturing your creativity :)

Donnell Ann Bell said...

I'm in awe of all the Northwest has to offer, Cathy. Gorgeous pictures. My latest was a trip to Santa Fe... a tad different and a whole lot dryer than the gorgeous Northwest -- just ask my skin :)

Elise Warner said...

Portland looks lovely--haven't been there yet, I hear the salmon is delicious. I've been enjoying the crisp fall air in New York and the palette of fall colors decorating the trees.

Cathy Perkins said...

@Anne Marie - Refilling that well is hugely important (she reminds herself). Good that you're finding joy in the word and worlds.

@Jean - I haven't read The Vein of Gold. I'll have to look for it.

Cathy Perkins said...

@Rita - fall is my favorite season at the beach. Maybe it's less hectic; maybe there are few people. But there seems to be more time to slow down and enjoy/appreciate what's there. Good that you're connecting - and smiling

@Toni - you seem to be on a roll here lately :)

Cathy Perkins said...

@Donnell - we must compare notes. I love Santa Fe, the art in town and the wonderful canyonlands outside it. Even if you do have to remember to drink lots (and lots) of water :)

Cathy Perkins said...

@Elise - oh, New England in the fall. Every calendar company is the world tries but just can't do justice to the gorgeous mountains and the vibrant colors.

We're wrestling with whether to stay with all "natives" at our mountain property (which means lots and lots of firs and cottonwood) or add a few maples or something for that burst of contrasting color.

Shelley Munro said...

I enjoyed the virtual wander. Hubby and I always recharge by traveling, and it's almost time to take off again. We both like to take photos and express our creativity in this way.

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