Creative Expressions: Terry Simpson

Fellow Alexandria Publishing Group author Terry Simpson answered this question for me: Would you be able to express yourself creatively if you couldn’t write? If yes, how would you do it and what would it be like?

For me, if I couldn’t write, it would be doing what I have done for a few decades. Playing an MMORPG and leading guilds there. I got lost in those and much of what I did there inspired my writing and can be seen in my stories. From forming hunt groups to kill massive, evil centipedes in Legend of Mir, to raiding castles and player killing in Lineage 1 and 2, to doing huge raids in World of Warcraft. The sensation of being lost in those worlds were and are amazing. I never forget the first day we defeated Ragnaros in World of Warcraft. A massive cheer went up on teamspeak. For all the time I spent lost in the game, leading the guild, planning strategies etc, was time away from my wife. The guild bought a huge bouquet and sent it to her as a way to show their appreciation of allowing me to play as I had. I would say MMORPGS are probably my most creative experience outside of writing.

Find out more about Terry at Alexandria Publishing Group.

Creative Expressions: Valerie Douglas

Alexandria Publishing Group founder Valerie Douglas answered this question for me: Would you be able to express yourself creatively if you couldn’t write? If yes, how would you do it and what would it be like?

I wrote my first book when I was eight (and got an A), advanced in art and was asked to join the band. *grins* Needless to say, I was meant to be creative! I think I’d have been an architect or played jazz (I wanted to play trumpet but my mother thought it would put callus (callus – thickened – callous – hardened emotionally) on my lips.I can freehand portraits and buildings, but I can’t just freehand landscapes, and I’m soooooo not crafty *laughing*. I do much better drawing pictures in my mind, and listening to the music of people’s conversation.

Find out more about Valerie and her work at Alexandria Publishing Group.

Creative Expressions: Denise McGee

In my continuing series, I asked Denise McGee this question: Would you be able to express yourself creatively if you couldn’t write? If yes, how would you do it and what would it be like?

My mother-in-law can take a branch from a bush a bit of ribbon and a bauble and make a table decoration that’d rival anything Martha Stewart could dream of. I’d love to have that talent but I’m just not crafty.

My mother can pull out her paints and create everything from portraits to landscapes. I’d love to have that talent but I’m just not artistic.

My daughter can paint, sculpt, draw, write and create all sorts of things from bits of things she finds around the house (she’s currently collecting beer bottle tops for a collage). If she’d ever had music lessons I’m sure she’d excel at that too. I’d love to have that talent but I’m just not multi-talented.

I see things in patterns, however. Balance, form and function. So, I think if I couldn’t write, I’d be a graphic artist. I enjoy playing in Photoshop but I’ve never really put the effort into learning all the ins and outs. But if I couldn’t write, I think I would.

Find out more about Denise McGee at Alexandria Publishing Group.

Creative Expressions: TOSK (The Other Stephen King)

I asked my fellow Alexandria Publishing Group members this question: Would you be able to express yourself creatively if you couldn’t write? If yes, how would you do it and what would it be like? This week the answer is from fantasy/science fiction writer TOSK (The Other Stephen King):

I have a lot of fantasies. Some I’ll not describe in public, but I’ll admit to a fair amount of creative daydreaming. Most of my waking dreams, of course, relate to my chosen creative outlet of writing. I mean, what sci fi / fantasy author hasn’t imagined what it would be like to stand in front of thousands of cheering fans, accepting the Hugo or the Nebula or another award of that level? I mean, c’mon–you have, too, right?

At the same time, I love to exercise my “mind’s eye” imagining myself on stage, backed up by a jazz ensemble, pouring my soul out through the mouthpiece of a trumpet. I must admit to a guilty pleasure, in fact, sitting at my computer when I’m supposed to be writing, earphones clamped over my head, swaying to Black Velvet while imagining the throaty melody spinning out the bell of my chosen musical instrument rather than the beautiful voice of Alannah Myles.

So, um, yeah–I’ve always wanted to be a jazz trumpeter. I was one in high school, sort of. I was the first chair of the trumpet section my junior and senior years, and I participated in several honor bands as well as the local community college concert band. I was part of the Opening Day at Dodgers Stadium honors band, two years in a row. I did a little bit of jazz, but there weren’t a lot of opportunities for a high school trumpeter to really get into “gigs” other than occasional holiday church service. Woo hoo!

But no, my mother said–she and my father had both pursued music careers, and both of them together failed to make enough money to live a comfortable life. No, she said, be an engineer, she said.

So I got a degree in engineering. I even used it for a couple of years after I left the Army. Then I became an IT guy, and then I started teaching, another career she warned me away from. You see, teachers, also, don’t make a lot of money. Ah, well.

I still have my trumpet. Some day I’ll get back into it, I promise. For now, though, I’m holding off one career you can’t make any money at in the name of getting better at another career, writing, that you’re unlikely to make much money at.

Find my website at http://www.TheOtherStephenKing.com or my blog at http://TheOtherStephenKingOnWriting.blogspot.com.

Creative Expressions: Renee Barratt

I asked my fellow Alexandria Publishing Group members this question: Would you be able to express yourself creatively if you couldn’t write? If yes, how would you do it and what would it be like? This week the answer is from talented cover artist Renee Barratt.

Creativity is often interpreted as being something “artistic”. But I don’t believe that’s quite right. There is creativity in almost everything we do if we choose to stop and extrapolate it out. I can’t think of a single profession that isn’t rife with the necessity to be creative.

When I was teaching high school my colleagues and I had a discussion about teaching a lesson in each of our fields based around this half full paper cup that happened to be sitting in the middle of the table. We all came up with so many different ways to teach our own subjects… ALL with that paper cup as the jumping point. Not a single piece of “art” was created that day, though I think it was the most “creative” moment I’ve experienced in my lifetime.

I do have to admit that I have always had some kind of artistic outlet in my life though. Sometimes with great results and sometimes with great failure. But I’ve always enjoyed the process of creating art despite the outcome. My grandmothers tried to teach me to knit and needlepoint, and while I enjoyed those processes, the final products won’t be seen in any family heirloom collection any time soon.

I’ve played piano and violin, I’ve been in many different choirs, I’ve been a ownership partner in a local community theatre group. I’ve tried drawing and painting and sculpting (again… these things will never see the light of day, but OH what fun they were to make! My family has seen them, but they have to tell me how wonderful they are or I won’t feed them!).

So all of that to say that I’m not sure what I’d pick next if I couldn’t design book covers. There are TOO many things to choose from!

Check out Renee’s work at The Cover Counts.

Creative Expressions: Paul Kater

Here’s the first installment of a series introducing you to my Alexandria Publishing Group colleagues. I asked them all this question: Would you be able to express yourself creatively if you couldn’t write? If yes, how would you do it and what would it be like?

I think I would be able to do the creative bit in other ways, yes. I’d be into music more than I am now. When I was 9 or 10 I got a funny little musical instrument called “melodica”, an odd cross between a flute and a keyboard.

(This is the actual type I had!) My parents sent me to “music school” to learn how to play it properly and soon after that I got my first accordion. From accordion, over a period of 9 years at music school I moved on to piano and electric (Hammond) organ. Okay, this indicates my age but that’s fine. Since then I’ve owned several keyboards (Yamaha, Roland) and even a real Korg synthesizer. The selection of instruments at my home at this moment is: a Yamaha PRS-1000 keyboard, 2 Bodhrans (those are Irish hand-drums),

an acoustic guitar (I taught myself how to play that and probably did a poor job with that), a jewish harp:

and a native american flute:
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I also have an Irish tin whistle and two accordions, an Italian one that’s some 40 years old and a relatively new German one. I keep the Italian one even though it’s leaky, because the sound is so nice. So there you have it. I think I’d be able to unleash my creativity into something else than writing. Not that I’d trade writing for music, but a mix is good.

Find out more about Paul at the Alexandria Publishing Group site!