Just Have Yourself A Good Moodle

Leslie Avon Miller had a good moodle over at Textures Shapes and Colors.

Years ago, one of my sons recommended Brenda Ueland‘s If you want to write: a book about art, independence and spirit. I highly recommend it, and so does Leslie. I thought that was where the term moodle comes from:

So you see, imagination needs moodling–long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.        ~Brenda Ueland

However, I see that others used moodle before Ueland. That does not take away from her wonderful definition, nor how she “gave permission” to many to allow themselves relaxation for renewal. It is a far saner path towards breaking new ground in your work than throwing yourself into ever heightened frenzies of activity.

On the other hand, everyone discovers and uses what works for them. Elizabeth Gilbert, for instance, recommends that we see our creative genius as a state that “visits us,” that is a lavish and extravagant gift, rather than something we own. This allows us to revel in the sheer pleasure of our creativity, and bypass that nasty ego which often asks uncomfortable questions like: “Do you really want to put this work out there? Is it good enough? Doesn’t it look amateurish/have poor composition/lack subtlety/ . . . . (you fill in the blank).” We simply follow the promptings of our muse, our creative genius, our bliss– and separate ourselves from the reactions to our outcome. I think she has laid out a workable plan! I am designing my invitations . . . “Dear creative genius, you are invited to inhabit the person, or embody the spirit, of Carol Ann Wiebe at your earliest convenience.”

But let’s get back to Leslie’s moodling. Actually, a Miller Moodle has a nice alliterative ring to it.  Leslie alludes to Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down The Bones as she conveys the essence of her moodle:
I mixed paint and didn’t know where to put it. I sighed. I picked up a graphite pencil and began to write those thoughts, jumbled as they were, on a larger painting. I wrote and wrote and wrote. Then I knew where to put that paint – on top of the partially obscured words. Perhaps these are the Old Bones I am seeking to move into a new white series. The old bones of thoughts, past and present. Old bones buried under paint, gnawed at, left to dry in the sun, bleached and washed clean by the elements. Old bones clumped together in a pile, old bones scattered about leaving a trail and telling the story.
I have been participating in answering Leslie’s Four Questions. Start following her blog if you want to find out how she, and her readers, have responded to those questions:
#1 What is it that you get back from your art?
#2 What is it that you give to your creativity?
#3 What gets in the way and frustrates you in your efforts to create?
#4 What are your biggest hopes and dreams for your creativity?.
You are also going to discover the output of a keen mind: superb writing and great art!
Untitled by Leslie Avon Miller.  Used with permission.

Untitled by Leslie Avon Miller. Used with permission.

I am now off to the post office (You didn’t think I would email my muse, did you?). Then I am going to luxuriate in a nice long moodle, complete with a chai latte, until my muse graces me with her appearance.

About CarolWiebe

Art entices, inspires, and delights me. Art is a vehicle for laughter, tears, wonder, enlightenment--taking me on a constant path of discovery. You can't say that about housework (except, perhaps, for the crying part).
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3 Responses to Just Have Yourself A Good Moodle

  1. Stacy says:

    Thank you for this lovely and thoughtful post. Lesley Avon Miller’s blog is a joy. I love the idea of moodling … when I don’t make time to moodle, I get quite crabby and resentful.

    Those four questions are provocative. I am going back to her blog to read some of the answers and will think about my own.

  2. carolwiebe says:

    Moodling is essential, isn’t it? I can get so focused that I neglect moodling. I have the opposite problem, Stacy. I get crabby when I’m not doing art!

  3. carolwiebe says:

    I received this letter and thought I would pass it on via the comments for anyone interested in finding out more about Natalie Goldberg:

    The http://www.futureprimitive.org podcast are dedicated to people who want to be in touch with others who dream a positive and sustainable future:

    Interview with Natalie Goldberg: “Life is detail”

    Natalie Goldberg is the author of Writing Down The Bones: Freeing The Writer Within (1986), which broke open the world of creativity and started a revolution in the way we practice writing in this country. The book has sold over one million copies and been translated into fourteen languages. Since then she has written nine other books, including the novel Banana Rose. Natalie is also a painter and her watercolors are exhibited at Ernesto Mayans Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is a poet and has been teaching seminars in writing as a practice for the last thirty years. People from around the world attend her life-changing workshops.


    Warm regards

    Jose Luis G. Soler
    Production Assistant

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