SRAOC #11 Common Union

Small Rebellious Acts of Creativity (#SRAOC) is a weekly invitation to explore a word, or phrase, through whichever creative avenue, platform or modality the participant wishes. It is intended to be a philosophical or creative catalyst moreso than a straight up writing prompt.

This week’s prompt was: Common Union


My exploration began as some scribbles on a scrap piece of paper over breakfast last Monday.

It quickly became apparent I needed a much larger and more organised space to work in – which was provided by a graphing exercise book. Friday, in a mess of emotions, I took what I needed to go deeper into creating this and went to one of my favourite cafes.





At the end of my time there I had the penciled in version on the right, which cleaned up with some ink to be the final below.

I realised community is ‘common unity’ and what I created through linking words was a road map into community but also into oneness.

I’d love to know what your favourite coupling is?


What are our bodies but suits of earth
molded clay wrapped around sticks
and given breath. Sucked in one orifice and
excreted from another. All the while speaking
tongues of angels, a glossolalia that trips
over the teeth and lips in a babble,
hastening to make meaning of corporeal thought.
And in action, repeating movements as a reverential
parody of worship. And still I crave your form,
to be held in common union, a eucharistic hope
of unity between two clods of earth
yearning to furrow the other.


I’ve been a dabbler in Photoshop for years, but I’ve never really challenged myself with anything mildly complex like bringing three photos together.

When this prompt was pulled, I knew immediately that I wanted to do something that would capture the common union among the three of us.

So, I asked Jodi and Adam to select a few favorites of my nature photos. From their selections, I chose one from each.

I chose this one from Jodi:

And I chose this one from Adam:

I decided to add one of my favorites, our Maryland State Flower, the Black-Eyed Susans, which is this photo.

From there, I played (and played and played) with pulling them together in some way.

My final creation is below. It is far from fair when it comes to Photoshop standards (leaving the stems on the flowers would have been a good move – and it would make them look a little less like spiders), but I learned a lot in the process, and I will continue dabbling in Photoshop a little more seriously.

The point, though, is this: We three have a common union on so many levels. Here, I wanted to simply capture the beauty we share, as depicted in a common union of three selected photos. In this image, we see a little yin, a little yang, and a lot of mystical gray between the two.

I had fun. And I love the common union we share.

3.3 A Deeper Discipline

For those of us who hike, or garden, or take long bike rides, we are deeply aware that there are two types of hikers, gardeners, and cyclists.

The first type is in it for the destination, whether that be a summit 26 miles away, a synchronized garden that maximizes each hour of sunshine without taxing the soil too much from its neighboring plants, or the end of a century ride that takes you around some of this world’s greatest natural wonders.

These types have their head down and are focused on what awaits them at the end of the journey. They are immensely happy (and proud) of their accomplishment, as they should be. They talk about what they might do differently to shave off a few minutes, or maximize the oxygen for the snap peas. It’s all about destination, and they are proud of crossing that finish line, regardless of the form it might take.

The second type is in it for the journey. They meander through the woods, observing the different bird calls, the tracks on the trail, and the variations of vegetation to discern exactly what kind of wildlife are nibbling at its branches.

The gardener embraces the feel of the soil on his finger tips as he digs a hole for a new seedling. He might even talk to it, breathing a little security-blanket oxygen its way.

The cyclist knows she has until 8 p.m. to reach her destination, so she wanders through the small towns, talking to the locals about what makes their little communities so personable, so resistant to the buzz of the bigger cities around them.

In short, this second type savors every step of the journey, and when they finally reach their destination, they are rich in telling stories about what they experienced along the way. There is no talk of the next trip or what they could do differently. To them, they are too immersed in the now, holding on to the words they shared with once-strangers.

When it comes to writing and discipline, I’ve been a little of both, and not necessarily for the right reasons.

The first type of disciplined writers have deadlines; they are focused, and they “put butt in chair” when they are supposed to. They turn in their work with confidence that they wrote a good piece, but they equally allow a smile to linger, knowing they made their deadlines — their destination — on or ahead of schedule.

Head down, do the work, meet the deadline. All good.

The second type of disciplined writers, however, don’t really do any of the things the first type does, except make (most) of their deadlines (more on this a bit later). These creatives are highly disciplined, but they are also a little scary. Let me explain.

It takes great discipline as a writer, as a creative, to “let go” in the journey of writing or creating, where there is room to wander with the characters or the image to see where they (or it) will take you. You remain fully immersed, disciplined, and focused; getting to the destination, however, might take a little longer than anyone might have liked.

And to you, that’s just fine.

Being disciplined in our writing, our creating, does not necessarily have to have that “get the job done” mentality. There is great and wondrous discipline in staying immersed in your work, expending insurmountable amounts of energy with the characters, and seeing where they take you in the story.

Ultimately, it’s being mindful enough to strike that balance between the two.

I’ve done solo projects with each approach, and I’ve learned from these experiences that there is nothing black and white about discipline when you are creating.

When our heads are down, we’re missing the little nuances that lead us to greater discoveries; likewise, when we let go entirely to see where the characters take us, we often find ourselves too far away from where we began, and with little hope or direction of finding our way back on to the blazed path that leads us to our natural and eventual home.

Understanding the deeper significance of our discipline allows us to let go, play, but stay close to the trail that leads us to our story’s natural conclusion. We need to be aware of what type of discipline we use in our crafting, and when.

And, as important, we cannot allow one form to tell the other that it is the lazy way out, or the wrong approach, or the wrong time. It’s important to get to the end, but it’s equally important to be deeply mindful of the journey along the way.

Small Rebellious Acts of Creativity #11

Small Rebellious Acts of Creativity (#SRAOC) is a weekly invitation to explore a word, or phrase, through whichever creative avenue, platform or modality the participant wishes. It is intended to be a philosophical or creative catalyst moreso than a straight up writing prompt.


Make it accessible for yourself. Easeful. Invite yourself into a place and a space free from the pressure of overwhelm. Pressure to perform. Keep it simple. Small is not subjugation. Small is not less than. Small carries a power all of its own. Gift yourself 5 minutes. Sometimes it doesn’t need to be anything more.


Rebel against apathy, procrastination, perfection, self contempt, self doubt, lack of confidence, lack of time, other people’s antagonism, lack of belief, the voice of the inner critic, and anything else that wants to tell you ‘no’. Flip the bird at your Imposter Complex. Interrogate. Innovate. Initiate. This is a space for saying yes.

Act Of

Do. Doable. Doing. Done. Even if it’s five bed-headed minutes, on a Wednesday morning, with your first infusion of caffeine for the day, tapping a list of ten things into your phone. Make a space. Fill it.


Make something from nothing. Anything. The possibilities are endless. Draw. Paint. Build. Dance in the shower. Play. Howl. Doodle. Bake. Cut up poetry. Block out text. Collage magazine pictures. Snap a photograph. Garden. Read something aloud. Send someone a card. Make a digital mash-up. Create a playlist. Hum a song. Journal. Daybook. Write a list. Instagram a favourite quote. Play the instrument you have buried away in your cupboard.

This week’s invitation is…

We will be back Sunday to share our meanderings and renderings and to see where ‘common union’ took you during the week.

SRAOC #10 Triad Love

Small Rebellious Acts of Creativity (#SRAOC) is a weekly invitation to explore a word, or phrase, through whichever creative avenue, platform or modality the participant wishes. It is intended to be a philosophical or creative catalyst moreso than a straight up writing prompt.

This week’s prompt was: Triad Love


I could say a lot about three-way love and non-conventional relationships, but it was this image which sprung to mind the moment I pulled the prompt from the jar.

The triad of love as it relates to the self; self-perpetuating if we are willing to intentionally put self love in motion and, like tending the flame, turn up regularly to keep it in motion.

The triad of love asks that we: love our younger self;  love our present self consciously and without thought to the past or the future;  and love our shadow self.