We have author Elizabeth Reid Boyd this week, who also writes fiction as Eliza Redgold, talking about a crafty women’s way to revise and edit your work.
Connect with Dr. Elizabeth Reid Boyd:
I’m an author and academic in the field of gender studies. My natural pen name Eliza Redgold is based upon the Gaelic meaning of my full name, Elizabeth Reid Boyd. I write contemporary and historical fiction published by Harlequin and St Martin’s Press (as Eliza Redgold) and non-fiction (as Elizabeth Reid Boyd).
I also practice mindfulness and meditation, and teach these practices to my university students. In 2017, came out with Skyhorse Publishing, New York. I’m fascinated by how much more creative we are when we slow down and let ideas grow. Our minds are truly magical.
I’ve developed some life coaching practices for creative women: mixing magic with mindfulness. These exercises based on women’s wisdom from the past will enhance your creativity. Here’s one to help in the revision and editing process.
Make Amends: A Creative Completion Charm
Nine knots upon the thread
Nine blessings on thy head
Blessings to take away thy pain
And a tincture for thy strain.
~ Orkney women’s charm
The healing power of creativity comes in many forms. As women have known for centuries, a particularly powerful form of healing is the home art of mending. While this humble skill hasn’t got glamour, it can be of lasting service in our creative endeavours.
Learning to mend and repair is life long process. Mending is intrinsic to the practice of many creative crafts, and to women’s wisdom. If we don’t mend what is torn and broken, the damage gets worse. What breaks in a moment may take years to mend, a proverb reminds us. The wise craftswoman knows that there can be big losses further along for the want of taking a few moments to make a small repair.
Mending means making whole what is damaged. By mending, we repair what is broken; we don’t just throw it away. We can repair what’s around us in our homes, but we can also repair our bodies, our relationships, our creative works, and ourselves. When we mend, we stop and take stock of what we already have, and work on it, until it’s fixed. Mending also reminds us that sometimes, we have to let bygones be bygones, and let a troublesome issue drop. As the old saying goes: Least said, soonest mended.
Wise women have long understood the cycle of reaping what we ‘sew’. A stitch in time saves nine goes the old motto. Even if it is still serviceable, we must take heed that when we mend something, it won’t necessarily look or feel the same anymore. Women once sewed ‘charms’, small patches of fabric in different patterns or fabric appliqued to quilts and bedding, providing comfort and protection, making it stronger at the torn and worn places.
Be bow bend it, my tale’s ended, if you don’t like it, you may mend it, goes an old rhyme. Amenden means to free from fault. Menden similarly means to repair, to make right. When we mend, it might not ever be the same again, but we can make it right. The word amen means ‘so be it’. Instead of fault-finding, criticizing or harbouring grudges, make amends. Let it be.
Finding it hard to finish a creative task or complete a project? Whatever your creative endeavours, you can change your mental, emotional and physical state by mending.
The act of completing any task or chore is powerful. Identify an item of clothing or fabric housewares that needs mending. Take up your needle and thread. If this require you to purchase these items – all the better. It will take you to a new place.
Find a quiet place and mend the item by hand. Focus on the task and attend to it mindfully. If your mind wanders return it gently to the task at hand.
Go back to your creative project. Does it need a small repair? You’ll be surprised how quickly you now complete it.
‘The Needle Can Mend’ by Eliza Redgold: My own ‘Amending’ tale:
My short story ‘The Needle Can Mend’ was included in this story collection: 1066 Turned Upside Down. (Available from Amazon). My tale weaves an alternative female version of the creation of the Bayeaux tapestry.
In my story, I wanted to include my personal heroine, Lady Godiva, from my novel Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva (St Martin’s Press, 2015). Godiva was the grandmother (or step-grandmother) to Edith, wife of Harold, who fought William the Conqueror in the Battle of 1066. It was easy to imagine she passed on some traits and skills to her grand-daughter.
I also wanted to capture the power of women in the tales they weave, and no more is this revealed than in the mysterious fabric of the Bayeaux Tapestry. It is a work of art, secret and legend that has stood the test of time.
In Lady Godiva’s lifetime, a popular Saxon saying was ‘Men wield weapon while women weave’. (In Naked Godiva also wields a sword, but that’s another story.) Yet the needle, like the pen, has its own power. Before 1066 the word mend had two meanings. One was to repair, the other was to make right or remove a fault, to make ‘amends’. In the end, the needle may be mightier than the sword.
If you enjoyed this creativity exercise, you can find more free exercises mixing magic with mindfulness at my Redgold Creativity page http://elizaredgold.com/posts/
On www.elizaredgold.com you can also find more details about my books. I’m giving away a copy of The Secrets of Mindful Beauty along with an Eliza Redgold fiction novel of your choice to a reader of this blog, so check out my books page too and enter the giveaway below. Good luck!
The Secrets of Mindful Beauty: Revolutionary Techniques in Anti-Aging and Self-Care
If you think the answer to anti-aging and looking good comes from a jar, a salon, or a surgical procedure: think again. The best beauty treatment is in your own mind.
Did you know
Depression can give you wrinkles
Insomnia can cause sagging skin
Anxiety can increase reddening and skin rashes
Stress can result in acne and hair loss
and much more?
Discover the secrets of mindful beauty. Lose your permanent frown. Smooth your worried brow without Botox. Turn your sag lines into smile lines. These age-defying techniques have been specially created for a happier, more beautiful you.
Mindful beauty is a way of applying the practices of mindfulness to our physical health and well-being. Many of our routines around beauty lend themselves to mindfulness, and this will not only enhance the experience, but also have ongoing positive beautifying effects by reducing the stress and anxiety that can affect how we look and feel.