• Carol Wiebe

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.

#BrendaUeland #invitation #ElizabethGilbert #Writingdownthebones #oldbones #IfYouWanttoWrite #Texturesshapesandcolors #moodle #LeslieAvonMiller #muse #NatalieGoldberg #creativegenius

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