Category Archives: Miranda Writes

Where Ideas Come From: The Compost Heap

Where Ideas Come From: The Compost Heap

I prescribe to the belief that nothing is truly original, that true creativity is as simple and as difficult as building new connections between preexisting ideas.

Most of my creative projects arise out of an accumulation of years of discarded thoughts. Countless ideas that I’ve scrawled in notebooks only to be left in a pile in the corner, gathering dust.

Like food scraps, these ideas are shaved off of other projects. Some I created, others I merely participated in, and more I read or learned about after the fact. The first few steps down a wayward path, usually starting with “What if we….” or “Wouldn’t it be cool if….” On their own, these premature ideas are nothing to make a meal out of and could easily have been thrown in the trash. Instead, as an avid documenter, I collect these ideas and throw them in a mental compost heap.

There they sit, some for a few days and some for ten years, and overtime their original creative potential becomes the rich soil out of which a new project is born. In order to start something, all I have to do is start digging. Some of the ideas remain intact and unworkable, too interested in their own appearance to lend their nutrients to a greater goal, but others have been broken down to such an extent that they can be remolded, recombined, and that’s where the real fun happens.

This is the rich dirt of creativity: the decomposition of cast-off ideas. It’s why no effort, no project, no thought is ever truly a waste. Today’s distraction can be noted down and put aside to become part of tomorrow’s inspiration. Sometimes our ideas bloom immediately into wild-legged beasts or materialize as shimmering mirages, but many of them just need some time to ferment. Or, in the case of this metaphor, to decompose.


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The Expressive Technique (aka Dumbledore’s Pensive)

When my mind or my heart gets too full and I finally start listening to what my body needs, I inevitably find myself in my studio. As an interdisciplinary artist, I have many avenues at my disposal to get whatever is rattling around my brain outside of me. They are not mechanical techniques or well-practicedContinue Reading

I will not be filled with hate.

I will not be filled with hate. I can feel it hurtling towards me, heated by the fire of your tiki torches, trumpeted by the chanting of your racist slogans, engraved in the photographs of your snarling faces. It ravages; fueled by the husks of dark history built into this country’s foundation, a wildfire sparkedContinue Reading

Daring to Write Your Own Story

I write to explain myself to myself. To take the things that have happened to me, especially ones where I have felt disempowered, and tell them as if I had planned for everything to happen. As if living through a divorce, which left me distrustful of anyone’s ability to commitment, was something that needed toContinue Reading

Crafting the Hearth Narrative

Crafting the Hearth Narrative

When we were kids, my older sister organized the books in her room in a personalized Dewey Decimal system. Three and a half years younger, my job was to cut all the bits of masking tape to go on the bottom of the book spine so that she could write the appropriate numbers on them.Continue Reading

Learning how to dance again

Learning how to dance again

It wasn’t until quite recently that I began thinking of myself as a Dancer. Labels like this take a lot of confidence to claim. I’ve finally found that Artist fits me, as does Painter. Potter, in the past sense. Musician, sometimes. Writer, sometimes. I’ve been trained, at least a little, in all of the above. Dance, onContinue Reading

Community: An Inconvenience

Community: An Inconvenience

In the past two weekends, I have been reminded exactly why I spend so many of my waking hours organizing events, posting on social media, worrying about whether anyone is going to show up at said events, and obsessing over the best ways of facilitating authentic communication between the people who show up. It’s notContinue Reading

The Privilege of Choice

I was eight years old the day the towers fell. The one memory I hold from that day is when my mum told us what had happened. She picked me up from my classroom, where the teachers had kept the news to themselves, and we had just gone to get my older sister. It was a beautifulContinue Reading

A Year in the Arena

A Year in the Arena

I’m not a very private person. I attempt to live my life in such a way that it’s a story worth telling and I deeply enjoying sharing that story, almost as much as I enjoy hearing the stories of the people around me. Or, better yet, creating one together. This year, my friends, we’ve taken that toContinue Reading

On Responding to Tragedy

On Responding to Tragedy

-written by Hearth Founder, Miranda Aisling It’s been over a week now since the tragedy in Orlando and I’ve been struggling with how to respond as an individual, an artist, and a community organizer. There is, of course, the grief and the fear and the anger that such a horrific thing has yet again occurredContinue Reading