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Posts tagged ‘music’

Stick it to the man: Follow your creative passion

In today’s age of smartphones and the internet, it seems that we actually work more hours than we used to. Ironic, isn’t it?

I know in my busy world it’s a constant battle to find time and quiet to write. Sometimes, one day of interruptions can lead to several days in a row of the same. So, what do we do? Give up? Give in? Watch others achieve their dreams while we sit and spin and wonder what happened?

Instead, take pianist James Rhodes’ advice in his post, “Find what you love and let it kill you,” and satisfy your hunger for what you love.  You don’t have to go to his extremes—unemployment, divorce, nine months in a mental institution, and weight loss—to live your dream. But if you DON’T live your dream, you might as well dig a hole and jump in now.

You can still live your dream by setting aside time each week or each day to pursue your art or passion. If you have a job that you don’t love so much, then beginning to live your dream may just save your life or your sanity.

Read Rhodes’ post and please share it with those you care about.

What gifts are you sharing with the world?

On May 19, more than 100 members of the Vallès Symphony Orchestra and the choirs of Lieder and Friends of l’Opera and the Choral Belles Arts participated in this amazing “Flash Mob” in Sabadell, Spain. In celebration of the 130th anniversary of Banco Sabadell they performed Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy.”

Though it’s not really a flash mob, the clip is beautiful. I love how the musicians come together–a few at a time until the townsquare is overflowing with people. And I love how they’re all dressed in street clothes–as if, “oh, I just happened to be in the neighborhood…”

Music, like literature, lifts us out of ourselves and makes us want to be better. This five-minute video reminds me that we all have talents and gifts to offer others. What gifts are you currently sharing with the world? What gifts do you want to share?

How playing the blues is like writing a novel

In TV-land, actor Hugh Laurie plays Dr. Gregory House, a drug-addicted medical genius with the bedside manner of Attila the Hun who speaks perfect American English. In real life, Laurie hails from England and speaks with a British accent.

He is also a comic and gifted musician. If you listen to him sing with your eyes closed, you’ll swear he’s a great African American blues singer. (As my cousin did when she heard his CD “Let Them Talk” playing in my home).  The multi-talented Laurie sings, plays a mean guitar and is a stunning pianist. (In TV-land, House has a wall of guitars and a piano in his apartment).

After experiencing Laurie and The Copper River Band play Seattle recently, I’ve decided the blues is my new favorite genre of music.

Listening to the blues reminds me of putting together a novel. I love the way the different instruments—guitars, sax, bass sax, drums, piano, bass fiddle, etc—riff back and forth and talk to one another. It reminds me of different aspects of a novel—dialogue, plot, characterization—and how they all work together. Sometimes there’s dissonance which brings a certain friction to the piece and other times there’s harmony. Through it all there’s a sense of passion that drives the entire work.  Read more

What is your writing soundtrack?

As I write this, I have an earworm. Sounds gruesome, but it’s not too bad. An earworm is when you get a song stuck in your head. You just hope it’s not, “It’s a Small World,” the song that plays on the ride of the same name at Disneyland.

But back to my earworm. I have “Boom Boom Pow” by the Black Eyed Peas stuck in my ear from my Zumba class this morning. And while I don’t normally listen to music when I write, I wondered as I was doing Zumba if I could carry the rhythm of the songs into my writing.

Storytelling can be symphonic, says Jack Hart, a contributor to, “Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide,” and author of Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction. John Steinbeck has said he wanted “The Grapes of Wrath” to sound like Igor Stravinksy’s, “Firebird Suite.” And Ernest Hemingway channeled Bach. If you read the first chapter of “Farewell to Arms” aloud to the first movement of the “Brandenburg Concerto,” the words seem to match the music, Hart says. Read more

Four ways to stimulate creativity & cure the writing blahs, part 4 of 4

Sometimes, I just don’t feel like writing.  Even after I read a poem, try to write a poem, or finish a timed write—sometimes, the words still don’t come.  What then?  It depends.  A nap might be in order, or maybe a walk. But often, participating in another type of creative activity is what will cure me.

Play the guitar or create a vision board.  One of my favorite ways to strum the strings of my unconscious is to do something creative that’s not related to writing—like learning to play the guitar.  (Emphasis on the word learning, here).  But it doesn’t have to be guitar or even music—pick anything, except writing, that moves your spirit and allows you to be creative:  painting, cooking, gardening, dancing, even cutting pictures from magazines to create a collage or vision board. Read more