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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

"A Star is Born" Inspiration


We went to see "A Star is Born" a couple weeks ago with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. The movie was amazing. The acting was fantastic and the entire movie was so well done. I would highly recommend it to anyone, especially a creative spirit. My only warning is you will need a box of tissues.

One quote that Bradley Cooper's character Jack brings up in this movie really stuck with me:
"Look, talent comes everywhere, but having something to say and a way to say it so that people listen to it, that's a whole other bag. And unless you get out and you try to do it, you'll never know. That's just the truth. And there's one reason we're supposed to be here is to say something so people want to hear. So you got to grab it, and you don't apologize, and you don't worry about why they're listening, or how long they're going to be listening for, you just tell them what you want to say."
This theme carries subtly through the entire movie. It is one aspect of music and creativity that Jack truly believes in. I really like this idea.

Being an artist is about having something to say and expressing it through your art. Whether you are a singer, dancer, writer, poet, sculptor, painter, musician, or even a tightrope walker - the most important thing is being able to express human emotion through your efforts.

Living is hard. This is not a secret. Anyone who has lived can tell of days where everything is feeling right as rainbows and other days where you can't even see past your nose from the rain.

Life is full of ups and downs. There are good times and struggles. As soon as something goes well, there is someone there to grab it, change it, challenge it, sell it, or somehow taint that good mood. We have to fight for what we believe in and be a voice. Artists are the ones who can express that eternal conflict that all of us feel.

Being creative is really a form of expression. "A Star is Born" really got me thinking about what I want to say through my writing. What is my message?

I want to share the unity that we, as humans, have simply by being alive. There are so many different personalities, origin stories, paths, colors, shapes and sizes. Yet, we are all trying to find some sort of security, some sort of peace, some sort of purpose. When you strip everything else away, we can all relate to the struggles and triumphs, big and small, that life offers.

In a way, this thought pattern led me to my Nanowrimo topic this year of doing a collection of flash fiction that connects us. The idea is that we affect more people than we realize on any given day. The background characters in our stories are the main characters in their own. We are all struggling with unsettling dilemmas, tired eyes, worn hands and often finding ourselves one step away from the edge of whatever struggle we face. I want to share these idiosyncrasies and attempt to make us all feel a little more connected to that stranger on the bus or in front of us in line at the grocery store.

Here's another little secret. Being alive means we are creative individuals. It is another part of being human, however slight or great in your personal journey. With that said, what message are you offering?

I challenge you to make it one of hope and love. If we can all love each other a little more freely, the world will be a better place.

Whatever your art, whatever your message - Say it - Do it - Let it be heard.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Energy Doesn't Lie

I have a habit of saving quotes I find around the Internet. I keep them as my background on my computer. Since I am often sitting at my computer, these quotes offer me inspiration throughout my day.

I realized recently, that I've saved quotes containing the message, "energy doesn't lie" in at least three different places. It must have really stood out to me.


This autumn season has brought many changes to our lives. We've started homeschooling, which has changed our routine greatly. This has all been for the better, but it still takes some getting used it. It also means finding a new support group. It is harder to connect with people when we don't come together on the playground every day to check in. This flexibility is one of the reasons we began homeschooling, but it isn't always easy to make new friends.


Not completely unrelated, is my realization that I tend to get caught up by words. I don't always have a clear response, at least not in the moment. I don't often have the strongest opinion in the room. I am a peacekeeper - I tend to go with whatever the strongest desire is. This form of people pleasing also gets me in trouble sometimes because I have a hard time saying "no" or making time for what I need to fill my bucket.


I don't think being a pacifist is nessecarily a bad trait, I just think I tend to be swayed easily by whatever is happening around me. I don't want to contradict anyone. I like to see the best in people and that usually happens when their desires are fulfilled. The problem comes, when I can't fulfill my own desires, or those who depend on me because I'm trying to do too much.


I am slowly learning that I need to be in more control of the situations I put myself in. I am done being in the middle of an obligation and realizing how much I don't want to be there. I'm not talking about going to the doctor or dentist, those I don't want to be there, but are necessary for my overall health. I'm talking about those times when everyone else is doing it and I feel the need to be included. We are all unique and the so are the things we need to satisfy our own desires. At the end of the day, the only person you can really appease is yourself. I am learning to focus on what I need first and let everything else happen as it can.


With homeschooling, the schedule is up to us. This is a great thing, but it also means we have to be very intentional with our time. We are finding that we must protect our downtime and make sure that we have enough hours in the week at home for "formal" education. Even when this means we spend the afternoon creating candy launchers, it is still important for us to have the time and space to accomplish what we are trying to learn. That means, I have to be able to say no when something doesn't serve us. I'm getting better, slowly.


Though most are extremely supportive of our homeschooling choices, there are always some who won't really understand. That's okay. This is a path that is truly working for us and we are stronger as individuals and a family because of this choice. There are so many resources to pull from that we are never without direction and creative projects. We are doing what we need to for us, that is all I can do.


We use a lot of hands of learning activities and a lot of music in our homeschooling days. There is so much to worry about in the world, but thinking of it all is overwhelming. I am slowly learning to reduce my anxiety by letting all that I can't control go and focusing on what I can do today, right now that will shift my energy into a positive direction. Instead of worrying about how everything is going to work out, I focus on the actions I can take to make today the best it can be.


I've spent much of my life as a passive observer. I am finally learning how to bravely, yet peaceably, let my own desires and opinions be known. I need to trust this strength flowing through me and not worry so much about what other people think about my choices. I make the right decision for me and my family, that is all I can do.


Some days are productive and some days we simply need rest. There are patterns of life that move up and down according to our activities, weather and natural rhythms. I am learning not to fight these undulations of life and instead flow through them enjoying this moment for all it has to offer.


Energy doesn't lie. I'm learning to pay attention to the moments that make up my life. If something isn't working, I'm more willing to adjust it. In many situations, this means letting go of bad energy and walking away from people or situations that I feel like I "should" do, but don't have the mental or emotional capacity for.

Of course, there are some situations where this is not an option (i.e. that doctor's appointment, a co-worker, a family member), but in those cases it is about making the best choices possible to surround yourself with good energy. It is a mentality, a lifestyle choice, that makes the different.

These are the days that make up our life. Be intentional about making it a good one!

Here's to making the most out of this moment...

For more about our Homeschooling Journey

Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Thing About Writing A Novel Is...

...that you have to create a world where you can live until it is done, and maybe even beyond that. 

Though I am not a published author, I am a writer. I have written on five different novels now. I can tell you about them in detail because they have lived in my head for a while now. 

My writing space at a local coffee shop a couple weeks ago.
I was brainstorming and developing ideas for this year's Nanowrimo project.
My first novel, True Love*, is about Lily, a journalist who moves into a small North Carolina mountain town for her first career job. While there she meets Xavier, a native mountain man who teaches math at the local high school. Neither can deny their connection and they are quickly drawn together. 

Next came Story of Decades*, a sweet story about Amelia and Malcolm, a couple who meet as kids and stay together for a lifetime. They overcome troubles and struggles together, and even manage a few sweet moments in there too. 

Leap of Faith* slapped me in the face. While on vacation in Las Vegas I had an encounter - it had no lasting affect on my real life, but a character was born on that trip that I have not yet been able to let go. Aria has spent her life running away, but when she meets Roman in a chance encounter in Downtown Las Vegas, her entire life changes in a way she never imagined. 

I Am Bliss* came to me slowly over the course of several months leading up to Nanawrimo last year. During the summer I had a conversation with a Shaman that got me thinking about how we connect with nature, especially to heal. Rowan Bliss didn't want anything to do with the small town mountain life, so she went off to the big city as soon as she could. Except what she was looking for wasn't there either. She stubbornly sticks it out until she gets news of her mother's diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. For the first time, Rowan tries to hold onto those precious memories instead of forget them. She is finally able to find comfort in the woods that have been the background of her life.

A Collection of Consciousness*, my current Nanowrimo project, will be my fifth novel. It has been developing in my mind throughout the past couple weeks and even still is developing right on the page. That is one of the things I love about this project, you can just begin and let the story transport you to another world.

That is the thing about writing, you have to be able to live in that world because it becomes a part of you. I still think about True Love and the characters in it. One of the places Lily goes in that town is a happy place that's been in my head since I did a college internship in a North Carolina mountain town in 2006. I didn't start writing True Love until 2009. Over the last decade, I've added to it on numerous occasions as I've put different pieces of their puzzle together. 

I just figured out a main theme to follow in Story of Decades a couple weeks ago. I wrote it down so I can go back to it, though it will still live and develop in my head in the meantime. That sudden inspiration of character development had me impatiently waiting to get back to it. 

Maybe not everyone has this problem, but this is just how the creative process works for me. Getting it all written down and flushed out is hard, but I keep trying because I have this impossible pull to share the thoughts and stories that are inside me. 

Then again, I don't see this as a problem, I enjoy what these character have to tell me. In a lot of ways they make me stronger. These characters help me learn more about the world and my perspective of it. I think that is fascinating and I am thankful to live in these different worlds once in a while. 

*Working Titles - basically, this is what I call them in my head.