Chasing Inspiration

Friday, October 30, 2009

Soundtrack Friday

I wanted to come up with something unique for Halloween. Nothing was coming to mind. So I did a quick web search on Halloween songs and nearly busted a gut when the following song was mentioned. I had completed forgotten about it! Of course, being a child of the 80s, admitting I forgot about it may mean I have to turn in my cool kid card at the door. Eh, I'm okay with that.

It's 1988 and the slasher movie craze has taken over movie theaters ever where. Freddy and Jason haunt the teen scene. I think it was because guys knew if they could get a girl to a slasher movie, there would be much holding and consoling during and perhaps after the movie. That and youth has this fascination with the mortality/immortality dichotomy. On the music scene we had boy bands and rap as the big things. Why, I don't know. Trust me, it just was.

A talented group of young rappers with a tongue in cheekiness that got them noticed more than their talent decided to capitalize on the slasher film phenomenon and created the following rap based on a fictional encounter with the bane of Elm Street, also known as Freddy. Now, I couldn't find a video by the aforementioned rappers, but I did find several tribute videos. This one seems to be the best, though instead of the Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff, we have scenes from Nightmare movies. Eh, it's halloween. What do you expect?

I give you DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince with their way back in the day 1988 rap Nightmare on My Street. Have a fun filled Halloween.

And here is a fan video of the same song. Hilarious!


Friday, October 23, 2009

Soundtrack Friday

I am having the worst time finding a song for today. That shocked me. Usually it's easy to find a song to fit the mood, the story or the weather. Today I have nothing. This means I'm going to do something I've never done before. I'm grabbing a random song off my iPod for your listening/viewing enjoyment.

Black Velvet by Canadian Artist Alannah Myles was a huge hit in the late 80s/early 90s. I remember rocking out to this song in college. I actually won a lip syncing contest with this song. Yeah, it was so easy to pretend to be cool when this song was on the radio. Fast forward to 2002 and I'm now married (for many years) and moved into a new home. To celebrate I go to a local store and buy a new portable stereo system, some candles and some food to go with the welcome basket our realtor gave us. As I was perusing the CD selection I found a copy of Alannah's debut CD, something I had never hoped to find here in the States, so I bought it, brought it home and hubby and I celebrated moving into our new home with dinner, candle light and Black Velvet on the stereo.

For your listening pleasure, and hopefully for some of you a trip down memory lane, I bring you the incomparable Alannah Myles and her international success Black Velvet!

Music Videos by VideoCure


Monday, October 19, 2009

Be Inspired

I love I think I love it because it promotes simplicity and lately I've been attempting to simplify many things in my life. There's a practical element to the Zen Habits blog that urges me forward to take steps to reach that rarefied state of simplicity. Which brings me to today's entry.

Today, Leo Babauta, the owner of the Zen Habits blog, has a great post on inspiration and a simple way to produce inspiration. I'm reposting the article here. And lest you think I'm infringing copyright - something I really try to stay away from - Leo believes in something called "Open Source Blogging" and you can read all about that here.

Read the post. And practice Breath of God Inspiration yourself. Then tell me how it went. I plan to go through the three steps myself later today and will post my experience.

Post written by Leo Babauta of

The word “inspiration” to some literally means “the breath of God”.

Whether you’re religious or not, the idea of God or a god or a muse breathing inspiration into the depth of our beings is a beautiful one. Even if the world is naught but a natural miracle, this idea can lift you up, and give you the spark of life to *do* something great.

That’s inspiration at its absolute best: not just when it lifts us up, makes us feel good or enthusiastic or excited, but when it *moves* us, when we become so moved that we create something of truth or beauty.

It’s an elusive thing, this pure inspiration, something people of all types of creativity seek on a daily basis. Here’s one method — a simple method I hope will help you in that everyday search.

It’s three simple steps:

1. Find something divinely touched.
2. Breathe in that divine inspiration.
3. Do. Create. Inspire.

Let’s look at each step in turn.

Step 1. Find something divinely touched.
For this step, I use a loose definition of “divine” … you don’t have to be religious to find divinity in something. When Mozart wrote a symphony, or Jobs created the Macbook Air, or a stranger smiles at you, there is divinity in that. There’s divinity in a sunset, in every living thing (why I’m a vegan), in a cool breeze on a humid day.

You just need to recognize the inspiration, in whatever form it comes.

Here are my greatest sources of inspiration:

* People doing great things.
* Things of great beauty.
* Nature.
* Music.
* The written word: books, magazines, blogs.
* People in your life.
* Love, in any form.
* Yourself, doing anything good, no matter how tiny.

Step 2. Breathe in that divine inspiration.
Take a slow, deep breath. As the air comes into your mouth or nostrils, through your throat, and fills your lungs, it is bringing divine inspiration into your body.

Repeat. Each inhalation brings with it more inspiration, and each exhalation releases tension.

Step 3. Do. Create. Inspire.
You are now filled with the Breath of God. Take this inspiration and use it, be moved, and do something. Don’t just sit there feeling good. Channel that inspiration into creating something amazing.

Put that something out into the world, and in turn, you will inspire others.

“I am convinced that there are universal currents of Divine Thought vibrating the ether everywhere and that any who can feel these vibrations is inspired.” -Richard Wagner

The above information on the Breath of God Inspiration was brought to you by Leo Babauta and his blog


Friday, October 16, 2009

Soundtrack Friday

I had a breakthrough with my story this last week in the form of a dream. In that dream, I was walking down a country road, alone. There were shadows around me. Some were leering at me. Others were softly brushing up against me. Some made me feel safe. Others made me want to run.

And while I was walking down this road during the dusk of day, a song was playing over and over again in the background. In my dream it didn't seem strange to have a music track floating over me as I walked and tried to ignore the shadows edging in on my personal space. In fact, when I woke up the song was the first thing I remembered and I hummed it all morning until the dream came crashing back at me with such clarity I had to pause and write it all down - every color, sound, smell, nuance.

This doesn't happen to me very often so when it does I have to take notice. I asked myself why I had this dream and what it all means. Mallory came to mind. So I reflected a little more and it wasn't me walking down that lonely country road, it was the heroine of my story. Then the shadows started to make sense. And the song, it just fit. Completely embodying Mallory as she starts the story.

So, in honor of my writing breakthrough, I give you a group I hardly listen to with a song that has become a haunting refrain to Mallory's story - Green Day and their hit Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why Nathan Fillion Rocks

It's no secret, I have a huge crush on fellow Canadian and amazing actor, Nathan Fillion. I first saw him on One Life To Live and followed his career from the get go. I adored Firefly. I loved his guest spot on Buffy. I even thought Two Guys and A Girl was cute. I cheered him on in the short lived Drive. And I was thrilled to death when ABC announced he would be staring in their new dramady. Seriously, the world is a better place because of Nathan Fillion.

One of the many reasons Nathan Fillion rocks is because of his rapport with his fans. He Tweets some of the most amusing things and even though I'm sure he would rather never be asked about Firefly ever again, he tosses in some nods to his fans. Like this week's episode of Castle. In about the 6th minute of the program, people are entering an apartment and donning those blue latex gloves to keep the crime scene safe from additional finger prints. After his gloves are donned he flashes two peace signs. But wait, those aren't really peace signs. No, he's miming a line from Firefly that any fan should know - two by two, hands of blue. Don't believe me, check out his Twitter.

Brilliant! And yet another reason why I love Nathan Fillion. If I weren't happily married I might try to hunt him down and beg to have his babies. Thankfully, I am happily married so I can save myself that embarrassing stalkerish conversation. Phew!

Nathan, as long as you keep doing that wonderful thing you do the world is a much, much better place. Of course, as a Canadian, you already know that, don't you? Yeah, Canadians are cool like that.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Making Time, First Be Honest

I'm great at making time to write. I feel a passion for writing. I burn to get words on the page, and I've built a habit over time that makes it easier for me to put my game face on and do the work. Home is a different matter. Making time to do the things that need to be done - dishes, laundry, cleaning, organizing the home office, paying bills, and so on - well, that's a struggle.

I sat down on Sunday to think about why this is. Why is it that when it's something I committed to do, whether I love the work or not, that it's so difficult for me to follow through. Especially at home. I find myself lacking focus. I'm distracted by prettier, shinier things. And my commitments get shifted further and further from the forefront of my mind.

Then I had my aha! Perhaps my lack of focus is because I don't want to take responsibility? What a humbling realization and a sneaky subconscious technique on my part. If I don't take responsibility, I don't have to be an equal partner. If something fails, it rests more on someone else's shoulders than my own. With less responsibility, I don't have to give voice to my fears or opinions. And, I don't have to feel like I must do the tasks involved if I really don't want to.

On the flip side, I don't get to share in the successes. I'm not using my time in an effective manner. I'm not playing the game on a level playing field.

My lack of focus is because my heart isn't in the game. Take this cleaning of the office I keep mentioning. If I don't clean it, I'm not working in a clutter and distraction free zone, but I also don't have to share the space because the husband doesn't have any room. If I don't clean the office, I have time for other things, but I ultimately waste time whenever I need to find something and have to search through piles and drawers. If I don't clean the office, I can forget about the tasks hiding for me on shelves, in in-baskets, on desktops and not do distasteful tasks, but if I don't clean the office something is going to bite me in the ass and it's likely to cost me big in either time, money or potentially relationships.

If I take responsibility, refocus, and just do the work, I will gain so much more than I could gain by putting it off.

This is the sort of exercise I had to do with myself to get to the heart of the matter. What am I telling myself about these things I keep pushing off until tomorrow? Why is that? What do I gain by continuing with my current state? What might I lose? Am I willing to change? Or am I okay with the status quo? Am I acting out of fear? A need for the status quo? Out of perfectionism? Out of a thought barrier of playing victim? Am I okay with that or do I want to break free and break through?

Without honesty, I don't think we can change. It may be hard to get to that honest truth. Facing our inner motivations isn't always pretty. And the work can be ugly. I'm here to tell you that it's worth it. Once you're honest, once you get your current motivation and whether it's counter to your goal/dream/passion, then you can start the process of change.

What do you keep wishing you could make time for? What do you keep putting off? Have you been honest with yourself about why? And if you're okay with the status quo, why are you still wishing?

Friday, October 09, 2009

Making Time

If you're in the Cities today and want something to do at 11:30, I'm going to be presenting a workshop on Making Time to Write at my local RWA chapter. Go to for more info.

And on that note, the entire topic of making time to do whatever it is that seems to be eluding us has been on my mind lately. It stems from a discussion I had with the husband about fulfilling some commitments I had made back in January/February when I was still looking for work. Those commitments were urgent while I was unemployed but as soon as I found work they became less important. To me, anyway.

So I thought about why I wasn't fulfilling these commitments. Was it time? Where the tasks too difficult? Too easy? Why had I let them slide?

The answer came quickly. The tasks were things I just didn't deem important. So I procrastinated instead of just getting them done. I kept telling myself I would do them tomorrow, someday, later. They kept falling to the bottom of my personal priority list and I just didn't make time.

Writing can be like that. We can say we want to write. We can take the classes, listen to the tapes, read the books, attend the seminars, but until we are willing to commit writing will never be a priority.

There are many reasons why we don't make time. I'm talking about some of those tomorrow in my workshop. And I'm thinking about doing a brief series about these reasons here on this blog. The concepts work with any goal we might be chasing but never seem to catch. My husband is really hopeful that I'll apply these strategies to my own tasks and finally get those commitments completed. *grin*

Soundtrack Friday

This week has been a strange one for me. My husband is working later than normal. The weather is crazy cold for the beginning of October. Velcro Dog is extra clingy. And my brain keeps jumping from one thought to another as though each thought were a shiny object and I were a magpie, trying to catch and play with them all. Definitely strange.

I decided to veer off the path of finding a song that matched the soundtrack of what I'm writing and pick a song that will make me smile and give a glow to the day.

Today's Soundtrack Friday is because my friend Shannon always makes me smile and loves Bon Jovi. And because this song has a great beat and I can't listen to it without a grin on my face.

I give you Bon Jovi and It's My Life.

And for those of you who also love the TV show Glee, I give you the Glee version of the song in a mash up with some other song that I don't really care about as much. LOL!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Soundtrack Friday

Fall is definitely upon us. Which is a great thing because I love fall. I love the change of colors, the crisp edge to the weather. I'm a huge fan of fall fruit and veggies. Apples, squash, beans, garlic, pumpkin, persimmon, quince. I adore the crunch of leaves beneath my feet and the smell of rich earth, turned and plowed and ready to rest over the winter. As fall deepens, there is the smell of woodsmoke and the delight of fires - in a fire pit or in a fireplace. There's the lacework carved onto windows by frost. There's the need to pull out wool scarves, hats and mittens and tromp around with wisps of breath puffing about your face.

Yes, I love fall. And fall brings to mind the moving Sliding Doors for some reason. I don't know why. I don't recall if it takes place in fall, but it feels like a fall movie to me. When I think of Sliding Doors I think of Dido and her song Thank You. I love Dido for the simplicity and complexity of her lyrics, for the accessibility of the music and because I can actually sing along with her because her range is similar to my own - as lacking in talent I may be.

And I love this song because it's a little sad and a little happy and perfect to welcome in fall. I hope you enjoy today's soundtrack - Thank You by musical artist Dido.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Books Read in September

Destined for an Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost -- The lastest book in the Cat and Bones saga. Nice twists, great developments and a wonderful way to bring in some backstory without bogging the book down. Paranormal Romance.

Darkfever, Bloodfever, Faefever by Karen Marie Moning -- Rereading the Fever series as I eagerly await book 4 from the library. While not literary genius, these books are full of great storytelling and world building and have earned a place on my keeper shelf. Urban Fantasy.

The Accidental Best Seller by Wendy Wax -- What happens when four writers band together to help the flagging career of one? Well, you get an unexpected best seller with unanticipated consequences. Women's Fiction.

Double Play by Jill Shalvis -- Baseball, journalism and hot chemistry make this book a must read. Contemporary Romance.

One Reckless Summer by Toni Blake -- Returning home has never been so hard or so rewarding. At turns sexy and poignant. A great summer read by Toni Blake. Contemporary Romance.

Storm Watch by Jill Shalvis -- An excellent story by Jill! A great blend of drama and sexual tension in a brief word count. Jill blows me away.

The Inn at Eagle Point by Sherryl Woods -- I don't usually read sweeter stories but this was a great set up to a series about a family and all the drama that comes with being a part of a family of strong willed people. A nice set up and thank you Kelli for recommending it to me!

Demon Angel by Meljean Brook -- Demons, angels, nosferatu, halflings, oh my! A great beginning to a series that takes Good vs. Evil to intriguing new levels. I'm definitely going to be reading more of Meljean's series, you can bet on that!