Chasing Inspiration

Friday, February 26, 2010

Soundtrack Friday

I've been dreaming about Mallory's story over the last couple of weeks. This is a good thing. It means the story is solidifying and the writing becomes much easier. Which is good because I could really use some good writing right now.

When I dream about the books I'm writing I often have snippets of songs going on in the background. It's like a CW TV show in my head, lol! This week I've been trying to figure out the name of a song that's been playing over and over and over in my head. I knew I had heard it before on the radio but sleep has a way of distorting music and making it almost unrecognizable to me. Finally, on the way to work this morning, I heard a snippet of the song on the talk radio program I listen to as I drive to the office.

Today's Soundtrack Friday is Kelly Clarkson and her single Already Gone. The song is haunting. Sad. It's about good-bye. Mallory's story is all about good-byes. It's also about the hope of finding out what's real when we are able to let go of the things haunting us. Not everything we say good-bye to is a bad thing. Sometimes we have to let go of good things. Things that we love, that we are sentimental about or things that we thought brought us joy. It can be bittersweet and can be the hardest thing to do. Mallory is discovering that life has it's joys and beauty and that sometimes things have be walked away from in order to let that joy and beauty truly flourish.

This song has the right tone for some of her moments of realization. It makes me ache for this woman who is only in my mind because I'm living this with her. I hope, when the story is finished, her journey is one that resonates with others in a way that offers hope. I guess I need to keep writing.

Happy Friday to you! Enjoy today's Soundtrack Friday and have a great weekend.

Kelly Clarkson's music video for her single Already Gone


Thursday, February 25, 2010

When Worlds Collide

I love Canadian author Margaret Atwood. I love hockey. I'm disappointed there isn't Olympic hockey coverage here in the USA on non-cable tv. So when I went looking for some clips of my Canadian boys in action I came across something different. Something that at first didn't make sense to my sleep deprived brain.

Canadians do take their hockey, and their curling, very seriously. So seriously that the CBC was able to get a Canadian literary icon to demonstrate goaltending. Margaret Atwood. In full goaltender equipment. In all seriousness. Okay, in mock seriousness, but she came off very well.

I now love Margaret Atwood even more! And boys, if you're reading this blog, and I know you are, I wish you the best as you assimilate the competition and bring home another Gold for mama. I mean, Canada! Keep your stick on the ice!


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Soundtrack Friday

Soundtrack Friday is a little late. I had something planned out and then I saw the opening ceremony for the 2010 Olympics. It's in Vancouver, British Columbia this year. A city I'm very familiar with because I spent nearly every summer there visiting family when I was growing up. I know Vancouver Island even more intimately as both my parents are from there. All of B.C. is beautiful and there are days I sorely miss it.

During the ceremony for the Olympics several Canadian artists were showcased but two stood out to me. One, because I grew up listening to her music and the other because the words made me even prouder to be Canadian.

Soundtrack Friday this week honor two wonderful Canadian artists - Joni Mitchell and Poetry Slam artist Shane Koykzan.

Joni Mitchell wrote this song back in the 70's but it is the version she sings in this century that truly give weight and meaning to the words behind her hit Both Sides Now.

Shane Koyczan is a spoken word artist whose words are amazing. He preformed a wonderful poem at the ceremony, the words of which are below. This part of the ceremonies made me so proud to be Canadian. Even if I haven't lived on her shores in 15 years.

"We Are More" by Shane Koyczan

When defining Canada
you might list some statistics
you might mention our tallest building
or biggest lake
you might shake a tree in the fall
and call a red leaf Canada
you might rattle off some celebrities
might mention Buffy Sainte-Marie
might even mention the fact that we’ve got a few
Barenaked Ladies
or that we made these crazy things
like zippers
electric cars
and washing machines
when defining Canada
it seems the world's anthem has been
“been there done that”
and maybe that’s where we used to be at
it’s true
we’ve done and we’ve been
we’ve seen
all the great themes get swallowed up by the machine
and turned into theme parks
but when defining Canada
don’t forget to mention that we have set sparks

we are not just fishing stories
about the one that got away
we do more than sit around and say “eh?”
and yes

we are the home of the Rocket and the Great One
who inspired little number nines
and little number ninety-nines
but we’re more than just hockey and fishing lines
off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes
and some say what defines us
is something as simple as please and thank you
and as for you’re welcome
well we say that too
but we are more
than genteel or civilized
we are an idea in the process
of being realized
we are young
we are cultures strung together
then woven into a tapestry
and the design
is what makes us more
than the sum total of our history
we are an experiment going right for a change
with influences that range from a to zed
and yes we say zed instead of zee
we are the colours of Chinatown and the coffee of Little Italy
we dream so big that there are those
who would call our ambition an industry
because we are more than sticky maple syrup and clean snow
we do more than grow wheat and brew beer
we are vineyards of good year after good year
we reforest what we clear
because we believe in generations beyond our own
knowing now that so many of us
have grown past what used to be
we can stand here today

filled with all the hope people have
when they say things like “someday”

someday we’ll be great
someday we’ll be this
or that
someday we’ll be at a point
when someday was yesterday
and all of our aspirations will pay the way
for those who on that day
look towards tomorrow
and still they say someday

we will reach the goals we set
and we will get interest on our inspiration
because we are more than a nation of whale watchers and lumberjacks
more than backpacks and hiking trails
we are hammers and nails building bridges
towards those who are willing to walk across
we are the lost-and-found for all those who might find themselves at a loss
we are not the see-through gloss or glamour
of those who clamour for the failings of others
we are fathers brothers sisters and mothers
uncles and nephews aunts and nieces
we are cousins
we are found missing puzzle pieces
we are families with room at the table for newcomers
we are more than summers and winters
more than on and off seasons
we are the reasons people have for wanting to stay
because we are more than what we say or do
we live to get past what we go through

and learn who we are
we are students
students who study the studiousness of studying
so we know what as well as why
we don’t have all the answers
but we try
and the effort is what makes us more
we don’t all know what it is in life we’re looking for
so keep exploring
go far and wide
or go inside but go deep
go deep
as if James Cameron was filming a sequel to The Abyss
and suddenly there was this location scout
trying to figure some way out
to get inside you
because you’ve been through hell and high water
and you went deep
keep exploring
because we are more
than a laundry list of things to do and places to see
we are more than hills to ski
or countryside ponds to skate
we are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can’t wait
we are first-rate greasy-spoon diners and healthy-living cafes
a country that is all the ways you choose to live
a land that can give you variety
because we are choices
we are millions upon millions of voices shouting
“ keep exploring... we are more”
we are the surprise the world has in store for you
it’s true

Canada is the “what” in “what’s new?”
so don’t say “been there done that”
unless you’ve sat on the sidewalk
while chalk artists draw still lifes
on the concrete of a kid in the street
beatboxing to Neil Young for fun
don’t say you’ve been there done that
unless you’ve been here doing it
let this country be your first-aid kit
for all the times you get sick of the same old same old
let us be the story told to your friends
and when that story ends
leave chapters for the next time you’ll come back
next time pack for all the things
you didn’t pack for the first time
but don’t let your luggage define your travels
each life unravels differently
and experiences are what make up
the colours of our tapestry
we are the true north
strong and free
and what’s more
is that we didn’t just say it
we made it be.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Stepping Into the 21st Century

My husband and I finally entered the 21st century. At least when it comes to our internet connection. We've had cable for years and years - since I was teaching at my previous employer, in fact. Cable modems are great. The connection is fast and the price, at the time, was right! The down side was we could only have one computer online at a time.

Last summer we procured a router so we could have 2 Ethernet connections to the cable modem. With TV going digital we needed to do something so we could record TV and thanks to my husband's know how we were able to build a Media Center computer system (acts like a TV tuner and a DVR) AND have the desktop hooked up to the internet at the same time. Snazzy, but so late 20th century. Or so I'm told.

Fast forward to this month. We facilitate classes through our church. The classes run 13 weeks and then they are done. No more support. No more lessons. You're on your own unless you want to take the class again. For free, but it's still a huge time commitment. Or unless you want to spend money to belong to an online community for support.

Several graduates of the course approached us about getting together as a group so we could talk the baby steps and support each other through the continuing journey. A and I were all for that and had our first alumni meeting last Saturday. During that meeting, the Budget Crunching Party was born! Everyone wanted help with either developing a budget or refining one. Why not get everyone in the same room and go over it all together, right? So this Saturday we will again be opening up our home for our alums. Then we had a moment of panic. Some of the people in our group use the online budgeting software. Others use online banking to help them budget. How on earth were we going to turn two internet connections into enough internet for up to 6 people?

There is when we had our a ha! moment. Airport Extreme. We've been wanting wi-fi for ages and have been putting it off because, well, it's a nice to have not a need to have. Until now. And we had some Christmas money socked away waiting to be put to use on a present for the house. It took two seconds to decide to buy the house the wi-fi router. The wireless router cam home home on Sunday and last night we set it up. While it doesn't change the set up for our Media Center computer or the desktop (our main computer), or my 10 year old Apple Powerbook (doesn't have a wi-fi card) , it will allow us to use our work laptops in any room of the house. And will allow our alumni group members to bring their wi-fi enabled laptops or netbooks to our house and use them as we have our budget party!

I am giddy with delight! I can keep on top of email while watching TV which means I won't have a million email messages waiting to be cleared out on the weekends. I can take the computer outside and sit on the deck when it gets warm and surf away. We can network all the computers to the back up server and to each other making it easier to access information on any of the computers in the house. We are now THOSE PEOPLE who have many computers for different purposes and use them all! I LOVE IT!

So welcome us to the 21st century. I may still be using a cell phone that I can't text or web surf on, but we have wifi! Ah, life is good.


Monday, February 08, 2010

Soundtrack Friday - Monday Edition

I had this set up to post last Friday and for some reason Blogger isn't showing me the love. This week you get not one, but two Soundtrack Friday posts! Aren't you lucky. :-)

It's old home week at the Inspiration household and we've been listening to a lot of music from our younger, more impressionable days. Part of this is due in no small part to the fact that The Who played at the Superbowl on Sunday. Ah, The Who. Made famous to a whole generation who have no idea what Pinball Wizard is thanks to the popularity of the CSI franchise and Jerry Bruckheimmer's love of this group.

Soundtrack Friday is not about The Who. This week Soundtrack Friday on Monday is all about the music that shaped me. One such artist in the 80s who isn't that well known to people who live around me is Luba. Luba is from Quebec and hit the Canadian music scene with a bang in the mid to late 80s. She had some amazing music, a flair for fashion I wanted to emulate and songs that made me feel understood and made me want to start reaching out beyond myself.

I recently went looking for Luba, to see what had happened to her since the 80s and was pleasantly surprised to find she's still intermittently recording. Go Luba! We no longer have cassette players so I can't listen to my Luba collection. I tried to order her backlist, but that was a little challenging. I will have to wait until later this summer when I have extra dollars to spend.

To tide me over, I searched the internet for some of her videos and had a moment where I was caught back in time. I could remember where I was, what I was thinking, the smells and the sounds around me the first time I saw this particular video. It made a huge impact on me and in some ways helped to define my current belief system. I haven't thought about this song in years. I'm glad I went looking to see what had become of some of the artists of my younger years.

Today, I bring you Luba and her 1980's hit How Many (Rivers to Cross). Enjoy!


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Your Purpose is Showing

There is a theme creeping through my life both at home and at work. Several themes that coalesce into one - what is my purpose. That's a big concept. I've struggled off and on with defining my purpose and understanding how my dreams, values, beliefs and passions define and are defined by my purpose. I've taken courses, been coached, read books, reflected and prayed in attempts to discover just that - my purpose.

What is so important about knowing your purpose in life?

I'll answer for me. When I understand my purpose I can be more intentional. I have a foundation on which to build my decisions and choices. I can look at each job I do, each task I have and weigh it against my purpose. If my activities don't mesh with my purpose then something needs to change.

2009 was a year of stripping away layers of my life that didn't make sense any more. In doing so I've caught stronger glimpses of my purpose, not just what I want my purpose to be. I think that's important. I can want my purpose in life to be a welcoming and hospitable oasis for others but if I don't have the right talents or passions to go along with this purpose, I could very well be setting myself up for failure. Failure isn't awful - it shows us what isn't working so we can search out what will. That said, if I know in my heart that I don't have the talents or passion for being that hospitable oasis, perhaps I'm seeking out the wrong purpose for me.

Am I any closer to that definitive understanding of my purpose? Closer, yes. Defined, not quite yet. But I'm working on it.

Do you know what your purpose in life is? What has helped you to define your purpose?


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Books Read in January

Riptide by Margaret Carroll -- Creepy, full of secrets and sins, this book is not what I would consider a romantic suspense but hits my suspense genes in all the right places. A wonderful book full of twists and turns and desperation that coalesces in a spine tingling ending that satisfies and left me asking for more.

Walking Dead by C. E. Murphy -- Book 4 of The Walker Papers picks up almost after Joanne Walker, urban shaman and Celtic wise woman, received her calling. Joanne has grown and has a surety about her that was missing in the previous three books. She's still learning and still rushes in head first, but she realizes she needs her friends, needs her guide and can't do it all alone. I enjoyed the mystery and was intrigued by the urban fantasy aspects of the story. I think we're getting closer to understanding who The Master is. I can't wait!

What Remains of Heaven by C. S. Harris -- Sebastian St. Cyr fans, look out! Another gripping mystery leads our hero through the political intrigue, treason, and the lies that threaten to tear his soul apart. I'm not sure when the 6th book will come out, but I do hope it's soon. The suspense at the end of this book is going to kill me!

What I Did For Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips -- a reread of SEP's latest novel. I try to reread one SEP novel a year and since I devoured this book the first time and could hardly remember what it was about, I decided this would be a great January read. It's delightful and while it doesn't delve deep into the human psyche or into issues that threaten to tear the fabric of our world apart, it does show that people can change and that love makes us strive to be better, to be whole. I like books that entertain and remind me that love is a critical element in our lives.

Unclutter Your Life in One Week by Erin Rooney Doland -- My nonfiction pick of the month is a book on, you guessed it, simplifying and organizing. Another theme from my life in 2009 that's carried over to 2010. This book is one I now need to read and do at the same time. It has concrete suggestions on how to tackle the physical, mental and systemeic distractions in all areas of our lives that cause us to be disorganized. I'm still attempting the Office Downsize Project and believe this book hold some answers.

That's it January was not a huge book month for me. February is shaping up to be a better book month. We'll see. Things are kicking into high gear with kitchen renovations so I may not have as much time as I would like to read. And that, my friends, is a scary, scary thought.


Monday, February 01, 2010

Julie James Is Having a Contest

An author I've been reading since I discovered her last yer, Julie James, has a new book being released in March. The Book is titled Something About You. I find her books to wonderful contemporary romance in a world of romantic subgenres. They are clever, fun and full of romantic sexual tension. In honor of her new book, Julie James is having a contest on her blog. First place is a $100 Amazon, Borders or Barnes & Noble gift card. Second and third place winners will receive an autographed copy of her book. Check out the contest! And I would wish you luck but I kind of want to win this one myself. :-)