Listen to the Music and Spread the Word

https://soundcloud.com/ben-tookey. That’s the soundcloud address for an up and coming young musician-keyboard player and composer. The sound is indeed soulful. I love R&B, jazz, funk, Broadway music, classical music and the like. The only type of music that irritates me is country music. I understand the complex musical roots that went into the creation of the genre and the way it is merging with other musical genres now.

I digress. I have heard Ben’s music played on a piano, a sound I also prefer over keyboard, but I do believe that is a generational thing. The thing about music is its ability to touch one’s core. Is it one’s soul? Is it one’s essential essence? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. I am touched by music.

I received my Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Arts so it is not surprising that I relate to many artistic formats: painting, sculpture, dance, music and writing, now my creative expression. In the beginning, it was theatre; that was my creative expression. I do sometimes miss it, but I have made choices in my life which took me in other directions.

Writing and reading other’s writings is central in my life but my life would not be complete without other artistic inspirations. I thought I would share some of this music with you and hope that you will share it with others. Quality work is that, quality and should be experienced by as many as possible. Happy listening and sharing!

Advertisements

For the Love of Stressing

One would think that I have never travelled. I am leaving in a few days to visit friends in CO. I am a nervous wreck about the altitude, my migraines, and the cold. I am from NY but have been living in the south longer than I like to admit. So the thought of the cold is very intimidating. My friend said “It gets into the 40s at night. We sleep with the windows open.” OMG. That is sub-zero weather to me these days. I will shiver my way through my vacation.

Last year I was in Peru and Equador, and I suffered from migraines induced from altitude issues? I don’t know. I thought I would floar away from drinking so much water. My friend said, “Are you drinking a lot of water?” UGH. I am bad about it. I know the miracle of water, but I am bad at providing my body with that sustenance.

I am looking forward to being in the Rockies, hiking, etc. I expect to take magnificent photos. There is nothing to stress about, but I will stress anyway. I am such a garden type neurotic. If I didn’t stress what would I do? Have energy for more productive behaviors? How boring is that, really!

Cherishing the Moments I Work with Women

I facilitated an expressive writing class today.  There were to be ten people attending. Only a few women showed up. It didn’t matter. I love working with women as there is much in their experience that is difficult, if not impossible to get into when men are in the group.

I understand that men have their traumas and their pain, and indeed, we are all human and can share the pain. However, for women struggling to make sense of their pain, shame, and guilt, having a single sex group is helpful.

I enjoy engaging with women. The irony of that statement is grounded in my youthful dislike of women. I didn’t know then what I understand now. That is not to say that I have patience for those females who are superficial, mean-spirited, or airheads. Listen, I never said I wasn’t judgmental.

We learn from the stories other women share with us. Years ago, I wrote a non-fiction book on women and creativity. The stories that were offered to me during those interviews were precious. For the most part, after speaking for a short time, the raw stories of these women tumbled out. I was honored that they shared so openly with me.

I have taught many workshops, most of them to women and every time, the sharing has had a profound impact upon me and others. I cherish those women, their honesty, their courage and their willingness to share.

 

Thinking Myself Out of Writing

I think too much. I once had someone say to me, “It is too bad you have to hang out with yourself.” LOL. Really! I can worry and ruminate and whirl about something that should be left alone. I sit at my computer trying to organize my workshop for tomorrow. The challenge: each session will be complete. People will  regularly change. How do I impart anything about the writing process if each session is completely new.

I sit working on my novel,  long term project of mine, and I reach a point where I have to change the approach. I get tired and have to stop. Just as I can think too much, I can write too much narrative and not enough dialogue and action. I have been accused of being too much in my head.

Maybe that is why I get headaches. LOL. I am keenly aware of my habits, the feelings in my body, my thoughts. I have been working on mindfulness and positive thinking. Right now I feel as if I have to practice “Acting as if…” Do you know that expression?

There is always respite from myself when I exercise and when I pick up a book to read. Today, I will use both those tools AND I just got Netflicks so perhaps I will watch for the first time House of Cards to see what I have been missing….Oh, I didn’t talk about my art. Since Sept., I have been painting with watercolors. Some of my work is impressive, some of it is awful. However, that is another blog.

What I know: My workshop will happen, and I will learn some lessons. My novel will get written and published, and I will learn some lessons. I will address my behavior and learn some lessons. Hopefully, I will accept the joy in learning the lessons.

 

The days linger on….

I have no idea what that title may mean. I am sitting here at my computer planning the day’s work with thoughts tumbling about in my mind. So, I will write about a few things as the hot days of summer get going.  I love to travel, and I associate travel usually with summer time. After all these years, and it is many years to be accurate, I am still on the old school schedule. Summer vacation!

I just came back from visiting my daughter and that was great. In July, I plan to visit a friend in CO and in August I am scheduled to go to a wedding in Ireland. I would like to travel in the fall. I actually thought I was going to Paris in the fall, but that has been delayed replaced by the Ireland trip.

Switch subjects: I went to a fantastic Christian McBride concert Sat. night. This year’s South Florida Jazz Concert series was outstanding. Next year’s promises to be wonderful as well. One of Sat. night’s trio was a 24 year old piano player, my my. What an extraordinary talent he was and just a baby, as it were. So exciting to see that talent and hear him play.

Sunday was father’s day. My husband was visiting our daughter: my son is away in Nashville, and I went to visit my dad at his resting place.  He would have been 93 yesterday. I do miss him. He was a good guy,  funny guy, talented guy. My sense of humor and perspective had a lot to do with my dad. I am grateful for him in my life.

Today I was reading a Buddhist magazine. Yes, I am reminder of being mindful. I have many blessings in my life if I stay out of the negative stories I spin in my head and remember to disengage and observe.

Happy, mindfulness to everyone on this hot summer day.

A snob among us or everyone is just not equal

Here I sit. Focus is scattered. “Work on your book,” I tell myself. What stops me besides me?  Good question. I actually went to a writers’ group last week with a chapter from my book. I don’t think I will return to that particular group. Every critic began with “that was really well written.”  I didn’t share the group’ enthusiasm for the works presented nor did I believe the pieces were well written.

I can be such a snob, but I have been writing for quite some time. I know what I need from other experienced writers. I have always gone the process on my own. But then, I have never written a novel before. My books have always been written without input from others, an editor, yes, but nothing like a writing group. I related my experience to others who replied “sounds like you were in the wrong group.” I actually could write a short story about the people who participated as they were caricatures of familiar characters–the arrogant male, who has never published, the old man who was confused, the neurotic, depressed middle aged lady, etc. I walked away thinking I had better simplify the structure if this is my audience.

I have a tendency create complicated structures. Not difficult for a particular group of people, but the majority of readers are not within this group. Years ago, I was told my writings would never be selling in COSCO. I was insulted at the time, but with time I have learned to dumb my work down. Ohhh, the trials of brilliance. LOL. I actually am far more modest than I sound, but I do not have patience for this. I know what I want and need and will not settle for “that was very well written.” Actually, no!  The works ranged from boring, self conscious, neurotic without a point, to having no style, sense of dialogue, place, or movement.

So, there you have it. Now back to my novel.

Transitions

Life seems regularly filled with transitions. There are work transitions, living transitions, relationship transitions, emotional transitions, physical transitions and sometimes a whole lot of transitions at one time.

I am in the midst of one of those whole lot transitions at one time. I know that I will cope and adjust but sometimes, or more than sometimes, I greet these transitions with a bit of chaotic behavior. I feel as if I have a million things to do but don’t know where to begin. Indeed, sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that I can do nothing. Other times, perhaps because I am forced to by outside circumstance, I plunge ahead and get things done. But despite the reality that I am dealing, I feel surrounded by chaos.

I have long noticed when I move into chaotic behavior the one of the actions I should take to calm down I don’t. Instead, I engage in mental gymnastics and sleep deprivation out of anxiety. Writing is one action that brings me satisfaction; I haven’t written in about 6 weeks. This starting and stopping is problematic for me because it doesn’t help my mental state. It really makes it worse.

I meet my transitions kicking and screaming–LOL. But yet I intellectually understand and believe that if I go with the flow, as it were, I would handle my life better. The irony is that I know what to do to stay calm and focused but do not do that which would be of great benefit to me. That is another transition that I need to implement ASAP.

via Transitions.