Your own personal genius

Is there something you were meant to do that you haven’t discovered yet either? What I can tell you is that there is every chance you’re just around the corner from it, but what is it?

It seemed appropriate to start with a musical reference to this as the history of modern music is loaded with these life twists. Martin Gore was just a band member before the previous songwriter quit and he was thrust into the role as he already wrote one track for his band Depeche Mode.

There’s of course the story of how Phil Collins replaced the exiting Peter Gabriel because he had a go from his drum set and all the guys freaked right out. But what’s really interesting is often sparkling talents for a given instrument like how Jaco Pastorius was originally a drummer before the bassist quit and thought he’d try, and within weeks was on his way to being the greatest bassist in history.

It makes you wonder and what if it’s not confined to music? There’s every chance you are the world’s greatest cojone player but it could also be in some other realm beyond playing crazy cool world beats.

There’s the classic story of 3M, where the scientist was trying to make a permanent adhesive and instead got this stuff that was sticky but didn’t work at all. He realized the potential of a sticky note and the rest was history.

I like the idea that, put simply, the search continues and as you do, you follow what intrigues you. Jaco was in the right area. In fact, from his drum kit he only needed to be on the instrument a few feet to his right. It’s all “In the Meantime” as you search for your thing. How long can you search? I’m 44 and I’ve had bass students 20 years older than me. I know people older than that who are trying their hand at boatbuilding.

And you don’t have to… anything. You don’t have to be the world’s best to enjoy it. Sometimes it’s just fun. I’ve been digging into keyboard playing over the last few months because of a Christmas gig that had long breaks and a piano in the back. I started thinking (ironically) “You know, I think I get how that bit from Depeche Mode would go..”(I had a understanding of keys, but never tried to really play two-handed that much)

But isn’t talent reserved for some higher-blessed types? Possibly not. There is lots of study on this, in fact one book to look out for is called “The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle where he slueths out world famous talent hotbeds around the world to find what’s going on. What he discovers is that it is less magically bestowed talent than it is simply how we approach learning something. Daniel has another book called the “Little book of Talent” which condenses this idea of deliberate practice which I won’t go into other than it’s about pushing into the weak spots of what you do, in a way that you can repeat with immediate feedback. Definitely check out his books which are available on the Hoopla app. And no, I don’t work for him, he’s just good.

So is there anything you’ve thought of trying your hand at recently.

Who knows? You might be the genius we’ve all been waiting for.

😉

Cheers,

Tom

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5 key tips to blogging after my 100th

Bridge the Gap

Been really busy this weekend but I had to stop in and talk about this because I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and now after just passing my 100th post it seemed the perfect time.

Let’s get straight to it. Maybe I’ll look at this at 500 and go what was I thinkin, but here we go…

1) Use an image.

Everything I’m about describe is used right above this by the way. Yes, you need some images and it’s pretty easy even on a phone where I work each morning. On your bottom left is a little plus sign. Make sure you leave some space so you can type under and then look for a photo connected to your idea. If you’re really crazy you can do photos the day before so that you’re not going ahhh.

2) Hook.

This is a Sol Stein’s trick. By the way, get Sol Stein’s on writing and devour it. That book rules. But in that first two sentences create a question or something that would make someone go “well, now I have to know what happens”

Ie. A character going “do not tell anyone what I am about to tell you.”

3) Hashtag

Before publishing go in post settings and scoll down to where you can put in relevant tags. Between 5 and 8 are best and range from specific (your town) to broad (like “writing”)

4) Prompt lists.

Lots of these to Google out there if you look. Not all are great but sometimes they will jog another idea you had.

5) Post lots.

Sorry if that’s obvious but yeah, it’s like anything. My girlfriend’s way more successful at live.me than I am and that’s because she works that puppy daily and makes connections all over the shop. Same here. If it’s your first post ever these tricks will help but it’s probably not going to start in triple digits just yet

6) **bonus** ColorNote App!

Thought of this one just now. Get a note app like ColorNote. Mine is filled with just pages of random ideas and you can just load on the go through your day and then have a boo just before you work. McCartney mentioned songwriting like this and uh… he’s pretty good at it..😉

Have an awesome Sunday!

Cheers!

Tom

Love, Sex and other things blown out of proportion

I know…oh, behave!  But this subject seems to need talking, more and more as things get confused.  In some less-known tribal communities in the present day everyone walks about either nude or mostly nude and the number of sexual assaults or sexual challenges are through the floor non-existent.  These people still “do it” and I can’t imagine it doesn’t still feels good but it is simply a part of life.

If nothing else mankind’s fascination with this subject is the stuff of legend…both love and sex. Both are the subject of songs, poems and while they are connected…love is seen as the softer, magical thing and sex is like it’s darker seedier side that dare not speak it’s name.

Then there’s the recent Incel thing which first makes you laugh until you realize how serious they are and how angry that gets people. It’s the same reason that I think “Friends with benefits” and casual stuff of either side doesn’t work. There is still powerful emotion going on. Indeed with the writing of this I have to steer the ship somewhat carefully as I want to explain that a) it’s all going to be ok and b) no, I don’t discount how you might feel.

I really believe that there is someone for everyone and that even if it takes a while before that 1st time, it will eventually happen. Physically there is no kind of person not attractive to someone, it’s simply that we have put certain looks and body types up as the it girl and it boy. Go back a few hundred years and larger people were it as that, like in African cultures, suggested wealth. One of the challenges is of course the thing both you, dear reader, and I are staring at right now. Now of course I love my ability to make use of devices and technology to put out content and connect but it is still over a synthetic machine. We are social animals in the first place. We are tribal and family centric beings, even though many families have problems so your families may not be of a “traditional” set up (may instead be a group of friends, step parents, something else). As such we need to actually be out with other beings in a physical sense. That is the one thing no app can ever, ever do is recreate the physical presence of other people. It’s been “adult material’s” one failing since Playboy first hit the shelves, it can never recreate the actual size perspective, warmth and so on of (for men with this, in traditional sense) a romantic partner. Hey but if you need that until the real thing comes along, “whatever gets you through the night…”

It’s so funny with sex advice and love advice you see all over magazines and now online as well though. I take the line from a terrific British comedy and recently played with it in a song about how this idea could really make it all work. I’m a sucker for hippy like liberalism, I fully admit (are all hippys liberals? Another discussion for another day I suppose).

Anyways the comedy is called May to December

And the quote from it was “You make yourself happy by making the other person happy.”

Just that.

What’s great about it is that it’s not about what you want, other than seeing her/him smile. Knowing you made his/her day. I think the other thing is then the joy of building something like a family.

I grew up a few friend nerd by the way so if this is you please believe me when I say that you’re not a lost cause. What helped me? Other people. But in order for that to happen, I went to work, started playing that bass I just got in bands (you don’t have to by the way, this is my example), got involved in other stuff. This probably made me less an impossible mess around people. Things weren’t easy. Still aren’t but I like what that one woman said about men she would date…

“Men are like wine. They have to be crushed and go through it a few times before they are something I want to have dinner with.”

She’s a comedian, so calm down…I don’t mean you need to be beat down but experience does come from learning with comes from bad judgement so use this phone to find out what you can do today outside of your four walls and get yer shoes.

Trust me, the friends, love and yes, the sex, will be worth it.

Cheers,

Tom

Morning Page

Books piled next to my coffee and water that I want to get through. It must be a thing to do with our age, because I do remember a lady complaining that her husband used to grab books from the library and never read them. I get some like that. I like to have that option. It is hard to see this as a pure morning page because well a it’s on here of course, but also the rule is that you are supposed to do nothing else before you get going. Frankly not even the coffee. It is sort of fair as I don’t smoke anymore so nothing is dragging me outside. Listening to my study mix which is basically low Roar and Harold Budd. Need more music. Always looking for that. Used to be Cocteau Twins all the time. Enya is the queen of fantasy writing. But yeah already saw Twitter and groaned when I saw the new addition of new shootings. Twitter is my newspaper because it is wide open and both sides can speak. It’s just depressing how everyone is used to shootings and it’s like everyone knows how to reach afterwards like it’s the same old thing. This was at 8 am. It’s that time now here. I can only guess this angry kid didn’t want to wait all day but that’s ridiculous. I know I shouldn’t think about this. I don’t have kids but I remember being a kid in Stellys High in 1992 and back. I remember being in home room as the sun crept over the farm field nearby and my desk. I remember the problems too. It wasn’t easy for me as well, and I mean I was a really picked on one. Now we know that that isn’t why always but some stuff can be but I just think of that horror crossing that memory and I can’t believe everyone should accept it as just a part of reality.

Got to change that subject. That’s another old guy thing. I think we make some sense. We’ve learned a thing or two and want to help inact change, even if it’s just some influence of someone hearing it once. We want to make a difference before our time is up to. That’s all midlife really is. Your mortality is suddenly staring at you so you live it up. That must be me now or close or whatever. I didn’t have a blog post idea this morning so that’s why frankly I just went for the morning page idea but one I have is for exercise and weight loss. I don’t have a specific diet that I can unload but I have learned a bunch of things as I lost about that 40 lbs in two years. So it’s not like super fast but it’s sort of overall health. I’m not rich. I just got paid and only about 60 of that is actually mine. I do believe that income dictates health. When you’re poor you eat to keep going or feel not hungry. It makes me throw my hands up you know. In a love-relationship you make yourself happy by knowing the other person is happy, or that’s how it should work. Imagine if we applied that idea to everyone around the world. Imagine if we were all about how can we make sure that everyone is doing ok and has enough. When you go this way people act like it’s hippyish but Freddie Mercury said that in Heaven for Everyone and it’s to me less about just being “nice” then it is actually good business. If everyone is well fed, well clothed and can calmly make informed choices then it’s good for everyone. I abhor the stuff about how War is good for science. We would get there eventually and we wouldn’t have things like…oh I don’t know…Hiroshima or the underground secret weapon of the Somme that the British used only once on the Germans as described by Tony Robinson in Time Team. That latter and less known weapon was so horrible that the Englishmen had tears when they saw it used as they didn’t want that. Aww crap how do I get off this one lol

Had a dream when I woke up. They always seem about water. Had so many about almost going the brink of waterfalls that I wrote the song Precipice. So many like this are still in mind long after I wake up and then I’m trying to think how I would have handled them differently. Like with Niagara I was like “Ok, where is the point of no return, just so I know.”. Now I live on Vancouver Island so my chance of the tragedy of being swept over Horseshoe Falls today is pretty low. There’s angel Falls too but from what I’ve seen you would have really to put in the effort for that to happen. Wish I wasn’t afraid of heights because wouldn’t it be great to hangglide in a place like Angel Falls or somewhere like that. Or fly an ultralight. Or Zipline lol.

Should start practice now before all the heady excitement of banking.

Cheers

Tom

Victoria’s Hidden Gems – Fairfield

If I tell you about a place with long beaches of little sunset coves, interesting local history, people watching, shopping and great food you might immediately be thinking I’m describing somewhere in the Mediterranean, maybe near the high end living of Monaco.

But no, in this first installment of Victoria’s Hidden Gems, we start in my neck of the woods… Fairfield.

With a history that goes back to literally the first landing by Victoria’s founder James Douglas, where the sounds of our early streetcar trams echo, the just-out-of-town pleasures of our community are just minutes away from your cruise line or hotel lobby. The title of Fairfield itself covers quite a large area, from the vibrant fun of Cook St Village to the Observation tower where this photo gazes down to the soft sandy beach cove of Gonzales Bay. This sames waterfront curves all the way around to Beacon Hill Park and eventually the downtown Victoria harbor, creating some amazing walks perfect for sunset romantic strolls past turn of the century homes. Along this same waterfront, near Clover Point when you near the corner of Dallas and Cook St, you are actually near an old military post used by Canadian forces during World War One, with it’s only evidence being the slightly wide fields and the round concrete stairway that can take you down to the beach facing the Salish Sea and the distant snow-covered peaks of the Olympic Peninsula.

For food we have absolutely got you covered as well, with lots of great little pubs like The Ross Bay situated across from the austere Ross Bay Cemetery which is the resting place of James Douglas himself along with other famous names like artist Emily Carr, there is the Oxford Arms in Cook St Village, a variety of small Cook St restaurants serving everything from Italian to Ethiopian food and speaking of Cook St Village, it should be almost be called Coffee Street Village as you can get the dark brew in about 10 places in 3 blocks. No lack of places here to sip and watch the world go by, all a two block stroll through the leafy sidewalks to Beacon Hill and especially it’s bandshell where you can hear world class talent or in summer weekends take in one of our “Free B Film Festival” movies in the park.

I’ve really only cracked the surface of things to do in Fairfield too. It’s amazing for hiking as you’re at our Island’s southernmost point so it’s easy to navigate your way about and if you check out online sites like Harbourliving.ca you can see what activities are happening right now, including live music and the Moss Street market which takes place all summer and is definitely not one to miss, or the Moss Street Paint-In just down the street from the Victoria Art Gallery and around the corner from the beautiful Craigdarroch Castle which was the home to a wealthy Scottish Coal Baron and a place to not miss especially around Christmas where it is decked out in all it’s festive colors and music travels through every curve in it’s oak panelled interior.

If you stop by Cook Street grab a coffee and send me a wave. Hopefully I’ll see you there!

😉

Tom

5 ways to pass time in Transit / Morning Transit

Off we go

See what I did there? If not that’s probably ok 😏

But seriously, stay tuned for my upcoming 5 things to make use of time in transit when there’s no wifi. I’ll put that down there after the first bit.

Kind of miss my other headphones. I’m using more normal earbuds but they’re not wireless, oh… nevermind. Just realized I could flip the phone the other way. Still gets a bit in the way when holding to type in landscape.

…what? Don’t look at me like that. It’s all about details. …what?

Ok enough of that. Today is mowing the parent’s lawn which is also in Saanichton so it’s on the 72 bus like I did on Monday. If you go two back you can go on that Fab journey. Yesterday was rehearsal which was fun and I got to try out my new bass which will be debuting on this weekend at the Victoria Highland Games. Here’s one of me back in the day with my old Peavey Fretless…one sec, I have that photo around here somewhere…

There we go! Now you can find out more about my band/music on the music part of my site or simply go to cookeilidh.com which I know is a bit old school for some so here’s a link to our Instagram too. I’d do our other stuff too but there’s a lot and that could take a whiiiiiile lol.

It’s actually kind of interesting being on the 72 as it’s the one bus in Victoria that connects to both the airport and the ferry, so like the 75 that goes to our famous Butchart Gardens…ok, one sec…lol

There we go! And trust me, that barely does them justice. Look them up too when you get a chance! Anyways the 72 and 75 are the two (feels like a Monty Python bit here) rides where you run into lots of folks from other countries, some with suitcases and some with backpacks. I’ve done it too which brings me finally too…

Five ways to pass time in Transit (no wifi)

Wi-Fi’s an easy out but imagine your in, like, the BC interior or somewhere with nada. Maybe it’s diff now…anyways…

1) Writing.. Not only this now but I have worked on entire stories and characters on the bus.

2) Scheduling with note pad app. Already doing something so it’s such a bonus.

3) PDFs. Predownload and read any classic. Presently doing Boefius and the Consolation of Philosophy

4)classic car games. I spy and so on. You can do it to yourself. See anything blue? Red?

5) Reach out! Take off the headphones and let the world happen. Not forcing it but you might get in a conversation with the most interesting people. Just like the discussions on liminality, it’s in these nuetral places in life where you could make a life changing connection.

Laters!

Tom

Morning Page 1

Now, that would be amazing if that was the truth. Ok, maybe not as amazing as some things but living where I do if you have that as the view from your window you are doing pretty well indeed. I took that back when I was making music video ideas and then just ended up playing on the beach. Got to say, this is being done on my landscape phone keyboard and its a little slow like wading through thick soup. Trying to do this the same way as a morning page where you don’t let the so called pen stop moving but I have to stop now and then to let this ridiculous phone accept that I just hit the a in accept. Hot stuff..oh yes and if you are rolling your eyes now just go because this is a morning page, it is just drinking coffee and doing this and it won’t probably get more mind-blowing, unless I’m presently unaware of something. The fan is as usual cooling one side of me. I’m just sitting in bed in grey underwear. I’m not a nudist yet but I am a little like that when everyone’s gone, certainly when it’s hot out. I hate hot weather and on holiday would far rather go north than south. I generally done like my jeans/whatever constitutes jeans as they always have a wallet, belt and more on or around them and as such it’s about as relaxed and comfortable as wearing armor. I do have one silly picture with a “wife beater” (that second word was actually predicted… brilliant). Listening to Low Roar which kind of a thing. It’s like a Tom morning crash course here. Ok…some bits best not said will be left out, but essentially everything vies for the pole position of this 44 year olds “when you first get up”. Coffee first. Don’t freak out, judge or get triggered. It works and tastes good. I pregrind it and keep it as airtight as possible which is not ideal but I don’t want to wake Cece up if she is still sleeping. It’s then coffee, light breakfast and social media until, well usually 8 but I slept in after yesterday being a sleepless mess…anyways after that will be the music which starts with either the bass and headphones or the keyboard down really low. One really cool trick I did a couple years back was I’d have music going from one device and on another I’d have on mute a “flying over Switzerland” video. Just kind of a nice little thing to have humming along next to you while you work. After about 3 hours of practice my goal is either the gym or some other thing. I’m not going any further as that is silly and I didn’t mean to underline just then. There’s no word count on this thing. Morning Pages are supposed to be about 3 pages which for me takes longer than it actually should at about 20-30 min. I know. I blurry eyes. Arm is still sore. Just found out yesterday I have vitamin B12 lack…like a lot and need to get both medicine and shots for that which is what might be causing lots of my health problems. It’s those problems that are the reason for most of the morning schedule but anyways that’s my thing today to get on that. I might wrap this now. I’m technically an hour behind and the moment.

Ok predictive text wants to go..

I mean I don’t know if you have any questions please feel free to contact me at any time and I will be there is usually a good day to come in and talk to you soon and have a great day and I..

None of that was real..middle button. Mine’s annoying. It’s like I work for a motor vehicle license place. It’s like I’m Susan Sarandon in the movie. That would be fine, she’s great.

Want to watch stuff on John Cage. He was harsh previously on the avante gaurd (yes it’s spelled wrong..ugh) musician who died when they both were younger (Hard to explain that…and it’s me hitting predictive text middle that hits the underline… surprised I don’t hit the link button)

Anyways let’s do just that.

If you read all of this I’m impressed. Or scared. Or bemused.

Whatever bemused means 😀

Later y’all

I never say that. With me it’s, yeah yeah..

Cheers!

Tom

Just in Transit

Been playing with one idea instead of using writing prompts. I’m halfway to the family doctor’s in Saanichton which is about 30 min by bus from downtown Victoria where I call home. I mean, I can still go subject driven which is what I sort have done normally but I thought I’d throw caution to the wind more and do like a morning page. I mean it would be edited as morning pages tend to be just anything and I don’t know how much I want to go there publicly but it could be kind of fun. I like the idea of it just simply for the honesty of it. Like how I am probably going to be late or how I just did a stomach calming breath out and it was…well… accidentally spitty, and I’m sharing a seat. I remember once coughing out coffee to my total embarrassment which I then used for a story.

But yeah, I think what I like about the idea is that you guys get to go a bit voyuerist and for me I don’t feel like I’m conjuring the same kind of stuff.

Thoughts? Anyways.. stops coming up..

Cheers,

Tom

Creative adventures

These days I’m seeking them out which I admit is why I have been a little scattered across media. For a while, yes, I was posting on here morre frequently, which I know I really should be doing even more frequently. Started doing morning pages again. Hopefully I keep that up too.

Creativity is something that I really think doesn’t just belong to the Sting’s, Beyonce’s and…I don’t know, Peter Jackson’s of the world. It is a place of exploration that anyone can and everyone should explore, even if you can’t devote hours a day to it (and who can?). I know it’s asking a lot up front but I’ll make my argument. And no, no berets, long cigarettes on that stick thing or copies of Faust are needed…dahlings.

It is an adventure to tackle any of the arts like painting, writing or playing an instrument. You are immediately joining in a long established guild of explorers and not only is there plenty to get stuck into but there are plenty of references out there, especially now with Google and YouTube only tabs away (see my other post on “Library Firepower” if you want to go old school).

In doing this, and I can’t claim immortality, but there is a sort of fountain of youth-ish thing going on where you are never really retired and there is plenty of energy and life you can tap into in the process. You can check out new music with your headphones while you try a paint-in at a local community center. You can get a guitar and start jamming with friends. With writing being the most portable art form you can (did this) go to every Cafe in town to find your favorite, and in the process, meet lots of people. And these are just three. And then there’s the art itself which is like opening the mechanism to a steam clock so I won’t go into that but the best thing is there is usually people you can ask. See a band you like locally and want to play like that? Talk to them after the show. Sounds crazy? I can think of three off the top that got inspired by my band and actually got going from that and so many times we’ve had folks talk after. I’ve done it too. Artists love to talk shop. If your asking it’s hardly because you thought we sucked lol!

What would you like to try? PS. We all fumbled n bumbled at first.

Ready for your adventure?

😊

Tom