How to build your creative castle

You can hear Potter’s Theme in the mist as we circle your castle rising above the morning’s fog, it’s spires set against perhaps some fading last star.

Ok, so where do you get started?

It’s about the 1%. No, not that one percent, this has nothing to do with money.

No obligation and no salesman will visit.

This means if you improve something just one percent a day, what is the difference after a year? It’s not just 365% because not only does it stack on top of the numbers but also you will have days that you lunge forward.

It’s a little like going to the gym. Just showing up is half the success. Anything above that is a bonus. Same here. This is why the castle idea. What is a castle really? I have a really pretty one featured there but take a boring one.

It’s a bunch of walls. What are walls made of? Stones. Lots of stones. Some are not that big. One stone after another stone after another stone. The workmen didn’t go…ugh, these stones are boring and it won’t work anyways. They just kept adding stones. Eventually everyone complimented them in their pretty castle.

Same here. People will see your creation and marvel at it, but only you will know the stone after stone that put it there. Plus, like a castle, there is something nice about the fact it took so long. You have built it up over years and it won’t fail you. It’s sturdy and even you are a little impressed by the whole thing.

So when you see your endeavor before you and it looks so impossible just think, today…I will put down what stone I can find. Tomorrow may be a bigger stone or smaller, but I’ll find one then too.

🏰

For today’s music, I just got into this guy and so I had to share some of it. This is Scott Walker who was apparently a huge inspiration to David Bowie.

For the first track from this album click here!

Enjoy!

Tom

🙂

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What to do when you’re tired

I like to put in about 4 hours each morning but last night probably had less sleep than that. So what to do?

Practicing technical stuff seems a bit pointless as I’ll be practicing mistakes. And yeah, I’ve definitely had that experience of being too awake to sleep and too tired to spell the word “the”. It can make you feel really forlorn and frustrated so what do you do now?

Step back. Explore.

This is actually a time that really works wonders. Don’t beat yourself up with a) trying to sleep when that won’t kick in and b) get upset that you’re performance isn’t up to your ace level when of course it couldn’t be.

For me this morning it was playing through songs I hadn’t heard, working on an original idea I meant to do and then just finally going for a walk. I mentioned walks before and one of my favorite things is to get totally lost (I bring my device with data if it’s bad lol) and listen to music. Treat it like an artists date.

And that’s the gag here. You don’t have to be in “Fine Arts” to enjoy this. Explore your world in something you haven’t done for a while. You’ll get a second wind soon enough so enjoy this off the beaten track crazy moment. Be like a kid that’s stayed up too late and it all feels different and exciting. Take photos, go through old boxes, check out the books and niknaks at a Thrift store. Go up that trail you always drive past and wondered what’s over there.

Be over there today.

😉

Today’s music is a really cool Jazz standard by Chet Baker called Alone Together.

Click here!

Care for the Soul

Been a while! Part of the reason for that is what leads sort of into this morning’s blog post idea.

The idea you don’t have to take it all on.

There’s this thing going around that those who don’t jump on the comment section bandwagon have their head in the sand or some other failing. Ironically this rant on Twitter, that one on YouTube and the third on that new social media thing that was just introduced yesterday is probably not going to change your life.

There’s connections to be made out there certainly, and there’s things I’m doing now that come from those connections but there is without question a toxic element at play. Ever had a difficult meeting? Do you have to now live one?

If you want to get involved in a cause, you may be able to get stuck into it physically and it will definitely feel more effective. There are people struggling not far from you and of everyone looks after the less fortunate near them, well the potential here is self explanatory. I’m not saying let’s not care about those abroad. You can certainly do that too (many join things like the http://peacecorps.gov which very much still exist)

Look into local soup kitchens, outreach centers or other volunteer opportunities to make life better for those struggling just down the road from you now. If you want to make the world better you can a) try to affect how you listen to others, empathize and make time for them in your own life or b) go to where the problem is and try to help in physical terms. Neither are easy but both are very much needed.

Problem with comment sections is essentially trolls and negativity. You might enter a situation because you care or feel compelled but then that stuff kicks in, and you walk away just feeling frustrated. The people in need are barely effected. Remember the ice bucket challenge? Barely, huh? It was about spinal cord research which is a lie, it was about Als but you might have gone on with that for a second as it’s been so long that like me as I was writing this could barely remember. Now how effective was that and that, for social media, was a major event.

My plan is to cut my social media activity down by dropping the primary ones of my phone, and leaving them on my tablet which stays home. I genuinely like the creativity of some of it so if I see something I want to do it can still happen, but I’d rather live my life in the right now than this thing which is blowing “TV Generation” right out of the building.

Am I saying ignore the world? No, but bear in mind that too much of this is designed to crank up your emotions in the first place. They did it with the newspapers, the nightly news, commercials and now right here in your hand on something that makes you feel guilty for turning away.

There is beauty, love and joy in the world. It is there. It’s not all ____________ <- fill in what political or otherwise bugaboo that first springs to your mind.

I’ve actually started, and this is a grear part of Care for the Soul, listening to this that make me happy, or make me laugh. Part of my work work is very dull, repetitive and alone (which I appreciate is quasi-unique) so instead of NPR political shows all the time I’ve started finding audio of things like British comedies. Now they really shouldn’t be on media platforms (my official statement, it’s fine, grab what you can before it’s taken down) but see what you can legally get on your device that reminds you of gentler times, makes you so happy it is physical. You need this. We all need this. You can’t treat others with life-affirming compassion at the same level as you can when you don’t feel it.

John on the use of the word “Snowflake”

We need to feel connected to the others around us, not like we have to battle them every step of the way.

Life can be great fun.

Much like…..

Today’s album choice which is Kings of Convenience. I’ve chosen Quiet is the new Loud (which isn’t one file, my apologies) as it includes some of my absolute favorites including “Summer on the Westhill” which…well, it was once said that describing something beautiful like a sunset or art is a place where you shouldn’t so I won’t.

Enjoy this adventure for the soul by clicking here! 😊

Cheers,

Tom

Kindness is Magic

It has been now (just 2 days over in fact) five years since this little video was published on YouTube, as a mix of a song of the same name and people all over the world saying Kindness is Magic in different languages.

Click here to see Kindness is Magic

Kindness maybe little things but they make such a difference. When you feel for a moment that you aren’t alone, that we look out for each other, or that things won’t go too far wrong…well, it is magic.

Click the link today. I just want to let it speak for itself. I think we need it.

Cheers,

Tom

I’ll admit it

I had definitely a time back in my twenties when I was much more angry. I don’t know if it was a mix of disillusion with some other stuff going on. I know I wasn’t happy and was perfectly prepared to burn any bridge, do anything.

I wasn’t happy. I was Mr. Confrontation.

I’m not now, and this is what I will admit. Is it bad? Oh, possibly. I don’t come on here or anywhere saying that I have the best answer to all things, I just know what has worked for me.

There is a lot of everything out there to confront and a large portion of that will be not only unavoidable but part of how you make your money. Why seek that out in daily life? It’s rhetorical by the way. Not actually asking.

You should protect what is yours and so on, but I have no interest in creating wackiness where it didn’t need to be. I guess that’s my thing with so much I see going on. Life can be fun and pleasant and a paradise for everyone so why do we have to fight, squabbling over who gets what…where the borders are marked…how unfair it all is.

I know people who were born with so many ticks against them that it’s crazy. In lots of cases it certainly is unfair. But we can be there for people and be empathetic in those cases.

I guess I’ve just seen too much of the no end in sight, escalating side of confrontation to want to be part of it, especially intentionally. In every one of those situations I’ve only ever had the same thought…I’d right now rather be far away, be someone else, be where it’s quiet and this is not.

I mean, so much of the most growth and most beauty in life comes quietly and simply. When studying music, or geography, or history or doing most things of value, you don’t aggressive. If you started an argument in the middle of making love you would ruin it. It’s like putting a hole in her dress at a party. It’s just a path to upset.

It also reminds me of what happened, or where I was after my turbulent twenties. I’ve always called it by the slightly lame title of the Back of Bay Street because, well, it was on Bay Street, in the bottom back of the same house I had first moved to when I first left home. This location was so quiet that I responded to that and that became a great time of study, writing, and even the earliest days of Cookeilidh for me. Only challenge has ever since because it’s so tempting to go back there, which is impossible as you are only 30 once.

But it was perfect. You could sit in stillness and watch the movement of the sun through the room. I had a night light at one end, in the kitchen, and two different colored blankets covering the windows, so from the chair in the bedroom the effect was a magical pink and blue with a white star at the end.

Happiest places I’ve been have always been like that.

You can never run out of things that can upset you for some reason if you really dig far enough. You can be the wealthiest person alive with a flawless everything and still be a miserable person because something will always disappoint. You have to pick your battles but also enjoy just leaving the warfare alone.

“It’s no bad thing to celebrate a simple life.”

————————————————————————————–

Thanks for reading! Today’s ambient music for reading is mum – Finally We Are No One (full album) which is the 2017 release (Couldn’t get the symbol over the u) and is just one of many of their great lush works!

Enjoy

Cheers 😊

Tom

Elvis and the Elephants

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African Proverb

Full disclosure, I heard about this last night on a recent Ted Talk on NPR on the subject of becoming wise and you couldn’t not love the story of Elvis, the Elephant.

Sorry, the man himself wasn’t there but couldn’t resist that picture. Anyways..

The great thing about this story of this animal who got it’s name due to a disability that caused her to walk with Elvis’s leg motion, was how the other elephants would help it along and walk at this animals speed to not leave her behind.

The metaphor can’t be missed. It’s not that a single person can’t have joy or fun alone but, just like the herd, we are social animals too. Imagine if we walked at the speed of our slowest member.

One of the challenges I think is right now before you, and is the reason that you can read this right now. You see hundreds of years ago you were either royalty or you weren’t. If you weren’t you worked for the kings, in the fields or what have you. You didn’t know a better life and didn’t need to. It was like living vicariously through the King. If everything was good at the castle we were doing great! Way to go us!

But now we all want to be king. From Tony Robbins to Top Gun we got hammered with you could be number one, live like a rock star, blah blah, and well, how can that work for everyone?

Sorry for those who were expecting my usual creativity blog thing, I will go back to that too and it’s still me, but this is one of my strongest beliefs, held when I’ve done well and not.

You can’t have joy over here while they are not allowed it over there and they know about it to it’s finest detail and expect nothing to go wrong. From across the planet between governments to between family members, making life the heaven that Freddie Mercury sang about isn’t just “nice” or “cute” or “utopian” it’s better business.

I genuinely believe that you do not get away with anything. It’s like starting your work week at the office by cursing your coworkers up and down in the first hour.

What’s that week gonna be like then? Not a great plan, huh?

Same in the rest of world. You can treat someone horribly and be a dick, but from that you set waves in motion that have an effect. As a member of the world, this effect effects you. It can’t not. Maybe in a small way.

Reminds me of working at coffee shops. I’d see some…er…”individual” get harsh with an employee while that employee was trying to finish their order.

What would happen every single time? The employee would be thrown off there game more than ever, drop coffees, screw up horribly and things would slow right down for that same individual. It’s like yelling at a down hill skier. *Smack!* *🌲*. If the person treated the other with respect, both people would have had a better transaction.

Then add this problem of disparity to the present social media obsession that makes tv-generation of the 80s look like nothing, and…well, I think it’s the reason some older guy like me wants to bring it up.

I don’t, for my meager part, want to eventually leave this world like this without at minimum saying something. It isn’t just ideal, cute or nice if we work together for everyone’s benefit.

It’s how we stay together. We can’t be divided like this.

And now with everyone saying there side is from above and there side is from below, it reminds me too much of a holy war. Those never end good.

Is all lost?

No. But it comes down to you and I, members of the herd. We don’t need a political figure in a suit to tell us to let Elvis catch up. We can just stop.

———

Todays musical special is an absolute classic favorite of mine

Lazy Calm by the Cocteau Twins

Kind of works with my idea of everyone chilling out lol. Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

Aww, should have picked that. My bad. 😉

Cheers,

Tom

Quiet Thunder of the Creative Soul

It is so easy to believe that talent is reserved for a special few, ordained with a cosmic birthmark, and that this world the creative is theirs alone.

Not only is this wrong but that the world of creative thought does not belong to the world of the arts alone.

Marketing is said to be a modern art form (and I don’t mean the artist who supplied the company with those nice stock images), and that like every form it has to creatively adapt to a changing world. The “our brand is whiter than the competition…look!” days ended ages ago.

When you walk into any business from a cafe to a car dealership, sure you’re taken with an attractive product, but the way things work, or what makes this place different stands them apart. (Positive attitude helps in these cases of course, but even that comes from a form of ingenuity)

From my time in pitching ideas to producers, other writers and networks, it is the idea, the creative twist that is key.

I remember listening to a favorite musical artist and for a large portion of the album it was just the band jamming. Now it sounded good, but there was not much spectacular about it. It was a band jamming through chords with a guitarist going for it. I’m being probably harsh here but I remember hanging out in a record label head office in downtown Victoria ages ago and watching how the owner would give a new CD a few seconds to get his interest. If nothing stood out, out it went. Like me, and most listeners, he knew a good guitarist can play that way, a drummer and bass can set a groove, but if all this and the song doesn’t go somewhere special, it’s just nice packaging. What’s in the package?

**Industry Insider!!**

Ok, it’s not that amazing. A pitch document to get the ball started on a show, is basically one page with a “logline” or “elevator pitch” at the top that does it in one sentance. The latter being the notion that if you were in, let’s say NBC and some top cat got on with you (and you were super confident too) you could explain your cool idea before he got to his floor.

You got three minutes. Go.

As you can see from that, how fancy you write, or jam over a B flat diminished chord, or can brew a coffee or whatever it is isn’t going to help.

It’s having that idea that sets you from the pack. One favorite show from back in the day was Early Edition. It was back in the nineties (I know, it was a simpler time 😉)

All about the cat, bout the cat.

I remember thinking you could almost see the one page and the logline.

It’s about a guy who gets tomorrow’s newspaper today.

Just that. Like Lord of the Rings with the one ring, that idea is the little motor that just keeps purring ( badum pum pish!) and everything around it just gives it packaging.

Speaking of bands, Stewart Copeland said that with the Police

It became clear that Andy and I were just nice packaging for Sting’s songs.

So just because you just have an idea but never did this or that on the technical level, you are not out of the running. Those technical things you can get around. You can get creative with that too, creative with creativity. You can even hire out for someone who can help you find that sound. They will want to get it for you as they want to be hired back.

It just takes one idea to rock the world.

Bring your thunder.

Got up a bit late today so I admit I reverted to an old working music classic (also good for driving, resting, though if you’re tired while driving this wouldn’t work lol)

R. Carlos Nakai – Canyon Trilogy

If you haven’t heard this CD, it’s become something of a classic. Recorded in the Grand Canyon, it is Native American flute player R. Carlos Nakai, playing alone and creating beautiful ambient spaces with the canyon’s natural reverb and delay.

My parent’s discovered it in Tofino BC on Canada’s Pacific Coast and it always takes them back to that favorite place amongst the ocean and wind swept forests.

Enjoy!

Cheers 🙂

Tom

The Fools Paradise or Wise Man’s University

Before you go crazy wide eyed, no this is not where I woke up this morning. But there certainly are those who live this way or even more simply. This image was taken from the monastery quarters of a Californian brother.

The title which got me thinking was taken from a very different but also minimal living condition. It came from an incarcerated man in the “Doing Time” episode of commonspace on NPR.

He was describing life on the inside naturally which, though already worse than many of us can imagine, can from that point continue two different directions.

Starting my blog like I’ve been pushing for each morning, I run into both the work of people who dwarf me by comparison, especially with fiction material. I like doing fiction but for some reason I’m less drawn that direction. I also see sign posts on the way here past bass stuff which lets me know how there are people behind me and plenty way, way out ahead. Hell, you can find kids who seemed to have gotten through that whole “first word was mom” thing and then started in on doing what you do, but better.

You get impressed but at the same time, wonder what you should be doing.

You should ignore those sign posts. Be the brother who immediately heads out to work his garden. Be the man who makes his jail time into the wise man’s university.

On the inside, the outside, or on the grounds near the cathedral, it always goes two ways… up or down.

Now I can’t imagine a monk cracking a beer and being belligerent either.

If you have a clip of that, Id watch it, but seriously…there is two great quotes in Latin from one monastery that, even if you are not religious, might resonate. They have a similar theme.

Work is faith made visible.

To pray is to work and two work is to pray.

You could sub pray or faith out for “love” or “hope” as well.

Now most of us are not on the extreme side of a brother’s life either, and as such there is certainly more moments where Instagram gets involved (I’m guessing if there is WiFi in the cathedral office, it isn’t as heavily used as a downtown cafe, but hey, I could be wrong) but it’s something to think about. Our life can be that wise man’s university. It’s less glamorous, and signs around can dissuade you from any studious activity, but I think there is a security in it.

It’s rhythmic, each day keeping you strong, and giving you paths to quiet roads you never knew existed.

Music wise this morning was lonely day – lofi hiphop mix. I also started listening to early Queen. I like listening to where major artists started and hearing what might have began the engine. My band started as instrumental Celtic and few vocals, and is now ten years later this fast tempo project. Not that I’m putting us alongside Queen but it’s interesting with them or the Police or whoever you listen to, discovering how they morphed into the present state.

It’s all choices.

Oh yeah and one other thing I found on NPR that is just crazy but actually cool…and random…is the Study With Me (2.5 hours) Real Pomodoro Style!

This video is, no kidding, you studying next to a girl named Jamie who uses a study time method. She’s dressed conservatively at an apple mac workstation. After 25 minutes there’s a place to pause with a video of what I can only guess is her cat.

Hey if this works that’s cool. I remember being a full time student and I know how time is such a factor that it’s just out of control.

Have a great day!

Cheers!

Tom

😊

Don’t Poke Murphy

I just had to.

Let me explain. No, there is no time…let me sum up. 😉

I had some pretty impressive success with the last post, especially outside of WordPress, talking about how things had gone with my weight and quitting smoking. I’m always looking for things to talk about and that is true. Things were so ridiculously bad back then, which was so annoying because at the time I had just finally become a full time writer and musician so I was like really?!? Lol! I read everything you could Google about chronic nausea, sought out doctors, ran, exercised, meditated, and even drank gross weird things. I do a stripped down version of that now as those grant funded days are a thing of the past unless something changes. Anyways I am very glad I did that and am frankly scared to let things slip back, which keeps me moving. I actually had the pay version of the Calm app which was great and I genuinely kind of miss that. Still got to figure out how to include that again. I’m a musician so I’m all about patterns.

Random point, I’m writing this on my smartphone as always and I love the fact that when I put down “I’m a” it suggested “graverobber”. Little badass for my new MotoZ phone which I haven’t been honesty that crazy about, though it does have fm radio.

Which brings me to the title, which would make a good album title. Murphy’s Law, which is said to be based on this quote by Augustus de Morgan

It is found that anything that can go wrong at sea generally does go wrong sooner or later, so it is not to be wondered that owners prefer the safe to the scientific …. Sufficient stress can hardly be laid on the advantages of simplicity. The human factor cannot be safely neglected in planning machinery. If attention is to be obtained, the engine must be such that the engineer will be disposed to attend to it.[2]

Mathematician Augustus De MorganJune 23, 1866

Through grapevines and Chinese whispers (the latter needing a new expression considering it’s etymology) it has become Murphy’s Law of “What Can Go Wrong Will”.

I poked the spirit of this thing.

Result. Crap sleep because my tummy acted up and lost the entire day of blogging, hence Friday off. Least I kept that simple.

Nevertheless I am very grateful for the level of support on here and abroad for this. I was hoping maybe someone had been struggling with the same thing because I know how crazy making chronic nausea can be, especially when doctors act baffled.

I reset my alarm and though tomorrow is a longer day, I might be able to get one there or at least Monday. Sunday is pretty much the social media quiet valley of the week so not posting on Sundays is kind of fair enough. I am hoping to reduce the Sunday impact of the additional work I took on. I need the money but you need actual down time as well or the machine wont run right.

And that’s an album cut on Don’t Poke Murphy.

Speaking of today’s writing music is another classic from over 10 years ago now. Well I did mention Abba, so…

Iron and Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days

I used to work as a Barista for just years and back then it was this, Coldplay, Jamie Cullam and Jack Johnson.

Speaking of I really appreciated what NPR Fresh Air did with their 2016 Anthony Boudain interview. Like with Freddy Mercury I’m sorry I only discovered him now because of how he talked about his life being opposite of “Normal People”. As a Barista, cleaner, musician and even a writer I don’t know how often you feel like life’s biggest observer.

I’m drinking coffee in a duck blind.

Cheers Anthony,

Thanks for reading everyone 🙂

Tom

My morning pages aren’t neat

Ok here we go. Well, yeah…it’s supposed to be stream of consciousness writing and this is a little different as it’s like stream of consciousness texting which might be a bit unfair as I have predictive text happening for me too. I don’t know. I’m listening to Harold Budd as it was available and I was trying to get going immediately since that’s the idea behind these in the first place. You’re not supposed to do anything else first…ok I looked for the image too..but that’s why the title happened. Every morning page looks like the person has their writing set up so neatly that they have a desk devoted just to morning pages. I’m sorry but not only is that bs but also shouldn’t it be more like you wake up and go…while in bed still. You’re supposed to be half asleep or something…like the magic of the whole thing blah blah…I had a sip of old Ice drink. Should be ok it’s still carbonated. I worry about everything going badly with food. Maybe that’s why I went grey early and balding. I’ve stressed about food safe since a poptart did it. Anyways let’s not go there. It’s just…no. eyes are still blurry…hard part about smartphone morning pages is you have to sort of do it by time…nothing is telling me right now how much into 3 pages I am. Oh, and you’re supposed to have them private. Oops. I’m not too worried. Anyways I’m just writing and not really about what I write that much. What’s hilarious is that this is a longer day and I woke up an hour and a half earlier. Yay. Had the pretzles line from Seinfeld which I was going to use as the first title…I don’t know what…maybe because I was going to get a drink. I like the morning page versus meditation question. I keep meaning to do meditation these days but never get the time or whatever to do that. Ok what now. I don’t know. Dylan Moran style there. I’m supposed to just to keep typing like it’s a run on sentence or a talktive person. I think beer. Where is that from. Then TwaDogs. They are a distillery that we the band are connected to. I like some of there craft beer but never been a whisky person. My mouth just cringes if a mouth can before I drink that stuff. Ok. I think I’m going to stop now.

Kind of short on reflection.

Want to find more stuff by the poet Red Lane. Just discovered him recently, as well as Mary Oliver.

I mentioned Harold Budd whose music is perfect for any writing and also he worked with the Cocteau Twins.

Harold Budd – The Pearl

Cheers,

Tom

🙂