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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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

🙂

Retrospect

Since I’ve gone past my first one hundred posts and one hundred follows it does make sense to look back.

This really kicked off between a Uvic school thing and the Ollie and Emma project. I actually just flipped back and I yeah it’s been a heck of a journey to this point, with many posts I’ve forgotten about but I definitely have a sort of theme which is creativity, specifically talking about it. I don’t think it hurts that me and my mom are the weird creative types that talk my dad’s ears off whenever we are in the car, not just about this subject but generally.

Back when I was first self employed as a writer/pitch writer/musician I had all this extra morning time before I’d head to the shared office so I began just researching creativity since to me that was my product, plowing through almost every book in the library. There’s a potential blog for later… favorite books on creativity. Got three in mind all ready, but I’ll leave it for when I can really compile it. Considering this subject can get sometimes…well…”artsy” I want to make sure I’m actually giving you guys something I’d value. There’s so much fluff out there that I want to contribute a little more than that, or at least make it entertaining. Even voyeuristic into what I’m doing. Hey, totally cool. To me that’s like we went for coffee and you asked me questions. I’m a ADHD goofball like I mentioned before so I’d probably give you a moment by moment play by play of my morning if you let me.

Best not do that.

I also (here I go…lol) like the idea of this thing called tompogson.com (which makes me seem like a weird golf caddy clothing line) being about an overarching experience of being a creative spirit. From where I write this I can see most of my music gear, writing, books and even the visual art stuff I mentioned yesterday. There’s no rule stating what you are or are meant to be. One of my favorite little quirks of the band Depeche Mode was that for ages you never saw them on albums and not only did the liner notes not say who played what, but they’d flip the order of names around so for months I thought the singer was Alan Wilder. (nope.) All creativity is your playground and you can just experiment.

Though in a music situation you do feel safe behind your main instrument. Safe isn’t a bad four letter word or something. You can jump from safe to the deep end and back. Safe can get you to the edge.

Now jump.

Ok, I’m going way too global metaphorical axiom wacky now.

Have a great day guys and thank you all for reading this and going on this journey with me!

Ooh! One idea I had was I could put it what I was listening to this morning, since I usually work to music. Now it’s usually Low Roar or Harold Budd so I’ll start with L.R. but I can make it kind of a fun thing to add something different each day (it will be stuff you can work to so less on the metal side for me. If that works for you then that’s cool 😎

Because We Have To – Low Roar

Cheers,

Tom

On this other writing

It’s the sort of thing I wanted to do with my first comedy pilot. I can’t bring you right in of course, that’s physically impossible. But it’s also part of my goal, to change your perception to mine, even if for three to four minutes.

Songwriting.

Now of course, not all songwriting has to be deep and cerebral. Kurt Weill championed the writing of silly songs and the “just fun”. Hey, we gotta eat too, right?

I’ve been writing since I simply could. Even before that, considering it certainly kicked off before I played my first note on that purple Series A bass I had at the age of nineteen. Guitar would still wait a year.

Actually doing it scared me at first, like it was only done by geniuses who were born under a music school piano or something. Between people I jammed with in those early days and music I was learning it seemed more and more reachable. Then came my first role model.

This guy.

Martin Lee Gore of Depeche Mode was the first person to not only pave my first road, but also to show what could be so great about it.

He brought in the idea of taking every subject without filter, layering the modern and creatively limitless atop the traditional, and the storyteller’s approach to sounds versus the idea of endless rock solos. From the first album I got ( a friend’s tape of Some Great Reward ) I was hooked. My first multitrack cassette machine was soon going to arrive.

And I sucked. It wasn’t good at all. It’s one of the reasons I don’t believe that there’s such a thing as bad art. First because any attempt beyond our day to day is beautiful like an early cave painting, but also I will beat anyone to the finish for the just bad.

But you go through this and soon I became a Socan member after getting on the radio a few times.

Since then it’s just always been there, though just recently it has got a resurgence to when I first heard Martin’s work (not to steal his thunder)

This guy.

Ryan Karazija of Low Roar. I discovered this music in the way many probably have, by simply surfing in and seeing the intriguing album cover for the self titled debut (a deer with birds flying out of it’s mouth. It reminded me of the Canadian artist Hayden). I was doing morning pages and other writing and just wanted music to work to, like my use of Harold Budd and Cocteau Twins that had been my go to for just years. That album of Ryan’s was instantly a favorite and it sparked the idea of trying to actually move forward again. So from the beginning of this year I started working on my first song “She lives There”, and while it’s becoming clear that I need to upgrade my recording equipment before I put out a first EP, I still would love to do that and until then I want to hone my sound and songs in preparation.

Songs for me come from anywhere and have come in on literally any instrument. I’ll hear something or learn about something and go “ooh that’s good”.

An example of this was Moonwatcher which is now on my SoundCloud page, which came from studying my girlfriend’s First Nations culture in a dissertation by her late Aunt, Allis Pakki Chipps-Sawyer called Standing on The Edge of Yesterday

In it she mentions the traditional Moonwatchers who would literally stay up all night and observe the moon and there findings would make decisions easier for Elders in the day. Just the name sparkled before me, but I knew it would be too much like Moonshadow if I went and did it acoustic, so I tried for an almost dance feel.

Precipice on the other hand had to be written as I kept having a waking nightmare of being swept over Niagara falls, on a loop so I never actually fell (clearly a stress thing). The cascading arpeggio at the start came first and then the first half fell in place. I resisted the dramatic “chorus” at first but it grew on me. Is it a hit? Probably not, but I love both songs for what every song I have ever done. It is a capture of me exactly at that moment, in both the words and how those words reverb.

Have a listen to Precipice

https://youtu.be/hKC82a_d8JE

Cheers,

Tom

😊

Writing prompt : the walls

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They sprinkle around the place, changing with the years like my life is marked by sections.  It’s an apartment in the morning before a shift.  I’m hardly a wealthy man but I’m less and less tolerant of posters.  I had one in a bathroom with a part torn for the light switch.  Far less acceptance of white walls then.  I accept them now.  The change in the sky colors against the bare slate of the bedroom above our heads.  It rumples soft peach over the folds of the strewn sheet.  It’s a good place to have coffee.  I need to go.  My cups almost empty.  Later today is laundry day.  I’ll have lots more to say about them, hung up like soft soldiers in the failing light.

Created by TomPogson.com

The world of waiting

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I like the quote that Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode used to talk about the years he had already worked in the music business.   He got the quote from Keith Richards originally but I don’t think it’s only true for rock stars…

“It’s five years of work and the rest is waiting.”

We wait so much of our lives and you just know for a fact that there is…oh lots more to go.  As I write this (originally) I’m early for work and so I’m simply waiting as well.  Some folks naturally don’t like to wait.  I probably don’t much of the time as well as there is lots of things to do with creative work where it’s not one event after another.  So much of what I do is scheduling (as my many employers can understandably talk about) and that naturally leads to those in between times when you are simply waiting on the green light to get going.  But since we know that the waiting is going to happen I think that it’s almost empowering.
I mean, we now have these sometimes leash like mobile devices and if you “do social media” that is certainly one way to use up that time when we line up for a ticket, a coffee, purchasing a new shirt but there also just that opportunity to be more present in the moment.

This is one thing that is great about kids.  They are utterly self aware and in the moment.  They notice everything, and as we know, they are only too ready to tell you about it.  Ok, this shouldn’t be confused with patience as spending any time at a religious (or otherwise) service can tell you but that’s just because they have been told to quell their natural exuberance.  But as a busker, kids are awesome because they will often halt their parents who are cannoning from one very important thing to the next very important thing to pull at mom’s coat and exclaim…

“Mommy!  Look!  Guitar!”

I owe their union a lot of money for this.  It’s about being relaxed that things will work out and just setting off early so you’re not late.  Don’t line up if you can’t.   Don’t take on more than you can.  You don’t need to be perfect.  You’ll have plenty of time to wait tomorrow too.

But then I’m probably just an early bird.  Victoria is wonderful first thing in the early morning.  Give yourself the time to enjoy those little details of her city because there is lots of them.  That’s actually one thing I’ve really enjoyed about working on my own twitter and my project accounts…when reaching out to the city to tell everybody that we are here I’ve learned how much is really going on that you can get involved in.  This city was founded on a Gold Rush and a sudden influx of people from all over the globe.  With a background like that set on the Pacific Coast there is always another thing to see.  So step out of your own blinders when you have no option but to wait.  You could be surprised to find out where your really standing.

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St Patrick’s week and more!

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Cookeilidh are : Woody, me, Kim David

     Been a really busy week since last Tuesday when St Patrick’s started.  That’s the thing about being in a celtic band.  St. Patrick’s for us is, and sorry if this sounds ego driven but it’s a whole lot more than one night of green beer (even though that’s fun too!)  We’ve been pretty much doing one gig a night for well over a week and there is still more to go.  One thrill was having tracks from our new cd played on All Points West CBC with Jo-Ann Roberts just before our show at The Copper Owl (pictured above)

It’s funny…just jamming along to Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus with my bass (ok that’s wierd) and how even though lots of things change…lots more are always the same.  I love playing acoustic music and playing a lot to the band’s I’ve loved over the years (some celtic, some acoustic and some really neither) and I love writing and creating things.  I’ve probably said that before and it’s easy to go with the things you know but the main thing is not to leave any place unexplored because you’ve got a prejudged notion.  That was the wierd story behind me as an acoustic / celtic musician liking Depeche and others (weirdest cd I ever had was definitely “Coyot” which was aeolian strings stretched across a Swedish abandoned military base)  I was very much focused on my style of music back then and I heard of Depeche but lumped them in with those “wierd stuff over there” bands.  When a friend gave me a tape I never even listened until one day making a tape (yeah, tape) as a joke.  From that I brought the whole tape to work and it seriously turned my head around.  Learned my lesson.  I think that applies to way beyond music.  You simply never know.  You never know what the young man with the skateboard on the bus next to you or the lady in front of you in line at Tim’s is really all about.  The idea that other people have it easier is also illusion.  Rich or poor live provides its struggles and it’s joy.

Went philosophical there.  Anyways, check out my other new thing I’ve been working on this week if you get a chance.  It’s a story that is based on my own background when I use to aspire to bike mechanics and was seriously into cycling and going to bike shops…and listening to loads of classic rock!
Journal by Max

You can also follow the band at…
Cookeilidh’s main website!

Cheers
Tom 🙂

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Work in the arts.

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“There’s a job…there’s a gig here” Billy Joel

It’s probably one of the hardest things about a career path that’s already not the easiest choice.  If you do any other kind of work and let’s say you’ve just started and you’re not making that much coin people still respect it because it’s still considered “real work”.  In the arts though it’s seen strangely as not being given the same accolade unless you are one of us fortunate enough to have a creative field as their primary source of income.  But the trap here I think is that we run the risk of treating it like a pipe dream or a hobby.  Having a hobby is fine but for those of us who think of ourselves as artists we have to give our craft that same attention as any other tradesman who puts in forty hours a week.  Will this immediately pay off?  This I can’t say but there is certainly a pride in putting serious determination behind what you do and one thing I have found is that you never know where your creative road will take you, but the more work you do on your craft, the better armed to fight you will be when you get there. 
Our role is different from some trades as just hammering the same thing again and again can work against us so being creative you have to find ways of still focusing on your craft without making yourself bored (creative death here!)  As a writer I like to play with different forms or ideas like this or my other blogs, narrative experiments, prose, non-fiction, or a thing I sometimes do called morning stories.  In this one I do a thousand words (usually ends up being more) of something.  In the same way as a Artist Way morning page you just go with what pops in your head and roll or riff on that.  Writers probably have it the worst for practicing because there’s the natural assumption that everyone can write so it’s easy to get complacent.  The great thing about it is the portability though and I have so many of those little Hilroy 300 page books just full of material and even a little mini one that fits in my coat.  And just like a musician who listens and transcribes what they hear the more well read you are, naturally, the better.  Check out some of the books on writers and writing as well.  Try a new form like creative non fiction or poetry.  Poetry is not to be sniffed at as people think of folks in berets musing on the moon.  Taken to its highest level poems are the writing equivalent of making every shot count.  This fine art, and the origin of all writing in western civilization, is all about specific details and sense and particularity.  Trying to write in a non ambiguous way and connect with people at gut level is genius.  That’s one thing I found with well crafted (and you’ll laugh) country music.  You can’t be ambiguous in that form.  It’s from the hip and for a musician it’s usually written in a bright major key which makes it just that much harder to emote in a way that connects with listeners.  And that’s why some of that style can hurt.
Don’t shoot the country pianist.  He’s doing his best.
A good idea is to set up your work at a time when you know you are at your most alert and won’t be too distracted.  Set that as a daily habit that you don’t intend to break even if the building is burning down around you.  Ignore the fireman.  You’re working. 

So pour yourself a coffee, punch the clock and rock. 

Cheers,
Tom

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