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!

So near great distances

I always like those shows that talk about a character that is suddenly bumped out of their life into another reality. In truth, most movies are about that, the crossing of the threshold, but how often do we do that?

I genuinely believe that the human frames we inhabit are capable of more than we realize. You could be so many different people in one lifetime. This idea is sort of a mix of marrying the last few blogs plus how on Saturday I was going for a run and ended up at Gonzales Bay, soaking up sun and jumping in the water.

My run was going this way and then I saw this one road and was thinking how I never went that specific way. Ran up to the top of the observatory and down the other side which finished my 35 minute run.

It’s metaphoric to me about how little choices can suddenly put you a life you never would have expected, and then again. I didn’t have my bus pass so had to walk with my socks in my wet jogging shorts all through the sun of Fairfield’s streets. Walking always brings this thought to me, how you can take different roads on a whim and give you entirely different days.

Also kind of reminds me of how I mentioned that “Once you’re out there you will like it”. You can get swept up in the energy of a situation and you’re physical self is capable of either being worn out or springing to the most life.

Consider the story of Scott Rogers who had his leg horribly amputated in a shotgun accident. I mean, when it comes to reasons to just give up and watch tv with some nachos, hey that’s a good reason. He may have done that too (homemade nachos and actually watching Netflix all the way. Was laughing last night watching The Disaster Artist) but what he did do was become the first above-the-knee amputee to complete the 2,174 mile Appalachian Trail.

If you spent all the money in the world you would never obtain a vehicle as intricate, fine tuned and powerful as the thing below your nose. You do what you can to keep it running as smooth as any GTO Judge

Thing of beauty, but nothing on you.

but then just know, that like that great car, it can truly surprise you when you “get out on the highway”.

From the quiet of a library where you read the thoughts of those who have made incredible distinctions, or found beauty in their artistic adventures to being in the shared energy of a live event

the living complexity of the world is there to explore and you’re most incredible machine is your portal to a million different realities, from five thousand miles away to a single inch.

Raise your hands and feel it.

You’re alive.

Today’s special for music is Angus & Julia Stone – Down the Way

click here to listen 😉😄

Groove on and talk to you later!

Tom

Happy June / Keep Listening Always

Trying a different set up so that the music idea works. Happy Friday as well!

Now I will admit my concentration isn’t flawless as I’m trying to find some new music, which is what brings me to today’s idea.

One of the best things for creativity, and I swear just feeling vital in life in and outside of the arts is to keep introducing music that’s new to you. It can be the latest thing which is always fun because there is this community excitement about a new thing that just happened, like being on a good movie’s opening night and going “Wonder if it’s going to win such and such. This is going to make waves!”

But it can also be old, back to extremely old, like if you just discovered the music of John Dowland from the 1500s…but then it can also be Invasion of Privacy by Cardi B.

They’d totally gel…

Presently the music of today’s blog is Craft Spell’s album Idle Labour which not only looks like a New Order album but has a definite 80s vibe with almost Smith’s like vocals. So yeah, ironically, not a huge departure for me but it’s still really nice.

I was listening last night to some music and an interview with the guys from Thou and they were saying how they would listen to new music to cleanse the palette and I totally got that.

Especially as you get older it is really easy to start getting set in your ways as to what good music is, and sticking to a specific collection for what you will hear. I have a music home base as well, primarily set in the UK in the 80s, and for writing it was always loads of Cocteau Twins, but new music always feels like your mind is getting an exercise, like getting out on the highway and blowing the dust out. It puts you in a new land and is amazing for seeing everything fresh.

Try this as a challenge… (no commitments, no salesperson will visit…cancel anytime!)…once per day listen to a minimum of one piece of music, or one track, that you have never heard. If you can venture into a style that is not yours that’s ideal but not critical (I’m obviously not doing it presently *blush* 🤣)

Anyways, if you want you can start with this album of 2011…

Craft Spells – Idle Labour

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

Niagara made me cry

I still have a weird relationship with the falls that lasted ever since I saw this image. It was so long ago that I actually don’t remember because I was very small.

I was about 2 or 3. I was in Chilliwack, British Columbia when it happened.

I’ll pull out…

I don’t know how I ended up on page 133 staring at Niagara’s brink in this big volumn by the Canadian Automobile Association in 1976 but I did and it freaked me out so bad I cried and my father actually tried holding me while I looked at the photo (Still didn’t work).

The book is great if you can find a copy. It essentially goes from what it groups as “Atlantic Canada” and continues went through every National Park starting with Terra Nova National Park which is just west of St John’s on the Island of Newfoundland. The photography is of the time of course, but still quiet good, especially for that one photo that later on, when I flipped through the book would try to flip past quickly.

More recently, and I think due to stress, I had these waking dreams of going right up to that brink and being swept over but never actually falling. I’d just replay that over and over until I’d get out of bed. I tried neutralizing it by watching things on the falls or even the movie Niagara with Marilyn Monroe (where she does the walk that apparently many people have tried to emulate. Couldn’t find a meme of it but I love this shot…

Anyways all any of this did was make it more visual as I tried to be sensible with questions about it’s point of no return, and “oh so they can turn the spillways on and cut Horseshoe Falls down by fifty percent to help ground a boat out?”. Eventually I tried to write it out as I was trying to create more material this year. “Precipice” was born.

Original Song – Precipice

Haven’t had the dream in a while but I’m still fascinated by it and I’m conflicted about if I would ever want to go. I almost want to go and face it down, whatever the hell that is lol. I mean, how would I know I conquered the falls? Do I walk right up to it like a 50 gangster in a pinstriped suit and go “Ok Falls… Listen here, see?” Would a barrel be used (I think they are actually illegal now.).

Or would it just be randomly unpleasant for me and why go? There is lots of interesting stuff in the area, like the Thousand Islands, Niagara-On-The-Lake where Stephen Fry is presently taking up residence, or the Scarborough Bluffs on the shores of Lake Ontario which look like clay and glacial debris forming something from the Grand Canyon.

Has anything freaked you out so you just had to take it on? I think my fear of heights comes into my falls thing too, but yeah have you decided to take skydiving because of your fear? It’s all “false evidence assumed real” so if your skydiving (and naturally pull the cord as per instruction) or you visit Niagara (and stay on this side of the railing) you will get through it like anything.

If you feel crazy brave enough to tell us put it in the comment section below.

Cheers,

Tom

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

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

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