Category Archives: Creativity

American Idol Addict

I admit it. I’m an American Idol addict. I get tired of the hype most of the time, but I absolutely love the talent and the not so talented that end up on the show. I think most of the stories are inspirational like David Cooke. One night he is a bartender and the next he has sold over a million albums. That’s a great story any way you look at it.

I’ve enjoyed this season as it seemed that the level of talent was far superior than the few other seasons I had watched. It made for an exciting show. I also loved to see the variety of song interpretation by the contestants. Some of those performances were quite memorable.

I watch very little television, but during Idol season I’m on the tube every Tuesday and Wednesday night for the show. I find nothing wrong with this. 🙂

Congratulations to Kris Allen for winning tonight! I’m glad I wasn’t the one to pick between the Adam and Kris.

Michael

Sand Art

Ilana Yahav is an amazing artist, a sand artist to be exact. My sister sent me a video of Ilana’s work today and it was unlike anything I had seen before. Take a look:

I find this very inspiring. Check out her other videos on Sand Fantasy, her website.

Hope this brings you a bit of joy like it did for me.

Michael

Constantly invited…

I know I am constantly invited to meditate.  I know that the structure of the room where I meditate intentionally prohibits my meditation practice and that part of me resists changing it.  What do I want?  I really want someone to help me get thru the stuff and create an inviting space.  My spouse and I have both had to hire people to help us with periodic filing issues.   It has helped clear paperwork but it hasn’t help me get a system for organization down.  There is a book out, something related to a year of organizing with week by week tasks.  I like the sound of it – the week by week part. 

 

Reality – there are many things on my plate and deciding what to prioritize becomes a bit of a job so I act like an ostrich, head in the sand and maybe butt in the air, letting other things take priority.  Hiring someone to clean the house weekly has freed up so much time for me.  Not that I spent hours cleaning, but I did spend hours trying to clean•do office paperwork•make food and all the other stuff that I do.  That was a start – how do I get to the next step? 

 

I miss meditating; the rush of ideas that land in that space that never truly empties.  That’s a funny part of meditation for me – the way there is never really nothing but there is less interference, less noise of all the busy intrusive thoughts that run races in my head.  So when I sat, facing the bookcase and wall, there were moments I actually settled, noticed my body, felt myself seated and breathing.  At other times the rush of getting in the room, the self-inflicted pressure to do it vs. invitation to do it, created resistance and unwillingness to sit.  I felt like a rebellious teen, drug to do something I didn’t want to do.  Really it’s a gift that I keep pushing away.

 

Namaste’

Flo

Night of Laughter

Erica and I went to a comedy show last night in Newport. The Newport Winter Festival hosted two comedians; Paul D’Angelo and Mike Donovan. It was a great evening at the Viking Hotel in Newport.

The two comedians, though quite different in material, were very funny. There was a constant laughter ranging from strong to intense for almost two hours. My check muscles were started to ache a little. 🙂

This is one thing I like about Newport. The city is continually bringing in artistic, comedic and musical talent throughout the year. There always seems to be something going; Newport Comedy Festival (summer), Jazz Festival, Newport Flower Show, Folk Festival, Chowder Festival, Sunset Music Series, Black Ship Festival, Irish Festival and many many more.

Also, the harbor is filled with multi-million dollar boats (ships) during the summer. It’s a lot of fun to see these huge pleasure boats.

But, on this cold winter night, we were all warm down at the Viking Hotel laughing for two hours. It was a great way to relax and release a little stress.

Michael

Creative Afternoon

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. – Berthold Auerbach

Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom.  If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. – Charlie Parker

Music’s the medicine of the mind. – John A. Logan

Today was band practice. This was the best session we’ve had up to now. Everything seemed to click and all three of us were right on our game. As we progressed it seemed that the creative flow got even stronger.

We’ve focused our efforts on 13 songs initially with the goal being to do these very well or as close to perfect as possible. After that we’ll move on to increase our repertoire. As we completed a song after doing it well, it seemed to energize us for the next one. We continued at this high pace for about 3 hours.

The big thing was that it was incredibly fun. There were times that it was completely exhilarating for me. The sound of our trio is unique as there are two acoustic guitars and a drummer. You don’t see that very often and we have a lot of room for creative expression with the two guitars.

Our goal is to perform at a local open mic sometime in April. That gives us two more months of practice.

I’m loving it. It’s a like a dream come true. 🙂

Michael

Another Creative Music Session

Think ‘impossible’ and dreams get discarded, projects get abandoned, and hope for wellness is torpedoed. But let someone yell the words ‘It’s possible,’ and resources we hadn’t been aware of come rushing in to assist us in our quest. I believe we are all potentially brilliant and creative — but only if we believe it, only if we have an attitude of positive expectancy toward our ideas, and only if we act on them. – Greg Anderson

The trio I’m currently playing music with met again today for another 4 hour practice session. Each week I’m continually amazed at the progress we make and how well we are blending together. It’s quite exciting and whole lot of fun.

Personally, I’m happy and amazed at the progress I have made with playing guitar over the last two months. Something has changed internally with me and I’m making leaps and bounds with my playing. I think the majority of the change has to do with a different attitude I have about playing the guitar. Previously, I had mental limits. For example: I can’t play that song because it’s too complicated, too advanced, too hard, blah, blah, blah.

Now my attitude is “There is no song I can’t learn.” It’s a much more relaxing way to enjoy playing music. Obviously some songs are harder and take more practice, but there are none I want to play that are impossible. My confidence level has increased and that is showing in my playing.

The great thing is that I feel that we (I) are just at the beginning. I can hardly wait to see what we can do in six months. Regardless, the journey will be fun.

Michael

Come Alive

I was reading one of my favorite photography blogs last night and one of the guest bloggers (Chris Orwig) had a great piece about reaching new levels with your photography. He had an interesting discussion about how who you are affects your photography. Interesting people take interesting photographs. In other words, get out and experience the world. Do things you haven’t done. Explore places you haven’t been. Try things you haven’t tried.

And then I came across the following quote in his article:

Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go and do that. For what the world needs, is people who have come fully alive. – Gil Baile

It really struck me as I visualized a world  where everyone performed only the status quo and then I envisioned a world where everyone or many people were doing what makes them feel alive. The later was a much better vision.

Too many of us have excuses on why we shouldn’t being doing things that make us feel good. We have responsibilities to our family, our children, our jobs, our friends and the community. We don’t have enough time mainly due to our other responsibilities. We may not be that good at it; i.e. we compare ourselves to others.

I say that if you take care of yourself first, you’ll have a whole lot more to give to everyone else. We must feed our soul if we want to have anything other than a mediocre life.

My youngest nephew is a great inspiration. Not only does he have an intense curiosity and craving for learning, but he also immerses himself completely in whatever experience he is undertaking. He seems to extract as much enjoyment as possible out of everything he gets involved in. I suspect that he will be one of the few that don’t lose his childlike view of the world. Kudos to him because that will give him a life that many only think about.

The good news is that it’s not too late to return to a life that makes you feel alive. All you have to do is make that decision and then go do it. There is nothing holding you back except your own beliefs.

Michael

Musicians

Elivis Costello hosts a new show on the Sundance Channel called Spectacle: Elvis Costello with…. Each episode features another musician (Elton John, Lou Reed, James Taylor), with whom Costello performs and discusses that musician’s musical tastes and process.

I’ve just watched the James Taylor episode. I loved James Taylor starting in high school, when a friend of mine introduced me to his music. Every quality that I loved is on display in this televised hour: thoughtfulness, humor, insight, confession, and musicianship.

The show is great fun to watch because Costello, a talented musician with extremely varied musical taste, happily focuses on his guest’s likes and dislikes and shares his admiration with the studio audience.

It’s always a treat for me to listen to successful artists discuss how they create and, in this case, how they perform. Taylor talks about the profound shock of being a singer-songwriter emerging from the introspection of writing into the spotlight of a pop star’s fame. It is what you work for, he says, and then when it gets there, you realize that the product is not so much the music as the self, and you can get a little lost. He says, specifically, “Hang onto your hat.”

He also says that he understands the cult of celebrity as an effort by ordinary people to use celebrities to represent them in the wider world. Fascinating.

Tonight, the intimacy of the music and the connection between the two aging musicians represented for me both my aspirations as an artist (which I have to admit may come to nothing) and my thirst for collaborators.

Watch the show if you are a music lover of a certain age.

Creative Flow

The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself. – Alan Alda

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. – Carl Sagan

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties. – Eric Fromm

I played guitar today for over 4 hours with a friend. As I stated last week, it’s quite amazing how well our styles, musical goals and creativity blend together. The music just seems to click when we play.

My friend’s girlfriend listened while we played the last song of the day. She asked us how we knew which part each of us was going to play. She genuinely was curious how we figured it out as it wasn’t written down. I looked over at my friend. We both had the expression of “we have no idea.”

I told Allie that it just flows. It just seems to work out. There is not a lot of thinking going on. That’s what happens. You get the basic structure down, have a bag of tools in the form of technique and then just stop thinking so much. You have fun. You revel in the enjoyment of the sounds. Everything starts to flow.

I’m having enough fun playing that my “guard” is let down, my mind is not judging too much and because of that, the creative window is opening up. This isn’t about wanting to play in front of a crowd or anything like that. It’s about two musicians letting the creative energy flow in a basement. It’s about the fun and expression. Mistakes are just learning points. The enjoyment comes from the sounds produced.

Creativity comes in many forms. Music is just one. So, don’t feel you are not creative if you can’t play an instrument. We all have creativity that is only a thought away whether it be art, music, writing, problem solving, photography, interior design, cooking, gardening, database design, singing and hundreds of other areas. It only means we must put ourselves in a position to let that energy flow. Typically, the best place to start is with something you love to do.

Let it flow. You’ll be happier because of it.

Michael

Artfully Inspired

It was great to be surrounded by a plethora of artists here in the Houston, Texas Bayou City Arts Festival for two days. The amount of creativity was extraordinary. Paintings, sculpture, photography, glass works, jewelry, wood works, textiles and mixed media were spread out over several city blocks.

I was really inspired not only in my own creative pursuits in photography but in other areas of my life. The large number of vendors opened up my mind to new ideas and concepts. They were a catalyst in shifting my perspective about what is possible and more importantly what I am capable of accomplishing.

I’m always amazed at what the human mind can think and create. The possibilities are truly endless. Seeing the evidence crammed into a small geographical made for an exciting weekend.

I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen.

Look for creativity and you will find it. Practice creativity and you will become it.

Michael