Thursday, 21 August 2008

Do you live a creative life? thoughts, and a music meme,

Biblioaddict has a great post on a study done comparing the brains of people who read vs people who watch movies. She is also giving away David Sedaris' When You Are Engulfed by Flames, so if you want it, you have until midnight to let her know.

Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings has two fascinating posts that I am going to answer here, because I think they are really interesting and fun, and we'd both like to know what your answers are:

1)Creative Muse is a post
about creative living. He took it from Qugrainne at So Many Books, So Little Time, who got it from Becca for Write on Wednesdays, a writing group I apparently missed on. I love the writing theme for that Wednesay: How do you cultivate creativity in your life? Have you found the things that make you come alive? Are you doing them?
They each give their answers on their blogs, and here are mine:

How do I cultivate creativity in my life?
I write, poems, short stories and my fantasy novel, which I have finally done the first draft of.
I garden. I love flowers, and the seasons, and making food for butterflies and bees.
I have a personal altar in my home, that I decorate with things that move me, to remind me how beautiful and precious life is, and that it is NOW.
I play with my kids (not as much as I would like).
I cook. I love to create dishes, and I play with recipes, not to create something new, so much as to make it ours (ie I can't eat peppers, or eggplant, so sometimes I have to be creative to get the recipe to work).
I watch movies - they stimulate me with images, and sometimes ideas.
I go to museums. I love history!
I take walks and get to know the area I live in by walking in it year-round.
I use tarot cards.
I listen to music - not enough!!
I let myself make mistakes, and I keep trying.
I travel. I love to travel! and seeing new places always inspires me.
I quilt (and will again once it's safe to bring needles and pins out. right now the littlest one and pins? yikes.)
I take photographs.
I read, read, read, read!!

I hope I have found the things that make me come alive. I hate to think I am living a life without passion, because that to me is a wasted life. I want to care very much about what I do every day, and I want to make it have meaning for me. I was in a robbery 13 years ago, and came face to face with the robber who had his gun out. I thought I was going to die, and though I was luckily not shot, it's made me aware intensely and intimately that we are only here for a time. So I want to live enjoying everything I do, loving everything that I do. Otherwise, it's a waste of my time and energy. I'm not perfect at my life! and I still don't do enough of what I love, because I am learning how to let myself do more of what I love to do, and less of what I think I should do. I don't have patience for people who live without passion, which is part of what makes it so difficult to have my coworker who hates her personal life and that unhappiness spills over sometime at work (see yesterday's post). though, I try to use it as way to remind myself to not get like her! Part of the enjoyment I get from this blog is that I get to write about something I am intensely passionate about - my love of books, and reading. So yes, to the last answer - I am doing them.
Carl then asks the question at the end of his post: how do you satisfy the muse? Ah, and that is the problem - I don't. He says his muse is blind and carries a sword. I don't give mine enough time. As much as I want to live passionately, I don't give enough time to my craft of writing, and it's a struggle I've had most of my life. I haven't figured out the reason why I stopped writing as soon as my first draft was done this winter. I think I'm scared of success, because to be a published author has my dream since I first discovered books. So - am I living creatively? Yes, but not as much as I could be. What do I need to do? I need to write more. I need to be quiet, and let my muse in. My muse wants me to make her important, as important as anything else in my life.

2) Carl's second post is a meme about music, songs in your life right now, here. He got it from Dark Orpheus, and these are the rules:
The Rules:

* List seven songs you are into right now.
* No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring/summer.
* Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs.

Now, Carl has cool videos that he matched with his current songs, so please go visit and let him know. Me, I am happy to listen to music on my headphones (my husband is watching the Olympics behind me on the sofa so we can be in the same room together), so my answers will not be as cool as his answers!!

I am going to modify it slightly by adding one more: name the band or musical group you are currently into this summer. Because, I have one! Mine are The Dandy Warhols, who I discovered while watching Veronica Mars this past winter. They sing the theme song of the show, We Used to Be Friends, which I loved and my kids insist on dancing to! In fact the whole cd, Welcome to the Monkey House, has very danceable songs, so when we want some music on this is the current cd the kids ask for also. The music both relaxes and lifts me, even though many of the songs are not happy tunes, they are very it, songs for now,especially with a disaffected teenager roaming around the house. Which leads me to one of my 7 songs for this summer:

1. Heavenly, by the Dandy Warhols. I could float away on this song, and I can't keep still while I listen to it. I listen to this every time I put my music on, usually when I'm writing here or visiting other blogs late at night.

2. We used to Be Friends by the Dandy Warhols. I have lost some important friendships in the past few years, and this is the song I sing to them in my head when I hear it! I love this song, it is fabulous, gritty and in-your-face, just like Veronica Mars herself, who is one of my favourite tv heroines.

3. Momentary Thing - by Something Happens, on the Veronica Mars soundtrack, which I also went out and bought because so much of the music of the show I just loved. This is one of the best in a soundtrack full of energetic, moving, passionate songs. This song has a strong hypnotic beat and lyrics that haunt long after it's over. And of course, it is the music to the first kiss between Veronica and Logan that the first time I saw, my jaw fell open and it was about 5 minutes before I remembered to breathe again. (Yes, it was that good!!)

4. No Sleep Tonight - by the Faders, on the Veronica Mars Soundtrack. I love the fast drumbeat and energetic enthusiasm, totally capturing love, that first onrush of feelings - passion. Sometimes I still think I can be my teen self who hated going to bed before 1 a.m. This song makes me remember the freedom of being young.

The next are permanent summer songs - I particularly associate them with summer, and listen to them every summer (or it's not summer for me!)

5. Bittersweet Symphony - The Verve. This is a song I associate with soccer of all things, because it was the background music to the World Cup in 1998 Nike commercial. 1998 is when I discovered soccer, since it was the first time we covered the World Cup, and then right after had the first Premiership season coverage, ever. Somehow I found my way to Arsenal - I believe it was Emmanuel Petit on the France team, who played for Arsenal, and Dennis Bergkamp, who had the stunning volley that made me love the game - that led me to Arsenal. One of my husband's Chelsea friends asked me how I knew. I said, the first time I saw the game played at Highbury (the old stadium), even though it was on tv, I felt like I was at home. He liked that answer. Back to the song - The first time I heard the whole song on the radio, that same summer, I fell in love with it. Bitter and haunting, about the long road we all walk in our lives, and this incredible music lifts the song into a soulful ode to life.

6) The Lifting - by REM, Reveal Album - This was on their current release cd the summer Toby and I moved back to Canada, in 2001. I have all their music. I listened to this endlessly, because it was the only cd I had while we waited for our belongings to follow us, which took 2 months to arrive. It was a long hot summer here, and I started my new job at Passport Canada, and saw my son for the first time after 8 months. This song is about believing in the impossible, and ends with: "Once you had a dream of oceans and sunken cities and memories of things you have never known, you have never known." I love that line. Summer is the time for dreaming, and sometimes, the impossible becomes possible.

7)Extreme Ways - Moby - Oh, how I love this song! I first heard it at the end of the second Bourne Movie (The Bourne Supremacy?), and I made my son (who I saw the movie with) stay all the way through the end of the movie so that I could hear the lyrics. Then I went and bought the cd, and it became a song my whole family liked. It is passionate and full of angst about being hurt, and still, fighting back to feeling again, even though things fall apart. This is one of the songs I want played at my funeral.

I have winter songs I listen to, particularly U2 and Nick Drake, so it's interesting that in doing this meme, I have seen that I do associate and listen to certain songs/music at different times of the year.


Carl V. said...

Great post! First off, super-congratulations on finishing the first draft of your fantasy novel. That is such a major achievement. So many would-be writers never conquer that hump. You can do anything now! Awesome!

Would love to hear more about the personal altar. I certainly have altars of a sort around but not as specific as that.

Many other great things you do that cultivate creativity...walking and movies are two that I enjoy as well.

"I hate to think I am living a life without passion, because that to me is a wasted life. I want to care very much about what I do every day, and I want to make it have meaning for me." Wow, me too, but I certainly don't have the traumatic reason you do for looking at life that way, what an experience. I'm sure years later it makes for an interesting story to tell but reading it also makes me realize just how fragile everything is and how easily some stupid ass can take everything away.

As for the music:

I'll have to wait until I can snag my work laptop to listen to the first song as I cannot find a video for it on You Tube.

We Used to Be Friends: Sounds familiar though I doubt I've heard it. I like it. Very fun contest video for the song on you tube:

Something Happens is great! I really need to Netflix Veronica Mars. I've heard such great things about the show.

The Faders-No Sleep Tonight is one I have heard before a couple of times and it too is great. Very upbeat and a perfect summer song.

Bittersweet Symphony is such a great name for a song and it is quintessentially summer. The video drives me a bit crazy..he is one homely looking dude. And yet I can't turn away. Must...stop...watching...

I don't recall every hearing The Lifting but I liked it. R.E.M. is a great band that I don't listen to enough. How is their new album? I like the first single off of it.

Extreme Ways: Fantastic! I generally always stay through credits anyway, but it is an extra pleasure when there is a song like Extreme Ways to listen to while you read. Just listening to it makes me want to pull out all the Bourne movies and watch them again!

Thank you so much for doing this! I've already made notes for an Autumn version of this meme. Would be fun to do for all four seasons.

Susan said...

HI Carl: sorry it took me so long to answer this, I did read it shortly after you commented, and thank you so much for all you say. I do feel it is an achievement to do the first draft, but my real achievement would be to get a finished version of the book done. Even if it never gets published, I would learn alot doing the rewriting and editing (and can we tell how much I hate that? hmmm, 8 months of resistance so far!)

I will post about my altar sometime. It is my place to meet the sacred, which for me always involves nature, so I have stones, crystals, animals, on my altar, as well as symbols for the 4 directions, and something to represent the elements - fire, earth, water and air - that make up life. Then i have begun adding personal things - and fun things - like dragons and my Frog prince statue, for fantasy, so I remember that life is magical and wondrous. I think that is mostly what I am trying to remember each day, a sense of wonder, and to love the life I am creating. I also have a picture of the graveyard in Whitby England that overlooks the ocean (its' by the abandoned church on the cliff that Bram Stoker got his idea for Dracula!). I am drawn to graveyards and the picture I took is a of an old headstone with the sky and the sea blended behind it, and some grass at the foot. Most of the graves are from mid-1800's, so all moss-eaten and illegible - that sense of time and wearing away of stone, is evocative and I love it. If I can figure out how to scan it (our scanner and computer don't recognize eachother) I will, because it fits with the Hallowe'en theme for the challenge!! :-)
and I love your comments on all my songs, thanks so much! I look forward to the autumn one now!