Sending Out An S.O.S.

Choice, chance, change
(Courtesy of Zig Ziglar)

They say that failure is good. That it builds character and allows us to grow. It helps refine us.

You know, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

Hmm.

I wonder if that’s how Sting feels at the moment.

Failure is never easy. Especially, if you’re in the public eye.

A couple of months ago, I watched an interview with Sting on NPR/Ted radio, “How to Get Over Writer’s Block.” During the discourse, Sting talked about his horrible bout with writer’s block that stretched for nearly a decade.

Now wait a minute. This is Sting. We’re talking about a legendary singer-songwriter. A member of the iconic band The Police. A ten Grammy, two Brits, Golden Globe award winner who has sold close to 100 million albums and was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Yes, that Sting! Writer’s block? Are you kidding me?

I guess if it can happen to Sting, it can happen to anyone.

But here’s what he had to say—

“Creativity is the ability to take a risk. To actually put yourself on the line and risk ridicule, being pilloried, criticized, whatever. But…you must take that risk.”

So what did he do?

He sent out an S.O.S. He took a risk. He dug deep into his past and found inspiration. He channeled stories of shipyard workers that he knew from his childhood. And voila! A Broadway musical was born.

An Englishman in New York?

No silly. The Last Ship.

It became his 14th solo album and a new play bearing the same name with music and lyrics by Sting. And it debuted at the Neil Simon Theatre at the end of October.

Then it sprang a leak.

The Last Ship was set against the downfall of the local English shipbuilding industry. It tells the story about a group of unemployed shipyard workers who want to take back their pride and build one last ship—not for their employer, not for the government, but for their own self-esteem, for humanity.

Of course, there’s more to it. There’s a love story that’s also weaved into the account. But the story really resonated with Sting. He felt that this story ran parallel to the narrative of many hard working people today who had lost their manufacturing jobs. Which in turn made him more determined than ever to bring his story to life.

Alas, the musical didn’t quite come across as well as Sting had envisioned. So much so, that by mid-December, Sting jumped into the fray and took on a supporting role in hopes of bolstering sales. But with all the lukewarm reviews, even though some thought that the story was seaworthy, it still didn’t help.

The Last Ship sunk.

On the eve of joining the cast onstage, the singer acknowledged his show faced a tough future: “This was never going to be easy. I didn’t anticipate a shoo-in at all. I expected a battle because I want to succeed against the odds.”

Send out an S.O.S. Sting!

Unfortunately, it was too late. There, amongst what was Broadway’s highest grossing year, Sting had failed. His story didn’t inspire audiences to tell their friends that The Last Ship was a must-see. It was a lack of word-of-mouth that had caused the show’s demise.

The lack of word-of-mouth that caused a 15 million dollar ship to go down.

Ouch!

Yet, this is his message in a bottle:

Just a castaway
An island lost at sea
Another lonely day
With no one here but me
More loneliness
Than any man could bear
Rescue me before I fall into despair

The Last Ship’s final performance will be on January 24th. If you wanted to see Sting’s musical, you better head over before it sails off into the sunset.

Yet, somehow I don’t think this will be the last thing that we hear from Sting. He’s too willing to make a choice, to take a chance, so his life will change!

And so should we.
 

Here’s Bruno Mars covering So Lonely/Message in a Bottle at the Kennedy Center in honor of Sting.


 

So what do you think? Have you ever seen a live performance by Sting? Did you know about Sting’s Broadway musical The Last Ship? Have you ever taken a risk and failed? If so, how did it make you feel? What did you do to pick yourself up? And what is your favorite song by Sting?
 

Cheers everyone! I hope that life is treating you well. And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!
Karen

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Unbroken and Undefeated

Worry is a waste of time
(Courtesy of Jill Blakeway)
 

We are at the threshold of a New Year.

2015.

Already?

I know. Where did 2014 go?
 

We say this every year and yet we still ask the same question. It seems that time goes by too fast. Then again, I guess this thought could be argued depending on what kind of year we’ve had. If it was a good year, it probably did speed by. But if it wasn’t, if we were forced to deal with a lot of difficult challenges in our life, time may have lagged on. As in, “Will this year ever end?”

Nevertheless, we have little choice in the matter. It doesn’t help to worry about the things that we weren’t able to achieve or the little idiosyncrasies that took over our hopes and aspirations. Either way the change is going to happen. So we might as well buckle up and enjoy the ride.

It’s a brand new year and a fresh slate—a chance to hit the restart button! An opportunity to take on a positive view or perhaps set new goals for a brighter future.

Are you feeling inspired? After all, inspiration is the spark that can set our new goals on fire. If you’re looking for a little encouragement, let me share with you something that I know you’ll find inspiring.
 

Unbroken and Undefeated.
 

What do these words mean to you?

First impression may tell us they mean the same thing. But if we take a closer look, we find that even though these two words share a parallel meaning, they embrace a whole different significance unto their own.

When we think of Unbroken, we think of someone who is constant, steady, undying, someone who has run the race with endurance. Someone like Olympian and war hero Louis Zamperini, for which the book and new movie was written about.

On the other hand, Undefeated can take on a whole different meaning, that of someone who is unbeaten, invincible, determined and steadfast. Someone who is resilient, a survivalist, someone like author Laura Hillenbrand.

Why do I say this?

It’s not like Laura Hillenbrand has written a plethora of novels. Quite the opposite actually. She has written only two.
 

Seabiscuit and Unbroken.
 

Equally successful, both books revolve around subjects whose lives were found Unbroken and Undefeated. Both were stories that told an unforgettable journey into extremity, a testament to the resilience of both animal and man.

But what some of you may or may not know is that Laura Hillenbrand suffers from a very debilitating illness. It is what’s kept her from writing more than two books thus far. No telling what the results would be if the woman was healthy.

Laura suffers from what is now known as ME or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. For her, most days are considered a success if she manages to take a shower on her feet. Even during a two year period while writing her current novel “Unbroken”, which took her almost a decade to write, she never left her home. In fact, for several of those months, she never left her room.

Yes, in the carefully calibrated world of Laura Hillenbrand, every reaction has an equivalent and opposite reaction. For an example, she might agree to an interview but skip a shower. Her energy is finite, and she typically has enough for one activity per day. Yet, her writing has been a riposte to anyone who had ever associated CFS with laziness.

Many journalists have been quick to point out the irony of Ms. Hillenbrand’s work: “A woman for whom walking around the block constitutes a marathon writes about the finest specimens of physical endurance.”
 

A woman who has proven to be Unbroken and Undefeated.
 

And therein lies the story behind the stories: Laura Hillenbrand’s unique ability to tune into each of her characters and show how they overcame the many tragedies in their life. They say to write what you know. If that is true, I think Laura Hillenbrand’s example is a wonderful source for true inspiration!

So worry not my friends. Do not hold back. Hit the reset button. Go after those new goals with passion and enjoy the ride!
 

So what do you think? Are you ready for the New Year? Have you set new goals for the future? Have you read one of Laura Hillenbrand’s books? Do you remember watching the movie “Seabiscuit”? Have you had the opportunity to see “Unbroken” yet?
 

Cheers everyone! I hope that life is treating you well. And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!
Karen

 
 

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The Hay Isn’t Just In My Jeans!

#SundayPunday

(Photo courtesy of HooplaHa Media/News/Publishing)

Ha, ha, ha! Gotcha! What in the world am I talking about?

Well, I found this picture on my Facebook feed a couple of weeks ago and it made me think about a documentary that hubby and I had watched on Netflix.

Have y’all watched “GMO OMG” yet?

You know how much I love healthy food. I even think Kale is Sexy as a Rockstar! :)

Yet, after watching this film, I wondered how many of us out there are concerned about what we eat. How many of us are having issues with our health and wonder if there is a correlation between what we eat and how we feel? How many of us are concerned about where our food comes from and how it is handled?

I had an interesting discussion with my doctor last week after finding out I have a auto-immune disorder. I won’t go into the nitty-gritty of my health issue here. Let’s just say I realize I have to make a change in my lifestyle. I need to be more proactive as to what I take into my mind and body and the things that I eat.

Food matters

For most of us, this is a daily challenge. And for most of us, we do our best to stay within a healthy range as to what we drink and what we eat. But what I find difficult to understand is, while most of us are doing our upmost to watch what we take into our bodies, our food supply is being tainted right before our very eyes.

There, I said it. Our food supply is being tainted my friends.

Hay now, it’s not my wish to play Debbie Downer here. You know how much I hate to play that role. But this subject is important. Too important not to mention.

Thus, may I say, OMG GMO!

Oh wait. That’s “GMO OMG.”

Here’s an introduction to the documentary:

“Today in the United States, by the simple act of feeding ourselves, we are unwittingly participating in the largest experiment ever conducted on human beings. Each of us unknowingly consumes genetically engineered food on a daily basis. The risks and effects to our health and the environment are largely unknown. Yet more and more studies are being conducted around the world, which only provide even more reason for concern. We are the oblivious guinea pigs for wide-scale experimentation of modern biotechnology. GMO OMG tells the story of a fathers discovery of GMOs in relationship to his 3 young children and the world around him.”

You mean humans are being used in a wide-scale experiment for modern biotechnology?

Is it me, or does this sound like the preface for a fiction novel rather than a true life story?

Filmmaker and father Jeremy Seifert took on a huge undertaking in his search for answers about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and how they affect our children and the health of our planet. His journey took him to Haiti, Paris, Norway, and even agri-giant Monsanto when he poses perhaps the ultimate question about what we eat: Is it still possible to reject our current food system, or have we already lost something we can’t get back?

Oh no, no, no. I realize this job isn’t for everyone. But the hay isn’t just in my jeans!

I would like to invite you to take a moment and watch this brief preview:

Hmm. What to do, what to do!?!?

As for me, I’m sticking with organic. Because you know, I think it’s sexy like Kale! But if it’s at all possible, buy from local farmers and farmer’s markets. Of course the best situation would be to grow our own veggies if we have the time and needed space.

But hay, if we’re concerned about what we eat, or have issues with our health and wonder if there is a correlation between what we eat and how we feel, we’ll do whatever it takes to stay healthy, right?

That’s what I thought you’d say. :)
 

So what do you think? Have you made any healthy changes in your life? What are your thoughts on the GMO issue? Do you think this is having an affect on the environment? Are organic foods available in your neighborhood? What kinds of food do you and your family enjoy?
 
 
Cheers everyone! I hope that life is treating you well. And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!
Karen

 

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Happy Third Blogoversary!

Do you remember this picture? I sure do. It was used on my very first post, “Hanging On For Dear Life”, three years ago.

Three years ago? Can you believe it’s been three years already? Where does the time go?

Lots of things have happened in our lives since then. For most of us, they’ve been too numerous to count. I mean, some of us have been thrown a curve ball or two in the midst of trying to eek out a living and at the same time, follow our passion. And for those of you who are fortunate to make a living off of your passion? Congratulations to you!

As you may have noticed, my blog has grown silent over the past couple of months.

Why, you may ask?

Well, because of life actually. I had too many things that demanded my attention. And the blog, for one, was not a priority. So I let it go. But then, as weeks went by, it became easier not to blog. I mean, who cares if I blog or not? Does it really matter?

It’s not like I’m saving lives or changing the world. It’s just little ‘ol me writing a little ditty about nothing very earthshattering. Nothing that could put an actual dent in someone’s existence.

So I thought, why not take a look back at my first post and see what my purpose was for starting this venture. What was my core motivation for blogging? After all, there had to be some reason why I had decided to jump into this crazy endeavor.

Here’s what I said:

“Since this is my first blog, that picture got me thinking. What is my purpose for writing a blog? Yes I’m petrified, but I’m certainly not dangling on a rope suspended from the rooftop of a high-rise hotel.

“My hope is that through my writing I will be able to touch people’s lives and connect with others that will in someway benefit them and not just myself. Just know that as I embark on this new venture, I will be hanging on for dear life while I look out from on top, ready to descend that steep and slippery slope, putting myself out there amongst the unknown galaxy of the universe, otherwise known as the internet, sharing a little splice of our lives.”

Ah, interesting. That picture says more than a thousand words. It’s a great motivator, is it not? But notice something else. The purpose of this blog was not to write strictly about myself. And I think that still rings true. I get great satisfaction writing about life and other people. I find it stimulating to share things with you that stem from a variety of topics.

No, it’s not all about me. Although some day it may be when I get ready to release my new little baby out into the world. Yes, I’m still working on that one. But believe me, when it’s finished, you’ll be the first to know!

Meanwhile, it’s Happy Third Blogoversary!

It’s good to be back!
 

So what do you think? How has life been treating you? Do you find it easy or difficult to blog? Does life get in your way, or are you able to navigate through the muddy waters? What helps to keep you motivated? What topics have you found interesting lately?
 
 
Cheers everyone! And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!
Karen

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God Made Girls

Y’all know how much I love The Voice, right? And I can hardly wait for the new season to start!

This Monday! Yay!

So anyway. Hubby and I were out running errands when we heard this adorable song on the local L.A. country radio station.

Okay, yes, I’ll admit, I do listen to country. Not all the time. I’m basically a rock ‘n roll girl. But on occasion, I like to switch it up and broaden my horizon. You know, see what the other half of the universe is listening to.

Well, let me just say that when hubby and I heard this song, we cranked it up.

Now, granted, because we aren’t the most knowledgeable people regarding the latest and greatest in the country music world, this song may not be new to some of you, yet it was certainly new to us. You’ll see what I’m talking about in a moment.

First, because I was tagged by Cate Russell-Cole to participate in the “Inspiring Spaces Blog Hop”, I need to share with you what ignites my creativity. Not that you’ll find it all that interesting, but apparently, inquiring minds want to know.

So here is goes…

I think creative people have their own triggers that help them to produce no matter what art form they excel in. For me, there is no secret ingredient that sparks my imagination. My inspiration comes from many sources.

For one, I need to read in order to write. And I mean a lot. I find that certain writers will ignite my creativity. If I find myself stuck, I’ll pull out a book from one of my favorite authors and away I go.

Certain tastes, scents and textures can ignite my muse. I am inspired by nature. So if I’m on a walk, or down by the beach, or in the mountains, gazing at the moon and the beautiful stars above, I am inspired. So I guess being aware of all my senses can spark that gift of creativity.

Yet, if you noticed, I left one of our senses out.

Hearing.

But not just hearing. Listening. As you know, there is a difference. And it’s this difference that can have a huge influence on our creativity. If we really listen and take in all that surrounds us, there is great potential for ignition in our creativity.

It’s so awesome, isn’t it?

And that brings me back to our country song.

“God Made Girls”, by Rae Lynn, a twenty year old, third year contestant on The Voice, under the tutelage of none other than Blake Shelton. The fact remains, the lyrics to this song are so clever that it inspired me to share them with y’all.

Check them out…
 

God Made Girls

Somebody’s gotta wear a pretty skirt,
Somebody’s gotta be the one to flirt,
Somebody gotta wanna hold his hand,

So God made girls

Somebody’s gotta make ‘em get dressed up,
Somebody’s gotta give ‘em a reason to wash that truck,
Somebody gotta teach ‘em how to dance,

So God made girls

He needed something soft and loud and sweet and proud
But tough enough to break a heart
Something beautiful and breakable that lights up in the dark

So God made girls, God made girls,
He stood back and told the boys
I’m bout to rock your world

And God made girls (For singing in your front seat)
God made girls (For dancin’ to their own beat)
He stood back and told the boys I’m bout to rock your world

And God made girls.

Somebody’s gotta be the one to cry
Somebody’s gotta let him drive, give him a reason
To hold that door

So God made girls

Somebody’s gotta put up a fight,
Make him wait on a Saturday night,
To walk downstairs and blow his mind,

So God made girls

Someone that can wake him up and call his bluff
And drag his butt to church, someone that is hard to handle
Somethin’ fragile to hold him when he hurts

So God made girls, God made girls
He stood back and told the boys
I’m bout to rock your world

And God made girls…
 

See, I knew you’d like it!

And for your listening pleasure, here’s a little inspiration from Rea Lynn.

That was easier than I thought! Now it’s your turn only if you wish to participate. Since we’re all curious what inspires other writers, I am asking a few to join in the fun! They are: Jenny Hansen, K.M. Huber, Tameri Etherton, Christine Claire MacKenzie, Angela Ackerman, Pat O’Dea Rosen, Amber Medina West, Jennifer Oliver, Jennette Marie Powell and last but not least, Coleen Patrick!

Inspire one another! Use a photo, video, any medium desired, which will show off your muse’s playground. The purpose is to discover something about another blogger that inspires you and to share the love around, so blogs are being seen by a new audience. Oh and please mention that the blog hop started here. (Thank you.) Happy hopping!

inspiringspaces
 

So what do you think? What do you have in your writing space? What do you need to get into the creative groove? Which of our five senses affects your writing the most? Do you find music inspires your creativity? If so, what kind of music do you enjoy listening to?
 

Cheers everyone! And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!
Karen

 

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