My Imagined TED Talk

Oscar Wilde

“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” ~ Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.” Abigail Adams

My husband, Barry, and I are doing the year-long Art & Soul Reloaded course with Pam Grout. We just started the myth busting section. You know all those myths about the creative process. This week is about “Myth #2: To Make Art, You Need the Approval of a Publisher, A recording Company, an Art Gallery, Etc.” Each lesson is accompanied by an assignment. This week we are to come up with a title and subject for our TED Talk.

Sometimes, often, actually, the lessons are things I’ve already done, or am doing. But when I read this one, I knew exactly what I would speak about if I were ever to give a TED Talk. It’s the biggest personal growth question of my life: What am I supposed to be learning from this?

That question did several things for me when it came out my pen onto the page of my journal.

It stopped me in my tracks. Before writing that question I thought that life was happening TO me, that the world was against little old me and there was nothing I could do about that but moan and complain until someone came to save me. The thing was, when I asked that question, I became my own savior. Or rather, God and I became partners. S/he’d show me the way and I’d do the work of untangling the mess.

The question forced me to look at my problems from lots of new angles. It was asking me to look at myself and how I was either making the problem worse, or at the very least, not any better. I had to accept that I had a part to play in what was going on. I wasn’t just an innocent bystander.

Which brings me to taking responsibility for my actions. If you think the world is out to get you as I did, then it’s so easy to place the blame outside yourself. When I understood that I was responsible for my reactions, that gave me a new perspective about why people treated me the way they did. Taking a moment to evaluate a situation before making any kind of response is such a helpful tool. It gives me a chance to choose what kind of interaction I’m going to have with the others in the situation. What I say and do affects others in ways I can’t even comprehend at the moment of making the decision. I’ve often been surprised when people come to me and give me feedback about something I’ve said or done. It’s always much nicer when they thank me, rather than accuse and blame me.

Taking responsibility for my reactions to life events was really scary. Beyond making decisions in the heat of the moment, it meant I had to go to those dark places within and accept that I wasn’t perfect. You probably know what that feels like. For me it’s like something souring in my stomach, or having itching powder under my skin. Before asking what am I supposed to learning from this?, I’d have done anything to get rid of that feeling. But trying to escape dealing with our wounds never works. The problems get bigger and bigger until eventually our lives blow up in our faces and we either deal with them, or our souls die. Living with a dead soul is the most hellish thing I can imagine.

Answering the question, what am I supposed to be learning from this?, is a lifelong quest. I’m still working on the answer everyday. I won’t lie to you, taking a good hard look at myself, was the most scary thing I’d ever done because what I thought I’d find was the most unloveable person on the planet. But that’s not what happened. I began to see that almost everyone feels like I did. We think we’re not worthy of love or all the other good things available for us to experience.

So, I don’t know where that question came from, but I’m so glad I asked it and started on a grand adventure of discovering myself.

I’ll end with a quote from one of my favorite plays, An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde. “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” Even though the character saying this means it as a frivolous statement, there is some truth to it, though I’d change “romance” to “love affair”. If we don’t love ourselves who will? And if we don’t love ourselves, how can we love others? Everyone is so busy trying to figure out their own lives. I believe it’s in learning to love ourselves that gives us the courage to be able to build lasting bridges to other people. That’s a worthwhile goal in my book.

Thanks for reading one of my flights of fancy. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Advertisements

Unbridled Joy

Unbridled Joy

“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain … To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” ~ Kevyn Aucoin

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” ~ Joseph Campbell

“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host again difficulties.” ~ Helen Keller

During my meditation and study this morning, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I have not had enough moments of unbridled joy in my life and that made me sad for a moment. It’s not enough to let go of fear, which I’m working on. I need to stop being so repressed and allow myself to express joy and not care what anyone thinks about it.

Then, in Pam Grout’s post about today’s A Course In Miracles lesson she said that the course can be summed up in 11 words: The universe has your back and everything’s going to be okay, which to me means I don’t have to control any of the things I thought I had to keep my eye on. I’m free to look around and appreciate the beauty of the world, or enjoy conversations with students, family, or friends, or have fun reading a good book or watching a movie. I can enjoy teaching, writing and directing. I can even enjoy going grocery shopping, or running errands. The decision about how I feel about my life is inside my head and heart.

The most important thing I have to remind myself about all the time is that my thoughts, feelings and actions aren’t confined to just me. They are energy which projects out and affect everything and everyone. Knowing that makes me feel even more committed to sharing the positive emotions rather than the negative. I want to be one of those people others want to be with because they feel good when I’m around. Don’t we avoid people who make us feel horrible? I know I do because after spending even a small amount of time around them, I feel exhausted.

So, I’m going to spread a little joy today by sharing the same Matt Harding video Pam shared in her blog. I don’t know why, but I cry every time I see this. And judging by the comments on his YouTube channel, I’m not the only one who weeps. The video makes me cry and laugh at the same time. Maybe it’s because I’m releasing all those negative emotions and making room for joy. Or maybe it’s because it’s the vision of the world I want to live in.

Thanks so much for reading. Have a joyful weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Creative Urge

Taj Mahal at sunset

“The people we walk by every day have untold talents, passions that beat in their chest like a witch doctor’s drum.” ~ Pam Grout, Art and Soul Reloaded

“Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics.” ~ Victor Pinchuck

“It’s impossible to explain creativity. It’s like asking a bird, ‘How do you fly?’ You just do.” ~ Eric Jerome Dickey

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” ~ Edward de Bono

“In my experience, poor people are the world’s greatest entrepreneurs. Every day, they must innovate in order to survive. They remain poor because they do not have the opportunities to turn their creativity into sustainable income.” ~ Muhammad Yunus

Creativity is something I feel like I harp on a lot. It’s kind of a theme of my life, so, in a way, maybe that’s not a bad thing. We all have a kind of life theme that we share with those we come into contact with.

Creativity came into my consciousness again which started me thinking about the struggles I’ve had to balance my creative urge with making a living. it’s not so bad now that I’m semi-retired, but when I was young there were so many forces urging me to find a career that would pay good money so I could live the American dream. But when I took a job because I needed the money, it was soul killing. And I don’t want anyone else to have to experience that, so maybe that’s why I harp on finding ways to be creative.

When I was offered the job, I had a sickening sinking feeling in my gut. I knew I shouldn’t take it. But I was fresh out of college, married, and living with my grandparents. So, I took the job not trusting that a better one would come along. It had only been two or three months, but Barry and I needed to be out on our own. When I started working, it was great to be self-sufficient, but I groaned every morning knowing that I was going into that toxic environment for another day. Yet, I learned a great deal from going against my inner guidance. And the biggest thing I learned was never to do that again.

I know I’m not the only person who struggles to balance working and having time to devote to things I’m passionate about. Many of my former students are friends on social media, and they share similar struggles I had when I was in my twenties. I guess it’s a universal challenge. I’m inspired by the people who follow their passions in spite of the need to earn money. For the most part, they see the world in positive ways. And it seems to be that when they contribute their good energy and their work, we all benefit from what they create.

Some people would say that I’m a dreamer when I say that I would love it if our society became more like the one in Star Trek, where people have a basic income, and are encouraged to develop their interests and talents. In that society, money exists, it’s there, but no one needs it to survive. Living like that would be so fantastic.

Maybe we are moving in that direction at least in terms of encouraging creativity. You’ve probably seen the ads for master classes in photography, or film directing, or writing, or acting. Last summer I took a free class about Alfred Hitchcock and his movies offered by Turner Classic Movies and Ball State University. It was a fun class, and I learned a lot about movie making in general, and his style specifically. Those kinds of opportunities are out there on all kinds of subjects. All we have to do is take advantage of them.

As you may know, my husband and I are doing the year long course offered by Pam Grout as part of her book, Art and Soul Reloaded. One of the things about this course I love is that at the end of each lesson, Pam has a section she calls “You’re in Good Company”. It’s a little snippet about some person’s struggle to make their dreams come true. Here are some examples: “Every cartoon Charles Schulz, the creator of the wildly popular Peanuts comic strip, submitted to his high school yearbook was unanimously rejected.” Or, “Donald Sutherland has made more than 100 films, but he still gets so nervous, he throws up before filming begins.” Or, “Lady Gaga, whose hits have topped charts in nearly every category, got dropped by Def Jam Recordings a short three months after they signed her.” Or, “Actor Ryan Reynolds, once chosen as People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, said, ‘I feel like an overweight, pimply faced kid a lot of the time.” Or, “In the early ‘90s, George Clooney was being considered for the lead role in the homicide drama Bodies of Evidence. The CBS executive cast him instead as sidekick Ryan Walker after deciding Clooney was ‘just not leading man material.’”

But this is one of my favorite exercises in the entire books so far. “Important Creativity Test: Get out a pencil. Are you breathing? Yes _______ No _______, Check your score here. If you answered ‘yes’ to the above question, you’re highly creative.” The entire book is filled with those little encouragements. She wants us all to find our particular passion and nurture it in any way we can.

This week’s lesson is titled “Art Diviners”. In this chapter her point of view is that everyone we meet has something they are deeply passionate about and want to create, and we need to be aware of that fact. I love that idea. There is so much more to people than we can see on the surface. Just look at all of the innovative ideas people are coming up with to solve various problems we’re facing. Maybe you don’t see those on social media, but I do, and every time I read one of those stories it makes me hopeful that more and more people are not letting anything hold back their creative impulses. It might be difficult, they are probably scared, but they follow their passion anyway.

That’s one thing I love about teaching. I get to encourage my student’s creativity. And as Yoda says to Luke in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, “We are what they grow beyond.” We’re all teachers in one way or another. I find it comforting to know that little by little the world is becoming a more friendly place to live in because of what we’ve learned from the generations that have gone before, and that we’ll all leave something behind that generations after us can build upon.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Some of My Favorite Things

Albert Einstein and wife Mileva Maric

“People who lack the clarity, courage, or determination to follow their own dreams will often find ways to discourage yours. Live your truth and don’t EVER stop!” ~ Steve Maraboli

“There was a definite process by which one made people into friends; it involved talking to them and listening to them for hours at a time.” ~ Rebecca West

I have never written a blog post enumerating some of my favorite things even though there have been times when I’ve written reviews of books and movies I liked. Today I want to share some things I like, from television shows, to podcasts, to my new morning ritual. I hope you enjoy.

First favorite thing: I have a new pre-writing ritual. It’s this week’s assignment from Art & Soul Reloaded. I’ve never had a set ritual before sitting down to write, so coming up with something to summon the muses has been fun. I tend to over think these little assignments Pam Grout gives us every week. This time I decided not to do that and just choose some things to do that satisfy me right now. I can always refresh my ritual later.

I have two current favorite songs that I listen to often. The first is “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. He has a series of one hour YouTube videos made at different times of the day in different locations. He sings the song and dances to it the first time through and then each successive time through different people dance to his sound track. I’m not a good dancer, but I do dance to this song. It’s a good way to get my blood flowing in the morning and to remind myself that I can choose to be happy no matter what is going on. For me it’s better to write from a happy place rather than from self-torture.

The second song I love is “Evermore” from Beauty and the Beast. The composer wrote it especially for this new live action version of the movie. The Beast sings it after realizing that he has fallen in love with Belle as she is riding away to save her father from Gaston. In the song he sings, “Now I know she’ll never leave me, even as she fades from view, she will still inspire me, be a part of everything I do …” That touches me so deeply because we do need each other more than we realize. And those we love are still inspiring and supporting us even if they’re gone. So, as I sit down to write, I remember that I’m not writing alone. My ideas come from everything that has happened to me, and all the love I’ve shared. That gives me the courage to try to put into words the feelings and ideas that rattle around in my head.

Second favorite thing: I’ve never been a fan of listening to podcasts on a regular basis. My husband has several that he listens to on his way to and from work. I prefer silence when I’m driving, but a few months ago one of my Goodreads friends suggested I try Anne Bogel’s “What Do I Read Next” podcast and her blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy. After listening to an episode, I was hooked. Anne talks to regular everyday readers, who as it turns out, aren’t ordinary at all. Like the woman who owns, CW Pencil Enterprise – Purveyors of Superior Graphite. Who would have thought that someone could maintain a thriving business selling pencils, and all the accouterments that go with them? Even though this woman was a guest because of the books she loves, we got to hear enough of her story that I want to travel to New York just to visit her store. (Don’t despair, if you can’t travel to New York, she does have an online store.) Or another guest owns a bookstore devoted entirely to books about food. She sells a good number of cookbooks, naturally, but she also carries novels that center around food, or books about celebrations involving food. She even hosts book and food related events in her store. These are creative, interesting women I never would have known about if not for Anne Bogel’s podcast. I love it when people follow their passion and the universe rises up to meet them.

My third favorite thing is the television station NATGEO. When I was younger I was a television addict. I’d sit down with the TV Guide and plan out what I was going to watch during the coming week. In recent years, Barry and I have paired down our television watching and looked for unusual and informative shows rather than the same old sitcoms, or scripted dramas. Earlier this year NATGEO ran their first scripted series, Genius directed by Ron Howard. This first season was about Albert Einstein. It was fascinating. I didn’t know much about Einstein’s early life, his struggles to get his ideas published, his turbulent first marriage, or how he and his second wife eventually emigrated to the United States. It was riveting television, and I learned a great deal about physics in the process. The next season of Genius is going to be about Pablo Picasso. I’m looking forward to that one.

Another series on NATGEO I love is The Story of … with Morgan Freeman. Last year’s series was The Story of God, this season it’s The Story of Us. Morgan Freeman is on a mission, with both series, to help us understand each other better. I have found each episode compelling and even life changing, as he travels around the world asking questions and meeting people with extraordinary stories to tell. I hope you’ll check out both of these shows.

I have other favorites which I may share in future podcasts but until then, have a great weekend.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Thanks Pam Grout

This picture speaks for itself

“Show up, show up, show up and after a while, the muse shows up, too.” ~ Isabel Allende

This week I’ve been doing the week 6 exercises from Pam Grout’s Art & Soul Reloaded. We were supposed to write seven blog posts, which was a bit of stretch for me. I’ve been posting once a week since spring or summer of 2013, yet as I put my mind each day to what I was going to write for the next post, ideas came to me. Now I won’t say that they were fantastic ideas, but since I’m in the habit of doing lots of self-reflection, I was able to come up with enough ideas to complete my assignment.

The amazing thing is that this week my in-laws have been visiting and we’ve been doing some galavanting. So, I’ve had to fit my writing in where I could. And that’s the real advantage of doing this exercise, making writing my priority. Doing that is what Steven Pressfield calls being a professional. In his book The War of Art, he explains the difference between being an amateur and a professional: Don’t fit your creative endeavors around the rest of your life,  make your art a priority and do it every day no matter what.

I have to say that I write almost every day, but I’m not sure I’ve got that professional attitude quite yet when writing my novels. I am always thinking about my novel, but I’m not always sitting in the chair writing new scenes, rearranging, or revising everyday.

After doing these exercises, however, I’m going to commit to two things, I’m going to add a blog post on Saturdays so that I’m posting twice a week, and I’m going to sit down and do some work on my novel every day.

That’s all for today. We’re going on an outing again today, the last day or my in-law’s visit, so see you Wednesday.

Thanks for reading, commenting and liking my posts. I appreciate it.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list

Week 6 Exercise

Let’s Get Working

“The Assumption that art is a regal robe which falls upon your shoulders magically, bestowed upon you as an heir apparent rather than achieved through slinging the pickax across your shoulder every morning and making off to the mine, was revealed as the greatest hinderance of all to artistic work.” ~ Jane Lazarre, Author of The Mother Knot

I think I’ve written before that my husband and I are taking a year to expand our artistic flow by doing the exercises from Pam Gout’s new book Art & Soul Reloaded. This week she challenges us to write a blog post each day until the week 7 exercise. The title of the chapter is “Fear And Insecurity, Be Gone! I’ve Got Brilliance To Create.”

I’ve written and posted a blog once every Wednesday since the spring or summer of 2013. I’ve felt good about that consistency, but to write a post for every day of the week? Not sure I want to take that much time away from my fiction writing. But I think I can write one post a day for one week. So, here goes.

For the last few days my husband and I have been doing thorough house cleaning in preparation for his parent’s visit. One thing is painfully, and I mean PAINFULLY, clear to me is that I need to get out of my writer’s chair more often and move around more. I may have written before that I do not like doing housework. I do it if I need to, but my dream is to have someone come once or twice a month to do a good sweep through our house leaving Barry and me free to do our respective artwork.

About a year or so ago, when I was complaining about having to clean house, Barry surprised me by saying he loves to do housework. This weekend he proved to me that he wasn’t lying. He gets a job between his teeth and doesn’t let go until he’s finished. I told him he’s hired.

He’s also really handy. We live in a manufactured home in the country. Fifteen years ago the company we bought our home from provided us with TEMPORARY stairs for the front and back doors. Well, of course, we have needed to replace them for a long time, and finally, knowing his aging parents needed sturdy stairs to get into our house, he designed and built some beautiful front steps.

Preparing for my in-law’s visit has reminded me of one thing, we sometimes get stuck in one way of thinking. I did that so much so about housework that I’ve let it go far too long. As I look around at our newly clean house, I think I need to reconsider the way I feel about housework. A clean house is certainly a joy to behold, and one way to get up and move around more is to vacuum, dust and mop floors. See you tomorrow.

Thanks so much for reading and making comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

I am Enough

Tarantula Nebula

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.” William Shakespeare

“If a man wants to be sure of his road he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.” ~ St. John of the Cross, Mystic and Saint

I’m kind of stubborn and sometimes unteachable. I’m like my dad in that way. There are certain activities that I want to discover for myself. I want to find my own way of doing it and I get irritated when someone tells me I have to do it exactly the way they do.

When I had an idea for the novel that became The Space Between Time, I just started writing even though my degrees were in religion, theatre and education. I came back to it, after having to put to it away because I became a full-time teacher. At that point I did take one writing class. But I realized that each writer has their own method and taking classes in writing can be learning someone else’s method. That hinders the student’s work because they try to fit into a mould that might not work for them. That is unless the instructor encourages his or her students to discover their own way of working. That’s my style of teaching. I give a framework, but the students must follow their own creative path.

When I read week four of Art & Soul Reloaded, including this week’s exercise, I was excited. Pam Grout encourages us to just start the project that has come to us. We don’t need to take a class, or read a book to create something remarkable.

One thing I love about this book is that Ms. Grout mentions all different kinds of creative people and the struggles they face producing their art because, for the most part they feel inadequate. In this chapter she writes about Tracy Morgan the Emmy-nominated actor and Saturday Night Live superstar. She opens her story about him with one of his quotes. “Society gave me a ten-foot wall and a five-foot ladder and then sat back to see if I’d get my black ass over that wall. It wasn’t impossible, but I had to be creative.” He has said that being funny was a way for him to survive living in the projects, and slowly it dawned on him that he might be able to be funny in front of an audience and make a living doing it. His first wife told him to go for it, but “… you’ve got to go all the way.”

When I read Tracy Morgan’s story, I compared myself to him, for just a moment. His life was much worse than mine and he learned to follow his bliss much earlier than I did. But then I remembered that as a young child, Divine Oneness and I became friends and I followed her lead in most of the decisions I made for my life. My theater training led me to teaching which led me to writing. For me, all that was the perfect path to take. Since we’re each unique, no decision is wrong, as long as we’re following our inner guides and offering up our talents to others. It took me a long time to understand that. There are still times when I want to beat myself up for taking soooooo long to get out of my own way and just commit to writing wholeheartedly. Thank heaven those times are now few and far between.

Wholeheartedly, that’s my word for the year. To me, one aspect of being wholehearted about something means you commit completely by taking time to finish all the steps necessary to make your vision come true. That may mean entering a degree program, or it may just mean starting that project that has been nagging at you. So, this year I have carefully, but wholeheartedly embraced publishing The Space Between Time. I say carefully, because I’ve discovered that I’m not a slap-the-book-together kind of person. I like to make sure not only the story is as good as I can make it, but that all the mechanical stuff is right too. I’m happy to say that Barry and I finished the final corrections this past weekend. Barry has uploaded the final manuscript for both ebook and print-on-demand versions. Hopefully we’ll get through the approval process, and the physical book will be available by next week for you to order.

I often wonder what it would be like if all parents and teachers allowed their children and students to create anything they wanted, instead of making them follow some pre-conceived notion of what makes good art, or music, or dance, or stories. To me allowing someone to express themselves in their own true way is the ultimate act of love. If more people gave encouragement to their friends, family and coworkers to listen to their inner creative voices, wow! think how wonderful the world would be.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and will soon be available in a print-on-demand version at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Inspiration

Charles Dickens

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell

“Watch out or you might end up in my novel.” A T-shirt given to me as a gift.

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us become better too.” ~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

“If you’re reading this … Congratulations, you’re alive. If that’s not something to smile about, then I don’t know what is.” ~ Chad Sugg, Monsters Under Your Head

So, I know, scrolling through Facebook doesn’t seem to be a creative act. In fact, Pam Grout author of Art & Soul Reloaded, asks us to reduce the amount of time we waste on social media in order to carve out time for at least one creative endeavor a day. But over the weekend the trailer for a new movie popped up in my feed and I was inspired. The movie is The Man Who Invented Christmas, starring Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer. Just the trailer shows what an author goes through when working on a story. Inspiration comes from so many different unexpected places, a bedtime story, offhanded remarks, getting the right name for a character, or the right title for the piece. Any one of those are fodder for someone who uses their imagination.

The movie is about how Charles Dickens came to write A Christmas Carol. From the trailer, it looks like a fanciful and funny rendering of the real story. One thing is true to life, Charles Dickens was in financial difficulty when he wrote the novella. His last two novels had not been received well by the public. He needed a hit and was fortunate that inspiration struck. He wrote the book in October. It was published on December 19th 1843 only a few weeks later, and has never been out of print since. So, this Thanksgiving, I will be in the theatre watching this delightful, funny film and taking comfort in the fact that if we allow it, anything can inspire our creativity.

I have a confession to make. I read A Christmas Carol for the first time last Christmas. I know, how can that be. One of my brothers-in-law reads it every Christmas. Since I’ve seen many film and stage adaptations of the story, I thought I didn’t need to read the book. But last Christmas was particularly bleak for many people, including me, and I wanted to remind myself that carrying the spirit of Christmas with me all the year, is better than giving into despair. Christmas is a good time to reinvigorate hope and there are lots of wonderful Christmas books and movies that have that as a central theme. They are meant to inspire us and help us embrace loving life, and offering help to those less fortunate. Something good to remember any time of the year. I may read the book again this Christmas.

As if that little bit of inspiration from watching the movie trailer wasn’t enough, I was inspired by another post in my feed by Diana Gabaldon. She was promoting the new season of Outlander, a series I love, and wrote about how she approached each of the eight books, almost nine, in the series in a different way. That one statement sent my imagination flying to my new novel. I’ve been making progress on it, but the other day I was thinking that it was kind of boring and needed a new angle. Well, thank you Diana Gabaldon, I got a flash of inspiration about a new direction I could take the book.

One thing I’ve been learning as I’ve focused my attention of being creative every day is that, inspiration comes easier the more you commit to being open to it. Pam Grout says, “Look at it from the muses’ point of view. If you have an important project to present to the world, would you pick some two-timing, tap-dancing Willy too scared to commit? Or would you nominate the person who shows up every day, who is loyal, like the backyard dog?” I want to be loyal, maybe not like the backyard dog, but like a good friend. That’s why I’m always open and working, even if it’s just paying attention to what’s going on around me. I’m looking for that song lyric, which by the way is how I got the title for my first novel, The Space Between Time, thanks to The Beatles, or that thing someone does or says that give me an idea. Inspiration will find the right person at the right time. I want to be in the right place at the right time to catch a spark of inspiration that will be of benefit to me and those around me.

Oh, and if you want to see the trailer for The Man Who Invented Christmas, you can click here.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and will soon be available in a print-on-demand version at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Letting Go of the Old, Welcoming the New

Revised book cover for The Space Between Time

“What if imagination and art are not frosting at all, but the fountainhead of human experience?” ~ Rollo May, Existential Psychologist

“Creativity, it seems, has much in common with spirituality and may, in fact, be the same thing.” ~ Pam Grout, Art & Soul Reloaded

“Be Loki. Be Coyote. Be willing to stir the world’s soup pot. Spit at the stars, show your backside to the council, whoop in church.” ~ Jame Yoder, Author

How do you cope during extremely stressful times? I do it by finding a creative project.

When I was first teaching drama, I was also going to school full-time, and directing plays. I didn’t have one moment of the day to just breathe and relax. However, when I was at play rehearsals, I did get a bit of the rest and replenishment I needed because it was collaborative and creative.

When I was in college studying both religion and theatre, I learned something valuable. That art, or creativity, are spiritual in nature. Over the years I’ve come to understand that we all have the ability to tap into the well of creativity to heal, renew, and connect with other people. Even though I’m now a writer as well as a theatre instructor, I’m fascinated with how others view creativity.

That’s why I bought Pam Grout’s new book Art & Soul Reloaded. It’s a book with a creative exercise for each week. I’ve only read the first few pages, but I found it interesting that I have much in common with her. Like Pam, I’m the daughter of a minister with two sides to my personality. I have been the good girl, good in school, and done all the conventional things we’re told human beings are supposed to do. But, like Pam Grout, I’ve been secretly drawn to the bohemian life. I’ve wanted to be like Auntie Mame, and “live, live, live!” But most of the time I’m more like June Cleaver, only without The Beaver.

Like Pam Grout, I’d dabble in being a bohemian. When I was acting, I’d hang out at the bar after rehearsal, and go to the opening night, and end of the run parties. However, though I might sing along with the rest, and share war stories of things that happened during the show’s run, I didn’t drink much, nor did I act with crazy abandon. I stayed on the fringes enjoying other people’s freedom but not fully participating. I wanted to shed my inhibitions, but rarely did. Yet, from my theatre experiences I did learn some extraordinary lessons. That we all want the same basic things, to love and be loved, to find our purpose, to be useful. This is true for all people no matter their gender, color, sexual preference, or race.

I bought Pam’s book because even though I work on creative projects nearly every day, I feel like I’m still stuck back in that conventional life of working and teaching. The pull has been strong to follow the crowd and do all the appropriate things like buying a house, keeping the yard nice, planning for retirement, and such. I have not always followed all those “must do’s” and there is a part of me that rejoices that I’ve made some pretty bold choices in my life. Yet, I’d like to be the old woman that people either say, “Watch out here comes, Lucinda.” or “I want to be alive and vibrant like that when I’m old.”

It’s when I’ve made the bold choices that I’ve felt most alive and happy, as opposed to the sinking feeling of living out the conventional choices I’ve made. And now seems like a good time to get rid of more of those old beliefs about what living a good life looks like.

I think there has always been a tension inside me between committing absolutely to a creative life as opposed to living a more conventional one. But, even as I worked those 8:00 to 5:00 jobs, I looked for ways to break out of the crush of routine. And even though I’ve only just begun to read Art & Soul Reloaded, I feel that we can all find ways to fill our souls with the beauty of creating something wonderful. Maybe it’s gardening, or gourmet cooking, or doing hand crafts of some sort. I don’t think it matters what the creative endeavor is as long as we give ourselves time to let go of the cares of the world and let the creativity that we were born with flow through us.

What I hope to get out of doing the exercises in this book is to become more open to what life has to offer me instead of worrying about all the ugly things that are happening in the world. It’s easy to get caught up in the negative. I want to focus on the positive so I can contribute to love and beauty for all to enjoy.

By the way, the second proof for my novel has arrived. It won’t be long now before it’s available for purchase. In the mean time, I’m enjoying teaching acting and working on the sequel novel.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and will soon be available in a print-on-demand version at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Topsy Turvy

U.S. Constitution

“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” ~ George Orwell

“Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.” ~ John F. Kennedy

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” ~ Albert Einstein

“The universe as we know it is a joint product of the observer and the observed.” ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

In the U.S. we have just celebrated Independence Day. This year I have been reflecting on the importance of the words in The Declaration of Independence and The United States Constitution, which are known world wide for the concepts behind the words in them. Those words changed the world. They express concepts that were new at the time, like freedom for all, equality, the pursuit of happiness, self-governance and so many others. Our country became an experiment in working together so that all our citizens would prosper in peace.

We created this country so we could live in peace, but peace doesn’t come out of conflict. I use our history as evidence. Not long after we won our independence, we were at war again in 1812. Then many wars followed: The Civil War, the Indian wars, the Spanish American War, World Wars I and II, Korean War, the Viet Nam War, and … you get the idea. We’re so used to what it feels like to be at war, that we have created the Temperance Movement to combat drunkenness. That left the door open for organized crime to move in which created more fighting. We now have the war on cancer, war on drugs, war on HIV/AIDS, war against poverty, and so on.

The use of the word war in all these instances, reflects our mindset. What if, instead of creating war monuments, we honored our war heroes by helping the family members left behind, and helped the living reintegrate into society? I have often heard war heroes say they hate it when we put them up on a pedestal. I’ve never been a warrior, but I imagine that those who must go and fight are the ones who want peace the most. They have seen horrendous things that haunt them for the rest of their lives. What if we helped them deal with their PTSD and find a measure of peace instead of asking them to be in parades with the weapons of war? I mean, do we really want to continue to glorify something so horrific?

Over the last three years I’ve learned some important lessons about words, the concepts behind them, and how we have misused them. Take for example the axiom, “Seeing is believing.” Most people would agree that that is true. But what would happen if we turn that phrase on its head and say, “I’ll see it when I believe it?”

I follow Pam Grout, author of E Squared, E Cubed, and Thank and Grow Rich. In a recent blog post she pointed out that we are “connected to everyone and everything that exists through an invisible field of intelligence and energy.” Scientists call this entanglement. If you want to know more, click here to read her blog post. In it she writes about recent discoveries about entanglement. I don’t want to get too technical, but these experiments by physicists prove that what we think, creates our reality. So, the phrase, “I’ll see it when I believe it,” is completely true.

Since scientists are turning what we thought we knew upside down, and recent events in this country and around the world are topsy turvy, it must be time to take a closer look at what we were sure we knew as fact.

This past weekend my husband and I watched the movie Arrival again. It perfectly illustrates what I’m trying to express here rather clumsily.

In the movie, Earth is visited by twelve large craft from outer space. Whenever that happens in movies, and I assume it would happen in real life too, the first reaction is one of fear. In the movie, the world leaders put the military on alert so they can defend our planet. But a main plot point is the difference between making decisions based on what has happened in the past on this planet, and learning new ways of thinking and being based on the language of the aliens. The protagonist is a woman linguist named Louise. She’s able to both teach the aliens our language and then learn theirs as well. In the process she begins to “dream” about future events in her own life. Learning the language of the aliens rewires her brain. She sees time and space the way the aliens do. In one crucial scene, Louise tries to get the government and military officials to understand the difference between the way we use the word weapon, and the way the aliens use it. But, as you can imagine, since that is a word with lots of baggage attached to it, she is not successful. So she takes desperate measures.

What this movie says to me is that we are often reacting to the words used by the people around us. We often make expedient choices based on fear rather than thinking of the long term consequences of our actions. The movie points out that words are inconsistent things. Their meanings really depend on who is using them, and how they are perceived. Therefore, sometimes we get angry at what someone says, thinking we understand what they mean, when in reality, they may mean something completely different. Some words are so charged with emotion that they trigger a violent response. In such cases, it’s hard to calm down enough to contemplate other possible meanings. A quote from a book Louise has written before her encounter with the aliens is this: “Language is the foundation of civilization. It is the glue that holds a people together. It is the first weapon drawn in a conflict.”

We find ourselves in conflict all over the world right now, and the question is, will we react to the words that fly around the news and social medias, or will we take time to look at the intent behind the words? Or maybe better still, find a balance between challenging the words, and believing that we can create a better world by using better words. We can practice seeing and feeling what it’s like to live in peace rather than in war. If we do that, eventually we will see the world we have wanted ever since The Declaration of Independence was written.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, paranormal novel in which two women must rebuild their lives. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and will soon be available in a print-on-demand version at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.