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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Feed Your Creative Soul

Photo by Laura J. Bear  2012
Hello, all! I am jazzed after refueling my creative tank with some live music last night. My husband and I had the pleasure of experiencing a full night of spectacular acoustic music. Despite finding out about it the night before, I was able to get tickets in the second row of the middle of the balcony. The concert began with Michael Daves and Brittany Haas Gorgeous guitar and fiddle playing with Dave's high lonesome, chill-producing voice and fine harmonies from Brittany. Tony Trischka played a few numbers with them. Mr. Trischka is a banjo genius who makes that instrument sing like a sweet angel child. He came back to play a set with the strangely named Mr. Sun: Darol Anger, Joe Walsh (the other one), Grant Gordy, and Ethan Jodziewicz: A POWERHOUSE of ACOUSTIC IMPROVISATIONAL SOUND. Darol Anger is the exact opposite embodiment of his name. He is Mr. Sun. A fiddle virtuoso who dances all over the stage having musical conversations with each member of the band and the audience. Anger is a true genius of his instrument and an innovative force in music education and appreciation. I felt like I was part of a secret revolution of happiness, melody, and rhythm. The energy coming off the stage coursed right through my body and greatly disturbed a bat that was darting around the old theater. The mandolin player, Joe K. Walsh (not to be confused with the one from The Eagles), played every centimeter of the fretboard with precision, style, and lovely tone. Grant Gordy, the guitar player--no, the guitar master--created musical magic with his fingers on the strings: a feast for the ears. Ethan Jodziewicz, the bass player, kept the vibration moving with his steady, delicious deep tones and bluesy solos. They all sang like it was the last song on earth. I was laughing and crying at the sheer beauty of this multi-sensory experience and the obvious joy each musician shared with each other and with everyone else in the room.

But, that's not all! No! There was yet another set! The Travelin' McCourys (Ronnie McCoury, Rob McCoury, Jason Carter, Jeff White, and Alan Bartram) entertained us for another hour or so with some hard-driving then alternating lyrical, harmonious bluegrass. They, too, spread joy to all of us through their shared musicality. Almost four hours of amazing music on one Saturday night for the price of a couple nice bottles of wine! Wow.

Anyway, the point of all this swooning over the music is that, I believe, it is essential to feed your creative soul with other forms of art and to experience art from the source. Get on the train and visit some other parts of the landscape. Get involved and go see it in person. Social media helps us find out about things, but gives us only virtual life. Get out there and get the real thing! Gotta go, gotta go! See you next time.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Path Becomes Clear

Photo of author and her dog Teddy by Kevin Tomasello
Happy new year, everyone! 2015 will be exciting and busy for me. I will be launching my debut novel: Where the Heart Lands with my publisher, Unsolicited Press; my son is getting married; I am working on getting the first draft of my next novel completed; and we are hoping to pay off our house by year end! Hard work and celebrations galore!

I would like to take a moment to focus on gratitude, particularly in reference to the beginning of my writing career. Yes, I am calling it that, because there is no turning back now that the dream is real. I have been fortunate to have met so many wonderful people who have offered their time, expertise, encouragement, and enthusiasm for my writing. Years ago, I took a writing course through the community college's continuing education program. Valerie Zehl was the instructor. She encouraged me to try to get my writing "out there" and she even co-wrote an article with me to get my feet wet. It was in her class that a classmate asked me if I ever considered writing fiction. I had been writing non-fiction, not sure if I could write anything else. That was the first spark (since giving up on my writing back in the 1980's, but that's another story). During a previous career change from nursing to speech language pathology, I met a psychic intuitive woman through a friend. Never having done so before, I decided to have a session with her after meeting and talking with her. The experience was quite literally mind blowing. I came away believing that we are all, indeed, energy beings and that I had a purpose: to write. Of course, no one told me what I was supposed to write, so I put it on the back burner yet again while I worked through graduate school and started my career in speech language pathology. Through a patient, who also made a living giving psychic readings, I was again encouraged to go ahead and do this fiction thing. This time, I decided enough is enough. Deep in my heart I have always believed I am a writer. What was I waiting for? So, I searched and found a writing retreat in rural Vermont called When Words Count Writer's Retreat. I was their very second writer. Steve Eisner and Jon Reisfeld were enthusiastic about my germ of a story and encouraged and coached me into changing and creating the first few chapters of my untitled novel. After working on it, I went back several months later and met several amazing writers and entrepeneurs, one of whom was another psychic intuitive and down to earth person. We formed a core group of caring souls who continue to inspire and encourage me as I move forward with my goals. Thank you, Gregory, Mari, and Julie: you are all amazing people.

Things continued to happen from there, I met a local author, Elena Greene, who introduced me to another group of fabulous women writers: Jeanne, Kathleen, and Karen. They have become another source of inspiration, encouragement, and tremendous help. Then, through my other job, my friend Cathy introduced me to another local writer, Mary Pat Hyland. Another beautiful soul who has generously shared her knowledge and taken me in as a fellow author.

There are so many more people to thank: Jessica, Cathy, Jenny, Kristina, my mother Sandra Bear, my husband Kevin--the important thing to take away from all this, is that when you follow your dream, when you really decide to go for it, the Universe lines up to help you. The pathway is revealed. Yes, it is hard work, but work that you love is never as hard as working hard at something you don't love. And that, my friends, is my hope for you: to find what you love and work for it with all your heart.

Many blessings on your new year!