Thursday, March 31, 2011

What's Your Go-To Movie?

My go-to movie...if you haven't Star Wars!

I've watched it so many times that I can put it on when I have work to do and just listen to it. I can see the entire movie in my mind.

I love Star Wars.

When answering the question, "What movie would you take to a desert island?" Star Wars is always my choice.

Star Wars has everything I love: unique, interesting characters with rich history, exciting locations, great plot development, action, adventure, romance, and the battle of light versus dark.

And hope, because even in darkness, there is a tiny flicker of light that gives us hope that everything will work out alright.

I'll be listening to Star Wars this weekend, watching it in my mind, as a prepare my taxes. Makes doing taxes something to look forward to. : )

What's your go to movie? Why?

Click here to Watch the original Star Wars Trailer

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Thrill of Fear

None of us would like to be thrown in a room with what we fear the most...or for me, thrown into a swimming pool with biggest fear.

Still, there is a thrill that comes from being in a safe place and taking quick peaks at what you fear. Like why I bought the book, "Fish of the World, A Collection of 19th Century Paintings," by H. Aramata, where this illustration came from.

The paintings are beautiful, imaginative drawings, great colors, lines...still, I can't look at it too long, my heart starts beating hard and my body feels jittery.

I peak at it. The same way I look through the National Geographic magazine with "Monsters from the Deep." Taking quick looks at very scary fish from the depths of the ocean.

Like most people, my biggest fears are very unlikely to come true. I'm often reminded that the fish I see in the world are on the other side of glass. And, if they did break out to attack me...jumping out of water would be their end...not mine.

This thinking requires logic. A skill we don't usually employ around our fears. However, logic is incredibly handy when we're ready to face those fears.

So, are you ready to go through the thrill of fear, muster up some logic...and come clean as to whether your fear is something you really need to worry about?

For me, as long as I don't trip and fall into a tank of very hungry guppies, I'm probably completely safe. : )

Click here to read about a "Seal with a Fish Phobia."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cookie of the Week!

Cookies are a very important part of my creative process. I place a pile of them on the kitchen table and walk back and forth, one cookie at a time, between my work table and the kitchen table. I have to do some work between each cookie...the amount of work doesn't matter, it can be one word...but it's usally a paragraph of a story or a few lines on a drawing.

Today, I decided it would be fun to share with you the best cookie find of my week.

This week's favorite: "Ginger Thins" They are light and crunchy, made with small bits of real ginger. A healthy plus. They also include cinnamon and almonds, two other ingredients in their favor for the health conscience.

The box won't last long. My cookies will all be gone before bedtime. They lasted about 4 hours. I've been working. : )

The cost? Less than a piece of German Chocolate cake at Magnolia Bakery. The standard by which I judge all desert purchases. Making them a bargain.

So... How do you judge your cookies?

What are your very favorites?

My very favorite cookies is McVittie's Plain Chocolate Hob Nobs. They, however, have become hard to find in the if you find any...send them to me!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Take a Break and Enjoy the Buffalo

I just returned from a lovely trip to Kansas!

Sadly, I didn't see any buffalo. However, I did see lots of cows, calves, loads of trees, sheep, lambs, and best of all family.

It was shorter than my normal stay, so I concentrated on fun with my hilarious family. More than once I had to hold my breath while eating because someone had said something so funny that I didn't want a bean or chunk of pie shooting from my nose.

Eww! I wonder if a bean can really shoot out of your nose? If you know the answer, I'd love to hear it.

So what does all this have to do with a postcard of Kansas Buffalo grazing in the Flint Hills? It's because I love visiting Kansas, thinking of buffalo, and being my wonderful family.

Sometimes we need a break from our regular life. Time to enjoy being in a place we love, thinking about our favorite things, and basking in the complany of people we love. It's as important as any other part of the creative process.

Whenever I go away, I always come back recharged, full of new ideas for old and new projects, and ready to plunge in and work.

I revisit this topic, because I believe in these forms of creative battery recharging. And when you can't physically get-a-way, you can still find a little 'get-a-way' in each day, through your thoughts. Like me thinking of buffalo grazing on a prairie. What is more peaceful than that?

What are your favorite get-a-ways?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Here's a Cookie to Try!

This is not a paid endorsement...though I wish it was paid... in cookies!

As many of you know, cookies are the carrot that motivates me when I'm working on a writing or art project. I set a pile of them on the kitchen table and walk back and forth...cookies to cookie at a time, until either the project is done or the cookies are.

It's a system that works really well for me. : )

This year, I sadly missed out on the Girl Scout cookies, so imagine how excited I was to try these Fudge Mint cookies and find out they are just as delicious as the GS Thin Mint Cookies that I love.

Read that 'pure enjoyment' written at the bottom of the box?
This time, there is truth in advertising.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

David Sedaris Inspires Me

This is NOT a children's book, however, it's brilliant writing and a great example of voice.

If you've ever read David Sedaris before or heard him speak, you will hear him so clearly in these stories. The way the words come together, the voices of the characters, the ideas.

This book is also amazing in it's ability to show the very roughest edges of human beings under the guise of animals. It causes one to squirm, "OOoooouuu, I think I do that," or "Oh, I wish humans weren't that way."

Be prepared for dark humor.

Mr. Sedaris inspires me as a writer. Not only by his talent, but by the fact that he writes all the time, writes and writes. He works at his craft.

For years, I had assumed that his rise to fame was overnight. It wasn't. It came after years of writing several hours every day. He supported himself by odd jobs, the main one being, house cleaner.

As a writer, I am grateful to know this. That a man as talented as David Sedaris had to work really hard to get where he is today. He put in the hours at the typewriter. He paid his way. He put himself out there.

It doesn't take away from his talent or success to know this, it just helps me remember that writing isn't magic. It's a good idea and lots of work writing, rewriting, rewriting, rewriting, editing, and polishing.

Who inspires you?

Click - to hear David Sedaris read some of his stories on NPR

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Are You What You Chew?

This is my nephew, Lucas.

As a youngster, Lucas liked to put everything in his mouth...and I don't use 'everything' loosely. He was a chewer...the handles of the grocery cart, toys, arm rests on chairs, chicken bones, Barbie's Dream House. You think of it, he chewed it.

My sister wore herself out trying to keep him from chewing on things and out of watery places to play: like the toilet, mud puddles, and swamp areas. But he persisted and she, being an accepting mother, loved him all the same and trusted he would survive.

It turns out...he has the best immune system in his family.

I write this post in response to my sister Jennifer's recent letter telling me that everyone in their family is sick, except Lucas. She's wondering if all the above activities gave him a robust immune system. Scientific speculation says it might be.

What I do know is that his freedom to explore, to touch, taste, hear, smell, and see the world are what make him great. He's full of ideas and questions...always wanting to explore the senses...and coming up with new ideas and new ways of trying things.

When I attended to the University of Kansas, my photography professor, Pok Chi Lau, used to say, "Gargage in, garbage out." He wanted us to be mindful of the food and images we put into our body and mind. He believed what we took in would have a direct result on our work.

I'm looking forward to seeing what all Lucas' intake will produce. I'm sure it will be incredible.

What are you chewing on? What are you taking into your mind and body? Will it help you stay healthy and strong? Will it help you produce more wonderful things? Is there any real answer? Or only more questions?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Have GREAT Days!

The definition of what makes for a great day is different for all of us. There should be no judgement on this.

My partner, Bill, likes to do something big, outside of what he considers "a normal day."

For me, I like days where I'm completely free to stroll around my house and my neighborhood. Where I can hang out in my pajamas as long as I want, writing or drawing, reading, making pancakes or cookies.

Or strolling in my Upper West Side neighborhood, going in and out of the shops I treasure...Catholic Thrift Store, Salvation Army, Bank Street Books, Restoration Valley Thrift Store, and of course, Mondels Chocolates (where they have made all their own candy for over 50 years)...and then rounding my day to eat at Sura (a GREAT little Thai Restaurant) where I can eat delicious food and write and draw.

The point of all this?

I make sure I have my favorite kind of days at least once or twice a week. They aren't an accident. I protect them. And even if I'm busy and can't have an entire day to myself, I squeeze in time to stroll around.

My goal was the life I have ... that included these kind of days ... I dreamed it ... I worked toward it ... and it came true.

What life do you dream of? What kind of days do you want? Write out your dream life ... after that your whole life will subconsciously move toward that goal. It doesn't happen overnight, it happens over time.

Have GREAT days!