Thursday, January 27, 2011

inspiration takes flight

Without inspiration the best powers of the mind remain dormant. 
There is a fuel in us which needs to be ignited with sparks.
Johann Gottfried Von Herder

I am very thankful that we are all different. Our differences cause each of us to have unique interests, passions and joys. When we find a way to manifest those aspects of ourselves, we create. Inspiration is the catalyst. Without inspiration, our creative spark dims.

Passion and inspiration are dependent upon one another. When they thrive there is fruit and when their combined flame is extinguished, emptiness. 

So then, how does one stay inspired? Undoubtedly, there are as many answers to the question as there are people who implement them. Personally, however, there are some basic principles that help me meet the challenge of staying inspired.

1.    Stay thankful (or count your blessings). Your life will not bear fruit if your heart cannot give. Thankfulness is the key.
2.    Surround yourself with things and people you love. This keeps you positive and motivated. 
3.    Fellowship with like-minded people.  Listen to their stories. Proverbs 27:17 says, As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” If your passion is dance, seek out other dancers. If it’s writing, then find fellow writers to spend time with. 

I had the absolute pleasure of fellowshipping with like-minded people this past weekend at a BlogLove event hosted by Kristin and Chris Ann from LoveFeast Table. Among their many passions, they love being that catalyst… sparking the inspiration that fuels someone’s enthusiasm.

BlogLove is a series of events that are meant to inspire fellow bloggers. This particular event, BlogLove Takes Flight, was the fourth in the series and was held at the In-Flight Theater in Baltimore. Mara Neimanis welcomed bloggers from Maryland and Virginia into her aerial theater and shared with us not only her art but a window into her life. In telling her story, she spoke about not allowing herself to be a victim of the circumstances of her life, but literally rising above it and using her passion to be victorious. Her perspective of using aerial performance as a storytelling device nestled responsively with the group gathered since that’s really how many of us approach blogging… It’s the story of our lives and the things in it. 

Aerialists Kristen Faber and Jessica Bucaro also shared their talents and stories with us. Collectively, they have a different story and therefore a different viewpoint than Neimanis, which naturally provides them with a unique inspiration for their art. 

It is interesting to correlate this to blogging. Obviously, we all come to blogging for different reasons, bringing along our individual experiences, histories and motivation. Much like the aerialists, while the activity is the common ground, what we create is our own. Whether it is writing or something else, pursuing our passions and fueling the fire within rounds out our lives and helps complete us.  

Many, many thanks Kristin and Chris Ann.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

tunes i like tuesday: i'm going down

Okay.... Tunes I Like Tuesday... The Wednesday Edition.

Since it's Wednesday and I blew it for yesterday, here's something a little different.  Two versions of the same song.  I know a lot of people love The Boss. Me? Not so much.  Yes he does a few songs I like (especially his 1982 release Nebraskabut I never quite "got him".  The first time I heard this cover by Vampire Weekend, I was sold.  It's a great take on one of Bruce Springsteen's classics.  Needless to say, I like it so much better than the original.  What about you?

PS: It's snowing its butt off here.  I am sure my kids will be home tomorrow.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will be too. Gotta love them snow days.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

tunes i like tuesday: goodbye midnight

Between the holidays and just plain old life, I've sorta been off my game the past few weeks. (As evidenced by the fact that I've barely been able to blog once a week.)  However, I'm feeling more like myself and think I'm seeing a return to (my somewhat crazy) normal.  Countrymouse and I went to a show over the weekend, so I know things are getting back on track!

We had the opportunity to see The Spring Standards, who put on a great show.  Known for their three-part harmonies, The Spring Standards are hard to peg into one musical genre.  They play folk music.  They play pop music.  They play rock music. They play country music.  At times they sound Beatle-esque.  What's not to like?  

This particular song, "Goodbye Midnight" is from their first effort, No One Will Know, released in 2008.  They released a full-length album, Would Things Be Different, in 2010 and are currently headed back to the studio to work on a new EP.  

When was the last time you heard someone outside of a marching band play the glockenspiel?

Check 'em out and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

tunes i like tuesday: it happened today

There's just some things of which you never grow tired.  For me REM is one of them.  After 30 years of playing together and 15 albums, I love them as much as I did back in 1982 or so when I first heard them.  (God bless you, Martin.) Their new album, Collapse Into Now, is out March 8th.  Buy it.  Preorder it now.  The cuts I've heard so far are REM through and through.  

"It Happened Today" features Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam fame.   Have a listen.  Is there a group that has stood the test of time for you?

Bonus trailer for the album....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

tunes i like tuesday: hard headed woman

Wanda Jackson, known to many as the First Lady (or Queen) of Rockabilly, recently caught my eye after I read that Jack White has produced her latest album (due out later this month).  I loved the work he did with Loretta Lynn a few years back, especially the song, Portland, Oregon, so I was game.  The album boasts covers of "Shakin' All Over" as well as the Amy Winehouse song, "You Know I'm No Good". These two cuts alone are worth the price of the album.

Jackson made a name for herself as an early female rockabilly singer and is considered to be a rock and roll pioneer. When rockabilly fell out of mainstream fashion, she adapted and made a comfortable career for herself in traditional country music. She's a member of both the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Frankly, anyone in their mid-70s who has enough moxey to work with Jack White and cover Amy Winehouse gets props in my book.

"Hard Headed Woman", written by Claude Demetrius, is best known as an Elvis Presley song from his 1958 film Kid Creole. However, Jackson recorded it that same year, making her version not quite a cover.  So while it may never be considered "her" song, I think she does a great job.  

And simply because I'm feeling the love (and probably because this is my favorite Wanda Jackson song) here's a second Jackson tune for you. "Funnel of Love" was recorded in 1961.  I think you can definitely hear some early rock and roll undertones here. What do you think? Which one do you prefer?