The Stirling Effect

Recently, me and a few of my friends went to a Lindsey Stirling concert. It was the first concert I’ve been to in years. I have loved her music since the first time I heard her play the electric violin. She was foot stomping, bass thrumming, violin picking awesomeness resulting in The Stirling Effect.

As she played and danced song after song, I was amazed at her stamina. I mean really? Who can dance and play the violin and jump around stage all at the same time?

One song and visual effect faded in and out in rapid succession and the crowd loved it. It was a packed house and the vibe from the crowd fed to the band on stage.

About an hour into the concert, Lindsey slowed everything down — for the audience to catch their breath, as well as for her and her band. It was a welcome bit of a breather which you rarely find in current music venues. She told us about how she got into music playing a few songs which made us all laugh.

When she was done that segment, she told us a story about a friend who past much too young and unexpectedly. Her new album Brave Enough is about her journey from his presence in her life, to his leaving earth, to where she is now.

As the next few songs unfolded, she took the time to explain about never giving up your dreams. Her journey to the stage before us was not easy and plenty of people along the way told her to stop, she wasn’t good enough, she wasn’t — {fill in the blank}.

My interpretation of the album took on a whole new meaning.

In the last part of the concert, her words echoed all to familiarly in my ears. They weaved through my thoughts of late. This pep talk, this mirroring of thoughts reminded me that to some small extent, I have given up lately.

While I have not lost a dear friend, nor am I trying to break into the music industry, I am fighting to stay the course. I am struggling to write and make meaning of my writing.

Is it worthwhile? Why can’t I find the words? Why can’t I be like before, where I could sit and write for hours? Why aren’t my characters coming to life?

It’s funny how you can look at someone else’s life and see it for what it is, but miss that in

Lindsey Stirling

your own life. I identified with her waxing poetic, but I didn’t realize I was off track again until the words were spoken out loud.

 

It’s not that I haven’t been writing lately, it’s more that it seems like a chore versus the fun it used to be. I don’t have a cheerleading squad encouraging me, so it’s easy to let the negativity and doubt creep in.

Last night,towards the end of a spectacular concert, Stirling reminded me what it felt like to be alive when I write. That not only should you follow your own path, but ignore the voices of doubt and negativity. What she didn’t say, but I extrapolated, was that the doubt and negativity you need to ignore is not only from external sources, but also from inside.

Life is not fair and it can be hard, but you need to pick yourself up, find what you love to do and try again. Don’t give power to other people or your internal destructive thoughts.

We are all brave enough to be the best version of our self. So what is it you want to be?

Creating a Writer

It wasn’t until I stood up at my mom’s service to speak, something I was not planning on doing, by the way, that I realized something.

It took ten years for my mother to pass as she had predicted, she followed in her mother’s footsteps – exactly. Ten years of misunderstandings, of bitterness, of laughs, of love, of drinking.

It was after the slow death occurred that family from around the country came. It was the confrontation of the past that allowed memories to form and connect that the realization came, that the writer found a home.

You see, through no fault of the humanity called family it occurred to me that my mother gave me the greatest gift of all time.

As I listened to the eulogy given my brother, followed by a speech from my stepfather and then a reading of my mom’s poetry by my sister, that I felt I should speak. After all I was the oldest child. I should say something right?

It was not what I wanted to do, it was not something I had prepared to do.

While public speaking does not bother me, it is something I have to prepare or outline, at least in my head. I can write gangbusters and spin tales like nobody’s business, but speaking eloquently on the spur of the moment is not my forte.

As I stood there and all words fled my mind, leaving my tongue and throat dry, I wondered what made me stand, why did I walk to the front of the room to look at all these people.

I frowned briefly before explaining that my mom and I never talked much, especially while growing up. I left out the part of her changing from a happy and fairly social person to one that harbored resentment and anger at the slightest misstep due to her celebrating daily in champagne. I told how I had issues talking to people, for asking for help. I struggled with finding the correct words at the right time.

I started writing things down and left them on the corner of my bureau before leaving for school. It wasn’t like I was asking for an answer or trying to take the chicken way out, so I was surprised when I returned home to find that someone had left an answer.

It may not have been proper way, but I was spurred on by a response. It became a daily habit after that. I would write something, leave it in the morning and by late afternoon a reply would follow my words.

They weren’t always complaints or great thoughts of wisdom, but they were words of encouragement and advice. It gave me the time I needed to formulate my thoughts and express myself eloquently when I lacked the quickness of mind to find the right words in the heat of the moment.

The letters went on for months and it taught me to write…it taught me to be creative.

One of my few regrets is not having the maturity of knowing I should have kept those written conversations. Those precious mementos of childhood, of a mother-daughter connection.

In the end my mom gave me the greatest gift: she created a writer.

Capturing Images on Paper

Capturing Images on Paper

I do it a lot, not always for work. The kind I enjoy the most are my short shorts or these posts or (when I can stay focused long enough) my novel.

I have put my novel to the side because my attention span is that of a gnat. Ok, maybe a little longer, like the length of a short short (my friends call them poems (debatable in my opinion)). On a good day I can make it through a post without stopping, but a novel? Not hardly.

The day dreams of my alter ego taking on a life of her own have been drowned out by health problems (i.e., short attention span) to medication to fix said health issues (i.e., no creative thoughts) to well, life in general.

It’s not like I don’t want to finish my novel. I’m proud and happy that I am writing. Posts and short shorts are a really good thing; I just need to figure out how to transition that process back to my novel.

I love the written word. It can be beautiful and lyrical. Putting Pen to Paper is becoming a lost art.

English: Draft letter of 1669 from Sir Robert ...

English: Draft letter of 1669 from Sir Robert Long to Sir George Downing, instructing that Downing pay Sir Denny Ashburnham 6 pounds interest on 200 pounds lent. Signed by Long. Hand written. 86 mm x 240 mm. Courtesy of the British Museum, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is through pen and paper that I can craft my feelings for my characters. Unlike the spoke word, I can take my time to find the right words, the right set of words to convey exactly what I feel, what my thoughts are — the meaning of all of it.

Writers will always be, but pen to paper writers are almost obsolete. I love technology and the way I can easily move thoughts around and quickly reconstruct my imagination, but somehow, the art of the imagination is less shiny.

Pen and paper make it crisp and eloquent — like a good paperback book on a chilly day in front of a roaring fireplace. The weight of a good fountain pen between finger tips. The way the pen glides softly against the crisp lined paper. The whiteness disappearing beneath solid black lines forming letters. The letters wrap around the sentences and images rise to the surface.

The crafting seems much more intimate when the brain moves the hand to stroke the words on paper, sliding from left to right rhythmically. A dance of the internal illusion to form a picture for the world.

It is easier to carry a pen and notebook to cafes or restaurants or docks by the lake. It is not dependent on power or lack thereof. The only requirement is ink in the pen and a blank page. Details seem more crisp and come layered with complexity when you have one chance to get it right.

The satisfaction of your fingers — hand — hurting after a while makes it seem more accomplished — something achieved at the end of the day. Like a good hard bike ride that leaves you out of breath and slightly sore (but in that good sore way).