A Brief Interview

•January 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

A Brief Interview.

The First Song

•December 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Ever wonder who the first person was to sing? And why? Did a lone man walk to the edge of a canyon one night and try mimicing the cry of something wild, like the wind through the trees, or a lonely wolf?

wolf howl, moon, silhouette, full moon 159922

Or was it simply inspiration at the sight of a rainbow or newborn child that took wing through the human voice?


To me, this seems the more logical origination for song: feeling, unchained.

This time of year, in particular, I think about what prompted that first a cappela song, and who joined in to make the original choir. I love the sound of the human voice alone, as though infused straight from Source, energizing and hypnotic at the same time.



I have visited Salzburg’s Nonnberg Abbey (the abbey featured in The Sound of Music) many times for the mesmirizing midnight mass they hold on Christmas Eve. No matter one’s religious affiliation (or lack thereof), the mass sung by sequestered nuns, without the accompaniment of musical instruments, is nothing short of spiritual revelation. The old stone church is perched atop a hill above the city, its echoing walls the perfect foil to what seems to be music sent straight from angels above. Just the thought of it makes mefeel wonderful; makes me want to sing.





If you had never heard song before, what feeling would inspire you to tilt your head back, open your mouth, and utter that first ode?



In this season of joy, think of that inspiration and feel yor way into song.


The Soul of Success

•December 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Evolution of the soul is akin to creative success. It doesn’t arrive in a flash, but is revealed inch-by-inch in editing. As humans, we tend to target imperfection miles before embracing the ideal. With this able companion to the edit,  negative thoughts and actions are replaced with the sweeter. We reach toward perfection.


But, as any writer knows, there is no perfection. As any soul understands, utopia is impossible. Novels are published, typos are found, sentences could always be rearranged to be more pleasing, story structure improved. “Could have, would have, should have,” is our mantra.


But looking back is nothing more than second guessing. So it is with our lives. It is only in reaching toward the perfect that we encounter the divine. In that reach, eternal hands always appear offering help. If we are astute, we see them and reach up. But even if we don’t, their embrace is powerful in subtle ways.


At every stage of humanity’s self-edit, we are offered a thesaurus, if you will. A higher rung on the ladder. Those rungs take the form most attractive to us individually in order to coax spiritual growth: music that touches us, art we cherish, literature we re-read, a friendship, a rival.

Simple and intricate at once, each form is a mirror. Look closely and you will see in yourself that which needs editing. Just realize that no matter how much  is done, the work will never be complete. For in completion, there is perfection. And in perfection there is stagnation.

Because what is there left to do?

In the end, life’s mantra is no more than “can, will, and shall.”

Nelson Mandela said it well:

“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”

Busy Means

•November 20, 2013 • Leave a Comment

“Busy is good because it shows

you’re alive.”

~Alison G. Bailey ~21st Century

 Busy is bad because:

 “Finally, everybody agrees that no one pursuit can be successfully followed by a man who is preoccupied with many things—eloquence cannot, nor the liberal studies—since the mind, when distracted, takes in nothing very deeply, but rejects everything that is, as it were, crammed into it. There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living: there is nothing that is harder to learn.”

~Lucius Annaeus Seneca~1st Century

The irony here: The first century had no computers, no iPhones, no round-the-clock news channels. Multi-tasking didn’t exist (unless you were a woman cooking, cleaning and wiping one end or the other of a child.)

Yet, Seneca the Younger understood the importance of focus. Nothing can be accomplished in it’s best form without it. Everything becomes half-assed (surely an ancient term referring to the necessity of having a whole donkey when trying to till a field).donkey-donkey

Apologies to Ms. Bailey above, being busy can mean that you are not at all alive. Truly living life demands you lay down your busy-tools: smart-phone, television and laptop, take its hand, and step into the natural world, connecting with yourself.

To be busy really says nothing about your importance. To be effective does.

Don’t tell me your busy. Tell me you are making a difference, moment-by-moment, by paying attention to one thing at a time. Turn your minutes to creating something solid. Not just a full calendar.

Because, after all, it is not how much we do in a day, but what we do.

Creation takes focus and attention to detail.

Just ask God. 19_1383134592_zps2a699e74

“Those who are wise won’t be busy, and those who are too busy can’t be wise.”

~Lin Yutang

The Emotion of Language

•November 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Simple fact: Writers use words.

If we’re lucky those words connect in a way that produces images in the mind. Even more, we strive to create images that grant emotion, the ultimate in story-telling.  As Tom Stoppard said, “Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.”

But do any of us really understand how a word is born? How do we learn to associate a certain word with a particular action? How is meaning infused into a simple string of characters. How does a single word affect culture? How do we begin to understand the emotion of language?

Here is some remarkable research and data. Hang in to the end if you can, and you will see a truly amazing connection: a single word into image, infused with emotion.

Magic happens when it all comes together. Like reaching the end of a great novel and shedding a tear of grief or happiness.

Sometimes only a single word is needed to sum it all up.


Call to Adventure

•October 15, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I heard a Swainson’s Thrush today, its song trailing through the toasted leaf ether of fall— a call to adventure.

Like the whistle of a distance train, it’s just passing through, on its way to Argentina from Alaska, having brought forth another wave of wings. On task, it never lingers long here in western Washington,and one can judge the arrival of the coming winter by the migration of this little bird. Early September, winter will set by Thanksgiving. October, and the snows will fall beyond Christmas Day.images

A bird is a remarkable creature. It’s a mystery how it navigates thousands of miles, a comet of color, from continent to continent. The one you see this year, announcing the season, may very well be the same one you saw this time last year, and the same you’ll see the next. A miracle.images-1

Is it the angle of the sun, learned landmarks, earth’s magnetic field? A celestial chart, one for spring and one for summer, memorized like an alphabet?images-2

Their voice is that of the ancient and unchanging. Yet, the song is a song of evolution. A confirmation that as things change all around us (especially in the mirror), the innate is a fixed thing, existing mysteriously outside ourselves. Birds are like the soul, traveling the continents of life after life, navigating from those simple truths gathered along the way, bringing continuity to a fluid existence.uk-stonehenge



We are all birds of the air.

One Voice

•October 9, 2013 • Leave a Comment

A lovely reminder that one voice is always the voice of many. And many voices, the voice of one. Because in truth, all we are is One.


•September 23, 2013 • Leave a Comment


Seventy-eight days afloat, and another summer spent on the waters of western Canada. My thirtieth year exploring the nooks and crannies of the passage between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia is behind me. I have no idea how Captain Vancouver did it in just a few months. There seem not to be enough lifetimes available to discover it all.IMG_1700

I do it mostly alone, single-handing the boat I’ve called my own for twenty-five years. Solitude is punctuated by frenzy: family and friends who swoop in via seaplane for three to ten days, enjoying the warm waters (at up to eighty degrees F, the warmest north of Baja), the plentiful seafood (clams, oysters, prawns, salmon, snapper, and cod), an abundance of laughter, and the joyful beauty of mountain and shore.

Spot Prawns

Spot Prawns

When the throngs abate, it’s a perfect place to write in the freedom of spirit. The hours are my own, no meals to prepare, with plenty of tea and Top Ramen squirreled away. Often my fingers are on the keyboard from early morning until well after dark.

Writing to the end is what I’ve learned to do. No daily editing, no fussing with the first sentence of the first paragraph of the first page, yet. Just sitting at the computer, hammering out a story begging to be lassoed from somewhere ‘out there’, running fast toward the last sentence that says in a variety of ways what two easier words might say: ‘The End”.


This year is was nearly fifty-thousand words in three weeks. A rough draft of something I will return to once it ‘cools”.

Now, I am landed home and back to an edit of book three; writing ten-to-three, four days a week. I greet the formality of routine. It marries well to editing. Just as solo sailing pairs well with the free spirit required to harness a story from beginning to end. Inspiration at it’s best. After all, latin reminds us that inspiration is nothing but being ‘in spirit’.

And so I am.


For me, there is no better place to find my soul than on the water, alone.

Six Easy Tips for Self-Editing Your Fiction

•August 21, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Kristen Lamb's Blog

There are a lot of hurdles to writing great fiction, which is why it’s always important to keep reading and writing. We only get better by DOING. Today we’re going to talk about some self-editing tips to help you clean up your book before you hire an editor.

When I worked as an editor, I found it frustrating when I couldn’t even GET to the story because I was too distracted by these all too common oopses.

There are many editors who charge by the hour. If they’re spending their time fixing blunders you could’ve easily repaired yourself? You’re burning cash and time. Yet, correct these problems, and editors can more easily get to the MEAT of your novel. This means you will spend less money and get far higher value.

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Author of Life

•May 1, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Is this you?photo1

If so, take note:

As a writer, one thing I know for certain. Life is like a working manuscript where the edits are paramount. If what is is what is wanted, then read it over and over, like a beautiful poem.5281_487989521266619_374013520_n-1

If what is is NOT what you want, make something else up.

Become the author of your own life, not merely a reader of the story before you, believing it to be written by another’s hand. You are the only author.

You have the ability to focus your life into anything you want to be living and, indeed, this is what you do every moment of every day: focus on what you be-living–what you be-lieve. You only have to believe it to be living it.

Quantum physics teaches us that matter reacts when the human mind brings it into focus. Scientists understand that the expected outcome of an experiment can change the results. If this is so for some matter, it must be true for all matter: the human mind can change an outcome simply by the way it observes.

Experiment: Next time you wake up in a bad mood, note how the rest of your day goes. Then, consciously change your mood. Watch a comedy, read the comics, think about someone you love, or the last time you had a hard laugh. Feel that “happy place”, then note the little things that begin to greet you in that same happy fashion. It may only be the faces of a few smiling strangers as you walk down the street, or a phone call from a friend who always makes you smile. Take notice. The human magnet is a powerful thing. You can embrace it or deny it, but it can’t be switched off.

What if everything you experience is a result of what you believe? How quickly would you change your thoughts to follow a new belief?

Believe it to be living it.

How quickly would you change your world?


Paulo Coelho

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