Nero fiddled while Rome burned (in a manner of speaking) …

… except this time it was me who was fiddling — with a blog post — and not paying attention to the frying pan onburned the stove. The All-Clad pan. I was cooking (obviously) and the recipe called for caramelized onions. They turned out fine, you’ll be happy to know.

It was after they were done that I ran into a problem. Because I’m lazy, I usually put some dish soap into the pan I’ve used, add water and put it back on to the stove briefly, just to loosen up all the bits so it’s easier to clean.

That’s what I did this time. It usually just takes a few minutes.

But inspiration struck. I got an idea for my next Huff Post blog. I’d been struggling with the idea all day. I couldn’t take the chance that I’d lose it, while I watched the pan. The heat was turned down very low, and all I wanted to do Continue reading

Are all writers a little weird … ?

… or is it just me?typewriter

Since moving to Toronto in 1985, every house or apartment I’ve either rented or owned has had an office, or at least a dedicated space for writing. One that’s properly outfitted, with a desk, a comfortable chair, a filing cabinet, storage for books and supplies, good light, everything one would need.

I have never sat, or worked, in any of them.

When I got to the part, in the book I’m writing, where my mom died I couldn’t write at home. It took me about six Continue reading

Life, tortillas and Antonio Banderas

Right now you haven’t got a clue where I’m going with this, do you?  Patience my friends, all will becomeguacamole clear.

But first, let me start by saying that Isabel Allende is one of my favourite authors. I’ve read all but one (her latest and it’s on my list) of her books, many of them multiple times. She takes you on magical voyages, not all of which are fiction.

Knowing this, last weekend a friend sent me a link to a Ted Talk she gave in March 2014: “How to live passionately — no matter your age.” OMG!  You owe it to yourself to watch it here.

Of course, given my recent post on meditating, avoiding negativity and embracing happiness the timing was absolutely impeccable. Allende’s  Continue reading

It appears the well has run dry …

… at least temporarily.  At least I hope it’s temporary.  I’m referring, of course, to the fact that I’m sitting here, completely uninspired.  Not a thought in my head. empty1I knew it would come to this when the whole week passed without an idea coming to me.  Not even a mediocre idea.  Not that I’d want a mediocre idea.  Not that I’d use a mediocre idea.  But still.

It seemed odd, to be honest, because I’ve been on such a roll lately.  I’ve been struck with new ideas, for new blog posts while I’m writing posts, for God sake.  I’ve had to stop what I was doing, stop writing, just so I could jot down the gist of the  idea, so I’d remember enough of it to get back to it, later.  I’ve had blog posts stock piled, all written, saved and ready to be published in coming weeks.

And now, suddenly, nothing.  N-O-T-H-I-N-G .  Nada.  My mind’s a complete blank.

Well, not totally blank, just as far as ideas go.  With everything going on in the world you’d think I’d have

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“School days, school days, dear old Golden Rule days …”

Do you remember your school days?  I remember mine.  Well, not in total detail, but well enough.  So when I saw Michelle W’s Daily Prompt the other day, I teacherthought, “I can answer this“.  “What makes a teacher great?”

I’ll start by admitting I didn’t entirely love school.  For the most part I found it uninspiring.  I was bored.  Not because I’m uber smart.  Trust me, I’m not.  I was bored because I wasn’t ‘engaged’.  While what I was supposed to be learning could have been interesting (except for math which I detested), it wasn’t.  At least not much of the time.

Because the teachers didn’t make it interesting.  They stood at the front of the class and blathered on and on and on.  They talked at the students.  They droned, usually in a monotone, like robots.  No personality.  No emotion.  No passion.  No excitement.  No storytelling.  No imagination.  No creativity.

What did I do?

Well, I must have paid some attention, because I always passed; but I was usually miles and miles away, daydreaming.  Yes, I did get caught, on more than one occasion, and ended up with detentions, like having Continue reading

Day 304. Truly Inspiring

I’m always providing links to blogs I’ve read and really enjoyed. Or where I’ve found the inspiration for a post of my own. But I’ve never actually written out the soulcontent of another blog.

So today is a first for me. I was so moved, so touched and so inspired by what I read the other day, I knew a link just wouldn’t do it justice. The words themselves, the spirit behind them and the lesson to be learned, is just too powerful.

Particularly when you consider the poem I’m going to share with you was written by a young girl. Only fourteen or fifteen years old, in fact. But first, some background.

Elizabeth Blue, who wrote the poem, passed away on September 23, 2012, from lymphoma. Wise and talented far beyond her years, she was a gifted and prolific writer. She and her mother started a blog, Luminous Blue, when she first became ill. It’s purpose — to tell she story of their journey “with transformation, cancer, death and LOVE”. I’ve been following it for about a year.

Even though Elizabeth is gone, the blog goes on. What you’re about to read is the poem Elizabeth wrote when she was in her freshman year of high school 2004 – 2005. Long before she got sick. Long before there was even a hint her life would be cut short. Long before she’d experienced enough of life to be this wise. This ‘connected’ to her soul. I read it

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Day 291. Finding Inspiration

Yesterday I wrote about the goal I set for myself when I started this blog. The author of Book Peeps, a WordPress blog I follow, commented. When I responded to lighteningher comment, I talked about how my career in advertising, an industry where ‘ideas’ are what we sell, has taught me how to find inspiration.

She then wrote back, suggesting I make that the subject of another blog post. Here it is.

It’s interesting. Whenever I tell anyone I blog each and every day I get the same reaction. “I wish I had your discipline”, is one. And the other is, “I don’t know where you get all those ideas”.

Obviously there’s nothing I can say or do to make you, or anyone else, a disciplined writer. It’s something you have to do for yourself. You either are, or you aren’t. My contention is, you have to want to do it. Whether it’s

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Day 159. Not Sure?

I so enjoy reading the blogs on WordPress.  They don’t just inspire ‘me’, they often inspire an idea.  Just like Tony’s post on his blog, Finding Subjects, gentleproddid yesterday.  He wrote about a turtle he saw on a walk.

It was far from water, and all holed up in its shell.  He wondered if the turtle needed help, and debated whether or not to intervene.  He talked to it (didn’t mention what he said in his post) and it must have been exactly the encouragement the turtle needed, because it stuck its neck out and walked away.

A lovely story, don’t you think?

Got me thinking about all the times I’ve needed a gentle prod.  A thumbs-up.  A nudge.  A kick in the pants.

There are times even the strongest, most determined, most confident, most ‘together’ of us, are uncertain.  Or insecure.  Not quite committed enough.  In an I’ll-get-around-to-it-later mood.  Or just not sure we should or Continue reading

Day 95. Need Some??

What kind of a writer would I be if I never talked about ideas?  Well, today’s the day.  Ideas have been my stock and trade since my very first day, on my very first job.  Actually, even before then.  Goes back to my art college days.

Ideas are my life.  No, I’m not exaggerating.  Think about it.  To put it bluntly, a creative person without an idea isn’t a creative person.  That’s the beginning and end of it.  Without an ‘idea’ I’ve got nothing to say.  Or do.  Or sell.  That’s my reality.

The scary part of it is, though, if you ask any of us how we come up with ideas, for the most part I think you’ll get the same answer from everyone.  “I don’t know”.  There’s no formula.  No mathematical equation.  No template.

No switch you can turn on and off.  No phone number to call.  No idea therapist. No magic button.  No swami.  No genie in a bottle.  No idea fairy.  No idea swap shop.  No iPhone App. Not even a recipe.  There is no quarter cup of this, no pinch of that.

We just can.  Until we can’t.  God forbid.

So we all live in fear of the day (which will hopefully never come, but could) when there are no more Continue reading