Tag Archives | the Eagles

Take It Easy

The title of this post is the title of one of my favorite Eagles songs and also my new motto in life.

The easier I take it, the more I get done.
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I have no idea why this is so.  But I see clearly that the days I pour an extra half  cup of coffee and spend a bit of time on the @#$% Sudoku, I get more done.  The days I allow myself to read a few minutes after lunch, I'm much more focused on my writing in the afternoons.  The days I allow myself to–shudder–take the evening away from the computer I accomplish much, much more.

And the days I'm rushing around telling anybody who will listen how busy I am I rush and I spill and I crash into things and nothing works.  And even though I'm so terribly busy and important, I don't get much done.  And then I'm cranky and crabby and mean and nobody likes me. 

Still, I find it very, very hard to embrace this way of living.  To tell myself its okay to read the latest Get Fuzzy instead of rushing right back to the computer.  To put my head against the back of my chair and close my eyes for a minute.  To take a bit of time to meditate or journal in the middle of the day.

Our society, particularly the US, is very caught up in being busy and important.  If we looked at this carefully, it would probably reveal we do this to hide our fears that we're not busy and important enough.  Or, simply not enough. 

And so perhaps taking it easy convinces the mind otherwise.  Allows us to remember that we are enough as we are and that our writing is important just because.  That we don't have to justify and look busy and important.  And when we are content just being who we are, doing what we do, the space opens up to allow us to get things done.

Have you experienced this attribute of taking it easy?  And do you have any similar experiences to share?

No, that's not me and my family in the picture, its an image from Les Chatfield, courtesy of Flickr.

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Lessons From a Rock Concert, Part Two

Yesterday I wrote about attending the Eagles concert in Portland last Saturday night and promised real takeaways from the experience for today.  So here we go: 
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1.  Put it all out there.  Writers, put it all on the page.  Painters, put it all on the canvas.  Musicians, all in the song.  All you got, every time.  This reminds me of the second to last night of American Idol this season, when winner Lee DeWyze sang his heart out through two songs.  By the end of the second one, he appeared completely spent, like he put everything he had into his performances.  Awesome.

2.  Everything counts.  Or, staging matters.  Attention to detail is very important and this is a crucial point because many creative types (um, like me) are visionaries, and less wont to deal with the trivialities of details.  Bad mistake.  A typo on the first page of your manuscript might cause an agent to toss it into the round file.  A caveat: deal with the details as the very last step, okay?  Don't let them bog you down in the white heat of writing a first draft.

3.  We're so lucky.  Okay, I touched on this yesterday, but it bears repeating.  Being a creative person, particularly a writer, is the best existence on the planet.  I often wonder how my non-writing friends make it through life.  As a writer, I make sense of life by writing stories about it, which gives it meaning.  Without that, what do we have?  A series of seemingly unrelated episodes.

4. Keep it going. Whatever you do, don't lose the connection to your work.  Your writing or your creative work can and will change.  For a few months you may concentrate on blogging as your main outlet and then you get an idea for a novel and get so engrossed in it you forget to blog.  Doesn't matter.  What matters is putting words on the page, one after the other, in some form.

5.  Lower your expectations.  I have seen the Eagles twice before, and Don Henley twice also.  Recently have been listening to so many teleseminars that I've not been as into music as usual.  So I wasn't waiting with bated breath for this concert.  Then it got rescheduled and that made it lose some energy for it as well.  But, oh my God.  The concert reignited my passion for music, for the Eagles, for creativity.  And I don't think it would have been as powerful if I'd been eagerly anticipating it.  Because, as the Buddhists know, sometimes having expectations just ruins things.  So, too, with your writing.  Don't expect anything except to show up at the page.

6.  Be in it for the long haul.  At one point during the concert, Don Henley said he'd been doing this for 40 years and was finally kind of getting the hang of it.  Enough said.

7.  Allow the old to nurture the new.  The band played all their old standards–Take it Easy, Hotel California, Life in the Fast Lane, I Can't Tell You Why, Desperado (and there's nothing better than when everybody sings along to all the words of the old hits)–but they also played the newer and less familiar songs from their latest CD.  

So that's it, my final word on music and creativity and writing.   At least for the weekend.  Have a good one, everyone.  And comment on music, creativity, the Eagles, writing, or even what you plan to do this weekend.

***By the way, the fact that it is Friday has not escaped me.  Besides looking forward to the weekend (wine on Friday night is a requirement of life) the significance of Friday is that it is Friday.  Friday, when I am supposed to alternate between running guest posts and mini-critiques.  But, alas, I cannot do that if you do not send me guest posts or material to critique.  So c'mon, save me from having to write five days a week and send me something!

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Lessons From a Rock Concert, Part One

Saturday night I went to see the Eagles.  Until then, I had forgotten how much rock concerts inspire me.  
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Experiencing a concert is such an all-encompassing event for me, I end up feeling determined to go forth and do my creative work with renewed vigor.

I mean, musicians have to be creative on so many levels.  Not only do they have to worry about writing the music, but then there are lyrics to think about.  And after that they have to strap on the guitar or pick up the drumsticks and stand in front of thousands of people and play their hearts out.

All I have to do is write.  And lord knows, often enough I complain about that.

Two things kept going through my head as I was at the concert:

1.  Oh my God, we're so lucky.  All of us who are creative in any way, shape, or form are just damn lucky. Because we have a hunger to share, and we share it–we shape the world through our creativity.  And there's no better fate than that.

2. Once you have found it, never let it go.  (This is a line from a song in a musical–The King and I?) I've been through periods where I've lost it for awhile.  To be honest, I'm coming out of one now.  Oh, I never lose it completely any more.  I can't, because I earn my living writing so I have to keep at it.  But sometimes I lose it where my personal writing is concerned.

What, you may ask, is it?

The spark.

The germ.

The seed.

The life.

The energy.

The inspiration that grows into a project that keeps you up late or gets you up early in the morning.

The connection you feel when you're working on it, how you transcend who you are and become part of something bigger–the way you do when you're at a concert, or watching a sunset, or gazing into the eyes of someone you love, or writing.

It is all connected.  All we have to do is take it and put it on the page.

I have more thoughts on this, to be posted tomorrow in the form of actual, real live, useful takeaways.  In the meantime, feel free to share what inspires you.

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