Monday, December 21, 2009

Find Your Strongest Life

This information from career coach Marcus Buckingham could be good for what ails you!

Also, if you have iTunes on your computer, you can download two free video podcasts from Marcus Buckingham called Trombone Player Wanted, “Chapter 1 – So what’s stopping you?” and “Chapter 2 - Do you know what your strengths are?” (If you are unfamiliar with them, podcasts are like radio broadcasts you can hear, or view, over the Internet.) These two free video podcasts are about 15 minutes each. They are very enlightening and very empowering, especially for creative people, or those who would like to be more creative.

If you don’t have iTunes on your computer, you can download it free. Here’s the link:

"And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in the bud became more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anais Nin

Here’s to new dreams and a new decade to enjoy them!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

money, it flows too

The subject of money is crass to some artists, but artists gotta eat. And the words "artist" and "starving" should never be in the same sentence! Along that line, here are some references that I found extraordinarily informative on the subject of money. Some of this information can even make the subject - dare I say it - painless and interesting. As I find out about more items of interest, I'll add them to the list below.

"Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money - That The Poor and Middle Class Do Not!" by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon Lechter

"Rich Dad's Increase Your Financial IQ: Get Smarter With Your Money" by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Play the Cashflow game online for free - How To Get Out of the Rat Race. Also purchase the Cashflow 101 Board Game and Cashflow For Kids Board Game.

"The Science of Getting Rich" by Wallace D. Wattles, is profoundly spiritual and profoundly practical at the same time. You can download a free e-book version by going to Click on "Gifts For You" in the menu, then scroll down the page.

In a book which was a course in career design for creative people, the author made an excellent point: it's not the desire for money that is bad, it is what you are willing to exchange for that money that determines whether the desire is good or bad. Some people give up their integrity, their dignity, their happiness, the happiness of loved ones, their own true hopes and dreams, even their lives for money. In those cases the desire for money is an insane lust. (And in those cases, I'm not speaking of people so broke and hungry that they are just trying to survive; I'm speaking of those who do have other choices which they could just as easily make.)

Now, in contrast, let's take someone like Oprah Winfrey, one of the richest and most influential people on the planet, whose altruism and philanthropy is as famous as she is. I'm sure Oprah could not have attained her billionaire status if she did not have a desire for wealth, but at the same time, she is an example of how one could behave with money. Someone with wealth does not have to be a miser, or someone who uses money to destructive ends.

Money is value neutral; the desire for money is value neutral. What one exchanges for money or what one does with money once it's acquired determines the morality of the financial situation.

On a related subject, most people never learned financial management. Their parents didn't know it and the grade schools don't teach it. The result is a mass of people who worsen their financial situations (often unnecessarily) because they don't know what to do with money when they get it. The cashflows, of the middle class particularly, tend to be, if I may use a technical term, wacky! "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" was written to increase financial literacy, and I can tell you personally, it certainly did accomplish that with me.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Michael's inspirations

There were so many wonderful things said at the Michael Jackson Memorial Service yesterday. I’m a big fan, but I did not realize the scope of Michael’s impact. He is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most charities supported by a pop star. Rev. Al Sharpton stated the profound truth that teenagers listening to Michael’s music and seeing him perform became more comfortable with race relations – and those teenagers grew into adults who were comfortable voting for a President of color. Michael Jackson is a beautiful example of how an artist or creative person can do so very much in his or her part to heal the world.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

favorite movies

I can remember my mother taking me to my first movie when I was a child: Disney's Bed Knobs and Broomsticks starring Angela Landsbury. I've loved it and I have always loved movies so much that it's impossible for me to make a short list of favorites. So here is a current list of my favorite movies ... so far. Movies about artists are highlighed in green. Do you see any of your favorites here, too?

Beautiful Thing, Dead Again, Rag Tag, Back Soon, Latter Days, The Best Man, The Devil's Advocate, Center Stage, The Fury, Higher Learning, The Turning Point, The Bucket List, The Omen, The Secret, Camp Out, Star Wars III, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, Wonder Boys, Playing By Heart, One Week, Indigo, The Family That Preys, The Secret Life of Bees, Pleasantville, All About Eve, Chocolat, Get Real, Pitch Black, Dangerous Liaisons, Ready To Wear, The Object of My Affection, Chasing Amy, Living Out Loud, Like It Is, Making Love, Fame, The Thirteenth Floor, Superman II, The First Wives Club, The Sixth Sense, Eighteen, The House of the Spirits, Soulfood, X-Men III, Cover, The Matrix, What the bleep do we know?, Billy Elliot, Save Me, The Trip, Anti-Trust, Aliens, Die Hard, Murder at 1600, Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Forgotten, Star Trek: Nemesis, Saved!, Basic Instinct 2, The Phantom of the Opera, The Witches of Eastwick, But I'm A CheerLeader, Party Girl, Gone But Not Forgotten, Gattica, Moonstruck, Bestseller, The Hunger, American Beauty, Soap Dish, The Devil Wears Prada, Identity, Pi, Weird Science, Fresh Horses, The Breakfast Club, Paris Blues, The Poseidon Adventure, Willie and Phil.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson is one of the greatest artists this world has ever seen. I say "is" not "was" because while bodies expire, spirits never die. And Michael's music and extraordinary artistry will also live on. Yes, he may have had self-esteem issues - who doesn't? And perhaps it's true that he did need to increase his financial IQ - who doesn't? But can anyone deny his artistic brilliance? Can anyone deny that he was gifted beyond belief? How blessed we were to have him for half a century!

Charlie's Angels Jaclyn and Kate

Jaclyn Smith, like Kate Jackson, is a cancer survivor. Jaclyn is still going strong in her 60's, creating her life, career, and business ventures. And she looks phenomenal. Here's a link to a 2008 very inspirational article about her in Great Health Magazine.

And let me give props to one of Kate Jackson's performances that I have always loved so much. Kate was brilliant in the 1982 movie, "Making Love", in which she played the loving wife of a man who discovers later in life that he is gay. Kate should have gotten Best Actress nominations several times over for her emotionally layered portrayal. She carried the emotional weight of this movie the most, in my opinion. Her husband was played by Michael Ontkean, her co-star in the 1970's TV show, "The Rookies". Their on-screen chemistry was so great. I felt as if I were watching the lives of real people, and I still do every time I watch it.


Farrah Fawcett was an icon of the 1970's. So many of us were big "Charlie's Angels" fans. What has impressed me more than her lion's mane hair style and great smile, which always struck me as genuine, was Farrah's continuous efforts to maintain her artistic integrity.

She asked to leave the hit 70's TV show, "Charlie's Angels", which made her a megastar, after only one year because she wanted to make movies. I'm sure she had all kinds of legal battles and flack to deal with because of her decision but movies were her goal, her true dream and she was going for it! I admire her so much for that.

If you've never seen her in the movie, "Extremities", a role she recreated after playing it on stage off-Broadway, rent the DVD. It is an emotionally difficult film to watch but she is so good in it. She was also very good in the TV movie, "The Burning Bed" and in the TV miniseries "Murder in Texas".

Right or wrong, Farrah made decisions, and I hope that wherever she is, she is smiling about an artistic life fully lived.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Welcome to my "Muse, no blues" blog

I was recently asked, "What do you want your blog to accomplish?" Here is my reply.
Artists and creative people need to be championed. If someone announces, “I’m going to medical school”, people often reply, “That’s great!” If someone announces, “I’m going to art school”, people often reply, “what are you going to do for money?”
Artists get this kind of insidious invalidation of our goals, hopes and dreams so much, and it gets internalized, so creativity is reduced if not completely suppressed by the artist himself or herself. With my blog, “Muse, no blues”, I want to create the opposite effect on artists and creative people. I want to give them good news, not bad. I want to encourage them, inspire them and put the wind back in their sails. I want to pass onto them any tools and information I find out about that will help them progress, expand and enjoy their creativity – and to enjoy a creative life, not shun it.
I refuse to assert reasons they can’t make it. I want to show them ways they can make it, and should, for the survival of our world. You can not see the doors of opportunity open, or meet your destiny, if don’t believe you have one. Artists are often persuaded that they do not, but instead are persuaded that they should do something more “practical”, be more “realistic” – as if the reality of our lives is not created by our choices. We are not puppets of a capricious god. God, in fact, is more than happy to help. And there are so many dreams to gather – if we don’t let anyone talk us out of reaching for them, if we don’t agree with the naysayers and the haters.
I want to talk artists into reaching for it; I want them to go for it, whatever “it” is by their own definition and standards.