Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Simple Bit of Inspiration

The instrumental song Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Mix) by Rob Dougan is one of my all time favorite songs. I have listened to it countless times to get in the mood for writing. Now, almost like a Pavlovian response to hearing it, I feel the need to put words on paper. 

For your listening pleasure: Link Here 

The piano solos half way through and at the end are just amazing to me. I find myself wanting to listen to this piece at least twice every time I hear it. 

What about you? Are than any piece of music you find inspirational and motivational? Let me know what they are. I'd love to have more music to motivate me.

Thanks for reading. Questions and comments are welcome.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Do You Need Recognition?

How much have you accomplished in your life? Is it a lot or just a little? Are you satisfied with the things you have done or do you feel the need to excel, to strive, and continue onward? For me, life is an ever expanding opportunity to experience more and attempt new things. I'm still working on finishing my novel. I've got one chapter to go for a completed draft and I can tell you I'm a much better writer for the attempt. For the most part, I don’t need others’ approval or blessing when attempting something new; I’m not overly concerned with their praise or validation either. However, I would admit that a bit of recognition once in a while is really important, dare I say needed. Now I’m not waiting around for people to stop me on the street and point their finger at me and scream like I’m some kind of rock star, or have to paparazzi chase me down for a quick snap shot. It is nice though, to be appreciated and know your efforts are at least worth someone taking note.

But how much do you need to be lauded, praised and applauded? Do you need it at all? With so many people in the world, it’s almost impossible to not get lost in the crowd. The law of averages almost assures that most of us will be the anonymous majority, but that doesn’t mean you have to be average, or mediocre. You can always strive to be your best and make a lasting impact, even if it’s only toward the ones you love. But mediocrity, don’t let it overshadow who you are. It reminds me of the last scene from the movie Amadeus. Salieri laments that he is nothing compared to Mozart and that fact drove him mad.

Salieri’s obsession with things he had no control over became too much. His fatal flaw lay in the fact that he constantly compared himself to Mozart, instead of measuring is own abilities and talents against himself. There’s a danger in wanting recognition, and that danger is the fact that comparisons will always be drawn to competitors, peers, contemporaries, etc. In my view, that’s a trap. So don’t get caught in it. Only compare yourself with yourself and always try to improve on the previous version. You might just keep your sanity. At the very least you’ll know where you’ve been and how much you have improved.

Can you think of a specific time you got lost in competition with others? Was it worth it?

Thanks for reading. Questions and Comments are welcome. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Comparing Greatness

So I was thinking lately how different people are inspired and motivated in different ways. For me, I've always found inspiration, fascination, and enjoyment from movies. In fact, I'm pretty sure from the age of 10 to about 18 all I really did was watch TV and movies. As I got older I managed to learn how to do other interesting things as well, so don't worry, I'm not a couch potato. 

However, there are times when I remember certain movies I've watch and just how much they affected me. It's also interesting to compare movies that deal with the same subject matter, or that are based on the same source material. One of my favorite examples is Henry V, by Shakespeare. By far my favorite play from the old bard, this play has been made into a movie many times. The two most notable are Laurence Olivier's 1944 version, and Kenneth Branagh's 1989 version. 

The Olivier version:

The Branagh version:

Now Olivier has the reputation of being one of the world's greatest actors of all time; Kenneth Branagh is less well know. However in my mind there's no doubt or debate that the Branagh version is so incredibly inspirational and emotionally powerful, it stands above Olivier's version, or any other version by about a thousand miles. 

I had a Shakespeare class in college where we viewed these exact versions. I remember being thoroughly bored and falling asleep while watching the Olivier version. When we watched Branagh's version, I was riveted to my seat, completely mesmerized. 

It's fair to note that in 1944, Olivier was making a movie that tried to rouse war weary Englanders to keep fighting the Nazis. The Branagh version tried to illustrate the horrors and torment of war. Regardless of the actors and directors' motivations, on a purely inspirational level, Kenneth Branagh brought it to a new level; one that I doubt could ever be matched.

Unlike a lot of other Shakespearean speeches, this one is pretty much in plain English and is easily understood. 

But what do you think? Two great actors delivering basically the exact same speech. Are you inspired, motivated, roused? Which, if either, makes the greater impact?

You see, inspiration can and does come from many places. Seeing things from different perspectives can fundamentally change the way you feel about a subject. That's why keeping an open mind is so important. Heck, every time Branagh finished his speech I want to get up and fight right along side him.

Do you?

Thanks for reading. Questions and comments are welcome. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Answers to the Game

Hi all.

Hope you like my little art guessing game. At the very least I hope that you were exposed to some art that you've never seen before. More importantly though, I hope you expanded you mind and artistic pallet to incorporate various genres and styles. So, to end the suspense, I've provided the answers below.  

2. Basket of Flowers (FabergĂ© egg) – 1901 Peter Carl Faberge

3. Hagia Sophia – 532 - Isidore of Miletus, Anthemius of Tralles

4. Self-portrait with two pupils – 1785 – AdelaideLabile-Guiard

5. Night Watch -1642-  Rembrant

6. Sydney Opera house – 1973 - Jorn Utzon 

7. L’Ange du Foyer -1937- Max Ernst

Thanks for reading. Questions and Comments are welcome!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Let's Play a Game

Let's try something a bit different. I'm going to post seven pictures. They depict certain various forms of art that I have always admired and found inspirational. See how well you can identify the art and/or artist. 

Here we go:







7. (This one is my all time favorite painting.)

See if you can find the answers. I bet you won't be able to get them all. But think about how each piece inspires you and let me know what you think.

Play along, it will be fun. 

Thanks for reading. Questions and comments are always welcome. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Dreams are Hard Work

Did you ever think for a moment that what you really wanted in life might just be too hard to get? Did you ever think it would be easier to just dream about what you want instead of actually doing all the hard work involved in actually earning it? I’ll tell you straight out, yes, I’ve thought those things. I’ve been in love with the dream of being a published, successful writer for so long, sometimes I find myself indulging in the fantasy of writing, rather than actually DOING it. I’d imagine elaborate scenarios where I’m accepting an award for an amazing piece of literature I created, or signing a multi-million dollar book deal. I’ve got a good imagination so you can assume the fantasy was pretty impressive. Now I’ve also sat and contemplated all the things involved in making those fantasies a reality. You know what it comes down to? A shit ton of hard work. That’s right. Making a dream a reality requires determination, persistence, perseverance and a lot of backbreaking, mind bendingly hard work. So, can you do it? Do you have what it takes to make your far flung dreams something real?

My answer to that question is YES. It has to be otherwise I’ve just been lying to myself all these years. I know my abilities are good enough to accomplish my goals. It’s a funny thing about dreams, though. They can help you through some really tough times but if you let them take over, or just fester, they can become an oppressive thing that weights you down instead of lifting you up. Sometimes the thing that stands in the way of your dream isn’t under your control at all. The relationship you have with your dreams can be a complex one. I think Langston Hughes’ poem, A Dream Deferred sums it up best.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore--
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

There are so many courses your life can take; correspondingly, your dreams can shift as well. The main point is if you don’t do anything to make those dreams a reality, they become a negative. You will become disheartened and cynical. Part of the reason achieving your dreams feels so good is because of the hard work involved. Knowing that your effort is what made that dream come true is a reward unto itself, above and beyond the dream. Realizing a dream can be fantastic, but along the way you’ll develop self-reliance and perseverance. Those are qualities that can make almost any dream a reality. So instead of day dreaming (like I used to do) get out there and do the hard work necessary to make that dream come true.

I challenge you. Recognize your one true dream. Visualize it and know that it is what you want. List all the steps needed to bring that dream into reality. Then, do it. Do it today! And tell me, what's your step one?

Thanks for reading. Questions and comments are welcome. 

Understanding Pandemics

By Doug Clark Head Writer -  The Inspiration Engine With all that is going on with Covid 19, I thought it would be a good idea to help ...