Saturday, June 25, 2016

Creator's Corner: Get Up to Speed On Quality Do-It-Yourself Storytelling (For No or Low Budget)

AS A VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS FACULTY MEMBER, I had the pleasure and privilege to help motivate senior undergraduate students and gain content for their portfolios by giving them concrete business experience through attracting, arranging, and art directing business-education partnerships with arts entrepreneurs, solopreneurs (filmmakers, musicians) and other business entities who had either no or low budgets to create and market their projects, products or services in tangible ways.

I CREATED AND SENT OUT BUSINESS-EDUCATION PROPOSALS TO POTENTIAL CLIENTS. The classes and I met with respondents either in person or via teleconference, worked out a contract, and then began the client's project as an in-class design competition with an agreed upon reward for the winning design (e.g., attendance at the film premiere, letter of recommendation, appropriate credit, etc.). All of this in service to helping an individual or business to attract and reach somebody (or many bodies) to respond in some way, shape or form.


(Source)
Column Inspiration:

IN OUR WORLD IN WHICH CONTENT IS QUEEN/KING AND WE MUST USE VITAL CREATIVITY AND STORYTELLING mojo and provide it in ways that engage, inspire and energize our fellow humans, what can we do to achieve quality in a timely, expeditious fashion? How can we get it done on a no to low budget if lacking the necessary financial resources to hire experts or take courses? What are some reliable solutions?

TAG YOU'RE IT! AND DAMN, YOU'RE GOOD.

  

AS GLENDA SAYS TO DOROTHY IN THE WIZARD OF OZ, "YOU ALWAYS HAD THE POWER TO GO HOME." You can do it yourself. You can do it with a small group of family, friends, co-workers, employees, who want to have a creative and unique experience by telling a story. Remember that we are living in the age of sharing our personal perspectives, visions, images, opinions in raw (unpolished) forms with others who are ready and willing to read, listen, view, engage, and often respond in harmony with our intention.

(Source)
Column Inspiration:

BE AUTHENTIC, EXPERIMENT, KEEP IT SHORT, AND HAVE FUN. You or your posse only need to make it happen. Tell your individual or collective stories, and start with what's happening in your world in ways in which others can identify, relate, be educated, or react (Read Creator's Corner column titled Best Story Content Grounded In Our Past & Current Life). If you decide there's something missing and it's not quite ready for prime time, you can use your creation as concept material to pass along to someone who can realize it for you.

Column Inspiration:
    Wait, what. from Photon Harvest on Vimeo.

"Leaning In"
(Writing Prompt)
USE WRITING PROMPTS AND GIVE YOURSELF 15-MINUTES TO CREATE THE STORY. This will work for anything that is on your work plate. Mainly because you won't be using your analytical, "I-have-to-be-in-control-and-do-this-perfectly" left-brain that can sabotage your intuitive, creative flow channel. Besides, you've already done that part with whatever you have before you that requires the creativity solution.

YOU CAN CHOOSE A WRITING PROMPT THAT DIRECTLY RELATES TO YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE, or use words that have nothing to do with it at all and see what magic (meaning something wonderful appearing that wasn't there before) transpires. You can create a few prompts for the same project or service as well. If you're happy with the result(s): great! If not, pass what you have along as concepts to someone else to produce the final product. (For inspiration, read Leaning In and Back Up the Truck.)

Don’t make it a full story. Make it a taste of a story leaving the audience wanting more. -- Shant Hamassian

GIVE SENIOR TALENTED STUDENTS FROM YOUR ALMA MATER (OR ANOTHER UNIVERSITY) THE OPPORTUNITY TO HELP YOU SUCCEED AND VICE VERSA. Reach out to the appropriate department chair--creative writing, filmmaking, digital media, visual communications, music, art--and let them know that you would like to work with a faculty member to collaborate on a business-education project. If you prefer, you can request that the chair recommend a talented student for an independent study on your project for which she/he will get a review and college credits (in addition to any other rewards you want to offer). It's a win-win relationship.

THESE ARE A FEW SUGGESTED IDEAS TO GET YOU ON YOUR WAY. I hope you find value in this column (and the new focus of the 'Zine from spirituality TO storytelling in response to your interests), and will visit the Creativity & Storytelling 'Zine for much more content I've curated to help you succeed in your new (or continuing role) as a creator and storyteller for your product, project, business or service.

Creator's Corner is a regular column in the 'Zine. Subscribe to receive the full issue of each publication direct by email at the magazine.

1) Content Inspiration:
What are the Keys to Writing a Good Short Film Script?

2) Content Inspiration: Struggling with Your Content Marketing? Create Because You Care

3) Content Inspiration: How to Shoot a Short in One-Hour

MAY YOU DISCOVER MORE CREATIVE ideas and storytelling support now (and in the future) by exploring the Creativity & Storytelling 'Zine, and previous Creator's Corner columns: Best Storytelling is Copied, Stolen Content? (or The Lighter Shade of Led Zeppellin), The Joy is in the Story Journey (or Mission Impossible), Best Story Content Grounded In Our Past & Current Life; Religion, Spirituality--Contrasting, Trending; Card Decks & the Mystic or Visionary Persona, Here Comes Play-Doh, and Sacred Geometry Symbols: One Of Top Four Creative Trends 2016.

Dare to shine, be generous, and love this life.

Valerie






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CREATOR'S CORNER is dedicated to sharing ideas that come to mind after reading and selecting articles for The Creativity & Storytelling 'Zine (as the editor/curator) that may be useful in a professional or personal capacity. Interest in creativity and storytelling as content for usage in arts & entertainment, media communications, marketing and advertising, and as lifestyle choices for businesses, projects and services (groups that have a way of life that may or may not be included in their brand identity), can be relevant to anyone anywhere in the world covering a variety of professions.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

What's In Or On Your Bedside Table? Objects As Storytelling Content

Image Credit: decozt.com
EVERY OBJECT WE UTILIZE IN LIFE HAS A STORY TO TELL ABOUT US, OR REFLECTS WHO WE ARE or what we value—past, present and future. (As Sherlock Holmes says, “It’s elementary.”) Some stories we want to hear, and some, perhaps not.

A REVIEW OF SOME OF THE EVERYDAY ITEMS THAT WE RARELY CONSIDER as we rush about our lives can also inspire a valuable journey to self-discovery. It’s a way to get in touch with ourselves, our relationships, our environment and structures we have created.

JOIN ME IN SURVEYING SOME OF THE SIMPLE OBJECTS most of us take for granted that can serve as storytelling and other content creation resources. I will take a close look at one of them.

THE OBJECT WILL TELL IT'S OWN STORY ABOUT WHY I HAVE IT or how it impacts my life. I’ll let the item do the talking to keep me honest about our relationship. I invite you to try this creative exercise as well.

1. A BOX OF TISSUES

I am almost empty. Val has had sinus problems for a long time. The worst is when she develops sinusitis. This happens because she ingests things into her body that weakens her immune system: dairy products, sugar, some caffeine, and products with monosodium glutamate. Today, her sinuses are revolting and pain is their way of communicating to her, of saying: “Change your habits!”

Her respiratory system has had huge challenges with two pneumonia bouts. The last one occurred in Cusco, Peru. It’s a miracle she’s alive. She had severe pulmonary edema with her lungs full of water and the liquid seeping into her brain. The clinic director said: “If your friend hadn’t called this morning when she did, you’d be dead. In another 30 minutes you would have died.” Actually, she did die.

Image Credit: blog.toiletpaperworld.com
Sometime in the evening, Val was in the crossing over tunnel. Her mother (who died in 1979), her maternal grandmother, and an extremely bright Being whose face she could not see, were at the end. She was so happy to see her mother and grandmother again and ready to join them. Without moving their mouths--speaking consciousness to consciousness--they told her she had to return. The Being put an incredible amount of light into her body. When she opened her eyes, her friend was in her room telling Val she was calling for help immediately.

The clinic director rushed over to the hotel in which she was staying and drove her to the clinic. The doctors put her in a hyperbaric chamber because her oxygen level had dropped to the low thirties. A normal level is in the 90s. Val has anemia. Cusco is 13,000 feet above sea level and her blood couldn’t make enough oxygen.

Although she is reaching for me tonight, I must say she has made changes so she doesn’t need to use me very often. She’s sworn off two drains on her immune system: alcohol and cigarettes. Plus, she almost only uses Yacon honey & syrup (a low-calorie, low-blood sugar sweetener for diabetics and weight-watchers she discovered in Peru), uses Almond beverage and goat’s milk, and minimizes caffeine intake. 

Image Credit: savvysistershops.com
Her greatest enemy is her love for sugar-producing carbohydrates (the “bad” carbs) she eats for comfort food, or just because it’s a hard pattern to break. Also, she loves sour cream mixed with Lipton Onion Soup to make a dip that complements her favorite potato chips, Lays Classic. The soup mix has monosodium glutamate. Also, she’s prone to binges of putting cheddar cheese in her morning grits and making grill cheese sandwiches.

Sinus problems are a symptom of deeper issues—emotional ones. She was abused as a child, and it left an imprint on her. It says: “You’re not worthy. You’re not good enough. You aren’t a person to value.” Sometimes these feelings rear up—even though she’s worked hard against them, knowing they are not true. 

The more she eradicates the harmful programming she received as a child, the less she’ll need to eat things that feed the sinus problems. She’s doing more work on the inside to affect her outside choices.

She uses me to wipe her tears too; although lately, she wipes her tears with her fingers and rubs them into her skin where her heart resides.

See what I mean about how one ordinary object can be used as a storytelling resource, and has the capacity to impact a life? Here are the rest of the items:

  1. The book, “The Secret.”
  2. The book, “Messages from Your Angels.”
  3. A hand-painted, black lacquer jewelry box my dad brought home to my mother after serving in the military in Okinawa.
  4. A digital microcassette recorder.
  5. A remote for my DVD/VHS player.
  6. A small, white box with pearl earrings inside.
  7. My Zrii notebook.
  8. A maroon cloth napkin with a pattern of tiny white roses.

NOW IT'S YOUR TURN. What’s on YOUR bedside table?

Note: The “What’s In or On Your Bedside Table” is an idea inspired by a dream I had in February 2009. I was a guest in the audience of the game show, “Let’s Make a Deal.” Audience members were offered a deal if we could find the requested object in our pocketbooks. I don’t recall what object was requested, but I found it. Monty Hall, the host, picked out a piece of paper from a bag with the prize written on it. I won $37,000.75. I awakened.

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Creator's Corner: Best Storytelling is Copied, Stolen Content? (or The Lighter Shade of Led Zeppellin)

DURING MY STUDIES WITH AN AMAZING HEALING ARTIST, ENTREPRENEUR AND AUTHOR (Eleanora Amendolora of Sacred Center for the Healing Arts)--who has spent many years among the Andean Quechua Indian people in Peru who are descendants of the ancient Incans--I discovered their practical and spiritual relationship to AYNI (or reciprocity, exchange) in their culture.

THEY HAVE A DEEP ENDURING BELIEF IN AND VALUE THEIR CREATOR AS A MODEL OF GENEROSITY who cares for them. They offer and practice Ayni (reciprocity, exchange) as a form of gratitude and respect for the creative and abundant ways in which their Patchamama (Great Mother) provides and meets their living needs. They view Ayni as the basis for a peaceful and sustainable society. It is divine living, an intrinsic value component of their society. There is no take, take, take without giving back. It's unheard of. (Discover more about Ayni.)

Image Credit: EveryVowel.com
  Column Inspiration:

ANYI IN THE MIDST OF OUR CREATIVE RELATIONSHIPS 


AS A TEENAGER IN HIGH SCHOOL IN MRS. JONES' ENGLISH CLASS where I learned and discovered my love for English Composition and Writing, I remember being excited by all the articles and books I read to prepare for reports on a variety of subjects. There were many times that I wanted to lift some of what was written to include in my reports, but would quickly shake it off hearing her voice saying: You must not plagiarize. The work of others is copyrighted. You must not copy and write anyone's word's as your own. If you do, it is stealing. If you steal, you will get an F. Still, I was tempted and had to fight my demon, driven more by fear than good conduct.

We'll look back at how the Internet allowed us to swipe from anywhere and any era. --Jon Youshaei

SOME YEARS LATER AS A EDITOR, GRAPHIC DESIGNER AND ART DIRECTOR, I ALWAYS KEPT A FOLDER OF TYPOGRAPHY AND PHOTOS cut out from magazines to inspire creative ideas for projects, always vigilant to get permission from the source if I wanted to use something that belonged to someone else, being certain to provide the credit due as per their instructions.

IN OUR CREATIVE GLOBAL LIFESTYLE CULTURE TODAY, WE ARE STILL REQUIRED TO HONOR COPYRIGHTED WORKS (in many situations) by securing the approval of the creators and adhering to their requirements for usage. We may use works for free that are in the public domain that meet certain time limit criteria or are of an unknown origin. We have resources like Creative Commons licenses in which the creators give us a variety of permission options to expand upon and provide use of their works by us.

Image Credit:
Chris Walter/WireImage/Getty Images
ALSO, WE HAVE A FORM OF AYNI--DIVINE LIVING IN PRACTICE TODAY BY BEYONCE, a top music industry professional. Her creative process includes taking and using existing content from others (dance, visual) and using it in her music videos. There is a new perspective in play now that doesn't view her actions as rip-off copy and paste behavior, but rather as copy with respect and taste (though everyone isn't in agreement just yet about it). So far it's working well for her with no lawsuits (unlike the band, Led Zeppelin, who had a lawsuit brought against them for the blockbuster song "Stairway To Heaven" by the band, Spirit--though the ruling was in Zeppelin's favor).
  

Image Credit: Getty Images
Column Inspiration:

BECOME A DIVINE LIVING SURREALITY OUTSIDER CREATIVE STORYTELLER


LET'S CONSIDER TAKING A PAGE FROM BEYONCE WHO IS OPEN AND HONEST ABOUT WHAT SHE TAKES FROM OTHERS, who focuses on doing whatever she can to include those from whom she takes in her projects (whether it's one person or many), and represents one who is a divine living surreal outsider creative storyteller.

WHAT STEPS DO WE TAKE OTHER THAN AYNI-DIVINE LIVING TO BECOME this new creative force to employ in our businesses, organizations, and projects? 
  • BREAKOUT FROM TRADITIONAL APPROACHES AND MODELS DESPITE POTENTIAL FLACK that you might receive from doubters or critics who aren't as courageous, and/or fear conflict or change. Demonstrate or develop your leadership qualities by becoming an outsider or rebel to stand out from the pack as an entrepreneur, solopreneur, mompreneur, life coach, spiritual coach, author, musician, screenwriter, singer-songwriter, content curator, content marketer, content strategist, marketing strategist, digital strategist, or whatever your role (Read Creator's Corner column titled Religion, Spirituality--Contrasting, Trending).

Image: Photo Babel/wearemb via Designboom
Column Inspiration:
 
  • REACHOUT (WHILE YOU'RE BREAKING OUT) TO STORYTELLERS  WHO ARE COMFORTABLE WITH CREATING SURREAL CONTENT (or research and develop your own content). Immerse yourself in The Twilight Zone of life to get your readers, viewers, clients, customers, fans, followers, friends, listeners engaged in experiencing your content through close encounters of sight, sound--and when practical--touch and aromas, to take them beyond the ordinary emotional, mental, physical and spiritual experiences to the extraordinary. (Read Creator's Corner column titled Sacred Geometry Symbols: One Of Top Four Creative Trends 2016)
WE ARE INDIVIDUALS OF THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE WHO LIVE IN A SHARED WORLD that reflects our values (or not); support innovation, imagination, and collaboration (or not); and some of us will chose to become divine living surreality outsider creative storytellers (or not). Whatever our choice, it's clear to me through all of the written and visual content I've been consuming and digesting, that we will either be behind the times, or be in step with the directions creativity and spirituality are already heading with or without us. 

1) Content Inspiration:
What Beyonce & Shakespeare Have In Common: A Key To Creativity

2) Content Inspiration: 2016 Creative In Focus, Our Visual Trend Report (Getty Images)

3) Content Inspiration: 12 Designy Toys To Spark Your Creativity


MAY YOU DISCOVER MORE CREATIVE ideas and spiritual support now (and in the future) by exploring the Creativity & Spirituality Magazine, and previous Creator's Corner columns: The Joy is in the Story Journey (or Mission Impossible), Best Story Content Grounded In Our Past & Current Life; Religion, Spirituality--Contrasting, Trending; Card Decks & the Mystic or Visionary Persona, Here Comes Play-Doh, and Sacred Geometry Symbols: One Of Top Four Creative Trends 2016.

Dare to shine, be generous, and love this life.

Valerie






************

CREATOR'S CORNER is dedicated to sharing ideas that come to mind after reading and selecting articles for The Creativity & Spirituality Magazine (as the editor) that may be useful in a professional or personal capacity. Interest in creativity and spirituality as content for usage in arts & entertainment, media communications, marketing and advertising, and as lifestyle choices for businesses, projects and services (groups that have a way of life that may or may not be included in their brand identity), can be relevant to anyone anywhere in the world covering a variety of professions.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Creator's Corner: The Joy Is in the Story Journey (or Mission Impossible)

ONE OF MY FAVORITE TELEVISION SERIES OF ALL TIME IS Mission Impossible that is also a successful film franchise starring Tom Cruise. If you're unfamiliar with it, basically, it revolves around a team of special covert agents who are given an extremely dangerous mission to accomplish within a tight time frame.

WHAT REALLY KEPT ME ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT WASN'T the mission getting accomplished or the end (though I was happy to get the payoff): it was everything that occurred prior to actually accomplish it.  In effect, the joy for me was in the journey--that was the story! Or as David Byrne of Talking Heads sings in the song, Once In A Lifetime: Well, how did I get here?




 


WELL, HOW DID I GET HERE?

 
THE MISSION IMPOSSIBLE TEAM WERE MASTERS OF CREATIVITY serving a practical purpose; who were constantly aware, alert, mindful, paying intensive attention, and had to be as extremely close to perfect timing, synchronicity in order to make the impossible possible. How about you and I? Aren't we all in the same or similar story daily in one way or another?

Things are only impossible until they are not. --Jean Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation

ARE WE OPEN-MINDED ENOUGH TO EXPERIMENT WITH NEW ways to create art, content, ideas, marketing strategy, content strategy through mindfulness, intuitive knowing, spiritual synchronicity, or some channel we can't fully comprehend or explain as part of our story?

I WAS HIRED TO DESIGN THE ANNUAL REPORT FOR THE NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, and was researching legal images, symbols, colors, sounds, words; and had two rough compositions based upon them to share at my first meeting. In the course of that week, I had been noticing windows over and over again. They kept drawing my attention. Why?  
 
John Steinbeck & His Children

THE NEXT TIME I SAT DOWN TO WORK, I DREW WINDOWS AND EXPLORED HOW WE USE THEM and what they represent. They allow those of us on the outside to look at what is occurring on the inside. Eyes have been described as windows to the soul. There's an intimacy associated with looking in on the activity of others. Windows are related to opportunities.

SO, I CREATED ONE MORE COMPOSITION WITH WINDOWS FLOATING AROUND a central window in which a man is having an intimate conversation with a young boy. The floating windows were colorful (like Microsoft Windows), and the central window was framed with legal columns. I decided to trust what was being visually communicated to me.

Spirituality means stepping back and clearing that channel you believe in. --Gabby Bernstein

I PRESENTED THE THREE COMPOSITIONS TO THE DECISION-MAKERS (THREE OF THEM), who immediately chose the one with the windows while exclaiming how well it fit the message content of and intention for that year's report: it focused on all the pro bono work they do (immigrants, domestic violence, child abuse, etc.), and they needed to attract lawyers to participate in their pro bono program (offering them opportunities to be of service). We had not conversed before the meeting about the theme of the annual report. It truly caused me to pause and begin opening up to more of these experiences.

WOW, WHAT STORIES WE HAVE TO TELL WHEN OUR EXPERIMENTS LEAD TO SUCCESS (the happy ending). No success? Sure there is in that we have opened ourselves up to more possibilities that may lead to more opportunities for something extraordinary to occur through that channel in which you may come to believe and experience the impossible as possible.


1) Content Inspiration: 3 Unthinkable Behaviors Behind Content Marketing

2) Content Inspiration: Creativity As Devotion

3) Content Inspiration: John Steinbeck on Writing, The Crucible of Creativity, and The Mobilizing Power of the Impossible

MAY YOU DISCOVER MORE CREATIVE ideas and spiritual support now (and in the future) by exploring the Creativity & Spirituality Magazine, and previous Creator's Corner columns: Best Story Content Grounded In Our Past & Current Life; Religion, Spirituality--Contrasting, Trending; Card Decks & the Mystic or Visionary Persona, Here Comes Play-Doh, and Sacred Geometry Symbols: One Of Top Four Creative Trends 2016.

Dare to shine, be generous, and love this life.

Valerie






************

CREATOR'S CORNER is dedicated to sharing ideas that come to mind after reading and selecting articles for The Creativity & Spirituality Magazine (as the editor) that may be useful in a professional or personal capacity. Interest in creativity and spirituality as content for usage in arts & entertainment, media communications, marketing and advertising, and as lifestyle choices for businesses, projects and services (groups that have a way of life that may or may not be included in their brand identity), can be relevant to anyone anywhere in the world covering a variety of professions.
“What if we consider the possibility that a primary way we can experience the revelation of God’s mystery is through the process of our own creative expression?” - See more at: http://candler.emory.edu/news/blog/2016/05/creativity-as-devotion.html#sthash.EItCwnzQ.dpuf
“What if we consider the possibility that a primary way we can experience the revelation of God’s mystery is through the process of our own creative expression?” - See more at: http://candler.emory.edu/news/blog/2016/05/creativity-as-devotion.html#sthash.EItCwnzQ.dpuf
“What if we consider the possibility that a primary way we can experience the revelation of God’s mystery is through the process of our own creative expression?” - See more at: http://candler.emory.edu/news/blog/2016/05/creativity-as-devotion.html#sthash.EItCwnzQ.dpuf

What if we consider the possibility that a primary way we can experience the revelation of God’s mystery is through the process of our own creative expression?” - See more at: http://candler.emory.edu/news/blog/2016/05/creativity-as-devotion.html#sthash.EItCwnzQ.dpuf
What if we consider the possibility that a primary way we can experience the revelation of God’s mystery is through the process of our own creative expression?” - See more at: http://candler.emory.edu/news/blog/2016/05/creativity-as-devotion.html#sthash.EItCwnzQ.dpuf
What if we consider the possibility that a primary way we can experience the revelation of God’s mystery is through the process of our own creative expression?” - See more at: http://candler.emory.edu/news/blog/2016/05/creativity-as-devotion.html#sthash.EItCwnzQ.dpuf
What if we consider the possibility that a primary way we can experience the revelation of God’s mystery is through the process of our own creative expression?” - See more at: http://candler.emory.edu/news/blog/2016/05/creativity-as-devotion.html#sthash.EItCwnzQ.dpuf
What if we consider the possibility that a primary way we can experience the revelation of God’s mystery is through the process of our own creative expression?” - See more at: http://candler.emory.edu/news/blog/2016/05/creativity-as-devotion.html#sthash.EItCwnzQ.dpuf

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I Am Definitely Not Perfect by Cassie Parks, Money Maven (Guest Blogger)

Cassie Parks, Money Maven
The Healing Artist Studio Project welcomes Cassie Parks, a coach, author, radio program host, and creator of  the "Money, Money, Money" course. As I recall, I discovered Cassie through a Facebook friend's post inviting friends to participate in a course she is taking (and this is the part that grabbed my attention) that offers clients the option of paying for the course AFTER they manifest the bucks! What? Did I read that right? So I read it again. Yes. I did read it right. Cassie suggested that client's pay 10% of the income they receive as a result of taking her course as an exchange for service. Immediately, I registered.

Check Out the Book!
Later, I decided to wait since I realized that in the excitement of the moment, I forgot my commitment to focus on giving myself time to deal with the PTSD fallout that has interfered with my success to fully reap the benefits of the many other programs, mentor relationships, courses, seminars, and groups in which I have participated since the early 2000s. I asked my Creator to help me stay on track with all that is before me now, and in the meantime, to act as a "Curator" by sharing what Cassie offers (See "The Healing Artist Studio Project: It's What?" and "Child Abuse PTSD Survivor: Never Thought That I Would Be Healed and Changed By This Blog"). A few days after making the decision to postpone getting into something new, I received a letter via email from Cassie about her not being perfect. I find her letter about not being perfect to be--well--perfect. She agreed to share it here as a guest blogger.

Dear Valerie,

I am definitely not perfect. 

Recently, I published a blog post with a typo in the title. Someone pointed it out in a comment on Facebook. Honestly, I had to look at it for a few minutes before I saw it. I haven’t changed it yet. I’m human, and to be human means I’m not perfect. I am never going to be and thank goddess I stopped thinking that was the only way I would be valued.

Not that many years ago, I was a perfectionist. I would work really hard and try my best to be perfect. Be the perfect employee. Make the perfect life choices. Work until I got something perfect.

But I never got it. Trust me, I look for typos and even when I spent hours looking, I would miss them. Typos is also a symbol for everything in my life. One day I decided I was going to be happy instead of perfect. It was like a weight lifted and I could finally start enjoying my life instead of feeling like I had to wait until I was perfect. I decided to love myself even though I am far from perfect.

When I saw that comment I thought about running over and changing it, but I wanted to do something more fun. Then I remember thinking, “Remember when that comment would cause a sinking feeling in your stomach and you would feel like a failure for a couple days?” It’s really good not to have that feeling anymore, especially because if you’re that hard on yourself about the little things, like a typo the big things feel really, really bad.

This week alone I sent a $10,000 payment to the wrong credit card, and sent a wire that was short $1000 to purchase some real estate. The $10,000 went to an account that doesn’t even exist anymore. Seriously, I could have beaten myself up for days about that. My hunch is because I didn’t that the problem was relatively easy to solve. And shorting that wire is going to cost me another hour in the bank to send another wire, but that’s ok too.

Seriously, I could have beat myself up big time in the past week. The truth is, I could probably find reasons to beat myself up every single day, but that sucks. I’m glad I have chosen to be happy instead of perfect. I wish the same for you. Go easy on yourself today, tomorrow and always. It took practice to be able to let go of the things that I didn’t do perfect. Now that I have made a habit of it, it’s a lot easier.

Be really, really good to yourself today.

Cheers!
Cassie

P.S. I totally adore the person who made the comment and I know she was just trying to help me out.

Check Out Cassie's New Book: Manifest $10,0000. It received over 9,000 downloads in nine (9) days.
 
Contact Info: 
Spiral Up LLC/Loving Yourself Univ/CassieParks.com
1020 15th St. #22A
Denver, CO
80202
US
cassie@cassieparks.com
(720) 231-5213

Please note that the "Money, Money, Money" course gets offered at different times during the year. You can email Cassie about the course, "Manifest It Now" episodes, requests to interview her on your show, her book, and other services she offers.

Thank you, Cassie!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

HOLIDAZE (Excerpt from a Short Story About the Loss of My Mother)

I am sharing an excerpt from a short story about the affect of my mother's death on my life (Sarah Bernice Turner Oliver Hoskins, March 2, 1933 - September 12, 1979).

A book of short stories is a component of my memoir project that's been in storage for a while. This one is from Holidaze in the chapter titled, "The Anniversary." The short story isn't finished yet, nor has it been edited (I've no guilt about imperfections as per Cassie's guest post), but I'm happy that my Creator has guided me to share it with you just the same. Remember to hug your mother and tell her you love her. Love, serenity and joy to you and your loved ones.

HOLIDAZE
by Valerie Michele Oliver

THE ANNIVERSARY. 
I write. We buried her. Anger, sadness, and numbness competed inside me for priority. When I last saw my mom, she was not the person I wanted her to be: the face with the perpetual smile. She tried to be though, attempting smiles through urine-soaked eyes, and dry, wrinkled skin. She vacillated between being skeletal thin or bloated, expanding with intravenous fluids. Eyes full of sorrow and desperation, she asked me to take her home, far from the intensive care unit.
“I want to go home,” she stated. Her eyes looked into mine. I imagined tiny striped and solid pool balls in her mouth. Yeah. I smoked some extremely potent weed on the ride down from Athens, GA to Savannah. I shook the hallucination off.

I held her bony, frail hand, returned her look, and responded, “I can’t, Ma. This is the best place for you.”

That was not the answer she wanted to hear. Perhaps, she thought I hadn’t heard her the first time. Perhaps, she was expecting me to be the strong one, and take charge as I had many times in the past when she had been able to rely on me.

“I want to go home. Please. Take me home.” It was more urgent this time. A few of the balls fell out of her mouth and shattered on the floor. Tiny, white, thin skeletons laid among the remains.


 “Ma, I wish I could, but I can’t. They can take better care of you here. Now eat something. Please ma, you’ve got to keep up your strength, so you can fight this thing and get better. Drink this juice. It will help you get stronger.” I placed the juice up close to her lips. She forced herself to take a few sips. I knew that it was not for her benefit, but for mine.

“Please. Please, take me home.” She had tears in her eyes now, and pleaded through them. My hand was in hers, and I knew that if she had more strength, she would have pulled me closer to her by them. It wasn’t happening, but I felt that pull anyway. I knew I couldn’t take her away. I had no power in this situation. My stepfather had all the control, and was calling the shots (which in my mind were bad ones). At that time, I loathed myself for being weak. I told myself, “You’re weak.” And after she died, I blamed myself. I was weak. 


That evening, when to hospital rooms were dark, and most of them quiet, I laid on a cot next to my mother's bed listening to her breathing. I don't remember sleeping, but do listening. Her breathing became low moans like the kind you have when you dream someone is chasing you, and about to catch you, and you're trying to scream but it comes out like muffled moans. I climbed into her bed, put my arms around her, stroked and rocked her, and said "I love you." This was what she needed. What she didn't get from her husband. It was the exact opposite of what he offered her as she slipped away, everyday . . . a little . . . death. It was what she needed, and I gave it to her. 


That morning, I left town. I returned to my home about four hours away from the hospital. She told me she wanted to leave. I believed her, but could not face that she was dying, and that I couldn’t even grant her last urgent wish. I felt that I deserted her. She deserted me a few hours after I left. I got the call only minutes after I returned home. She checked out on her own.

Less than an hour after I returned home, the phone rang with news of her death. Three voices on the telephone, my sisters and my brother, spoke to me. “She’s dead,” said a voice. Was anyone crying? “She died not too long after you left,” said another.


I dialed my best friend. It was time for her to take charge, and she was definitive: “I’ll be right over.” Company and comfort were on the way. I rolled a joint and smoked it—a familiar, unconscious pattern to help distance reality. I shed my clothing—anesthetized—and stepped into the bathtub. I stood washed away by tears underneath the shower head. They kept flowing. They soaked my body. They went down the drain.

copyright © 2016 Valerie Michele Oliver

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Creator's Corner: Best Story Content Grounded In Our Past & Current Life

I ATTENDED ONE OF THE FIRST "alternate" high schools in the United States in New Jersey. The Team School was innovative and unique at that time because the students, teachers, and parents worked together to determine the courses, type of government to address conflicts and issues, and handled the daily operations. The mornings were dedicated to academic courses necessary for college preparation, and the afternoon courses were electives taught by parents who were professionals in their chosen fields.

LISA SANDERSON'S DAD TAUGHT the creative writing elective, and he drilled into our heads the following regarding story content: Write about what you know, what you are experiencing in your own home environments and communities. You will never go wrong with paying attention to what often goes unnoticed, and how these events and relationships affect you and those around you. 

Nick Lupi and Jimmy Nice, of Spit Syndicate. 
Image Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald. Photo: Nic Walker

MR. SANDERSON TAUGHT US TO PAY attention and mine for gold in our own hearts, thoughts (and those of others), and locations grounded in our daily experiences of life. 

I CHOSE THESE TWO ARTICLES BECAUSE they remind me that there's so much value in the wealth of content in my past and current communities that I used to take for granted before taking Mr. Sanderson's class. As a storyteller, screenwriter, film producer, healing artist, content specialist (and award-winning writer/blogger, editor, art director, and marketing specialist) I know from past experience and successes that unlike Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, I don't have to travel to realize that "there's no place like home" for stories and other content.


FOR EXAMPLE, THE FLASH FICTION STORY, Back Up The Truck, is inspired by a domestic violence true story from my childhood. Many of us grew up in a war zone of domestic violence that impacted our lives in those moments and beyond.

ONE DAY MY BEST FRIEND WHO LIVED next door came running to my house to get my help. His "uncle" was beating his mother and we needed to find a way to distract him. First, we tried to physically pull Uncle Charlie off his mom, but he was too strong. So, we decided to distract him by taking as much of his clothing as possible from his room, putting the clothes into a pile in the backyard, and soaking the clothes with liter fluid to create a bonfire. We then ran back into the house and started yelling "Fire!" It worked!

THE SHORT STORY "GIFTS" is also inspired by a true story about a highly-anticipated first date gone wrong and what happens as a result.

Image Credit: Medium.com


Creative Strategy: How I See Using This Story

1) USE THIS FLASH FICTION STORY in an anti-domestic violence campaign focusing on how it impacts children. Create a number of story scenarios to drive home this point to attract and engage audience stakeholders.

2) USE THE STORY IN A RAW, EDGY marketing campaign about childhood friendships that survive traumatic situations and endure the test of time that leads to happiness in some form--a product, event, fine arts project, or service they share (an antithesis to the traditional "Hallmark" variety content). My friend and I had to instantaneously come up with an intelligent, creative and practical solution under intense stress. The physical approach failed, so we quickly moved on to save his mom from that attack. We worked together to accomplish it. We were both about 11-years-old. 

THERE'S A LARGER MESSAGE in these stories for us: If two 11-year-old children are capable of these types of creative and practical solutions under this kind of duress, then certainly we can (or can learn how to) access these qualities within ourselves.

THIS STORY IS JUST ONE IN A SLATE that are either already written as short stories (some written under strict time constraints as the creative structure model) that are to become short film scripts or expanded into larger formats for film, television and theater.

MAY YOU DISCOVER MORE CREATIVE ideas and spiritual support now (and in the future) by exploring the Creativity & Spirituality Magazine, and previous Creator's Corner columns: The Joy Is In the Creative Journey (or Mission Impossible); Religion, Spirituality--Contrasting, Trending; Card Decks & the Mystic or Visionary Persona, Here Comes Play-Doh, and Sacred Geometry Symbols: One Of Top Four Creative Trends 2016.

Dare to shine, be generous, and love this life.

Valerie






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CREATOR'S CORNER is dedicated to sharing ideas that come to mind after reading and selecting articles for The Creativity & Spirituality Magazine (as the editor) that may be useful in a professional or personal capacity. Interest in creativity and spirituality as content for usage in arts & entertainment, media communications, marketing and advertising, and as lifestyle choices for businesses, projects and services (groups that have a way of life that may or may not be included in their brand identity), can be relevant to anyone anywhere in the world covering a variety of professions.