I have a remarkable ability to get obsessed with stuff. I was the kind of kid who would happily watch the same movie eight times in one day, and latch on to a particular aspect of the film and incorporate it (obsessively) into my own life. For example, when I was going through my Alice In Wonderland phase, I wanted to drink black tea all the time. With a teapot and cup and saucer and everything.
But, for the past few years, I’ve been a lot more selective with my obsessions (I still love Alice In Wonderland, though). I haven’t watched movies for two or more consecutive days. I’ve done the normal, grown-up thing of watching them once and then, if I really like them, again a few months (or years) later.
About two weeks ago, I watched Stuck In Love. It’s a cute, romantic comedy-drama about a divorced writer (Greg Kinnear) and his two teenage children (also writers). The movie follows the lead characters’ personal and creative lives, often highlighting the inevitable overlap between the two. It’s well written, well acted, and strikes the perfect balance between heart-wrenching and uplifting. It’s also the first film in about six years that I’ve watched two nights in a row, and still wanted to watch again the next day.
I honestly can’t pinpoint why exactly this movie has gotten under my skin so much. Is it because Greg Kinnear is a great actor with what is possibly the world’s coolest voice? Maybe. Is it because I find the idea of writing (and being a writer) more romantic than actual romance? Probably.
Whatever the reason, I highly recommend it. Go and watch it now. Do it!
Have you seen Stuck In Love? What did you think of it? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!
I’m a regretter*. I regret things. I’m not the kind of person who can move on from a mistake and be happy to have learned something from it. Instead, I’ll spend hours, or days, or months, or even years pondering my more unfortunate past decisions, wishing with all my might that I could go back in time and make different choices.
Guess what? It’s never worked. Not once has my wallowing caused me to wake up in the past with the opportunity to undo all the things I wish I could undo. I still only have today. Today I can try to make the best possible choices with the information I have at hand. Yesterday no longer exists. It is but a memory, to be cherished or forgiven.
The problem with regret is it that doesn’t change what happened in the past, yet it can rob us so completely of any joy in the present. Regret doesn’t acknowledge that perhaps our more lamentable experiences were in fact catalysts for positive change and growth. Regret is a waste of time and energy, both of which are precious resources in this short and beautiful life.
I’ve always loved words. I love experimenting with the many ways in which I can arrange them in order to convey a certain meaning or message. I love the way words allow us to communicate, how they afford us the ability to express ourselves in ways in which we would not otherwise be able. I love learning new words. I love that I’ll probably still be learning new words till I die. I love that new words are being continually added to the English language. I love that even if I manage to learn every single word in the English dictionary (not likely), then I can still go on to learn new words in other languages. I’m a word person.
With that in mind, I am going to be starting a “Word of the Week” series on this blog. Each week, I will select a cool, underused word and discuss its meaning, the various contexts in which it can be used, etc. Then I’ll challenge myself (and you!) to use the word in a sentence, song or conversation at least once during the following week!
Stay tuned for the first post in my “Word of the Week” series!
Do you love words? What’s your favourite word? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!
One of my resolutions at the beginning of this year was to write fifty-two new songs before the dawn of 2014 – an average of one song per week. It’s now October, and I’ve written four complete songs so far this year. Four! I am behind schedule, to say the least.
I could list a thousand excuses as to why I’ve written so little in the past ten months. I’ve had ongoing health struggles, and energy and motivation have been in short supply. But when did songwriting become something that I consider to be a further drain on my energy? Writing has always been my refuge during difficult times, my way of working through the things that overwhelm me. Yet somehow in this past year I’ve let it become just another thing that seems too overwhelming to face.
That needs to change. Now is the time to stop making excuses and just write. Writing songs is not a burden, and I don’t know why I’ve allowed it to seem so. Songwriting is a gift – one that enables me to see the dark and messy things in a clearer light and begin to make sense of them. It’s not something I wish to neglect.
So, maybe I won’t quite make it to fifty-two by January 1st, but I’m going to at least make songwriting (and writing in general) a priority again!
Has anyone else been going through something similar lately? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!
I’m very excited to share this week’s inspiring artist with you all! Not only is Canadian-born Natasha Meister crazy-talented, she’s also one of the sweetest and most humble singer-songwriters I have the pleasure of knowing. She is the first woman in South Africa to be sponsored by Fender, and has received much notoriety in this country for her bluesy, soulful voice and guitar skills. Natasha (who resides in Cape Town) regularly tours South Africa, so if you live in SA then be sure to catch one of her live shows! You sign up to her mailing list (via her website) to keep up-to-date with her tour schedule.
Over to Natasha, for a sneak peak into her songwriting process!
Name:Natasha Meister Albums titles to date:“Half Way” Release date of next record: 2014 Favourite songwriter:John Mayer Instruments: Vocal and guitar
Describe your music in five words or less: Versatile, relatable, rhythmic, rock edge.
How old were you when you first started writing songs? I first started writing songs at the age of about 14…just going into highschool…those were the most personally evolving/confusing years of my life. I would write about a bad day at school or a boy I had a crush on.
How has your songwriting changed and developed over the years? I like to think my songwriting has come a long way since my teen years. My head space was all over the place during that time…and nothing I wrote would ever really make sense. There was no song structure, the lyrics were meaningless as all I cared about was that they rhymed. I was still developing my vocal and guitar skills, so chord progressions and vocal melody lines weren’t strong, didn’t have a natural flow, and lacked dynamics. Only now do I feel as though I’m finally getting to the point where I’m so much more aware of the details. My songs feel like they make sense these days…my focus is to write meaningful lyrics, as I believe music is such a powerful tool and I want my songs to have the right message.
What’s the one song you wish you’d written? “Someone Like You” by Adele, because it is such a powerful and relatable song…and everyone has been through heartbreak. I think it is one of those timeless songs.
Approximately how many songs have you written, in total? About 25 completely finished songs.
What’s your favourite of all the songs you’ve written, and why? I’d say my favourite at the moment is one of my newest songs called “Alive”. It’s about a broken world where people are at war with themselves and blinded by darkness and God is the hope and light we have to live this life on earth with purpose and meaning.
Which five artists/bands have had the biggest influence on your music? Blues legend, B.B. King and modern blues guitarist, John Mayer, were the biggest influences when I was first starting out. And with my recent love for rock music, I’ve been obsessed with the sounds of Foo Fighters, Paramore, and Switchfoot.
Complete this sentence: Music is…the essence of life! Something my grandmother used to tell me.
What’s been the most memorable or exciting moment of your music career to date?Completing my debut album “Half Way” has been the highlight of my career so far. That was such an accomplishment for me. Although I like to think I’ve improved a lot since the first album…I’m still proud of myself for putting it out there.
Finally, what advice would you give to any aspiring songwriters/musicians reading this? Music is a powerful tool/gift, so use it wisely. Don’t sell your soul just to be what this world wants you to be…stand your ground. If music is your passion, be confidant enough to share it with the world…but always remain humble. And one last thing…don’t stand in the way of yourself…dream big!