Now that we’ve got a grandchild, I’m dusting off my rusty fingers and getting back into lullaby mode! So far, Luna’s favorite song is Kenny Loggin’s House at Pooh Corner. In the video below, you’ll see that Kenny stopped by (via YouTube) and we jammed a bit.
Story Behind House at Pooh Corner
Kenny Loggins was a 17-year-old high-school senior, staring down his impending adulthood, when he wrote “House at Pooh Corner.” The song was inspired by A.A. Milne’s 1928 book “The House at Pooh Corner,” a collection of short stories about Winnie the Pooh and the rest of the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood.
My all-time favorite song is KD Lang’s performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” at the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame induction of Leonard Cohen in 2006. Here’s a LINK to it on YouTube. Make sure to watch it all the way to the end. Leonard Cohen is in the audience.
I’m often asked about the details of my preferred writing environment — the setting, the ambiance. I’m a bare bones writer who enjoys solitude and appreciates nothing more on my desk than a laptop and a tea light — my six-hour “contract” to show up, stay put, and write.
To avoid diversion, I turn off my cell phone and limit my writing screen to two ingredients: a white page and a black background.
My desk is situated by a window that overlooks a well-seasoned, rugged oak tree in our front yard. When there are noise distractions outside, I put on headphones, turn the volume low, and listen to instrumental music.
For me, the essential element for music to write by is that it must transport me to the ocean:
I want to hear the seagulls screeching overhead and waves crashing on the shore.
I want to taste the salt in the air and dig my toes in the sand.
I want to squint from the brilliant shimmer of sun glancing off the waves.
I want the sea breeze to ruffle my hair as it carries the briny smell of seaweed.
With this in mind, I created The Key of Sea— a music playlist to write by. Even though I’ve listed specific tracks below, all of the recordings on each album are transportive. Bon voyage!
Inspiration is an influence; it’s something that has the power to affect.
When a person is inspired by another person, place, or thing, they experience an “aha” moment, or an epiphany that can result in change or action—something that wasn’t planned before the inspiration occurred; it was unforeseen up until the point of inspiration.
Every artist (writer, photographer, sculptor, painter, musician, dancer, gardener, potter, chef, and so forth), has a “muse”—their source of inspiration. Each week I set aside protected time for writing at my home office. My muse—my source of artistic inspiration—is space. Unencumbered space.
I clear my desk so that nothing’s on it except for my laptop. I mark time with a lit tealight candle (they usually burn about 6 hours), and I work in solitude with the exception of the 200-year-old oak tree in our front yard who stands sentinel in front of the window where I write.
This past Monday evening I attended a color therapy presentation in Chicago and the speaker said, “If we give ourself space, we find our direction.” Zing—that statement resonated right to my core!
The following day when I was looking at their website I clicked on the first color combination that attracted me, and a pop-up appeared that read: “SPACE in connection with transition and change. The clarity to find the SPACE within. Enlightenment of the heart.”
The next color combination that attracted me read, “Helps to make decisions. Harmony with nature, a new SPACE and a new place. SPACE. Direction. Truth. The SPACE giver.
The final color combination that I clicked on read, “A transformed heart. SPACE to find spirituality within. The healing heart.”
Just to see if all of the color combinations had something relating to SPACE, I clicked on several. Not another one said anything about it.
I learned to play the guitar when I young. Self-taught, it was an instrument I played on a regular basis until I began healing work. When a person plays the guitar regularly, they build a wonderful set of calluses on the tips of their fingers—wonderful, because they prevent the sensation of pain from either nylon or steel strings. If you’re like me, however, and use your hands and fingers to “read” people’s energy, calluses get in the way.
That’s why I love my bodhrán (pronounced bough-rawn)—a Celtic frame drum that’s held close to the body, resting on my left thigh and tucked snug into my left armpit. In addition to the rich and vibrant sounds that it makes, its curved rosewood frame, ornate brass tacking, and tightly stretched head, all make for a rewarding sensory experience.
The texture comes alive as my left hand inside the open-end moves to control the pitch and timber, while my right hand uses a smooth wood tipper to cast a spell—creating the jovial beat of a celebratory jig or reel, or a deep, insistent, menacing boom that calls to mind ancient warfare.
For thousands of years, rhythm has been a carrier of intention and information; an expression of vibration. Like a pebble thrown into a pond creates ripples that travel outward, so does our personal rhythm. The vibration of everything we think, say, and do affects the people in our lives. Their reaction, in turn, affects others. Our personal rhythm is powerful. With it we have the capacity to change the world in a variety of ways for better or worse.