Wanna swim in an underwater park?

diver

Just a short post this week to share a portal to enchantment you might not believe, it’s so amazing! When I first saw these pics I thought they were photo shopped art but this is an actual lake formed every year by melting ice in Austria. Imagine being able to swim through this dreamlike setting! Have you ever experienced anything like this?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2414013/Green-Lake-Tragoess-Austria-The-park-disappears-water-year.html

***

To check out my magical realism short stories, cruise by my Amazon Author Page here. 

A lot of my songs are available to preview and purchase on iTunes worldwide. For the U.S store click here.

For more about me, my songwriting, and avid pleasure seeking visit my official website by clicking here.

Why I Believe In Fairies

 

forest-fairy-surrounded-by-birds-1836

I never had much time for fairies. Even as a child, Disney’s Tinker Bell and co. struck me as overly twee. Lady Cottington’s squished fairies of the alt rock era were amusing but spindly and well, dead… But then I discovered the work of Lady Gregory and William Butler Yeats and began to realize fairies were a part of Ireland’s deeply rooted history and national psyche – and to the Irish, those little fairy buggers were often enchanters and criminals. Ok, now you’ve got my attention.

I stashed that titillating realization somewhere in the back of my mind and turned my focus to seemingly more important “real world” things. Now all these years later I’ve been pleasantly drawn back into the world of fae. The renewed attraction was sparked by my composer friend (and guest author here at Create An Enchanted Life), Kristen Baum. Kristen loves everything fairy and even adorns her writing room with fairy paraphernalia. A few years ago she and I began work on a musical set in a place between worlds and populated by troublesome fairies. Over time that project has taken on various identities and now it has truly found itself and is blooming ferociously for us, demanding to exist in a new medium that I, unfortunately, cannot reveal too much about just yet.

I can say it is magical. And it is real. That’s why I’m writing about it here on my blog that celebrates Magical Realism and its many faces. Spending time in a magical world of my own creation opens my mind in the coolest way. I love the feeling I have when writing, or bouncing ideas around with Kristen, that anything can happen. I’m sure I’m also liberating latent parts of my own psyche and giving them voice. That must be healthy. Also, keeping in mind the traditionally playful nature of fairies is helping me lighten up. Yes, I can get a bit serious. Blame it on my Virgo rising. The up-shot is that the world we’re creating is one I want to return to again and again. It exists, and is just as real in my imagination (and now in Word docs), as the physical world I live and breathe in.

It’s satisfying to think that my initial attraction to the other-worldly works of writers like William Blake and W.B Yeats now makes even more sense, how it was all totally relevant and, perhaps, meant to lead me here. Working with similar subject matter in my realm of Fae feels similar to drawing on early childhood experiences that formed the bedrock of my identity –  the themes at play are that intricately woven into my consciousness and way of seeing the world.

I’m interested in fairies that beckon us beyond folklore. Fairies among us now. And the “fairy” in each of us. I don’t think that puts me on the brink of becoming that crazy cat lady in the ramshackle house on the corner. I’d probably like her a lot any way, and ask her over for afternoon tea. But back to the fairy-dusted point at hand. Contemplating all of this, I’m reminded of the nature of existence, and how, creatively, we get to choose what exists and what does not. That’s a concept echoed in quantum physics which can prove that, on a sub-atomic level, particles are brought into existence by the power of attention. They did not exist until looked for.

The so called “real world” is an often distorted sliver of a greater reality. Beings that humans think of as imaginary or mythological truly do exist. Long ago I took to heart a conversation about that very thing. It is a conversation documented in Paramahansa Yogananda’s timeless “Autobiography of a Yogi”, in which he describes being visited by his beloved, recently deceased guru, Sri Yuktseswar (in a simple hotel room of all places). His guru explained some of what the departed are given awareness of, and what indeed exists just out of reach of most of the living’s cognitive powers. Sri Yukteswar assured Yogananda that angels, unicorns, fairies, elementals and many other mystical creatures all exist. My heart leapt at that.

For reasons too numerous to go into in this post today, I trust those couple of Indian seers who were rockin’ it for the greater good in the early part of last century. Their thumbs up, and my own intuition, is all the confirmation I need. So when I’m thinking about fairies and the like I don’t necessarily feel I’m being all that whimsical at all. As sure as I believe in the sun and moon and the verdant earth under my feet, I believe in fairies. How about you?

 

***

For details about the image included here and to use it as your wallpaper etc click here. 

***

To check out my magical realism short stories, cruise by my Amazon Author Page here. 

A lot of my songs are available to preview and purchase on iTunes worldwide. For the U.S store click here.

For more about me, my songwriting, and avid pleasure seeking visit my official website by clicking here.

Creating Yourself

creating-yourself

 

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

George Bernard Shaw.

 

I heard the founder of Wired Magazine, Kevin Kelly, reiterate that the other day, and it really struck a chord. You know, like when you just know something’s true?

People have told me I’m a seeker. It didn’t sit that well with me. I know now that’s because I was not so much seeking as creating. One of my early acts of creation involved moving alone to Manhattan to absorb as much art and music as I could. I wanted to see what would become of me. It was becoming in every sense of the word.

We all do that with the choices we make. From the friendships we keep to where we choose to live and the kind of work we do. Those, and the small, ritualistic things we do every day, add up over time to create your life experience, and the totality of you.

The exciting thing about all of this is we get a fresh shot at self creation ever day. Being a morning person, my husband excels at this. He embraces the clean slate offered up every day and uses it as an opportunity to set an example of the kind of person he wants to be. He wants to be fit, focused and calm, so every morning he cooks himself a low cal, nutrient rich breakfast (I’m usually still dreaming), then he does a little yoga and meditates before heading to the gym. It sets up his day in a productive way, and by noon he’s already reinforced and expressed a lot about the kind of person he wants to be.

Then there is the all important internal quest: how we choose to feel about things. I think that can have the greatest impact of all on self creation and in determining how much you enjoyed your time here on Earth in our cosmic dance. Choosing how to feel is no mean feat. Sometimes perspective helps nudge you in the right direction. If Nelson Mandela can forgive his persecutors, you could probably forgive yourself for a few faux pas, right? If Mahatma Gandhi can choose tolerance in the face of injustice and violence, you could probably choose a smidge of calm rather than frustration while you’re stuck in the familiar grip of gridlock, right?

For me, it’s how I “frame” or see things that makes a huge difference. Depending on how I look at the job at hand, I can be overwhelmed to the point of paralysis or smile in the face of the unknown as I trek toward a new mountain top. Ashley Scott Meyers, a screenwriter and coach I like, mentioned in one of his early podcasts, “there’s no downside to writing”, and went on to explain how time spent perfecting your couch potato skills wouldn’t add up to much or contribute in a meaningful way to quality of life. Whereas in sitting down to write, you may actually be getting somewhere – somewhere you really wanna be.

If you’re not sure where you wanna be or quite what you want, clues are everywhere. I love how Magical Realism breaks the pattern of normalcy and shows us paths to other realities. It says there’s more on the menu than maybe you realized. The juxtaposition of opposing themes, the possible with the impossible in a surrealist painting, for example, might be all you need to remind your subconscious, as it ruminates, that harmony can still exist. Solutions may be close to hand, if the information was to be re-arranged. Or maybe you’re madly attracted to winged warriors and werewolves right now. That may be your inner warrior tapping you on the shoulder, calling you out to a fresh battle. Shield up, and raise that flag of passion high, my friend.

In filling the world with your attitudes, words, music, images and stories they all tell, you’re creating your life – and yourself. Choose wisely, and with love, for as no being exists independent of others, you will affect us all.

 

***

FKAuthorPic

 

To check out my magical realism short stories, cruise by my Amazon Author Page here. 

A lot of my songs are available to preview and purchase on iTunes worldwide. For the U.S store click here.

For more about me, my songwriting and avid pleasure seeking visit my web site by clicking here.

 

Accepting Your Uniqueness

tbthe-sun

I’ve loved True Blood – HBO’s carnival ride of a series crammed with magically inclined characters. From a cross dressing, spirit hosting short order cook to overly loyal werewolves, cage fighting shape shifters and sexy, complex vampires with a sense of humor, it’s been an urban fantasy feast, and often just good, old fashioned fun.

I’ve always felt that although most of True Blood’s characters express some initial shock when someone reveals their true nature, magical powers or what not, the story does nevertheless fit into the Magical Realism realm, because those aforementioned otherworldly powers and beings are usually accepted so quickly and absorbed into the every day reality of Bon Temps, the small, southern town in which the story is, in most part, set.

In the midst of all of the show’s juicy mayhem, it’s the emotional journey of its lead character, Sookie Stackhouse, that has struck me as the most relatable. She’s basically a waitress who discovers she is a fairy. And not just an any ordinary fairy. Sookie’s a fairy princess from an ancient, royal fairy bloodline and she possesses numerous powers, including  the ability to channel her light into a “super nova” like ball of energy that, upon explosion, can kill any vampire within range. It’s a perfect complication, given she’s in love with a vampire.

Anyway, in last night’s conclusion to the series Sookie’s on again off again vampire lover asks her to euthanize him. To put him out of his immortal misery and in doing so free Sookie from a life (with him) that’s less than she deserves. I thought it was a beautifully photographed sequence of scenes.

Imagine a lamplit civil war era cemetery and an open grave and simple wooden coffin in which vampire Bill lies waiting to be killed (again). Petite Sookie, in a black lace cocktail dress of course, stands above the open grave contemplating using her fairy ball of light to do the job. She’d be using up the last of her fairy powers to do so, and would then become a normal human – what she thought she’d always wanted. She chooses not to. She realizes her fairy-nes is a natural part of her. This is who she is. She finds she is grateful for it and, at last, accepts her fairy-ness.

Then she effortlessly snaps a shovel in half, climbs down into the grave, straddles vampire Bill in his coffin and stakes him in the heart. It’s a poignant blood fest and she walks away into the misty night with Spanish Moss and new found dignity hanging in the air.

Sookie accepting her uniqueness reminded me a lot of the choices we make here in the real world. It’s not just for characters dreamed up in an author’s imagination or come to life through a director’s vision. There’s some kind of magic in all of us. And it’s there from the start. We all come from seemingly impossible beginnings. An egg fertilized against ridiculous odds, carried into being by the force of nature that allows us to grow, unseen and despite storms raging out there in the lit, waiting world. And then here we are, a living breathing, perambulating ship of skin and bones and infinite possibilities. Science may trace the journey but the impetus behind it is still unknowable. You might as well call it magic.

Your bag of tricks is unique to you. You might be a phenomenal kisser, you might design buildings and cities to inspire the world and shelter whole generations, you might be a messenger, a harbinger of hope, you might be one wise enough to follow – adding your energy to critical mass, you might be figuring it all out as you go. Either way, let’s take a leaf out of Sookie’s book. Let’s stay weird. And wonderful. I have a positive psychologist film maker friend who might call it “north of  normal”. The world won’t fall apart. More likely it’ll open up.

Where are you going and what are you doing with your fairy magic? I wish you well, and I’d love to know!..

 

***

HBO’s True Blood is based on the “Sookie Stackhouse” books by Charlaine Harris. 

***

 

FKAuthorPic

To check out my magical realism short stories, cruise by my Amazon Author Page here. 

A lot of my songs are available to preview and purchase on iTunes worldwide. For the U.S store click here.

For more about me, my songwriting and avid pleasure seeking visit my web site by clicking here.

The Cradling Ocean And Stories We Tell

transcendence_by_eirescei-d5ex4g4_by_Erika-Craig600_448 underwater_by_haunted_by_numbers-d5vpguz underwater-painting water_nymphs_025_large

LookinUpII nymphs1

 

Writing my short story, “Seafoam”, I had visions of underwater scenes and images like those above. That’s often how stories (and song lyrics) begin for me. Snapshot images inviting me somewhere. Loyal to inspiration, I let them lead me into playful, dark or un-chartered places. I’ll try anything twice.

The varied images and places they take me all have only one common element – a persistent emotion demanding to be felt. So I follow, describing what I see and feel along the way. With “Seafoam” I kept being reminded of the delight I felt when, as a ten year old kid, I first dared to open my eyes under water. I was shocked by how large the swimming pool looked and in love with the shafts of sunlight penetrating the glistening, aqua colored water.

I was also drawn again and again to the wonder of what lies beneath the surface of the Earth’s swimming pool, the ocean, and what might be out there watching us as we stare, enamored, into the azure horizon . I have always felt the ocean is “home”, or our spiritual birth place. Yet there is so much that is unknowable about that seemingly infinite place. Just like I’m sure extraterrestrial life exists, I believe we share this planet and it’s cradling oceans with life forms yet undiscovered or long forgotten by us humans. The ocean also puts life into perspective. To realize how small you are, that you’re simply one magnificent piece of a larger overwhelmingly gorgeous picture of creation, is thrilling, humbling and intriguing.

I felt all of that again recently in Hawaii when I slipped into moonlit water off the coast of Kona one night to be greeted by a ballet of reef Manta Rays gliding out of the darkness, almost brushing against me as they scooped up plankton. The same emotions played out a few days later when my husband and some friends and I were cruising the coastline on a sports boat one morning and we came across wild, Bottle Nose dolphins. We jumped into the incredible deep, blue water with them. They seemed completely unafraid, almost like they’d been expecting us, and for a few precious minutes they slowed down long enough to let us swim with their pod. One tilted as she swam and looked up at me. The same way a wise, old giant Green Sea turtle did as I snorkeled up to it later that day. The mantas, the dolphins and the turtle all conveyed a powerful sense of connectedness. I got the message: “We are not so different you and I. We are all here sharing this bounty together. It is as precious as it is timeless and fleeting.”

All of that, underpinned by childlike sense of innocent optimism, is still rippling in my body-mind as I put the final touches on “Seafoam” and prepare to upload it to Amazon. It is a labor of love and sometimes I wonder why I’m doing this. My inner critic says, “Don’t you have more pressing, “serious”, music industry work to do? Songs to pitch? Meetings to procure?” Well, yes. All that exists, but still I’m called in this direction. Now I think I know why.

We have GPS and Google maps to get us where we want to go in the physical world. But stories – be it family folk-lore, tribal legends or fairytales glowing on an iPad – maybe stories are the best maps of where we’ve been, and where we want to be, emotionally. What if this life you’re living is a story you’re writing and telling as you go? What if every day is a new page and a chance to choose your own adventure?

With that in mind, I’ll sign off this week wishing you wondrous, enchanting stories to weave with every breath and every day.

 

***

FKAuthorPic

To check out my magical realism short stories, cruise by my Amazon Author Page here. 

A lot of my songs are available to preview and purchase on iTunes worldwide. For the U.S store click here.

For more about me, my songwriting and avid pleasure seeking visit my web site by clicking here.

***

The short story, “Seafoam”, mentioned above is coming soon to Amazon for Kindle!

Seafoam_Cover_RedStreak

My “Seafoam” e-book cover art by Mirella Santana

 

 

 

Building Wings On The Way Down

Sparrows

“If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business, because we’d be too cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.”

Ray Bradbury

Have you been eyeing your own “cliff” in some way, shape or form?.. Or maybe you’ve been throwing yourself off creative ledges for years and are now searching for even more dizzying heights to conquer.

This is another short post from me today, just to let you know you’re not alone. In building those wings we draw from every interaction and ounce of awareness gleaned from every moment of our existence. As miraculous and complex as that may seem, it’s actually pretty simple. It happens naturally and instinctively, like breathing. All it takes is the courage to let yourself go.

New, imagined worlds await. Happy building – and flying!

Love: The Ultimate Enchantment

Stuck In Love poster

Last night I took a chance on an indie film that’d been sitting in my Netflix cue for ages. I really like Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Connelly. And I wasn’t in the mood for a movie full of explosions and flimsy characters. I wanted substance but didn’t want a tear jerker and was in the kind of mood where I didn’t even mind if I got a little bored, you know? Man, did I get more than I bargained for.

“Stuck In Love”, written and directed by Josh Boone, is about just that– an author stuck in love with his ex-wife, and how the divorce he never quite accepts affects his almost grown up kids. I was just reading on the film’s official site that Boone describes the script as his hope chest, filled with all the things he believes in and cares about. Isn’t that lovely? That heart felt approach really does shine through, draw you in and hold you there.

Greg Kinnear’s character is an author (who openly encourages his kids to become writers, too). I loved the numerous literary quotes in the scrip that served to gently comment on life and love without being preachy. They give us even more insight into each of the characters. This one was used twice:

” I could hear my heart beating. I could hear everyone’s heart. I could hear the human noise we sat there making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark.”

Bill Borgen’s quoting from his favorite collection of short stories.

Nathaniel Walcott and Mike Mogis, the guys from the band Bright Eyes, created the film’s score and a number of original songs for the soundtrack. Being a songwriter myself, that’s another thing I loved about the film– how songs (often over a perfectly timed montage) play an integral role in supporting the story and evolution of each character. That thoughtful use of songs takes you inside the hearts and minds of each of the characters and reveals even more about each of the family members.

Isn’t that true about all of us, too? We are the sum of all our experiences and influences, including what we read and listen to.  If you really want to know someone, look at the books on their night stand and scroll through their iTunes.

Anyway, I felt compelled to write about this film, because it seems so unassuming, with it’s kinda understated story line and without any Sunset Strip billboard marketing fan-fair, at least that I can recall (it’s a 2012 release). Yet there’s nothing disposable about it. It’s a quiet, bittersweet celebration of loyalty, growing pains (at any age) and the workings of the human heart. This little gem is a movie to live–and love–by. It reminded me that, of all the sensual mysteries and pleasures life has in store for us, love remains the most enchanting of all.

***

For more about the film’s cast, crew and producers visit imdb. 

***

 FKAuthorPic

To check out more of my magical realism short stories, cruise by my Amazon Author Page here. 

A lot of my songs are available to preview and purchase on iTunes worldwide. For the U.S store link click here.

For more about me, my songwriting and avid pleasure seeking visit my web site by clicking here.

Seafoam – An Excerpt From Under The Glistening Surface…

Seafoam e-book beta cover

Seafoam e-book beta cover

The story goes that when I was born my mum wanted to name me “Seafoam” but dad wasn’t up for that. I love that mum had that very 1970’s notion, though–and being such a water baby who’d cry to be put back into any body of water I was around, I’ve often thought mum’s first instinct was bang on. She went with “Fiona” (after a feisty heroine in a novel she’d read) and, with almost psychic perception, she suspected I’d be a writer.

That name, “Seafoam”, has always stuck with me and captured my imagination. Might there be a girl out there called Seafoam? What would she be like? All these years later, I finally sat down with a word document and asked those questions… And Seafoam’s story began to unfold. Much to my delight, I found myself back in the oceans and inlets around South East Queensland where I grew up, under the surface in a place between worlds that suits me just fine, telling a tale about a Deep Water Nymph a tad too curious for her own good.

“Seafoam”, my next short story e-book, may be the first in a series of stories inspired by her and the magical, mysterious water world she and her kind call home. I’m working on final edits and the cover design and hope to release her into the digital wild–on Amazon for Kindle– in the coming weeks. Here’s a first look at the start of her story… I hope you like it!

“Seafoam” – an excerpt

Once upon a time–just the middle of last week, actually–a small, weathered fishing boat was enjoying the friendly slap of the warm Pacific Ocean as she drifted with the tide off the coast of southeast Queensland. She was just far enough out to have lost sight of land. Nets whistled as they flew through the air, hit the water with a smack and sunk dreamily down into the big blue. Up on deck, a fisherman rubbed his beer belly with satisfaction and unscrewed his thermos lid. Happy at the thought of a strong cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit, he turned up the volume on his iPod and sang in falsetto, “Like a virgin… woo! Touched for the very first time…” The music filled his hairy ears. He was smiling and thinking about a girl he’d known in high school, so he didn’t notice the ripples around his starboard side, the two very large sea-green eyes that glinted in the sun then dipped below the surface, or the silvery fins that flicked the fiberglass hull.

“Are you awake? Are you awake? Or are you dead?” came a petulant voice bubbling with youthful impatience and silky as the salt water enveloping it. It was lucky for the fisherman that he didn’t happen to possess any super powers, like X Ray vision. His clogged arteries and this much reality would not be a good mix. Under his little boat, where only barnacles and boringly predictable currents hang out, something like a girl was swimming like a fish, and asking a lot of questions like a woman.

“Where are you guys going? Where did you come from? “Byron?” “What, do you come from Tug Boat stock, the strong, silent type?” Seafoam fired away. She even tickled the duckboard with a flurry of bubbles, hoping the smelly old boat would warm up to her.

If you could hold her still long enough, closer inspection would reveal Seafoam’s over sized eyes held a permanently dreamy look. Her pale, oddly colored skin was like the luminous inside of an Oyster shell and her long, dark hair was a burnished mahogany. Her mother said Seafoam’s hair was the color of the deck of that wooden ship, The Endeavor, that sailed by the year Seafoam was born. But her crowning glory had fiery red streaks here and there that she was quite proud of. “It’s like little sparks of fire under water!” “Fire under water… How delightful and impossible!” she’d think to herself. She used to think it was from thinking too much, but the red was actually inherited from her grandmother who was the hottest summer day on record. This particular day was indeed “a good hair day”. Shiny tendrils drifted around her slippery, human looking arms and torso and licked her perky breasts with their nipples like peaks of caramel. She’d heard they tasted like caramel as well. But who knows what that is, and who can believe anything Groupers say?

Anyway, on this particular day, below her finned forearms, around each of her delicate wrists, Seafoam was wearing her favorite seaweed bracelets. They trailed beside her like streamers she’d seen on bicycle handles. She wished she had a bell to ring, too. Like the ones she’d seen little girls dinging as they zoomed down the boardwalk at the Marina where the Land Lovers did their peopling or whatever it is humans do. In lieu of a bell to ring, Seafoam made do with a purple topped Cowrie shell strapped on with more seaweed and some fishing line she’d unknotted from around a seagull’s leg. It didn’t ding but it looked cool. Where her hips sloped down into thigh and luscious butt cheeks her skin turned shades of silver, like the choppy ocean’s surface just before an afternoon thunderstorm has a good cry.

Where a standard issue Mermaid’s tail would normally begin, Seafoam instead had long, muscular legs that tapered to powerful webbed feet–permanent flippers you could say. From a distance, if the light was right and the remnants of last night’s magic mushrooms had them fooled, a Land Lover lucky enough to catch sight of Seafoam could mistake her for a Mermaid. And sure, she could do a great mermaid impression, swimming lazily with her legs together, but a deep water nymph never got anywhere keeping her legs together. She’d laugh at the truth in that, and with a flick of her ankles, launch herself high into daylight, plunging in a beautiful sun kissed arch the shape of a whale’s spout. She did love to prove a point.

If she were here right now, and if you could speak Ocean–as many people used to–Seafoam would explain with pride that she is a Deep Water Nymph. Like many other supposedly mythological creatures, Deep Water Nymphs are most at home in the open ocean, so they’re rarely seen and, therefore, not well understood. They’re related to Mermaids and Sirens, yet are considerably smaller in stature, and of course they have those aforementioned lovely, long legs descending to flippers that forests of Sea Kelp just love to play and sway with. Mermaids are jealous of that by the way. Furthermore, while Sirens are downright devious, and Mermaids are famous for lying about on rocks, brushing their hair and pining for impossible loves, Deep Water Nymphs are, simply put, jovial. Like their Irish cousins, Silkies, Deep Water Nymphs love a good fight and are, obviously, closely related to Fresh Water Nymphs–like the ones John William Waterhouse captured in his famous painting “Hylas And The Nymphs”. It may be helpful to know, too, that Deep Water Nymphs find Land Lovers compelling and scary at the same time­­–kinda like a ferry crash.

Speaking of which, Seafoam loved to watch Land Lovers jostle around together on the deck of the tourist ferries to that “boom, boom” sound. Was it called “dancing?” Seafoam thought so. She clearly remembered the look on one’s face as she shuffled in time with her mate–or “husband”–Seafoam believed they were called. Saggy skin and pitiful lung capacity aside, those two Land Lovers radiated pure bliss. Memories like those got under Seafoam’s skin and soon she developed an inconvenient longing to dance. She was shunned by her sea-faring brethren for voicing such a desire. Surface frolicking, plunge diving, attack circling, bottom cruising–those were all respectable past times to the Oceanic Community. They could after all be considered survival practice or hunting techniques, but dancing? Ridiculous. You see, for thousands of generations Underwaterlings (they call each other Undies for short) have all felt far superior to humans. So a pointless desire to dance, to stumble around upright sucking down toxic air would certainly be, pardon the pun, “a step backwards”. As time passed and the ocean grew warmer and shipping lanes got busier, it was generally held there were more important things to think about. The Undies in her area forgot about Seafoam’s wish, or simply laughed it off. Yet her dream persisted as only a dream can. She’d watch the occasional dinner cruise with its swarm of floppy tourists swaying gleefully, their wrinkly faces lifted to the moon. She’d catch those rare blissful looks, the rays of inexplicable happiness and keep them–a memento in her ageless psyche. That would be enough, wouldn’t it?

But back to the tale. Not a fish tale or a mermaid tail. The story tale. Seafoam had long been a fan of speaking to strangers and had learned a lot from the vessels Land Dwellers rode around in. But this little, old fishing boat–aptly named “The Grumpy Crab”– it wasn’t saying anything! It lolled from side to side and seemed almost bored. Tired of trying to strike up a conversation, Seafoam back flipped into a drop off in frustration. Stupid old floater, she thought to herself and laughed again.

Late that night, Seafoam was snuggled up to a Spanish Dancer sea slug, with its silky frills against her neck, just drifting with the tide in a symphony of moonbeams when a strange, muffled breath yanked her out of a dream. “Shhhhhhh.. gggggggghhhhhkkk!..” came the snorting sound again. Near the entrance to a Rock Fish cave, two black figures loomed…

***

To see what happens next and how this story ends check back here for news about “Seafoam” – a short story e-book – coming soon to Amazon for Kindle! 

***

Fiona Kernaghan

Fiona Kernaghan

To check out more of my magical realism short stories, cruise by my Amazon Author Page here. 

A lot of my songs are available to preview and purchase on iTunes worldwide. For the U.S store link click here.

For more about me, my songwriting and avid pleasure seeking visit my web site by clicking here.

 

Seafoam And Some Island Inspiration…

Things have been a bit quiet on the blog front because I’ve been away in my own land of enchantment–Hawaii. Ah, yes I know. It IS hard work but somebody’s gotta do it. All that communing with Madam Pele, frolicking with dolphins and exploring the mysterious embrace of the gorgeous big, blue Pacific…

Speaking of which, the Pacific Ocean and the Eastern seaboard of Australia happens to be the setting of my next magical realism short story, to be released soon to Amazon for Kindle. “Seafoam”, is a light hearted tale with a dark twist or two, and is all about a Deep Water Nymph too inquisitive for her own good. It may be the beginning of a series, too–something new for me!

Here’s a quick look at the early stages of the cover art by Digital Artist, Mirella Santana.

"Seafoam" e-book cover art in progress

“Seafoam” e-book cover art in progress

 

More from me soon- and here’s hoping you too are are having a delightful, enchanted summer!

***

To check out my magical realism short stories, cruise by my Amazon Author Page here. 

A lot of my songs are available to preview and purchase on iTunes worldwide. For the U.S store link click here.

For more about me, my songwriting and avid pleasure seeking visit my web site by clicking here.

SCHEHERAZADE TAKES ON THE KARATE KID: HOW CROSS DISCIPLINES FEED EACH OTHER

Cover.4488595.indd

This week I’m thrilled to welcome Stephen Weinstock to Create An Enchanted Life. He is the author of this week’s blog post- and certainly knows a thing or two about following your bliss, creating an enchanted life and faithfully doing the work that often demands! I hope you’ll check out his work and links below. For now, on with the show–or blog st least!..

SCHEHERAZADE TAKES ON THE KARATE KID: HOW CROSS DISCIPLINES FEED EACH OTHER

by Stephen Weinstock

Like my talented webhost, Fiona, I have crossed between musical and fictional worlds in my career. This combination goes hand in hand with an affinity for magical realism. Literature and poetry of the magical realists often has a musical flavor, and a magical piece of music conjures real narratives in our imaginations.

Let me share what I’m writing now, because it will inform how my musical work informed my current work in surprising ways. I have published 1001: The Qaraq, Book One of The Reincarnation Chronicles, the first novel of a magical realist series where a group of souls (the qaraq) presently in suburban New Jersey, discovers its ability to recall past lives. They have been traveling from lifetime to lifetime together, from Carboniferous era dragonflies to 4th Century Persian harem dwellers. The whole insane series (11 books, thank you!) is a giant puzzle of their karmic relationships.

In crossing between the two disciplines, I have grappled for years with the same questions: do I focus on one field at the expense of the other? do I work at one until I am discouraged and then switch tracks? do I just relax and enjoy the abundance of creativity in my life?

I have tired of this dialectical struggle, and recently realized these are the wrong questions. They are perfectly fine questions for day-to-day planning, but they have no ultimate answers. What’s way more interesting is how music and literature feed each other, from writing while listening to tunes, to adapting novels for music theater projects. I have received other benefits from my performing arts work, which have guided my novel writing in unconscious ways. Now that I see them more consciously, I cannot condemn any creative work I have ever done as ‘on the wrong path,’ but rather I thank the Infinite Intelligence for moving me through many spheres of influence.

Back to The Qaraq. Structured after The Thousand and One Nights, the book has a modern Scheherazade story set in the present, from which the characters recall and narrate their past life tales, just as Scheherazade told a part of a story every night to the King. Each chapter has a present day frame that transitions into a past life tale about, say, two atomic particles in a love spat. Again, the insane part is that the series contains 1001 chapters, with 1001 past life tales, just like the 1001 Nights. Oy, how to keep it all straight?

Back to the music vs fiction thing. As a composer for the theater, I wrote and taught new musicals and operas. I invented curriculum at the first musical theater writing programs in the country (in San Francisco and at NYU). Doing this work, I learned that in the traditional Broadway musical, the basic unit is the scene-to-song. If you don’t like musicals, this is the form where people are talking and then some idiot breaks into song. For the Broadway lover, this form is as complicated as a Sondheim show, where characters elegantly glide between spoken scene bits and the next verses of the song. I learned from teaching this form that you find it everywhere: recitatives leading to arias in opera, pantomimes leading to pas de deux in ballet. I analyzed dozens of them for my students, critiqued hundreds of them in our workshops, and desperately tried to improve on them in my own works. It was a grand adventure, but did it help me write Reincarnation Fiction? Well, yes.

A decade later, when none of my half dozen musicals and operas had been produced, not even the promising Rock and Roy (with writer Barry Jay Kaplan), based on the double life of Rock Hudson (so politically important, too!), I slowed down this work and started my past life series. Facing the problem of not boring my readers with each chapter having the format of present day frame into past life story, I played with possible variations: starting a chapter in the present, going to a past life tale, then processing the past back in the present; starting with a mysterious tale from the past, coming back to the present to understand it; going back and forth between present and past so they informed each other; embedding a second tale inside the first and proceeding accordingly. There weren’t too many possible forms, but each had its own variations, and the form successfully moved the action forward.

Just like in Oklahoma! OMG, I was re-cycling the scene-to-song as a present-frame-to-past-life-tale form. And I thought it was a neo-Arabic literary device. It was Score Doctor Stephen to the rescue, creating as much variety of this form in my novel. Looking back, I’m put in mind of that scene in the first Karate Kid film, where the master makes the kid with attitude wash his fence. Wax on, wax off, is the drill, using his two hands in the same repetitive way for hours. The kid’s pissed but does it, and then at the next sparring, the master gets the kid to make a karate move, and he sees that the wax on/wax off drill actually trained his muscles to do the move perfectly. Same deal, here: years of working in scene-to-song prepared me to structure and vary each chapter of my magnum opus. Did I do my musical theater work so I could write the series? Or was I unconsciously influenced by that work to re-invent it in my book? Whatever.

As I moved on from musical theater, I did one of those career guidebooks, and realized that the work that had brought me the most fulfillment in my past life was accompanying dance classes. The goal of each class was for the music to bring the dancers to physical and emotional ecstasy: what more do you want? A decent wage, for one, since accompanists are the lowest paid in the music biz. But the point was clear, and so I went back to beating a drum and piano for dance. After a bunch of years free-lancing, I ended up at LaGuardia HS, the “Fame’ School in New York, where the kids are the most appreciative of dance music in any studio I’ve experienced. And the wage was decent.

I play for modern dance, which means that I must improvise everything, although within a fixed structure. Being a self-taught musician, accompanying for dance was my daily practice, my piano lessons, and my performing opportunity rolled into one. When Martha Graham says “And!” you play whatever’s in your head. You trust your first instinct, and build on whatever comes out. Being an organizer and a structurer from my other endeavors, dance exercised another part of my creative brain, and taught me to take whatever material you start with, and elaborate, energize, and make it work. To bring everyone to ecstasy.

For my series, I have to come up with 1001 stories. I have a simple rule: any idea that pops into my head is welcomed and put into the series somewhere. There’s no time for picky judgment. Even if it’s a ‘mediocre’ idea, like a seven-inch plant squashed into a chunk of coal, I can use it somehow, elaborate, energize, and make it work. Hey, where did I learn that? That’s right, you’re catching on, by improvising for dance I learned to improvise for fiction. Not that I don’t plan to a fault: there are eleven hidden structures in The Reincarnation Chronicles, woven into each chapter. Structural puzzles come from my work as a composer of non-improvised scores, but that’s another story, and another gift from my musical work.

The norm is no longer to land a job and keep it until you retire. First of all, nobody’s retiring anymore, and secondly it’s cool to fluidly move between career options. Juggling two or more fields is something you may be dealing with on a daily or yearly basis. I’ve learned that sweating the decision about which field to follow is important for basic time-management issues, but don’t sweat it too much. I dealt with the stigma of changing paths, and failed to see how my energy in one place was feeding my energy in another. Now I believe this is why I made all the path choices I did, or why those paths opened to me, to keep replenishing my creativity and suggesting new ways to approach a task. If I hadn’t waxed on and off, I wouldn’t have been able to handle a modern day Scheherazade.

Stephen Weinstock

Stephen Weinstock

Cover.4488595.indd

 

STEPHEN WEINSTOCK’s bio and links:

STEPHEN WEINSTOCK has created scores for theater companies (Magic Theater, Eureka Theater), choreographers (Margaret Jenkins, Adam Barruch), and dancers (the Merce Cunningham and Martha Graham studios, Juilliard, LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts).  His musical Rock and Roy, about the double life of Rock Hudson, has been performed at New Dramatists in New York and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.  Mr. Weinstock is author of the series 1001, based on the Arabian Nights, about a group of people who discover they have shared 1001 past lives.

Find 1001: The Qaraq, Book One of The Reincarnation Chronicles at his website:

www.qaraqbooks.com

on amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0615908373/ref=ox_sc_act_image_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

or goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20708397-1001

 

 

Previous Older Entries

Blog Author

Fiona Kernaghan

Fiona Kernaghan

I'm a songwriter, singer and dedicated pleasure seeker. When I'm not writing and recording songs I write screenplays and short stories.

Personal Links

View Full Profile →

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts as well as free songs and stories from Fiona by email.

Join 3,326 other followers

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,326 other followers