Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Recently I had this point driven home. A friend and I attended the Glen Eyrie Christmas. The setting was the great hall. As I sat there in my minds eye I could see ladies from the turn of the century in their gowns dancing or listening to music such as I was. There event was a small ensemble orchestra and soloist along with a choral of high school singers. The music was wonderful, covering early to current compositions. The whole event was just an hour. That hour was the gift given to me. What surprised me was the realization that I had not been using the personal gift I had.
Toward the end of the program there was a sing along. I love to sing, but very rarely do, so I took advantage and sang along. When the program was finished and my friend and I were getting ready to leave the lady in front turned and said, "I just enjoyed listening to you sing." WOW, talk about a wake up call. I realized I hadn't been using one of the gifts I had. By following my passion and singing I in turn gave a gift to a complete stranger.
So many times we focus on the future, the next this or that, that we forget to take stock of what we have to give. We have more than one talent, but tend to focus on only one to the exclusion of all others. By keeping our many gifts to ourselves, we not only short change ourselves, we also short change others who may receive much from what we have.
What are your talents? Are you the compassionate person that others come to? Perhaps you are the one who has a gift of understanding numbers. Are you the one with the gift of gab or storytelling? Talents and gifts are as varied and numerous as the sands on a beach. The joy is finding the special ones that belong to you.
As the new year approaches perhaps it is time to retake stock of all of our gifts. To accept and then share. It doesn't cost anything and the joy of accepting the gifts is priceless.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
While you are on that path, you will hear many who will tell you it is a pipe dream, you cannot possibly achieve that. You will also have those who will tell you anything is possible. It is up to you to take what is best of both and move onward.
Many of my acting students say they want to go to New York or LA. I encourage them to try. Some will succeed, some will not. It is not about fame or fortune. It is about finding the peace that comes from trying. One went out to LA, then came home. The reason, the town was too big, they were a small town person. That is not failure. That is success. You see, if they had not tried then the rest of their lives the question would have been 'what if?'. Now they know. Others have gone on and stayed. They are doing what they love.
If someone tells you that your dream is ridiculous, don't listen. Follow you heart and your desire. The only failure in pursuing a dream is not pursuing your dream. If you continue on in the direction you want to go, stop to listen for course changes and then trust, you will be on your way and probably very happy in the end.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
So many of us beat ourselves up because we don't accomplish everything on our to-do list. Those of us who are writers, well we know what we do.
This statement came on the heels of another idea that we need to slow down. We have the slow-food movement. People are talking about acquired attention deficit disorder. Yet so many of us think if we don't get this done today it will never get done.
I would say, it will not get done unless we allow ourselves to slow down, take a deep breath and stop beating ourselves over the head and shoulders for not being perfect. If Mr. Doctorow can write five hundred words a day and accomplish what he has in a lifetime (just stop to look at all the accolades that have come his way) then I believe we can also do quality work if we allow ourselves the time do to so.
There is nothing wrong with having a to do list, or goals. What is wrong is running our lives on overdrive to accomplish everything. I know there are those of you who would say I was guilty of doing the very thing I would say not do to. Yes, I have a number of interest and ideas that I pursue. What I do, however, to accomplish all I do is to allow myself time to think about what I want and then work a lot out in my head. When I feel it is time, I go ahead and jump in.
You see, many years ago I was given the gift of being told I could do anything I want. The next gift was the idea that if I just spent two hours, no more, on any project I would be able to complete so much more over a lifetime. That is my secret to doing all I do and still having time to sleep, read, and write along with living the rest of my life.
So let's slow down, give ourselves time and do quality work instead of quantity work. Enjoy the time we have and cherish it, love ourselves more and beat up on ourselves less. Now that is an idea whose time I know has come.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
For myself, I believe that anything is possible. It may not be in my lifetime, but things do happen if there is a great enough belief.
When we decide to make a change in our lives, we must believe that the change is possible. If there were not some kernel of belief we would probably not attempt the proposed change. I also believe that I am sometimes too serious. Is that a bad thing? Probably not, but people might think that I don't laugh or have a good time. Perhaps I don't find the current humor all that funny.
So what do I think is funny? Not humor at the expense of another. To me practical jokes are just a way of making people feel bad and another think they are better. Humor that is a play on words, that is funny. Physical humor can be funny.
I do believe that the human spirit is a special thing. It is to be cherished and supported. There are many communities that can help. Each person can help. Not do it for anyone, but to give the individual the courage to try on their own until they succeed. Many people mistake the idea of helping as giving advise and answers. Advise is worth what we pay for it. If someone ask your advise, know that it is just a suggestion that you think may work for them, but don't get so attached to your ideas that you get hurt if they are not followed.
I believe that each persons pain is just as horrible to them as the next persons. One persons headache to them is just as important as the person who has a broken leg. We try to put a value on each person that makes them more or less than someone else. When we go to judge, we are really judging by our criteria, not theirs.
I believe that we all have possibilities and each and everyone of us have the potential to make a difference in someones life. We just have to be willing to try.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
As historians we are looking at newspapers, diaries, letters, any first hand information we can find. Writers use that same information to ask 'what if'. For me there is nothing so exciting as to hold a piece of paper that someone a hundred years ago also handled. Perhaps they were writing a letter. Maybe they were just jotting down the grocery list. It is a tangible reminder of their lives. When I hold a quilt made by my great-grand mother, I remember her and my great-grandfather. Their faces become familiar again. The stories they told and lessons they taught are remembered. As long as I live so will their lives be remembered. When I am gone, what will be left? Sure someone could read this blog and perhaps it will trigger a memory of their own, but not Ertie and Oliver.
Perhaps in the future, there will be no paper. Good for the trees, perhaps not so good for those who follow. Cyber space is great, we all use it and they benefits are amazing. Still, where are the letters we no longer write? Where would we be if the founding mother and fathers had not written those wonderful letters? Will we be leaving anything? How will we be remembered a 100 years from now? What will be our legacy?
When you write that book, crochet that shawl or create that new banana bread recipe, perhaps it would be wise to also note why you created what you did. Leave a message for the future. It may make a difference in someones view of who we were.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
I will soon portray a woman who was on the board of directors of a half-way house here in Colorado Springs in the 20's. Not a lot is known. As the actor I will take what I can find, use that as the basis for my character development. Then I will make use of my opinions of what she might have said and why she said it. My leap of faith occurs when I make my choices about what I will actually say when speaking and answering questions. The historian takes the facts and make assumptions for the actor based on the available information. The actor then takes what is observed from the facts, makes opinions based on those facts and uses that to create the person that no longer exists, but needs to be as accurate as possible.
The second example is a fictional novel based on an event from the 1870's. There the information about the event is clearly stated in newspapers and others sources. As the author I take the information and create a world based on the events. I observe how people may have spoken, what they wore, how they acted. I then create an opinion about what I think may have occurred with the secondary characters in the event. My leap of faith is that I am creating a real world that may have happened, it simply was not recorded.
As writers, performers and historians, whatever label we place on ourselves we always observe, have an opinion and take a leap of faith that what we are doing is right. For the actor and the fiction writer it is easier. For the historian and non-fiction writer our opinions and leaps of faith take on a more important meaning. If we err to far from the truth we call into question our ability to perform our jobs. Still I would not follow this path if I did not feel that I have something to share with the world. The need to bring the lives of those who have preceded me and left their mark is more important than fear of making a mistake. If I can get one person to questions or feel the need to find out more, I have done my job.
If you wish to leave a comment, for those new to this means of communication, just click on comment and follow the prompts. For additional reading click on the second edit me to read additional bloggers.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
On June 13 Red Herrring performed one of their public shows at the Briarhurst Manor in Manitou Springs. It was the premier of a rewrite of one of our westerns. We had a night where the stars aligned and all was well with the world. The audience was wonderful and the actors were hitting all the right notes in their performances.
As I walked through the various rooms, I could feel the sense of what it might have been like for the Bells' whose home this had been. The house is elegant and the current owners have done what they could to preserve the ambiance of the golden age of expansion that was Manitou and Colorado Springs. Although our story took place in Texas, the time periods were very similar. What a joy to not only have fun with a show, but to eat and wander the halls of history.
That was followed by a show on June 22 at the Phantom Canyon Brewing Company located in Colorado Springs. This building at Pikes Peak and Cascade Avenues is very close to the depot for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. It is my understanding that this building used to house the rail workers. The third floor, were we were again performing a western, used to be divided up into numerous small rooms for the workers. I am sure that their work was strenuous, but looking out the windows, the view of the mountains is spectacular. Perhaps they also were able to enjoy those brief moments of contemplation.
To have a job where I can not only honor my desire for performing and history is a gift I am truly grateful for. To walk where others have walked and to try to place myself into their world. Over the past two shows I went from high society to common worker, all by being in the space that they had occupied. It makes you want to dig even deeper and find out more.
Monday, June 15, 2009
When I went away to college I took my love of reading with me. That is not to say I truly enjoyed reading text books, I didn't. In fact as long as I attended class and the professor tested on what he/she spoke about I didn't have to study. I usually remembered what was said. Still I continued reading for pleasure. The one book that stands out from that time is Mario Puzzo's 'The Godfather'. I had started it on a Friday night, woke the next morning and continued reading until finished. That means I missed all meals except dinner. Hey, it was Saturday steak night and I was hungry. Actually, if I had not finished in time for dinner I would not have cared. The story had me so engrossed.
The other book that made an impact on me was 'Siddhartha' by Herman Hesse. I read that rather quickly over Thanksgiving break. The book actually allowed me to see a different view of the world, or conceptualized the new thinking I was experiencing in college.
When I moved to Colorado the west did not fascinate me. In fact, I had not even planned to live here. I came because Illinois had nothing for me , so I came west with some friends. They have all gone, but I am still here.I fell in love with the area. Probably the two books that started my desire for studying history and the west were Gwen Bristows 'Calico Palace' and Louis L'Amour's 'The Quick and the Dead'. Those are the first Westerns I remember reading. I don't consider a child's version of 'Have Gun Will Travel' to really count.
I picked up 'Calico Palace' from the library because I liked the cover. Once I started reading I could see the characters, their loves and life choices. The other book,'The Quick and the Dead', was lying around when I was working the graveyard shift at a psychiatric hospital. I read that in about 3 hours between checks and have continued reading fiction about the west since.
The final 'nail' in the foundation of my desire to tell the history of the west through fiction was writing and performing a one-woman show based on the stories of my family and the stories of Colorado Springs. From that point on, history and storytelling were indelibly linked.
From a love of stories and reading to a life of sharing that love and history. I guess all that I have read, even those I don't remember have made me the person I have become today. What a gift those authors and their works have given me.
To read more about history click the second 'edit me' on the side bar to read Joyce Lohse's interesting blogs.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
In high school I made the switch to plays. I became enamoured with reading any and all I could find. I would check out the 'best of' plays for each year. That is where I read "Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Momma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' so Sad". Big title, but an interesting read. I did not like "Romeo and Juliet", but loved "MacBeth". I would say however the work that seemed to make the most lasting impression was the one act play "The Valiant". The line.."a coward dies many times before his death, but the valiant dies but once." has stayed with me for ever so long. In some ways I would say that line and one from a television show got me through all the 'tough' teen years. To paraphrase the TV line it was, ' there are four groups of people who react to you in life. The ones who like you for who the right reasons, the ones who hate you for the wrong reasons, the ones who like you for the wrong reasons and the ones who hate you for the right reasons. Of all these the one you need to worry about are the ones who hate you for the right reasons.'
Coming from a smaller school and not being one to 'follow' the crowd, it was sometimes tough. Still looking back, the books and plays I read allowed me to be myself and make the transition from high school to college without much stress. In many ways because of my reading I was a bit more mature than most of my contemporaries. In a small town that is not a bad thing. It also instilled in me the power of thoughts that words inspire. That was probably the greatest gift I received for those growing years.
Join me next time for college and beyond.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
According to the stories my mother tells, even as a very small child I demanded to be read to. That may be the reason that my primary way of learning is auditory. She says by the age of three I could recite most of stories in the "Childcraft" books, to the point where I was turning the pages at the appropriate point. By the time I started school I was more than ready to read. Fate however stepped in and I spent most of my first year of school, sick at home or in the hospital. The school was a three room schoolhouse and the early grades had three grades per room. The teacher passed me that year and I joined my classmates in second grade and caught up with the first grade lessons at the same time. I bring this up for the teacher also read to us each day. I remember Edgar Rice Burroughs "Tarzan" books as she read a chapter each day. She may have read others, but those have stayed with me all these years.
In the later grades of elementary I started reading the "Black Stallion" series by Walter Farley. In that same time period I also read the poem "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes. Both works allowed my imagination to roam and I do believe it was then that I started writing. The Alfred Noyes poem was especially important to me. The story of love, sacrifice, jealousy and death made a great impression. I know I wrote poems for I found some a few years back. I also remember writing plays and attempting to put them on with my brother and neighbors. Unfortunately none of those survived. Still it was a time of learning to read and having the world open up for me.
I shall follow up next time with middle and high school.
For further reading you can go to: http://www.joyce4books.wordpress.com .
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
All of this leads up to telling a good story. No matter what venue you choose to use: books, short stories, movies or TV the basics are still the same. You must tell a good story. I have a friend and whenever we talk movies he always harks back to McKee and the importance of telling a good story. Now we have worked together on films ( not prize winners)that tried to tell a good story. To tell a good story you have to get started. Not every story will be enjoyed by everyone. I would have to say to be 'wildly' successful you need to have at least a cross section of the reading and movie going public enjoy what you have done. To me the success of any story is the 'shelf' life. How many times can you see a story, read a story and still enjoy it.
When I am writing my murder mystery scripts I try to write them in such a way the no matter who the actor is the story can morph into something different with each telling. The same goes for any other story I write. I want the reader, or in the case of theatre/movies, to be able to take something special away with them. My goal is to have the story affect the readers in a special way that is unique to them. To have the story remembered over time. That is the goal of a good story. Will the summer season have such stories told at the movies. I truly hope so.
For those who would like to read more about writing/stories and history check out:http://www.joyce4books.wordpress.com/
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Having worked with challenging people I found myself back to the time before I retired. I remembered all the co-workers who were going to change the world and the people in it. When that didn't happen they burnt out, became disillusioned and stopped trying. In many ways that was a sad occurrence. Much like the main characters they and myself played out our stories against the backdrop of challenges and disappointments.
I made it through twenty years and still have fond memories of those times. I also know that I never took the lack of success personally. I found out very early in life that you cannot control another human and when you try you simply hurt yourself. Now that does not mean that I didn't pass on information or offer to help. I am a firm believer in education and learning so that you can make informed choices. Sometimes people simply were not ready for a life change. Did it hurt to see people fail? Perhaps, but what is failure. My failure is not the same as that of others.
I recommend the movie for those who can watch not only great performances, but also for those who want to save the world. To me the film has a great message about that. What is it? See the movie and find out.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
It was a wonderful experience once we were able to settle on a place to store our belongings. The audience was composed of people who were there not only for a wonderful meal, but to solve the case of 'who done it'. Like last weekend it was a great audience. This time however we were back in the 1920's on a 'SpeakEasy' train. There were gangsters, their girls and of course the 'police'.
For anyone who has not taken the train through the bottom of the Royal Gorge you are missing a truly wonderful experience. The weather was a bit chilly, hence the need to store ourselves and belongings indoors, but the view was worth the discomfort. When not in the car with the audience, I took the time to stand on the observation car, breathe the air and rejoice in the views.
I will say it was wonderful not to have to drive in the snow again. Also Canon City is a bit closer than Cheyenne. Both cities are filled with history. Canon City boasts the first territorial prison and of course the Gorge itself has an interesting history. If you need to take a break, why not try a train ride, solve a mystery or just plain enjoy the view. I know I do.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The murder mystery we were to have performed at the Briarhurst on April 18th, here in Colorado Springs was cancelled due to the weather. That was not the case with the murder mystery taking place in Cheyenne. Fortunately the roads were passable on the 19th and with the exception of the "white out" due to snow, rain and back splash, the trip to Cheyenne was fairly uneventful. It took about three hours to make the trek. When we were outside of Ft. Collins the roads were dry and the ground green. Going up in altitude the ground again became covered with the white stuff. Absolutely beautiful. We arrived in Cheyenne at the Plains at about 4pm. That gave us time to review the script and get into costume.
The murder mystery was a new one for Red Herring. It was a script I wrote based upon a fictional murder that took place just prior to the sinking of the Titanic. We were blessed with the addition of Margaret Browns' great grand daughter who also performed in the show. Helen understandably took the part on Mrs. Brown. What a great job she did on such a short time for rehearsal.
The Plains is a historic hotel in downtown Cheyenne with great character. The service was wonderful and if I had closed the blinds in the bath room I would have been able to sleep past sunrise. Oh well! (The sun came in through the window which faced east. I could have closed the bathroom door a bit more also.)
The show concluded on Sunday morning with the guests arriving at the solution as to who was the actual murderer. By this time the sun had arrived and the snow was melting. Melting except of course where my car had been parked the afternoon before. Fortunately the two gentlemen who were riding back to Colorado Springs with me were able to give my little car a push and we were off and driving. The return trip took slightly over two and a half hours at which point I arrived home, fed the pets and headed back to Denver (Just east of Golden) to do yet another murder mystery.
All in all a great weekend, with a chance to meet many wonderful people and hear their stories. There was also a lot of drive time, which for me is think time. I worked through thoughts for the upcoming newsletter in my head and tried to stay awake. Since this is being written I was successful in that endeavor. When the issue of the newsletter comes out, we will see how successful that was.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
We had snow this afternoon and since I love walking in the snow I wrapped up and out I went. The snowflakes began as miniature ping pong balls, but by the end of the walk they were tapering off and I felt like I was walking in a snow globe and the large flakes settled on my coat and the ground. It was quiet and you could hear yourself think. I must say I enjoyed that. For earlier today I had met with a friend at a tea house and it was so busy and noisy I left with a headache. Still is was a great afternoon for the screenplay I have been helping her edit was finished. Now we will do a final edit and see what happens.
I have started teaching again, (acting, etc) and if feels like I have come home. Private students are a great deal of fun, but group classes have a dynamic all their own. The joy of watching the light bulbs go on is a feeling, that to me cannot be duplicated. Then to see each one have the confidence to follow their dream. Well, that's why I do it.
Now it is time to finish up the newsletter draft and get it sent off and do some editing on my short story and novel. I think I can fit that in between loads of laundry or should I say I will fit the laundry in between my writing.
The creative part of me decries my having to do mundane work, and yet it is the mundane work that allows my mind to rest and develop my creative side. Well, whichever way I guess it is back to work.
To finish I will let you know a recipe secret, especially for those of you who cannot eat wheat. I cooked a turkey breast today and to the broth I have added some rice, spices (to taste) and broccoli, cooked it up and then put it in the blender to create a cream soup. To this I will add some cheese of choice and turkey and there you have a great, filling soup.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
So how do you tell who your friends are? Sometimes it takes stressful times to see who really is there. Of course you can be the good friend who is always there for someone, but they are not there for you. Why do we have this imbalance? It may be that we don't expect to have our friendships to be reciprocated. Perhaps we just are so happy to have someone talk to use that we accept being second. Is that fair? Probably not, still a number of us settle for whatever we are given.
They say to have good friends is to be a good friend. I am not sure I agree. It seems that people are more concerned with themselves and what they need and not just enjoying someone for who they are. We are judgemental, including me. How do we change that? It is a question worth looking into. It may take time, but perhaps it is worthwhile. Life is too short to have fair weather friends. I say let those friends go who cannot give you time and make friends with yourself. Love those who hurt you and those who don't. The friend worth having will value you for who you are, not what you can do for them. Treasure those and let the rest go.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
There are many things in this life to be explored and enjoyed. I want to share that with my readers. So fasten you seatbelts and enjoy the ride.
I didn't choose the title renawomyn for nothing. It is a play on the spelling of renaissance women. No I am not the new Leonardo, but you can't blame someone for aiming high. I just choose to not limit myself. Life is too short and I have been having a great deal of fun.