Archive | March, 2006

How to Exercise an Open Mind – Wiki

Here's another wiki (website resource we can all contribute to) that took me off my trail just long enough to get refreshed:

Simply put, all one needs to grow his/her brain is to do unique, random, different, and ridiculous things as often as possible. One hour of increased brain activity via thinking a lot or experiencing new stimuli can make you smarter, more energetic, more creative, and more sociable. Here are some of the endless numbers of activities that can stimulate your brain. The one key ingredient is to have an open mind. – How to Exercise an Open Mind

You'll see a list of tips and suggestions, with links.

One of my favorites is #4.
It reminds me of a writing exercise (also great for actors), that asks you to memorize as many details in a given location as you can (for example, while you're waiting at the bank or post office), including colors, lighting, sounds, shapes, textures, etc., not just naming “chair,” “table,” “door,” which are too simple and nondescript.

This helps to build variety in your sensory memory which you'll use each time you need to build a character or event. Just like painters who add and combine more colors on their palette, you'll be adding more choices.



Songwriters – Broaden Your Musical Horizons – Wiki

[First of all, what is a “wiki”? By definition, it's “a website or similar online resource which allows users to add and edit content collectively.”]

Broaden Your Musical Horizons contains a list of easy-to-do activities to Goose Your Muse. (And you can add your own suggestions too.)

The first one on the list is “Listen to Internet radio stations.” Let me suggest two that I enjoy and may have mentioned to you before:

Whole Wheat Radio (located in Alaska, plays indie singer/songwriters, shuns current hits)

Radio Paradise (eclectic online rock)

And yes, you can submit your original songs to them for “airplay.” Check out the quality of what they're already playing, to see if you fit in.


Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain – the Web Site

I heard several years ago about Betty Edwards and her hugely popular, ground-breaking book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

She’s credited with making the “secrets of how to draw” more accessible to the masses, helping any of us who wants to learn by using simple exercises to help us see better.

Now she has a web site, Check out the sketches from some of her beginning art students (click Gallery), showing how they first drew their own self-portraits, compared with the improvements they made in only a few days.

Also, here’s the new version of her classic book:



Word Up – Electronic Light Sculpture

This reminds me of how we used to stand, mesmerized, in the huge atrium lobby of the then-new Hyatt Hotels in Atlanta and Nashville, simply watching the graceful, glass-bubble-pod elevators, as they 'floated' up and down in open space. Could those be an inspiration for this?

Check out the photo … makes me want to be there to see what they spell.

Minneapolis's new central library, designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and opening in late 2006, will include an electronic light sculpture provisionally named Word Up by multimedia artist Ben Rubin.

The project uses a matrix of LED tubes on the outer surfaces of each of two elevator cabs. — From the web site (plus links to design features.)



Tune Find – Songs from current TV & Film

Here’s a new website,, set up to answer that persistent question, when you have a song stuck in your head from last night’s The O.C. or Grey’s Anatomy … What was that song? Also good for songs from films as well.

When you click the song titles, it will take you to iTunes, where you can find out more about the band and/or buy the CD.

If you’re looking to get your songs into television or films, I suggest you listen to the range of styles that are being used in that specific show, to give you a better idea of what kind of music is appropriate.

And here’s a shout out of appreciation to those shows who are using more SONGS from indie writer/artists/bands.



Scotland – indie music podcast

Another wonderful radio clip for you today from NPR (The World) — This one is about Mark, who is podcasting from Scotland, and choosing some great sounds for us to hear.

I was especially impressed with how many people his podcast brought together for local bands’ performances in clubs. Yes, you CAN build a fan base this way.

You’ll enjoy his lilt whether you read or listen to his interview.

Mark is, in his own words, “just a guy,” living and working in Glasgow, Scotland. He’s got a wife, and two kids. He runs a small window and office cleaning business. Mark’s not a musician. He’s not a broadcaster. But he is a podcaster.

Mark’s show, tartanpodcast, aims to bring Scottish music to a wider audience. The format’s straightforward — three featured tunes with “a wee bit of chat” in between. – from the NPR interview…

Enjoy, enjoy…


Turning weapons into plowshares / guitars

Just listening to this brief story today on NPR (The World) made me feel that all is not lost.

Click here to see the photos of rifles being re-crafted into guitars … yes, instruments that actually play music — guaranteed to make you smile.

Even the Dalai Lama has ordered one!

Colombians turning arms into art

“A Colombian musician in Bogota has teamed up with a craftsman to turn Colombia’s military arms into art. The World’s Quil Lawrence reports from Bogota on guns that shoot music. ” – from the upper right corner of the site.


Office Cubicles Kill Creativity

I knew it! I knew it! And so did you … which is why each of us raised holy heck when companies started adding infinitely long rows of cubicles for people to work in … what were they thinking?

Ahh, but to confirm our beliefs … check this one out:

Brain Death by Dull Cubicle.

And for those of you reading this whilst sitting in a cubicle, it’s okay. Now you can stop gnawing on your file cabinet handles … we’re here and we feel your pain. Breathe, breathe, breathe.


Top Ten Writing Tips – Angela Booth

I just love this article on Angela Booth’s Writing Blog: Top 10 Writing Tips to Help You to Write More.

I know I’ve posted lists of writers’ tips before … but this one really hits the nail (or the top 10 nails) on the head.

Personally, #6 is my favorite: Make writing the first thing you do each day.

I find that when I do this (now it’s a habit), my head is more clear and organized for the whole rest of the day … plus I feel I’ve already accomplished something. Now I’m at the point where it’s like not brushing my teeth if I don’t write at the top of the day. Yecch.



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