A 25 Song Playlist to Energize Your Writing

Yesterday in an online writing group, one sci-fi author wrote, “I am writing a chapter where the protagonist is (finally) leading a mutiny against her spaceship Captain. I need a playlist to write to. Taking all song suggestions!”

I threw a half dozen youtube videos at him and then decided that it might be worthwhile to compile a longer, more complete list of favorite tracks and explain how they assist me. So here you go.

I believe that essential to creative writing is the ability to shift and re-focus one’s normal state of consciousness — embracing the altered state. Thus, when I’m going to seriously write for a number of hours chances are it’ll be aided by some combination of caffeine, alcohol, sugar, exercise, and yes, specific songs. The objective of these varied methods is to prevent the mind from growing distracted and wandering to non-writing subjects. Music of numerous genres can contribute toward this shifted consciousness effect. Thus, I have chosen 25 tracks from throughout history and genres — from the Baroque era on through classic rock of the ’60s and ’70s, heavy metal and rap from the ’90s, and onto this century’s often more electronic pop songs.

I hope you find at least some of these tracks both useful and entertaining.

1. Just about anything by Bach can help inspire your writing. I love the Baroque era.

2. Vivaldi was another wonderful Baroque composer.

3 and 4. While I generally prefer the Beatles to the Rolling Stones, when it comes to kick ass, high energy tracks the Stones may have an edge.

5. While I’m trying to keep this list in rough chronological order, this track from a 2001 solo Mick Jagger album, Goddess in the Doorway, is getting placed among Stones tracks. “God Gave Me Everything” has been one of my absolute favorite, mantra-like tracks for about five years now.

Continue reading “A 25 Song Playlist to Energize Your Writing”

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April Bey’s New Show “Made In Space” Opens Today at Band Of Vices Art Gallery

I am so happy and excited for April with her third solo art exhibition opening today. Click here for directions to this new art gallery in Los Angeles. The show will be up through June 16. Below check out, via April’s instagram, some of the work-in-progress images of pieces that will be included:

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The Mysteries of Ancient Egypt & the Hidden Roots of Western Civilization

Last weekend April and I saw the King Tut exhibition at the California Science Center. Here are some of the highlights:

This is a definite, must-see exhibit. It’s amazing see objections this old in such beautiful, stunning condition. Continue reading “The Mysteries of Ancient Egypt & the Hidden Roots of Western Civilization”

9 Authors With Books That Can Transform Your Life

The Andrew Klavan Symposium

Section I – Opening Remarks

Click here for the series introduction and Part 1: “Finding God in the Blood and Guts of Birth and the Big Bang” by Fred Tribuzzo

Part 2: “A Search For An Authentic Life” by Alec Ott

Part 3: “Life-Changing Literature” by Chris Queen

Part 4: “To Know The Truth About The World” by Jon Bishop

Part 5: “The Long Road To Becoming An Essential Author” by David M. Swindle

Section II – Dialogue

Part 6: “If You Love Western Civilization, You Will Love God” by Fred Tribuzzo

Part 7: “Why God Does Not Want You To Worry About Anything…” by Alec Ott

Part 8: “The Bible As Artist & Author’s Muse” by Jon Bishop

Part 9:

(cross-posted at LibertyIslandMag.com and SmashCut Culture)

Dear Jon, Alec, Fred, and Chris,

Throughout this dialogue you have each referenced other authors who have influenced you and who have reminded you in some way of Andrew Klavan’s work. Alec brought up C.S. Lewis, Fred invoked Thomas Sowell, Jon brought Augustine and monk-poet Thomas Merton into the dialogue, and Chris quoted the prophet Isaiah.

For many years I’ve been in the habit of list-making regarding books, authors, films and all sorts of subjects. And I don’t intend on breaking that habit anytime soon, in fact I’m doing the opposite: encouraging you and other writers to assemble lists too. In particular: who are the authors and books who most inspire you today? Which writers and titles are akin to weapons in your armory? Whose ideas and storytelling techniques do you adapt into your own?

After we conclude this dialogue about Klavan’s memoir with one final post each, I challenge each of you — and all readers are invited too — to submit your lists of key authors and books. (Submissions@LibertyIslandmag.com please.) I restarted this project last year with my “Essential Authors” series at my “Travel, Art, and Book” blog and now I’m expanding the dialogue at Liberty Island. Anyone is welcome to join in the discussions of influential authors and their most valuable books. Who are the essential authors for you and which of their books cannot be missed?

As a place to begin the debate, I present the above image. When we moved into our new home in summer 2015 it didn’t take me long to figure out what items to feature in a display case built into the wall: my collection of autographed novels and non-fiction books. There’s only room for 9 titles to be visibly displayed across the three shelves, but others sit behind them, for a total of 23 books in the case (not all of the titles in my autographed collection, but the cream of the crop…) Here are the authors included in the above photo, with links to highest priority texts, and a few comments about why they are so valuable and inspiring to me.

1. James Wasserman

Recommended Reading To Begin:

It’s now been about 15 years since I’ve been an open mystic, occultist, and quiet practitioner of magickal rituals. During this time I’ve read plenty of books on these subjects and in my humble opinion the very best author alive today writing on them is Wasserman. Nobody is better at presenting the historical development of the mystical traditions with more solid sourcing and better arguments than him. Wasserman is also a key influence in what I’ve described as “Biblical Occultism.”

2. Andrew Klavan

Recommended Reading To Begin:

I initially kicked off this series of highlighting authors with this post here, explaining why Klavan had become such an important creative influence. I recommend his books to all the novelists I work with and am studying his body of work. I also credit Klavan with inspiring my recent passion for Raymond Chandler’s novels.

3. Douglas Rushkoff

Continue reading “9 Authors With Books That Can Transform Your Life”

Returning to the Fun of Photographing the Sun

Today at Liberty Island I published a post featuring a series of Sunset images I shot on Saturday. Here are two more from Sunday:

This evening’s #sunset beginning…

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Wishing everyone a peaceful goodnight. #SoCal #sunset

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When the Puzzle Pieces Don’t Fit Together But The Painting Must Still Hang

I took the photograph above a week ago and shared it on my Instagram. The occasion? April was back at the hospital for an overnight stay following a biopsy to learn more about the health problems that have plagued her for weeks, making her partially disabled. I won’t get into the details of everything here, but just finally leaving this post as a bookmark of sorts for why the month of October passed without me managing to finish a single post. The past few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster — in addition to April’s struggles, there was also the death of a family friend, librarian and storyteller Hope Baugh, on September 22. Try as I did, I failed to write in memorial of Hope, the loss of her such a sudden shock. I hope eventually to be able to write about her role in my life and what a light she was in this dark world.

But for now I’m just accepting that until life becomes less emotionally harrowing, my writing and editing focus and quantity will continue to lag behind where I’d prefer. It’s hard to focus on much of anything when you’re strapped into a roller coaster…