IWSG: I Didn’t Think Sushi Would Be Inspirational

4 May

Always … look ahead and above yourself.

Always try … to improve on yourself.  Always strive to elevate your craft.

That’s what he taught me.

–Yoshikazu Ono (Jiro’s Son)

 

I never thought I’d find inspiration through Sushi … to continue the writing journey, to see room for improvement, to keep striving and walking on the yellow-brick road … never saw it coming.

It’s fish, right?

Jiro would probably say … you don’t get it … if you just see fish … you don’t get it.

And he’d be right.

This story is not for you.

I have a different vision of it and of the chefs who take the time to create this art.

Always try …

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It’s a story that caught my eye … been in my Netflix queue for some time now … but I pressed play and gained a new perspective. It’s good as a writer to refresh your perspective even after an accomplishment. It’s good not to settle too long on a stepping stone, remembering those gold stars. Looking ahead on what else you can create, what you can improve upon is on deck.

Here’s this 80-something year-old man, whom I’ll probably never meet, and his 50-something year old son, teaching me something about craft, about striving, about persistence, about trying to be better than you were last time.

Commitment to passion.

I didn’t think Sushi would inspire.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi was the documentary that kept the inspirational spark burning. It touched a little on failure, but didn’t say things were epic fails, just said apprentices would keep trying until they got it right. Keep trying to master your craft.

That’s the thing about writing, sometimes it may feel like a failure because you can’t get the story right, or it wasn’t received well, but you can’t look at it that way, just have to keep trying. Even when things go great and the story is published or the play is produced, you’ve got to keep trying. The effort to improve continues. Always try …

It stuck with me … that simple message.

As a writer there have been many times when things didn’t look great from a creative or financial perspective, and I’d voluntarily or involuntarily place myself on hiatus. But after watching Jiro’s story and that of his sons, I think those self-imposed breaks will no longer take place.

I’ll just have to keep trying, trying to do better, because cultivating your passion takes undeniable effort and continued pursuit. Even when you’re insecure at times, like all writers and artists are from time to time, passion should outweigh insecurity in the end.

Always try … I’ll keep Jiro and Yoshikazu in mind.

 

 

 

 

Yellow Brick Road Stepping Stones

30 Apr

It was a funny thing being in the front.

I’m not used to it.

I wasn’t only told to do so, but I was strongly encouraged to do it the easy way … voluntarily, otherwise I would have been dragged out of the audience.

And that, I did not want.

So I stood there, among the other writers, in my New York & Company 7th Avenue Slacks and black converse, while other lady writers were in dresses and high heels, waving to the people who were clapping.

I thought it was going to end there … but no … the director of the theater thought it would be a good idea to introduce the writers, one by one. So … there I was at the end of the line, nervously waiting my turn. When he finally introduced me, I announced that I had written La Visita … and they applauded.

 

 

It’s not like I didn’t think they were going to applaud, they clapped for everyone else, but somehow it was different. Other than my kids, I don’t think anyone has ever applauded for me. Maybe volunteers during a race, or at graduation. But nothing like this … this was for imagination, for story, for my words.

I looked at my friends who were sitting in the audience waving at me, and I waved back. I was grateful for their presence and those that had come to the previous shows. The praise and kind words were humbling.

But that was not my favorite part.

I like being behind the scenes.

I liked sitting in the audience and watching their reaction, watching people that I didn’t even know smile at little nuances I had written and hear their laughter during comedic moments. I loved hearing my friends laugh at what I had written. I enjoyed watching the actors become my characters and live out my words on stage. I enjoyed watching the impact of my story.

Most of the time with fiction, I don’t hear or see anyone’s reaction, unless they write to me and mention something. So I’m usually hidden away in the lonely writer sanctuary in the middle of the night, high-fiving myself. But this time around, their smiles and laughter were some of the best high-fives. The hugs from my friends meant a great deal. The compliments from the other writers and actors in the festival were reassuring.

Being in the audience took me back to that good feeling, that girl-scout shindig during my elementary school years, where I stood next to my troop leader, Maria, and watched as the girl scout masses at the camp  watched the show I had helped write and put together.

I felt good and I was proud.

I had landed on another stepping stone in my yellow brick road, one that also took me on a Bucket List Adventure … seeing my words come to life.

And now I’m back in my WordPress community sharing the news and catching up on some reading, and comments. I’ve been on a semi-hiatus for some time because of all the work it took to put this together, but now I return even more inspired to follow the writing journey and take you along with me, if you want to ride on this bus.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Abstract

27 Apr
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:)

 

To my four-year old daughter … this is pretty obvious … pretty concrete what she’s talking about and communicating here. However sometimes because of lack of sleep and parenthood in general, things tend to fall under the abstract category. But the sunlight shining behind the painting totally clues you into this masterpiece.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of The Daily Post

 

 

 

 

Don’t Kill Me … But Purple Rain Wasn’t My Favorite

22 Apr

I know it was probably at the top of everybody’s playlist the last couple of  days … And it’s a great song, but it wasn’t my go-to Prince song.

Let’s Go Crazy.

Yup.

That was my jam.

I mean have you heard the beginning?

Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life …

Genius.

That was the anthem to let your freak flag fly and be different, at least that’s how my 12 year old self took it to mean. Sex was no where near my radar at that time. It was just about being different and being O.K. with it. Not letting anyone bring you down or try to take your shine away. Just go crazy …

And Prince defined that … not only by being O.K. with yourself but being O.K. was necessary. This was definitely important to have in this world and even though I didn’t know him, and never met him, I was truly saddened to hear about his passing. His music and originality made an such an impact and I so appreciated his artistry and ability to touch people with his words, make them feel.

He was so different, full of creative energy and funk. If you dared to be different he was the guy who led by example and it was so awesome. I’m proud to say that I was able to experience Prince live in concert and it was my very first one.

Definitely set the bar high.

So looking back, remembering the artist, and recalling his songs, and where I was when the clock struck 12 on December 31, 1999, I think about my favorites. I think about growing up with them, and jamming to cassette tapes back in the day when I wore AquaNet Hairspray, Levis Jeans, and L.A. Gear.

So this weekend I’ll continue celebrating his life by watching Purple Rain and listening to my favorites.

Top Ten Prince Songs … in no particular order.

1999

Let’s Go Crazy

Most Beautiful Girl in the World

When Doves Cry

I Wanna Be Your Lover

Get Off

Kiss

Raspberry Beret

Glamorous Life (Written and Produced by Prince, performed by Sheila E.)

Nothing Compares to You (Written by Prince, performed by Sinead O’Connor)

 

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Buen Camino my friends …

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dinnertime

20 Apr

 

 

My favorites …

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of the Daily Post.

 

 

 

Morgan Freeman Knew My Name

18 Apr

The smell of Ben-Gay no longer lingers in the air and my left knee is miraculously still in tact.

Wobbly and weary, but still in tact. Like the rest of me.

I felt the same heaviness in my legs. I knew the burning in my calves very well. The tightening in my chest as I tried to catch my breath was something I remembered. I was familiar with these ailments that accosted me on the 27th floor. They couldn’t even wait until I hit the half-way mark of the race. They stalked me all the way to the top of the AON Building.

Bastards.

I was sweating and working as hard as those athletes in a Gatorade commercial, but I sure didn’t feel like one of them. I felt like a 40 year-old mom climbing stairs. I tried listening harder, but couldn’t hear Morgan Freeman narrating my journey. All I heard was the heavy breathers trying to drown out my music.

But among all the breathing and stuffiness and claustrophobic drama of the Fight for Air Climb I remembered my sister’s words.

The old man will be waiting for you at the top.

I got a little choked up as I read the text before I started the race. I was nervous, and I really don’t get too nervous before races. But I did for this one. This one wasn’t for fun or for glory or for Bucket Lists. This one was for him. It meant something more.

She was right. He was watching, probably smiling.

So I had to make it.

No matter what.

I had to.

Nervous. Exhausted. Running out of air. Ready to stop. I was feeling it all. But the stubbornness and Guatemalan will power pushed and dragged my ass to the top of those 63 flights.

I heard the bass and boom, boom, boom of  Tucanes de Tijuana, Mr. World Wide Pitbull, Venga Boys, and the Charlie Daniels Band. The rhythm took over and my body responded. The Gatorade-Commerical-Worthy Athlete was busting out of me and Morgan Freeman knew my name. As I looked up I couldn’t believe it. I saw the 60th floor sign … Dude …

I ran up those last three flights, crossed the finish line, and smiled because I had made it.

16:28.

That was it.

The toughest sixteen minutes this year. But definitely worth it.

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Future

11 Apr
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Dreaming …

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of The Daily Post

 

 

Writer Wednesday’s 

6 Apr

I generally like to think of myself as a badass who flies her  freak flag and lets her awesome whenever possible.

Skydiving doesn’t scare me.

Bungyjumping doesn’t worry me.

Hitting the dance floor, no problem.

Karaoke, don’t sing like Adele, but don’t care.

The one thing that does worry me? Concerns me? Brings some insecurity bubbling to the surface?

Opening night coming up in ten days.

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Program for the play … no this is not me … it’s the star. of the play


Eight plays. One festival. People I know, people I don’t know. Words coming to life on stage. First time that’s happened since that girl scout talent show in elementary school.

I’m excited, but worried at the same time. The words are gone, now in the hands of the actors. How I said them in my head, the little idiosyncrasies I imagined, how I saw it playing out, that’s  all gone. The words are on their own and I have to hope they were strong enough to carry my vision, and the lives of the characters I created. Don’t know if people will laugh, or remain unmoved. Don’t know what the other writers created. All I know is that I’m last on the lineup.

Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Won’t be sure of much until afterwards. In 11 days I’ll be all right, but for ten … Ten days insecurity will strike.

But I imagine that’s what all writers go through even if you’re confident in your work, even if you think it’s awesome … a little insecurity before the big day, before the book debut, before the movie comes out and before your play hits the stage, it happens, right? Insecurity hits us all while we’re waiting. Thank God for chocolate.
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Landscape

4 Apr

 

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The Pacific Coast … is always as blue as I hope it is …

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of The Daily Post.

 

Yup … It’s Worth It

2 Apr
Duuuuuuuude. There is a lot you do for the people you love.
Travel, sacrifice, work, fundraisers, sleep …the list goes on and on.
For me?
It’s stairs.
I’ll be taking the stairs. And in fact, I hate stairs, I hate the StairMaster. It produces nothing but pain. I hate whoever invented it. They should be thrown off a cliff. I’m more of an elevator enthusiast.
So it might sound strange to say that in two weeks I’m going to be scaling 63 stories 1,391 steps. The Ben-Gay and ice pack will be waiting for me.
In two weeks  it’s gonna happen … It’ll be claustrophobic. I won’t be able to catch my breath. My muscles won’t be getting enough oxygen, and I’ll feel like I need an EKG. And it will only be the 37th floor.
Everything in me is gonna be like … duuuuuuuude you need to stop. The music is not even helping. This isn’t funny. Every muscle in my body that thought it was 20 years old is gonna be like, ‘C’mon now, stop playing these games, you’re 40, this is what 40 feels like.’ My left knee will be aching and my calves will be ready to give out, just hoping for an Achilles Tendon mishap. Every part of my body will be asking … is it worth it?
I’ll close my eyes and see my Dad …
Dad

My Dad … talking about dreams … me trying to listen.

My best bud, and the Wingman to my dreams …
Yeah, he’s worth it.
I’d do anything to get him back. So I do this in his memory. I do this for him. I do this to help find a cure. I do this so that someone else won’t lose their Dad.
Yup.  It’s worth it.
In about 15 days I’ll be one of the masses, climbing to the top of the AON Building in Downtown Los Angeles participating in The American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb to honor my pops.
My yearly ritual to honor the man who rooted for the underdog, who believed in random acts of kindness, who paid it forward, who carried my pictures in his wallet and my Father’s Day cards in his briefcase,who loved his family and sacrificed so that we could have a better life.
Yup. My body will be in desperate need of Ben Gay, and my knees will be out of commission but he’s worth it.
Buen Camino, my friends.

 

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