Order of the Good Write

That Magic Feeling When the Words Flow. A Blog by Debi Rotmil


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The Wisdom of Tom Petty

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“The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part
Oh, don’t let it kill you baby, don’t let it get to you
Don’t let ’em kill you baby, don’t let ’em get to you
I’ll be your breathin’ heart, I’ll be your cryin’ fool
Don’t let this go to far, don’t let it get to you.”

Words and Lyrics by Tom Petty

Since Tom Petty passed away early last month, I’ve been listening to him and his words like never before. He had a spirit connected to a level of source that was wrapped up in leather, coddled in guitars and flowed through a weary, snarling voice that personified 20th century music.

Petty was my high school days. He was my early Los Angeles world (“Free Fallin'”). His music was always rollicking and rolling. Although his music with the Heartbreakers and the Traveling Wilburys was the soundtrack of my 80’s and 90’s,  I never really HEARD his lyrics until the day he died.

Petty died on day one of a transitional period in my life. It was, and continues to be, an expansive, scary and amazing time of discovery, meetings with new people and some hard to ignore frustrations. With Petty’s untimely death making his music part of the zeitgeist, the words floated and landed with me at the most important time to hear them.

Especially the song, “The Waiting”. These past few weeks have been a test of patience. Waiting is hard, but part of applying one’s will toward the greater goal – the brass ring you know is coming if you just put in the work and let the powers that be take the wheel.

He was a sage. Just like Dylan or the Beatles – those touched by something that was beyond their comprehension. They opened the conduit to something other worldly. He translated the flow of a deep seed of knowledge we all find in the base of our soul. There were messages of survival and strength in the face of a cruel world. He opened the path and rendered words that would be understood by the human ear.

Songs like “Learning to Fly” and “I Won’t Back Down” have become anthems in my life at this particular time.

I take solace in “Learning to Fly” – how I’m starting out all alone on some dusty road, as the sun comes up day after day with new ways to find my wings.

And “I Won’t Back Down” is my mantra. This world will make you quake in your shoes, but I’m not gonna let it. I won’t give into fear. I will not give up my focus on success, and failure or rejection will not shake me for long.

I don’t mean to overstate this or make him out to be a god. He was only human, a man with a painful past that molded him into understanding the human condition so intensively, he could passively bring down some goodly wisdom from somewhere. Where that place is – we’ll never know until we’re no longer here.

We just have to wait.

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For the Writer, Art is the Motivator

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Palm Trees. Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

(I wrote this post this morning on MarieForleo.com in reply to a discussion about the importance of art in our lives.  This comment felt like a blog post. I’d like to share it here. I hope you find some good in its message.)

Art is essential in allowing humanity to connect spiritually.

I use art to motivate my writing and the writing of others. Each facet of art, especially painting and sculpture (for me), can ignite a bevvy of stories for the world to see. It can inspires other and can change lives. It can shift a mind.

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Street Art/Berlin Wall. Wende Museum. Los Angeles.

Music is also a profound inspiration. Artists who write life affirming and soul searching lyrics have made me the writer I am today. They connect feelings into words. Music and art makes us feel less alone in this world.

I think the one piece of art that changed my life (other than music), was Georges Seurat’s painting “Sunday on the Island of Grande Jatte” and the musical play it inspired. James Lapine wrote the book for “Sunday in the Park with George” and Stephen Sondheim created the most glorious, heart wrenching, moving score to reflect the concept of how a painting can tell a story. How each visage, each person painted were really humans with beating hearts and broken lives painted in dabs of light. The way the painting comes to life with humanity and the love story woven in – showed me how art can be a powerful reflection of our lives. In fact, the entire show has specific lyrics that support this entire theme.

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‘Sunday in the Park with George’

 

Add the wonderful musical ‘Fun Home’ – which shows painful, universal themes in a beautiful, touching way – and we have continued proof that the arts tell the story of our lives.

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Cast of ‘Fun Home’. Photo by Christaan Felber. The New Yorker.

Don’t let anybody, or any negative voice in your head tell you otherwise. We need more art. We need creation.

As good ol’ Steve wrote in “Sunday…”

“Look at what you want,
Not at where you are,
Not at what you’ll be-
Look at all the things you’ve done for me
Opened up my eyes,
Taught me how to see,
Notice every tree…”

Just keep moving on. 🙂


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Writing Inspiration From Bowie & Rickman

As someone said online the other day, the planet Earth is 4.5 billion years old. Aren’t we lucky to have lived in the age of Bowie?

The same can be said for Alan Rickman, a supreme talent who, like Bowie, also left this world, from cancer at the age of 69.  Strange how two beloved creatives, both British, both 69 years old, died in the same week.  And it seemed, within the similar stance of their booming voices, both toiled and created within darkness and light.

Two sucker punches in the second week of 2016. May we, as writers who daily fight and struggle to overcome the negative to tell our story, keep their creative work and words in mind. They left this world a little better for us all.

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“It is a human need to be told stories. And the more we are governed by idiots and have no control over our destinies, the more we need to tell stories to each other about who we are, why we are and where we come from,and what might be possible.” ~Alan Rickman

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“Once I’ve written something it does tend to run away from me.  I don’t seem to have any part of it – it’s no longer my piece of writing.” ~David Bowie

“Don’t you love the Oxford Dictionary? When I first read it, I thought it was a really really long poem about everything.” ~David Bowie

 

 


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Great Lake Swimmers’ Musical Monday Interlude

I have seen you in various stages of undress.
I have seen you through various states of madness.
I have seen your refractions and I did not recognize you.
I have seen you in various states of madness.

How high your highest of heights? How low are your lows?
How high your highest of heights? How low are your lows?

I am sorry I had nothing left for you.
My mind was willing and my spirit was strong.
My lips were tired and tightened from singing along.
My eyelids are heavy as anchors thrown over.

How high your highest of heights? How low are your lows?
How high your highest of heights? How low are your lows?

I have seen you in the eyes of a hundred thousand 
 other stranger faces.
I have seen you in unlikely and unfamiliar places.
I have seen you be reckless in matters of love.
I have seen by degrees the boiling point come and go.

How high your highest of heights? How low are your lows?
How high your highest of heights? How low are your lows?
What lies at the end of this long and dark and twisted road?
How high your highest of heights? How low are your lows?

I have seen you in various stages of undress.
I have seen you through various states of madness.

Music and Lyrics by Anthony Dekker


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Sunday Puddles Pity Party

It’s a beautiful early spring Sunday, and my ears want to hear a good song. What better way to treat my tender lobes (and yours) than post a video from my favorite troubadour Puddles the Clown…?

He’s the traveling Pagliacci, the dour, sweet, torch toting, bedraggled clown with 40 miles of hard road in his eyes and a voice like silk. Puddles is a character created by the incomparable singer Big Mike Geier.   He brings performance art to a higher standard of awe.

This is a truly a profound rendition of the song “You Don’t Know Me”, and it’s sure to stir a chill in your spine and a tear in your eye. Please watch it straight through. His silence at the start is very much part of the performance. It weighs the moment with depth.