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Monday, June 24, 2013

H. G. Wells

"We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and mystery."

— H. G. Wells
English Writer and Novelist
1866 - 1946

Sometimes we let the clock control our lives.  We live each day by the clock.  We set the alarm clock to wake us at a certain time.  We have to be at work at a certain time.  We have appointments and deadlines that focus our activities.  We eat lunch at the same time.  We quit work at the same time.  Then we eat dinner and go to bed at the same time.  

We also let the calendar control our days.  Many do not like Monday mornings because they don't want to go to work.  Wednesday becomes hump day and on Friday it is TGIF day.  We daydream about our holidays and our vacations.  Some people love summer.  Others love winter.  We have become slaves to the calendar and the seasons.

The trick is learning to live in the moment and enjoy each moment we have been given.  Some people move through life acting bored.  Their jobs are boring.  Their social life is boring.  Their sex life is boring.  As H.G. Wells says, each moment of our lives is a miracle and a mystery.  We ought to be celebrating our lives.  Each moment we are alive is a blessing.  Enjoy your moments because one day you will not have any more.  

Creative leaders often dream that when they are successful everything will be better.  When I sell my first novel....  When I have my own art gallery....  When I have a starring role in a Hollywood movie....  We spend so much time in the future that we fail to appreciate the present.

Creative Practice
Challenge yourself this week to enjoy each moment of your life.  Don't spend your time remembering the past or daydreaming about the future.  If you catch yourself being bored or not living in the moment, gently bring yourself back to the present moment.

Herbert George Wells is best known as a science fiction writer.  His most popular novels include: The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and the Island of Doctor Moreau.  He also wrote history, politics and social commentary.

Wells was the fourth child of Joseph Wells and Sarah Neal.  His father was a domestic gardener, shopkeeper and professional cricketer.  His mother was a domestic servant.  When Wells was eight, he was confined to bed because of a broken leg.  To pass the time, he read books.  At fourteen, he was apprenticed as a draper (cloth merchant).  He worked 13 hour a day and slept in a dormitory.  He failed as a draper and as a chemist's assistant.

Wells married his cousin Isabel Mary Wells when he was 25.  They separated three years later when he fell in love with Amy Catherine Robbins whom he married in 1895.  The marriage lasted until her death in 1927.  With his wife's consent, Wells had affairs with several women, including Margaret Sanger, Rebecca West and Elizabeth von Arnim.

Here is an audio recording of Orson Welles and H. G. Wells in a discussion about The War of the Worlds.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Robert Collier

"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out..."

— Robert Collier
American Author
1885 - 1950

The illusion, that many believe, is that success happens overnight.  This is far from reality.  Success happens slowly, gradually over days, months and years.  Have you the stamina and commitment to write or paint for ten or twenty years without recognition or reward?

Public success is also fleeting and fragile.  One day you are on top of the world and the next you have fallen and failed.  Yet, measuring one's success by the whims of the world does not bode well.  We need to measure our success by our own internal clock — by our own internal standards.  We need to give ourselves credit even if those around us don't appreciate what we have done.

Creative Practice
Count your blessings this week and write them down.  What are you thankful for?  What are the gifts you have been given?  What are you grateful for?  Spend time thinking about how you are already a success.  Acknowledge and celebrate your success.

Robert Collier was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Mary Ferguson and John Collier.  His father was a foreign correspondent for Collier's Magazine published by his brother Peter.  Robert entered a church seminary and expected to be a priest, but dropped out before taking his vows and moved to West Virginia to seek his fortune.  He worked as a mining engineer for eight years before moving to New York where he worked in the advertising department of his uncle's company.  He wrote sales copy selling books.  His sales circulars on the O. Henry stories brought in orders for over two million dollars.

Robert, because of an undiagnosable illness, became interested in health products.  He believed that 98% of our illnesses came from chemically treated food.  From this illness came the desire to investigate the mind and the powers that lay hidden within the mind.  He studied hundreds of books and courses on everything related to metaphysics, the occult and success.  Based on his study, Robert wrote a series of books entitled the Secrets of the Ages, which sold over 300,000 copies in his lifetime.  He received thousands of letters telling the results obtained from reading the book.  His books are still published today through the efforts of his family.

Monday, June 10, 2013

C. S. Lewis

"Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances."

— C. S. Lewis
Irish Writer & Novelist
1898 - 1963

Creative leaders need a lot of faith because they live in a very negative, sometimes hostile world, that often does not understand or appreciate their work.  I have been writing seriously for almost forty years and have yet to receive acceptance and recognition for the work I have produced.  Another person might have quit many years ago, but I keep plugging away.

Do you have faith in your creative ideas?  Your poems?  Your stories?  Your paintings?  Your ability to become another person on stage?  Do you have dark days when you want to quit and live a normal life?  Faith keeps us going even everything and everybody around us are telling us to give up — that we have no talent, no gift.

Where does your faith come from?  What keeps you going during those darkest of hours?  Why do you believe in your ideas?  

Creative Practice
This week think about what faith means to your artistic endeavors.  Why is faith in yourself and your creative work important?  Why must you believe in yourself?  Write for ten minutes on the importance of faith.  Or paint a picture of what faith means to you.

Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland to Albert James Lewis and Florence Augusta Hamilton Lewis.  When he was four, his dog, Jacksie, was killed and he began calling himself Jacksie and would not answer to any other name.  He was known as Jack to his family and friends the rest of his life.

Jack loved animals as a child and read the Beatrix Potter's stories.  He wrote and illustrated his own animal stories as a child.  His mother died from cancer when he was ten.  Jack developed a love of Norse, Greek and Irish mythology.  At the age of 18 he was awarded a scholarship to University College, Oxford and a year later dropped out to join the British Army during World War I.  He resumed his studies when the war was over.

Lewis became an atheist at 15 and it took many years to restore his faith in God.  He converted in Christianity at 33.  

C. S. Lewis was a prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction.  His close friends included J. R. R. Tolkien.  His Chronicles of Narnia (seven fantasy novels for children) is a classic of children's literature.  The series has sold over 100 million copies and has been translated into 41 languages.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Isabel Allende

"Fear is inevitable, I have to accept that, but I cannot allow it to paralyze me."

—Isabel Allende
Chilean Writer
1942 -

The person who says that he has no fear is a liar.  We all fear something.  Maybe we are afraid that we are not good enough.  That we have not talent and have wasted our time writing or painting or acting.  What do you fear?  What keeps you awake at night?  How do you cope with your fears?  Do you run and hide?  Do you confront your fears head on?

My biggest fear is not having enough money to pay my bills?  I need to know where my next pay check is coming from.  I know deep inside that I am not an entrepreneur.  I have the desire and the ideas, but I am not willing to risk my financial security.  I have tried to start businesses while still employed but have not been successful.  And this fear is also why I have not become a full-time writer.  I need financial stability so I write part-time.

I am a risk-taker in my mind.  I will question any idea or concept.  Nothing is sacred.  Everything is fair game.  And the reason for this, I believe, is that in my teenage years I rejected the faith of my forefathers.  If I could challenge God, then I could challenge anything.  I am not a risk-taker with living life.  I have learned that I need security in the physical world so I can take risks in my mind and soul. 

But I have also faced fear and beat him at his own game.  I once was afraid of speaking in public, but after 5,000 presentations, I rarely experience fear of speaking.  In fact, I have become so relaxed that I am willing to make mistakes and laugh at myself.  What fears have you overcome?  

What fears are holding you back?  What fears are preventing you from being the writer or painter that you want to be?

Creative Practice
This week identify the fears that are preventing you from following your creative pursuits.  What can you do to confront these fears — to challenge these fears? What can you do to minimize the impact of the fear on your life and happiness?

Isabel Allende was born in Lima, Peru, the daughter of Francisca Llona Barros and Tomas Allende, who at the time was the Chilean ambassador to Peru.  Her father was a first cousin of Salvador Allende, President of Chile from 1970 to 1973.  Her father walked out on the family when Isabel was three.  She spent her youth in Chile, Bolivia and Lebanon as her mother and step-dad moved often.  She married Miguel Frias in 1962 and became a TV personality, a dramatist and a journalist.  She also translated romance novels from English to Spanish, but was fired for making unauthorized changes to the dialogue that make the heroines sound more intelligent.

Isabel gave birth to a daughter, Paula, in 1963 and a son, Nicolas, in 1966.  In 1973, because of the assassination of Salvador Allende, she fled  Chile and moved to Venezuela where she worked as a journalist.

Her 1982 novel, The House of Spirits, began has a letter to her 99-year-old grandfather. The manuscript was rejected by numerous Latin American publishers, but was finally picked up by a publisher in Spain.  The book was a huge success and has been translated in many languages.  

Allende writes on a computer and writes in Spanish.  On her website, she writes:  "Language is essential to a writer, and language is as personal as blood. I live in California—in English—but I can only write in Spanish. In fact, all the fundamental things in my life happen in Spanish, like scolding my grandchildren, cooking, or making love."

Allende has written more than 20 books that have been translated into 30 languages and have sold over 57 million copies.

In honor of her daughter, Isabel has created a charitable foundation dedicated to the protection and empowerment of women and children world wide.

Here is a powerful, humorous Ted Talk by Isabel Allende.  Be sure to watch it all.