Send My Mail to Nashville

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Stacey K. Black, producer, director, editor, and singer songwriter, spent two years of her life creating the music documentary, “Send My Mail to Nashville”.  It’s an extraordinary movie and I was grateful to be one of the many songwriters she featured. Her film offers a powerful and touching inside look at the songs and stories by songwriters as they live and work in a city with an estimated 55,000 songwriters. Interviewing songwriters at all levels, Stacey thoughtfully shows the peaks and valleys songwriters go through.

The film does an excellent job telling the songwriters’ stories and the various ways they create, record, perform, and promote their music.  It is clear that Stacey genuinely cares for the songwriters she features.  She shows how fun, but also how challenging, making a living with music can be in “Music City”.  Filled with plenty of great, original songs and impressive performances, the movie features Trevor Finlay, Jennifer Friend, Kevin So, Joe First, Shashi Light, Jack Frisby, Stacey K. Black, Don Hillaker, Peggy Hustad, Joel Shewmake, Lydia Smith, and Steven Wylie.

“Send My Mail to Nashville” has been making the rounds with film festivals and will be released in the near future.  For more information, go to the movie’s Facebook page at

www.facebook.com/SendMyMailToNashville

 

The best is yet to come

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Here’s a chart that I came up with recently, about expectations about a future event and then how rewarding the event actually ends up being.  The chart shows the potential emotions a person can feel with the various levels of reward (on the vertical axis) and levels of expectation (on the horizontal axis).  For example, if you have high expectations that a future event will be very rewarding to you and it’s not, you will be disappointed.  It is possible that you will be less satisfied in that situation than with any other combination of reward level and expectation level.

Although I believe in having a positive outlook on the future overall, I also think that there needs to be a balance with how low or high our expectations are about any one future event.  Thinking that the best is yet to come and having a sense of hope for the future in general is good.  But expecting too much from any one experience can lead to disappointment.  Like when you have heard great things about a new restaurant and your meal turns out to be just average, you are often more dissatisfied than if you had no, or low, expectations about the food.

So, maybe we need to try to find a balance between feeling good about life overall, but not having overly high expectations about a particular event, person, thing, or place.

Accepting – low expectation and low reward. If you keep your expectations low about a potential reward and do not receive it at all or do not receive it at the level that feels rewarding, you can feel a sense of acceptance.

Elated –low expectation and high reward. This usually will mean that you will be at a higher level of satisfaction than any other of the options. You will be more likely to be pleasantly surprised and feel more gratitude when you kept your expectations low or weren’t even anticipating a reward at all.

Satisfied – high expectation and high reward. If you have high expectations and receive a high reward, you may feel satisfied, but not at the “Elated” level.

Disappointed – high expectation and low reward. This will be the least satisfying situation and may even result in feelings of loss or failure because you fully expected the reward and did not receive it at all or did not receive it at the level you wanted.

Puns about snow… ready for cooler weather

It seems like people liked my “puns about sand”, so I thought I’d come up with some jokes about snow since it’s so hot outside…  ;-D

Snow:  Where do you go after you’ve reached the top of your career as a skier? It’s all downhill from there…

Ice:  I guess you could go into snow business…  you know, like Vanilla Ice, Crystal Gayle, Jack White, Ariel Winter, Amy Poehler…

Snow:  Aren’t people a little “flaky” in snow business, though?  You get my drift?

Ice:  I know… one day, there’s a flurry of activity about you, the next day, you’re a snow bunny…  but you’ll always be cool to me!

Jill of all trades, master of many

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Stacey K. Black                       http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/staceykblack

 

What do Hedy Lamar, Oprah, Rita Moreno, Joan Chen, Florence Nightingale, Debbie Allen, and Laurie Anderson (and many other famous women) all have in common?  They are all Jill of all trades, master of many… women who are multi talented “Renaissance women”.  And we could add another woman to that list, Stacey K. Black, pictured above.  Stacey has been a top hairstylist for major TV shows, a film and TV director, a writer, a filmmaker, a singer, and a songwriter… and she loves telling people’s stories with all of those skills.

There are lots of example of people who have managed to be a generalist and a specialist.  They don’t have to be mutually exclusive.  There are many reasons remarkable, talented women like Stacey are able to achieve mastery of several different skills.

  1.  Although women traditionally only had a few choices for careers (nurse, secretary), the options for careers for women now are greater than ever.  Men have had those opportunities for centuries, so there are many examples of “Renaissance men”, but in recent history, women have been allowed to show this creative diversity as well.
  2. Like cross training in athletics enhances performance overall, learning one skill (such as writing) can help you learn another skill (like directing) more quickly and deeply than specializing may.
  3. If it’s true that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill, we are living longer than ever before, so we have more time to learn multiple skills than we ever have before.
  4. We are more open as a society to changing careers than ever before, so we have more support and encouragement to try different careers.
  5. Many careers don’t require professional credentials to show mastery.  So, although you still have to go to medical school to be a doctor, you can discover how to write or make films with all kinds of avenues.  And technology is making it easier to learn those skills as well.

The opportunities are greater for all of us to be multi talented than in any time in history.  So, let’s recognize and be inspired by the creative potential of the generalist and the specialist, the women and the men, who continue to make this world a better, more innovative place to live!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons from a contented cat

Casey 2014

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus

1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV

Our cat, Casey, can purr very loudly, when he is inspired to, especially when it comes to food. For sixteen years, almost every time he has eaten in our presence, he purrs while he devours his food, in sincere gratitude. A person could easily become bored with eating the same meal, every morning and every evening, but not Casey. Every meal seems brand new to him, and is always received with great excitement. The sound of him crunching his food, paired with his ecstatic purring, resonates especially loudly when he has his face deep in his food bowl. It makes my husband and I smile to hear him respond with such enthusiasm to the small gift we’ve given him.

Watching and listening to Casey recently, I thought about how God might feel when we’re truly grateful to Him for blessings he’s given us. It must give God great pleasure when we are filled with thanksgiving for all the many gifts he offers us. I realized that it also feels good to us personally when we’re grateful and when we express the love and peace we feel to others and back to God. And though it has been especially challenging for me to be thankful when life is painful and difficult, I am inspired by Paul’s and by Jesus’ examples of gratitude in the face of suffering. Even when facing persecution from others, Jesus taught us, “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…” (Matthew 5:12). And as I write this, Casey is purring as he lays in the sun, showing me how to be content in all circumstances.

Two singers, same song

Here is the “guy version” of a song I wrote with a great songwriter, Scott Jarman.  The song is called “Chase an Old Memory Down” and I thought it would be fun to compare my version, with me singing at the Bluebird Cafe (see my previous post), with this version, which has a guy singing and a guitar playing, at mid-tempo…    Enjoy!

Two singers, same song

Here’s a song I wrote with a great songwriter, Scott Jarman, called “Chase an Old Memory Down”.  I got featured in a movie called “Send My Mail to Nashville” because the director, Stacey K. Black, heard me singing it in Nashville.  I thought it would be fun to compare my version with the one I recorded with a guy singing.  So here is my version…