New Podcast at last – ‘Daring to Write’

Yes, the summer is over, but you won’t find me complaining. As the nights draw in and it’s time to fire up the heating, it’s the perfect start to a new ‘term’of creativity. With that in mind, the Squatting Toad podcast is firmly back on the cultural and creative map.

In this inspiring episode, I meet author Angela Thirlwell, who give us some insight into her writing career and plenty of helpful advice for aspiring writers.

Listening to the episode again, I realise that I thanked Angela for her time, but not for her wisdom. I’ll correct that right now. Thank you, Angela, for wise words and inspiration.

Enjoy the episode and do take a look at Angela’s website here.

Soon available on iTunes, but for your delight and delectation on Podomatic, first of all, you can find it here.

And not forgetting our old friend, Soundcloud:

Happy listening and Happy Creating.

Mel

 

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Viva La Musica – The Podcast

Hello friends

Following on from my last post, here it is, the latest podcast. It’s an inspirational interview with Barbara de Biasi, head of London’s Fireworks Music School.

If, like me, you’ve ever regretted not learning an instrument, and are wondering if it’s too late, you’ll want to hear this. Seems its not too late, and there are huge health benefits too. Here it is on Soundcloud. Scroll down too, for more useful links, including the Fireworks Music School. Give ’em a call.

 

And here it is on Podomatic:  http://imasquattingtoad.podomatic.com/entry/2016-06-30T10_32_47-07_00

Here’s Barbara’s website:    http://www.barbaradebiasi.com/

And the music school:http://www.fireworksmusicschool.com/

Read about research into the positive effects of music:  http://www.anitacollinsmusic.com/neuroandmused/

Well, that’s enough to be getting on with for now. Enjoy the podcast and keep creating.

Mel

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Making Creativity Happen (Part 3)

What a deceptive, cheating person I am. I reel you in with a promise of more inspiration and all you get is my latest podcast. Shame on me.

Well, fret not, it is inspirational. It’s a bit of a summary of things I’ve written here before, and things I’ve discovered on my journey. Good stuff and, I truly believe, worth some repetition. There’s new stuff here too, and a plug for previous podcasts. I know, no shame. Enjoy on Soundcloud and do tell your friends. And tell me how you are getting on.

Happy Creating.

Mel

Latest podcast – and a poem to enjoy

Hello friends

It’s another lovely weekend, if a bit cold, so you might want to spend a bit of time indoors and you might be looking for some entertainment. I know of few people more entertaining than Performance Poet, Cynthia Hamilton. (Yes, Capital P’s.)

So here’s my latest podcast, with her and me chewing the fat. And at the end of this post, a lovely poem from Cynthia to cheer your day, or make you feel a bit queasy!

Enjoy the programme…and tell your friends.

http://imasquattingtoad.podomatic.com/swf/joe_multiplayer_v112.swf

Or here on Soundcloud.

https://soundcloud.com/user-301095364/squatting-toad-episode-12-cynthia-hamilton-performance-poet-and-good-egg

Let me know if you have trouble getting it to work and here goes with Cynthia’s poem. (Non-British people – spotted dick is a British dessert!)

Cannabalism: A Five Course Poem

Cannibals from far and wide
have tried to hide their fleshy wants
of spleen and kidneys on the side
and eyeballs for their vol-au-vents.

Here come the guests 
so nicely dressed
they help themselves to soup and rolls
with happiness they will digest the fingers 
in the finger bowl.

I see the maid has been and laid
the table for our carnivores
if only she were well-behaved
she made a lovely plat du jour.

“It’s nice to see variety 
I can’t decide what I like most!
the stir-fried Aborigine
or then again the jam on host.”

Another feast it seems has ceased
they’re quite replete and almost sick
dessert was shunned to say the least
a funny-looking spotted dick…

 

Thwarted?

Hello again

You know I am working hard at being about ‘making it happen’, balancing time spent at work and domestic life with time spent on creativity.  My principal contribution in this last sphere has been my wee podcasts. Yes, the technical side has been a challenge and my last effort has dodgy sound to boot, but I keep on going, and |I keep on learning.

But then, my upload to the platform that feeds to iTunes fails, several times. I email the Helpdesk and a very nice Young Person in San Francisco uploads for me, and we are back in business. Buoyed by success, I attempt a next upload myself last night. Nothing. Try again. Still nothing.

I reflect that in earlier times I might have taken this as a sign and given up on the whole endeavour. As I write this now, I have a slightly heavy heart and worry that it will never be fixed. But, you know what, if you find something, creatively or otherwise, that makes you feel like you’re achieving, and that the end result is somehow meaningful, you’ve just got to press on. That’s no great revelation, right?  But for many of us, it’s a learnt behaviour. Not achieving, not creating, not doing something we feel is meaningful makes us dissatisfied, but that dissatisfaction is almost comforting. ‘See, I failed at that, too. It’s just not for me.’ That’s destructive and a waste of time. There’s something else I have learnt, it wasn’t innate knowledge.

What’s the lesson?

  1. Please don’t give up. I will promise not to.
  2. People can help. Sometimes what’s blocking you is not your fault, so find someone to help you out. In my case, I await more news from the Young Person in San Francisco.
  3. Being defeatist is a waste of energy.

Well, that’s three lessons. All basic stuff, but sometimes it just needs to be said, or heard, or read in someone’s short Monday morning blog. After all, that’s what Mondays are for, surely, starting a new week with optimism and cheer.

I’ll let you know how I get on. The podcasts are coming, people, make no mistake.

Happy Creative Week to all.

Mel

 

A Precious Banjo and a Great Big Apology

Dear Friends

I hope you enjoyed the last podcast, my interview with the Wrablers. Since I posted it, I keep seeing references to the healing power of music. Some of them, it has to be admitted, posted on Facebook by the Wrablers. But the message is consistent, music does you good. I don’t have many regrets in life, but I do regret that I can’t play an instrument. Still, life isn’t over yet, and, if I have a long and active retirement, who knows what I can achieve?

Let me share with you this excellent short documentary I heard on the radio the other day. ‘Vital Mental Medicine’ takes its name from a quote by Polar explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. On the fateful journey to the South Pole on the Endeavour, one of his team took along a banjo. Shackleton understood the power of  music to shore up the crew’s morale on such a long and difficult voyage and, as the ship was sinking, ran aboard to rescue the banjo himself. Their regular concerts had become essential to everyone’s well-being and they weren’t going to give up on these.

You can hear the programme here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wdgr5

I realise theirs was an extreme situation, four and half months waiting to be rescued with their routine periodically broken by a good old sing song, but the priniciple applies to all our lives. And it doesn’t have to be music.

I’ve started reading other people on this topic of creativity too, and will share my thoughts in a later podcast.  I’m also thinking of taking a sewing class. That might not sound too adventurous, but for me it’s quite a leap. It was always a bit of a joke when I was at school just how bad I was at anything arty or crafty, and I wonder now if that was unfair. If anyone can sing, can anyone sew? Or bake? Some people will always be better than others, as is the case with singing, but is it possible to have zero ability? More on that later, too.

So back to the Wrablers and a huge apology. I neglected to credit one of the members who was part of our interview. So, Janette Lee, take a belated bow. After all, you introduced us to Pouffe Drums, and for  that we thank you.

I’ll be back with you again soon with a new podcast and more. In the meantime, Happy Creating.

Mel

Squatting Toad Podcast Episode 3 is Live.

This time, we meet Tania Hummel, Coach, HR Specialist and writer. We talked about so much, it was hard to edit down. So, expect to hear more from Tania later. I hope you find this interesting and inspiring. There are a few bangs on the recording, which was one or both of us tapping the dining room table for emphasis. Would have looked good on a video.

Here’s Tania’s website:

http://www.letsthrive.co.uk/

And, as promised, a link to the course she mentioned:

http://www.skyros.com/writing_holidays.htm

Enjoy the podcast and send me your thoughts. More of my own thoughts soon.

Happy creating.

Mel