Famous Stars Donate Guitars: An online celebrity auction for COVID-19 relief

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Have you always wanted to own one of Taylor Swift’s guitars? How about Tim McGraw’s motorcycle? If so, now is your chance. You may bid on these items, as well as a variety of others, each with celebrity provenance.

Currently, the ACM Lifting Lives (copyright) COVID-19 Response Fund is sponsoring an online auction to benefit COVID-19 relief. Creative music and film artists have donated one or more of their own possessions to this worthy cause. You may view the entire assortment at https://onlineonly.christies.com.

Even if you don’t find anything on your own wish list, you may find something that would be a perfect holiday gift for a friend or loved one. Perhaps you know someone who would fancy Dolly Parton’s dulcimer. Others might be delighted with an instrument owned by Bradley Cooper or—

Although I would like to do so, I won’t drop any more names. (Vince Gill). You owe it to yourself and/or your favorite human to check out the auction website. The event is ongoing and runs through October 29, 2020.

Bring along your muse,

Tina Murray, Ph. D.

Editor and writer

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The Fifth Annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival

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If you are an avid reader or a creative writer, you might consider attending the fifth annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival, Nov. 5-8, 2020. Held in Beaufort, South Carolina, and presented by the Pat Conroy Literary Center, this year’s conference will offer author presentations and workshops online. In addition, attendees can hear readings and take virtual tours. To learn more about this event, please visit http://www.patconroyliteraryfestival.org .

Those of you who read my post on the Southern Writers Magazine blog, Suite T, a while back, know the role Pat Conroy’s words played in my journey as a writer. When I met him at book signing, he encouraged me to stay the course and never give up, no matter who tried to discourage me. His words have sustained me over the years. I am so pleased his memory is being honored and his legacy, shared by such an outstanding nonprofit organization.

Enjoy the creativity,

Tina Murray, Ph. D.

Editor and writer

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Looking for Creative Holiday Gifts? Explore a Virtual Craft Fair

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Are you shopping for the holidays? Perhaps, instead, you are looking for creative ideas to inspire your own work. This year you don’t even have to leave home to do either or both. That is because the 2020 Tennessee Virtual Craft Fair opens today, October 9, 2020.

Here is the link to the virtual craft fair:

https://www.eventeny.com/events/2020virtualtennesseecraftfair-697/

Until this year, the annual fair was held at Centennial Park, near Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tennessee. Because of COVID-19 the fair is now online.

Actually, I have volunteered at this fair in years gone by. I was a booth-sitter. Have you ever been a booth sitter? Even busy craftspeople have to take breaks! Not this year, though. Those folks are online, too.

When you visit the website, you will find an excellent variety of arts and crafts. The exhibits include pottery, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, beads, glass, bags, and more. Although you might miss taking a stroll outdoors in the cool autumn air while you visit each tent, you will still be able to view all the available work. You can even attend demonstrations of creative processes and learn handy techniques online.

I hope you will take advantage of this exciting, new opportunity to examine–and perhaps, purchase–the work of Tennessee’s talented craftspeople.

Keeping your holidays creative, I am

Tina Murray, Ph. D.

Editor and writer

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Myra McLarey’s New Novel is Relevant to Today’s Issues

The blurb at the top of the book cover reads

“Does the world need another coming-of-age novel set in the South? Yes, it does. This charmer, redolent with authenticity, touches the reader and inspires us al to call out the malarkey in our lives. Just wonderful.. –Gish Jen, Author of The Resisters

Congratulations to acclaimed author Myra McLarey. Her latest novel, BECOMING ROBBIE LEE, has been published by Stone Creek Press. It dropped September 15, 2020. Both the book and e-book are available from https://www.amazon.com. According to information I received, part of the proceeds from sales prior to October 31, 2020, will be donated. One dollar from the sale of each e-book or book will be donated to the Equal Justice Initiative, https://www.eji.org. I wish the author every success.

In the early days of my writing career, Ms. McLarey mentored me briefly. She critiqued a sample of my fiction and offered me hope of future publication. I appreciated her encouragement. As readers of my site know, I believe positive feedback can be extremely motivating for creatives, especially when it comes from someone so accomplished.

Enjoy her earlier books, too. WATER FROM THE WELL is but one example.

Keep creating,

Tina Murray, Ph. D.

Editor and writer

The Imaginarium: A virtual conference for creatives, Sept. 21-27, 2020

Is this you, Creative Person? Are you talented, able, and determined but feeling bored, drained, or even blocked when it comes to your current project? I have a suggestion for you. You may stimulate your creative flow without ever leaving home. How? By mingling with your peeps.

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Perhaps interacting with emerging artists and celebrities will ease your worries and open your mind to new vistas. Wouldn’t you like that? If so—

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Why not join many other creatives this coming week, Sept. 21-Sept. 27, online at The Imaginarium 2020 Virtual Conference and Convention?

Https://www.entertheimaginarium.com

This exciting conference is being offered virtually this year due to COVID-19 precautions. Normally, it is held in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. My friend, author Sandy Lender, Is a Gold Sponsor of the annual event, so you know it has to be first-rate.

In fact, numerous prominent authors, filmmakers, artists, and the like will be presenting, attending, and giving out awards. Who knows what unexpected inspiration awaits you? Please visit the Imaginarium website for prices and a schedule of events.

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Convinced? Great! I hope you and your imagination have a splendid time together at The Imaginarium 2020.

Day dreaming, as usual,

Tina Murray, Ph. D.

Editor and writer

(Text copyright Tina Murray, Ph. D., 2020)

Remembrance: Honoring the heroes of 9/11/2001

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Today is the 19th anniversary of the terrible events of September 11, 2001. On that day, like many Americans, I watched the events unfold on television. I was at my parents’ condo in Naples, Florida. The television was turned on because my father, a World War II vet, kept it turned continually, even when no one was watching.

I happened to pass by the TV set and caught sight of the twin towers under attack. I callied to my parents. “Come look at this! Something is happening!” They rushed to my side. We watched, stunned. We pledged to never forget.

My parents have passed away since then. They never forgot. Nor have I, nor have the millions of other Americans who like me, can only imagine the way it felt firsthand. We have not forgotten the tragedy and the bravery of those who experienced the reality of that fateful day.

In remembrance,

Tina Murray, Ph. D.

Editor and writer


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On the Road: New Adventures Can Revive a Sense of Wonder

When Jack Kerouac wrote his classic novel, ON THE ROAD, mid-20th century Americans were a restless lot They were on the move, eager for new adventures. Travel by automobile had become a national obsession.

Today, on Labor Day weekend, 2020, Americans still love to explore by car, truck, and now, even SUV. Our continent is so beautiful. What could be more appealing than a getaway outdoors?

This year, enjoying the outdoors seems particularly appropriate. Indoor activities are restricted due to the pandemic. Many Americans have been stuck at home for months. But what if you don’t have access to a car?

To refresh your spirit in nature, you may not need wheels. A local park, a nearby beach–such outdoor venues close to home can allow you to enjoy a mental vacation. So why not give yourself a break from anxiety?

Relaxing in nature may stimulate your creativity, too. It does mine. Over time, I have developed approaches that work for me.

Three creativity-building exercises to try while outdoors:

Use your imagination. When you gaze across a landscape or seascape, imagine how the same scene would appear at different times of year or times of day. When you see a friendly dog, imagine how it would have looked as a puppy. When you taste a delicious dish, imagine how the cook came up with the recipe.

Notice the connections between things. Observe closely, with the soul of an artist. Do the veins in a leaf resemble the wooden skeleton of a tree? Do the ripples on the pond resemble waves caused by wind through a field? What does a bird’s trill have in common with the music you enjoy? Do the scents of certain flowers impact your emotions?

Feel a sense of wonder. Allow yourself to step into the zone of higher consciousness. Marvel at the intricacies of a spider’s web. Feel awe when an eagle soars beyond its mountain home. Experience the thrill of the vastness of the night sky, Realize how truly astounding the world is–seen and unseen–and that you are part of it,

Of course, these are just examples. Discovery awaits. The possibilities are endless.

NOW GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!!! 🙂

Happy Labor Day,

Tina Murray, Ph. D.

Editor and writer / Copyright Tina Murray, Ph. D. 2020 / photo credit: Tina Murray, Ph. D.

Ethan Hawke’s TED Talk on Creativity is Inspiring

If you are feeling the creative urge–to paint, write, act, sing or the like–but feel too timid or self-conscious to carry out your vision, I recommend that you listen to Ethan Hawke’s TED talk, “Give Yourself Permission to be Creative.” Hawke’s suggestions may free you from your artistic inhibitions, Certainly, he is a qualified practitioner when it comes to being creative.

Most celebrities are known for one special talent or skill . Ethan Hawke, however, is a celebrity who is famous for achievements in more than one arena. Best known as a Hollywood actor and director, the handsome Hawke has made many films since appearing as a prep-school student in Dead Poets Society with Robin Williams. The man is known, also, for his literary accomplishments

Hawke has written novels and had them published. In fact, I once owned an Ethan Hawke first edition. Sad to say, I had to sacrifice it on a bookseller’s altar a few years ago, when (my own) times became hard. I had hoped to have Hawke sign the book one day. When I first became a published author, I began to collect signed books from other authors, some of whom I encountered at book signings. However, that is another story for another blog post.

If you would like to view and listen to Hawke’s TED talk, please use the following links and search for ‘Ethan Hawke.’

https://www.ted.com

hhttp://www.youtube.com

To learn more about Ethan Hawke’s life story and his career in films, please visit the International Movie Database page and search for ‘Ethan Hawke.’

hhttps://www.imdb.com

Oh, and he once was married to Uma Thurman. Did I fail to mention that fact? Definitely, a very interesting fellow– 🙂

Be good to yourself. Just do it,

Tina Murray, Ph. D.

Editor and writer

Mind Power: Words shape experiences

Before the pandemic, I drove to the Atlanta area. In Alpharetta, Georgia, which is part of Metro Atlanta, I attended a writers’ workshop at the public library. At the library, I saw the sculpture pictured here–a lion emerging from the pages of a book–and I photographed it. It captures an idea I had expressed when I wrote the following performance piece, “Your Words.” The piece is a “poem,” of sorts. I have posted it below:

Your Words

Words are powerful

Your words are powerful–because they create and shape

Reality.

What you say matters.

It matters to you.

And it matters to people around you, the ones who inhabit your experience.

Thoughts you create are emitted, as words, from the factory of your mind.

They filter through your mouth, your pen, your device

Into the Manifest.

Consider this:

What are you releasing into the world?

Smoke and ash? Are your words like smoldering trash?

Or do you speak fragrance and flow? Like honey and gardenias and gentle flakes of snow?

Know this:

What you release is what you increase.

Look around you.

Where are you in life?

Are you covered with soot? Buried beneath a heap of cold, gray rubble-trouble?

Or are you dancing a top a golden sea-swell of glittering angel dust?

If you don’t like where you are, change your words.

Call your Highest and best into being.

You create your own environment, within and without.

What comes out spells what you’re all about.

“Your Words” by Tina Murray / copyright Tina Murray, Ph. D. 2014. First performed (read aloud) by the author at the Co-Creators Coffeehouse Open Mic, Center for Spiritual Living, Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday, 04/04/2014. Photo credit: Tina Murray, Ph. D.

Women Win the Vote: One hundred years of creative empowerment

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The creative process can flourish best when opportunity presents itself. One hundred years ago today, women in the United States of America received a tremendous new opportunity: the right to vote in US elections. This hard-won freedom meant women would have a vital role in forming the future of the nation. It meant, also, that women could make new choices in their own lives.

My mother, Zena, was born into the first generation of women who experienced empowerment. In her own way, she was a pioneer. The story goes that, after attending business college, she was the first female “draftsman” hired by the Alabama Power Company. I have posted a photograph of her at her job. A beautiful young woman, she is seated at her drawing table, hard at work.

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Mother has passed on now.  She left us fifteen years ago.  I miss her more than I can say.  I am pleased, however, to share her accomplishment with you on my blog. 

She was not a celebrity, but some of the people who gave women the right to vote were celebrated in their own time. They, and the lesser knowns, deserve our thanks. Thanks to those now-deceased elected officials who made the change possible. They were creative thinkers, as were the tireless suffragettes.

A special thanks to President Trump for pardoning Susan B. Anthony today.


Tina Murray, Ph. D.
Editor and writer