Something to Watch: Sting's TED Talk "How I Started Writing Songs Again" was sent to me by a friend a few years back, and has stayed with me ever since. We all know Sting as the musician behind so many hit songs of the last few decades, but did you know that he experienced such an intense bout of writers block that he truly believed he might never write again? Not only did he come out on the other side of the artistic drought, but because of it, he wrote the Broadway musical The Last Ship, which was inspired by his childhood growing up in the shipbuilding community of Wallsend, England. This talk is a must for anyone who assumes that the famous artists get an everlasting supply of inspiration.
Something to Listen to: Jason Isbell and his band The 400 Unit, which often includes guest appearances by his wife, musician Amanda Shires, recently released their album, The Nashville Sound, and it's gorgeous, poetic, and political. My first introduction to his music was during a road trip from Virginia to Boston, where NPR was interviewing Isbell about his recovery from alcoholism and the role that music played in that journey. Jason and Amanda remind me of a modern day Johnny and June Carter Cash; they make music together and have stared down the demons of addiction to create an incredible life for themselves and their daughter, Mercy. His music defies genre; it's Americana mixed with old school country, with some southern rock and folk mixed in. Below is the first song of his I ever heard, a love song for his wife, with Amanda accompanying him on violin.
Tips to Consider: I'm finally retiring a tired monologue that I've been using at auditions for several years now, and am in the process of memorizing a new one. If you're like me, you're probably always open to hearing any tips and tricks that help with the task of committing a new monologue or scene to memory. Backstage has a great collection of advice on the topic in their article "18 Ways to Quickly Memorize Lines" I'll be checking some of these strategies out for sure, and would love to hear if you have any tried and true tips to recommend to me as well!
A Book to Read: I am currently reading Dan Brown's new book Origin. I tend to read a lot of non-fiction, but get to the point periodically where I just want a really good, take me away from real life, page-turner. Enter Dan Brown. I'm not going to reveal much about plot, but will say that like most of Dan Brown's books set in Europe amidst a mad dash to solve a mystery that's packed to the gills with symbolism, history, art, and architecture, my twelve year old Nancy Drew mystery, European vacation dreaming self is one happy reader.
A one pot meal to make: Butternut Squash Soup by the Wellness Mama is currently in progress in my kitchen. Since I do not eat wheat and try to avoid dairy most of the time, this lovely pot of soup is gluten-free and dairy free, and can be made vegetarian or vegan by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth. Pairs great with a salad--I'll be serving this alongside a green salad with beets, cucumbers, and goat cheese.