You Don’t Need More Crayons

With sharpener!!

Back when I was a kid, Mom would drag me along with her to get school supplies. Most of the stuff I didn’t care about. Crayons, however, were a different matter.

I wanted the big box, the 64 count. The one with the gold and silver crayons, and the sharpener on the back.

Mom smiled and told me we could only afford the small pack.

I fussed. I pouted. But I still didn’t get my mega-crayons. So I resigned myself to failure as a creative, and at so early an age, too!

School came, and when it was time to color, we pulled out our Crayolas. I remember how we looked this way and that to see who, if anyone, held the Holy Grail of Crayons. Most clutched the small size like mine. Except for the girl in the front row. We stared goo-goo eyed at her box with the silver and gold ones…with the built-in sharper…with colors we couldn’t even pronounce!!

“That’s NOT FAIR!”

“How come she gets it and we don’t?”

“Why is she special?”

No, we didn’t really say those things, but I know we all thought them. Instead, we shook our heads–discontent with our lot–while Little Miss 64 flashed a smug smile.

The next day, we walked into class and marveled at our drawings taped to the wall. Even as a kid, I learned a valuable lesson that morning. Those of us with just the basic colors had been forced to be more creative, while the girl with the countless colors wasn’t creative at all.

As an adult, I still have moments when I get jealous of other creative’s artistic or financial success. I become that kid who whines about not having so-and-so’s proverbial Box of Crayons,  convinced, like so many of us, that it is the secret to success. I sometimes even think I deserve it more than they do. Boy, that sure sounds nasty when out in the open, doesn’t it, but it’s the truth!

So today, I’m going to use the crayons I’ve been given, even the broken ones. I’m going to smile, keep my eyes on my own paper, and let adversity spark my creativity.

Book, Book, Book!

Why haven’t I posted in awhile? Read this press release to find out why I’ve been so busy.

Stay tuned for more, and yeah, I’m excited!

Tears of Min Brock Slated for September Release!

Fantasy novelist J.E. Lowder has signed with WordCrafts Press for the release of his four-volume, epic fantasy series, The War of Whispers. The first installment, Tears of Min Brock is set to release mid-September, 2012.

Dark and brooding, Tears of Min Brock follows a young girl of 14 summers, named Elabea, who hears a whisper calling her to the shining land of Claire; a kingdom that was supposedly destroyed in the devastating Dark War. Outcast from her family and village, and guarded by her childhood companion Galadin, Elabea sets out on an epic quest to become one of the most powerful beings in the world – a storyteller.

Tears of Min Brock ends on a cliffhanger, but fans won’t have too long to wait. The second volume of The War of Whispers is set for release on November 1, 2012.

Although Tears of Min Brock is Lowder’s debut novel, he is no stranger to the creative arts. A professional musician by trade, Lowder has played bass for some of the biggest names in the music industry, including country superstar Shania Twain. He credits his time as a musician with giving him the inspiration and stamina to embark on a career as a novelist.

“Both music and creative writing are crafts that take time to hone, and if you’re truly dedicated, you realize there’s always something new to learn,” Lowder says. “They both require hard work, lonely hours, little or no pay, and virtually no recognition. If you choose to persevere through such difficulty, family and friends will look at you like you’re insane (which maybe you are!) but because being an artist is in your DNA, you persevere, concluding they’re the crazy ones.”

“Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned from both music and writing is that just because you’re successful, financially or commercially speaking, doesn’t mean you’re good. And just because you’re good doesn’t mean you’ll be financially successful. Insightful? Perhaps, but being able to apply that on a daily basis is another thing.”

For more information on J.E. Lowder or WordCrafts Press, visit WordCrafts.net.
To schedule an interview with J.E.Lowder, or for review copies of Tears of Min Brock, contact:
C.E. Edwards
Publicist, WordCrafts Press
pr@wordcrafts.net
©2012 WordCrafts | 912 E. Lincoln St. Tullahoma, TN 37388

Do you live life as a classicist or a jazzer?

Although I like to consider myself more of a “jazzer” (“able to improv through life”) than a “classicist” (“plays life like a score: no surprises & well-rehearsed”), when life doesn’t “work,” I quickly become a classicist.

Take this morning and my Jeep.  Please!  Take it!  Somewhere within its electrical system is a tiny wire or a little fuse that has decided to render the thing dead.

So at 6 AM, I began to improvise: juggling this person here to fulfill that need there, emailing so-and-so to ward off affecting you-know-who.  Plotting, planning, thinking, scheming…

Etc., etc., etc.

So as a “jazzer,” you’d think I’d love this early morning composition, which has been more like a frantic bebop piece than a cool ballad.  But I’m not.  No, I’m really, really not!  In fact, I wish my life was a classical score so I could go practice, nail my part, and bow to wondrous applause.

So how about you?

“Jazzer” or “classicist?”

Never Forget Your First Love

When I was in college, I learned a valuable life lesson from an unlikely source…my bass professor.

During a lesson in preparation for my senior recital, he stopped me midway through a section.  I studied the music to see where I’d made a mistake (but didn’t see anything) so I began again.  He quickly stopped me and said, “Play a C major scale.”

Without flinching, I flew up the fingerboard, but before I had reached the next octave, he interrupted me yet again.

“Let me see it,” he said.  Unnerved, I handed him my upright bass and bow, wondering if it wasn’t too late to change majors.  He began to play the scale slowly, making each note ring with purpose. In fact, my instrument had never sounded better!

“You’ve forgotten why you became a bassist,” he counseled, as he made my instrument come alive.  “Listen to each note.  Enjoy how rich it sounds.  Feel how it resonates through your body.”

He was right.  I had become so consumed with flashy speed and finger dexterity that I’d lost touch with my passion.  I was playing notes, not music.

Although this was a music lesson, I’ve found that this truth spills over into every aspect of my life: writing, marriage, parenting, spirituality…

I often have to take a moment and ask myself: “Have I forgotten my first love?”  “Have I forgotten why I became a _____?”

And since speed kills–and we’re all going 100 mph in a 50 zone–I know I need to take drastic measures.  So I take my foot of the gas, pull off to the side of the road, gaze into the sunset, and get reacquainted with my heart.

For me, it’s the difference between life and LIFE!

To War or “Let it Be”?

The nice thing about living in the Southeast is the milder weather.  Case in point: yesterday I weed wacked my big yard.  As I listened to the buzz-brrr of my machine, I took stock of my yard.

The weed to grass ratio was, well, embarrassing.  Weed killer would reduce my yard to Oklahoma during the 1930’s Dust Bowl!

And then there are the moles in the back.  They’ve built a tunnel system that rivals London’s Tube.

A wealthy man would pay to have someone fix it.  A zealous “green-thumber” would roll up his sleeves and dive in.  Seeing I’m neither, I have to either declare all out war or start singing “Let it Be.”

Of course, there’s another solution. I could unleash my dachshund on the moles (since they’re bred to hunt badgers) and force my kids into slave labor for the next 6 months.  I would “manage” from the shade, sipping mint juleps and serenading them with, “Let it Be.”

Now THAT sounds like a plan! 🙂