A strange lesson in rhythm from Steve Martin, and his movie The Jerk

I admit, I find lessons in life from some of the strangest places. I found one from Steve Martin, and his movie The Jerk. The movie was in the 1970’s and it depicted Steve Martin’s character as a white man living with a Black family in Mississippi.

The gag in the movie, was that he thought he was Black. The Black family knew he was white, but he didn’t seem to get it. They’d play this amazing rhythm and blues music and Steve wouldn’t get it. He’d snap his fingers, and he couldn’t keep time. They shook their heads, and carried on.

One day, some Big Band music came on, what the Black Family called “white music,” and Steve Martin, started to dance, he kept perfect time. He began to glide in perfect rhythm to the music. He’d found his true rhythm.

I thought about that movie from so many years ago, because, I’ve seen so many people, including myself, who are out of rhythm with what they should, or could be doing. For me, for so many years, I really wanted to write, to be a writer.

I held myself back. I wanted money, and well who doesn’t. Most writers know, all to well, that writing is not a road to riches. It is actually the opposite, it probably has kept many writers poor. And as for Poets, well there’s no helping Poets, that’s just the road to the poorhouse. Sorry about that, just my bias.

For many years, I was a salesman, I had my own company, and I did well, but there was a thing, that feeling, that I was out of rhythm, out of tune with myself. I waited until I retired from my business to renew my writing career. It feels great, yes it feels like I’m more in tune, there is a rhythm, now. No I’m not snapping my fingers at my desk, but I’m often humming a tune.

Perhaps, there is a relaxation now. I don’t need to write to make money. I write because I want to, well actually, some times I need to. There is a rhythm when I write. One word follows another, characters appear, they say things, and they interact with one another. Like a small orchestra or band making music. A nice feeling is generated at the end of the day, as I look over pages of writing, and see something that was transformed from a blank page.

I think we know what makes us more in tune, more in rhythm with ourselves. No, it doesn’t have to be writing, or music, or anything to do with the arts, just being more in tune with ourselves, and who we are, and feel as human beings. Perhaps writing, gets me more to my human side, and that’s why I it like so much.

I can only recommend, if you feel out of rhythm, similar to Steve Martins’ character in the Jerk, perhaps try a new tune, something may happen. It did for me, and it is very nice.

I wish all of you who write, great writing, wonderful reviews, and fantastic sales.

Getting unplugged, in writing, and in life. Finding the power of silence.

Does anyone remember when Eric Clapton turned the world of rock and roll on its head? It was 1992. He made an album called Unplugged.

While the world was listening to louder and louder music, and the electronics industry was developing all of these ways to make the sound pound our ears with so many decibel, Eric Clapton did the opposite, he pulled the plug.

I remember the album, so did many people. They loved it. There was a rush from other musicians to do the same, everyone was pulling the plugs on their amplifiers as quickly as possible. They all wanted to tap into this pure music that Eric Clapton had seemingly created.

But the funny thing was, Clapton didn’t create it, it was always there. He just turned down the noise. And we all loved it! We seemed to be ready for it.

I’m mentioning this, because I recently read a blog from Joanna Penn. I find her a talented writer, and her website www.thecreativepenn.com is full of great tips for writers. In her blog, she stated how she is now using an App that blocks emails while she writes. I assume its to unplug from this world of distractions.

I for one find this world quite distracting. Somehow, as we’ve plugged into the Internet, which even I have a hard time going without on daily basis, where there are emails, and tweets to view, and sort, perhaps we, and that means me, have lost the simple fascination with silence. The ability to be without distraction.

Why do I say this? Well, many years ago, back in the 70’s, I entered a yoga Monastery. I spent close to 5 years there. What do you think we practised there? It was silence. The practise of letting the mind wander all it wants, until it got tired, and let you be you. Somewhere in there, the real self would emerge. A very quiet and silent self.

So now, 40 years later, I realize how sometimes it is better to unplug. From the internet, from Twitter, from Facebook, and all of the other distractions of the world, and go back to silence. I don’t know about you, but when there is silence, I get a feeling of who I really am.

Silence helps in my writing. I know so many people write to Jazz, blues, even rock and roll. I prefer silence. Just me, and the tapping of the keyboard. My mind provides all the company I need as I create plot lines, and characters. It’s quite busy in there.

So, perhaps if you’re like me, and you find the world a bit too much. Try unplugging. Look at Eric Clapton, he did it, and everyone thought he’d started a trend. How sweet was that?

I wish all of you writers many downloads, great reviews, and good writing.

Even if you don’t like John Locke’s writing, you have to love his business sense.

I admit, I had no idea who John Locke was until about 2 years ago. I told a friend I was writing a book, and would probably self publish.

My friend asked me if I’d heard about this guy who wrote short detective novels and sold them for .99 cents, and was getting some of the largest downloads of E Books on Amazon. Strangely enough, the story my friend sent me came from a major newspaper that wrote about business and financial matters.

To this financial newspaper, the news about John Locke was that he was making so much money. They really didn’t care what he was writing about. Detective stories? Sure why not, doesn’t everyone want to write detective stories and thrillers?

Well, if you ask the critics, that would be the people who tell us what we should or should not like about what is written,they do not like John Locke. Remember, some critics never liked Shakespeare, and what literary critic would have given Mark Twain a good review in his day? They do not like John Lockes’ use of point of view, the way the talks to the reader – yes all the conventions of writing that must not be broken. Well, until someone breaks them – and they become the new norm.

What the critics may not like is John Locke has made a lot of money on his books. How does 1 Million E books in 5 months sound? That is actually the title of his book, HOW I SOLD 1 MILLION EBOOKS IN 5 MONTHS.

That book, I understand is selling well also. If you run the numbers, you realize that John Locke made more in 5 months than many people make in 5 years. I would think that would be mostly writers, and of course mostly Independent authors, such as myself.

I have a confession to make. I made absolutely squat in my writing. You can put a diddle beside that for a diddle squat as a whopping $10.00 in my first two months of my Novella being launched qualifies me in that category.

What did I do wrong? Well pretty much everything, no pre launch, no blog, no tweets – yes you get it, none of things that people like John Locke did that made them successful. But there is one more thing that John Locke did that many writers, like me, have not done. He produced about five books, then did his blog. He presented an entire series of a guy called Donovan Creed.

I have been reading the Blogs from other writers looking for more sales on the one book they wrote, and they wonder way it’s not happening, and I think John Locke gives an obvious answer. Writers need to have more than one title for readers to get a feeling of who they are, and if they want to get involved with that writer.

I couldn’t agree more. One reader, one of my few, told me last week that they liked my first book, and couldn’t wait to read more. So, I need to get busy. I doubt if I’ll ever have the success of John Locke, but we share something in common, we both have fun writing.

I suggest to any Indie Published writer, that you pick up, or download a copy of John Lockes book, HOW I SOLD 1 MILLION eBooks in 5 Months. He is very honest about his early failures, and what worked for him in his success. I have my copy. Hopefull I’ll break out of the “diddle squat,” sales category.

I wish you all great writing, numerous downloads, and great reviews.