Track-by-Track: “66th and City” — Zapateria: The World of Zapatero

I am sharing this wonderful and amazing song from The World of Zapatero. I enjoyed it so much that I must share it. I wouldn’t want anyone to miss it. In one phrase, it is full of feeling.

Back in June, I read an article about prog rock in the New Yorker. If you’re not familiar with prog, it’s a category of rock exemplified by bands like Yes, King Crimson, early Genesis, and arguably Pink Floyd whose songs tended to be fairly long pieces marked by various movements akin to those in classical […]

via Track-by-Track: “66th and City” — Zapateria: The World of Zapatero

Book Pricing – A True Mystery

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de...

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de eBook Беларуская: Фотаздымак электроннай кнігі Русский: Фотография электронной книги (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Book pricing has always baffled me, and with the introduction of eBooks, now more than ever.  To illustrate this, let me compare a novel, which undergoes a creative process that can last months or years, to a painting, or to a magnificent cake, both creations by artists, but creations that take less time to complete.  For example, many paintings start over $100 and reach the thousands in price – famous paintings, millions.  An elaborate cake can reach hundreds and thousands in price, and it is consumed in no time at all, and it ceases to exist.  The painting, an original will last many lifetimes, and most likely will appraise in value.  Considering these examples, and all the labor that goes into making a novel – whether the story is published as a hard copy or an eBook – why is it that we allow it to sell for 99 cents, offer it for free, or price it so low?

What makes a painting or a cake more valuable than your novel, your story?  I don’t know the answer to that question, but it may have something to do with supply and demand in some way, or the fact that people will collect original art, eat cake, and only pay big bucks for first editions of a famous author.  It is one of those things that do not make sense when you think about it from the creative process aspect.  This is why college textbooks sell for more money, hundreds.  It has to do with buyer’s purpose/need (and who knows, maybe buyer’s remorse as well).  Some novels have change the world, have touched lives, but once the cake has been eaten, and the painting hanged, the writer is left with royalties, and the satisfaction of touching (at least) the life of one reader (or more).

Still, it boils my blood to see a novel selling for 99 cents, when it may have taken many years in the creation process.  Here, the conventional rules of pricing do not apply.

What do you think about this issue?

Kreativ Blogger Award


Thanks to Marc Schuster for giving me a Kreativ Blogger award! Per the rules of the award, here are six blogs that I think deserve this award (and not in any particular order) followed by ten things you (probably) don’t know about me.

1. The Jittery Goat

2. Rosekate

3. Dr. Tom Bibey

4. Living Life in Glorious Colour

5. The Short and the Long of It

6. Courage 2 Create


Ten things you probably don’t know about me

1. I love ferrets

2. My favorite foods in a deserted Island would be – Pizza, M&M’s, Cheesecake.

3. I love Zero bars.

4. In my dreams, I am a Vampire Slayer and I never die.

5. I love to wash dishes by hand and smell the aroma of the bubbly and soapy water.

6. My favorite book is Jonathan Livingston Seagull

7. If I’m digging in dirt and accidentally dig up a worm, I will make a hole further away and put the worm in it so she is safe.  I also apologise to it.

8. I grew up in a tropical island but I can’t swim.

9. I love bats.

10. I keep a neat environment.  Messes drive me nuts.


The Creative Octopus

I am writing this post thinking about those people who are torn between many creative endeavors; simply put, they cannot commit to only one.  If you are like me, you probably cannot work only in painting, writing, or handmade crafts – your creative energy is so strong that you have to do it all, otherwise, you feel strapped down and incomplete.  This can be a challenge, specially because there are only so many hours during the day, and many times you have to deal with the frustration of not being able to dedicate more time to some creative projects.

You have heard the adage, “Jack of all trades, master of none” – well that is something we have to contend with and if we are going to dedicate our time and efforts to all our creative passions, we may have to focus a bit more on one to be able to move forward – there has to be a certain balance, otherwise you end up with tons of projects, lots of creative energy, but nothing done to full completion.

If you are making a living this way, it gets more challenging as you have to deal with all the documentation and paperwork that goes with it, to keep it IRS happy – these activities eat a lot of your creative time; however, they are necessary.  If you work outside the home as well, and have a family, this could get very stressful, and you may end up feeling tired, overworked, but mostly, with your creative hands tied up.  Again, balance is the magic word.  However, singles and couples without kids have it easier, no doubt about that.  There are many other activities and commitments that come with the fact of having a family.

How can you tend to work, family and your many creative passions?

The answer, not at once.  I have found that as long as I know that I can dedicate some time to pursue my passions, I am happy.  For example, I focus on my writing, and dedicate time to my other passions, whether it is one day a week or more than one.  For example, you can dedicate part of your Sunday afternoon to painting or an hour on Wednesday evening.  Maybe your Saturday mornings can become your crafting sessions … you have to find  what works for you.  If you have a family, they have to learn to respect your creative time as well.

If you are a creative octopus and decide to give up painting to dedicate your efforts to writing, for example, but your soul is hurting for some brushstrokes, then your writing will suffer as well, because you are tying up your creative Muse.  Finding a way to keep duty, love, and creativity coexisting together is not easy, but attainable.  For many families, what started as a one person creative endeavor, ended up as a whole family business.

Give your Muse enough time to play with all your passions, while focusing on one artistic venue.  Sometimes, creative octopuses become overwhelmed by their own creative energy, and abandon it all, as they think that they cannot do it all in one day.  That is the clue – not to do it all in one day, but instead, to dedicate one day to each one of your creative passions.

You can enjoy all your artistic passions, but one tentacle at a time.

Celebrating Autumn

Vineyard in Napa Valley

Image via Wikipedia

I love Autumn; it is my favorite season.  So much happens during this time.  Nature becomes a changing painting.  Around mid September, I start preparing to welcome the Fall.  I try to enjoy this season to the max as it is also a prelude to another favorite – Winter.  Most likely, during fall, you will find me doing these activities, some of which I will not be able to do to total contentment this year, since I am in transition to move to VA.  However, I will certainly enjoy as many as I can.

Candles – I start by buying scented candle jars to welcome the season.  Some of my favorites are pumpkin spice, spiced apple, cinnamon spice, vanilla, gingerbread, maple pecan … and other scents.  At the end of fall I make sure that I have a pine or evergreen and cedar scent to welcome Winter.

I also give a good fall cleaning to the house to get it ready for the joyous season.  After that, the home is ready for decorating.  I like to decorate using a natural approach.  Many of the things will be handmade and using natural materials such as leaves, twigs, branches …  Many of these items can be tweaked for the winter, and later on recycled into mulch.  The organic feel is perfect for the season and conveys a warmth and coziness.  The outside decor follows the same approach.  I use some recycled vintage items as well.

Since the weather will be changing, so does the wardrobe.  I enjoy cleaning up closets and getting ready the outfits for the season.  Even hubby’s closet gets the Autumn treatment.  I love to play with fabrics and colors.

I enjoy the no A/C season and take advantage of it by opening all the windows to let the crisp air inside. The cats love it too. Their beds also get the autumn treatment, and get their heavy blankets on.

During this time, I celebrate by enjoying the quiet of the woods and parks.  We take walks, and love the smells of nature – wet leaves that are starting to decompose, the moisture in the air, as well as the crisp air of the season.  The sound of crunching leaves as you walk, the wind, and the scenery that slowly paints itself in nature – a palette of unique colors.  This is the perfect time to pick up fallen leaves and branches to use in the decor.  This is also beach time for me, as I enjoy the beach during fall, not during the summer.  It is not crowded and it is quiet, and the weather is better.  So there are many beach walks during this time.

One of my favorite rituals is to prepare for Halloween; I love the holiday.  In our neighborhood, we get tons of trick or treaters and I enjoy preparing colorful candy bags to give away to the kids.  I love to sit outside with a bucket full of bags while watching the parade of cute costumes.  I pick a favorite costume as a mental exercise.  I prepare 80-100 little bags and most of them go.  Sometimes, my neighbor will have a Halloween bash and most of the traffic will come to our street.  Their home is decorated with all kinds of spooks, smoke, sounds, and moving creatures … Last year two local rock bands played – this is also a treat, and I have grown accustomed to it over the years.  I will certainly miss it once we move.

Finally, I make sure I have some of my favorite treats on hand – the pumpkin or apple pie, hot chocolate, ginger tea, pumpkin spice creamer, cinnamon bun creamer, and the rarely found coconut creamer, mini marshmallows,  and my favorite – the tiny candy corn and pumpkin candy.  These treats make me happy.

And this is how I celebrate Autumn.

Roses by Magic

A rose bush.

Image via Wikipedia

Sitting at my computer for long hours is a bit tiring, so I try to walk around the house, for short breaks or to get some  coffee.  Today, I glanced outside thru the screen door that leads to the backyard.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the rose-bush full of dark red roses – a magical blanket of red.  When did it happen?  As if by magic, the rose-bush that was just sticks a few weeks ago, turned into a marvel of nature.  Although I was not paying attention, the change did not happen from one day to the next – it took some time; slowly the lush leaves appeared, and later, the breathtaking roses.

This gave me some insight.  I thought, sometimes, we worry so much when we are following our call, specially when we don’t see results right away.  We tend to shrivel, to dry, and forget that the growth happens slowly; and just as those roses one day appeared in all their splendor, so it will happen if we continue our path and let growth and bloom happen naturally.