People Like Us

For Day 5 of Living Wide’s Soundtrack for Successful Failure, I think a good punch the air song is appropriate. I know not everyone is a pop rock fan, but even if you’re not, you have to admit, Kelly Clarkson does have some talent. At least I hope you’ll admit it, because you’ll be seeing her a few times this month.

The song “People Like Us,” from Clarkson’s recently released greatest hits album, is one of those great “get revved-up songs,” which are important to have in your playlist for days when you’re dragging, feeling sorry for yourself, or trapped in the spiral of a pity party. Just like she says, we all want to throw it away sometimes.

I regularly consider myself a misfit. Truthfully, I’ve never fully fit into any one aspect of my life. I believe one way spiritually, but lean another way politically. I work in a conservative environment, yet I have tattoos and a constant yearning to dye my hair an outrageous shade.

I’ve always had a rebellious streak, a voice in my head that said, “Yes, I agree with you, but… I also think we should level your idea and start fresh.”

“People Like Us” is one of those great reminders that no one is alone. Everyone has a community. Everyone has a mirror who thinks the same way they do, who has shared experiences and can relate. It’s just a matter of being brave enough to find that misfit group of toys where you fit. In all honesty, I’m still looking for mine, but at least I’m still looking.

Flesh and Bone

I’m a bit late with today’s post because I was actually at a concert. Appropriate, right? So, here we are, day 3-ish of Living Wide’s Soundtrack for Successful Failure. How’s everyone feeling so far? I have to admit I am loving the challenge I’ve laid out for myself. Mostly because it has encouraged me to scour the thousands of songs that I personally own and the millions that I simply love to form the perfect playlist of encouragement.

As I said to friends, recently, music has really been speaking into my life of late. Not that it doesn’t always have a place, what I mean to say is I’ve been stumbling across some really great songs/albums/artists that are truly putting my life to beat and my heart to a melody.

One such band is The Killers, whose song “Flesh and Bone” kind of speaks for itself.

When I first heard The Killers many years ago, I thought they were good, but that was about it. Truthfully, I hadn’t given them much thought until I stumbled across them again a few weeks ago while building a playlist for my novel. Yes, I’m that nerdy. Anyway, I listened to their newest album “Battle Born” based on a recommendation, and I fell in love. Not just with a specific song—you’ll be introduced to three throughout the month—but with the whole album. It’s filled with songs of being challenged, tested, defeated and triumphant.

In the chorus, you’ll hear, “What are you afraid of, and what are you made of, flesh and bone.” A great reminder that we are all vulnerable AND strong, which can fortify us as much as it terrifies us. Gotta love the dichotomy.

Still looking for suggestions. Anyone have a Soundtrack suggestion? Make sure to leave a comment.

Meaning

Thanks for joining me as I kick off Living Wide’s Soundtrack for Successful Failure.  Why a soundtrack for failing successfully, you ask?  Well, in the famed words of Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”

I have never let it be said that I don’t A) laugh at myself or B) admit when I am wrong. In my last post, I detailed how I had to shelve the manuscript I’d worked on for 10 years because it simply wasn’t working… for now.  In admitting that I’d failed, that I simply couldn’t make an idea work, I freed myself to other possibilities. I opened up new opportunities I hadn’t anticipated.

So, in celebration of failing, yet in a good way, I am debuting a playlist of songs that will hopefully encourage you, dear readers, to follow your dreams, even if at first, you fall flat on your face like I did.

First up, Gavin DeGraw’s “Meaning.” I am a little ashamed to admit, only a little, but I first discovered Gavin DeGraw by watching “One Tree Hill” many moons ago. You’ll remember his track “I Don’t Want to Be” was the show’s title song. On the same album, Chariot, is the song “Meaning.”

It contains the line:

“Sometimes our only way is jumping, I hope you’re not afraid of heights.”

If I were ever to get a lyric tattooed on my body, this would be it. Never has one line defined my life succinctly, and it’s an important reminder that not always are we given options, and sometimes those options are radical and scary.

In my endeavor to live wide, I’ve often found that the best decisions I ever made were scary as all get out, and not completely “sane” by most people’s standards. Yet, I don’t regret any of them, and they’ve definitely made life interesting and vastly wide.

What do you think? Has a lyric spoken to you so much you that it made you want to step outside of what is safe? Or, has a song spoken to you so much you wanted it as a permanent reminder on your body? Please share away!

Sounds Good

Apologies, Living Wide faithful.  I know I’ve been absent these past few weeks, which reminds me, I need to update my bio because the reasons for my truancy are both very good.  First, I’m writing again!!  YAY!!  I have been trucking along on the manuscript for my second book, tentatively titled “Perfect.”

Wait, second book?  Where’s your first book?  I’m glad you asked about that.  See, my first book was a project I started in 2002, one year post-college.  It was a tale I returned to several times over the course of the years, and I was pretty happy with it until 2008 when I decided to rewrite all the parts that I had finished from a completely different point of view.  Why?  I don’t remember really, but it definitely set me back and led to four more years of starting and stopping.  I also can’t tell you why I couldn’t just get it together and finish the first draft, but after a while, I had to admit to myself that things weren’t working.  It had been nearly 10 years and still no book.  Late last year, I made the conscious decision to admit that I’d failed.  That my first book wasn’t the story I needed to write in this moment.

Accompanying that decision was a batch of my soul searching over the past couple of months, during which I realized something pretty important… I want to follow my dreams.  I know that’s something everyone says, but few actually do.  Well, I think you’ve realized by now, if I am anything, I am the follow-through-girl.  I’m also a little bit crazy and daring (hello, quitting my job).  So I decided to do the ultimate wakadoo thing and have faith in myself.  Faith that whether I would be published or not, whether people liked the story I had to tell or not, I was going to write a book.

I picked up one of the ideas I had filed away and started to play with it around October of last year.  And bam, I was writing again.  I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote, and then I stopped for grad school finals, and then I wrote again.  Oh, did I mention that’s the other reason?  Grad school?  Like I said I’m a little nutty… new job, grad school and writing my first/second novel all at the same time.  But I digress….  I finally found my story, and I promised myself, even if it kills me, I will finish it and someone, I don’t know who or how many, will get to read it.

Now that you know the why, let’s get to the fun part.  I’ve decided to challenge myself even more.  Again, what is she thinking?!?  I know, but roll with it would you?  So every day in the month of April I am going to post an inspirational song that is Living Wide-themed, and hopefully will encourage you all to follow your dreams too.  I’m calling it the Soundtrack for Successful Failure.  I will also accept submissions for songs that make you want to stop living small, break out of your box, and chase the horizon.  I can’t wait take this journey with you all!  Who’s bringing the snacks?

Love,
Me