June 28, 2016

Marching to a Different Drum Machine

 I'm so thrilled with this month's topic. Many of us aren't mere writers but have talent in art, music, and other creative disciplines.

For me, it's electronic music. I've composed more than fifteen albums of synthesizer-based tunes. Some of them were rather experimental but many had strong melodies.

It was the German group Kraftwerk who inspired me to create my own electro-acoustic music. The first three albums from the band showed me that I, with limited resources, could compose and record my own music. They didn't have much in the way of equipment when they began either so they had to build or adapt whatever they could find.

As you would expect, my first attempts at electronic music were primitive, lacking in professional polish. But I improved as I acquired a few good synthesizers, pedals, and cheap keyboards.

Though I haven't had commercial success, my tunes have been played on radio stations in Moscow, Warsaw, Paris, Helsinki, and on various U.S. and Canadian college stations. One tune was even broadcast on CBC's Brave New Waves radio show. I received a nice royalty cheque from that airplay alone.

Kevin Prinsen, a fan who became a friend of mine, used my tunes in his Naked "I" art movie. It didn't get shown in theatres but I felt flattered that he liked my compositions so much.

I now have music videos of my compositions online. Please visit my Youtube channel to see and hear them.

June 27, 2016

Have You Registered Yet?

InScribe's Fall Conference is just around the corner! (Well, maybe not JUST around the corner, but it's coming soon...) 

If you've ever been to Fall Conference you'll know what a fantastic time of growing and learning it is, not to mention the opportunity for face to face connections with other writers of Christian faith. Join us on September 22 - 24 in Edmonton at the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre. Linda Hall is the keynote speaker and there will be tons of other informative workshops. 

For more information or to register, go to the Inscribe Website. (While you're there, take note of the beautiful newly revamped website. Thanks to our webmaster, Janelle Baldwin, for doing such a stand out job.) Early bird rates are still in place so don't miss out!

Also of note:

Visual Arts Contest

Inscribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship would like to invite two dimensional art submissions from visual artists. The winning submission will be used as the November 2016 FellowScript Magazine cover and be featured on the InScribe website. The winning artist will receive a digital copy of the 2016 FellowScript Magazine cover. Second and third place winners will be featured on the InScribe website. For complete details see our FellowScript page on the website. 

June 26, 2016

Art Appreciation by Marnie Pohlmann

“Those who can do; those who can't, teach.” – George Bernard Shaw

Let me add that those who can’t teach appreciate.

I am a writer, but I try my hand at many creative endeavors – only to find out I am not
a musician,
an artist,
a dancer,
a performer,
a gardener,
a sewer,
a decorator;
and I am not even very crafty.

However, I appreciate the creativity that surrounds us. As a teen I fell asleep to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and watched my Dad and brothers perform in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. I have enjoyed Shakespeare at the Avon Theater in Stratford, Ontario and on the banks of the Saskatchewan River. I learned to read basic music. I have acted in skits. I learned to garden, somewhat. I have sewn simple items and chosen the colours and furniture for our home. When it comes to art, I feel like "a jack of all trades, master of none."

I have supplies for many creative arts. Cross-stitch, quilting, crocheting, stamping, card-making, colouring books… the list goes on and on. These supplies are loaned out more than used, and piled in totes, seldom touched by me as life elbows them out of the way.

I do find creative ways to live everyday life, though. Pretty napkins are added to the dining table. Fun pictures make announcements at church. Beautiful photograph backgrounds, some my own, contribute to worship song presentations and my blogs.

My soul is fed and my writing improved by seeing, hearing, and moving among the creativity around me. I cheer on friends and family as they draw, paint, or sew. Today as I write on my deck, wild fescue is dancing with the breeze in the empty lot beside my home. Chickadees are singing praise for God’s supply at the bird feeder. My sister-in-law (she really is the best) is painting our garden planter that is growing lettuce, dill, and herbs.

I have found, even when storms rage and crash on the shores of life, the magnificent imaginative power of God is evident. All around me life continually births anew, strengthening and inspiring my own God-gift of creativity.

Marnie blogs at Phosphorescent

June 25, 2016

Shy and Outgoing By Vickie Stam

I've always claimed to be one of those people sitting on the fence, somewhere between shy and outgoing. My husband, Tony is an extrovert through and through. At times I need a little help from him; an introduction to break the ice or an arm around my shoulder that lets me know he's there. Sometimes I'm not shy at all. 

Most days I want nothing more than to be surrounded by people, call some friends together and gather at the lake for good food and fellowship. Planning a dinner menu, playing games or just sitting around talking reveals the outgoing side of me. And then there are times when I want to just sit by the lake and observe the vast expanse of water and its ever changing patterns. I want to listen to the chatter among the birds, hear the sound of the waves lapping against the shore and embrace the freedom to just relax and be alone.    

A year ago Tony and I sold our cottage of seven years and purchased another one....right on the shores of Lake Erie. Some say, "The view is to die for!" I absolutely agree. It was all part of our retirement plan. We finished raising pigs last November and decided the lake was calling us. But there's work to be done. The old cottage is coming down and a new one is to go up. A place that will become our "forever home." It's all very exciting yet overwhelming too. 

We're now in constant decision making mode. 'Choices' seems to be the operative word these days and I keep hearing that familiar phrase, "The sky's the limit." I often wonder, just what their sky looks like. The number of people being added to this project is growing and some days I feel them stretching the capacity of my introverted limits. Too much information and opinions.       

Builders, planners, a drafting team, a demolition crew, excavation crew, site inspectors, county authorities, Long Point Conservation authorities and so on. It's really the beginning stages to receiving our permit. Deciding the pitch of the roof is not my forte. Thank goodness, Tony finds these task masters less daunting than I do. After a long day of discussions and choices I can't wait to sink my toes into the sand once again and not hear a peep from anyone.

It's true, our little cottage is an old three season structure that's small and the lack of proper insulation doesn't allow for us to live there over the winter. The pink carpet throughout is dated, marked by years of another family's summer fun and if a marble was rolled it would most certainly end up in a corner of the kitchen. A well defined slope has invaded the floor that was once level. Nothing about the place meets code.   

Still, in the midst of all this chaos, the thought of decorating the new place excites me. In-fact, I love it! It's sort of like putting a puzzle together without seeing the picture on the box. On the flip side, Tony finds this task rather daunting. Here's where he gets to lean on me. I can't wait to get started. I see a splash of colour on the walls, family photos in the living room and of course art work and various knick-knacks that will only enhance the feeling of living on the lake. Clearly it's the breath taking view that drew us to this place.    

I've been told on more than one occasion that I should be an interior decorator. What a wonderful compliment! Picking out things that tell a story, treasures found in antique stores and mixing the old with the new is truly fun for me. It's one of those things where I feel confident and content doing it on my own or taking a friend along. I love the end result when everything comes together just like that puzzle.          

This summer is going to keep us busy as we carve out our new beginning. Our love will have us drawing from the proverbial pots of introvert and extrovert all the while leaning on one another the way God fully intended us to.

June 24, 2016

Uncreative but Passionate! by Tandy Balson

I have never thought of myself as a creative person.  While others were busy with wondrous creations I referred to myself as craft challenged!

As long as I can remember I have had a passion for singing. This was my creative outlook. When I was a child my mom taught me songs that she’d learned as a girl. We would always sing in the car rather than listen to the radio.  I joined choirs in school and carried the love of music into my adult years.  

When my daughter was in Girl Guides I had fun learning the Brownie and Guide songs.  Soon I became Area Music Trainer and went from group to group teaching songs, musical games and folk dances to enthusiastic girls and their leaders. I stayed with the organization for fifteen years and sharing music was one of the highlights for me.

One of my musical outlets was as an active member of the Sweet Adelines, a women’s chorus that sang four-part harmony acapella.  I also spent many years as a member of church worship teams. This was the ultimate passion for me as singing praises to the Lord enabled me to feel connected to him in a way that nothing else could.

Our little church closed five years ago and the desire to join the worship team at our new church was never present.  I enjoyed singing as a member of the congregation, but didn’t feeling the calling to be part of the music ministry.

God replace this passion with a totally unexpected one. Gradually I felt him calling me to start writing. He has inspired me and given me words to share. This has fulfilled me in a way that only music had in the past.  To accompany the writing I have discovered a new-found interest in photography. My trusty iPhone camera is ever present!  These two new passions have helped me focus on the wonders and beauty that God surrounds us with everyday.

Although I look at creative people and think how nice it must be to have their talents, I refuse to say it will never happen. A few short years ago I wouldn’t have believed I had the ability to write. God can do amazing things when I trust him. I’ve heard of a business in my area that gives lessons in working with stained glass.  Maybe God will lead me in that direction!