Celebrating Daydreams and Heroes

The arts are so much more than mere entertainment. Whether it is a painting, a sculpture, dance, theater, a video, music, or words in a book, a poem, a song, the arts speak to us on an emotional level. The arts bring joy, inspiration, comfort us during sorry, and are often linked to cherished memories. Today’s music selections are an artistic vehicle celebrating daydreams and heroes. Won’t you join me?

Daydream Believer by The Monkeys

While this song’s lyrics don’t make a specific point, it’s about starting the day. What can it mean to a daydream believer? Start the day affirming your daydreams, be a daydream believer.

Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves

Talk about evoking an emotional response. Yeah, it’s a love song, and but if you take it in a broader sense it can be a celebration of any daydream that makes you feel alive. This song makes me want to move. Walking on sunshine feels good.

The Climb by Miley Cyrus

Another song about dreams. It reminds us that our struggle is all about trying. It’s not about how fast we get there. It’s not about what’s waiting on the other side. It’s about the climb.

Hero by Mariah Carey

The lyrics to this beautiful song reminds us all that we all feel down sometimes. All we have to do is hold on, there will be a tomorrow. And when you cast your fears aside, look inside you and be strong, a hero lies in you.

No matter its form, art reaches into our souls. Don’t forget to take time to enjoy your favorite form of art.

We can all be Daydream Believers who walk on sunshine as we climb to find the hero within. Reach for your dreams. You can do it.

If you aren’t an artist or can’t connect with this selection, read “Believe.” We are all heroes–everyday.

I hope this little interlude celebrating daydreams and heroes inspired you a bit today. It did me.

2011, The Good News

2011 is coming to an end, and for some, not a moment too soon. You might question my sanity with the post title 2011, the good news. There were politicians, businessmen, and celebrities who behaved badly. Earthquakes, tsunamis, and tornadoes that killed and destroyed. Economies of many nations hover on the brink of collapse. There were heroes who struggled to save, to take a stand, and who perished in that fight. Even on a personal level, I had many challenges that took huge chunks of time to process and overcome.
2011 is coming to an end, and for some, not a moment too soon. You might question my sanity with the post title 2011, the good news.

Many people, particularly the news media, look for the shocking, the tragic or the disheartening stories from the past year. They seem to revel in the ugliness of behaviors and events.

Not me. I am a glass-half-full kind of gal. It’s that attitude, that expectation that helps me see the huge range of good that happens. Despite all the economic downfalls, natural disasters and humans behaving badly, things were not as bad as they seemed. There were stories of heroes across the world and in the US, stories of advances in science and health, and of course, changes in the world of publishing, too.

Heroes

In Egypt Thousands of Muslims for a Human Shield for Coptics.

In UTAH strangers ignored the danger to themselves and saved a man trapped beneath a burning car.

Wildlife rangers protect animals in the Congo at great risk to themselves.

CNN’s search for heroes found some amazing people. And the hero of the year is helping women and newborns in Indonesia.

This video is long at 19 minutes, but it is an amazing story of how Alberto Cairo found humanity and dignity in the midst of war in Afghanistan. He calls his talk There Are No Scraps of Men.

It started with One Person in Michigan and spread around the country. Secret Santas pay off layaways. Thanks to Janelle Madigan for this story.

Science

There are amazing advances in science from better hip replacement devices, to plasma brushes that promise painless dental work, to solar energy systems in North Africa that will provide clean power for the region and Europe here.

Health

How about this amazing piece? New Leukemia Treatment Exceeds Expectations.

Book News

Now, who says fantasy authors don’t get no respect? Author of the Year.

Just think what this means for ebook sales!

As The Year Closes

I count 2011 as a huge success. You will find my list of accomplishments here. I’ll share my goals for 2012 in another post. I hope to exceed those goals.

I don’t pretend to know what 2012 will bring, not on a personal level, a professional level, a national level, or a worldwide level. There will be bad things that happen in 2012. That’s the way of the world. But I know there will be good things that happen, too. That’s the way of humanity. We’re a mixed bag of good, mediocre, and bad. You have to be wary of the bad, but don’t be so on guard that you miss the good.

So on this eve of the New Year’s Eve, my wish for friends, family, and yes, even foe is that you make the effort to see the good despite whatever happens because attitude and expectations can lead from good to great.

What about you? Do you look for the good? What was your 2011, the good news? Won’t you share those stories with us?

Robots, Mermaids, & Dogs – Inspirations and Fascinations

Wow, the blogosphere and internet have been full of news and blogs that offer weird, wonderful, and soul-touching bits and pieces that captured this SF writer’s attention. I hope you are as fascinated with these robots, mermaids, & dogs as I am.

Would you move to Mars? Scientists think this might be possible in the near future.

How about if you had NASA’s R2 to help?

courtesy of NASA

Marcy Kennedy (an awesome WANA1011 classmate) also spoke of Mermaids in this touching tribute to her friend: Who is Your Unicorn?

You already know I am a marshmallow when it comes to dogs. Dogs and heroes – I’m toasted :). These two links demonstrate that our canine friends can suffer right alongside us.

He had me at Hero. 🙂 Hero, the dog.

Combat service dogs diagnosed with PTSD.

Demonstrating that writing ideas can come from anywhere is the following story about an endangered Salamander. Just the name of this creature brings to mind fantasy and horror: First Ozark Hellbender Raised in Captivity. If that isn’t a story title, I don’t know what is!

K. M. Weiland exhorts writers to mimic the masters and gives us clear guidelines on the difference between mimicry and plagiarism. Four Reasons to Mimic Masters.

Finally, I am not the only writer offering tips on revision this week (see my Re-Visioning Your Story Writing Wednesday post) Larry Fix offered tips on rewriting your nanowrimo story. Make December Your Nanowrimo Revision Month.

Generally what is here is good and useful, but I disagree on one point. Larry states that “Depending on the nature of the difference between your original idea and the one you finished with, you may or may not be able to salvage it.” I disagree. First, whether it’s fixable or not, depends upon how much work you are willing to do. You can always mine a totally failed story, figure out why it failed and use the salvageable parts to start over. You learn from revising. Most importantly, you learn about your writing process, your strengths, and your weakness when you revise your story.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’d love to hear from you. What inspirations and fascinations have you found on the web or in life this week? Did you enjoy these stories about robots, mermaids, and dogs?

Fascination Friday: A Virtual Memorial Tour

It’s Friday Fascinations and Veteran’s Day. So the links I’ve posted are a virtual memorial tour. A small tribute to the Courage, Honor, Patriotism, and Sacrifice of our men and women of who have served our country.

The Great War

The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial is in Kansas City, MO. It is the only American museum dedicated solely to preserving objects from The Great War which lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918 (does that date sound familiar?). Visitors enter the museum by crossing a glass bridge suspended over a field of 9000 red poppies. Each poppy represents a combatant fatality. The museum’s displays, memorabilia, and interactive exhibits tell the comprehensive story of the war through the eyewitness testimony of people who experienced the war. There are letters, diaries, videos, and newspaper reports. Some of these will bring a tear to your eye. They did mine. It’s an impressive collection and far more material than you can possibly cover in a day. The museum also houses a 20,000 square foot research area that is open to the public.virtual memorial tour, Kansas City WWI museum, lynettemburrows.com

World War II

Depending upon which source you go to, somewhere between 70 – 100 million military personnel were mobilized during the second World War II. This conflict was fought from 1939 to 1945. (Isn’t conflict a nice, clean, distant word to use when talking about a war that had the distinction of the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare and the deadliest in human history with 50-70 million fatalities.) Go here for Digital history’s guided reading list about WWII. And you’ll find 10 things you may not know about World War II.

The Korean War

The Korean War (25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953) belonged to my father’s generation. Korea had been ruled by Japan until the end of World War II when the country became part of the spoils of war. It was divided at the 38th Parallel. American Troops occupied the southern half of the peninsula and Soviet troops occupied the northern part. That set up was a formula for war. For more information about this war go to History.com. For one man who would do it again if he had to go here.

The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War was my generations’ war. It was the first time war was shown on the television screen. The consequences were enormous. I hope that American’s will never be so naive about war nor so disrespectful of her soldiers ever again. Please go here for more information. And if you are ever in Washington DC visit the wall, one of the most visually stunning memorials I’ve ever seen.

POWs and MIAs

only woman awarded Congressional Medal of Honor, virtual memorial tour, lynettemburrows.com

This tribute must include our prisoners of war (POWs) and our missing in action (MIAs). For biographies and information about POWs go to American Ex-POWs. A site specifically about women prisoners of war is here. And please, in your virtual memorial tour, be sure to visit Never Forgotten.

A Tribute to Heroes

This has been an emotional tour for me. My husband calls me a sap, a marshmallow. I can’t help it. My heart breaks for all of the lost, the wounded (physical and emotional), and the friends and families of all those men and women.

But my heart also busts with pride because Americans choose to fight, to serve because they believe in the ideals of this country and they hold our flag proudly. I say thank you for your service every time I meet or see a person in military uniform. Today I get the great honor of saying to all those who have served or are currently in service, to the ones I haven’t met and to their families: THANK YOU for your service to our great country. And now I close with one of my all-time favorite music videos honoring and celebrating veterans: “Here’s to the Heroes: a Military Tribute.”

Believe

Do you believe in heroes?

The other day when I revealed the work I’d done on my husband’s website, my husband called me his hero. It took me by surprise. Me? A hero? We talked for a while about what he meant and it got me to thinking about who I call a hero.

Chinese symbol for believe, lynettemburrows.com

As a little girl, I loved stories about heroes and heroines. I believed in the everyman characters who became heroes through their grand, selfless acts. I believed with my whole heart.

Today, I still believe in heroes. Yes, I am a romantic optimist. I believe in the classic hero, the kind that I write about in my action-suspense science fiction novels. But I also believe in ‘everyday’ heroes.

Definition of Hero

  1.  a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability
  2. an illustrious warrior
  3. a person admired for achievements and noble qualities 
  4. one who shows great courage
  5. the principal character in a literary or dramatic work —used specifically of a principal male character especially when contrasted with heroineMerriam-Webster Dictionary

The third definition is what’s important in this discussion. A person admired for achievements and noble qualities. There are lots of those heroes.

Classic Heroes

Our men and women on the battlefields are heroes, the ones whose acts we learn about and many we, the public, will never know. So too, men and women in the newspaper whose bold acts catch the public eye, like the cafeteria worker walking to work who stopped to pull a family to safety from their burning home, are heroes. These are heroes in the classic sense of the word: men and women who perform feats of great courage or nobility of purpose often at great risk to themselves. I do not want to denigrate these acts. These people are heroes. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their service, their selflessness.

But there are other heroes The heroes whose acts of great courage and nobility of purpose are not bold and do not require public acts of strength or self-sacrifice. These are the heroes who typically do not even think of themselves as heroes, but they are. They are people we can look up to and hope to emulate.

’Everyday’ Heroes

As a pediatric nurse, I see ‘everyday’ heroes and heroines on a daily basis. They are family members, parents, foster parents, and patients who face what seem to be insurmountable odds. They have suffered personal tragedies, traumas, or setbacks. I look at their lives from the outside and think it must take a tremendous amount of courage in order to get through their day.

I am certain there are days when they feel beat down as if they can’t take another step. Yet, they move forward with a smile, with profound love and kindness. They go to work every single day, help their family, do the things that need to be done. It wasn’t how they envisioned their life. They adapt, modify, incorporate the things they must do into their everyday life. Many of them don’t just follow the path they were given. They manage to step outside the box and follow their dream.

How do they do that?

I think the ones that manage to do this are a little like bulldogs themselves. They have a tenacious belief in their goal. It is that belief that keeps them moving forward, a belief that sometimes is so ingrained in who they are that they don’t even know they are doing something ‘against all odds.’

Sometimes, life beats you down. Maybe medical issues, economic issues, security, or any of the thousands of other possibilities have overcome you. Next time you think you’ve lost that optimism, that belief in your own courage, that belief in yourself. Remember heroes do exist, in stories and in real life. Remember that you may be someone’s hero without even knowing it. And remember to believe . . .

Believe in your dreams.
Believe in today.
Believe that you are loved.
Believe that you make a difference.
Believe we can build a better world.
Believe when others might not.
Believe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Believe that you might be that light for someone else.
Believe that the best is yet to be.
Believe in each other.
Believe in yourself

Kobi Yamada

Perhaps you need a little mood music to believe. Try reading and listening to “Celebrating Daydreams and Heroes.”

I believe in heroes. I believe you are a hero. Do you? Who are some of your heroes?