Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Sparking Creativity

In my earlier life, I was quite creative. As a teenager, I’d spend hours going for walks, listening to music and thinking up stories. And while I never wrote most of them down, or even kept most of the ideas, the creativity kept flowing through me. As I grew older, I channeled it a bit more successfully. During my university years, I wrote a few short one-act plays that we then staged and were well-received.

But once I left my university life behind, moved into the “real” world and got a job… it seems my creativity had waned. I think it’s less that it’s waned as it is I’ve let the fire die down. All that remains currently is a faint remnant of the blaze, a few embers, glowing dimly in the ashes. Every so often, a breeze flows through and the embers glow hot, an idea forms in my head and I try to capture it while it’s still there. But I haven’t been able to stoke the fire enough to get it re-lit.

It’s time to rebuild that fire inside of me. I’ve let things lie dormant for far too long. The time is now. I need to recapture that glimmer of creativity and genius that used to flow so easily through me in my youth.

Okay, so maybe genius is a strong word to use.

One way that I’ve been doing this is by reading more. I’ve begun reading more fiction again, trying to vary the style of book to broaden my horizons. I’ve recently started reading plays as well. This was something that always spoke to me in the past, so maybe this is where I need to reignite my fire. I just finished reading Paradise Lost by Erin Shields – a great re-imagining of Milton’s Paradise Lost, recasting Satan and a few other angels as a females. It really inspired me.

Another way I’ve approached this is by being more attentive to the things being said around me. I have a notebook on my desk at work where I jot down snippets of conversations that I overhear. Some of it is ripe for being included into a fiction story of some kind. I just need to find the right context to work it in.

The best piece that I’ve written to date was a one-act play called Toboggan. I co-wrote it with my friend Pierre during our time at U de M. It started off with a small bit of a story told by Billy Connolly in one of his comedy specials, and grew into more. I reread it now and I can’t even imagine how we ended up writing what we wrote. Looking back, I like to think that I was just letting the Muses flow through me and I was only the channel. One thing is certain though – we had a lot of fun writing it.

I don’t recall writing most of this play.

And maybe that’s the challenge now – I am trying to force the task and not allowing myself to have fun. I guess it’s time for a change of approach. While I do need to be more structured and disciplined with writing, I need to stop being so damned strict with myself. A few years ago, Isabelle and I came up with an idea for a story, for which I’ve written some of the opening portion…but I’ve stalled. I keep coming back to it, but when nothing comes, I get frustrated and talk myself out of writing. I need to put that one aside and just let something fresh come through.

It’s time to start watching some of the movies and TV shows that inspire me – comedies. I know that my strengths lie in comedy, so that’s where I’ll put my focus for now.

What are your tricks/habits/processes to spur on your creative side? Do you do certain activities? Do you work better with people? Alone? I’m curious to hear what others have to say. How do you find your muse?

The Trouble with Negativity

Show of hands – how many of you have that friend, that family member, that co-worker who’s just plain old negative? No matter what’s going on, they’ll find some way to complain and criticize something. I’m guessing that most of you have your hands in the air. (You can put your hand down.) Now, take a step back and wonder if maybe you’re that person in someone else’s life.

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DINK Diaries – Weekend Getaway

This will be a new series of posts. My wife and I enjoy our lives as DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids). We love to be able to spontaneously do fun things, take trips, have little getaways and the like. I’ll occasionally blog about some of our DINK days.

One week ago today, Isabelle and I headed off for a nice little weekend getaway. Our Reiki association was having a meeting on Saturday afternoon in Grand Falls, which is about 4 hours away. We opted to make a weekend of it and booked a hotel in Fredericton, the halfway point between the two. As luck would have it though, the highway between Moncton and Fredericton flooded the week we were leaving, meaning we had to make a bit of a detour, adding an hour on the first and last legs of our drive. But we didn’t mind at all! Because all we had ahead of us was a weekend of good eating, relaxation and fun.

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Catastrophic Thinking

“What’s the worst that could happen?”

How often have you asked yourself that question?  It seems that it’s human nature to always go to a worst-case scenario when we’re looking at possible outcomes. Some of us do it because we’re mimicking the thought process our parents followed, others do it because of a bad experience that occurred that you just can’t shake. Or maybe it’s related to anxiety, chronic depression or other mental health issues.

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Silencing the Critic

Everyone has their own moments of doubt and self-criticism.  For some people, the voice is hard to tune out, or to turn off.  Even the most successful and well-grounded people have that little voice that creeps up from time to time and makes them question themselves and their abilities. 

Over recent months, that little voice of mine has been resurfacing more regularly, more insistently.  It’s definitely caused me more than a few moments of mental downward spiraling.  I get caught up in the negative self-talk, which causes even more negative self-talk, which leads to moments of crushing panic and despair. 

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Best Disney World Counter Service Restaurants

A few months back, I wrote a post outlining my top pics for Table-Service restaurants at Walt Disney World. Today, we focus on Counter Service restaurants.

For those unfamiliar with the Disney dining structure, there are two tiers when it comes to dining options. Tier 1 is Table-Service restaurants. This would be your typical evening out dining experience. You make a reservation, are brought to your table, order from the menu, and have your meal brought to you.

Tier 2 is Quick Service or, in other words, “fast food” style eating. I used fast food in quotes because you can get much better than what pops into your mind when I say fast food. For these restaurants, you generally stand in queue at the cash and order your meal, and they hand it to you on a serving tray for you to then go find a seat in the restaurant.

While Table-Service restaurants are of a higher quality generally, and offer a more engaging dining experience, Quick Service meals are great for when you want something easy and quick and don’t want to bother with reservations.

And now, without further ado, here are my top five Quick Service restaurants at Walt Disney World.

Wolfgang Puck Express

This is by far our favourite Quick Service restaurant at WDW. Located at Disney Springs, this is a perfect blend of Quick Service with a Table Service feel. Let’s first talk about the process – you get in line at the counter like you would at any other QS restaurant, but then you go sit down and the meal is brought to your table, along with real cutlery! It’s the little touches. Next, food – high quality, delicious and beautiful presentation. We have eaten here on multiple occasions (sometimes more than once on the same day). The breakfasts are phenomenal and the dinner menu is just delicious. I highly recommend the Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf for a dinner and the Corn Flake French Toast for breakfast.

Columbia Harbour House

Located in the Magic Kingdom, Columbia Harbour House is an underrated spot. You’ll find this to be a refreshing change of pace, when you’re not feeling like a burger. Try some fried shrimp or fish, have yourself some grilled salmon or even a chicken pot pie. They also offer a variety of soups and sandwiches. The seating is good here as well, given that it’s spread out over two floors. If it seems crowded, try heading upstairs to get a nice view of the other guests wandering through Liberty Square.

La Cantina de San Angel

This often has served as our first meal on our visits to WDW. We have often arrived mid-day, and head to Epcot as our first stop. While there, we make our way to La Cantina de San Angel near the Mexico pavilion to share a meal. Our food of choice – the Nachos. It’s a nice sized serving and manages to serve the both of us for a lunch. In addition, they serve tacos, empanadas and, of course, churros. One thing to note, if you’re having lunch and it’s hot outside, there is seating available indoors at La Hacienda de San Angel.

Flame Tree BBQ

We first ate at Flame Tree BBQ during one of our last trips. It was our first foray into dining at Animal Kingdom. Are we glad we were hungry on this day! Again, this is a spot where we share a meal, since one of the options is a Rib, Chicken & Pulled Pork Sampler. Served with baked beans, coleslaw and cornbread. Delish! Adding to the enjoyment is the atmosphere. You’re seated outdoors among the greenery of Animal Kingdom with free-roaming birds coming by to visit. Maybe you’ll make a new friend!

Earl of Sandwich

The last spot that I’ll include in this list is one that I’ll be transparent with – I have not eaten at the location in Walt Disney World. However; I have eaten at the Disnleyland location in Anaheim and trust that the experience and quality is at the same level. Located at Disney Springs, this chain of eateries offers, well, sandwiches! You’ll find a large variety of soups and sandwiches, enough to satisfy just about anyone’s tastes.

And there you have it – my top selections for Quick Service restaurants at Walt Disney World. What is your take on my choices? Do you heartily disagree? Or do you have a spot that you feel I should have included? Comment down below!