for the Creatives, My Creative Projects

Sometimes you don’t need skill

In your creative pursuits, strive for excellence of course. “Study to show yourself approved.” Don’t put out rubbish and expect people to pay for it because it’s authentic and from the heart. Ech.

But also branch out. I’ve got a reasonable amount of skill in music and writing and arguably fashion – though not runway fashion, just artsy fun fashion 😉 What do I not have skill in? Visual arts and rhythm. My coordination is seriously lacking there.

Yet it’s okay to fumble and explore.

  • Last year I choreographed my own personal dance in the privacy of my home that will never be seen by anyone. Anyone.
  • I took a 30 minute drum lesson a few years ago.
  • I remember as a teen taking:
    • a pottery class
    • a cake decorating class
    • a sewing class
    • brief mandolin and harp lessons
    • I even tried acting in church plays

Just to try it out. (I have my parents to thank for opening me up to exploring new pursuits even if I sucked at them.) I always wanted to be good at everything, but let’s face it:

We can’t excel at everything. But we can still try.

The sketching class most stood out to me. The students who had been there awhile were sketching a self-portrait and I eagerly tried and failed. The teacher walked over belatedly and said something along the lines of, “No, that assignment is for the advanced students. You’re supposed to be drawing this grandfather clock.” She was not very happy. And neither was I. I “learned” that I cannot draw.

But I’ve been working on allowing myself to explore and enjoy visual arts even if I suck at them.

Last year I took an art journaling class.

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You don’t have to be good at something to put it in your journal.

I sporadically draw pictures in my journal, to make it visual. And it sucks, but that’s okay, because it’s for my eyes only. (Until last month when I lost my journal at Starbucks and they probably thought it belonged to a preschooler as they flipped through it for contact info….Don’t leave journals at Starbucks! But that’s another story.)

A couple months ago I did one of those painting classes that’s like an “Everybody can paint!” sorta deal. The difficulty level was low – he said an 8 year old did the same painting and it looked great. But on my painting the dancer’s legs were excruciating and I finally had a friend help fix them (but all horrible awkward legness is my fault…)

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Most notably though, the colors I picked out makes it look like a taco dancer, let’s be real. Just flip it upside down and it’s a taco bowl…. see?

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Now I’m hungry.

But the point is, dabble. It might be bad, but it’s fun and it’s stretching those creative muscles.

About that time I was deluded and teeny-handed with an atrocious wardrobe…

There once was a time I was bad at writing – and worse, I thought I was good. There once was a time that the piano teacher wouldn’t let me learn to play piano because my hands were too small and my fingers lay flat on the keys. I used to wear drab or terrifyingly horrible clothes, embarrassingly so, and say I didn’t care about what I wore and maybe I didn’t. How naive. But I got back on those horses and I’m basicly a cowgirl now 😉

So, dabble. I guess that’s all I’m saying. Also, look at all the proof I’m not good at everything! *gestures wildly in every direction* 🙂

And finally, to all the hypothetical naysayers out there – “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”

for the Bookworms, for the Creatives, for the Writers, Showcasing other Creatives

Why I wanna be like Ksenia Anske when I writerly grow up

Although, let’s be real: Ksenia and I don’t plan on actually growing up in our writerly lives. It’s more like staying daydreaming children forever, but then pretending to be grown-up long enough to do the business stuff.

I don’t remember how I discovered Ksenia. But I do remember what stuck in my mind about her:

  • She said, “Reader, you are my publisher. Share my books.”
  • She gave away her books for free, as in all of her older drafts of her story were publicly available to read (maybe still are) and you can even still download her stories for free.

Why did that grab my attention? She saw the value of her readers. That readers are what make or break a story. That’s what I want my philosophy to stay forever.

And she has a mindset of abundance, not scarcity. Those are artistic buzzwords right now, but they ring true. Artists can tend to want to hoard their ideas, their best work for themselves, as if there’s a finite capacity. But we need a mindset of abundance, that we can throw it all out there and celebrate others successes too, because creativity is infinite.

Why else do I want to be like Ksenia Anske “when I grow up”?

  • Curly haired people goals!
  • Quirky personality
  • You are getting to know the person through every online engagement.
  • She is authentic – what she’s learning, what she’s done wrong, it’s all out there. You’re following the journey, the person, not just book sales promos.
  • She’s always learning and sharing what she learns. I’m sure paying attention.
  • She’s not afraid to work out of the box, experiment.
  • It all comes back to her READERS! They support her because she supports them. She listens to their feedback and engages with them.
  • Need proof? Anyone who read her last email newsletter, she requested their address and she sent them a card with a personalized short story.
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the story Ksenia sent me
  • Note the above bullet point also goes back to the concept of abundance rather than scarcity. She didn’t freak that she wouldn’t have enough stories in her for each person or that she wouldn’t be able to send cards to her readers because of the expense. She just said she’d do it, then she did it.
  • okay, I’m losing track of what these bullet points are for and when to use bullet points and when to not….
  • Switch gears!

I’ve read two books of hers:

  1. Rosehead. Magical realism at its finest. If you want a quirky read about a girl and her talking dog and a carnivorous garden, this is it! Everyone’s been looking for a book about a carnivorous garden, right? 🙂

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  2. Blue Sparrow. A collection of tweets on writing, reading, and the creative life. Motivational, inspirational, even instructional (mostly “KEEP WRITING!”). My favorite detail would be that it’s 140 pages long, with 140 tweets. Like an inside joke for us Twitter users 🙂 And to whet your appetite, check out a couple of the tweets:

 

So now you know what I’m working towards. Quirky writing. Lovable hair. Personable interaction. Perspective of abundance. And reader centered. Check out Ksenia’s work for yourself….you won’t regret it!

for the Creatives, Musings of a Creative

The blehhhhhhh of plan B

Plan A was to write this blogpost about Plan B. Then my boyfriend said, “Not like going to the pharmacy for Plan B?” and then Plan B was to preface this blogpost with this paragraph. No, it has nothing to do with pharmacy plan B! Okay, now that we’ve got that cleared up…..

Plan A was to call this post “The Beauty of Plan B” and it’d be like that inspirational basic chick type post. Plus there’s the alliteration of “The Beauty of Plan B.” It flows off the tongue so nicely.

But Plan B doesn’t flow so nicely. It’s more like “The Blehhhh of Plan B.” It’s inconvenient. It forces ya into going its direction when Plan A was all meadows of daisies, and Plan B is a little prickly and a little messy.

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Two roads diverged and I….I was incessantly pushed away from the road less traveled and fell into this second path that just wasn’t it, grrrr, why can’t I just go this epic less-traveled dream life way?!?

Oops, end rant.

But seriously, I am the poster child of Plan B.

    • I was going to teach English until I realized I didn’t want to teach in a structured classroom setting, so I dropped the Education part of my degree and landed with an English Lit degree. What am I to do with that, right?! I didn’t know either, I just knew I liked what I was learning.
    • At the last minute, I decided that Amy’s Big Plan for Her Life was to become a copyeditor at a fiction publishing company to support  writing on the side. In case you missed the memo, full-time writer isn’t an instantaneous career and the publishing industry isn’t exactly prevalent in central IL. I fell into – would ya know it – teaching.
    • And I fell in love with that job – Youth Education Specialist at the Red Cross – until that job ceased to exist and I had to reevaluate my life. And I fell into the role of Executive Assistant, where I loved the people and certain aspects of the job, but I still heard the writerly life calling. I was tinkering with my novel with what spare energy I had and searching job sites for a copyeditor position at a fiction publishing company.
    • I vowed for years that I wouldn’t get swept up into this local Christian job vortex called Samaritan Ministries. I had a number of friends working there that every time the above plan A’s didn’t pan out, they’d tell me I should apply for a job at Samaritan. But noooo, that’s not a fiction publishing company copyeditor job. I wasn’t gonna “settle” for “less” than my dream. But I was also feeling stuck. I just wanted to be writing and editing and be paid for it. And so I fell into Plan B – copywriting and copyediting for Samaritan, a Christian approach to health care. Not quite fiction publishing, but at least I got the first half of my dream job description right 😉
    • and that’s where I am now. And it’s good. I like it. In fact, I got paid to write an article, so it’s a great start.

    UntitledPlan B is a little frustrating. The pharmacy kind and the life trajectory kind. It’s not The Plan, but it just keeps coming up anyway. Sometimes destiny knows what it’s doing though. It might be a little like Kuzco’s trip instead of like Izma’s, but don’t we all wanna be the pseudo-good guy anyway?

    I’m not saying let’s do Plan B forever. I’m just saying let’s try to enjoy the detour a bit. Maybe relax on the trek with Pacha while trying to avoid being murdered, maybe enjoy the weirdness of being a llama and try not to eat the disgusting bug but enjoy the fun disguises. That sorta thing 😉

for the Creatives, for the Writers, Showcasing other Creatives

Guest Post: How Ghostwriting is Hurting the Book World

Olivia J has agreed to share her concerns about ghostwriting here, and you can check out my defense of ghostwriting on her site. What a fun collaboration ❤ Read the posts, then join the convo 🙂

“The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say,” -Anais Nin
 
The picture that started it all:
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This launched me and Amy L Sauder into a debate on ghostwriters, so here we are. 

Ghostwriting, or, more generally, ghosting, is not a new concept in the art world. Even Mozart himself was paid to ghostwrite music for wealthier, more famous men of his time. This process involves Person A creating a work, or even doing a varying amount of collaborating on a work with Person B, but then Person B getting credit. Sometimes this includes Person A’s name in smaller print on the front of the book, or not being included at all. Regardless, ghostwriters are paid for their work.

However, I have some criticisms, as per usual.

(For clarity, I’m going to be talking about ghostwriting concerning books.)

1. Exploitation of the Ghostwriter

Sure, ghostwriters consent to what they are doing. However, it still takes an amount of . . . castration to get very little or no credit on something you worked on. It strips away the integrity of the author. By no means am I talking about truly collaborative works, where two authors write a book together because that’s an entirely different process than ghostwriting. 

How ghostwriting exploits the author is that it takes away the beautiful creative control of the author: it strips the author of what they do best. By having a shadow, by having someone to always answer to, this confines the author. It confines the author even further because these authors sign contracts to write so many books for someone, or to have certain requirements when they write. There’s nothing more hellish that I can think of than putting a cap on the creativity of writing, by controlling and stifling an author. 

Don’t get me wrong, ghostwriting can be a way to launch the author into the publishing sphere, but rarely do I believe that that’s all an author should aspire to be. 

2. All About The Money

The problem is that by slapping a popular name on the cover, it appeals to the pervasive consumerism and fame obsession in this society. By having ghostwriters, it allows famous people to sell books, regardless of whether they are telling good stories. It only adds to the tasteless, bland array of fiction. James Patterson has so many books out because people pick the book up with his name on it and expect the same thing. Name recognition or fame should not sell books, even though publishing has become a toxic industry. 

FullSizeRender (10)The reason that authors like Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy, etc. use ghostwriters is because of the high demand for their books. Or, rather, the types of stories they tell. This only indicates that these books sell because they have their names on them, not because of the title, cover art, or actual content inside, which is absolutely despicable. The promotion of ghostwriters only promotes writing as a business, not an art form. There should be a happy medium between the business of bookselling and writing as an art, but ghostwriters are not the way to achieve that goal. In fact, ghostwriters only push the flow further into the toxic business sphere. 

3. Cheapening of the Craft

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Sure, everyone can write a book, but maybe not well. This is not to discourage anyone from writing a book if they so please. But what ghostwriting does is that it cuts out a significant chunk of the struggle, the art of writing. 

People like Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Zoe Sugg, and other celebrities don’t write a significant chunk of their books; however, they can still claim to be an author of a book. It takes all of the blood, sweat, and tears out of writing. Every ounce of pain, of late nights you’ve spent writing, every blank page, every scrapped draft all becomes for naught because someone who only pitched some ideas for a book is now credited as an author. 

Another problem is that celebrity (fiction) books combine two types of people: writers and non-writers, and this can create disastrous results. Sometimes, what the celebrity/non-writer wants to create or wants to happen isn’t exactly good concerning the objective parts of fiction. This leads to books on the shelves that aren’t the best they can be. Art should always be about making the best the individual can get, always improving. But by allowing half-assed work on the shelves just for money only cheapens writing itself. 

By allowing ghostwriting to populate the scene, it almost degrades the hard work and art that others create, just because someone had enough money.

~

Granted, there are exceptions. Autobiographies are one, because biographies are more of a historical account than a creative work. Biographies, and other nonfiction, don’t conform to the same genre conventions that art or novels do, which is where the problems arise with ghostwriters and books. 

Maybe I would consider ghostwriting, just for the money. But never, under any circumstances, would I make that my career or the only creative work I was writing.

Tread lightly, fellow authors,

~The WordShaker


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Olivia J, The WordShaker is just that: a word shaker. She is a writer, artist, creative extraordinaire, and skilled in the ways of procrastination and being too blunt. She’s going to be a loving wife, mother, published author, speaker, and professional adventurer someday – and whatever else God has in store for her. Olivia has had three short stories published in her high school’s writing journal, and received merit awards for her art in numerous art shows, started and fosters her own creative writing club at her high school, and plans to go to the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Social Media Links:

Instagram: @olivia.j.the.wordshaker

How awesome is this Wordshaker!? 🙂 What do you think about ghostwriting? Does it add or detract to the literary world? Check out my Defense of Ghostwriting on her site (don’t forget to follow her while you’re at it!), then join the convo in the comments below.

for the Creatives

Pirate queens get a happily ever after too

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I would love to hear a feminist analysis of this, but I don’t think I’m studied enough in feminist theory to do it justice. But the themes of this tale are still true of all us dreamers.

Here I continue my analysis of the story of two queens and how their dreams correlate with us dreamers 🙂 You can read part 1 and part 2 also.

Sidebar: Delilah couldn’t let us all be pirates without her! #DelilahTales

Don’t forget: listen along with the full playlist free on YouTube here.

Surrender

Tiernan approaches the Queen, requesting that he trade his life for Grania’s so she can go to her child.

She who has all

Queen Elizabeth is shocked that he loves Grania enough to sacrifice himself, and she accepts his offer. “I who have all / I have nothing compared to the dream she holds fast in her heart.”

Imprisoned Grace on the other hand sings, “I will survive for the day / when I see once more / both the man I love / and the child I bore… / I who have naught / I have all.”

Success in your dream isn’t always what you think it is. Don’t lose sight of what’s important – the people. the passion. the vision. 

The Sea of Life ❤

Grania returns to an Ireland in shambles. She gathers the people of Clew Bay who set sail in the Pirate Queen for England to plead with Queen Elizabeth.

A wonderful lullaby ❤

Woman to Woman

Grania pleads to Queen Elizabeth as a woman.

  • I ask for dignity, no more.
  • Your leaders plunder [Ireland] for greed. My child goes hungry every night.
  • All of our crops get sent to you. How long before we starve outright?
  • Sadly the men you put in charge despoil us everywhere they go
  • and disrespect our women so, to me, the most egregious crime.

She urges Elizabeth to instead of fighting her woman nature, to use it in her role as Queen. A lesson that Grania has well learned by now – her most powerful moments as pirate being through her identity as a woman.

Grania came to appreciate her womanly nature and use it towards her dream, even as a pirate. Perhaps the strongest dreams are those which find a way to marry two disparaging ideas. 

In real life, this is a historic moment where Grania and Queen Elizabeth actually speak in private for 2 hours, what about no one knows. “Who knows the truth that we may glean / Neither as chieftain, nor as Queen… / woman to woman, face to face.”

Queen Elizabeth releases Tiernan and gives Grania her lands and ship.

Finale

Okay, NOW the happily ever after. Kinda 🙂 Tiernan and Grania are reunited at last.

What did Grania learn through her journey? “I fought my wars on land and sea, / to be a woman strong and free. / I should have learned at journey’s start, / no woman’s free who ignores her heart.”

Should Grania have not married Donal for the clan truce? In retrospect, probably, because really that truce didn’t last long. But she fought for her dream, and ya can’t change the past, only the future.

You can’t change the past, only the future. You learn, you grow, you correct your course. And your destiny can’t escape you. 


 

If you “can’t” realize your dream because of some part of your nature, maybe you’re exactly the person to achieve the dream YOUR way. Your destiny involves both who you are that cannot change AND who you want to be.

That’s all the pirate-y stories for now 🙂 Go out there and kill it, Pirate Queens! Make your destiny, one risk and one sacrifice at a time ❤

Hey, for inspiration and to remind yourself who are truly you, dress up as a pirate and send me a pic of your costume. I’ll be sharing my photo session with you next week!

for the Creatives

Our pirate queen woes

Hasn’t everyone always wanted a musical where the female alto is the lead and the female soprano is the villain? Wish granted! With pirates, no less. What more could you want?

This post continues my summary of the story of two queens, analyzing how it depicts us dreamer souls

*Psst! Read part 1 here*

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Sidebar: See, I told ya we’re all pirate queens 😉
Here’s me and my friend Kim dressed as steampunk pirate queens just for funsies.
Costuming by Kim Kouski and photography by Yasmeen Hudson.


Don’t forget: listen along with the full playlist free on YouTube here.

A Day Beyond Belclare ❤

Perhaps the best part of the show happens between songs.

It seems like Grania lost her dream, doesn’t it? She’s housewife to a douchebag – no longer a pirate at sea, fighting for her land. She’s been put in her place, and it was her own choosing, her own sacrifice that did it.

And yet.

Word comes that the English have attacked at Belclare, and Donal and his men go to fight while the ladies, Grania included, sit at home.

But!!! Brace yourself! Plot-twist!

It’s all a trick! The real target is Grania while the men are gone and the women “defenseless.” Ha! Grania rallies the O’Flaherty women who seduce the men and kill them when they’re ehh, least suspecting. Say whaat! I’m sorry, I just love this part 🙂

You guys, Grania had sacrificed everything for her land’s freedom, and her dream still came to her. The people who were a warring clan, suddenly those women were her warring buddies, and they dub her the leader of the O’Flaherty women while Donal is off at sea. Our dream will come if we give to it. Our dream will come with people rallying for our cause. 

Okay, so now we actually get to this song, “A Day Beyond Belclare.” The men return from battle, and Donal is perturbed by the newfound respect for Grania in the clan. Tiernan announces that Grania’s father was mortally wounded in battle. Grania of course is going to see him, but then the O’Flaherty women pledge to join her. “All that you’ve seen us through, we now can repay.”

Donal interjects to say, “Then we all go and I lead clan of O’Flaherty.” Ya know, just cause he’s gotta act like it was his idea to take the clan. Donal celebrates that Grania’s father’s death will make him leader of both clans. However, Grania’s father surprises everyone by passing his mantle to Grania.

This is my most favorite moment of the show. The triumph of Grania. Her sacrifice has paid off, her dream has not forsaken her. She’s a pirate queen again, and with even more allies!

You can’t escape your destiny, it follows you. That’s the thing about destiny – it’s not what could happen or should happen, it’s what DOES happen. It will find you, you just have to watch for it and take your chance. Grania’s sacrifice doubled her allies as she fought for her land. Oh so beautiful inspiration!

Sail to the Stars

A beautiful funeral lament for Grania’s father. A sailor’s death, flaming boat set to sea. Starts in Gaelic, then into English translation. Mournful and triumphant.

Sidebar: Please play this at my funeral. Preferably with Broadway-talent Gaelic choir, but I’d accept just this soundtrack. Gorgeous!

Entr’acte (instrumental) 

Grania, captain of the Pirate Queen ship once again, gives birth aboard. Donal is excited, anticipating his rule again since the son will be heir to both clans.

Sidebar: Listen to this while driving through a lightning storm. It makes for quite an adventure.

Enemy at Port Side

The English attack while Grania is still weak from birthing. Donal wants to surrender, and Grania demands her sword to fight. With Grania once again at the lead, they are victorious against the English.

I Dismiss You

Grania is fed up with Donal’s cowardice. Donal is fed up with Grania incessantly besting him.

If you need some good insults, this song has got it for ya.

  • “Whoring’s made you soft. / Drink has left you weak. / Not a drop of Irish blood is left within your veins.”
  • “You’re a deadweight in war, / a disgrace to your clan, / what you’re not is a man!”
  • “You’re an ace at your trade, / you’re a half decent shot, / fairly skilled with a blade… / but a woman you’re not!”

A wonderful loophole you haven’t been privy to yet is that according to Irish tradition, a marriage is only permanent after 3 years, and until that time a spouse can “dismiss” the other. And that’s just exactly what Grania does.

They dump Donal at port the next stop. I don’t know how this actually goes down, but I like to imagine the O’Flaherty clan sticks with Grania and her son (their future leader) instead of following Donal, but either way, Donal has messed up his life.

If I said I Loved You

Hey remember, there was another romance? Tiernan is wondering if it’s too late to tell Grania he still loves her. Grania is wondering if it’s too soon to tell Tiernan that she loves him. And they’re reunited 🙂

The Role of the Queen

Queen Elizabeth considers the dilemma of her role to produce an heir. Just a step behind Grania, in terms of realizing her dream of ruling the Kingdom is both hindered by and requiring her woman-ness.

Funny (ironic, odd) that Bingham refers to Grania as an “aberration of her sex” to the queen who is also conflicted by her masculine job as a woman. Anyhow, Bingham has acquired a new ali: Donal O’Flaherty has agreed to betray Grania, and with it his country.

The Christening (instrumental)

Grania and clan gathers for the christening of her son, Eoin.

Let a Father Stand by his Son

Donal pretends to be penitent, preying on Grania’s close relationship with her father, saying that her son should have a chance to know his father as well.

Grania agrees: “I dismissed the husband cursed by his sin. / The father, though, may come in.”

Donal, along with the English, enter the ceremony and attack, killing many and taking Grania prisoner. It was a trick! (of course).

Donal plans to restore clan O’Flaherty with his boy, but Grace begs Tiernan to take Eoin – “Keep that beast from my boy! / Save my child, save my son!”

Tiernan kills Donal (woohoo!) and keeps Eoin safe.

*7 years pass* with no song

This isn’t some chick flick where everything goes bad for a couple weeks and then there’s the happily ever after. Your dream isn’t a chick flick either (unless your dream is to, like, make a chick flick).

Everything seems lost. There’s the silence of no songs for this part of the story. That’s because nothing is happening for poor Grania. The English take over Ireland. Grania has been in prison for 7 years – she’s lost her land and her child.

A dream is kinda like a rollercoaster – you’ll hit triumphs, like getting the O’Flaherty clan women to love you. You’ll hit downfalls, like having to marry Donal (yech.) You’ll think you’re winning only to be slapped back to worse than where you started. 7 years may pass. Keep dreaming. This isn’t the end of the story.


Don’t worry, there’s more to the story! It’s not over yet, dear dreamer 🙂 Read the finale next. Until then, tell me about you in the trenches working towards your dream.

  • What’s your unlikely successes?
  • Tell us about your silent 7 years.
  • Is there light at the end of the tunnel? What is it?
for the Creatives

We’re all pirate queens

Under-appreciated. Emotional. Irish. I’d like to think I’m two of those things, but the Pirate Queen musical gets all three 😉

So while recommending this soundtrack that I just can’t be rid of, I thought I’d share how we all are basicly pirate queens. Us creative souls, us dreamers, we can relate to the ups and downs of this epic voyage 🙂 I’ll go through the story song by song, so yes, major spoilers all spoilers basicly here. But I’ll be analyzing the theme of dreaming and how it applies to our lives along the way 🙂

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Listen along with the full playlist free on YouTube here.

Prologue (instrumental)

Bagpipes, just to make sure you remember this is an Irish musical.

The Pirate Queen

A new ship is christened The Pirate Queen. Grania (Grace) O’Malley, the daughter of the captain, sneaks aboard with her sailor love Tiernan.

Woman ❤

Shocker? Grania doesn’t get to stay on the ship. Because? She’s a woman.

All of us are at some point denied our dream. All of us have something that disqualifies us from our dream: gender, age, personality, family, income.

“I’m almost your age / I’m your match in size. / I’m your match with swords, / an equal in most eyes. / But when you have a dream, / and you’re caught in its grip, / you can climb aboard a ship, / you can, / you can, / for you’re a man. / You can reach toward that place / where the earth meets the sky, / fight a battle,  be brave, be true, / if you can do it, why not I?”

So what does Grania do when she’s told to stay home and wait for the men to save the day and return? She disguises herself as a cabin boy and becomes a stowaway, of course! Then a storm hits and Grania saves the day, exposing herself.

My Grace

The captain, her father, is in a tight spot, punishing a stowaway or honoring a hero. He finally determines to let her stay through that voyage as a reward for her bravery.

“Who can even imagine the trials you will face / as you strive to live free?”

Keep fighting for that dream. Take whatever opportunities you have to prove your worth. Become a stowaway towards your dream and seize the opportunity!

Here on this Night

Grania and her love Tiernan are super excited (understatement) to get to be together. Their romance is a secret, but they’re together.

The Waking of the Queen

Two queens are revealed in this song.

First our Grania proves her worth yet again. England attacks and injures her father, so she takes charge and sinks the battling warship. Grania’s father recognizes her leadership, and begins to train her to be captain. She is dubbed the Pirate Queen.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth becomes Queen in England. Knowing women aren’t taken seriously as a leader, she decides to hide her femininity.

Noticing a pattern yet? The villainess has a similar storyline to Grania, not being taken seriously in her role because she’s a woman.

Everyone will have something to disqualify working towards a dream. If the Queen of England and the Queen of the Pirates were disqualified, what makes you think you won’t be?

Rah-Rah, Tip-Top

Queen Elizabeth’s court tries to assure her everything is in “tip-top” shape, patronizing her as if she’s a little princess so as not to “bother the royal head.” When she presses, they admit that an Irish pirate ship had attacked. Upon further inquiry, they admit that the ship had a female captain – Grace O’Malley. Queen Elizabeth must show her power and commissions Lord Bingham to “crush” Ireland.

 The Choice is Mine

With England warring against Ireland, the O’Malley clan must unite with rival O’Flaherty clan as one force, suggesting an arranged marriage between O’Malley’s daughter Grania and O’Flaherty’s son Donal.

Grania’s dream was to fight England, but this isn’t the way she planned. She would lose the love of her life, Tiernan, but also she would lose her freedom to be pirate at sea. It’s a time where she has to choose between the means and the end of her dream, and sacrifice.

We all will come across a chance, where what was seen as a detriment to our dream is actually a stepping stone to the cause we fight for. And we may be asked to sacrifice accordingly.

The irony is she is asked to do what only a woman can do, when all this time she’s been fighting to do what only a man is permitted to do. The cause would be won in doing what only a woman can, marrying and bearing a son to create an alliance.

“I fought so hard, / to carve a life that’s mine. / I love my land. / Where do I draw the line? A man cannot, / a woman can. / It’s cruel, the path / we are now forced to choose.”

Boys’ll Be Boys

This song is a fun little ditty that shows just what hubbie Donal is like. Donal and clan are at a tavern the night before the wedding (bachelor party? 🙂 ) and he is being teased about marrying a pirate “queen”. Donal claims he’ll tame her, and the guys are all about that, but the ladies bet on Grania giving him trouble.

Girls: “After the drums, / wedding night comes / who will come out alive? / She’s been captain, leading a crew, / She’s killed people, ran ’em right through. / Sorry, Donal, lad, I’m betting on her.”

Donal: “I’ll be rough when she needs it, / rough as seas ever were. / Up to now she’s been steering. / Now it’s time to steer her. / She’s confused about gender. / She’s been too long at sea. / I may well have to beach her, take her inland and teach her, / what a woman should be.”

In the end, Donal promises “marriage won’t change a thing” and he’ll still party. What a guy :/

The Wedding

And yep, they get married. Celebrate, complete with Irish dancing of course 🙂

I’ll Be There

“Go and marry a man you don’t love if that pleases you. / Throw away for a cause all the joys we have known. / Let his kiss keep you warm, I’ll be fine on my own.”

Tiernan is mad about Grania’s choice. However, his love for her remains, and he decides to stay with the O’Flaherty clan for when she needs him.


The dream does not start easily for these ladies. Your dream won’t come easy for you either. Grania and Elizabeth took a chance, a risk, and made it into their dream “industry” per se.

After all that work to even be considered for their dream, Grania’s marrying a jerk, England is warring. You guys, working toward a dream isn’t pretty from the get-go. You’ll be asked to sacrifice. Steve Kamb says in his book Level Up Your Life: “Great sacrifice is often required of the hero along his/her journey to achieve transformation and reach his or her full potential.”

My next blogposts (part 2 and part 3) show what happens to Grania and Elizabeth next. Until then, comment below how starting toward your dream is going for you.

  • What external obstacles are you facing? (hopefully not an irate queen!)
  • Who are your allies?
  • What’s your dream and what’s an internal obstacle you face?
  • What are you sacrificing?