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?

Fashion, for the Creatives

Creative Fashion on an Artist’s Budget

Maybe you’re a writer. Or painter. Or dancer. Or card maker, flower arranger, or really any type of creative soul. Now it’s time to look the part.

One thing about artists, they know how to pick their wardrobe. It’s not boring. It’s rambunctious. Daring. Eclectic. Bold patterns, bright colors, varying styles.

(Side note: Maybe you’re one of the creatives that wear the same clothes every day. This blogpost, not about you. Sorry. Try here instead.)

You know why I am against wearing the same clothes every day, despite the claim that it increases decisive behavior the rest of the day? Because creativity needs an outlet, every day. Starting the day with creativity of a fun outfit, it’s life-giving. Being that spark of creativity in the world, it’s life-giving. The world needs creativity, and you need creativity, and this is just one way to have fun with your inner artist.

Here’s some ways I make my own eclectic wardrobe – maybe it will spark some ideas for your own closet 🙂

  1. The Secret Behind My Wardrobe

    Noo, it’s not Narnia (unfortunately.)

    A friend once asked me what stores I shop at, and my secret almost popped out: “I don’t buy clothes.” What?! I hadn’t realized until that moment, but it’s true.

    You see, I couldn’t have my fairytale wardrobe without my fairygodmother friends who pass clothes my way anytime they’re done with them. Dear Kim, of the “Geeks Rule Others Drool” blogsite, keeps my closet fresh (along with sporadic donations from other friends.)

    The truth is, many of my favorite pieces were a blessing I wasn’t expecting. I do shop for clothes (more on that later), but so much of it is actually the generosity of others. My modern patronage system – they give me clothes so I am inspired to write 😉

    Often even when I do shop, my mom has given me a pile of coupons to make everything free or near-free.

    What About You? 
    Maybe you buy clothes. Maybe you don’t have a friend or family member dumping fun clothes in your lap.

    Do you have a friend getting rid of stuff? It doesn’t hurt to ask if you can snag some before the trash or Goodwill or whatever. (Okay, some friends it would hurt. Sometimes it’s just weird to ask a friend if you can have their clothes. I get it.)

    But who are your secret patrons? Who supports your work in tangible or intangible ways? Maybe you get food from a friend’s garden or your couch came from a family member who was pitching it. You may find you have a supporter in an unlikely place, even if it’s not in regards to fashion – sighhhh 🙂

  2. Where to Shop

Besides raiding friends’ and family wardrobes, the answer to most all your problems is at rummage sales and clearance racks of cheaper stores. Trust me on this.

Disagree? “But name-brand quality pricey items last longer. I’m saving money by going to pricier stores.”

Do you hear your hypothetical self? You want to spend a buttload of money on a top so you can wear it for the rest of your life? No. The way to go, buy a cheap top that will wear out in a couple years – then you still have plenty of money to buy a new fun top, because you know what? By a couple of years, you’re ready for something new. Save yourself the problem of “having nothing to wear” with no money because it was spent on a closet full of name-brand items that just won’t wear out already!

There’s my two top tips for watching your budget with an eclectic wardrobe. Friends’ clothes and clearance racks. The leftover scraps and rejects of clothes, those are the funky pieces you need to liven your fashion! There’s just something poetic about it, don’t ya think? 🙂

My next fashion post will be on how to stretch your fashion sense to include more funky pieces – Lord knows I didn’t start with my wacky style! But it’s fun, I promise, and I’ll give you more secrets to get there yourself 🙂 Until then, start looking at reject clothes for your style.

Psst! I go through clothes so fast I don’t know what to do with it. No wait, I do! I pass it on to you – you can shop my closet on PoshMark. Use my friend registration code – JMSCH – for $10 off your 1st purchase from any closet. 

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for the Bookworms, for the Creatives, for the Writers

Huffington Post Isn’t the Only Problem

Writers (and creatives in general) are up in arms about getting paid.

A Summary of the Discussion thus far:

Kristen Lamb has recently been posting about the problem with Free. She started by urging writers not to diss Amazon while promoting used bookstores, since Amazon actually pays authors and used bookstores do not.

She then speculated on what this Culture of Free is going to do to authors going forward.

Finally, she honed in on Huffington Post, a platform that is proud of not paying authors while making millions off of their work. 

Kristen Lamb isn’t the first or the last to call out Huffington Post. Wil Wheaton, Chuck Wendig, and Porter Anderson all have great posts about this issue.

This conundrum doesn’t just pertain to writers, but to artists in general, with artists being more vocal about deserving better pay – Taylor Swift pulling her music off Spotify, Ally Burguieres demanding reimbursement for Taylor Swift’s use of her artwork, or hula-hoop performer Revolva turning down an unpaid opportunity to perform on Oprah’s tour.

We Need Exposure….and Pay!

It’s the way of the world. It’s been the way of the world, and it’s only increasing. Exposure is important. All artists need exposure to live. But we don’t just need exposure to live. We need pay too. We need food on the table and a roof over our heads.

Plumbers and scientists and doctors and teachers and engineers, they all need exposure to live too. If no one knew about their skills or reputation, they wouldn’t be hired and they wouldn’t make it very far. But they still get paid. They still need paid.

What Can Artists Do?

You need exposure: That’s what Marketing and Brand and Advertising is for. Work for free if you want, but let it be on your terms. When you offer free. When you’re not being asked by a highly profitable company to work for free. Don’t give in and work for free, because “you have to” or because “that’s the way the world works.” Stand your ground for artists everywhere.

What Can EVERYONE Do?

Stop supporting the system. The system that says artists have to work for free to be truly authentic. Bullcrap!

Consider boycotting Huffington Post, now that you know the problem. Speak up about it being a problem. Many don’t know. Don’t share or Retweet or click the Huffington Post links that are exploiting writers for their own gain. Don’t perpetuate the cycle. Huffington Post can’t survive off of unpaid labor if no one supports their site any longer.

Most importantly: Stop with the Huffington Post mindset!

  • Stop assuming you can get free labor from artists.
  • Stop asking for them to write, edit, design, draw, paint, play music, or perform for free.
  • Even friends. You have artist friends, great! That doesn’t mean you get free stuff, that means you should support them in their art – pay them for their work, and I’m not talking about buying them a coffee (although coffee is a nice bonus!)My sister is a cosmetologist – I don’t ask her to work for free though; I pay her MORE than my usual tip, because I especially support her work. I want her to prosper with her talent!
  • Artists, walk the talk – don’t ask for free labor from other artists when you know you hate that.
  • Maybe your artist friend offers to help you for free – AWESOME! That means they’re willing. Don’t ask for free, but of course you can accept a free offer.Here’s the kicker then though – pay them in exposure. Brag on them, share their work, give them exposure so that they can get paid the next time around. Anytime I receive free assistance from an artist who offered, I try to remember to post their work on social media, tag their website, mention their expert work. Because artists need exposure too.

Always pay an artist – at least with exposure, but preferably with money as well.

We can stop this cycle. We can pay the artist what they’re worth. We can stop expecting free handouts. We can demand what we’re worth and plan to pay a person what they’re worth. We can refuse to profit off of exploiting another human being.

Let’s not be Huffington Post; let’s be better.

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for the Bookworms, for the Writers

What the L’s in a PenName?

To pen-name or not to pen-name – for any writer, that is the question.

There is a lot of factors that go into choosing between one’s own name or a pseudonym, and I thought I’d give you a brief sneak-peek at the process.

(Writers: Kristen Lamb has a post discouraging use of pen names in most situations. Rachelle Gardner has a post on problems to consider if using a pseudonym.)

So how’d I decide on mine, on keeping my own name, but adding the middle initial?

Step 1 – Default Setting

If you can’t find a really really good reason to use a pseudonym, you should be using your own name. That’s the default. I thought I might have good reasons until I read the blogposts mentioned above. (Writers: read those if considering a pseudonym.)

Step 2 – Google That Name

I googled myself. You know what comes up when I google “Amy Sauder”? Not me. “Amy Sauder – Peoria area photographer” shows up. That’s right, there’s an Amy Sauder, also in Peoria, also an artist, who has a perfectly legit photography business. Seriously, check her out.

With someone else topping the google charts, I can do one of the following:

  • compete for “Amy Sauder” space on google by creating alot of internet content with great Search-Engine Optimization
  • rely on readers to type “author” when googling me and photography clients to type “photographer” when googling her (a completely legitimate option that many choose, and it works)
  • find a different name so she has her google space and I have mine

Step 3 – Devil is in the Details

Sharing google space is not enough reason to choose a pen name.

With a pen name, everything is more complicated. Marketing is more complicated, because you lose the audience you already have with your own name. Paychecks and legal documents are complicated. Remembering the little details – like how easy/quick signing an autograph is with a chosen pen name – is complicated. I toyed around with pen names, sure. But it didn’t seem like a good option even still.

In order to avoid the sharing of google space and to avoid using a pen name, I tried my middle initial.

What happens when you google Amy L Sauder? Well now, you have a whole bunch of me, though not much popped up at all when I originally googled it. “Amy Sauder, photographer” still tops the google “Amy Sauder” charts – and I’m there too a little lower – but if you remember the L, I fill that space mostly.

Picture a Bookshelf

The final step, at least that I’m discussing at this point.

Imagine a bookshelf….where’s your book fall on the bookshelf? Usually books are ordered by genre and then by author’s last names.

In an ideal world, I don’t want my book crowded out and hidden next to the Stephen Kings or James Pattersons of the world. Can I see a place for my book under my name on the shelf? You bet I can! No overcrowding here.

And so, Amy L Sauder was born. And in the grand scheme of things, I think I might actually like it more than just Amy Sauder.

What’s In Your Name?

What about you? Do you have a pen name? Do you think you’d use a pen name? What are your thoughts, ideas, questions? Let me know in the comments!

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Relationships

Narcissist Confessions, in 4 Parts

 

Part 1: The Wrong Kind of Love

Part of the truth is I love too wholly, too quickly. But not the right love; the wrong love. The love that swallows you whole, suffocates you ’til all that’s left is a bigger version of me. I want to see you, because you see the me I want to see.

And as soon as I get that close, I run. ‘Cause big me is addicting, but I will burst into little me any second and I just can’t stand to see that. And it’s best to just move on to the next person that can make me big. Perpetuate this endless cycle.

I squeeze too tight and run too much, both in embarrassingly high amounts, because I don’t know how to just be with you.

Part 2: The Tight, Uncomfortable Squeeze for Both of Us

But I’m learning. I’m changing, or at least I tell myself that, if its not just to make me bigger. If you’re willing, here, crawl in next to me. I’m trying to make some room, but please, forgive me if I fill too much.
Do you know what it’s like? I let my feelings own me. Not control me, there’s a balance of saying “not this far.” But I let them take over, I #feelthefeels. Small things will overwhelm my countenance. I suppose I’m dramatic….even this post is painting a potent filtered condensed version of who I am. I’m an explosion, if only on the inside.

There’s too much human-being-ness oozing out of me.

Part 3: The Tightrope

Sometimes I don’t get the nonartistic temperament. It’s so tempered and stable and makes me feel too volatile and too full and too too. But I need balance. And maybe you need over-the-top. And maybe it’s all just right as we are.

I think we forget that God isn’t always a whisper; He’s also a whirlwind. And people aren’t whirlwinds or whispers; they’re just people. So we can be whirlwind and then whisper and then explosion and so full and so tiny all at once. And I think I can see that in you. If I try. If you let me try.

Part 4: The Haunting

The question that plagues me: “Will you follow through if I fall for you?

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Creative Musings

On the Road Again: Karitos Retreat 2015

Today I am outta here! It’s hard to believe only 1 year ago today I was being introduced to the wonder of Karitos. Once again, I am stoked to be part of a Karitos event, this time a retreat. I’m sure I’ll have so many thoughts to unpack here when I return, but until then, check out what the hype is about on my previous posts:

Karitos Indy 2015

Karitos Chiago 2014

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Christianity, for the Creatives

The Tortured Artist Mythology: A Christian Artist’s Dilemma

This is part 3 of the Tortured Artist series: you can check out Identity Crisis and Difficult to Love here.

The story of Christian singer/songwriter Rich Mullins, “Ragamuffin,” was recently released on DVD. A great movie that exemplifies the tortured artist stereotype. And I think it brings up two of the most difficult problems with being both Christian and artist.

The first is seen when Rich Mullins shows up to a seminary class right after his song “Awesome God” becomes a radio hit. It comes up in class and the teacher is befuddled as to why such a famous worship leader would be taking his class. It seems like Rich should know enough about God at this point with such anointed music to be leading the class himself, certainly not needing to learn more from others. Right? Right????

One problem that Christian creatives have is that they are assumed to be an authority on all spiritual topics. They can seek counsel and learning only to be greeted with a responsibility they never signed up for. We need to learn. We aren’t necessarily asking for authority when we put pen to paper or lyrics to music or paint to canvas. We’re just asking to express our hearts. Don’t take it too seriously. Every Christian has an audience, whether in artwork or another workplace; we all hold the same responsibility for our actions.

The second problem is equal and opposite. Rich Mullins is seen cussing, smoking, and drinking. (See, tortured artist.) Because a story of someone’s life will emphasize the highs and lows with no middle ground, it’s difficult to say how much of his life this more negative portrayal encapsulates. Yet multiple people get upset at his Christian platform when he struggled so. Some even question if he really knew God.

Sometimes I think the church is more forgiving of Christians from the Bible than of those Christians around today. Men and women who knew God in the Bible were messed up too. Liars, cheaters, drunkards, fornicators, murderers. This often after they knew God. But they weren’t defined by it. They’re considered heroes of the faith, with sin disregarded, ignored, or used as a lesson of God’s great mercy. And contemporary Christians should be given the same chance.

Somehow there is little grace for spiritual or theological error in creatives’ artwork. Because somehow we’ve accidentally taken up a mantle we’ve never intended, an authority we never deserved or asked for. Blasphemy. Leading others astray. An entire work worth being burned, instead of just taking the time to seek the truth yourself. Artistic expression is not the Bible (unless it is, of course.) We’ll get it wrong. Correct us where we’re wrong, but don’t write us off.

Let me tell you a secret: if we’re an artist for any length of time, we are open to criticism, even welcome it. For our work to be any good, it’s critical. We are prone to bouts of disagreement and tears over critique, while at the same time developing a backbone to eventually accept the life-giving truth after some good ol’ analyzing and ego-killing. So if you see something we believe or behave wrongly in, give it a shot. We may consider you our best friend after we take the time to set aside our pride. Just try to be gentle and gracious, because like I said, we our prone to bouts of disagreement and tears 🙂