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?
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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?

for the Creatives

Build it before Ellen DeGeneres shows up

You get stuck in an elevator with Ellen DeGeneres. This sounds like one of her pranks waiting to happen, but it’s really not. You’re just stuck there. And you start talking about your dream.

  • the book you have in you
  • the music you’re making
  • the product you present to the world
  • the nonprofit you’re creating
  • the community you’re building
  • the art you create

All of the sudden, she buys in. She’s totally sold on YOUR IDEA! How awesome is that, right?

Then she invites you to talk on her show, give a pitch, sell your idea to the world. But right now, she’s walking on stage as you’re rescued from the elevator, “My audience is your audience. Invite them to your dream.” Except, oops:

  • you haven’t written the book
  • you have no music prepared
  • you don’t have a website to direct traffic to
  • you have only 5 pieces to sell and no pictures to show

You now have millions of people ready to buy into your dream, but you have nothing to show for it. Nothing.


Okay, I have not yet been trapped in an elevator with Ellen, and that’s good because I’m not prepared for that either.

But I can on a very very small scale relate. Very very small.
  • Strangers liking my public Facebook posts, but I hadn’t thought to add the Follow button
  • A blogpost that brought 1k+ viewers, but there was no way for non-WordPress users to stay in the loop
  • A free $30 Facebook coupon, but I didn’t have a product to advertise

Sometimes we buy into the lie that if we just had luck on our side, if we could just get the audience that someone else has, then we’d make it. But we can’t wait for opportunity – we have to prepare for it.

I don’t want you to be like me. I mean, in the above ways at least 🙂 When Ellen buys into your idea, I want you to be ready! And I want to be ready.

Here’s how I prepared and am preparing:

  • You can now follow my Facebook profile AND like my Facebook page AND follow me on Twitter
  • You can follow this blog through email (see the sidebar) as well as through WordPress, and I’m working on an email newsletter (you can pre-join the list now, but have grace for my MailChimp stumblings.)
  • I finished the first draft of my quirky meta murder mystery. In the editing process, then finding a way to get it out to all my lovely readers (YOU!)

To introduce your dream to others, make sure you get working on the following:

  • Something tangible to offer: the product, the idea, the work, whatever they need to buy into, get it out of your head and into the real world.
  • A public place for your dream: whether that’s a Facebook page, website, Etsy, blog, email newsletter – your audience needs a place to go once they buy in.
  • An action for your audience to take: buy the product, donate to a cause, follow your blog, spread word to their community….don’t let them just show up and leave.

I’m still a work in progress. But we all are 🙂 We’ll never be entirely ready for the big moment. But let’s do what we can to get there. Build it before they come. And by “they” I mean your audience in general, but especially Ellen 😉