Monthly Archives: July 2021

Dueling and Dancing

My oldest recollection of CP Butchvarov is associated with exhaustion and annoyance, circa 1974: I carried a 40-pound sheet of plywood on my back, hauling it about a mile into the woods.  CP was the designer of the next-generation fort my friends were building in the wild undeveloped area behind Hickory Hill Park.  To elude the bikers who kept tearing down our forts and firepits with axes, this one would be built underground.

This memory has had such an impact on me that I wrote the whole thing into chapter two of my novel Silver Sparks, which is to be self-published later this year, or as soon as I get organized.

Twelve hundred miles from home in summer 1976, I unexpectedly encountered CP again.  He had a job at Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, and I managed to sign up there a few days behind him.  He had his guitar along: I’m pretty certain that in his entire life, CP Butchvarov has never traveled anywhere without his guitar.

CP wouldn’t play, you know, folk songs for party sing-alongs.  His entire purpose in owning a guitar is to write and perform original music.  I listened to him play a few of his songs, and he told me about a rock opera he wanted to write.  I was intrigued by the story he had in mind, about a defiant philosopher to be executed for thought crimes.  I wrote a page of verse from the point of view of his main character.  CP heavily amended my words and incorporated them into a song called “When I Was Free.” 

No other songs have been written to date for this rock opera.

(Incidentally, I predict here that CP is going to quibble with me about when we first met or what was our first song.  Never mind: this is the official, authorized history.)

I’m writing a few gilded, hazy words about CP today to celebrate the release of our newest collection, “Dueling and Dancing.”  https://cpbutchvarov.com/Dueling-and-Dancing/  All lyrics written by me on this album; all music, performances, and production by CP Butchvarov.

A torrent of my gratitude goes out to CP for making and recording these songs.  At a point where our oldest collaborations are celebrating their 45th anniversary, CP told me he felt compelled to breathe life into some of them, to give them a showcase, to put them into the world.  With this release, he has greatly exceeded that promise.  The recordings are pristine and gorgeous.  The musicianship is passionate.  The songs are, well, some outstanding and some lesser.  (I would say the same thing about “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”)  Open the link, plug in your earbuds and judge for yourself.

I’ve written before about the joys and trials of working in a creative songwriting collaboration with CP. For me, this album comes along as one hugely rewarding and undeserved payoff.  After spilling ink onto sweaty pages in years gone by, now these recordings come to the surface in order to provide royalties for my retirement!  What?  No royalties?  We’re giving away the recordings for free?

I’ll write more about CP soon.  Stop reading and go listen to these songs.

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Transformation

I first interviewed Susan Balogh for this blog in October 2020. Susan is a holistic healing and happiness coach, but more importantly (as far as I am concerned), she’s an amazing writer with tremendous insight. Her books are all about personal transformation and blissful wellbeing. Susan publishes her books through her own imprint, Wish*More Wellness. Since our first interview only nine months ago, Susan has written and published two new books, which are highlighted here. It’s always a very great pleasure to talk with Susan.

Susan, your new book is titled There’s MAGIC in this MANIFESTING JOURNAL: It’s Your Imagination: 100 Days of Make-Believe to Attract Your Wishes & Dreams.  Can I ask first: What is a manifesting journal, and what made you want to write one?

I would imagine there are many different types of manifesting journals, but they are generally offered as a way for us to invite or attract our true desires into our life. 

I decided to write this because it’s something I practice as often as I can, and I wanted to inspire others to do the same. I also found myself eager to receive the delivery of my author copies so that I could start using it. So I suppose I wrote it for myself as well.

Your manifesting journal offers 100 days of exercises which (to me, anyway) are very much like writing prompts, and each one asks the reader to write about their own ideal life.  Do you believe that the act of writing is a key that helps lead people to a more perfect, happier life?

I wanted to propose the kind of questions that would evoke the most interesting or transformational answers or results.

As you write out your answers to the prompts, you can find yourself aligning your thoughts and energy with them. And that can begin to change your life’s circumstances in surprising ways. There’s no limit to the wellbeing and happiness you can achieve, and if nothing else, using this process can open you up to the possibilities available to you.

How does using our imagination help us find better health, more joy, and success in following our wishes and dreams?

Our imagination allows us to create just about anything we want. As I believe Einstein said, it’s a preview of life’s coming attractions. Visualizing ourselves as we wish to be, and watching ourselves act out how we want things to be, is one of the most powerful tools to create our ideal future, or may even turn out to be something better. 

As you know, I believe that creativity and imagination are gifts to us from the universe that are available to everybody.  Do you feel that anybody can benefit from using your manifesting journal?  Does a reader need to have some specialized set of beliefs in order to make use of it?

I believe anyone could use it and hopefully enjoy it, but if the concepts mentioned above are unfamiliar to them, they will just need to be open to trying it. 

My experience with using your manifesting journal is that the exercises feel light-hearted when I read them, but as I start to write, they gently nudge me to dig more deeply into my own desires.  As a result, I feel that I’ve started to visualize my own success in a much more specific way than I ever have up to now.

It thrills me every time I hear something like this from a reader! Thank you for sharing that with me. It means so much to me, truly.

Your previous book, Dear Wellbeing… 100 Days on My Path to More Joy is also organized in a workbook format.  In that case, the questions seemed designed more for a “short-answer” format with each day’s responses centered around a single topic.  You seem to be a writer who really wants to engage your readers and invite them to work on their own wellbeing and happiness.  Did you have this in mind when you started writing, and is it an effective approach?

Yes, I think it’s so important to make self-development books as interactive as possible. That’s really where the true transformation comes in. Rather than just reading the words of a book, you’re brought to a place of feeling something as you’re writing out your thoughts. It’s a wonderful way to practice feeling how you wish to feel, which is primarily what my books are all about.

This is your third book from Wish*More Wellness.  Are you following a plan with your books?   Do you plan to offer a course?

I have a couple more workbooks to offer in the series, and I plan to write many more journals. As for the course, I’ve been working on creating a 100-day course that is based on the three steps I offer in my first book. It will be split into three 30-day courses, for anyone who’s only interested in one particular step. And once I’ve completed those I will be selling it together with an additional ten days. The last ten days will be a quick overview which can be used as a refresher, as desired. I intend to make it light and fun, and a nice easy way to practice feeling how you truly wish to feel. The idea is to practice more consistently until it feels like a part of who you are and hopefully provides a life-changing transformation for you. 

Our grateful thanks to Susan! Here is Susan Balogh’s author page at amazon.com.

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