Friday, December 12, 2014


I am reminding you -- nagging, alerting, loudly informing you.  You have got to stand tall.

Yes, you may have seen this blog before. I nagged about this last year and the year before -- I haven't been standing tall, so I figure you probably aren't standing tall either.

Every morning I stand tall.

Around 6:50 A.M. I march into my dance studio-theater, striding with long, bold steps, looking straight ahead and beyond so that my head is high. I cross the 40 foot floor, hearing my sneakers squeak and dismissing my do-this- do-that morning thoughts.

If  "stand up straight" worked like a mantra, I'd be peachy fine -- perky, zesty, quite attractive looking. Alas, commanding myself like the boss, director, choreographer, doesn't work anymore.

(If you are slumped over, or dumpy looking, you can read what I've said about this in blogs I wrote back in 2009  --"SSS"  (Sit, Stand, Straight), or  "Promenade."  But I'm not encouraging you to click the links -- the fact is, I am older and wiser  and yes, a little more slumped now.)

How you look when you enter a room is more important than weight, diction, hair style, makeup, or what you're wearing. Even if no one sees you, it makes a difference. It's an inner thing of pride and confidence. When you like yourself, you think more clearly and accomplish more -- you do whatever you are doing better -- more efficiently, more skillfully, accurately and thoroughly.

How to stand tall:

Be a toothpaste tube. 

Squeeze yourself in the middle -- front, back, sides, all around. While you're squeezing count ten chimpanzees -- "one chimpanzee -- two, three," etc.  (One chimpanzee = one second.)

That's it. If you want to do more, toothpaste tube yourself  three times a day.

Then, three times a day, go to a wall.

Stand against it... heels,

back of legs,

your waist,

your upper back,

your shoulders,

back of your head.

And count ten chimpanzees.

If you want to do more, do this at least twice a day.

Truth -- what gets in the way of standing tall is the fact that most of the day, you are sitting. Therefore, try doing this three times a day.  Or, every time you are thinking of getting a snack, first, go stand against the wall and do this exercise.

Hey, if you are passionately concerned with how you look, or dispassionately realistic and not happy with the way you look, do the wall four to six times a day. It will definitely make a difference.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


I saw her face on the cover of Time. I'd heard the name, but never heard her music. I read the cover story -- and read, and read -- read a lot of other stuff.

Big Fact -- she's a super star at age 26,  breaking records, selling much more than Lady Gaga, Rianna, Miley and Eminem.

As a child she had a BIG DREAM -- she wrote stories, poems, won a nationwide poetry contest, and performed, wherever and whenever she could. At 11, she flew too Nashville to give the demo Cd she's made to various companies. Nothing happened. She did it again at 13 -- got an offer from RCA; turned it down and signed with Sony/ATV.  She was the youngest songwriter the company had ever signed.

A year later, she got her parents into move to Henderson, Tennessee (the outskirts of Nashville), where she wrote music while finishing high school. A Sony executive helped her publish her first album (at 15), that went gold, platinum later on. The many awards she's won, the major venues where she's performed, the sell-out crowds -- her huge success -- is perhaps the result of shrewd awareness and her thorough knowledge of the music business. She knows the right moves -- how to make and sell albums sell like hot cakes -- how to sell tickets -- how to get herself the biggest, best sponsors.

Taylor Swift's music: Well ... She's very pretty, very tall, (5'10"), has great legs, but doesn't sell sex in what she chooses to wear; her dance moves are rather childlike, ordinary (not spectacular); she sells a pretty, friendly "very nice" girl whom you'd invite to your home for dinner. Her voice -- tone, delivery, phrasing -- well ... her songs have a story-telling style that doesn't inspire me to sing along with her, or hold onto the words or the ideas in my mind, but obviously, she inspires the younger generation.

Since her music doesn't thrill me, I asked my son JD, who said -- "She's hot. Hey, a young pretty girl comes along, who's beautiful enough, who's a good performer, who either dresses in a bold way or sings in a bold way, and everyone declares how revolutionary and ambitious and amazing she is, till the next one comes along."


More than anything, I'm intrigued by Taylor's drive, her business brain that analyses, figures out what people want to hear, and creates it. She expresses a private thought or experience passionately. Making her real self anonymous, but digging into herself, this artist shares her experiences as a girl-woman.

(Wait a minute, isn't that what I do? Isn't that what anyone HAS to do in order to find an audience? That's what I did when I choreographed for my dance company. Didn't I do that when I wrote my six novels -- created characters in which I could express aspects of the real me?)

Okay, hiding herself, Taylor creates drama out of her real life -- love, success, enemies, fears, sorrows -- and hides herself while expressing herself.

Here are 3 videos. What do you think? Do you sing her songs in your mind? Are you part of the younger generation who is thrilled? Or part of the older
generation, like me, thinking hm ... hmm ... hmmm?

Taylor Swift in "1989."