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Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

Crooner Break: Elizabeth Gilbert and Big Magic

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Aloha gang!

It’s time for another Crooner Break!  This time I’m checking in from the street after watching the always lovely and eloquent Elizabeth Gilbert at a taping of the Dr. Oz Show. Liz was there to talk about her book Big Magic as well as share some of her tools for living a creative life.

After receiving an advance copy of the book a few months ago, I’ve read it several times and highlighted the heck outta my copy. I keep it within arm’s reach while working at my desk. I’ve even downloaded the Kindle version so that I can take it with me everywhere I go.

It’s probably one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read.

My favorite part about the book? It’s a mix of magic and pragmatism, both of which you need (in abundance!) while pursuing a creative life.  She writes about ideas and how she believes them to be something that seeks out the individual who will help bring them into being. But then she writes about “working like a farmer” at whatever creative task/project is consuming you at the moment and sticking with the work until it’s done. (As Pops says, “We work until it’s pau. That’s how.”)

AND… she writes about how she went from being a “scaredy cat” kid to the person she is today, one who has a healthy respect for and relationship with fear–without letting it rule her life.

(I know, right?  Each time I’ve read it, I’ve asked myself, “Do you know me, Liz Gilbert? Did you write this book for me?”)

Because I’m always working on Project Natalie and new songs, I know I’ll keep this book close to me for a long, long time.

Please check out the video above.  And please check out her amazing book by clicking HERE! (You won’t regret it!)

Right on.

With warm Aloha


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Liquid Inspiration

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Springtime in NYC means we get a lot of rain.  

And we all know what April showers bring, right? Well…

Earlier this week, I was sitting in a coffeehouse in Chelsea, one of my favorite places to do a little writing. Their coffee is strong and their music is groovy.  The place and its vibe boost to my creativity.  I wanted to stay there all day.

Especially because it was a one of those dreary, rainy days.  Not a torrential downpour, but just enough rain to make one’s clothes damp–and STAY damp for hours.

But there were appointments to keep, so off I went.

And you know what happened?

While I walked, a snippet of a new melody started to play in my mind.  How can I describe it?  It’s like when I get something stuck between my teeth–I couldn’t leave it alone.  It demanded my attention.

As this new little song began to take shape in my mind, I played with lyrics, writing (and rewriting) them to match the tone/color and rhythm of tune.

And by the time I’d reached my next destination, I had the chorus of the new song!

(And my clothes were totally soaked from the rainy drizzle.)

Why is it that some of my most creative moments happen in or near the water?

I often do some of my best brainstorming while taking a shower.  Or while walking over a bridge. (Surprisingly, I do this quite a bit in order to visit a favorite not-too-far-away-but-still-across-the-water store.  Ah… life on this concrete isle.) Or while walking in the rain.

I’ve heard that I’m not alone in my “watery inspiration.”  I’ve read loads of stories about writers and composers who fled to the seashore in order to create.  Or painters who needed to sit by the water to feel inspired.

There must be some connection, right?

What is about the water that inspires some folks?

The fluidity?  The feeling of wanting to turn inward?  The rhythm?

What do YOU think?

Oh!  And yes… I’ll be sharing this new song as soon as she’s finished.  It looks like we’ve got a run of (at least partly) sunny days here, so I won’t be inspired by the rain.  I guess I’ll need to go and sit by the river for a while.

Right on.


What music do you turn to for inspiration?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Jason Poole, Accidental Hawaiian Crooner, Molokai, Hawaii, NYC, urban strummer, ukulele, record player, music, musical inspriration

Does music inspire YOU?

When I need some inspiration to help me to create something new, I turn to music.

When I need some inspiration to get up and move, I turn to music.

When I need some inspiration to quiet down and turn inward, I turn to music.

Music is medicine to me.  It reaches down inside me and touches me like nothing else can.

And I know I’m not alone in this.

So here’s my question for you:  What music do YOU turn to for inspiration?

Not just Hawaiian music.  Any music.  What helps you/motivates you/inspires you?

I’d love to hear from you.  Please leave your thoughts in a comment below.

Happy Aloha Friday, Gang!

Much Aloha,



Hawaii Five-0 & My Grandmother

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sounds like a wild combination, right?

But Hawaii Five-0 and my grandmother go together beautifully. At least in my mind.

You see…

The very first time I remember seeing the show, it was at my grandparents’ house when I was a kid.

I can remember hearing the awesome theme song and being hooked instantly–watching reruns on their television. The only color I remember is BLUE. (Was it because of the colors or Hawaiʻi or the color mix on their television set?)

I don’t remember understanding the plot. In truth, I don’t really remember much about it.


When the classic show was released on DVD, I started at the very beginning.

Starting with Season 1 I was hooked immediately–although THIS time I was hooked on the show and not just the theme song and the color blue. (Come to think of it, the show really DOES feature the color blue a lot. Especially Season 1. Check it out!)Yes, the acting is dated. Yes, the plots are kind of silly. But it’s kitschy and fun (and a fantastic visual time capsule of Oʻahu during those years!) and it makes for a great evening of classic television viewing! Throw in a pizza and some friends and you’ve got the makings of party.


In my mind, the television show and my grandmother are inextricably linked.

The other day, I was talking with my grandmother on the phone. And she wanted to know what I thought of this new version of the show.

SHOCKING UPDATE: I haven’t seen it yet!

I know… I’m embarrassed. It’s terrible for a Hawaiʻi-phile like me to not have seen a new network show about it. Especially because I loved the original series–at least when I watched it again on DVD.

I think my grandmother was both shocked and horrified that I hadn’t seen it. She thought I would have not only VIEWED it, but also ANALYZED it.

But it gave us an opportunity to do some talking.

And you know, my grandmother is one smart lady.

Her thoughts: even if the show is not a commercial success, it will be a good thing. It will bring Hawaiʻi to the forefront of pop culture, again. Just like the original television series did. It will make people AWARE of it–and that has the potential of being a great thing. Because when people are aware of something, it’s harder to ignore it.

I mentioned that I had my doubts the show could really convey what Hawaiʻi is all about–that it was still a cop show that was FILMED in Hawaiʻi, but not really about Hawaiʻi or her people.

My grandmother thinks that it’s still GOOD for the islands. It will raise awareness.

So smart, right? Go, Grandma! (I love having a hip tūtū!)


I’ve got a few episodes recorded on my DVR and ready to go. I heard they even mentioned Molokai in a recent episode! How cool is that?!

I’m curious to hear what YOU all think about this new show. Do you like it? Do you hate it? What kind of effect do you think it will have on the islands–positive or negative?

**Fun Crooner Factoid: I have had the Hawaii Five-0 theme song as my ringtone on my phone for years. I totally LOVE it. Iconic.


Let’s Read A Book!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We’ve been talking about it for a long time… creating a TAHC’s Book Club.

A lot of you have written in saying that you’d like to read a Hawaiʻi-themed book and be a part of a reading community.

The summer is drawing to a close. September starts, um, TOMORROW! Kids are heading back to school. It seems like the perfect time.

So let’s stop talking about it and let’s get reading!

For the first book, I’m suggesting Lois-Ann Yamanaka’s WILD MEAT AND THE BULLY BURGERS.

I read it years ago. It is a book that made me stop and think. It made an impression, for sure. I think it’s time to open it up again!

Who’s with me?

We can touch base in the middle of the month. I’m thinking Thursday, September 16th. A check-in. A way to let you know how far I’ve gotten in the reading. And, more importantly, a way for YOU to tell me (and the gang!) how YOU’RE doing with the book. How you feel about it at the month’s mid-way point. (And we can discuss a new title for the month of October!)

And then, of course, we can do another check-in at the end of the month.

Sound like a plan?

Come on! You know you wanna do it!

You might be able to find it at a local bookseller. However, because I love you guys and I want to make this as easy as possible, I’m including links to the book at various online sellers, too! (The various websites have reviews, book descriptions, etc. And a lot of ‘em have discounted copies for sale!)

Native Books

Barmes &

So whatcha think? Who’s with me??

**Crooner Update: If I remember correctly, there are some part of this book that weren’t very–well–”pretty.” Like I remember feeling a bit nauseous at times. But there were other parts that made me laugh out loud. Consider yourselves warned. (ha!)


A Midnight Phone Call

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I was surprised when my phone started ringing last night at midnight.

Who would be calling me at that hour? Something had be wrong.

I threw off the blanket and turned on the lights.

My heart was pounding and my blood pressure shot up. I was in full “fight or flight” mode. When I looked at my caller ID, I was relieved–it was an (808) number. Hawaiʻi calling. And, because there’s currently a 6 hour time difference, it made perfect sense. Bedtime in NYC = dinner time in Hawaiʻi.


And then I was shocked to see WHO the caller was. It was my teacher! It was Pops!

If I’m lucky enough to catch him when he’s “out of the Valley” (remember: Hālawa Valley doesn’t have a telephone!) we usually catch up on another night–not Mondays. What a wonderful surprise!

He had been out visiting. He couldn’t talk for very long. I couldn’t get all of the details, but they didn’t matter. I was just so happy to be talking with him.

Even a few moments are valuable!

I was able to “plug into the source.”

I was able to hear what’s happening back on Molokai. I was able to tell him about a few things that have been happening here.

And I was able to speak a little Hawaiian!

See, I’m not a native speaker of ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi. I’m not even a GOOD speaker of the Hawaiian language. My skills are rudimentary, at best. But it’s not all that often that I can just launch into a Hawaiian/English conversation living here in NYC!

We’ve been spoiled this past year by having a master language teacher living here in the Big Apple. Kumu Manuwai Peters has been teaching language classes. It’s such a gift to have him here–for so many reasons. And I’ve been doubly blessed to have the opportunity to serve as his kōkua, his assistant, in the classes. We actually speak Hawaiian here in the New York City!

But–at least for now–most of the conversations take place in the classroom. So to have Pops surprise me with a phone call as I’m getting ready to retire for the night–AND have him launch into his native Hawaiian–well, it’s such a treat! I didn’t have any time to prepare. I didn’t have a chance to think about what I’d say.

We just spoke.

When I stumbled for words, I switched to English. OR… I found another way to say what I was thinking. Pops is a very patient teacher. I’m SURE I butcher the language with some of things I say, but he always lets me find my way. I stutter and and I stammer, but I somehow find a way to make myself understood. He says that’s what’s important. I couldn’t agree more!

It’s interesting to see what words come naturally… what words I REALLY know and understand. And it’s equally interesting to see where I have HUGE GAPS in my linguistic knowledge! Auē! Thank goodness I’m not depending on Hawaiian as my language of survival! (At least not yet!)

It was a short conversation. It was a valuable conversation.

And I loved every minute of it.

How do YOU plug into your source?